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From No More Waiting to Die 


 

"I stopped for the first week but then found a good dealer."

"You're addicted, that's why."

"No way. Not even close." The Dane squared his shoulders to give absolute attention.

"You're addicted and you don't even know it. That's how I know." Reno shook his head at the impossibility.

"How can I be addicted after a few months?" The put his elbow on the table and used it as a composer would his stick.

"Let me ask you a question: ‘How do you feel when the person next to you has the joint?" Reno played it through his mind and then smiled. "See, I told you."

"Impatient."

"Yes! See, most people don't know what addiction is. Me, I've been addicted since I was sixteen. My mother was alcoholic and drank at the bar where she was a waitress, so I was exposed to it. Doesn't matter if it's alcohol or drugs. Same thing." Reno shook his head.

"Not the same thing."

"You don't know what you're talking about." His head came down like a sledgehammer hitting a spike, a gust of air hitting Reno's face. Eyes a pink fog, the blue like fire, the trophy like stairs. "Listen, I'll tell what addiction is." He held his eyes in Reno's until he nodded. "It's like a ladder, the first hit being the first rung on the ladder. Each step for me can be described, beginning at the bottom of the ladder but here I'll begin with the first step to addiction at the top. The Dane wrote really small on a sheet of paper:

Curiosity, low self esteem
Acceptance by friends, ambition
Desire for power and money, new motivation
Recognition of the people around you and by them
Acknowledgment for new ‘outlaw' social standing, the bad boys
Lack of interest in normal and the conventional life, more money
Realizing new opportunities for lifestyle and career, an original path
Growing fascination with the criminal world, life of sin outside the box
Enjoying not being like everyone else, pride and satisfaction of living by own rules
Embracing newfound respect based on fear, others noticing your notoriety as a bad guy
Reputation further fuels more intake and consumption, helps ‘legalize' your abuse to yourself
Discovery of being trapped in your new character role and social group, inherent peer pressure to smoke
Loss of control of consumption and bigger amount and more often, with days dominated by drug intake
Growing lack of ability to manage everyday life, and seeing the narcotic has control over your everyday life
Loss of status within your new social niche because of your lack of control, and dipping into the main supply, theft
Developing an anti-social attitude and behavior, escaping to find more time and space to do your drugs, becoming a loner
Enhanced and more robust intake making drug your best friend, replacing your friends for the sake of your new love: the drug
Realization that the intoxicant is the only thing your world revolves around and following your master to consume against your will
Accepting that you are living among the lowest of the social hierarchy and knowledge that you could die from your addiction and abuse
Reaching the point that you spend more days sick than stoned, so keeping yourself healthy enough to get stoned, focus on health for buzz
Lack of care of hygiene, self-respect and simple maintenance of basic nourishment, daily life's chores ignored as lower priority and distraction
Realizing that you're lost in life and you must admit you can't change your situation on your own, and that to do this you would require assistance

"That's how mine would go, or something very similar. You have a better idea now?" Reno liked the ladder-shaped description of his path to addiction, and wondered for a moment if this was the Dane's way of asking for assistance.

"Better idea, yeah. But yours will be different than mine. I mean your flowchart. Or ladder. Here let me-" He took the pencil and drew his own ladder on the other side of the paper:

Try something forbidden
Not as bad as they said it'd be
Discovery of another way of being
Other self emerges, birth of doppelgänger
Bolder, the beginning of new code of ethics
Evolution of priorities and image metamorphosis
New interests, new doors opening and paths forged
Nihilism, flirting with the abyss and sheer recklessness
Paradigm shift, self-destruction, anger and deep resentment
Fermentation of rebellion because of injustice of how life works
Risk-taking justified on disagreeable Fate done with zeal and moxie
Harnessing intoxicant to batter practicality and normalcy done with danger
Assertive and daring, aware of new self taking precedence over old self's reign
Fresher appreciation of art and things hitherto dismissed as unimportant and boring
Harder intake of narcotics for earnest exploration of imagination and pursuit of new ideas
Confident moving away from norms of society, harboring lighter step on way to outskirts of being
Comfort in the knowledge you're on the path to growth, leaving the old superficial thinking long forgotten
Employment of new laissez-faire attitude while overcoming unforeseen obstacles while carefree and laidback
Valuing new path more than safety and being pragmatic, throwing dice and gambling ones life based on new beliefs
Moving beyond old life and aches, finding new joy in deeper immersion in life, using insights of drug use for enhancement
A hidden artist emerges long dormant and overlooked, finding joy in the expression of original ideas and fruition of doppelgänger
Discovering new thrill in engaging life, using euphoria to bridge between shyness and fear to the tangible fabric of life and its dangers
Courage snowballs as evidence of flourishment is manifest, old doubts quelled and boundless optimism is born for a life more meaningful
To ignite the flame of motivation consumption is more common and more precise, executed to magnify emotion and profundity of experience
New insight into time utilization and wisdom to better spend time each day as if it were your final, letting a day's maintenance fall by to the side
Eventually fulltime use and obsession with freedom to imbibe to master balance and flow, living like a work of art and pursuing mischief at all costs

"Mine would be something like that," he said. "A bit different."

"Yes, they are never right, are they?"

"I suppose I'm newer at this than you."

"You have far to go, though look at your fingers." Fingers yellowed by nicotine and burn scars from ill-made matches, nail of the right forefinger stained deep with dirt under the nail long overdue for a clip. Finger gnarled from battle, full assault on all the hip drooga of his Ecuadorian brothers.

"Mucho," he said.

"Everyone has their own way but they all lead to the same destination." The Dane kept his eye on Reno to confirm the double entendre.

"Well said Dane Man." Reno pulled out another bag for cooking. "All to the same destination." The hardy Viking laughter. The kind with bite.

  

A Note About the Excerpt 
  

The first step is at the top, represented by the first time doing a drug, and theneach line is a successive experience along the timeline of becoming an addict.  

This is from pp. 133-134, No More Waiting to Die

  
  

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