The dynamics of addiction
By 08/03/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press
'I was wrong, but I once believed drugs could get me through the times I had no money better than money could get me through times I had no drugs.'
That sums up Sam, who once lived through the darkness of substance dependency but finally emerged triumphantly.
From my point of view, Sam (not his real name) is a real winner today. Once Sam was a slave to his vices, indulging himself in the nether world of a drug culture that has endured several generations side by side with the mainstream world.
Within this sub-culture, the cast of characters changed from time to time, Sam told me. Otherwise, it remained much the same over the years. Sam points out many substances, the tools of self-destruction, are near at hand today. Some are very costly, but others may be too affordable.
Sam and many of his generation survived the reckless decades of the 60s and 70s. Some didn´t, so Sam considers himself fortunate.
He will tell you he lived a portion of his life in a brown, heavy haze, trying to avoid reality, because reality would spoil the party. Some drugs, like marijuana, linger in the system perhaps as long as a week, but Sam feared the down cycle of withdrawal, and was driven to obtain drugs regularly, thus making other necessities of life difficult to afford.
'The drug problem was much worse than anyone thought back then, and I fear it is just as bad today,' Sam said.
In recent years Sam, renewed and cleansed by his devout faith in God´s healing power, gives straight-forward advise to parents, pre-teens, and those already caught up in a life centered on mind altering drugs. His hard won experience and testimony is worthy of our attention.
'In my case, it all probably started with marijuana, as it often does,' Sam told me. 'By all means, do not minimize or gloss over the marijuana experience in discussions with the young. If you tell them it is bad, their peers will tell them it is good and they can prove it.
'My first experience with grass put me into such a ´high´ I tried unsuccessfully to match it for years. The body adapts quickly to marijuana, therefore it requires larger amounts or stronger weed to produce a high. Either that, or stronger drugs than marijuana.
'Our young are often full of varying amounts of confidence or fear, depending on the nature of the individual. They also vary according to their enlightenment, and they learn by what they see or hear from their parents, teachers, or peers -- take your pick. But the young are always curious. Often an immature person believes he or she is entitled to a pleasurable experience, even entitled to a ´high.´'
Sam pointed out any discussion of dependency must include more than booze, grass, pills and powders. He believes dependent people search for escape into a certain 'feeling.'
'In fact, mind altering substances can offer you whatever feeling you want. Maybe it´s peace. Maybe it´s power. Maybe it´s energy. But many times I´ve seen experimentation lead to repetition.'
'And yes, I have observed first hand the progression of an individual´s need for stronger and stronger drugs, which cost more, and eventually, more again. At some point, it will cost more than the average user can afford.
'In my era, we had names for the stronger, more potent varieties of marijuana, such as Maui Wowie, or Blind Ump (two strikes of a match and you´re out). Today, there are vast choices of designer drugs and such, some quite costly, all dangerous.
'When street quality drugs are no longer good enough and the user cannot afford a drug he or she craves, the desperate user often turns to the drug dealer for help. It´s certainly no secret that many pushers run a wide assortment of crime rings by proxy, employing the desperate users, pulling them into the depths of a criminal world they otherwise would never have known.'
Sam said as a final statement 'Prevention is always the cheapest. The cost of drugs to our world is immeasurable, both in dollars and in human terms. We should have never allowed this crisis to go so far.'