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The Editorial

By Sahil Mehta

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has this definition for Addiction:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can involve cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

I have never been addicted to anything. Never. Nor do I drink or smoke. So when we decided Addictions as a theme I just knew I would be completely out of my depth in writing and hence I didn’t bother. Didn’t even think about writing until a couple of days back when I met a friend. This said friend of mine is addicted to weed or something like that. Not that this is new knowledge for me. But when I talked to him a few days back I realised what addiction means. 

This friend of mine has had a couple of very close shaves. Overdosed twice, hospitalised twice. He isn’t stupid. He isn’t in denial. He is trying very, very hard to let go. But he just can’t. It is so important for him to let go of it that he is willing to give up crucial years of his life. You know why that is? Coz he understands, as should you, that the life of an addict isn’t much of a life. But the one thing that stood out for me was the declaration that he just couldn’t control his urges in a hostel. And that got me thinking.

I always believed getting over an addiction or an obsession was just a simple case of mind over matter. If you wanted to give up something, you just need to muster the will-power to do it and you get over it. I stand corrected now. Addiction isn’t a matter of will. It’s a disease. A disease that needs to be cured through medicines and emotional and mental support! You don’t believe, go check on the net!

The medicine and rehab you can pay and get, but the emotional and mental support must come from the people around you. You need people around you to stop you and tell you to keep going. Instead what we do is joke about the problem and hand them that joint or bottle of booze and tell the poor soul to not be a wimp. At the least we never say NO!

 That’s the problem with my generation. We can comment, criticize and bitch all we want but we won’t take responsibility. We just don’t care enough. And for that I shall always blame all of us, the inmates of these hostels for not being able to help my said friend. 

All of you who are reading this issue, or this editorial at least. I want you to take away two things from this. 

1. If you know someone who may have a problem, don’t chastise him. Don’t mock him and bitch about him. Don’t tell people he was a stupid idiot who should have known better. Coz he was and your repeating it doesn’t help him. If you can find it in your pitiless heart to care even the slightest about him then go to him when he’s on the verge of breaking down and tell him to keep going.
2. If you drink, smoke cigarettes or joints or even do hard drugs frequently and don’t think you’re an addict, please don’t be proud of it! You ARE still an idiot because these things are bad for you. And no argument you give to the contrary holds. Another thing, don’t ever brag that you’re mentally stronger then someone because he’s addicted and you’re not. It could just as easily have been you. 

I don’t ask you to not drink or smoke at all. Do it occasionally. There is nothing wrong in it having the odd drink with friends. It actually helps in bonding. I do not, and will not, however advocate drugs of any sort in any manner whatsoever. They are bad shit! 



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