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Editorial and Opinion Articles: Social Commentary Headlines.

Waving not Drowing: Ganja in Eire - Editorial Commentary Article by Kaceol

Celebration and excessive binges have been part of the human experience since Adam first gave Eve a sip of that sweet apple-infused home brew.

In Ireland today, drink companies sponsor most major music events and seduce the youth with alcopops and the government tax the lot while simultaneously spending kazillions of euros on drink awareness campaigns and rehabilitative programmes for those who swim through life in a drunken stupor.

I live in Galway. Many people visit here for stag or hen festivities. The pre-nuptial blow out unites friends who get pissed to spend the night screaming and dancing then follow up with a feast of fast food. Scattered polystyrene packaging breezes around the streets as the visitors leave their hostels to board buses long after sunrise the next day, bleary eyed and satisfied that they had a great time. The Wesht is awake—whoohoo, some session, some craic!

On Sundays families sidestep the topic of Johnny’s alcoholism. Seduced by succulent aromas of roasting meat, nostalgic noses fill with longing, while outside the streets heave with pub hunters. Some will drink until they drop. Or pass out. They are to be found sprawled across cold riverside concrete like fallen warriors on a battlefield. Across the city the local hospital clogs up with casualties in a never-ending cycle of drink-related drama.

Yes, it sure is party central here if that’s your thing. Then again, if that’s your thing, isn’t everywhere?

As well as being inhabited by some of the kindest, most creative, eloquent, talented people on earth (and that’s just the Irish), Eire is also home to a huge population of addicts.

Addiction is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “being physically dependent on a particular substance”, and more informally as being “devoted to a particular interest or activity”.

So.

Chocolate, coffee, cocaine, tea, sex, sugar, work, worry, alcohol, cannabis, jogging, yoga, ecstasy, speed, heroin, nail biting, shopping, cyberspace activity... the list goes on. Suspend judgement for a moment and consider that word.  Addiction. Now, consider the socially-accepted triad of tea, coffee and cigarettes. Sold everywhere, available to us in various doses and qualities, yet all legal and lethal in excessive doses.

Which one is your favourite, and have you tried to stop consuming it recently? How does it feel to withdraw, to come down, to detox, to go without, to say no, to choose an alternative?

Headaches, sweating, mood swings, decreased appetite, strange sleeping patterns, increased appetite, crazy cravings, niggling pains in muscles that feel as though they have been dormant since the early nineties... yep, no doubt about it dear reader—your body, your mind—maybe both—are addicted!

Use, misuse, abuse, suffering, detox, healing. Use, misuse... Will I repeat the loop or change the record? That is the question each must answer. Or not. You can stop anytime, right? It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

For those brave enough to instigate change, detox is often followed by a welcome aftermath of peace, feelings of lightness and freedom, elation even, that yes—yes!—it IS possible to throw away whatever crutch it is one leans on and walk unassisted.

Some people are addicts and hurt nobody but themselves.

They get through life just fine, once they are left alone to consume whatever they choose to daily without any interference. Grouchy before morning coffee, moody without marijuana, suffering minus sugar... but the world keeps spinning.

At a more intense level, habits can prevent people from reaching their full potential. Their pattern is to sabotage opportunities and they remain stunted instead of spiralling, forever tempted by tastes of escape.

Others are well and truly hooked. Their dependency steals their souls in the twilight, they exist as a Zombie shell of who they once were and are about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. These addicts will lie, steal, beg or borrow. They will take from anyone, anywhere, anytime to score. They exist in an eternal state of dark torment. Life is no longer a gift because they have become emotionally numb, far far removed from their hearts and minds. They cannot control their behaviour and keep hurting themselves and everyone around them. They are the walking dead, ruled by craving with a capital C. And they are people too, just like you and me, our brothers and sisters.

So it is.

Drug use. Misuse. Abuse. It’s here, there and everywhere.


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