Within my social circle, I have a hard time distinguishing those who are drug users from those who are drug abusers, which of us are self-medicating and which of us may be self-medicating just a little too much. Is there a healthy amount of drug ab/use to be expected in your early 20s?
My mother believes me to be an alcoholic because I keep booze in my apartment. I’ve been around alcoholics, and the defining feature of their homes is not squalor but an abundance of liquor vessels – always empty. No half-full bottles of vodka in the freezer, no skunked beer on the coffee table. Any drop that enters is consumed and forgotten. Having wine on the counter and beer in the fridge is just an expected part of a 20-something’s apartment, at least the ones that belong to the people that I know. I do have a few friends who never drink and never have, but they generally aren’t much fun to be around even during sober outings. Drinking after a long day seems perfectly normal, and getting drunk on a Tuesday afternoon is just the way to pass your time. Alcohol helps.
Cocaine has helped too, making me feel social enough to go out and meet people after breakups and cross-continental moves. Ecstasy and MDMA have allowed me to relate and connect with friends, old and new, when I felt incredibly isolated. Mushrooms, LSD and Ketamine made me laugh and marvel at the wonderful world around me when everything seemed dull and broken. Painkillers numb; they numb everything.
I don’t suffer from any physical withdrawal. I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t developed any dependencies, except for nicotine and caffeine – ye olde baby addictions. I’m careful to rotate substance types regularly – uppers followed by opiates followed by a day of hallucinogens and so on. This is my way of mismanaging stress. Lucky for me, no one stages interventions for gurls who get so high they can’t see on a biweekly basis. It’s always easy to find an excuse – a birthday, a raise, a friend’s hard day. I’m never alone. I always have someone to join me in adventures of insufflation and inhalation. If those with whom I’m using notice my interest in getting fucked up waxes while my mood wanes, they’ve had the good graces not to mention it. After all, I don’t call them out either.
Read the rest of the article in the Winter Issue here.