Can I have the largest size? I said,
Pointing to the boxes on the shelves.
I was often glad that I could buy my happiness
In the form of tablets,
Purchased from the chemist.
But the woman raised her eyebrows,
As though anyone asking for a large
Deserved her judgement heaped on thick.
Read the information leaflet carefully,
She said, handing over a box.
Only eight to be taken,
In any twenty four hour period.
An overdose on happiness is quite a dangerous thing.
And no more than three days,
She added rather sternly.
Otherwise you could become dependent.
I nodded as I paid, pocketing the pills.
The woman knew me well,
She knew I was addicted
And yet she still allowed the sale.
The shame I felt was great, reddening my face.
To struggle to get through a day
Without a bump of chemical
Was almost more than I could bear.
But still I bought and still I swallowed
In the hope that one day I
Would live a life where joy
Was something that I didn’t need to buy.
If you have ever suffered with any form of addiction I think you will be able to identify with the shame that is felt when you have to go into the shop and buy that thing that you are dependent on. I remember going to a different shop each time I had to buy, in the hope that the shop assistants wouldn’t recognise me. My worst fear was that they would eventually start to refuse selling to me.
The shame becomes so great that you are sure they are looking at you in disgust. You are sure that any health warnings they are giving you are a dig rather than just being something they have to say as part of their job. You become paranoid.
It is horrible, but as I was writing this, I realised that everybody has these addictions that make us feel better even though we wish they didn’t. For some it might be something as simple as a love of expensive makeup. It may feel harmless, but wouldn’t it be nice to live a life where happiness came from within and didn’t need to be bought?
If you are struggling with addiction, please do reach out for help. It can be deadly and there is so much support out there. And if you are just struggling to find some happiness in life, don’t think that buying something is going to fix it. You need to start loving yourself because no amount of makeup or clothes or cars or furniture will fill the hole that is causing you so much pain.
Take care of yourselves.