Yesterday I lost all hope for my friend who has been an addict for the past 5 or 6 years. Or 13 years. I don't know where to draw the line of addiction. He has always been a substance abuser ever since we were 15 years old. I remember seeing him sitting at a bus stop drinking beer alone on a weekday when he was supposed to be at school. He had gotten a brown paper bag for his drink to put over even though it's not illgeal here to drink at public places. Or maybe it was because he was underage. We grew up listening to rap so he had always glorified the "getto lifestyle". The behaviour was always there, it went in cycles and every cycle was worse than the one before. From alcohol to weed, then psychedelics to pharmaceuticals (benzos and opioids), to opium, heroin and buprenorphine.

Last night I learned that he had started to IV heroin. He mentioned he was going to rehab, but only to get medical quantity and quality of opioids (replacement therapy, methadone etc.), because he is tired of the running and hustling for a shitty high. And then he told me about the needle. It used to be his last scrap of pride, that he hadn't gone for the vein. I think you can tell the level of addiction by the dignity and pride the addict has for his actions. He doesn't try to hide his actions anymore, he is not ashamed of anything and that's why I think he has lost all hope for a recovery. I know guilt and shame create a vicious cycle, but there has to be a better alternative than accepting the fate of a junkie.

He's been to rehab twice before. Once at an official facility and once he did a self organized retreat under relatives' supervision. They failed obviously. He has OD'd a couple of times after which he's had a "never again" moment, but those moments never last. Now I don't know if he ever wanted to quit, or just said so to make his life easier. I've learned throughout years that he has a very strong will, and he will do anything and everything to get his will through, I just wish he would like to do something else with it than get high. He will say anything to persuade people and I have gotten used to his constant lies and half truths so I don't take them personally. Besides I think those lies are more for him than others, to make him feel better about himself and assure everything is okay.

I would like to know why or how a person becomes a junkie. Is it in the genes or the upbringing? I can't find a reason in his life for these actions. He's had a good childhood. Academic middle class family with loving parents. His parents have always been more free spirited and understading than the average but still my friend is about to hit rock bottom if he isn't already there and to make things even worse his little brother is on the same path. Should they have been more strict? I know my friend and his parents sometimes went head to head, but my friend always prevailed, that's how strong his will is. Is it because living is too easy and nothing feels like anything? No challenge, no glory? What draws a person to downers and opiates? I have never understood the use of other drugs than psychedelics or uppers.

In a way my friend has been gone for the last 5 years, it's just now I realize he maybe gone forever. The glimpses I've seen of the old friend have kept my hopes up. The odd day that he hasn't used anything or decided to use amphetamines to cover that he's not the slow and slurred druggie. In recent years our conversations have mainly consisted of his descriptions of different kind of highs, good substance combinations, optimal dosages and other meaningles and trivial shit. He's not a person anymore, he only has one thing in mind and can't really talk or relate to anything else. He's a zombie, he is performing a mental suicide every day.

How can I convince him that a drug free life is a better solution? I have tried to give him space and autonomy, I don't like to patronize and I think everyone has the right to decide for themselves, but this is going too far. How can I in this day and age of individualism and relativity rationalize for him that there are better solutions for living? That there are still things considered right and wrong. I don't know if I am expecting to get any meaningful answers here, but I felt compelled to write about this. Maybe it serves as an eulogy, the end of a chapter.

I want to say "RIP", but a part of me still wants to believe there is hope.