Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Just Say No
I am a child of the Just Say No generation. I heard those words, learned them, lived by them. I've never been tempted by drugs. I've never come in contact with them directly. I have no patience for them.

And I'm not going to apologize for it either.

I went to college. I am aware that other people made different choices. I have seen people and how they behave when they are "high." In highschool, I watched as a student climbed a wall and shoved his head through one of those super-thick windows they use in highschools and put very high up. Literally, the guy ran up the wall and banged his head through the glass. Then he kept on running down the walls. When I say walls, I mean tennis shoes where tennis shoes don't ordinarily go. He was bleeding profusely, but this didn't even slow him down. That would be lesson numero uno.

In the summer between high school and college it became clear to me that someone close to me had discovered marijuana. He was a lunatic on it. Freakish even. Dangerous. And not in an attractive way, even for a girl who liked the bad boys.

Between these two casual introductions my opinions were starched. I'm a Just Say No kid. I don't need drugs. I don't want drugs in my life. I don't even want them on the periphery. Drugs ruin lives. And families. And GPAs.

I understand that some college students make the choice and experiment with drugs. I never did and I'm neither ashamed of this nor do I feel like I missed out on something. But I don't really understand why some adults continue to use drugs clear on past the college age and into what should be termed middle-age and advanced middle-age.

These people are too old to still be using recreationally, I feel, and therefore would seem to fall into the addiction category. But, again, having no personal hands-on experience, I am surmising here. I don't pretend to understand addiction, but I reckon it is something you don't just grow out of or get over. To me, you have to go cold turkey and detox or you haven't got a prayer.

Here's the reason for this post. I am aware of someone who is definitely old enough to know better than to be doing coke and marijuana. This person claims to have quit - for the bazillionenth time. I don't believe it. It wasn't true before so many times, so I don't trust it to be true this time. What makes this time different? Not a damn thing. He's not in a program. He's not taking a daily piss test. He's not in counseling. But he is going to church once per week.

His presence at church is appeasing those closest to him and they are currently satisfied. Me? Not so much. I don't think church attendance has anything to do with addiction, or hiding your drug use for that matter. In fact, I suspect that church on drugs might be a bit like watching The Wizard of Oz and listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall. But, again, I have no personal frame of reference.

I merely find it absurdly asinine to assume that "being a church-going Christian" means you aren't using drugs. They just don't connect for me. It is like saying, "I'm a Cowboy's fan, so naturally I dislike the smell of cloves." It is complete nonsense. Going to church doesn't mean that all of the men and women in the pews are faithful to their spouses. Being a member of the clergy doesn't mean you don't sexually abuse children. The logic, she is flawed.

More worrisome, to me at least, is the appeasing. I don't particularly care about the person using, but I do care about the people he is appeasing. I am afraid that they are being led down the primrose path once again. I fear that he is putting on a good show and that soon enough he will slip up and get caught. My fear is that when he gets caught it will be because somebody got hurt.

But, my protestations fall on deaf ears. The appeased want to believe that the world is just a bowl of cherries. Nothing I can say or do will make a damn bit of difference; I am completely powerless.

And because of my love for the appeased, that sits with me not well at all. At. All.

It is a lot like waiting for a bomb to explode: certain that you are running out of fuse, but unable to clear the scene for the inevitable.


posted by Phoenix | 11:20 AM


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Caltechgirl said...

Denial is the enabler's shield. The addict knows what will appease the enabler, and takes advantage of it. You are absolutely right. The only way to quit is to make a commitment to stop, and stop. And to stay committed to that. Like a marriage, except the spouse is sobriety.

On the other side, the denial/appeasement makes it easier for the enabler/codependent person to deal with the situation. "he/she is doing less drugs" or "he/she is going to church (or school)" are substitutes for "OMG, he/she is an addict". As long as the addict plays the game, they can continue to be in denial, and the addict will continue to use. And it's hard to tell someone you love that they are useless and headed for a bad death.

It's a sad, vicious downward spiral.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Phoenix said...

Thank you for your comments. I just wonder if a person can quit an addiction without aid like a program or daily accountability. What do you think?

This person, as I said, has a long track record of claiming to have quit and then being found not to have done so. Because of this, I am disinclined to believe that he has the willpower to cold-turkey it on his own, without some sort of yardstick measuring progress.

Am I wrong?

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Caltechgirl said...

The addict has to make some kind of accountability of their sobriety, whether it's a program, or going to meetings, or a Parole Officer, or even just being accountable to the family, that has to be a part of it. It's very hard to do without support AND reinforcement.


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