"Smacked"

29 06 06

Melinda Ferguson, a South African journalist/author recently wrote “Smacked”, about her addiction to heroin and crack, and her continuing recovery from it. Her book was fascinating – both because it was so supremely removed from my reality and realm of possibility, and because much of it was set in Hillbrow, a place barely 20 minutes from where I live – a universe away! It made me think that if ever I wanted to teach my future children about drugs, this would be my education tool.

At the end of the book she writes: “As the chapters gather, ‘should I be doing this?’ still haunts me. ‘What will people think of me? What will my sons say one day when they read it? Will they hate me? Is it gratuitous, egotistical? Should I be doing this?’ I keep asking myself while my fingers tap-tap the keyboard as though propelled by something deeper.”

It was a question I asked throughout the book. How *will* her sons cope with reading how their mother prostituted herself, stole from everyone she knew, and became more wretched than a starving animal? How will they love her knowing that for a period in time, they meant less to her than a 10-second heroin high did? The anger must be blinding. And devastating. Why did she write this book? Did she do it for the money? Is it the only way she can stay clean? Does beating addiction make you as selfish as being an uncontrolled addict?

I wonder about the human capacity to forgive.