Slave to a substance

Being addicted to drugs and/or alcohol is one of the most difficult illnesses one might ever have to endure. The majority of people can have a drink or two after work or at a party and then put it down when they feel they are getting buzzed. Or I’ve heard of those who can keep a little weed in the freezer and just pull it out for parties or a quick high. This is not the case for those who have a problem with substances. There are also men and women with mental illness who self-medicate. I got a call yesterday reminding me of the seriousness and sometimes fatal nature of addiction.

A good friend of mine passed away two days ago. He was in and out of the rooms of recovery and, for whatever reason, could not stay sober. He house was full of beer cans when they found him. The cause of death was not known, however I’m sure it had something to do with his alcohol abuse. This man was a good friend who had a good, compassionate heart. Normally, he would greet me with a hug and a smile. I was fortunate enough to see him over this past Christmas holiday when I went home to Louisiana. He was a talented musician who played the Cajun accordion and the guitar. He told stories and jokes better than anyone I’ve known. His calm demeanor and white, bearded face will be missed by those who knew him.

My remaining vices are cigarettes and food. I’ve been to smoking cessation classes and have used the patches and lozenges to no avail. I do not want to smoke yet it seems pointless at times to fight such a formidable foe. The most I have gone without a cigarette is five days. I have been smoking for twenty-two years and would like to not have any of the illnesses promised by prolonged tobacco use. I try to eat right and exercise as well, but Taco Bell and Wendy’s just taste so damn good.

I do not know why humans have adopted this idea of putting poisonous substances into our bodies and how it all began. That said, I think it takes a lot of courage to swear off them when you know you have little ability to control your use of them. I will keep working on quitting smoking. My friend is hopefully in a better place. If anything his death will be a grim refresher course into the dangers of relapse for all those in recovery. No one said it would be easy. It is often difficult to find peace and contentment in this life. Prayer, meditation and always being aware of your emotional condition throughout the day are good ways to cope. If you are in trouble, ask for help. Call a friend, family member or the suicide or crisis center hot line where you live. Reach out. We only get one turn (unless you believe in reincarnation) on this planet. Make it count and don’t give up.

Thank you for reading. Take care.

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