As a part of the community projects held by the mission hospital where I work one of them is, to share the responsibility of assisting the local community in running the project on de-addiction, though my arena of work is mainly centered on bringing the awareness to the adolescents and young adults.
So to commemorate The World No Tobacco Day on May31st, we had held an open session with them. Moderating the discussion between the panelists and participants was allotted to me, but I had to first open the talk. One of the opening questions that I asked them (and what I ask most often during the awareness campaigns) is what makes them do it i.e. smoking, drugs, and alcohol…all the vices that society has seen.
“It’s the glamour of it. Your first smoke is yuck. You sputter, you cough a lot. Your eyes start watering. Then, it gets better. There
is that good after-effect you feel.”
“It’s simply an enthralling experience. Your first kick. Your state of euphoria. It’s difficult to explain it, unless and until you experience it.”
“At first, you start drinking more or less on a social basis. But when things go wrong, it takes away your pain, your stress. Numbs your emotions. Makes you feel less anxious. You are not bothered anymore. Your mind is freed. Or rather it goes numb.”
Sometimes, I wonder what to reply to all these. It’s not easy. At times, circumstances drive them to fall into the trap of addiction. Presently, I am just talking about drugs, alcohol and smoking. Yet there are many more. There’s addiction to coffee, addiction to cell phones (yes, the awareness about this has been recently covered in the news), addiction to pain medication, over-the-counter medication, morphine addiction and many more.
The start is always easy. At times, it may be difficult like smoking, but later it catches on to you; unless you don’t lose control. I’m not against experiences. You should know the feeling of them all. It’s usually in college, that you have your first drink, your first smoke, your first weed…and all the other “cool” things. But what should be kept in mind, is that it should not be your daily bread. Experiences are one thing but getting hooked onto them is another.
If you look closely at it, in the end, all these are just an outlet to release your emotions, stress, and your hidden tensions. Which you can let go as well, when you get involved in other activities. Sports. The final kick to the net, the last five minutes of the games, practice sessions. Dance, when the streets and the clubs come alive with action. Music. Rock bands. Holding the gigs. Losing yourself in the music. All these are stress busters too. And there are many more activities which I haven’t enlisted. Love long drives, when you lose yourself to your thoughts, dreams and the sights. Window shopping. Reading. Movies. Kayaking. Snorkelling. Cliff jumping. And my latest activity, rock climbing.All these are stress busters.
It’s all about losing the stress. But the way that you lose it shouldn’t affect your personal life, your personal growth and most importantly, your dreams. Circumstances affect all of us, but they give us a chance, to make the better of it or the worst of it. Which in reality is what life is all about.
There is the glamour in all the vices and addictions. But losing your life in it, is a heavy loss which only sometimes can be regained, but at a cost, at an exorbitant price. So what I usually tell them is,
“Most of you all have reached the point of maturity in your lives. Each one has a different story to tell. The reasons. The explanations.
But you all can channel your energies, your stress into something positive. So that you back at your achievements and not regret the times lost and years wasted. For in the end of our years, we all have to pay up, pay a price for our actions and affect the consequences. Sometimes, it’s your health, at times your family but always, it’s your future. And your future is in your hands (or at least a part of it!!).
Glamour should not be attained at the cost of your future.
It’s not my prerogative to judge, but all I can do is to give you all options. In the end, only you can decide. Only you can make the change. We all can help you do it.”
That is what I’ll always say.