Humans have basic needs. Physical sustenance: Nutrition, water, air, sleep, exercise. Identity and place: Meaningful work, community, family, respect. Connection: Physical affection, sex, love. And hope for the future. Is it possible to live without these? Clearly some are nonnegotiable requirements for life. But what happens when someone goes without one or more of the somewhat more optional things for an extended period? Is that living or just surviving?
Drug abuse and addiction often disrupt many of the basics. We don’t eat, hydrate, sleep or exercise adequately. But even if these are carefully managed and kept up, often work and family are corroded, if they weren’t before already, and ditto for our need for connection through affection sex and love. As to hope for the future, there is nothing that eliminates it quite like feeling trapped in a cycle of drug use that you know is fucking up all (or even just some) of the above. That isn’t living. At best it is surviving.
Lately I find myself confused about whether my problems related to these things--which are mainly in the last set of things, connecting--are the cause or consequence of my drug (ab)use. And I also wonder, or worry, or, well, honestly, obsess that the answer really doesn’t matter at this point because after so many years it is just too late. So, even though I am largely free of the feelings of entrapment due to addiction now, I don’t feel much hope for the future. I have what I need to stay alive. I can get and stay physically healthy, do respected work, and have a solid place in my communities such as they are, I think. Yet this doesn’t feel like living. It still hardly feels like surviving.