The Abyss Of Drug Addiction Poem by Chinedu Dike

The Abyss Of Drug Addiction

Rating: 4.9

In a wayward adventure in curiosity —
lured away from savvy of cooler judgment,  
he oversteps the bounds of reality 
into a state of altered awareness.

Overwhelmed by a rapid beginning of
a buzzing sensation — The Rush;
emanating from deep inside him,  
surging along the veins streaming 

euphoria through cells of his entire body:  
inside the body, with warm pleasure
waves flushing over the now tingling skin
soughing off all unpleasant feelings.

Mouth numbed, limbs heavy, eyeballs 
rolling back from hitherto unimaginable
bliss, he savours the calm explosions
of the pulsating bubbles in his head.

A magical moment of sheer orgasmic 
rapture—that ends in a lasting sedation—
ushering him into 'well-being' in which
he's covered by a cozy blanket of content.

He falls in love with the insidious drug.
And he begins to relish its sweet fruition,
in a seemly pattern of use that is put
in the shade to protect his best interests.

A stake in normalcy that seeks to restrict
his usage of the opioid to a social activity.
But soon enough he drifts towards a regular
recreational use — indulging on weekends;

floating, flying, and soaring in wonderful
ripples of pure delight, feeling very mellow
and satisfied, in an illusionary paradise of
forgetting where nothing hurts any more.

Bit by bit as time goes by his body builds up
a tolerance for the sedative; prompting his
intake of higher and more frequent doses,
to feel as well as to sustain the desired effect.

This occurs because his body attempts to
adapt to the presence of the drug, by quickly
breaking it up and purging it out of the system;
thus causing it to be less potent as it was before.

At this stage of his drug abuse he's still able to
control whether to use the stuff or not, where
and when to use it without stress. He could
also abstain from the opioid fairly responsibly.

But at the limits of his body's flexible response
to the mind-blower, he begins to suffer from
the terrifying side-effects of the narcotic
which show up a few hours after his last use.

The pleasurable but short-term therapeutic
effects of the insidious drug is now being
overshadowed by several of its undesirable
withdrawal symptoms that manifest as:

fatigue, irritability, cold chills/sweat, itchy skin,
muscle spasms and tremors, body ache, and
stomach cramps among others; with an
increase in his body's cravings for the opioid.

The on set of these torturous side-effects of
the stimulant marks the beginning of his body's
physical dependence on it, as he now relies
on the drug to fend off the terrible affliction.

He has bitten at the bait of pleasure oblivious
of the hook beneath it. The casual user who
thought he could quit the habit at will without
stress, has progressed to problematic use.

The drug is now a major part of his daily routine
that is slowly becoming chaotic by the day.
Regardless, he's still able to go to work
and take care of his day to day responsibilities.

In time, a new sickness begins to fester
inside him: the insidious drug is tightening
it's grip, as his body's physical dependence
on it is now generating an addiction to it.

This psychological dependence on the drug
has set in with anxiety disorder accompanied by
emotional, mental, and behavioural problems:
the trio classic signs of a progressive disorder.

The drug has become something he needs
to sleep or to fully wake up. His sleeping
pattern has also been altered; up at night
and intermittently napping during the day.

As dosage of the narcotic rises, so does
the severity of the painful lows and other
symptoms of addiction, making his cravings
for the depressant increasely more intense.

As it is, he's needs several hits of the drug to
make it through the day. All at once he wants
to use! He begins to look forward to using.
He would ingest the drug in risky situations

such as, while at the wheels of his car
or working at his job; always desperate to
to avoid withdrawal as well as to revel in
the bliss of the drug's comforting warmth.

At times he'd skip work 'chasing the dragon':
pursuing the out-of-reach elation levels of
his initial euphoric high — swinging between
feelings of mediocrity and that of ecstasy.

Always, his body would afterwards crash
below baseline, barely able to cater for his
daily needs. The habit has long ceased
to be the fun that it was intended to be.

Like a vicious cycle the relief from the drug,
which is not justified by external reality,
is being obtained at the expense of the
worsening addiction and a spike in distress

whenever his body system is low on it.
The more he indulges on the depressant
to calm his racing mind, the more
its comfort zone seems to be desired.

Disoriented in the rigours of his vice,
he strays in the abyss of drug addiction:
a dark, weary place where priority disorder 
is dictated by events outside of his control.

It is this corrupted impulse control that
causes his sick obsession with the opioid,
rendering him unfit to articulate rational
thoughts — a chronic brain disorder.

In this harmful shift away from reality,  
utmost in his mind is the insidious drug:
ahead of his job, his goals, family, love,  
friends, hobbies, personal hygiene.

Oddly enough the foremost essentials of life
like water, food, and sleep are not spared.
He could be ill and he won't care.
No other thoughts can cohabit in his world.

Emotionally invested in his world of fantasy,  
the toxic substance has kindled in him
an inner turmoil — setting off an overriding
feeling of emptiness that aches in his heart.

The habit much harder to lose than it was
to find: his ongoing attempts to wean himself
off the drug are negated by a dysphoric mood
and sickly comedowns that intensify in severity.

These horrifying withdrawal symptoms
are a result of the sedative's induced
alterations in the biochemistry of his
brain's system of reward and punishment.

Rather than a mild, blissful flow of the brain's
happy hormones, as is experienced while
one indulges in a tasty food, on receiving
a great news, or engaging in any other

kinds of novelty that fill us with a delicious
pleasure, the opioid whose chemical structure
is similar to that of the natural chemical
messengers of the brain (happy hormones) ;

by mimicking these primary drivers of the
brain's reward system, the psychoactive 
drug sends a false signal of euphoria to
the complex organ, triggering an instant

and quick secretion of an abnormally
large amount of the feel-good hormones,
that surge along its pleasure pathways
overwhelming the reward centre of the brain.

It is this huge outpouring of happy hormones
in the region that elicites in him a sudden
burst of energy, a pleasant state of mild
drowsiness, mental alertness, relaxation, ...

This already intense, euphoric effect of the
opioid is further amplified by the drug's
blocking of the pain partways of the reward
system, thus dulling his emotions and worries

by eliminating any feeling of sorrow, regret,
guilt, fear, or loneliness. Upon intake of the
mood-altering drug, he would feel warm when
cold, calm when angry, bright when grumpy,

filled when hungry and happy when irritable,
with almost a complete suppression of the
compulsion to view anything in a bad light.
In essence, the dramatic result of the opioid

brings forth a deep sense of contentment
as though all his needs have been met.
However, this almost perfectly desirable 
body and mind experience is an artificial

feeling that only lasts a few hours at most.
When the drug's effects wear off, because
the brain which has come to rely on the
steady supply of the opioid cannot adjust

all at once, it gets stuck in overdrive which
results in the withdrawal symptoms. It is so
because his brain whose system of reward
and punishment has been tampered with,

seeks to counteract and accomodate for the
delicious thrills of the drug's euphoric high,
by secreting much less happy hormones while
the foodgate of pain hormones is thrown open.

Just like a huge surge of happy hormones
elicits unnatural levels of euphorical pleasure,
the spike in flow of pain hormones produce
in him the torturous withdrawal symptoms.

These unwanted side-effects whose rise and
fall are subject to drug levels in the system,
are the debt he has to pay for the supreme
bliss that is relished during his opioid highs.

It's all about his brain seeking to maintain
a normal, healthy body function (Homeostasis) .
Once he's able to amerce with penance due,
he will feel good again with no need for the drug.

Another flip side of the illicit habit is that
over time, the regular surge in the 'pleasure
juices' disrupts plasticity in the reward region
of his brain, causing physical changes that

have drastically reduced his brain's ability to
synthesize happy hormones, or respond to
any other stimulus other than the ones being
triggered by the psychoactive substance.

This is clearly seen in his lost of interest in
activities that he once enjoyed, since his brain
suffers from lack of happy hormones which
influence one's capacity to be in a good mood.

Because the narcotic has also disrupted
activities in the control region of the brain,
his whole thought pattern, perspective and
behaviour, all radically change along with it.

It is this reprogramming of his brain that has
altered the interior reality of his mind, in ways
that result in him going into 'survival mode'
whenever the narcotic is not readily available.

While in this irritable, aggressive and erratic
state, he would forego anything and everything
to obtain the narcotic because he's thinking
of his drug use the same way an individual 

who is parched with thirst thinks of water.
This desperation in seeking out the drug as
a vital lifeline, is due to his compromise brain
'thinking' it needs it as a matter of survival.

A habit he had maintained at the outset
because it made him feel extremely good
has tuned against him, very often coercing
him to use for the avoidance of pain.

The sedative as dear and painful to him
as an imbecilic child is to its mother,  
he continues on the foreboding route 
for which he has no power of deviation.

Despairing in the clutches of addiction,
the drugs traumatize him, they infuse
toxins into his spine, and they curtail his
ability to feel real, authentic pleasure.

He's kept on saying to himself, 'I'm going
to quit for good after using one last time.'
But that remains to be seen, as the drug
goes on dulling his inner light day by day.

In a downward spiral that stuns those 
acquainted with him, he loses job,
his car is repoed, and he's evicted from
a nice home that had been stripped bare.

Drowning in unpaid bills and desperately
in debt having blown an entire life-savings
on the drug; the loss of everything and a few
remaining friends leaves him out in the cold.

The dangerous drug has evoked a negative
ripple that is felt throughout all that he's
part of. An awful realization that settles in
with cold clarity, eliciting a lurch of dismay

over his dire ignorance about the drug
which has led to the ugly entrapment.
In deep, sorrowful thoughts consumed
with self-loathing, he puts a curse upon

the day he first laid eyes on the hard drug.
With the best resolve he's able to muster
driven by exasperation to kick the habit,
he strives to make his will like stone —

a facade that is soon razed by his urgent
need for the opiate to stave off withdrawal.
With a heavy burden of guilt and shame,
he retreats into the haze of his own misery.

With more problems and stresses than ever
he plunges from troubled life to no life —
losing touch completely with reality as the
disorder assumes a more dangerous form.

His fixation on the opiate has gone beyond
a need to ward off its painful comedowns
and a desire to experience its euphorical
pleasure again; it has become more crucial

than ever for him to keep his emotions
constantly desensitised to life, by numbing
the agony of living to ease the passage of
day with purchased relief from the sedative.

In his besotting passion for the narcotic
he would stop at nothing to relieve the
incessant cravings: he would cheat, steal,
lie or betray no matter who to get his 'fix'.

Like the spreading of cancer in the body,  
his affliction has metastasized way 
beyond him, chipping away at the sense
of wellbeing of everyone around him.

As frequent and ready targets for theft
his family have to always watch out for him,
in a resentful relations where they have
to sleep with their wallets under the pillows.

Jewellery, gadgets, or any other easy
to carry household valuables that are
not safely locked away, will go missing.
For weeks at a time he, too, will vanish.

He'd eventually return like the 'prodigal son'.
Always, he's found the door open after
such prolonged periods of avoiding home,
even on occasions when he'd been kicked out.

In the many months gone since losing his
source of livelihood, he's been pushed
into a number of rehabilitation facilities,
but as yet has failed to clean up his act.

He's also been in and out of rehab thrice
following hospital discharges for drug
overdose. On the last occasion, he was
found passed out in the family's bathtub.

Timely arrival of the paramedics had saved
his life. Notwithstanding, a nagging urge
to 'use' continues to feed and reinforce
the habit after every discharge from rehab.

It's been most upsetting to the parents
who have had to watch him visibly change
before their eyes: from a good, healthy
son who had always had his act together,

to as it is, a thin, patchy-skinned loner
with a baffled demeanour — who timidly
buries his head in low self-esteem to
conceal dilated pupils from mutual gaze.

Nothing points more to the helplessness 
of the family's plight than having to finally
admit to their little or no influence over
the ravages of the stigmatized disorder.

A harrowing experience for a household
whose life-savings along with compassion
for him, have completely been exhausted
with no more tears remaining to shed.

The hurting family at the end of its tether
confronts him with an ultimatum:
to get his life in order or face the music.
Coldly, they all watch him leave home.

His descent into the final stages of rock-
bottom has been swift. He starts with
crashing on friends' couches and floors,
but soon his welcome quickly wears out.

Now among the ranks of the homeless the
hobo would wake up feeling sick, and his day
would consist of shoplifting, petty thefts,
begging, and struggling to find others ways

to obtain money in order to feed the habit.
At nights, even on stormy ones, the rough
sleeper would retire wherever there's shelter,
never worrying about waking up the next day.

A hellish existence on the street that has
provoked a string of run-ins with the law. 
Nabbed stealing on ill-fated occasions,
he's manhandled in a most indecent way.

Broken, sick, starving; the erstwhile ray of
hope, who once had a strong sense of self,
is presently a nervous wreck who envisages
life through the lens of opioid stupor.

Much beyond his ability to ask for help,  
his loved ones proceed to rescue him.
Under the humbling load of drug addiction,
he staggers into another costly rehab.

But the often slippery climb to recovery
is never easy. It's yet another chance for him
to submit to a slow and delicate therapy
on his brain, whose structure and functions 

are badly impacted by years-long use of
the drug. The healing process is a labour
of commitment and discipline, with
patience to allow the brain to adapt back

toward normalcy by gradually regenerating
and rebalancing itself. In a gruelling task,
he's expected to learn to care for a body that
now must struggle to work in a different way.

Many addicts, desiring to put their lives back
together, have been able to crawl their way out
of the sinister shadow. A big chunk of them
through the guiding light of structured help.

Amongst them are 'walking corpses' whom
possessed by their 'enough is enough', are
enabled to find the inner fire vitally needed
to rekindle the cold embers of self-image.

Here's the fella cast adrift feeling wholly
disconnected from self and the world.
He's mourning the loss of a vital lifeline
that has always helped him cope with life.

He had been through it several times before;
the fatigue, stomach cramps, aches, itchy skin, ...
But, he's in the early stages of withdrawal when
cravings for the narcotic are at their worst.

This initial withdrawal agony is the biggest
hurdle any addict has to overcome in the often
stop-start journey to recovery. If he could
somehow find the courage to suffer through it,

the fierce and ceaseless cravings for the drug
would be considerably reduced, making
them easier for him to deal with. Eventually,
they will dissipate the longer he stays sober.

He's being offered a way out of his captivity,
but he's unable to embrace the opportunity
with open arms because the addiction, which
convinces him the only option is to carry on

using the drug, is blocking him from seeing
the avaliable escape route. It has shut off
his ability to get up on the inside to face
the seeming overwhelming barriers to sobriety.

Like one in the grip of Stockholm Syndrome,
he has developed a type of trauma bonding
with the treacherous drug: the more it enslaves
him, the more his irrational affection for it.

With his consciousness constantly revolving
around the insidious substance, he just
can't imagine a chronic user like him
being sober and happy again without it.

That being the case, he fails to see any point
in struggling to remain sober — when in such
times he's beset by an awful illness attended
by a serious depression that is no help.

Regardless of the wreckage of his past,
everything that is dear to him plus the very
essence of life on the line, he's left convinced
that giving up the destructive habit would

mean endless suffering and feeling deprived
for the rest of his already sad existence.
Over and above all other reasons, he just
won't quit because he's powerless to resist.

In default of any dreams of ever recouping
losses that are manifestly out of reach,
the drug with a firm grip on him serves 
as a buffer to keep his ugly reality at bay.

All that he wants is to return to the 'loving
arms' of the opioid, very much aware that
the feeling of the drug's high now that he's
in pain can be one of the best things ever.

But even so, as tempting as the desire to jump
the healing process may be, he's bitterly
mindful of horrors of the street life that
loom upon him with such frightening aspect.

Savagely trapped with no good choices,
he slips into a real fear of relapse. In anguish
withdrawal and cravings plague him daily,
and they won't allow him a moment's peace.

Utterly incapable of rising from the ashes 
to hold it all together—no hope—
nothing to hope for—everything out 
of focus—mind spiraling out of control...

In a fit of extreme anxiety, the now rampaging
urge to 'use' prods him closer and closer to
the brink of nervous breakdown. And suddenly,
his need for a 'hit' becomes most vital as.

Sweating profusely and trembling all over
with fear clutching a pilfered smartphone,
forgetful of future suffering, the rehab
jumper hurries along the forbidden path.

All alone with the merciless companion:  
nowhere to go and no one to turn to. 
Wretchedly wretched in additive agony,
the junkie fades away into nothingness.


The Abyss Of Drug Addiction is written in 112 non-rhyming quatrains.

The rendition is a poignant story depicting the sad existence of many drug users. The verse uncovers and illuminates, step by step, the different stages of drug addiction and the mental processes of the unable to function drug users.

The paramount aim of the work is to shed some light on the sinister shadow of drug addiction. To unveil to all and sundry, especially teenagers and the youths, the hazards of drug abuse and the vicious downward spiral that can be caused by it. 

Just as the euphoric experiences of all kinds of hard drugs differ significantly, so are their withdrawal symptoms. Despite their seeming surface unrelatedness, whichever hard drug it may be, the creation of an illegal and dangerous dependency in users is a common denominator.

[The Rush is described as a feeling very much like a heightened and prolonged sexual orgasm. A great relieve of tension. It is mostly felt when heroin or any of it's derivatives opioids/opiates is administered intravenously].

In quite a disturbing hyperbole, a heroin addict described the drug's EUPHORIC RUSH as follows:

'Take the best (sexual) orgasm you've ever had, multipy it a billion and you're still no where near it... '

The Abyss Of Drug Addiction

Excellent and an encompassing write on drug addiction. Insightful, informative, perceptive and with a meaningful message. It expresses in brilliant detail the life of a drug addict. This write is of great perusal for everyone especially the teens who are always in their path to experiment life.

7 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 09 May 2019

Hi Rose, thanks so much for all your warm words of encouragement. They are deeply appreciated, and I will try to be worthy of them. Remain enriched.

1 0

This write entails much knowledge and tjme. I commend you for taking your most precious time in posting this poem. A great contribution to the Poetry world and to society as a whole. 10+++++and onto my Poem List.

7 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 09 May 2019

Such lovely and kind words of encouragement, from a poetess who through her wonderful works of art has stamped her feet on the sands of time. Thanks a million times, Rose.

1 0

Thank you, Chinedu for sharing this magnificent piece. When I saw the movie, A Beautiful Boy my heart melts for the boy and his parents who have been there for him in his journey towards sanity. In this poem, I felt the same way. There are many lives and families that have been destroyed due to drug addiction.

6 0 Reply

It's really a commendable work bringing out and presenting to the readers the evil impact of drug addiction that pulls down the users to deeper and deeper zones of ruins

0 0 Reply
Peter Cloutier-Jabalee 11 March 2022

This is an amazing and very emotional Poem. Chinedu, I look forward to seeing more from you. : )

0 0 Reply
Harley White 01 November 2021

This is a powerful poem which serves as a 'cautionary tale'...always timely...

1 0 Reply
Indira Renganathan 08 October 2021

Marvelous work...the note is also well explanatory...well done dear poet...thanks a lot for this great work...10++++++++++

1 0 Reply
Dr Dillip K Swain 17 July 2021

A great powerfully expressed dear Chinedu! To Mypoemlist

1 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike

Chinedu Dike

Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State; Nigeria.
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