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DIFFERENT FEELINGS: KICKING THE HABIT

Jul 2, 2011 3:29:02 PM - thesundayleader.lk

By Faraz Shauketaly
Part three of a true story based on the factual occurrences of a young man who entered the netherworld of drugs by accident and who is attempting to wean himself off the devastating consequences of addiction.
The story is related by two friends: Gayan and Rizwan, who both saw their friendship torn apart by an addiction to cocaine. It is powerful testimony of what dependency on controlled drugs does to family, friendship, social and business relationships. In this final episode Gayan takes us through his rehab treatment and what the future holds – whilst his mother speaks of the agony of not having trust in her son.
Gayan:  “In the final week before my friends caught me in the act, I went completely overboard. I borrowed money from friends, from my mother, lied to my girlfriend and came to Colombo: I was intent on destroying myself. I had been told in recent times that my girlfriend was abandoning me as she obviously got fed up of me two timing her. I enjoyed her company and everything else but I also had another girlfriend. My loyalties were split up, the fact of the matter was that my 2nd girlfriend was also giving me money. She did not quite understand what it was for she gave me the money but the more she gave me money the more she spent time with me and the more ‘kudu’ I used. So my selfish ways meant I needed them both and mentally I could not cope with that. My partner was also cheesed off with me and showed no signs of any interest in the shop probably because of my attitude. I suddenly realised that I was on a very small island in the middle of a very deep and large ocean. I could not sleep at nights and fear engulfed me. I had to have a light on before I slept and even then I did so only in fits and starts. I did not realise it but I was fast losing my friends and my partner’s support. But I did not realise this at all. I spent hours on the beach, high and using more than 20 packets a day. I did not eat for fear of being sick  – cocaine is a diet suppressant – and  in the afternoon when I got up I reached for a packet. A small voice kept saying though that I had to quit but I could not. My partner sent me up to 20 messages a day trying to shock me into reality. One or two worked like the one that said that God will curse me for the anxiety and worry I was giving my parents and the other one that said that eventhough I could not buy the gas for our home, I had taken that money and arrived in Colombo in search of the elusive powder that gave me a free pass into another world. I had various questionable offers from everywhere in exchange for enough money to have a few more smokes. I was well on the road to ruin but I could not get rid of those ‘feelings’ – I needed more. Joel was on his own trip, borrowing money from all over especially after the first two weeks of getting his salary. He was in another world at another level – taking things from home to pawn and fund his habit. I was using my girl’s money and whatever my partner gave me. In a space of eight months I estimate that I spent over Rs 250,000 on ‘kudu’ ”. Like I said before by ‘Colpetty people’ standards, this was petty cash but what it did to me, to my mind, to my relationships and my life in general was billions more. I took to staring at the ocean in Mount Lavinia, warding off all sorts of predators. Men, foreigners, women all seeking to take advantage. My life was in ruins and I knew it – so I took more and more trying to block all of this out. On the last day I thought it best to take my life but the thought of yet another high kept me going. I obviously was oblivious to the efforts of my partner and my friends who had colluded to catch me out. My partner had insisted that it had to be red handed. I tried my best to discredit my partner. I was high and my brain was working at its peak: I knew for me to go on I had to get my partner and my friends off my back. My mother was a different proposition all together. My father had told my friends that he did not want any publicity that he was going on a trip of his own that would not see him come back to our town. That hurts – even now.”
Gayan’s friends: “We knew Gayan was onto something bad when his entire behavior changed. He was not exactly the heart and soul of a party but he was quiet and reliable and a very generous friend. So when he started going off to Colombo for great periods at a time and hardly ever gave us a call we presumed he had got shacked up with a girl and could not bring her home. Even that was odd: he would have told us at least to discuss matters which he did not. When he slunk off to quiet corners to take ‘secretive’ calls we eavesdropped and were not shocked but sorry that he had got himself into a very deep well. He spoke of ‘nowhere to go as there were people all over’ and that a dis-used bus and the shop were the only ‘quiet’ places. A group of four of us took it in turns to covertly follow him. We saw him smoke up in the shop, in the bus and quietly in a back garden when we went for a wedding. We called Colombo and shared our stories with Rizwan. We hatched a plan to ‘catch him’. In our cricket parlance we wanted him ‘clean bowled’. We saw through his lies about Rizwan and no food to eat. We knew that was not possible for all the tea in the world. We saw that Gayan had lost weight rapidly and his shaped body was beginning to fade and look older. He had grown his hair, unshaved, he was listless and more moody than he was. And all the time he tried to discredit his partner. He even once told us that he would spread stories that he was a user of hard drugs. Gayan had no idea that we knew but that we were after the ‘proof positive’ -  we had to catch him with the drugs on him. All our mobile bills suddenly shot up and we had no new girls to talk to! We heard from friends in town that Gayan had borrowed money from them. We worked sums backwards to see how much Gayan must have had with him to spend on drugs. When Gayan came back from one of his Colombo trips, he did so, minus the expensive mobile he had. We knew then that Gayan had slipped into a different phase of the drugs culture.