It takes many weeks before Ishmael feels comfortable with the relief workers' refrain that these events are not his fault. What destructive beliefs had he become addicted to? What states of deprivation and euphoria had his body addicted to?
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Ishmael really thought he was a soldier fighting for something. I think all the nationalistic rhetoric he received in the jungle had become muddled in his brain. Much of it was filled with irony and defied logic. This combined with the fact that he was high much of the time made his motivations for fighting simply a way of life. Ishmael had become addicted to this life. He liked the power that he wielded with his gun. He liked the camaraderie he had and the respect he was given. Ishmael was addicted to the various substances that made him brave like Brown Brown, a mixture of gun powder and cocaine, and substances that made him forget. It is difficult to go from the highs and lows of battle, veins pulsating with narcotics to the calm and civility of a UNICEF camp for children. Ishmael is, however, able to de-program and live once again as a human being.