I believe that, on the most basic level, all human beings are the same. Inside, we all want the same things and are driven by the same desires. We all want to be loved and to find a place where we belong. We all want to do work that has meaning and provides a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. We all have the same basic needs for food and shelter, for social contact and emotional connection. We are of the earth, and we are all the same.
For a long time I felt an emptiness within me becuase things were missing in my life, and for years I had been relying on substances to fill the hole with artificial joy. Recently I wrote an article for NOW magazine about how kratom, a plant from southeast Asia with opioid-like properties, could be used as a treatment option in the current opioid crisis killing people on our streets everyday. It was an easy article for me to write becuase I already knew a lot about the stuff since I had been addicted to it myself for over three years. What started out as a harmless indulgence became a controlling drug habit as I grew to depend on it to regulate my emotional state and keep me focused on my freelance work.
After many, many attempts to quit I finally did it this year and have been clean for a long time. Writing the article for NOW was part of my healing process. I was using a drug to fill the hole in my life, but it never worked because the effects of drugs are always fleeting. What they give on one hand, they take away with the other. Kratom made me feel awesome for a few hours, but later I would feel like garbage and the withdrawals were terrible, so I kept taking it. I was trapped in a feedback loop and it took me a long time to figure out how to make the lifestyle change to push that shit out of my life for good, allowing me to figure but what it is I really need.
My experience with kratom made me wonder why people do drugs at all, becuase I’m sure that for many it’s a similar reason. We feel like something is missing from our lives, or that we can’t handle the problems that we have and need an escape so we can feel better, if even for a little while. When I started with kratom, it was because I was horribly depressed and alone, and I couldn’t get any work done at all. I needed something to turn me around, and for a while kratom did exactly that. But now that I’ve come through to the other side of addiction, I see that it wasn’t what I really needed in my life. Only once I made the change and got through withdrawals did I come to grips with my inner self and what I was missing all along.
The daily practise of meditation, regular workouts at the gym, and sobriety have given me time for self reflection. I feel inspired again, happy again, and open to the world. I picked up my guitar again, started practicing several hours a day, and over the past few weeks I’ve written a bunch of original songs. I’ve been playing and listening to music obsessively and it has healed my spirit in ways I couldn’t image when my mind was clouded. The high that I needed all this time doesn’t come from any drug, but from the sounds of music, from the power of singing my own song, and in joining others in the creation of that beautiful noise.
Music and meditation were what I needed in my life all along to feel happy and fulfilled, not drugs and alcohol to make make me numb and complacent. Without all that shit clouding my mind, I’ve aligned with my spiritual self and can feel the full flood of emotions and inspiration coming back. I’ve been writing poetry since I was 10, and I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13; songwriting is the natural extension of those two things. Had I came to this conclusion earlier in life I would be in much happier and more prosperous place right now!
Take it from me, don’t look to drugs and alcohol to solve your problems, or to make them go away. You will never win. They always come back. Do some soul searching and figure out what really aligns with your spirit and provides that feeling of limitless happiness and potential. Do this and you will arrive at the true meaning of your life.