A couple of days ago I had the good fortune to find and read a well written, descriptive blog post about amphetamine use.
For reasons that I can’t explain or even understand, for all of my adult life I have found myself involved with people who use a host of recreational drugs. Some of those people are dead now, several of them from drug-related causes such as brain haemorrhage, overdose and organ failure. I have never had the desire to use drugs (I even have an aversion to prescribed medication) although I smoked cannabis for a short while when I was at art college, but the fascination expired after a few months, because I don’t like not being in full control of my actions or emotions. I have a strong sense of self, and even half a glass of wine makes me feel as if I have mislaid the person I am, so after the initial weirdness of changing into peculiar clothes in order to parade myself around a room full of people, thinking I am the funniest person who ever lived, while I talk loudly, laugh raucously and perhaps fall over a couple of times, I get a rush of self-loathing and shame.
I tend to be well-accepted in drug circles, partly because many assume that if I don’t do drugs now, I must have in the past, or why would I be the way that I am? I’ve no idea how I give that impression.
At a mixed age-group party I attended once, where nearly everyone was doing MDMA or methadrone or Ketamin, I was staring worriedly at the K. holed girl who, sliding from the chair sideways, as she drooled, made barely comprehensible sounds, started rolling a cigarette and then forgot about it, dropping tobacco all over the floor, all the while looking as if her dearest wish was to die and be released from her misery.
I suggested that the best place for her would be bed, and the response of the people surrounding us was a resounding “No! She’s having a really good time!”
Afterwards, according to her recollection, she had indeed been enjoying herself. Ketamin, is a peculiar drug that draws you inside yourself, so that what shows on the outside may be the opposite of what is happening in the brain.
Although I could see that MDMA, Cocaine, and Speed made some people feel good, I couldn’t really understand why they would risk their future for it, or why they would do something which may erase the true colour and beauty from their everyday lives, because that’s what happens in effect. The more Amphetamines you do,the duller you feel when you’re not doing them. You reach the point where your social life consists of getting wasted together, so though you may be hedonistically throwing yourselves into having fun, surely each of you is standing alone in a puddle of your own unreality, because how can you meaningfully interact with another if you are off your face?
Sirena’s post clarified the point that I have been millimetres away from fully understanding for years. Even though I talked about it, the words came only from my mouth: I didn’t feel them inside me. Most people who become fully entrenched in the drug scene gave up long ago on the any hope that they would achieve the feeling of belonging that we all strive for. That’s why they are doing drugs. It may not be perfect, but at least it is a bright and glittering escape from a world where so many feel disenfranchised by the adverts and images of others who appear to have perfect lives full of friends who love them, interests which absorb them and enough money for all they desire in this materialistic world.
At the same time, heads of nations are poking and prodding each other, their countrymen are taking up arms against each other, Governments are shouting about terrorist threats to distract us while they subversively pass laws which damage us, and nobody’s doing much about cleaning up our beautiful planet, although plenty of good people are trying hard.
We should be banding together to destroy this system of inequality, but we don’t feel able and we don’t know how, and it’s not our fault because MONEY (in capital letters) is power and those of us who want to see positive change haven’t got either of those things.
Addiction to drugs is an illness in itself, but more than that it is a symptom of an illness which already existed in the body, an illness which if cared for may have stayed latent or even been cured. We don’t look after our world, our country or our children, not because we don’t care, or can’t be bothered, but we don’t feel able and we don’t know how.
The resources are not available, in other words, not enough money is spent on the problem.
I was growing up when the hippy movement was in full swing. It’s true that it got a bit messy for a lot of people in the end, and it’s true that that generation was hedonistic too, but at least they felt empowered to stand up for the things they believed in. They didn’t achieve multi-lateral or even uni-lateral nuclear disarmament, but they were optimistic and they took drugs at least partly because they believed that it broadened the perceptions, rather than to kill the pain.
Succeeding generations have had those feelings of empowerment and optimism taken away from them by powers that aren’t interested enough in their well-being.
So they take drugs, and they feel good for a while.
And we can’t help them, because we don’t feel able and we don’t know how.
I would like to thank Sirenaross for her post at a time when I was most in need of it.