Rock Bottom: Myth Or Reality?

Cutting Wrapping Paper: A Metaphor For Heroin Use

Back in 2013, Twitter user Bryan Donaldson, a writer for the “Late Night with Seth Meyers” show as of 2016, tweeted about an epiphany he had regarding heroin addiction: “When you’re cutting wrapping paper and your scissors start to glide is what I imagine heroin feels like”. A user on another social media platform called Imgur posted screenshots from a texting conversation he had with two friends who had been addicted to heroin. After seeing Donaldson’s post, he sent the metaphor to his friends to see what their reaction was. What transpired was a perfect illustration of how heroin addiction can go from something as pleasurable as gliding scissors through wrapping paper to a sad, desperate, existence lacking in any kind of pleasure at all.

Man talking to group

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First, the friends explained that the initial intoxicating and seductive euphoria created by heroin goes far beyond Donaldson’s original metaphor. One friend says “Imagine that you have two pairs of the sharpest scissors in the world and you have a sheet of paper 300 yards long and you can just run and cut the paper with the scissors and once that paper is cut someone just takes a new piece of paper and stretches it out for you.” The Imgur users friends describe how, when a tolerance builds, that unyielding feeling of freedom quickly fades away. Suddenly, the scissors become dulled and they no longer glide through paper. All of the euphoria is gone. Now, the paper just rips. It is satisfying, but not as satisfying as it used to be. Then, the friend aptly describes what it is like when the brain can longer produce any feelings of pleasure from heroin. “So you go to leave the room and maybe find some scissor sharpeners except the door is locked. That’s heroin addiction.” As soon as there is no longer a way to reach that initial experience of euphoria and intoxication, that running with gliding scissors for yards on end, the addiction truly takes its hold. For anyone who hasn’t become chemically addicted to a powerful drug like heroin, it would seem that all the friends should have done was walked away from the drug, or as the metaphor would frame it, put down the scissors. Unfortunately, quitting an addiction is not so easy.

The paper, as the friends put it, are the symptoms of withdrawal and the cravings which come with it. Paper continues piling up, needing to be dealt with, i.e. cut with scissors. Continuously attempting to cut with the scissors results in dulling scissors, making it more and more difficult to get high. Yet, the paper keeps piling up. The cravings in heroin addiction do not stop. Nor does the belief that perhaps one day the scissors won’t be dull, and the paper won’t rip, but will glide like it did before. One of the friend aptly points out that heroin users can try to stop and may be successful at stopping for sometime. After abstinence, the hope for euphoria is strong due to the deep memory recall. Despite overdose, despite knowing that the heroin no longer creates the euphoria, despite knowing that the pleasure won’t be worth the pain, there is still that glimmer of addicted hope that it might be. Even if the scissors are dull, even if the paper is no more than a few inches long, the hope is worth it to someone addicted to heroin. Then comes the addicted thinking. “I’ll only cut a little paper today, and definitely none for at least a couple days after.” “The paper won’t pile up like last time.” These justifications lead men who are addicted to heroin back to the drug over and over again. “So you pick up the scissors”, explains the friend.

portration of broken mind

Read the next part: More Than Scissors And Wrapping Paper: Heroin Addiction And The Brain

Recovery for men needs to be mind, body, and spirit. At Tree House Recovery we are building men from the ground up with sustainable changes to create a sustainable recovery. Call us today for information on our treatment programs and how we can help you find freedom from addiction:  (855) 202-2138

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