Just after he’d shoot up, he would get an amazing rush, a great deal of energy, an irresistible urge to shoot up again. He felt like he was at the top of the world that was capable of doing anything and once the high really set in, things would come to a standstill. The mind got slow, bleary and distorted. He’d sink to the floor and forget if he was awake or asleep. Time didn’t matter because he couldn’t perceive it. The only thing that mattered was heroin. The only question that mattered was, “How to arrange for more of it?”
Zubin’s first experience with heroin was at the age of 17 at a friend’s party. The amount of drug that he took in was considerable and he couldn’t stand its intake. He immediately threw up but in a peculiar way, it made him feel good. The next time he was more cautious with its usage. He snorted small amounts of heroin at first and he immediately got a hit. It felt great. Made him forget all about school, the impending exams, the tenacious teachers, the irritating friends and his loving family. Initially, he experimented with the drug in small amounts and only on Saturday nights so that no one would know about it. However, within two months, the usage cycle had increased to 2 times a week, i.e., on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Moreover, after a while, he needed heroin just to get by. He failed his exams. His friends shunned him, the school wouldn’t take him, the relatives disenchanted him, and his mother too got fed up of him. However, his father kept trying. He talked with him, tried to sway him away from the drugs. However, every time he tried, he failed miserably but that didn’t make him angry or impatient. He kept on trying. He kept on failing.
The urge to get high was so strong that one day, he stole money from his father’s wallet just to get heroin. Too long without a fix – he became intractable. It was as if he dying in every awful way possible and there was no coming back to life and yet all he could think of was the heroin. He had tremendous pain in his bones and muscles, he vomited 5-6 times a day, he had chills and fever and he couldn’t sleep for days. All he would do was to sit in his room and beg his parents for heroin and when his parents wouldn’t budge, he would scream, abuse, and – cry.
One day, he wound up at a park after getting high the night before. He made a desperate and an unsuccessful attempt to reach the public bathroom. He was caught midway by his first seizure. He realized that he had lost control over his body – and more precisely, his mind. He looked himself in the mirror. His eyes were sunken in, he was black and blue, he had cuts all over – he didn’t recognize himself. He literally thought it was someone else in the mirror that’s how bad it was, and he was terrified—He thought he was a monster. He realized now that he hadn’t looked himself in the eyes ever since he’d started getting high. Despite he being aware that he wasn’t in control anymore, – his life was being ruled by heroin – a drug whose usage was damaging and catastrophic – still all he ever wanted was that drug. He had become obsessed with it – he had become an ADDICT.
Despite the repeated attempts of his family, he wouldn’t stop taking the drug, or asking for it. He had become obstinate and he couldn’t help himself. His family decided to seek help from outside. He was admitted in Dr. David’s Rehabilitation Center where he attended therapy sessions, talked and acknowledged his addiction and discussed about it with fellow patients and doctors. However, the urge, the desire to get high again was too hard to resist. One day, at night he along with other patients broke from the hospital and ended up in a shabby hotel room where they smoked, snorted and injected heroin along with whiskey and cocaine. Zubin had a seizure again and this time it was accompanied by a cardiac arrest. The other addicts freaked out and left him – only to suffer. When he was taken to the hospital, it was already too late and the next day he was pronounced dead. Just like that, after 5 years of high drug use, Zubin killed himself without seeing the beauty of life. All he could ever see and feel was heroin.
Zubin’s departure engulfed his father in guilt and grief. He was so blinded by the grief that he was incapable of being able to see beyond the sudden and seemingly irrevocable absence of his physical presence. He missed his touch, his voice, his presence. He missed his being. He didn’t fathom nor realize that he had lost his son the day he became a heroin addict. He couldn’t accept the loss of him and that led him into a spiral of depression. He consulted a doctor and he prescribed him Xanax for the depression. He was a government employee and apart from the social gatherings, he never took alcohol and had never touched cigarettes his entire life. He was an extremely fit person who never caught any disease that required prolonged medication.
The loss of Zubin was too hard for him and this made him go in a circle of substance abuse from where there was no refuge. He was visiting multiple doctors for prescriptions and a copy of the death certificate of his son in his wallet to get more Xanax. He took a sabbatical from the office. The marriage fell apart and his wife started living alone, leaving him to his misery and despair.
One year after Zubin’s death, he was taking a quarter of whiskey and at least one dozen of Xanax in a day. On a few days, he injected Xanax using a syringe through his veins which had an immediate and abhorrent effect on him. He would shiver, break things, scream and – cry. He cried a lot. His self-loathing had become dreadful and he didn’t realize the maze he was getting into had no exit. He drank and took Xanax and this is how he had decided to cope up with the grief for the time being. He thought, in some way, he was living the life his son wanted to live and thus was honoring him in a way that only he could understand.
On Zubin’s birthday, his wife visited him to find him leaning against the chair and drinking. She was shocked to see him in such a state and a pang of guilt hit her. When he saw her, he blacked out in an incoherent way and when he woke up, he found his wife to be sitting next to him. She implored,
“Are you crazy? Do you want to die too like our son?”
He started to cry and said in a muffled voice with words losing their way midway in the speech, “ I.. I am having trouble. I… too need help. I think … I’ll need treatment too.”
He knew where he wanted to go. He wanted to be treated at Dr. David Rehabilitation Center just like his son. He wanted to sit in the same chair where his son would have sat while talking with the doctor or talking with fellow addicts. He wanted to sleep in the same bed where his son would have slept. He wanted to experience the same agony and torture that his son would have experienced.
The doctor prescribed him a few drugs that would mitigate the urge of taking drugs, but he didn’t take them. Instead, he injected himself with Xanax and this time the effect was ghastly. His left hand caught an infection and the hand was marked by crimson red scars and blue-black patches. The skin color wasn’t visible. The veins had turned black and there was an uneven patch of dryness all across his left hand. The fingernails had crumbled. They looked like dust. He shouted and screamed for the doctors. The doctors took him to the operation theater immediately. His left arm had to be amputated otherwise the infection would have spread across his entire body which could have been fatal. He was discharged from the hospital in a few weeks and despite what all had happened with him, he didn’t stop the usage of drugs. Later, that year he was also a victim of cardiac arrest, which took his life from him.
DRUGS TAKE YOU TO HELL, DISGUISED AS HEAVEN.