In high school I never drank, smoked or did drugs. My reasoning was that I was crazy enough as it was and I didn’t need an outside stimulus to make my brain different. I wasn’t interested in adding another element of surprise without knowing what it might do to me. I had anxiety and paranoia and OCD and was fearful that I would make myself more anxious by smoking pot, for example. I was fearful of drinking alcohol because I knew that it was a depressant and I was suicidal. I somehow inherently knew that substance abuse would make my mental health worse. And it turned out I was right.
I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs in college. People asked me all the time why. I said that I didn’t need those things to have a good time, and I still don’t. I live in a city where marijuana is legal and I don’t find the need to use it, but I know it can be helpful to people and I have friends who use it in Oregon and Colorado to treat mental health issues and insomnia, which incidentally are interconnected at times.
Another reason that I do not use or abuse substances is because I have dated addicts before. It turned me off from doing any sort of drug. I’ve seen my love interests and friends struggle with addiction and it isn’t pretty. I’ve worked in residential treatment with recovering addicts and I saw how hard getting sober could be. I watched my clients relapse, fall, get back up again and some of them were successful in getting their lives together, while others couldn’t shake their various addictions. Psychiatric medications and therapy can help support people on their journey to sobriety.
I know many people in the recovery community online who I admire. Some of them include Daniel Maurer who writes a blog called Transformation is Real, Mark Goodson, who writes The Miracle of The Mundane and Liv’s Recovery Kitchen is a great blog to find recipes from a woman who has worked hard on her sobriety journey. There is a strong #xa or recovery community online and I have some great friends in it.
I still don’t particularly like using substances because of my experiences in life with them and seeing what they do to people. I occasionally like a hard cider, but that’s about it. And if someone told me I couldn’t have a alcoholic beverage again, I wouldn’t be devastated. I would be able to cope with that just fine. I enjoy being mostly straight edge, and I might even go back to that lifestyle, because it’s healthier than relying on substances to cope with your emotions. We all go through trauma in life and hard experiences and using substances to cope with serious emotional issues isn’t healthy. It’s better to see a therapist and actually address your problems.
Are you straight edge? Are you a member of the recovery community? Tell me about your experiences with substance abuse!