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“Life was just one big party of drug cocktails, like a roller-coaster; up and then down and speeding along and haven't I also seen people have a bad experience on yaba? It gives you the energy to continue without sleep for more than 30 hours, but when you crash you get a headache, and experience depression. Once the abuser feels this, he is just ready to have another trip. And this is just the journey of a person falling into addiction," says Arbaab. Addiction started as curiosity towards the unknown but they soon fell into the ghostly trap. Along with six of his friends, he got into this habit, experimenting with yaba and heroin. Two of the group pulled out just in time, while the rest continue to share the same horrible experience. For those who did decide to kick the habit, it took them three long years for complete recovery- by far their worst knowledge of their past. Arbaab said that he and the lot of his friends lost the trust of friends, family and other dear ones, though they have recovered physically, social recovery is yet to be achieved. Arbaab says, "Drugs can never be your friend no matter how much you love them." He emphasized that the deeper the addiction, the bigger the price the addict has to pay.
The reality of Samira, as she told us:
"My family moved from Chittagong to Dhaka where I started to attend classes at school for A levels. Starting again, I met different people and made new acquaintances at school. It was fun hanging out with some friends who had left school to pursue their A- levels privately, instead of being in school. It was during this period that smoking ganja was the in thing.
Smoking ganja was a bad experience as it took its toll on my health, and my life started deteriorating in front of me but I did not care. As I moved towards being a full-on drug addict life revolved around getting "stoned". My grades dropped to shocking levels, and I soon found that my pocket money was inadequate to support my habit. This led to illegal activities like selling stolen goods, stealing, and basically anything to get money…all for a "high". While my parents still had no clue as to the path on which I had ventured, I carried on proudly as a drug addict.
"Between the age of seventeen and nineteen, I was always getting into trouble for pinching money. The law also played its role and I was caught four times for possession of marijuana and smack (heroin, which I had just begun) and was also suspected of other activities but there was no proof. My parents lay still in the dark as a little bribe got me released from the police all four times. What amazed me is that money was a crucial factor in these activities, but somehow it never betrayed me.
But I did betray myself. I went from bad to worse, as heroin led to yaba. I was becoming more of an addict. It was costing between three hundred to a thousand takas every day, and for what? For me this was a game and I did not realise or did not care about the pain that it was causing to my family.
Taking drugs is no life at all and by the age of twenty-two, when I got engaged to be married, I was seriously into yaba and heroin, and constantly feeling depressed and frustrated when I wasn't' high. By this time my parents had noticed alarming changes in me, and started spying me. They compelled me to see just what I was doing to my life, and I finally agreed to getting admitted into rehab.
Being a girl, it was impossible for me to avoid the eye of the society, an experience I'm grateful for, because, had I been a guy, it would be more difficult for me to make a comeback, physically.
Now, I am trying to cope with the society and life amongst the NORMALS. It was not easy. At the age of twenty-five, and an experience of nine years through and out of drugs, I felt like a loser initially, but an achiever in the end.
Drugs continue to threaten the society, for now and forever, but we have to fight it. For the readers, I have two things to say; A.B.C(Avoid Bad Company) and Say No To Drugs; Its Not A Life.
(Names have been changed to protect privacy)
All addicts are same. It is very unlikely that a good person is an addict, not because good persons can not get hooked to drugs, but an addict can't be a good person. Addicts would steal money from family,(father, mother, sister, brother, wife) friends, from boy/girlfriends and even from teachers these days.
Usually the first time experience of any drug is a bitter one, but the curiosity keeps them going. Drug abuse gives a person plenty of negative feelings, but one positive feeling is what keeps them going.
If you are an addict, you cannot change your history, but surely you can reshape the way you want to live. It is not of any significance if your parents find out if you are an addict, but it is shameful enough for you to know that you are. You have to take the effort to get rid of this most terrible habit that you got yourself hooked to, and that's for your sake.
If you are an addict, and you have the willpower to walk out of it- We salute you! When you want it, you can. What should you do once you find out that you have accidentally become an addict? You should talk to your parents about seeing a doctor. And you parents would provide you with a sea of support required for you to come back. Your parents' support is essential.
Professional help( Rehabilitation centres) is just as essential, it is very important to take help from the people who are trained to deal with it, isn't it?
Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes you can do it, because WE KNOW YOU CAN!
We are grateful for the assistance of Ms. Tamima Tanzim, Clinical Psychologist, Prottoy

Turning twenty

By Aditi Charanji

Ten years ago I was ten. Arithmetic, you see, is useful or else you wouldn't be able to work my age out now. When I turned ten it was a big deal because I was entering the world of double-digit age. When I turned thirteen it was even bigger because I was entering my teens. Sixteen was supposedly important because it was sweet, seventeen because it was sexy and eighteen was just huge because it propelled me into theoretical adulthood. Then turning twenty-one is a big deal, and thirty, and forty and fifty and on and on and on.
Let's see what the major concern about twenty is (and it must be a major concern because every other age seems to be). "You're not a teenager now," my mother unequivocally states. "So you can't be excused for tantrums any longer. Comprendos?" Ugh, the pressure. In the last glorious (?) decade everything could be blamed on the whole mess of hormones and growing pains and such like. Am I to be personally accountable for my actions now? Horrible, horrible. There must be a way out.
But there isn't. And what's worse is the fact that I'm stuck with the phrase 'in my twenties.' Twenty or twenty-one or twenty-nine, I'm in my twenties. Now what's wrong with that you ask? I'll tell you: what's wrong is what the phrase is associated with - no more school or college, no more careless acts, no more Dad to charm for an increased allowance. And you're suddenly out in the world earning your living and -heaven bless us - you're saving for your future. The world of fixed deposits and bank accounts and bills looms large. All right, this isn't happening at twenty and I should stop making a mountain out of a molehill. But it certainly will occur 'in the twenties' and be warned: it's not fun.
Then we have a more cheerful Afraz Naved who says, "I think twenty-four to twenty-eight are the prime years of one's life so becoming twenty isn't so bad because you're one step closer to entering that peak zone. Yes, the teenage years were fun - no responsibility and stuff, but you're still inexperienced. Inexperienced in the sense that you tend not to see the value in certain moments that could be life-changing." And after that there's grim Rashad who just doesn't care either way, "I don't know, it's just about getting older. Who cares? Turning twenty is one step closer to death." Charming.
Afraz seems to have forgotten that people in their thirties claim they're in the prime of life as do people in their forties. It almost seems as if he, along with the others, is just cheering himself up, knowing that age is irreversible and one just has to make the best of it. How many times even at age fourteen, fifteen, sixteen have we all wished we were less than ten years old? It's the yearning for a simpler, more innocent time that makes everyone wish they were younger. The irony is, as kids, we couldn't wait to be older; perennially snooping through our parents' things and dreaming of the day we'd be old enough to use them.
Suddenly I think of all those other birthdays: the tenth, the thirteenth, the sixteenth… Nothing really changed despite the predictions of suddenly seeing the light or whatever it was that made that age such a big deal. I suppose I matured but other than that I was still the same, just numerologically different. Maybe twenty is like that too. Another year marked by the trademark up-and-down game of life.


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