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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Drug addiction

The only thing drug addiction leaves in its wake is destruction, pain, loss, heartache and lost futures. Drugs will swallow you whole, chew you up and spit you out all broken and lost. If you think this is another article with statistics about drug abuse, you are wrong. This is the heartbreaking account of people whose lives were destroyed by drug abuse.
This is a warning to young people out there to think again about getting involved with the drug world, and when you start using drugs you are getting involved in the evil darkness of killers. “Drugs took my son away from me, and then away from himself” says Marie whose son Jason committed suicide to get away from the drug lords who were after him. When Jason made friends with drug dealers in his neighbourhood he really thought they were great people. They gave him drugs for “free” and protected him from other gangs. After a few months they wanted payback in the form of drug smuggling from another country. He couldn’t do it and left the town where he stayed. He thought they wouldn’t find him but they did and demanded their money for the “free” drugs. They threatened his family and the only way he felt able to protect his family was to commit suicide.
If you don’t want your family and loved ones to find you dead and discarded somewhere from murder, an accidental overdose or suicide forget about being one of the in youngsters who experiment with drugs. A heartbroken grandmother in South Africa, Charmaine, lost all her savings after drug dealers threatened to kill her grandson Kyle, if she didn’t pay his debts. They killed him in cold blood the third time after she had no money left to save him.
The drug underworld is a merciless and vicious life. When Shane, a drug dealer, left his hometown to get out of this kind of life he really thought he was starting over. But they found him and murdered him in a forest where his poor body was found covered by animal carcasses. His mother received the ashes of her precious son through the post as if it was just another package of no account. Can you imagine the horror and not even knowing where and when your son died? You seldom get away from this kind of life if you are already in it. Shane made a decision to give up this lifestyle and create a normal life for himself, unfortunately the drug lords don’t let go of someone who made them rich and kept them in that style of luxury.
A lot of innocent kids start using marijuana while still in school. What you don’t know is that they lace it with other drugs to make you addicted to it. They know by only supplying marijuana they won’t make money. So, to reel you in deeper they use this ploy to get you to buy the more expensive stuff. As soon as you become a regular buyer they give you the ordinary marijuana and because it doesn’t give you that same high you start using stronger and more addictive drugs.
“My son suffered from a serious, fatal illness for nearly 6 years. Although there is hope and many do recover from this illness, this was not the case with
him. The pain he endured was much more than any parent should ever have to watch their child go through. There were many so called "remissions" from time to time, however they were not enough to take away the torture that lingered on. Six years of hoping he would wake up one day and miraculously be "cured” never occurred. Body aches, vomiting, chills, bones feeling as though they were about to crack and his inability to be able to move, were a few of his symptoms. To not be able to function at the ripe age 17 was traumatic for him and for all of us to watch. His High School years were not possible to endure for with
every attempt to start over, he was stricken again with the peaks and burrows of this horrible disease. My son desired more than anything, to be free of this
illness and given a chance for a real life. The few moments he was given of some normalcy, over time, were like bait given to a fish. Allowing him to see what "life" could be like, only to be pulled back in. Towards the end of his life I believe he had lost all hope for any chance of him recovering from his illness. He was tired of the struggles and weakened both mentally and physically. The hurt in his heart was just as painful as the aching body, maybe even more. I believe my son gave up and although he did not pass away in any pain, his chance for recovery is now over. In my heart, where I keep my deepest secrets, I know that God saw this and put his hand out to my son and said, "come with me, you have had enough my dear boy" and so he went. And where he went is a peaceful place where nothing and no one can ever hurt him again. A place where there is nothing but beautiful skies, happy faces and comforting words. Although I miss my son more than anything in this world, I would never want to see him suffer like that again. If given the chance for his return, and told he would never recover or be well, I think I would have to let him go. In order for him to have the peace he deserved finally, I would sacrifice my pain of missing him for his pain free eternal life. My son Daniel passed away Oct 28, 2006, in his room where the angels came to take him home. In case you were wondering what my son suffered from; cancer, some type of handicap? My son passed away from the Disease of addiction, and yes it is a disease just like other illnesses that can end your life. It walks hand in hand with them. Quite often it is stereo-typed and misconstrued. May we all come to recognize that Addiction is not a disease of choice only. It is as complex as cancer. Would someone choose to have cancer?” These are the heart rendering words of Maria who lost her son to an accidental overdose after years of drug abuse.
The need for drugs becomes so strong that you will do anything to get it. Steal from family and friends, lie, deceive everybody and the worst of all sell your body to get money to be able to buy it. Esther, a young lady with a promising career started using crack when she was 20 years old and living on her own with a great job and a promising future ahead of her. She became more and more dependant on her habit and started using money for rent and food to get crack. At one stage when there was nothing to sell any more, she starting giving the drug dealers sexual favours as a trade for the drugs she needed so much. She alternated between euphoria and self-disgust about the way she humiliated herself with the disgusting merciless dealers. On more than one occasion she contemplated suicide because se hated herself so much for what she became. To be able to sustain her addiction she stole money from her employer and was found out and threatened with arrest if she didn’t return the money as soon as possible. With the added burden of having to reimburse her employer she turned to prostitution which made the drug addiction even more severe. Esther tried rehabilitation from crack addiction twice and every time she started using again as soon as she was released. She married a wonderful man and is still trying to kick her addiction. It is a love hate situation because she wants so desperately to be clean and live a normal life but the need for the drug overwhelms her at times and she reaches out for it with trepidation and longing. “I have a wonderful husband who is trying to help me but I am so deep into this that it is like fighting a losing battle” she confessed. Her biggest fear is being killed by an overdose or by the dealers she braves on her own time and time again.
David started using drugs in high school and because of poor grades finished his high school education through home schooling. Because of his addiction to cocaine and prescription pain narcotics he would oversleep and never could keep a job and his life was in disarray most of the time. In 2002 he and his girlfriend were arrested for possession of cocaine and marijuana. They were sentenced for dealing drugs and his mother, Angela never imagined she would ever see her son in prison or shackles. After one year he was released on probation and had to have regular and random drug tests. During this time he tested positive for cocaine and was facing another jail sentence. He was terrified that he would be sentenced yet again and it worried him so much he talked to his best friend about it. After his girlfriend tried to get hold of him on 28 October 2006 she drove to his apartment where she found him hanging by a shoelace from his closet door. Another sad and unnecessary death of a promising young man caught in the seductive web of drug abuse.
Street drugs are not the only drugs that can destroy your life. A young woman who was involved in a car accident was prescribed Loritab and Soma for the pain the whiplash caused her. After a while she became addicted to it and her mother begged her to get help. She did get help but after a while she started with street drugs including crack, ecstasy and methamphetamines. Finally she started drinking on a huge scale. After her mother tried everything possible to help her, including taking her to hospital, where the doctors said she couldn’t be helped unless she admitted to having a problem, she just started praying for her daughter. Finally after a lot of pain and suffering for her husband and two children as well as her mom she walked in front of a motor vehicle on a busy highway. If this was deliberate or because of inebriation nobody knows. Two innocent and beautiful children has to grow up now without the presence of a loving mother in their lives.
Another young man, Colin, became a hard core addict when he started using oxycontin after he developed an illness called Chron’s disease and it was prescribed to him. This disease is a constant inflammation in the intestines which causes a lot of pain and discomfort. At one stage he became so ill he was admitted to hospital where they told his mother he was an addict and it would be the drugs killing him in stead of his illness. After a while he started using heroin and it almost killed him. Part of his colon had to be removed in an operation and he suffered through this hell for 2 years. Colin died from a pulmonary embolism in February 2007 after years of addiction to prescription and street drugs.
Amidst all this pain there is one ray of hope in this story. A young talented musician, poet and fighter for Women’s rights, Halijo, made a brave recovery after she almost died from an accidental overdose of cocaine laced with crystal methamphetamine. “God as I knew will never be the same for me again. It cannot be defined by a label of such small understanding for me. This light I felt and saw was bigger than anything I read about or referred to as a God or a Lord. It was so grand and so apart from me, so perfect. I felt connected to everything and I knew all would be well. What I experienced has brought me to a level of consciousness and understanding of equality and connections to all living things that are permanent imbedded in my cellular structure. I did not wish to die any more!” Halijo changed her life completely and started composing music, writing poems and education the public about drug addiction. If she can reach only one person out there and make a difference in their lives it will be worth it for her.
Drug addiction doesn’t always have to mean a life or death sentence. There is help out there for young people who want to escape the web of addiction. The best thing is never to get involved with this evil destructive poison. But if you are already caught up in it, go and book yourself into the nearest rehabilitation centre or if you can’t seek help from a therapist or a local church organisation. For parents who have lost a child there is also help available through support groups. One of these groups can be found at http://health,yahoo.groups.com/group/lovingarms/ or e-mail me at rea@vodamail.co.za for more information about support.

How do I live with my son's suicide?

It was a lovely quiet Sunday morning, on 5 February 2006, when my life irrevocably changed in the blink of an eye. My husband and I were on our way to the shop when an emergency vehicle passed us with loud sirens and flashing lights. In my ignorance I said to my husband I wonder who died now. In the meantime the vehicle was on its way to the scene where my son Emile, 20, hanged himself during the Saturday night or early Sunday morning in a weeping willow tree in a park near our house. I will never forget those words I uttered. About a half an hour after we returned home children from the neighborhood called my youngest son to our gate. They informed him that a young man, who fit Emile’s description, committed suicide in the park. We quickly drove there. The area at the tree looked like a crime scene. Emergency and police vehicles and personnel were everywhere. The place where my son was lying was surrounded by police tape. I told the trauma officer I thought it could be my son. He led me to a body lying on the grass under the tree covered with an emergency blanket. I stood there looking at my son’s face in shock. It was like a dream, I could not believe my eyes. It couldn't be true. I kept asking my husband if I was dreaming, it couldn't be Emile lying there dead. Everything felt like a nightmare, the daylight was blinding and I heard a roaring noise in my head. The trauma officer spoke to us but I did not understand one word he was saying. We went home and I started phoning family and friends to tell them. Nobody believed me because I didn't cry and told them in a matter of fact way that Emile hanged himself. The only thing that went around and around in my mind was: “It can’t be, it can’t be, my son can’t be dead. This is all a nightmare and I’m going to wake up any minute.” On the Sunday evening I returned to my senses and realized it was true. I never understood the meaning of keening, but that night I keened for hours and the weeks following Emile’s death. It felt as if I was going insane. My thoughts were in disarray and I felt anxious the whole time. The next day we had to go to the mortuary to identify him. It was the most horrid experience I ever had to go through. I could not believe he was lying dead on that cold slab of cement. It didn't look like my beautiful son. My heart was torn into pieces and I felt like dying of a broken heart! Every day was a nightmare. A part of me died with my son on that fateful day and I couldn't function in a normal way. I stayed in bed for weeks and all I could do was cry my heart out. Every night I was on the Internet for hours searching desperately for somewhere, where I could share this unbearable pain I was feeling. I phoned radio pulpit every day and told my story to Christian therapists over and over in the hope that someone could make it better for me. There was nothing in South Africa apart from The Compassionate Friends who helped me tremendously. There is no help for the unbearable pain a parent experience after the suicide of a child. Nobody out there understands what you are going through. There is nothing anybody can do or say to make you feel better. For months I ate almost nothing and didn't cook or clean or did anything in the house. It felt as if I was all alone on earth. I couldn't imagine a future without Emile. I couldn't think properly or remember anything I did or said or what anybody else did or said. I didn't remember anything that happened to me, I was on autopilot the whole time. The worst thing was that Emile didn't leave a letter or anything to explain this to me. I searched everywhere like one possessed for anything that could explain why my son did this awful thing. I searched the area under the tree and in the tree for a clue. I scratched around in his clothes and searched every pocket and place for something to give me an idea why my son did this. The questions are still driving me insane. Why, what? What was wrong with my son I didn't see? Was I so selfish and self centered I never realized there was something wrong with Emile? I still blame myself that I didn't realize what was going on in his mind, what he was planning. What did I do wrong in his life, where did I fail as a parent?
I look at other parents with big sons and I can’t believe that Emile isn't here any more. I didn't just lose a son to suicide, but a friend. The sorrow and despair is indescribable, and if you don’t find yourself it that situation, you can never imagine what parents go through. Nobody understands this hell and they don’t know what to say to you. People in their ignorance say all kinds of stupid things to a parent in this situation. They say things like: “Your son committed suicide and that means his soul will never find rest, you have another child live for him now, you need to get over it now and carry on with your life”. And it does nothing to change the destruction in your mind it just adds to the pain and heartache. On more than one occasion I just wanted to scream out at them: “please just leave me alone, you have no idea what you are talking about. My son is dead and I don’t know why.” I was on a suicide mission of my own for months and landed in hospital after I tried to overdose with tranquilizers.
Nobody can come through this pain without any help. It is an emotional roller coaster ride and you never know how you are going to feel in the next moment. One minute you are in this deep dark hole of despair, and the next you feel so angry that this abominable thing could have happened to you. Then there are days when you feel quite calm. On other days all you can do is cry uncontrollably and feel as if you will never ever be normal again. My perception of life changed completely, and things that were important in the past don’t mean anything any more.
This tragedy made me spiritually deeper and I have learned that we live only once and to make every day count. Love your family with all your heart because we don't know what is going to happen to them tomorrow.