Discussions with a former drug addict - a lesson for every teenager
A conversation about the harm of drugs
By Reza Ganjavi
Yesterday a girl came on the bus who was good-looking but looked somewhat confused. We got off at the same station. She started crying. I spoke to her and offered her a song to make her feel better. She asked for a hug. Then she bought a bottle of beer and wine and we went to the park. (I do not drink alcohol). She chained smoked Camel cigs (strong). As I played guitar which she found very helpful and soothing, she told me her story in a quite articulate, outspoken, mature way. She was a heroin & cocaine addict from age 15 to 18, now for 3 years she's been clean of hard drugs but still smokes a lot of cigs and drinks alcohol.
Her father immigrated as a laborer at an early age and now he is a wealthy boss. He never adjusted to the cultural difference, thus, treating his daughter much differently than her Swiss friends. (This sort of immigrant cultural clash is not uncommon - the farther the distance the farther the clash - e.g. Persians in America.). So there was constant strife, constant conflict.
"I broke him", she said. "He said 'I am' and I said 'you are not'. It was a fight for power, since I was 8. A fight over who has more power. I broke him in half. Maybe he needed it. I believe in reincarnation. Maybe life put me on his way to show him there's another way. He beat us up. I told him: 'you get fear not respect'".
She started smoking cigarettes, hashish and pot at an early age. By the time she was 15, she had a boyfriend who was a heroin addict. She said: "I was curious. I wanted to find out how it feels. The personality of the drug users made me curious. My friends said, 'as long as you smoke the heroin and do not inject it you will not get addicted'. I trusted them and started doing it thinking in 4 months I will quit cold turkey. I smoked a couple of lines of heroin every morning before school and I thought I can stop anytime I want. I never forget that day: after 4 months, one morning I woke up and had shivers and diarrhea and was feeling awful. It was 7 in the morning and time for school. I smoked my usual lines, and as soon as I smoked, diarrhea and all the other symptoms stopped and I was feeling fine. At that moment it dawned on me that I was addicted. I tried to quit 20 times or so. For a year I lived in the streets. I partnered with a man with whom we sold cracked cocaine in order to sustain our heroin addiction. If we consumed more than our income we had to work harder. We cooked cocaine and sold it all night to druggies. We made a lot of money and lived well."
"There were 2 things I never did to support my habit. I never sold myself (prostitute), and I never robbed old ladies’ bags." She proudly said. "The whole time I was very lucky. I think I was protected by guardian angels"...
I asked if she thinks her father's abuses were a factor in her longing which led to drugs. "Absolutely" she said.
"I used to be popular. People liked me."
Her best friend got really drunk and beat her up. She wants to resolve it and waiting for the friend to call her to apologize. Told her people are generally bad at communication - so she might want to call her to talk about it.
By the time she was 18, she went to a rehab clinic. For the first 3 months, she managed to buy hash and alcohol and go drinking at the beach at 7 am till they found her and took her back. For a week she locked herself in a room and broke everything.
"Cocaine gives you external high, you think you're in control of the outer world. Heroin works inside. Your body feels you're ok here."
She: "I don't believe in the name of god". She spoke about the spirit... I: "To know the spirit you must be sensitive. To be sensitive you must be healthy... and not chain smoke..."
Her boyfriend slept with another woman. "I don't have a problem with that, just that he did not tell me for 2 weeks - our relationship was about honesty. He says he didn't kiss her with the tongue. Neither he nor I can come up with a convincing explanation for what he did so my pain's alleviated." Told her she has to think less about this area... She: "my mind is clear about it but my guts hurt"... I: "maybe it's because of smoking... we're psychosomatic etc.
It was a bit scary that she was keen on exercising the psychic powers she said she possessed. But she's kind of "spiritual" and really improving as a human being and as she said herself she's learning to love herself more than before.
She invited me to her sister's who's a vegetarian and has a boyfriend with a familiar name. We played some songs and then she said it was time to leave and do something else. Needing the practice and her asking for more songs, I played a bit longer and got her to catch the last bus home. She had bought another bottle of wine and was afraid to sleep and dream about monsters and violence like she has been.
She was very thankful that the music had helped her feel better. She was crying when she got off the bus earlier. Now she was smiling as she was walking back to the bus.