The boy stumbles into the basement. Trembling fingers settle on a handle, and a door is opened. His sneakers squeak against bathroom tiles. The walls are bare, cold and indifferent to the glare of a single fluorescent light installed on the ceiling. He makes his way down an aisle and faces himself in the mirror above rows of dripping sinks. Blood-shot eyes, red and irritated meet his gaze. A slightly opened mouth inhaling air at a faster than normal pace and hollowed cheek bones decorate a pale, skinny face. His knuckles go white as he clenches his fingers into a fist, attempting to hone in and control the last bit of sanity swimming through muddled thoughts.

“No!” He shakes his head violently. “No more!” He lets out a violent cry and throws something across the room, something that crashes against a wall. Something that shatters into a million pieces and releases small white pills that clatter noisily to the floor. They remain there, silent on dirty bathroom tiles, surrounded by glass fragments. Echoed throughout the room is the sound of sneakers running down the aisle and out of the basement.

Drug Free revealed the international statics of drug and substance abuse this past year.

A grand sum of 1,255,000,000 people are addicted to some form of drug or substance, whether it be the illegally sold ones like cocaine and marijuana or subtle ones sold over the counter in stores and pharmacies. While it’s easy to picture adults on streets releasing puffs of smoke into the air around them, picturing a child doing the same becomes a hard pill to swallow. All age categories from 12 and up apply to this frightening number. To what extent can it go on?

It’s universally accepted that abuse in any form is a negative thing. Mix in drugs and indifference to health and the world becomes a darker place. Lighters replace keys in pockets and goals are forgotten. Relationships become strained. People die. There is a war being fought in every one of the 86,400 seconds that greet us each day. And so, we fight.

We fight against that number: 1,255,000,000 which alone is just a row of digits but placed in our world, becomes an enemy. Campaigns are funded. Organizations flow throughout the masses, handing out easy to read information about the harmful effects of addiction. It cannot go unnoticed that we as a society are trying to save lives.  A glimmer of hope in these dark clouds?

It’s working.

The efforts may not reap as much fruit as the counter side. Yet, it’s present. Drug abusers are aware of the negativities associated with their lifestyle choices. Some turn away from the shadowy path and face the sunlight once again. Of course it’s easier said than done. But with the help of twelve-step programs and anonymous associations like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), along with self-will and determination, a patch of the dark cloud is glowing with positivity.

Anything is possible in a world that shifts and swirls with possibilities from the entire spectrum of good and bad. It IS possible to let go of something so heavy. It IS possible to live life without dependence on pills and alcohol and mystical plant leaves.

All that is needed is a single step. Whether it be a soft syllable uttered to oneself, a single “no,” or a collection of actions like those of a boy running out of a basement bathroom—running towards a life worth living. His life. This life.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

About The Author

Paramjot Kaur
Youth Ambassador

To write is to paint thoughts into existence. Words are precious, containing the ability to take a reader to worlds that exist in our dreams. I seek to weave positivity into my storytelling. Currently an undergraduate student, I charter the ocean of academics, learning in school and from the outside world-- both have so much to teach me.

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