Are the ghosts we try to swallow
reanimations of our fanged past?
Or are they fear of an even more vampiric future?
The nights/without/a stranger/no smell/ no stinging sweetness/of breaths succumbed/
Calliope dancing/ with my heart
The nights/with/a stranger/scattered headaches
the/room/ like December, no Sun/to grasp
Two strangers/used as each other’s dusk/Hinged together like/broken starlight/and just as empty
I had no idea that my monthly binges on over the grocery counter Kratom and alcohol were linked to my mental health diagnosis; nor did I know that there was such a thing as dual-diagnosis groups.
In January of 2018, I had just ingested three scoops from a bag of Kratom. I was feeling the rush, and I thought to myself, why not take some more. The more you take, the better you feel was my motto. This quickly turned bad as I began vomiting in my back yard while simultaneously thinking,
“Wow, I hope I don’t have to quit taking this stuff.”
Sometimes the mental problem occurs first. This can lead people to use alcohol or drugs that make them feel better temporarily. Sometimes the substance abuse occurs first. Over time, that can lead to emotional and mental problems.
Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions. For the treatment to be effective, the person needs to stop using alcohol or drugs. Treatments may include behavioral therapy, medicines, and support groups” –MedlinePlus.Gov (1)
I just happened to have my first appointment with a Drug and Alcohol Counselor that week, as I was enrolling in ACT services for the first time.
We met at a park, and I told him about my kratom use as well as my alcohol use. I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, until he told me about how Kratom is often misused and is a lot like the street drug, “Spice. It’s an opioid receptor and can lock up your bowels if you take it for too long a period of time. I had been using it for a week straight at that point, so I decided it was time to quit.
I had a lot of trouble quitting, as I am what is known as dual-diagnosed. My brain is hardwired for a tendency to overuse substances, and dual means that I used to use to cover up my existing mental health symptoms; in my case, generalized anxiety disorder.
I gave up Kratom with the help of mantras and in-depth Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, though I still sometimes get cravings. I work diligently to combat this disease every day. To combat this, I quickly switched on to a new medication which, thankfully, still works to this day. I’ve also received a number of therapy sessions, as well as meet with a weekly recovery group to talk about how drug use and mental illness can sometimes go hand in hand.
After giving up Kratom (It’s been around a year since I’ve used), I started drinking more alcohol, which I found out is one of the most abused substances in the United States. With my medication, tolerance for alcohol, and my diagnosis, I, personally, cannot drink, and honestly, after receiving so much support, both internally and externally, I don’t see the need to. I’m much happier and healthier since I’ve quit drinking.
If I had advice to give, is that if you have a mental illness, and start to see patterns in behavior of overuse in substances, get yourself checked out. You will be glad you did.
Our dreams are on tap,
no more running from ourselves
into that morose evening battle
We swallowed our last few
fractals of light, but our darkness
will hold our heads
We filled ourselves today,
instead of waiting for the burn
of the liquid Sun to carve our initials
into our stomachs
Our vice is running away from our diligence,
and the emptiness, the emptiness, the emptiness
is being filled once again
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.
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