Tag Archives: drugs

Drug(s) of choice

Drugs were never my thing. I remember back in high school the way many people drifted through their days stoned out of their gourds. Red-eyed and slow-witted they were, which I did not want to be (although a pair of crappy hard contact lens that I wore then did redden my eyes which led classmates to frequently accuse me of being high. Grrr.). Anyway, like I was saying, stoned-n-stupid didn’t appeal to me. I liked my mind and wanted to keep it the way it was not spaced-out and fried the way I saw it affect others. Nothing about smoking weed looked attractive or tempting.

When cocaine became a fairly commonplace drug, I have to admit the high it was said to give did sound rather appealing – that is, the euphoric feeling of confidence that you could do anything. Mind racing with ideas, getting stuff done. Going UP and happy as opposed to DOWN and mellow. No, no, never tried it. I wouldn’t have on my no-drugs philosophy but maybe because I thought I might like something like that (give me a healthy, unharmful, non-addictive equivalent and I expect I’d be all over it like a happy clam. The effect of sunshine is the closest I’ve come). I should mention that myĀ cheapĀ frugal ways always made me a poor candidate for a drug habit had I even wanted one.

I bring the above talk about drugs up because I was thinking how I keep my addictive, compulsive leanings to fairly benign areas. For instance, I cannot have potato chips, fritosĀ©, tortilla chips, doritosĀ©, candy, cake, donuts, pie, ice cream, or anything of that ilk in my house. Basically any sweet, salty, or greasy treat. Can’t do it. Not unless I’ve made peace with the idea that I’m going to gobble it up in short order. Now people look at me – tall, lean, athletic – and don’t believe it. But it’s true. I let myself buy a bag of potato chips about twice a year. I stand in the grocery aisle and read the back label. Typically, it’ll say something like 150 calories per serving and “10” servings per bag. Yes, most of us know that servings business on snacks is laughable (like it’ll say 7 or 8 chips is a serving). I do the quick, basic math and I pretty much know I’ll be wolfing down a not-especially-healthy, extra 1500 calories in about 2 days. I don’t kid myself about how I’ll “ration” it out and “make it last”. When I do buy it, I generally have enough willpower to make a bag into 2 or 3 servings – i.e,, making it last 2 or 3 days – but no more than that.

It’s the same story with any other (rare) treat I bring home. I become obsessed with its presence. I cannot forget if there is a frozen Pepperidge FarmĀ© cake. Or a bag of tortilla chips in the cabinet. Or some Turkey HillĀ© icecream in the freezer. They are like the beating heart in Poe’s wall, thumping loudly, beckoning to me, impossible to ignore. Sometimes I shove them to the back of the shelf and move other foods (like a nice bag of frozen broccoli or a bag of flour) in front of them so I don’t see my temptresses. If I see them, forget it.

When I visit other people’s homes and they actually muse over whether or not they have a bag of chips, for example, I am shocked. How can they not know if they have potato chips?!? Or maybe they have an abandoned box of donuts sitting on the counter. Who are these people?!? Clearly not me.

Addiction (vis a vis Nurse Jackie season one)

I just watched the first season of Nurse Jackie. It was edgy, interesting and fast-paced (a good show, not a mind-blowing one). The main character is a nurse in a busy emergency room and she’s also an addict which she, in the first season anyway, is successfully hiding from almost everyone in her life. She’s married with two girls and has a lover on the side, the hospital pharmacist and frequent drug source, who she rendezvous’ with on the job.

I watched a few of the Special Features and in an interview, Liz Brixius, one of the creators, made a peculiar statement. She said: “Is Jackie an addict? Yes. AND she’s a great nurse. Is she an addict? Yes. AND she’s a great wife. AND she’s a great girlfriend. AND she’s a great nurse. She’s all of ’em.” (If Brixius had thought to, she’d likely have added “great mother” and “great friend.”)

This sensibility – that a person can be an addict AND be great at their work and interpersonal relationships -caught me up short, especially given that the other producer in the interview, Linda Wallem, comments that, “We [she and Liz Brixius] are both in recovery.”

One of the best definitions of addiction I’ve heard is a person is doing something they know is bad for them but they can’t stop (alone). If someone is successful or great in all or almost all areas of their life – despite tendencies toward excess – perhaps they are not in fact an addict, but something else. Because so far as I understand it, addiction is not static and it takes prisoners, not only the user but the other people in the user’s life. It worsens. People are hurt. To suggest someone (albeit a fictional someone in this case), could be a great this-and-that as well as an addict is troubling (the term “functional addict” notwithstanding). Because the addiction, whatever it is, always comes first. And if the addiction comes first, that which comes behind it, either suffers or gets less, whether it’s a job, a spouse, children, family, or friends. That certainly has been what I’ve observed in real life.