Bad luck – one of the most common triggers for getting addiction
This post is about a patient of mine called Mercy and her personal history with inhalants.
Mercy was a young woman who had been down on her luck for quite some time. She just couldn’t seem to catch a break and had a hard life. Her mother had died when she was a young child, so she grew up with her father who was an alcoholic.
He drank all the time and spent most of the money he made on booze, never feeding her properly. For much of Mercy’s life, she was malnourished and that extended into adulthood. Her father had some type of accident at work which meant he qualified for disability.
He didn’t have to work, and he got a disability check that was just enough to cover rent, bills, and his alcohol habit.
Mercy had never held that against him believe it or not. When I met her, she still thought it was a fair trade for the pain that he was constantly in due to his back injury. We had to go through and relearn about proper relationships between people, especially parents and children.
In high school, Mercy had started using inhalant drugs. She didn’t do any kind of drugs that were illegal or overly dangerous. Inhalant abuse didn’t seem that bad to her, as she’d never heard of sudden sniffing death syndrome, which is exactly what it says it is.
Mercy had always enjoyed the smell of gasoline to the surprise and disgust of many. That can be hit or miss. Some people find it intoxicating, and others think it is nauseating. Mercy was of the type who liked it, and it wasn’t long before she realized she could get a bit giddy from inhaling that.
She did a bit of research and learned you could get high from smelling gasoline and other products, like paint thinner. Which her dad had in the garage, so she moved to that. She was doing okay in school and had a decent enough boyfriend, at least according to her. He only hit her sometimes.
Yes, we’ve gone over what abuse is, and now she knows more than she did back then when she was just a teen.
As I said earlier though Mercy had a lot of bad luck. Her getting pregnant wasn’t bad luck, not if you ask her. Fresh out of high school she found out she was pregnant on a Tuesday when she had gone to buy some “poppers”, one of the inhalants street names, which is a type of inhalant she could use to get a quick high.
Later she got a positive pregnancy test and found that she was actually excited at the prospect of being a mother. Her boyfriend wasn’t so much.
When Mercy was about four months pregnant, her boyfriend got extremely angry at her and beat her up. That was when she lost the baby. After that, she was high all the time off of inhalants and realized she needed to get help, and that’s how we met.