Drugs or Me: A Personal Story of the Perils of Drug Use

drugsDrugs have been glamorized in the media for as long as we can remember. Actors and musicians alike make drugs look like a creativity outlet while our youth cling on to that notion while so desperately wanting to be considered special in the eyes of others. We hear it all the time in the news – another beloved celebrity dies from an overdose and we mourn their loss with the same sentiments: “What a shame,” “How sad,” “I loved him/her so much,” “He/she was so talented,” and “What a waste.” If you read about these stories online, you’re no stranger to the long stream of mixed reviews of drug use in the comments. Some vehemently defend the use of drugs while others fight against the tide to prove the inevitable truth – our beloved entertainers are gone forever. The cause: drug use. Now, imagine knowing somebody personally who used drugs. When it plays out in your own life, it hurts more than watching a story unfold on the news for 30 seconds.

My last relationship was a big old mess. Looking back, I never realized what a trainwreck I got myself into. At the time, I blamed myself for everything and deep down, I still feel like he did too. I’ve always been anti-drug, and when my ex-boyfriend started smoking pot, I was furious and to be quite honest, hurt – especially after he knew how I felt about it. I learned early on that love is not enough to stop someone’s reckless behavior. Now, some of you may be sitting there saying that marijuana is nothing. It’s “recreational” and as of last month, legal in some parts of the world. But legal or not, I personally don’t give a shit. I’ve seen firsthand what it does to people and I am not a fan. Weed is a gateway drug. After learning you can handle it, you move on to heavier things – at least, that’s what my ex did.

One night during our relationship, I was woken up to the sound of my phone ringing. I picked it up. It was around 1:30 a.m. It was him and he sounded scared so naturally I freaked out. He was in college in Florida at the time and I was still in New York. I had intended on moving to Florida to be with him, but luckily God stopped that one from happening. He told me he and his roommate were tripping on acid and he felt like he was going to die. I didn’t know what to think. Should I call 911? I don’t handle things like that very well, so naturally I freaked out and tried not to throw up. I stayed on the phone with him for over an hour until finally he told me he felt better. By then he kept telling me he saw unicorns and other crazy things, so me being relieved he didn’t OD, actually started laughing with him. He told me to try to get some sleep so we hung up, but I left my phone on, just in case. Little did I know, that was only the beginning to a very long, confusing and treacherous night.

He called back 30 minutes later, screaming and freaking out. I thought, “What now?” I had no idea what he was saying, as everything coming out of his mouth was unintelligible but I stayed on the phone with him anyway because he told me it made him feel better. When I asked him why he would be so stupid as to take acid, he responded, “Because life is an experiment. I have to have some fun otherwise, I’ll die.” This, to me, was a giant kick in the rear. As if to say I was the one causing him so much strife. He always mentioned how much he resented everything I wasn’t doing for him. The efforts I made were never enough. At the time, I wasn’t ready to sleep with him, and he never let me forget it. His passive-aggressive behavior was a major problem and when I think back on it now, I hate myself for ever getting involved with him. I never felt good about myself when I was with him. I just wish I believed in myself more at the time so I could have broke off the chains and ran free. God intervened a few years later, but four years of pent up hurt and anger don’t just dissolve overnight. After listening in on him and his roommate babble on, I found the strength to hang up.

Ten minutes later, he called again. I didn’t pick up. This went on until at least 4 a.m. I decided to sleep on the couch, after waking my mother up multiple times until finally I shut my phone off, along with my emotions, and tried to get some well-deserved sleep. The next morning, he called me up. He apologized for scaring me, but he did not apologize for taking acid in the first place. He went on and on about how refreshed and rejuvenated he felt that morning and how acid and pot make you enjoy things more. He even went on to explain to me that whenever he’s high, it makes him love me more, so I should be happy about that. I’m sorry, what?! Yeah. He went there. Then whenever I begged him to stop with the drugs, he had the nerve to say, “I don’t ask you to stop listening to music, so please don’t ask me to stop smoking pot. What music does for you, pot does for me.” I’m sorry I never said this to him at the time, but what a loser. The sad part is, I blamed all of his drug use on myself. We were apart for a long time. I couldn’t be there for him like a normal girlfriend should have been. Looking back, the guy (not using the term “man”) didn’t have a backbone. I knew that long-distance relationships were bad news, but I was still holding on to the person I met in April 2006 who told me I was beautiful and made the effort to come visit me when I was broken. Maybe all through our rough times, that person was still there, but I never saw him. He vanished quickly like everything good in my life at the time. I’m not sure if he ever used acid again, or tried anything else for that matter, but I got tired of fighting with him to stop, so I numbed myself and pretended I was okay with everything. I wanted peace, but I was lying to myself. It got to the point where I was actually happy when he was high so I didn’t have to hear about everything I was doing wrong or how much pain I’ve caused him because I wasn’t there with him, or the big one, “Not giving him anything worthwhile.” When we were together, he never used drugs in front of me, but knowing what goes on when you’re not around is the hard part. Knowing you deserve better and not following through takes a toll on a person.

Being anti-drug puts you in the center of all criticism. It’s a stigma that I think unfortunately, will never go away. I’ve been called everything in the book but I just look at it as a matter of education versus oblivion. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate people who have done drugs and I don’t hate my ex. For so long, I blamed his drug use on myself. I kept telling myself, “You did this. If you were a normal person, he wouldn’t be doing this.” I hate what he did and I hate the things he said to me that still haunt me to this day, but I don’t hate him. I’m sure he’s happier now since I’m out of the picture and he’s getting all the sex (and possible chemical highs he wants.) I only wish him the best. I may lose a bit of respect for people once I find out they’ve turned to drugs, but I have to keep reminding myself how strong I am and that maybe the others weren’t as strong. I’ve faced a lot, but I’ve never once turned to drugs or alcohol, which is what I base my whole blog theme off of. In fact, I admire people who have faced addiction, got help and are stronger today because of it like Full House star Jodie Sweetin and singer/actress, Demi Lovato, who continues to inspire others to stay sober every day. We’ve sadly mourned the loss of many talented stars who have left us too soon. Glee‘s Cory Monteith, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, singer Amy Winehouse, singer Whitney Houston, actor Heath Ledger and Clueless star Brittany Murphy. I wish they all could have been stronger, and I’m just happy that my ex is alive and well today.

In wake of the news of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a drug overdose, singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles tweeted this message out on Twitter yesterday:

sbBareilles got a lot of flack for that tweet, but it was so refreshing to hear. It saddens me that such a positive message was disregarded because people thought it was offensive. What’s offensive is the acceptance of drug use in this country! People can’t seem to comprehend the consequences, even when it’s staring them straight in the face as they watch their favorite stars (and loved ones) carried out of their apartments in a body bag. It seems people need more evidence but if you ask me, I think they’re just avoiding the truth.

Another musician took to Twitter to express their distaste. Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson tweeted:

garbageIf you feel the need to use drugs to be creative, you’re not trusting yourself enough. Give yourself more credit. If you feel the need to use drugs while at a concert, you’re obviously there for the wrong reasons. Some of my most freeing moments took place at a concert. Music has always been my anti-drug. I just wish others felt that way too. I’m waiting for an artist or band to change the notion of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” and just let the last part speak for itself: rock n’ roll – that’s what it’s all about. Let your lyrics bleed out your demons for you. By using drugs, you’re only feeding your demons, not healing them. Some musicians use “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” as an excuse to be reckless. Well, I’m not buying it.

Society needs to stop glamorizing drug use and portray it for what it really is: dangerous and selfish. Not only does drug use hurt the user, but it hurts those around them as well, if not, more. We need more anti-drug advocates to tell people that drug use is not cool or okay in any shape or form. I’m happy to be one of them and I’ll continue to address my message until the day I die. Pro-drug advocates can call it what they want. I practice what I preach. The evidence is all over if you pull the wool out from over your eyes. There’s no better feeling than overcoming great obstacles all on your own, without a little help from your “friends.”

“Keep my heart somewhere drugs don’t go.”

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