I don't hate many things. Once I started studying genocide and hearing people talk about those experiences, I found myself reserving the term "hate" for really serious things.
But I think I can rather safely say "I hate heroin when combined with humans" Sure, there's nothing wrong with it as a chemical compound- I just hate what happens when people put it into their system.
If you grew up in the US in the 1980s, you probably remember the onslaught of "say no to drug" campaigns. If you also grew up in NY you may even remember the "cigarette mash" (30 seconds - cute), an ad in that convinced me (before the age of 10) that cigarettes were silly. I was the kid persuaded by all those public service announcements (brain on drugs, etc). I spent probably 30 hours a week watching television so it was a good place to find me.
Obviously, not everyone was convinced by women in brightly colored tights dancing on cigarettes in b or imagining their brain frying like an egg. If Phillip Seymour Hoffman had seen those commercials as a kid would things have ended up differently? If Corey Monteith had grown up in suburban NY in the 1980s would he too have been convinced?
A family member of mine who had some struggles with drugs asked me "Sarah, you went through some really dark times, why didn't you end up doing drugs?"
Interesting question: Somehow doing drugs would be the "natural" response to deep pain?
I told him this, "I figured I was already in enough pain and confused, why would I want to make things MORE complicated by being addicted to something?"
He said he wished he had thought of it that way.
We both wished that two of our other family members had thought of it that way. They both had found heroin.
I hate this drug.
I hate this drug.
I remember when these family members started pulling away...they were not themselves..they were distant...then I'm sure came the lying and stealing...the road to recovery is so long. And experts say that even 1 hit sends you right back.
The drug strips your nervous system of being able to handle emotional and physical pain, that's why it's so difficult to quit.
I hate that drug. I hated seeing the holes on my loved one's arm where she injected it.
I hate that it killed Alex Berg right after high school. He was just a great kid. He had this great red hair; my friend Ali and I would sneak outside his window and listen to him play drums at night. He was kind, appreciative, and just lovely.
Ok, obviously it isn't heroin's fault. Heroin itself didn't do anything...It's whatever makes people feel so much pain that they'd rather inject themselves than to ANYTHING else.
When millionaires do it, it really boggles my mind.
Do you have an idea how many resources are available to help you out of pain? Especially if you have $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Though this is my path. I have travelled from Fiji to Brazil to find answers to my questions. Expensive learning, but a wild and delicious adventure. There are people and resources closer and they DO WORK.
The choice does not have to be suffer OR heroin.
But maybe the problem comes from the deeper cultural pattern of medication as a solution. "Have a problem, take a pill." It's so odd to me because I think of Americans as such resourceful people. Pills seem like a cop out (most anyway). Or at least pills that don't address the true cause.
Just to clarify in case there is any confusion:
THERE IS NO PILL THAT REMOVES A FEELING OF INADEQUACY !!
THERE IS NO PILL THAT MAKES SOMEONE LOVE YOU OR COME BACK TO YOU!!
THERE IS NO PILL THAT RESOLVES TRAUMA
THERE IS NO PILL FOR HAPPINESS
Ok, you get the idea. Feelings of not being enough will always be around...if you are a human. If you saw the Wolf on Wall Street, you saw how temporary drugs were as a solution.
If you want to be happy you want to exchange stupid problems (you don't like the paint in your living room) for better ones like, how are we going to feed all these children?
To find your way out of hell, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get better...call anyone, start somewhere. Who cares where? Wheatgrass, therapy, meditation retreat, 911..poll dancing. Some times you have to be friggin' CRAZY to ensure you don't go FRIGGIN' CRAZY.
I don't know what these people went through...and all the others on drugs. I cannot pretend to know their pain, but I know suffering. I have known what felt like chronic and unbearable suffering..and how to find my way out... It CAN pass.
So I just wish for everyone... that we continue to explore together better ways out of hell.
A friend just texted and his keyboard wrote "hell" ...then he wrote "Sorry, I meant "hello"" He intelligently observed, "gosh, it's amazing the difference one letter can make."
Just like it's amazing what difference a phone call can make.
Don't inject, reach out.
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
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