The Basketball Diaries

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Russell Brand once said, The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope. In the movie The Basketball Diaries, Jim Carroll, Mickey, and Pedro suffered from substance use disorder, which later on interfered with their daily lives.

Jim Carroll and his friends were passionate about basketball. Basketball was their extrinsic motivation to be better students, until they began to inhale carbonic cleaning fluid from rags to get high, which led to curiosity with other dangerous drugs. Jim and his friends who were around the age of sixteen and seventeen roamed the streets of New York City living up to the standards of being rebels. Moreover, Jim's friend Neutron invited Jim to spend the night with two older girls. The girl that Jim was with persuaded him to take a sniff of cocaine, and after that one sniff Jim began to crave the feeling of being high. Jim started to search his cabinets for medications to send him back to the sensation of being high.

Jim had a friend who was battling leukemia and at a young age you can imagine how angry and hurt you are that your friends life is at risk. They played basketball together, and they hung out together (everyday). Having a loved one whose life is at risk can cause a psychological disorder, which in Jim's case it did and the way he coped with it was through drugs, such as heroin, pills, and cocaine. In the movie, Jim was told If you are going to sniff it, you might as well pop it, if you are going to pop it, you might as well mainline it. Jim referred to heroin as a long heatwave through his body. Any ache or sadness or guilty feeling was completely flushed out. Majority of people who do drugs are dealing with an abundant amount of pain, sadness, or guilt, which provoke them to look for ways to numb themselves (mentally and emotionally). Jim had a diary he would write in almost everyday, he wrote about how heroin started off as a Saturday night thing to make you feel cool, like a gangster or a rockstar. Jim continued to describe that it felt so good, you start doing it on Tuesday and then Thursday. Then it's got you. Every wise punk on the block says it won't happen to them, but it does. The voice is always there in your head.. Just one more, then I'll stop. But you can't.

Jim began to go through a stage called drug dependence, which means that an individual feels a compulsive need to continue taking a drug. As you may know, drugs have a way of manipulating the mind into doing things and saying things that a person would not normally do or say when they are not under the influence. A person might experience pharmacological violence and as well as economically compulsive violence, which is what Jim and his friends went through. They broke into restaurants, they robbed people, and they also hijacked cars in order to sell them to buy more drugs. They were kicked off the basketball team, they dropped out of school, and Jim was also kicked out of his home by his mother because it broke her heart to see her son on drugs, he was a completely different person. Jim's mom was more disappointed and hurt than angry.

In fact, Jim became the person he and his friends taunted and pitied. Later on in the movie, Diane who was a prostitute and who also did drugs ran into Jim while she was completely sober. He asked Diane if he could borrow money to buy drugs and the conversation ended with Diane calling him a junkie and making other comments about the way he was living. People would look at Jim and his friends with eyes of hopelessness. There was a guy named Reggie who was much older than Jim that struggled with substance abuse when he was Jim's age. He used to play basketball with Jim every once in a while before Jim started using drugs. One day he found Jim outside on the basketball court freezing to death because he had overdosed. Reggie carried him inside his house to help him get sober because he remembered what it was like to be in that situation. Jim began experiencing withdrawals that were extremely crucial. Jim did not last very long in the sober state of mind once Reggie went to work, Jim's anxiety arose and he started to search for drugs again. He went over to his mom's house begging her for money, and his mom was in tears while listening to her son plead for money. She ended up calling the cops on her son, and it was the best choice she made because he ended up coming out of jail with a better mindset.

The movie The Basketball Diaries was much more different from any other Hollywood movie because the lives of the addicts in the movie were accurate in comparison to reality. In the movie, people who struggled with substance use disorder conveyed how drugs not only affect the person taking it, but also your social life, your family, and your academics. Normally if I watched a movie with actors taking drugs or selling drugs, they make them look healthy, wealthy, and living the life. The Basketball Diaries informed us in great detail that if you become hooked on drugs, you are more likely to find yourself living homeless on the streets, and looking less and less human. The scenes that were the hardest to watch were the withdrawal scenes because you get an insight on how destructive drugs can be, psychologically, physically, and mentally. This movie so clearly and honestly conveys to you how and where drug addiction can take you, how nothing else matters to you apart from getting high. Watching this movie enlightened me on a whole other perspective, it is not just about a drug addiction or a drug addict. The movie informs beyond that aspect. You start to sympathize towards people who have substance abuse disorder because it is an attachment that is not the easiest to control or get rid of. Most of the time, drug addicts start off with trials and tribulations that are extremely too toxic and depressing for them to go through, sober. I thought about how being a drug addict can happen to anyone, I could have easily drawn myself towards drugs in my most depressing moments of my life. We all take different paths, others may not turn to drugs when they are depressed, or feel guilty but that does not mean it is not likely for you or someone you may know to turn to drugs. Substance use disorder should be treated the same as any other mental illness.

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The basketball diaries. (2019, Dec 31). Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from

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