& occasionally about other things, too...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Extract: Learning to Live Again

Sumedha Raikar
Learning to Live Again
Story of a de-addiction center
Author: Anil Awachat
Translator: Sumedha Raikar-Mhatre
Pages: 192
Price: Indian Rupees 200
Publisher: Samkaleen Prakshan

Extract from Chapter 8 
(Specially keeping in view the cross-cultural audience of Generally About Books)

Follow-up and sharing

Patients who are brought to Muktangan against their wishes usually go into denial mode. They have a peculiar way of reacting to the charges of alcoholism or drug abuse leveled against them. The initial dialogue with such people follows a predictable pattern.
They start with a complete negation of the truth, “No, no never! I have never touched liquor!” When we remind them of complaints from their near ones, they say, and quite calmly, “Just a little bit, that too just once in a while.” When told that they are known to be habitual drinkers, the reaction becomes aggressive. “Who doesn’t drink in this world?

The whole world consumes liquor. Why target me? I don’t even trouble others, I just drink and come home and sleep.” To this we tell them, “Not really, you beat up your wife regularly every night.” After this patients become confrontational and some use foul language.
During the process of de-addiction, we console our patients by telling them that their lies and pretences stem from their compulsive alcoholism. “You are not lying. It is your liquor which compels you to mouth these lines.” These patients have a much focused approach to life. Liquor is their prime interest. Those who don’t drink cannot be their friends. Similarly, those who oppose drinking are barred. They remain deaf to any advice against alcoholism.

Drug addicts are even worse than alcoholics. They are never ready to move from their neighborhood, because they are not sure of a steady supply of drugs in the new place. There was one drug addict who reluctantly went to Aurangabad for a family wedding. He carried his stock along, but the supplies did not last and he started scouring the city for the fixed dose. When he could not find what he was looking for, he came back to Mumbai without informing the relatives. Unable to cope with the internal pressures, he could not be bothered about the problems he was creating for his host.

In Mumbai, the drug addicts know exactly where to get their stuff. One addict told me, “Go to any railway station at any point in time and you will get what you want. There will be someone waiting to sell that stock. These peddlers know our faces very well. They come close and ask a question.” It is interesting how they can identify their customer. Actually it is not very difficult to spot an addict – a skinny frame, dark circles around the eyes, black lips, etc. These characteristic features catch the eye immediately.
Interested? Read More: Learning to Live Again

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