The Black Dog of Addiction

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For years it’s been hidden. Skulking in the shadows like some demented beast, kept on the leash of a linked chain and somehow content to be tied up. Until now. Now it’s fighting to break free with sharp teeth ready to tear my life to pieces… 

It began at 16. I had done fairly well in school and as such naturally gravitated towards the good doers and workers at college. It was painfully dull. Having given up karate which used to give me a buzz I was seeking another thrill. The smokers looked cool. Carefree and laughing I was intrigued by their clothes, their attitude and having flirted with smoking since I was 9 I very quickly took it up and joined them. That’s better. I sighed as my first toxic addiction took hold of me.

It quickly transpired that cigarettes were not all they smoked. They had something better, sweeter, a bigger thrill. It was no wonder they were always laughing. I tried it and giggled for hours. On my first cannabis experience an acquaintance mentioned squirrels and I doubled over just thinking about how funny the little creatures were. It was the buzz I’d been looking for. 

But what began as simply thrill seeking behaviour quickly developed into something darker, something more serious. I found that by smoking weed every day my moods stabilised. I had extreme mood swings and depressive episodes, later to be diagnosed as Bipolar disorder. 

It won’t surprise you to hear that from cigarettes to spliffs the addiction needed harder drugs as the initial buzz I got from the first time I got stoned had dissipated. I can’t remember but I think mushrooms were next. Not enough. Then it was MDMA and pills, noss, ketamine and finally cocaine. 

13 years later I still struggle with coke. I have urges, if I’m bored, happy, sad, celebrating or commiserating, an £80 gram seems the perfect remedy or enhancement to my internal experience. 

On the face of it, I am highly functioning. That doesn’t mean I’m not an addict. 

It’s a daily battle not to nose dive into a delicious baggy of treats. I don’t think about it constantly but at some point most days, particularly if I’m bored or tired, it will come to mind and I have to fight the urge off with a stick. I know it could ruin my life, my husband has already threatened to send me packing if I continue to indulge in this habit. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it’s not. 

I admit. I am an addict. A recovering addict. The first step is admitting it. It was a big step and i’m glad i’ve taken it. To anyone else who suffers the black dog of addiction as I do, you are not alone and you can beat it. I am happy to say i’ve been clean for 3 months and it’s getting easier. Stick with it my friends. Unchain the dog and learn to understand it, have compassion for it and live it with. That dog is a part of you and it needs care to stop it ruining your life.

Good luck friends.