chapter 2- relapse & recovery
I wrote a poem an year back, I would like to quote few lines before I begin
“blurring smoke blackened lips,
life to ashes of finger tips.
reflected the glimpse of my midnight lamp.
the lamp black that paints my mortal,
the sinful smoke that torns my mettle.
reflected the glimpse of my midnight lamp.
in seventh circle of smoke,i choke.i settle.”
– My midnight lamp
Around 8 o’ clock in the morning.
As he would pace around the narrow gallery in unsettled mood and restlessness, I was second to wake up in the room and moved outdoor for a breath of fresh air, only to find him standing mid- way and leaping out of the balcony with a purpose to get a sight of the nearby confectionery store. He would pace around from one end to another and do this periodically after every five minutes. While I would wander around with an indefinite purpose, stretching myself, moving in and out of the room,drinking water from the nearby cooler that lay just adjacent to the building staircase and just three big steps from our room. he would still pace faster and faster and now murmuring something to himself and meanwhile leaping off the balcony to catch a sight of that shop.
“okay. It got open.. (he said), I will be back in a minute.”
As I stood there for another minute, he returned with a pack of smokes and one of them got lit at that moment, the very reason he was pacing for half an hour. This was one odd day when he had fallen short of his morning quota and therefore had trouble in getting his day to a start.
After few drags in, he seemed much more calm and composed, much more familiar as I knew him,and even before I could jump to my obvious question, he was far more perspicacious to sense my curiosity and address the issue with an exhaustive approach. he begins to explain–
“ The urge to smoke goes beyond the point of tolerance after a time in your sin-span as a smoker, especially in the early morning and before going to sleep. its nothing unusual to a regular smoker and nothing not known of, but the most interesting thing is that most people miss the catch, it’s the point where the control is shifted from yourself to your body’s’ essential need, goes mostly un-noticed by most, even myself. “
” There is a thing called relapse, every addictive drug or abuseable substance has a specific time limit to relapse, depending on the average strata of abusers and its degree of abuse potential. so if your under recovery and quitting it, the process at most times become so dysfunctional that the drug seems a part of self- medication and you come back to it. Its much stronger and much less for chemical – based substance abuse for e.g. if you do it with heroine or coke, you are bound to be addicted by the third time, I personally don’t support chemicals. further,the relapse time goes on increasing with the simpler and natural substances, and of course there are other factors such as ease of availability, the cost, the social proof, that accounts for the background potential, simplest example could be tea or coffee which addicts most people in the world but however, a smoker is most likely to die of cancer owing to its composition and wood-ash adulteration and several other chemical compounds that are into it owing to its manufacturing process, a tea or a coffee drinker may not.its much better to get tobacco and rolling paper and make your own sticks but its time consuming.however, it can be considered as a good option as manipal has lot of fake cigarettes, its difficult to find genuine stuff …”
While I stood there giving my utmost attention to his monologue and his inflow explanation of things,finely blended with his own experiences unlike the sub-standard smokes he carried with himself & found the quality suffering more chronically than his morning rush.I stood there and wondered whether knowledge is preventive or simply a pseudo platform that is apparent enough to allow even the most aware minds (such as himself), to comfortably stand and do acrobats on the most precarious ends of choices towards mysteriously paced inevitability. However the pace of periliousness is set by you (as he was trying to tell ),and that’s another irony and freedom of control on addiction.while i could barely end up registering these overwhelming thoughts on self- control in the meanwhile, Anurag would further go on explaining..
“ time is an important factor in determining recovery, I am also trying to quit and once I go back home, It will be much easier, I have it all planned. I need to quit smoking before twenty five,then within three years my lungs will be clean and by five It would be like as if I never smoked, you should also remember that and try to quit by twenty five.This is one thing that needs to be done after college.. however, if your quitting after that, say at age of 27 or 30, It would take about ten years for same process and (he stressed) fifteen years to that if leaving it at thirty five, that’s a very crucial stats ( he is delighted to narrate).“
“however, recovery has time oriented function and so is relapse, it’s not easy for a serious druggy (drug addict) to get back to the same state in a spike, it’s a gradual slope up, just like down. Once I smoked two packs of twenty in a few hours at the airport, to get back to the buzz and high,even when I am not a drug addict. Others I know, have done 80 sticks and it depends on what’s your chart, it varies from person to person. College is a place where you take things in your own hands and do actions that decide what you’re going to be, it’s the mentorship from boyhood to manhood, that’s why college is so important. hence, lectures such as these will be helpful (he smiles with a wit ), its more important to understand and take knowledge of things than stay protected and turn your eyes away from them, anyone can do that.So smoke all you want but try to quit by twenty five.. its part of a plan “ (he offers me a smoke , i took it with pleasure and goes out waving to his friend who was waiting across the road on his motorbike).”
A good working definition of Relapse -The relapse process is a lot like knocking over a line of dominoes. The first domino hits the second, which hits the third, and soon a progressive chain reaction, has started. The sequence of problems that lead from stable sobriety to relapse are similar to those dominoes. There are two differences. First, each domino in the line (i.e. each problem that brings us closer to substance use) gets a little bit bigger and heavier until the last domino in the sequence is ten feet tall, four feet wide, and a foot thick. As this 10,000 pound domino begins to fall on us, it is too heavy for us to handle alone. The second difference is that the dominoes circle around behind us. So when the last domino falls, it hits us from behind when we’re not looking 🙂 ( i am sure anurag would smile to that definition )
just like the above excerpt from the actual conversation, my dear friend was always insightful on almost all the topics that were discussed and observed in his company.I on the same lines observed ( on my own) that none of the smokers or sufferers to addiction ever encouraged me to take up smoking and always despised the credulous idea of its coolness quotient that some teenager might associate with its taking up, out of his naiveté.
“Smoking tobacco is the ultimate gateway drug that is legally available, and involves mastering a unique method of intake – much more so than alcohol (which has such a significant effect that users need look no further for stimulation). Smokers looking to get ‘high’ will very rarely do so from cigarettes after the initial stages of taking up the habit.”