How to help a friend addicted to drugs

15th December 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am feeling extremely pleased to be anonymous, especially bearing in mind the topic of the post. Prior to continuing though, I must share my awareness of people possibly drawing some contradictions in my writing. Most notably, how I have detailed my beliefs about the benefits for people who with Cancer using Cannabis Oil. My reasoning results from seeing the divide caused within my small audience when writing about Cannabis. In response, I can only highlight the fact of not touching any Cannabis for over a decade before trailing it as a means to support my health whilst utilising it to eliminate the side effects associated with my chemotherapy. Basically, my use of Cannabis is solely centred upon supporting my quality of life and survival. In contrast, drugs such as ice take a person into a completely different direction.

I am not going to detail the circumstances for my friend or provide a case summary about his life. Instead, I want to share some thoughts, and hopefully receive some tips from others who are either experiencing similar matters or had encounters in the past that they feel will help someone else.

Naturally, the lives of my friend and I have shifted in different paths of late, and each time his name is raised, a cause of worry surfaces about his latest antics. The question has always been, what can be down to help him, especially if he does not wish to help himself. When reflecting on that statement, I wonder whether it is not signal of the circumstances being too hard too deal with? If true, it seems people, including myself have chosen to ignore the situation, placing his life in a context of ‘being out of sight out of mind’. Today, my thoughts have been about the type of friend I have been to him. Yes, he is addicted to an extremely dangerous drug, however, is it not these times for friends to rise in unity? Fortunately, another close friend in my social circle cares about our mutual friend, and arranged to meet last night. In all honesty. I am not sure whether it was helpful, however, a few small outcomes were achieved:
1. A show of willingness from old friends to support him.
2. The sharing of stories, highlighting the fact that a different life is possible.
3. Reconnection with a world outside addiction and crime.
4. Future planning to meet, showing a commitment to see him in the future.
5. Advice on some criminal matters he is involved in.

I am sure we can explore this topic in great depth, however, in accordance with keeping posts rather small, I hope the post can stimulate some thinking, and lead to some discussion on the matter.

Cancer free

3rd December 2015: Sydney, Australia

Results of my scans have been shared, and I am both fortunate and happy to say it was all clear. Ultimately, I can finally use the results to my benefit whereby I am able to normalise future scenarios, and hopefully not have such a fear associated with the results. Now, focus will shift to the frequency of scans, especially with one doctor being of the opinion that scans only add to the anxiety of the situation, possibly causing unnecessary stress. Personally, upon hearing news similar to this morning alleviate all stress. Therefore, I completely disagree with the advice of my doctor, and hope my other doctor sees my reasoning before deciding to schedule in the next scan.

I do acknowledge a major step to overcome is the comfort in not having regular scans, however, I am yet to be in such a position. A lot can happen in a year, so let’s see where I am this time next year 😄

The waiting game

2nd December 2015: Sydney, Australia

As much as I would like to write about other topics, my attention is centred firmly on obtaining the results from the most recent scans completed. I strongly believe there may be a chance of acquiring the necessary information, but that would mean breaking my pact to learn of the outcomes of the scan. If so, does a weakness correlate with my thinking? I need strength, I need to be healthy, I need to continue playing the waiting game.

Walking away from Cancer

30th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

I want to walk away from this life of Cancer, actually a more apt description would entail me running away with only one destination insight. Interestingly, my intentions seem to be clear about moving on from this chapter in my life, however, I still hold onto parts of the narrative. For instance, my scans were completed today, and many of my close friends were notified about this in the preceding weeks. The question circulating throughout my mind centres upon disparity in my intentions and actions. If I really wished to move on from this, then would I still be telling people close to me about the upcoming scan? Would it not be similar to attending a dentist for an appointment! Obviously, differences exist, and I am looking forward to celebrating the positive news at the end of the week, however, I feel next time, no mention of the scan will be made.

Blindfold yoga

25th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

The recent decision to trial varying yoga teaches and styles has resulted in the sense of needing to share a specific experience with others. Last night, I arrived as usual to the studio, prepared with some brief stretches before being informed the class would proceed without use of our predominant sense. Obviously, there was an option to discard the blindfold, however, I was not going to pass on this moment. Immediately, an excitement, intrigue and overall enthusiasm was felt at this foreign prospect. Honestly, no hesitations were present within my thinking. Instead, a receptive, curious and awaiting mind was centred upon the next hour.

At the most basic level, eliminating our sight could link to thoughts about an unsteadiness, and of course, I imagine differences would have been evident if the many times I had my vision were compared with yesterday. However, solely focusing on a physical unsteadiness overlooks the deeper awareness allowed to open when a shift occurs in the way we reliance on our senses. Honestly, the class facilitated a deeper connection in regards to the relationship between my body and the space around me whilst also making me feel attuned to what was happening inside my mind. Furthermore, the act of temporarily taking away the sight from everyone in the room allowed a true freedom to exist. A freedom whereby everyone could move without a worry about how they looked.

Cancer is big business

18th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am unable to comprehend how the support provided to my mum in certain situations is the exact opposite to what I would be wanting if the roles were reversed. The thinking behind the entry stems from the circumstances I currently find myself within. At present, I am sitting in a chair adjacent to my mum whom is receiving her second round of Chemotherapy. I would love to be more supportive, showing even half the level of support shown to me throughout the many months, however, it seems a total loathing of the setting makes me switch into a mode whereby I close myself off from the world around me. Strangely, the setting is all very modern with attentive staff and a relatively pleasant atmosphere, however, I am unable to overcome the feelings and attitudes held towards the place. The reasoning behind my attitudes may either be the desire to move away on a personal level from the world of Cancer or whether the whole place, including the flight attendant smiles plastered on the face of the nurses combined with the free wifi evoke thoughts about the amount of money made from Cancer. Admittedly, another reason could be identified, namely, the completely cynical stance seemingly emerging within my mindset when thinking about Cancer.

Shallowness vs Self-image

1st November 2015: Snapper Rocks, Queensland

I received a text from a friend containing a photo of me from when I was 24 years old, and almost immediately, I noticed a body I have become so unfamiliar with. The striking difference is of course a long forgotten flat abdomen region spanning across the entirety of my lower torso whilst further examination reminds me of the normal chest I had prior to starting the chemotherapy that caused my chest to be more akin to the body of a 14 year old girl. If a greater analysis was undertaken, then I can also connect with a completely carefree attitude evident in my face, however, I wish to keep all emphasis on the noticeable changes in my body resulting from the lasting impact of consecutive surgeries and the course of treatment tackled thus far.

There are many paths for this entry to lead down, and the singular route to be explored relates to the question about the importance of body image. Firstly, is it a reflection of my shallowness to even think about some scarring and an enlarged chest when taking into consideration the fact I am here, alive and smiling? Secondly, please consider the situations for many others, particularly women who some may argue lose some of their femininity when having a breast removed or have the need for a colostomy bag. Just to note, I do not hold this view about women, however, I have both heard and read this to be true, so wanted to widen the scope for discussion about the connection between Cancer and body image.

Ultimately, my current predicament is obviously preferred over death, and believe most others will hold the same position, however, a seemingly blanket view held from others about being superficial for placing emphasis on this topic is simply mirroring a misunderstanding about the impact of certain factors associated with Cancer. As noted in previous entries, I believe it can often be the secondary factors that haunt people who have experienced Cancer, and the only means for decreasing the impact is for educating the masses about some of the areas that may simply be overlooked by discarding these concerns by a belief that everyone should just be grateful to be alive.

Not simply a new chapter, rather a new book

25th October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

A new dawn has arrived. Admittedly, it is rather vague entry, and hearing I am fatigued and battling a sore throat only seems to add a level of intrigue to how this can be deemed a new chapter in my life. If you are a little confused, then stay with me to hear my explanation.

Previously, an entry in these circumstances would have been saturated in a fear and worry about what these symptoms meant about my health. In contrast, I have been able to shift my interpretations of the symptoms to plainly seeing the sore throat and fatigue symbolising a return to the times of BC (Before Cancer). All throughout my teen and adulthood, a sore throat was the first sign of my body fighting an infection, and opposed to making a correlation between the sore throat and Cancer, I view the sore throat symbolising the beginning of the new narrative I frequently comment upon. In all honesty, I initially did switch into a mode whereby I automatically experienced concern, and of course, I could easily still be stuck in the destructive pattern. The driving motivation behind switching my thoughts derived from a belief in the need to approach my situation differently compared with how I lived after my first surgery. Really, if I am constantly worried and link every little symptom to Cancer, then how am I ever going to live a normal life? Lastly, I also think about the laws of attraction, and ponder whether so much mental energy placed on Cancer actually encourages it to resurface. Surely, it is far better to normalise my situation, and simply bring to fruition this new narrative I frequently reference.

Importance of rehabilitation

22nd October 2015: Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Two weeks ago, I briefly talked about a form of exercise called Tabata. My opinion on the type of exercise has not changed, and it was proving to be extremely beneficial till deciding to modify the routine. The decision to make changes stemmed from a desire to further intensify the range of exercises, however, it appeared my body was not prepared for the additional load. Consequently, I had to have a week of rest, and was sent for an ultrasound to see whether I had damaged my abdomen. Fortunately, the results were positive, meaning there was no serious damage. Instead, I had placed a significant amount of stress on the abdominal region of my body without it being in a position to take such a load. At a very basic level, I can easily look back on the situation with regret, feeling the decision to intensify the exercise was premature. Some may agree with this explanation, however, I believe my body would have been ready for the changes if I followed my rehabilitation plan from last surgery. On reflection, it seems I was naively under the impression of seeing myself as progressing much faster than last time. Admittedly, many areas may superficially support this position, however, the key point being overlooked was a misdirection in my focus. The best way to articulate my point is to make comparisons at varying stages throughout my two recoveries.

So, after the second surgery I started swimming at six weeks before adding yoga, tabata and surfing into the schedule. I gradually starting swimming faster and a greater distance, and mentally felt better than last time. Now, at 14 weeks, a disparity exists between where was I was last time compared to my current position, and it results entirely from being totally blinded by my objectives. Last time, each step was concentrated on based on what was required at that time. This time, I wanted to pass all the steps in favour of recommencing the belief held about the goals of rebuilding my body still being incomplete. Consequently, I am now needing to work backwards, and it reinforces the imperativeness of thoroughly adhering to a rehabilitation plan.

Bellingen and the ‘Promised Lands’

21st October 2015: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, a moment occurred today whereby a thought came upon me, and has since stayed with me till the time of writing. I was at the ‘Promised Lands’, a place known for freshwater swimming pools existing in the area. My intention was to complete yoga on the banks before cooling off in the majestic natural baths. So, a secluded place was located, and in a typical manner I commenced preparing for some yoga, however, a feeling swept across me. A feeling only described as a sense in my body of a reluctance to proceed with the range of planned poses. On other occasions, I usually push through, and always reap the benefits of the practice, however, an overwhelming sense that my intentions were incorrect could not pass from my consciousness. Thankfully, I listened to my body, and ultimately stopped any further attempts. Instead, I simply sat and looked at the scenery. Honestly, it was a moment whereby the natural surroundings evoked total appreciation for my life, and the next two hours were spent interchanging between swimming in the freshwater and sitting on the rocks eating fresh fruit. On reflection, it was a necessary reminder of not always needing to rush or adhere to plans. Rather, the need to be connected with my body to at times have the capacity to just stop. Consequently, I passed on a yoga session on the banks of the water, but experienced complete and utter joy in my surrounding environment whilst returning to a childlike version of myself exploring the water and rocks.