Friday, 2 January 2015

Getting High is Getting Low

 “If you examine your motive for doing anything, you'll soon discover that your reason is that you believe it will make you happy.” 
Chris Prentiss, the Alcoholism and Addiction Cure

Anything for happiness right?

Isn't life about doing what will make you happy? Well, it most certainly is! Having stress at home, at school or in your personal life? Just take a puff, one joint won’t kill you right? A few puffs will mask the stress for a few hours, maybe even a day, but once you get low from high, it comes storming back like a black cloud on a sunny day. Then, you have another one and the sky clears and the sun comes out again. Soon, every day as soon as you see the black cloud lingering in your mind, you just have another one and another one and another one. Before you know it, your grades drop and school doesn't matter anymore, you stop seeing the people who don’t “take a puff” and who really mattered to you and you forget that there is life outside your room and all you can think about is getting high. In few months, maybe even a few years, you get tired of the “puffing” the same thing again and again, so you want something better and you get it. It does make the sunny periods longer and more satisfying, but it wears off soon enough. Your life has become a negative curve and you know it, but this makes you happy, so you will keep on doing it. It’s the same case with alcohol, which is also a mind altering substance like any drug, and small drinks here and there at parties can turn into a catastrophe in stressful times.

Many people blame peer pressure for substance abuse, but I say it is not solely to be blamed. Everyone goes through rough patches in life and when nothing seems to be working out, one turns to such substances for solace. Peer pressure can force a person into going to such measures if one doesn't seem to be “fitting into the crowd” or can force a person in pain to go to such measures to have a little bit of a sunny weather a day in their lives. However, when the search for relief overshadows will power and values, substance abuse will follow leading to horrible dependency and a lifetime of regret.

Is it really worth it?

May I ask, such substances give relief for limited amounts of time, so is it really worth it to damage your body forever in the chaos? One day, all of the stress will subside and you may even overcome your dependency on such substances, but you might not have realised the permanent damage you have caused and the amount of time and money you have wasted, which you could've used on getting into maybe let’s say, Harvard?

There are many ways mind altering substances like drugs and alcohol affect your developing adolescent brain. They are called mind altering not only because they distort your decision making skills, but also because they physically alter your brain. You might say, development stops when you are 16, but recent studies have shown that brain development can continue until your mid 20’s.

Such substances target the neurotransmitters in your brain, the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate at their junctions. Interference at neurotransmitters can distort all other development in your brain and damage your nervous system permanently. Secondly, such substances alter perception and may interfere with developing perceptual skills. And finally, the habits and choices associated with the use of drugs and alcohol slowly become ingrained in the wiring of your brain. Repeated action becomes habit and the habits of thought, perception and reasoning developed in childhood and adolescence can stay with you throughout your lifetime.

Note: These are just some of the long term effects of substance abuse.

Who to blame?

As teenagers, we are more prone to error of judgement and neurological assault by such psychoactive substances. However, what leads to substance abuse is having no one to share your grief and so called “stress” with and you think dependency on such substances will somehow bring you happiness.

In today’s world how are we adolescents ending up with so much stress, when we have our parents and family? Although they are busy all day at work and have no time for you, but they are trying to build capacity for you and your future generations, so that you can go to college, get a job and earn for yourself.

So, first of all you owe it to them to not use their hard earned money on such psychoactive substances. Secondly, although they are to blame for your lack of quality time together, but you have to make an effort to talk to them. If you don’t want to talk to them, go to a school counselor or even a cousin or family member who is an adult, but you still feel comfortable with. Believe me, family will not judge you because they love you and want the best for you. You have to be brave enough to come out and say what is bothering you, and then you will not have to resort to such measures to gain a little bit of temporary happiness, when you have someone to help you make your decisions to gain permanent happiness. Also, you cannot let others control your life- You are the author of your book and you will write your story, not your friends.

Even if you are already using such substances, it isn't too late. Talk to someone and let it all out. If others are controlling you, make new friends. Would your real friends let you harm your body? Think about that and make your decisions wisely. 

Remember, drugs are illegal unless prescribed to you by a doctor and drinking is illegal for you if you are not yet 18. Smoking is also considered part of substance abuse and although it does not alter your perception, it is cancerous and alters other parts of your body

Substance abuse is not a disease but rather a decision. You choose to either keep all the pain to yourself and turn to such substances for little spells of sunshine, and not to mention damage your body permanently, or you let it all out and you’ll have sunshine all through your days.

“At the bottom of every person's dependency, there is always pain. Discovering the pain and healing it is an essential step in ending dependency.” 
Chris Prentiss, the Alcoholism and Addiction Cure

Source Citation: Inspired by a workshop I attended last year on substance abuse

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