It’s no secret now a day that Samuel Taylor Coleridge frequently went to the medicine cabinet for his fix of opium. He suffered from neuralgic and rheumatic pains, allowing him to go to his doctor and ask for something to ease his suffering and TA DA! He now has access to opium. Although Coleridge tried to hide his addiction from his family and friends he could no longer after a published book called Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey reviled him as an opium addict. Many say that he would take opium to better able himself to become lucid in his dreams, therefore making better poetry and having “clearer images and thoughts”. It was also said because of this that the birth of one of his famous poems, “Kubla Khan” was created. But the poem was only a fragment of the vision he had seen due to a visitor coming and disturbing his sleep, allowing him to not fully remember everything he had “saw”.
Now some of you may be wondering what exactly is opium and what does it do to you and your mind? Opium is a naturally occurring substance found in the seeds of a plant called Papaver Somniferum (Opium Poppy). Opium itself is a combination of different chemicals, one of the most popular being morphine. You may better know opium as “O.P.", "hop", "midnight oil", or the "Big O", traditionally though opium is known as the "dream stick". Now in modern era some say you can take opium seeds and use them to create heroin. Others believe that they are an ancient remedy to heal inflammation and curb pain. Both are true on how opium has been used in past and present. Opium is a stimulant narcotic meaning it can be highly addictive and those who use on a regular basis may become addicted and grow a tolerance for the drug, allowing them to take it in higher doses. This is what happened to Coleridge since his physician allowed him to pretty much have card blanc on the drug. The addiction to opium caused Coleridge to destroy his relationship with his wife and loose a friendship between him and fellow poet William Wordsworth. Later in 1813 Coleridge had enough and sought help to free him from the grip opium held on him and became clean with the help of Dr. James Gillman.
This is the Opium Poppy, the seeds from this plant can be used to create the drug opium.
If you feel you may be addicted to opium you can click the link below to help understand the addiction and where to get help. Am I an opium addict?