Q. What was your substance of abuse. How and when did you start?
A. Never tried any kind of drugs other than alcohol which I started in 2010 at 20 years of age. The occasion was my brother’s wedding and I had a couple of beers.
Q. Describe your childhood. Diid you have any kind of trauma or face any kind of stressful situations?
A. I had a normal childhood. I was an above average student (scoring around 70%) and graduated in a BBA course in 2018 via correspondence.
Q. Reasons for getting into addiction. How did it start?
A. I started taking occasionally on functions such as birthdays and weddings. Over the years it started to become more regular, then twice or thrice a week. Initially I had beer alone. I was running my family business and was working long hours, then started to have a beer before dinner everyday. In between I experimented with hard drinks at very small quantities and used to have them occasionally, but mostly I stuck to beer.
I had a medical condition which developed because alcohol did not suit me. Pancreatic attack and severe stomach pain that required me to be hospitalized, this occurred around 10 to 15 times between 2010 – 2021.
Each pancreatic attack required me to be admitted into a hospital for around 9-10 days. No oral diet, not even water, was allowed during that time. I used to have severe pain throughout. The doctor identified alcohol intake as the culprit.Alcohol did not suit my body at all. Light diet after discharge and medication had to be continued later on.
Despite knowing the consequences that pancreatic attack would ensue, still I would continue drinking. I would start after a month of abstinence, after being discharged from the hospital, falling back into the same cycle of drinking in the evening everyday. There were times when I did not drink for a period of 3-4 days. I was not a regular drinker per say and I never drank during the day, only in the evening.
But the bottom line was that I could not completely abstain or remain away from alcohol consumption which was required of me due to my underlying health condition.
Q. When and how were you admitted to Tulasi Healthcare?
A. I was finally admitted to Tulasi Healthcare after parents got worried that I was not completely abstaining from alcohol intake. Despite knowing the fact that a single drop could prove to be fatal. I was admitted on 21st September and spent a month till 20th October 2021.
Q. What are your lessons learnt and experiences gained, while in Tulasi?
A. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to get treatment (though for the first 5 to 6 days I was apprehensive and was blaming my parents for getting me locked up in a rehabilitation centre). Now I feel that my family made a very good decision. I was on a life-threatening path. Doctors had already advised that even a drop could be fatal. Still I used to continue drinking after recovering from a pancreatic attack.
Dr.Gorav Gupta, along with his team of psychiatrists and psychologists at Tulasi, helped me to understand the disease of addiction in a better way and equipped me with the knowledge of how to manage my life with this disease.
I am ready to put in the effort now and am motivated and happy to get a support circle. It has been a life changing experience for me, personally.
Interview of Vikas S (name changed as per request to maintain anonymity).