The Mind of an Addict
Natalie Jeanne Champagne regularly contributes to mental health and addictions publications and is an advocate for mental health and recovery.She is publishing a memoir in March.You can find out more about Natalie at www.thethirdsunrise.com. She currently lives In British Columbia, Canada. The Third Sunrise is her first book.
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I wrote this when I was active in my addiction and believe it summarizes much of my experience. The picture, taken when I was an addict, is hard for me to look at but important to recall how hard it all was. The second picture represents health and sobriety.
You are twenty-three years old. It is Friday. It is nearing 4 p.m. and you have sat at your silly oak desk for eight hours. You have tapped your foot, and internally screamed for eight hours. You have smiled at your simple looking boss, and have noticed that she almost seems afraid of you. Her lip curls and your smile is daunting because it is false and it is sick.
At 3:56 you type her an email and attach a copy of the work you have completed that day: a collection of research regarding Cancer treatment. Information about people who care. People with a predisposition for empathy. All you care about, as you hold your finger to your computers off screen, counting down to 4:00 p.m., is when you can call your drug dealer.
Your magic man–But what tricks does he have?
The person you fantasize about killing but could not because then you could not call him early Saturday and Sunday mornings asking for more. More.More.More. As if he is doing you a favor. As your head pounds and your vision twists in defeat. Even as you write these words your leg shakes and your heart is wrenching with need. It feels so primitive you believe you simply must have it. You try to wait five minutes or so–a decent, forgiving, amount of time−before calling The Man.
You have been calling him for two years, but lately, you are ashamed to sit inside his plush car. You make your various slews of bad friends to do the work and you wait, feeling sick. As sick as you will feel once you awaken Monday morning and realize you cannot stop.
But no time to think: you go to a bank machine; lucky you get paid every week (surprised you have a job!) and pull out $200.00. You think this is saving money because you left some in your bank account (for ordering liquor on Sunday mornings) and you go to the grocery store. You always lose your appetite on Fridays, which is unfortunate as you rarely eat until Sunday or Monday. You purchase a six pack of Gatorade, a liter of chocolate milk and some yogurt. These are the only things you eat during the next three days and you only eat them if you feel so sick you think you may need to go to the emergency room – again. That would, of course, ruin your chances of taking more drugs.
You then go to the liquor store which is conveniently located right next to the grocery store. The only thing more convenient about the Weekend Preparations would be if The Man took debit or visa. The alcohol does not matter it is just needed in case you get so high you tremble or take strange gasping breaths. Years ago you needed it in order to do drugs – it erased the fear and shame. More and more you could care less: it is just part of the process.
You buy tequila and a case of beer for back-up. You never have people over or go out anywhere because people cannot keep up with you and you’re scared of anything outside your apartment. People are a strange phenomenon being that they walk and they talk. Sometimes they know your name, and shout it as you run past them, your eyes bubbling.
You just cannot stop.
Natalie @ thethirdsunrise.com
Connect With me on my Blog Here: http://www.thethirdsunrise.com/blog.html
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