One of the things I remember hearing that sticks out to me from my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting was that you essentially stop mentally maturing once you become addicted to drugs. It’s as if you emotionally stay the same age, once you enter active addiction. As preposterous as it may sound, it’s actually spot on and makes perfect sense. Think of the people you know who are stuck within the horrors of active addiction. At what age did they become addicts and do any of them act like adults or live adult like lives?
For the few unfamiliar, Never Land is the fictional dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and The Lost Boys. It was a place of escapism and one where they were never forced to grow up, a perfect analogy for drugs themselves. Not to mention, an evil pirate by the name of Captain Hook was the arch nemesis of the inhabitants of Never Land, with hook being a key metaphor addicts can relate to.
I’m not writing this from a place of judgement but one based off experience. My aim is not to belittle anyone, just to paint an accurate picture and inform. I write pieces like this to help start the uncomfortable conversation. To hopefully help inspire one Mother or Father start the conversation that helps save their kids life. The same conversation I wish someone had forced upon me almost 20 years ago. Who knows, if they had , I may even feel like an adult today instead of a woman child who’s still battling teenage angst, at age 43.
By the time I was 17, I had a drug problem. Sometime during my junior year of High School, I discovered that the combination of crack cocaine and alcohol had the power to turn a naturally introverted and insecure kid such as myself into Superwoman. One who was too busy owning the room to give thought to the social anxiety that once plagued her. I discovered that combo and never looked back , but never grew up either. At least not until I stopped.
What provoked me to write this was running into an old friend who I used to get high with and he tried to make small talk with me. He mentioned it was good to see me back in Trenton and started talking about our “high” days, despite the fact I haven’t lived there since 1993 and have been clean for many years now. Well yesterday I saw him again and though I just saw him the week before, he again mentioned it was good to see me back in Trenton and again started to talk about the same thing with me, our “high” days. He’s stuck in 1993.
Granted, this was understandable the first or second time seeing him but it became extremely tiresome, years after the fact. Especially considering he was always beyond visibly intoxicated every time I saw him, to the point he was so high it was uncomfortable to even talk to him in public. Few things have caused me to cringe harder than Ronnie saying, “its good to see you back in Trenton.” “Hey, you remember our “high” days?” I mean how many times can you tell someone “Nah, we had this conversation last week”?
But I understand because though thankfully, it wasn’t to that extreme extent, I’ve been there. Stuck in the past, unable to grow mentally, spiritually and emotionally because of drugs and the horrifically adverse effects they have on the human mind and body. Unable to make my way out of the narcotic induced, delusional Never Land like state I voluntarily put myself in.
I’m grateful to have made it out of Never Land but it’s a journey I can’t allow myself to forget. It’s one I have to remain grateful for at all times, while yet in still, not holding on to the past. Or else I run the risk of ending back there, in the land where nothing grows.