Own a Home AND be a Junky?!

the-needle1
“Her one true love… the needle” – Did they write this about me?

I’ve had a distinct lack of inspiration or motivation lately.  It’s been hard for me to think about topics to write that aren’t for work. My heart just hasn’t been into it. It made me ask the question, “Why?”. Do I have nothing to say? That’s not true. I’m always ready and willing to talk to people about most aspects of my life. And being that this a blog that basically chronicles my life, I should have no problem there. Has nothing happened that’s been interesting in the past month or so? Maybe writing about my job search or house maintenance projects just ain’t that exciting. Am I not ready to face people, electronically or IRL, since I have yet to fulfill on my commitment and quit narcotics (if only for a short period of time) like I keep promising. That might be part of it. I’m sick of solely talking about drugs within the limited context of “quitting”. Yes, I’ve said I’m going to quit a thousand times. No, I have not succeeded for longer than 30 days at a time. And honestly, I’m okay with that. But it’s not what the rest of the world wants for me, or what society says a good, well-adjusted person should want for themselves.

Let me back track a few statements. No, I am not okay with that. I do want to be able to go a significant amount of time without junk. I want to be able to take trips and not have to worry about traveling dirty. I want my track marks to fade and not be so obvious to anyone that sees me in a short sleeve shirt. I want to have control over the substances I take the same way I have control over what food I eat. I said last night, I want to cut down on red meat consumption. No more than 1x per week. And I fully plan on realizing that goal without any grief or hardship or personal mourning. I want to have that same type of control over drugs. I was a vegetarian for over 14 years. I woke up one day and said, “I’m not eating meat anymore”. And that was that. I never looked back, I never struggled with it. Once my mind was set one way, that’s just the way things were. So why can’t I have that same type of control when it comes to recreational substances? I believe that in the long term, after much discipline, self-awareness and some abstinence, that I can successfully execute that type of control. However, I do believe that the only way I can make that type of self-control a reality is by cutting my DoC’s out entirely for a while and kicking the physical dependency. All the while reformatting my brain to not be so weak and susceptible to triggers. I need to know that I can have a craving, not succumb to it, and be completely okay. Not taking a hit every 2-4 hours is not going to kill me. Neither is not taking a hit for a week or a month or more.

I know that is not what they teach you in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Total abstinence is the only way. Once and addict always and addict and so forth. And I believe that to be true as well, to some extent. But just because you can become addicted, or maybe are more prone to addiction than your neighbor, does not mean that it can’t be controlled. Why would I agree to quit something for the rest of my life, when I personally find no problem in the act of taking drugs responsibly, enjoy the high, have no negative preconceived notions about drug use, drug users, or culture? I do not believe that in my life personally, drug use equates to automatic failure. I can be a completely productive member of society, hold a well-paying job, maintain balanced relationships and still be a daily heroin user. I believe many people can. Unfortunately, the negative attitude of society on IV drugs users pigeonholes many people.

 

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Drug users and non-drug users alike believe that the two worlds are not compatible. I can’t hold a good job and be a junky. I’m unfit to be a parent and use drugs. I can’t associate with non-drug using peers, they will feel I am inferior. To a point that last one can be true for many relationships with those that don’t understand drug use. But that does not make it true. In no known universe does not taking drugs equate to superiority.  But it is such a commonly held belief that many drug users believe it themselves, leading to an extremely high percentage of low self-esteem among drug users, especially “hard drug” users. Why? Because that’s what they were taught to believe? Would self-esteem be such a prevalent issue among drug users if that concept wasn’t ground into us at such a young age from all corners of life? Would people be as likely to fall into crime if we were taught that you could hold a steady job, be a professional employee, a good parent and be a recreational drug user?

I have found no reason (beyond unfounded stereotyping and uneducated criticism from the outside world) that myself, or anyone else can’t live a completely normal and successful life, and happen to take IV drugs at the same time. I was a walking example of that success. Held a great paying job. Bought my first home on the beach in Los Angeles. Had all the little luxuries of life and had a daily heroin habit for many years. It wasn’t until I reintroduced meth into the picture that my world came tumbling down. I’m not naive enough believe that any extent of drug abuse is manageable. And therein lies the problem. Where can you draw the line between manageable and unmanageable? That answer is going to differ from individual to individual. And unfortunately, any of us who want to play the role of “lifelong drug user” are going to be faced (probably repeatedly) with this dilemma. Especially when you are dealing with drugs like meth, because they have a tendency to sneak up on you and take over your whole life before you realize what’s happening. And by then, you may have a very big hole to dig yourself out of.

I was recently struck by a very bizarre comment from a friend of mine that I would have never anticipated in a billion years. Until the past Quit Heroinyear or so, when my drug use was leaked across the entire internet, and coast to coast to my family and friends, I remained extremely secretive and closeted about heroin, and IV use in general. Unfortunately, I had already fucked my life up so bad with meth, that most everybody knew I had had a problem with that for a number of years. But I had put it in my past and hadn’t touched it for 7 years. When I picked it back up again, it was with the extremely naive belief that this time I knew what it could do and I would be strong enough to avoid its pitfalls, and still use daily. Boy was I wrong. I lost my job, my house, many friends and caused my family a great deal of pain and anguish. I have since cut meth out, and never plan on using daily again. Immediately my life started turning around. I felt healthier. I was being more productive. I put on weight. Things started generally going the way I designed them. Since this all went down, I came out to an old friend about my heroin addiction. To my absolute shock, he pretty much called me a liar. I couldn’t be addicted to heroin, especially to extent that I use, and still be that put together. Real junkies don’t own homes and have good jobs. All of this was through text message mind you. When I first received that text, I literally didn’t understand what I was reading. Why would I lie about something like that? And why would someone doubt me? I texted him back for verification that what I was reading was actually what he meant. It was. At first I turned defensive, thinking things like “I can’t believe that you would call me a liar after I had the courage to tell you”. But to his points, all of the bad things he was pointing out had actually happened to me in the last year.

Although I do contribute most of those failures to meth, balancing a life style of 2 hard core IV drugs is going to take its toll on your life no matter what they are. So I can’t say it was entirely meth’s fault and heroin had nothing to do with it. That would foolish. I shot back some text outlining all of those bad things that had happened to me, some of which he hadn’t known about until then.

But I’m kinda sorry that I reacted that way. Mainly because it contradicts the point I am trying to make in my life, and what I believe can be true for many drug users. That you can achieve that balanced life and you aren’t doomed for life on the streets just because you’re a junky. I should have taken it as a compliment I suppose that I was able to lead a life that most people would never recognize as one of a junkies. At least for a while anyway. Who knows what direction my life would have turned, or what misfortunes I could have avoided if I had stuck to heroin and hadn’t touched meth again. It’s pointless to speculate. Maybe all of this would have happened eventually, but be spaced out over many years, rather than a Babylonian downfall. Meth has a tendency to expedite things like that 😉

But back to my original thought. Yes, I want to have better control of this drug. Any amount of control at this point. And I recognize that abstinence is the only way to gain enough separation to look at this situation through clear eyes. So like most drug users at some point throughout their drug using career, I have been struggling with “quitting”. Which is really more like “abstaining for a while” in my situation. And once again, I’m taking on the challenge next week of not using for 14 days. But since quitting is not the end goal here, I’m refusing to address it as such during this break. That would imply some sense of failure if and when I return to a more moderate intake.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to continue blogging. Maybe furthering my depth of topics and addressing other current topics of interest – like the fact that Phish is playing Jazz Fest this year, and I’ve got plans to see both Mike Gordan and Trey this spring/summer!

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