It Coulda Been Me: Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star

 “I grew up trusting no one, but I know if I keep doing what I’ve always done,
 I’ll get what I have always gotten. I want to change.”

 

I was a drug abuser  user NOT a drinker. My drugs of choice were narrowed down relative to my refusal to be anything like the addicts in my life. They weren’t sick or afflicted, they were weak. My Dad is a drunk-nothing so refined as an alcoholic. The older ‘kids’ in my life preferred crank (or amphetamines in general). In the spirit of full disclosure, I never slammed dope of any kind either. My aversion to intravenous drug use was not based on a fear of needles or an acute sense of the  ‘wrong’ of it, rather, a couple of my heroes were junkies.* It’s that simple. I made my choices relative to the injustices abuses I witnessed in the lives of those around me and as a direct result, a direct result, I got fucking lucky. Not a drunk, not a crank whore, not a junkie–not an addict. I was just a abuser User.  Not clear on the distinction? The breakdown listed at the following site works well enough: http://www.michaelshouse.com/substance-abuse/substance-abuse-addiction.html

“Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star”

My drug of choice was Acid, easy. Loved it. Dropped regularly, how else could I have possibly gotten through my life? Think of it as a form of therapy. Ha! (See, http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/795_psyche.html ) Of course, LSD wasn’t the only drug I used, but, that is hardly the point. Or is it? I used what ever was at hand BUT I had limits. The POINT is, I made very conscious choices about what I would and would not do and to what extent I would use anything at all. Getting high was acceptable and getting drunk wasn’t. Getting so spun you literally picked yourself apart? Unacceptable. As an adult, I can certainly look at the distinctions being drawn here and shudder, to say the least, but, as a kid it made perfect sense. If I was not ‘one of them,’ I was fine. Following that logic it stands to reason that for much of my life I believed every drug user (especially including drinkers) had the ability to make the same choices. You can chose what you do. When you do it. And when enough is enough, when it doesn’t work anymore, you stop. It’s that simple. 

LSD, by all accounts is not habit forming. Which is to say that there is no physical compulsion/craving to continue use.  There is little to no physical recourse for the casual or extended use of hallucinogenic drugs. Baring of course, killing yourself incidentally. Or intentionally.  A friend of mine, B., is still dead, the gun he put to his head while shrooming was NOT incidental. See, MENTAL  recourse,  that’s another story.  Brain damage is entirely possible with the use of hallucinogens, when you ‘fry’ you FRY your brain. That should probably fall under a physical  repercussion?  Another  friend of mine, from high school, who as it happens is now my cousin, serves as an example of what could have been.  When we were in high school (at least while I managed to stay in that particular high school), he and I dropped together weekly if not more frequently. He always had a hit, hell, he always had a sheet or a vial. Today, he’s schizophrenic. Might have happened anyway. Might not have.  He tripped (or was otherwise high) everyday; I tripped (or was otherwise high) a lot of days. In either scenario, addictive or not, you can only live in the bubble for so long and then you can’t come back. That’s what tripping was for me– a bubble.  A bubble between me and you; a bubble between me and the rest of the world. It was a way out of the room, the school, the party, the house–my life. That’s what getting high was. It was a way out of a place that I couldn’t find the fucking exit for–stone cold sober. There was no exit. 

In my familial breakdown, we could be split between the haves and the have nots, but, it would be more accurate to split between the functional and the non-functional.  On both sides of my family that is true. We were not WT. Not entirely without education. Not universally poor. There is and always has been, in some cases, on both sides, deep faith. Then there is addiction and abuse, on both sides. On my Father’s, I know that it spans at least three generations. On my Mother’s certainly two, well, no…now that’s three, too. It never occurred to me that people didn’t drink. That they didn’t use. All kids try it, right? And their parents, too? The odds on anyone in my family getting through this life, with our lineage, without dealing with substance issues or their effects are slim to none. It is after all GENETIC.

Actually, the genetic “link” has not yet been proven. The GENERATIONAL “link” most certainly has. Whether one subscribes to a genetic link or not, the nature of growing up or otherwise living with an addict of any kind predisposes those around said addict to certain behaviors. As an example, I could and did rationalize regular drug use as normative behavior because it met my ‘ethical’ standards, as garnered from my cultural/familial background. Even if you didn’t use in my family, you for damn certain didn’t do anything about anyone who did. That would have necessitated talking about it and we don’t didn’t. While it may be true that some kids ‘experiment’ that does not mean that they walked into their house high, said as much and then didn’t get a talking to about it, at the very least. But that is the deal, if you are high and one of my parents always was, you don’t have the option of calling your high children out. You have forfeited that right or at least you did if I was your child.

So, there it is. I navigated my years of illicit drug use, avoiding the lure of some incredibly addictive substances,  by virtue of adherence to a fucked up code of conduct. I dealt in the drugs of choice of those around me to the slightest extent possible (excluding abstinence of course!) and  in so doing I managed to avoid or only marginally engage with drugs that might have otherwise killed me. Or not. It would be a disservice (if you can believe that!) to those in my life that well and truly suffer addictions if I were to suggest that I am an addict. With two exceptions and I will get to those in a minute, I have never had trouble quitting the use of any substance. For addicts (as opposed to abusers) there is a physical compulsion, a switch that once flipped does not reverse itself–and those people, if they are lucky, must find a way to live with those compulsions without acting on them or they will die. I am not built that way, it would seem.

The only thing I have ever had trouble quitting (physically) is smoking and I blame Philip Morris, just so we’re clear. Lol. Nah, I don’t know what the difference is but I haven’t smoked in two plus months and I want one right now and ten minutes ago and ten minutes from now. I don’t know why!!! I have never not been able to put something down and just walk away. Maybe it’s because I’m older? Because I still really like smoking? The substance itself? Not a fucking clue but I do know the want of it is physical and makes me crazy at times. Maybe it’s me, that’s my switch, the one that’s flipped. Fuck if I know.  The only other “substance” that has kicked my ass (psychologically) is medication. I have been un-medicated for a year and a half, for most of my adult life I have been treated for Panic Disorder. All I have to say on that subject is my “Panic Disorder” was symptomatic and not causal, my Dr. just didn’t know it. Never the less, going off medications, apart from the physical with drawls which sucked but ended, was overwhelming because it meant FOR ME, that I was taking my mind back. Diseased or not, I’ll take my chances.

I am not being facetious in  the choice of titling for this section, clutching onto a naïve belief that I could will myself to be  ‘other’ than those around me… Apparently, missing the crap shoot that has bread addicts in my family. Getting high and all the STUPID STUPID choices that were made attendant to it! Living to tell about it. I got lucky. It’s that simple.  

 

* It would be a lie to say that I saw my heroes as weak. They were aflicted, misunderstood, etc. They got a by for their behaviors. The only thing I ever allowed myself to feel relative to their addictions was fear.  The rampant use of heroin in particular scared the shit out of me. Hypocritical? My Father certainly thought so!!! See, Blog: The Tie That Binds: AFD.

 

This Blog was Soundtracked to:

Social Distorion, “It Coulda Been Me,” Social Distortion. 1990.

Merle Haggard, “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star,” Chill Factor. 1987.

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One Response

  1. […] up or otherwise living with an addict of any kind predisposes those around said addict to certain behaviors. I have a tendency toward ‘runaway behaviors.’ […]

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