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Addiction and Opiates

Addiction and Opiates


CHAPTER 6 CURE AND RELAPSE resumed using it immediately upon release. 3. 1916: took another home cure without serious intentions of quitting. 4. 1916: took a free cure lasting twelve weeks. He managed to get off the drug, but drank paregoric a number of times and relapsed at once when released. 5. 1917: took another free cure lasting six months. He resumed using the drug at once when released. 6. 1917: took a free cure in an asylum for three weeks. He was off the drug one week and drank paregoric the other two. 7. 1919: He was jailed for fifty days. This was his only involuntary cure. He resumed using the drug at once when released. 8. 1920: took a cure in private sanitarium at a cost of $200. He resumed use of the drug as before. 9. 1922: six months' free cure in a state asylum. He resumed use of the drug at once. 10. 1922: took the "Keeley cure" at a Cost Of $250. He relapsed at once. 11. 1925: cure lasting six months. Relapsed. 12. 1927: cure lasting three months. Relapsed. 13. 1930: cure lasting six months. Relapsed. 14- 1932: cure lasting three months. Relapsed. 15. 1933: six months' voluntary cure in the Chicago Bridewell. Relapsed. 16. 1934: quit voluntarily while living in the Chicago shelters for unemployed men because of the extreme difficulty of begging sufficient money during the winter months. This was the first time in his life that he ever succeeded in quitting by himself, outside of an institution. He resumed using the drug as soon as warm weather began in the spring of 1935 and was killed by a speeding automobile. This man was repeatedly interviewed for a period of several months prior to his death, and the cures are described as he recalled them. He said be was not quite sure he had included all. It will be noted that this addict distinguished carefully between those cures he took with the serious intention of quitting and those he took for other reasons. He told the story with an air of shame and bewilderment. When asked to explain why he had taken so many cures, he was at a loss for an answer, except to remark that he bad hoped each time to remain free. He confessed that his life had been ruined by the drug and all that remained for him was to wait for old age and death. In the meantime, be thought he might as well go on using the drug, since be no longer had anything to lose. The addict's desire to be cured is readily understood as a consequence both of the social stigma attached to addiction and of the fact that the habit becomes a burden when the beginning euphoria vanishes and physical dependence is fully established. Prior to addiction, the addict generally shares the negative attitudes of the society toward junkies or dope fiends. When he himself becomes addicted he necessarily applies these attitudes to himself and his conduct. The realization that one has become an addict is not pleasant; it is a self-conception that is impressed upon the user when he is trapped by the drug. The - desire - to - quit is so much an integral part of being addicted that it should perhaps be eluded in the definition of addiction. (8) The addict's wish to be cured indicates his membership and participation in the wider social order that condemns his file:///I|/drugtext/local/library/books/adopiates/chapter6.htm[24-8-2010 14:23:37]

CHAPTER 6 CURE AND RELAPSE behavior, When he is tinder the influence of the drug and is functioning normally, these collective ideals exercise their greatest influence, for he is then in relatively full contact with society and responsive to its demands. Moreover, with the drug in his body, be does not at the moment crave more of it and the social pressure which creates the desire to quit operates without opposition. As the effects of the drug wear off, persistent and increasing organic distress separates him from the wider social order. In this situation he changes his mind about quitting. Physical need eclipses all other considerations, as Jean Cocteau has graphically explained: Let me profit by insomnia to attempt the impossible: to describe the craving for Opium. Byron said: "Love cannot survive seasickness." Like love, like seasickness, the need penetrates everywhere. Resistance is useless. First there is discomfort. Then things get worse. Imagine a silence which corresponds to the cries of thousands of children whose nurses have not come home to give them their milk. An amorous uneasiness translated into the physical world. An absence which reigns, a negative despotism. The phenomenon becomes more clear. Electric moire, champagne in the veins, frozen syphons, cramps, sweat at the roots of the hair, a sticky mouth, mucous, tears. Do not insist. Your courage is a pure waste of time. If you delay too long, you will not be able to take your material and stuff your pipe. Smoke.(9) The desire to quit represents an integral aspect of the drug habit for obviously a person who is merely habituated and inaware of his dependence upon the drug cannot wish to be cured. How Relapse Occurs Addicts occasionally relapse deliberately, but more often they yield without meaning to; that is, they try "just one more shot," but plan not to take the drug often enough to get booked again. This type of reversion is known as "playing around," and it is proverbial that an addict cannot "play around" without being caught eventually. Nevertheless, the user just released from prison or from a cure often decides to take a shot only now and then, for old times' sake. When he is told, "If you keep putting that thing in your arm, you know damn well you will get hooked," he may protest that while it is dangerous for other addicts with less will power to play around, he will not succumb. At that remark, "You laugh right in his kisser," one addict said, for "you know that in a week or so he will be right back on the drug." The following incident illustrates the unintentional I type of relapse: Case 15. 1 was talking one day with Mr. K., who had just been released from the penitentiary on parole. He said that he was certainly not going to get hooked until he was off parole. Mr. K. was an intelligent person of a serious and inquiring frame of mind. Another addict, whom Mr. K. did not know, appeared and was introduced. The addict's first inquiry was whether Mr. K. was "hooked." He explained why he was not yet using the drug and said be would not use it until be was off parole in a few months. The other addict laughed and said, "I'll give you two weeks. By that time I bet you'll be hooked." Mr. K. protested and, after the other had gone, remarked on the tendency of persons to judge others by themselves. I saw Mr. K. often during the next several weeks and each time suspected, from the appearance of his eyes, that he was under the influence of the drug. He did not deny it but said be bad only taken a "little shot" now and then so that his addict associates would not regard him as peculiar and that he would certainly never permit himself to be a fool and get caught. After a number of repetitions of this incident, he finally said, "Well, I'm hooked again, and booked good and strong." Then he elaborated on how "next time" he would not make the mistake of assuming that he could "play around" with impunity. He reproached himself for violating parole and began to talk about taking a cure somewhere and getting off the drug before be was caught and sent back to prison. He felt that there was no possibility of avoiding detection. He was caught and sent back to prison for parole violation. A similar example is the case of a user who related that he had relapsed several times because of liquor.(10) He had taken to drinking during an abstinence period and finally, becoming disgusted with himself, decided to have a shot of morphine to try to get over his drinking. After obtaining the necessary dose from a doctor, be returned the next day for just one more, still believing that he wanted it only to relieve his hangover. After three or four injections, he realized that he wanted the injections for their own sake. Remarking, "Aw, hell, what's the use? I'm hooked now anyway, he bought a full supply and used it regularly. After several experiences of this kind, he stopped "kidding himself," as he file:///I|/drugtext/local/library/books/adopiates/chapter6.htm[24-8-2010 14:23:37]

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