Today’s topic is my views on drugs and alcohol. As a recovering addict, this is a topic dear to my heart, though my thoughts on it may surprise you. Well, not so much if you’ve read my blog…
I am a recovering drug addict. I started doing drugs in high school, through college, and into my early twenties. I’ve been sober since my 22nd birthday. I’m glad I’m sober now, and proud of the fact I am, but I would do it all again if I had life to do over. Being an addict shaped who I am today, and I can’t imagine what life would be like if I hadn’t had that experience.
I’m not condoning drug use, it is a horrible road for people to travel down. I was fortunate enough to refrain from any drugs I couldn’t kick the habit of, but others aren’t so lucky. I stuck to the easier things, cocaine, weed, pills, ecstasy, and acid. I never did any drugs that had to be injected (I hate needles). But I was definitely an addict of the things I did do.
Being an addict taught me a lot of life’s lessons, both good and bad. It taught me who my real friends are. It taught me how to prioritize my life’s needs versus my wants. It taught me the consequences of my decisions. It taught me loss. It taught me to reflect on myself rather than the peer pressure of others. Being an addict shaped who I am today, nearly sixteen years later.
I am not a prude about it though. Every person has a different journey to take, and if drugs teach you a few lessons, so be it. Being anti-drugs is not the answer to keeping people off of them. If someone wants to do them, they will. No amount of shaming or guilt will stop them. As far as getting an addict to stop, they have to want to, if they are forced or told they need to, they are not going to stop using until THEY want to. It has to be their decision.
After becoming sober, I watched my brother go through the same struggles. But that was his life and his journey. I think we both came out of it okay. I was supportive in his struggle with addiction, but I did not fuel his fire. He’s been sober a few years now.
I wasn’t much for drinking before I was legal. My dad drank everyday of my childhood. He wasn’t mean or abusive or anything, but he also wasn’t really there for us. He worked, came home and drank beer until he passed out most nights. That wasn’t who I wanted to be.
Sure, like all kids, I tried it a few times…sneaking a beer from my dad, or having a drink at a party, but nothing major. I didn’t really start drinking until I went to college, I drank a lot in college. A LOT. Had I not, I might have graduated. After dropping out, I didn’t drink much again until I was legally old enough to do so.
When I was 21, I started working at a bar. I was a young, skinny, drug addicted, pretty boy. I drank a lot because I could. A lot of older guys bought me drinks, thinking that would get them somewhere. I never spent much money on alcohol, I had a drug addiction to feed after all.
After drug rehab, I still drank, I thought “I quit drugs, drinking and cigarettes are all I have left”. I worked at that bar for eight years, until it changed hands and was no longer the place I loved. I frequented other bars after that, even worked in another as the DJ.
About four years ago, we had a bad experience one night at the bar. Though neither of us drank much, we blacked out. I don’t remember getting home, I don’t remember much about the entire evening. Things were lost, fights were had, and friends were concerned enough to have to check on us for a day or so afterwards. I haven’t drank much since then. By choice.
Drugs and alcohol can ruin your life, but it can also teach you life lessons. Again, I’m not condoning the use of drugs or alcohol, but sometimes people need to hit rock bottom before they can pick themselves up and grow as a person. Every person has their own journey in life.
Tomorrow’s topic: my views on religion