Feb 19, 2007

Letter to a Young Person Experimenting with Drugs

You are a good person, and I wouldn't be writing this if I thought you were some incorrigible cretin without value to society. Still, the path you are on is a dangerous one, and is ultimately a journey fraught with negative consequences to your life, health, and future.

I have known you a long time, and it pains me to see someone with so much potential wasting it chasing cheap chemical highs. You have opportunities and talents of which many other people can dream, yet your time is spent either getting high or thinking about the next high.

You have not always been this way, of course. I am not sure how long you have been experimenting with drugs, but I recall a time not so long ago when you were fascinated with knowledge and you imagined a future where everything seemed possible.

Today, you are unhappy. You are in a place you do not like, but you have not figured out that drugs make this situation worse. The momentary escape you derive from getting high clouds your thinking, and allows you to forget your troubles for a couple of hours.

You are programminmg your body to expect a chemical response: you feel bad, so you get high, then you come down, you feel bad, and you get high. This cycle only gets worse, and it takes larger amounts of chemicals to provide the escape. At some point, of course, your need for drugs becomes more than entertainment or escape, and you become addicted.

Only you know where you are on this addiction continuum, but I suspect you are not even honest with yourself yet. You rationalize this behavior with delusions that getting high is some sort of spiritual quest, or that you are just having fun, or that your life is so stressful that you need a break once in a while.

You don't see where you are headed.

The classic signs are there - declining grades, missing work, constant financial difficulties, irregular sleep patterns, irritability - but you have not yet made the connection between your drug use and these other occurrences. These are just more reasons to get stoned, to make the unpleasant things in your life fade away for a bit.

I have no illusions that this letter will make much of a difference to you, but I would be remiss in my obligations as a human being if I just closed my mouth and said nothing. I have seen too many good people get caught up in the cycle of self-destruction, and the last thing I would want is for someone I know and love to get sucked into this trap.

Good luck to you, and I hope that you learn - sooner, rather than later - that the road you are running down leads you to little but misery and pain.


Anonymous said...

People don't "experiment" with drugs. They use them, or they don't.

historymike said...

That's true, anonymous, but I used the word "experiment" to describe someone new to the drug culture.

I suppose it's a fine line, and perhaps more indicative of my mindset in that I want to believe such people can turn around before heading into addiction.

microdot said...

It's true that drug use will destroy and wasite years of a life, even if the person can stop it.
I saw lives destroyed by heroin and cocaine up close...too close for comfort. I played in a rock band that I thought was brilliant in the early 80's only to find out that the other two members, a husband and a wife were slowly becoming useless slugs because of their heroin use.
I have always held the principle that "I don't have to know about everything!" to be a life saver. I had a very close friend lose almost everything including his life to junk, I collaborated with his parents to have him "kidnapped". I felt guilty at the time, but I knew I was doing the best thing I could for him. We snatched him off the streets, he didn't have an opportunity to go back into his apartment, 4 days later he was in a Kibutz in the desert in Israel picking graspefruit with armed guards watching him. I knew that he hated me for this, but hey 25 years later, he's a successful business man happily married with 3 kids and we are still best friends!
That's a rare tale.

McCaskey said...

HM: Some time ago you wrote a very similar letter to a friend of yours. I was wondering how that turned out.

historymike said...

That person completed an inpatient treatment program, McCaskey. As far as I know he's clean and sober, but the relapse rate is so high for cocaine.

Hooda Thunkit said...


What you wrote were very sobering words. Let's hope and pray that that special person is not beyond hearing them and taking them to heart.