Drug addiction and the stigma surrounding it.

Disclaimer: by no means am I excusing drug use. Sure, smoking a bit of weed every now and then is fine, and there’s medical uses if you really wanna put yourself out there and say you’re being ~super safe~. But the fact of the matter is, mental health issues–and there’s a whole other stigma there too–knocks your confidence. If you’re constantly anxious, benzo abuse seems like such a great idea because you feel super chill. IF you wanna unwind after a day after work, harder drugs will help you nod off. If you’re off on a big night, it’s easily MDMA or Coke depending on what you can afford.

Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by people who understand my situation and believe me when I say I’m going to improve.

I’ve marked my progress on my diary. I have created taper programmes. And the biggest thing right now is that every night after work, I’ll have two or three pints, smoke a few cigarettes. I haven’t touched H for a fucking long time; I don’t use Coke anymore; haven’t used MDMA for years.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of “apparently” subtle ways of telling me people don’t want someone who’s fucked up. I’m not a fucking idiot. I know what you mean when you say “sensitive” shit like:

“Oh, I don’t want to bother you because I know you have problems.”

“I’m aware you have drug problems and I’m worried for you.”

Hey, these sentences are nice on paper. They are. But despite the fact that I’ll repeatedly tell someone I’m better, there is doubt in their mind that I really am better. And I don’t think it’s malicious, but people have no idea how condescending and humiliating it sounds when they double-back on their questioning, because you’ve already said, explicitly, that you’re fine. You don’t have an issue. I haven’t, for months, for years.

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I’m Elena.

Of course it’s good the world is heading in the direction of being more politically aware and sensitive of other people’s situations. But there’s a line. I am not complaining about people trying to be considerate, but when it’s clearly so condescending and disbelieving, it really puts me down. Do you know what it sounds like? I’m sure it’s not the intent. But it sounds like the person asking simply doesn’t believe what I’m saying; they don’t believe I’m clean.

This world can be the most fucking PC world ever and people will still make misconceptions about drug-users or ex-drug-users. There’s definitely stereotypes. But if you looked at me: a regular gym-goer, with a well-paid job, managing content teams on an international scale, liaising with clients, generally having good banter with everyone in the office–you wouldn’t think I used to be a massive fuck up. I’m lucky. I turned my life around and I have ambition. Others aren’t.

But you know what doesn’t help? The pre-notion that just because you’ve had this issue before, this ‘addiction’ will never fade. Sure it’s a bitch and the withdrawals are awful. And yes, so many lovely people try to accommodate for that and act amazingly and are super helpful.

However, the number of times I’ve genuinely just been unhealthy or I’ve been in a bad mood or something similar–the FIRST conclusion people jump to is the fact that I used to be a drug addict. No matter how brilliant I am in the present, no matter how well I write, no matter how I enjoy being part of a team–the moment I slip up, it’s because of my past.

I’ve let my past go.

Why can’t you?

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