A topic that is rarely a discussion. Something that brings on tons of paranoia by just being a topic of conversation, never mind when actually in use (being used).
When I was a younger man, a teenager, so perhaps could call myself either an older boy or a younger man. When I was a teenager I was a drug user. I would always be the first to defend my own drug use, as this is part of being a drug user. I also would have been an advocate for the harmless nature of mild drug use. There were things I might say like,
“It is natural from a plant and so it cannot be too harmful”.
“Many people could do with getting high as it may unwind them a little bit. Too many people up tight and need such a release”.
A couple of lines I believe I have used back in the day. I am not a teenager any more nor am I a drug user any more. Is this maturity? Is this a natural passing of time and course of life?
I would have to suppose so as there are many people I have heard say things like “oh no, not since college” or “remember those days, OMG not now”.
Perhaps it is a normal run of events to have had a little dabble back in the younger years.
What about now though?
What are the differences in those who have continued drug use and those who have not? What are the differences between those who do use drugs and those who do not? What if any are the differences for the teenagers now and those of when I was younger?
Today in 2020 it is definitely a much different time as to when I was a teenager through the late 80’s and early 90’s.
I see that the youth of today are in a completely different time and perhaps have tougher times than how it was for me.
There is also a different element present today that involves how the youth are more open with each other.
The reasons I am no longer a drug user are quite simple. This day 27 years ago, I was escorted by police to a “treatment facility” for teens. Yup handcuffed and escorted from a prison cell to a facility where there were a handful of other teenage boys, all of whom were there to give up drugs and a messy lifestyle.
The rules of that facility were simple ; No drugs & No fighting.
2 simple rules, that was that.
I benefitted from group therapy, one to one therapy, lessons on the affects of drug use. Attending Narcotics anonymous meetings was a weekly occurance and an all round vibe of the house was getting to know one’s self from the inside out and the outside in.
As I look back, I can remember it was not an easy time in life. The element of being incarcerated was always hanging over one’s head at the time. There were many restrictions upon those of us living at / in the facility at that time.
Screw the fairy tale of how nice and great the place was though.
Let’s chat about the actual drugs for a minute.
Why do we use them?
What is it we think / believe is going to become better by using them?
How can they become so immediately addictive?
What piece of ourselves do we find unworthy and try to chase it away with an occasional high?
Interesting questions really.
Let us think about why we might use some form of drug or another.
What may be referred to as “recreational drug use”. A drug is a drug. We take prescription drugs to help our body repair sometimes. The drugs I am talking about are those that bring about some form of change inside of our minds. The so called “mood altering or mind altering” drugs.
What is the mind set or mood that we wish to alter?
We could say “oh my life is shit” so this could be a mood that we wish to alter and so for this reason we reach for some form of “high” to escape the feeling of feeling shit.
We could have enormous pain inside of our emotional self that we have never been clear about (nobody ever took any time to teach us about our emotions) again a reason for us to chase away the feelings by altering our mood. So we reach for some drugs and chase the feelings away and we get high.
Of course there is the cycle of events that takes place while using drugs,
1. Feel like shit.
2. Use drugs to escape the feeling.
3. Get high and feel some “fake feelings” of happy and wonderful.
4. Come back down from the high and return to feeling shit.
5. Return to a new low or perhaps even lower as the come down can leave one feeling much worse than before the drug use.
6. Get high again to escape the shit feeling.
7. Rinse repeat and there we have a continuous drug use habit formed as we wish to stay high as often as possible.
The points above are to make an attempt to show how if we never began the drug use in the first place we may have had a chance of never feeling like, worse. And to show how easy the cycle is to fall in to.
I have only mentioned an example of making attempts to escape one’s feelings. Which in turn raises a question for me,
What is it about our feelings that are so strange and unusual and scary?
Why do we wish to “escape”?
Ah yes it would be great if I had a magic answer for you right about here. I do not.
I believe by investigating inside of ourselves is the only way to begin on a path away from drug use. As we are all different and we all carry different pains and traumas, it is impossible for me to say there is a one size fits all fix or repair to changing a drug use habit.
What I do know, is that escaping from our feelings is always and only ever a temporary thing. We can stuff our feelings away and bury them, though only ever for a while. They always resurface and we then can feel forced to deal with them. What happens if we continue to stuff a bin liner and keep on stuffing the bin line bag with shit & rubbish? Yup it eventually bursts along the seam and shit starts leaking out from the sides of it. Perhaps we could do this inside of our own kitchen and then we have a mess to clean up as rubbish has spilled out of the bin liner and all over the floor. This is kind of similar to how feelings and emotions begin to leak out sideways from us. The feelings we have been stuffing and trying to escape from with our drug use, they begin to spill out sideways too. Possibly in a cranky outburst of nasty talk to people who we have no real reason to try and hurt. Sometimes it could be through violent reactions to others. The simplest aspect of the cycle of drug use can be the turning the nastiness on ourselves. Inflict more self hate onto ourselves by tricking ourselves into believing that if we take more drugs and stay high more often, then we can escape all of the time. Which as mentioned above can mean we go into a worse place when we finally come down from the high. So in a round about way, we know inside of ourselves that if we want to hurt even more, we use drugs for a temporary high and then we return to feeling even more shit and quite often angry. Anger is one of those emotions that can form out of nowhere and is said to be the go to emotion when we have stuffed and stuffed and escaped and escaped all of the time. A bitter feeling of anger can become the default emotion of our life.
We may not like to feel angry and bitter so we convince ourselves to get high again to escape it.
Weird though a simple cycle of events.
We as adults now are fully aware that the high is only temporary. We are also aware that there is more pain and feelings of not feeling too good afterwards. So why would we do such things as get high?
I have a firm believe that if a person is totally functioning and has a good attitude in life and they are a drug user, then my question to you if this is somebody you are. Can you imagine how absolutely great you could be should the drug use be removed?
I guess knowing the high is always only temporary, we are looking to escape for a little while. We are looking for a high to take away whatever is going on inside of ourselves. And we know it is only temporary.
Begin to look for new ways of finding temporary high moments in life. Can this be so awful?
We can build a new habit (should we need habits to continue on a path). A new habit of finding nice things from life. The air we breathe, the trees and the flowers of nature. A beautiful sunset or sunrise. Any moment where we are happy to be alive. For a beginning we will only need little moments. Many people use things like yoga or meditation to bring themselves to a moment. A moment in our lives to pause and enjoy the whole and actual part of who we are. A moment of peace, a moment to where we no longer wish to escape. A moment where we begin to feel stable and steady and happy to be.
For me it is perhaps a little easier as I have been practising such things on and off for over 27 years now.
When I add to those 27 years some 9 years of dealing with trauma and very deep and hurtful pains, I perhaps have developed a deeper habit of using moments of happiness as a way not to escape life. A way in which to feel alive, very alive. A way in which to be in full presence in my life, emotionally and mindfully.
It is from simple steps of staying focused on why I may feel one way or another. Understanding that any shift from a substance would only be temporary and understanding that it is the emotions and feelings that are so beautiful and precious, it is from these understandings that I have remained drug free.
There are silver linings to all kinds of grey clouds in our lives. There are ways in which we can begin to feel okay. For me it is a beautiful thing to be able to be emotional and to be able to feel anything at all. Sometimes it can be pain and hurtful feelings. These too I now embrace as I am grateful to be able to feel and when I feel anything I know I am alive. This feeling of feeling alive is far superior or much nicer than any feeling I have ever had from “being high”.
So the formula is simple.
Life, feel life, feel authentic, feel feelings no matter be they good feelings or bad feelings. They are all only feelings and they continue to come and go.
Remember how I began and I mentioned how the drug use topic of conversation can bring about paranoia?
If you think I am talking to you directly inside of this blog post, that is the paranoia I was talking about. When we use drugs the paranoia tends to come on a little stronger too.
There is a way in life to be drug free. It is not all a bed of roses though, for me I have found it is a much more tasteful and enriching way to be.
I could use more examples and tell you many many stories of great things and some not so great things. I think at this point, I have said enough.
Just like train spotting says.
SHARE, COMMENT, RETWEET