By Akriti Niti Guha
The story of my substance abuse goes back to when I was 17 years. I struggled to cope with my self-destructive patterns for almost eight years after that. There were countless rehab attempts and relapses. I lost many of my childhood friends. That’s when I decided that I had had enough.
To be honest, it was a difficult and confusing time. Like most addicts, I felt alone and felt like I had no one to talk to. I was in a job that I hated. I had started experimenting with psychoactive drugs like MDMA and Mephodrones. I had lost all track of time and money. It got to a point where I lost 13 kilos in about 2 months and started getting terrible nose-bleeds and my health was taking a turn for the worse.
I was shaken. Then, I decided to abstain. This time, I wanted to do things on my own. I had never, in the past, had success in abstaining from hard drugs without professional help. But I took the decision to stop harming myself. This was in no small part due to the support and care of my partner and my family.
I quit the job I loathed. At the same time, I started focusing on things I was passionate about. Art was one of those things. I taught myself the basics of graphic design through online tutorials. Things were moving forward in my life. However, I couldn’t get rid of the constant fear that I’d fail again and relapse.
It was around then that time I found myself on the internet and social media, looking at cat videos for hours and was taken back to my childhood and how I felt playing and caring for tiny furrballs. I had always had cats and dogs growing up and knew for a fact that having a pet is such a fulfilling feeling. Yet, I was scared and not just because I was getting two lives home but because I could hardly take care of myself, let alone two kittens! My partner and I discussed it and decided we’d see this through.
I still remember the date that I adopted my cats, Yoda and Storm. It was the 6th of November, 2015 and that day was a red-letter day in my life. Since the very first day that they came home, my cats became my first priority. I started taking a deep interest in their behavioural patterns. I was making sure that they got the right nutrition and medical care.
I found myself understanding and loving them unconditionally. Yes, even when they would break my favourite (and expensive) lamp.
Adopting a cat is a lifetime commitment, but it so worth the payoffs that you get. These are just a few of the things that my cats have taught me:
- I learnt about Unconditional love: My cats never cared about what happened in my past or that I was an addict. They loved me unconditionally from the day they came home and still do. I never imagined having a healthy, loving relationship ever but here I am, with Storm purring on my lap while writing this.
- I started laughing and loving life: My cats taught me how to have fun, enjoy life and the moment as it comes. Gradually my family and friends became a part of my life again. Yoda and Storm spread happiness, laughter and cat hair everywhere they go!
- I became more responsible: I had lived most of my life in and out of home, and crashing at different friends places. The past three years, Yoda & Storm taught me how to adult. They are my motivation to keep fostering and to keep helping the cat community in any way I can. They also helped me maintain a routine and gave me the discipline I lacked. That helped my recovery the most.
- My stress levels started to decrease: Whenever I had a bad day and felt hopeless and down, I’d go home and Yoda & Storm would sit on my lap, purr and head butt me, I’d pet them and give them chin rubs for hours and suddenly, I’d feel like I can take on whatever it was which was bothering me.
Adopting a cat isn’t for everyone so go through it only if you’re up for that kind of responsibility and commitment. Adopting Yoda & Storm changed my life completely. It’s been 3 years now that they have been by my side on my best/worst days and on some days are my sole motivation to never give up.
The cat who ate the newspaper! The adorable Storm is stopping the humans from being updated on the latest goings-on.
If you would like to share a bond like ours and would like to adopt or foster tiny cats, you can get in touch with this online forum to adopt/foster cats.
Fans of Cats, Delhi : https://www.facebook.com/groups/850715891625822