How innocently it always begins.

Irked by the caustic tendrils of mundanity, consumed by the hope of a sun whose life-giving rays seem to be just within reach.

And so we indulge.

Just a taste, of course. After all, we all know that terrestrial bliss is a deceitful proposition. A proposition void of its seeming benevolence and rife with sinister dead ends, lies, and thorn fields painted a sickly crimson red by the blood of others who allowed themselves to lose control. And, at this stage, that is truly how we view the road that stretches before us: those who take a wrong turn and become slaves to chemical elation do so because of some inherent weakness, some foolish disregard for control and responsibility which we, of course, do not have. Just a taste, and no more.

And yet it continues.

Experimentation gives way to occasional use, the initial taste transforms into a rigid schedule of responsible use. And so we carry on, oblivious to the blackened clouds that gather above us, the storm that at this point is beyond escape. This phase, with its promises of self-control and seemingly firm control, encourages our original supposition: that, through responsibility and restraint, it is somehow possible to cage bliss and derive the maximum amount of benefit safely possible. The most deceiving facet of this middle stage is the length it usually spans. More often than not, we manage to cage and restrain bliss for such a long time, after a while, human imperfection plays its role and we forget the importance of keeping the beast restrained. It can all happen, once again, rather unpresumptuously; one or two little exceptions made to the rigid schedules of usage we've so naively devised, just a few little deviations.

And then its too late.

For the second we let our guard down (and at some point or another we all eventually do), the beast breaks free of its cage, never to be held down again. And yet, due to the folly of human perception, we still feel safe, still feel secure in our self-control as this menacing behemoth creeps behind us.

Tolerance, soon enough, erects a lumbering wall before us, a cold-steel construction impervious to penetration and yet so devastatingly luring. And, of course, desperation quickly seeps in. All former restraint is now completely thrown out the window, and we increase our dosages at an alarming rate in a vain attempt to put this wall behind us and let the warm sea of opiate bliss soothe our troubled souls.

And then addiction sets in.

Our usage, the frequency of which we initially increase merely to retain our previous level of chemical elation, becomes so frequent and so heavy that the beast which once lurked right behind us now takes a stranglehold over us with its wolfen paws. In the earlier stages, to use more than what our rigid schedules outlined brought, at least the first few times, negativity along with it. The doubts of breaking so perfect a scheme, the irritating stings of morality and ethics. And yet now, firmly in the grip of this hideous beast we've so callously summoned, to deviate from the heavy pattern of use we've fallen in to brings the most abominable suffering imaginable. The irony! Sickness of the worst imaginable severity and, even more dreadful than that, a complete loss of heart and soul are what lies in store for those of us who dare lessen their usage.

And now, maybe on a day when said source of chemical bliss could, for whatever reason, not be obtained, perhaps we'll stop and consider the tragedy of it all. How deviously this beast presents itself, how terribly it infiltrates the very core of our being!

But such lucid moments come far and in between. After all, how much leisure time can we possibly have amidst the constant struggle to ward of withdrawal and fight this beast that consumes us?

And then all crumbles to dust, and what began so innocently and unassumingly ends in the most bitter of tragedies. 
The following short essay was written by our son shortly before he died from a poppy seed tea overdose. We were never aware that he was addicted, and found this essay on his computer a week after the accident. In it, he describes the pain of being under the strong grip of addiction. The fact that he is describing his own pain, together with his brilliant use of the english language, results in a very powerful paper. Please share it with others.