FOF #730 – The Nature of Addiction

Mar 28, 2008 · 161539 views

Premium Content

You need to be a Feast of Fun Plus+ member to access this.
Join now or Log in – it's easy!

They should know better but for some reason well-to do gay men in the Midwest turn to crystal meth as a way of dealing with their loneliness, isolation and because it simply feels good. On […]

    Comments

  1. Treatment for addiction at least in my locale is very oneside and based completely on the 12 steps which are just loaded up with God and SIn. Two things most gay men ,especially alcohol and drug addicted ones, recoil from. Before I came out I struggled with addiction to pharmaceuticals and cocaine to the point of it hospitalizing me on a few occasions. I spent 2 years in a 12 step program., but I felt a disconnect after coming about because the whole thing was based around God. Seeking out assistance on the web has been helpful with my own addictions. Smartrecovery.org gave me some basic tools to deal with addiction. Drugs and alcohol have their place and some just have to be out of reach. I still have addictive tendencies in my life and I see where Fausto is coming from that it does take energy or concentration to be a drug addict. When you remove that drug you still have to deal with that leftover unspent psychic energy. It law of thermodynamics but for the mind. Terry created a book. Rufus Wainwright made Want One and Two. George Bush became president. Anyways great show as always. And kids don\’t do hard drugs. Stick to pot and mushrooms 🙂

  2. jimberly says:

    I don\’t think asking for all people to be abstinent is the answer, the solution, or the way to go. WE ALL NEED TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR and determine for ourselves, how and when our use of substances becomes abuse. It is an individidual and subjective thing. My use could be your abuse, etc. We need to be introspective. Using substances is not necessarily, be definition, an evil, dangerous thing for people with low self-esteem or other problems – human beings have been doing so since we were painting on caves. Two words – HARM REDUCTION.

    What I find really fascinating is that many in the gay community who shriek and howl about the guys using crystal do so with a SLUSHIE, a COSMO, or a BUD LIGHT in their hand.

    ALl substances can be abused and cause absolute havoc in the lives of those abusing the substance and everyone in their orbit. By the same token, all substances can be used in smarter, healthier, conscious ways that minimize harm to all involved.

    There is some great info and a ton of resources on crystal at http://www.crystalbreaks.org. But starting next week, all that info will be moved and incorporated into you gay, sexy, healthy sweetspot on the web – http://www.LifeLube.org – and will be found under the Sex & Drugs tab of the newly refurbished, nipped and tucked, fluffed and folded site.

    As I close out this note – I would like to challenge all the FoFers to take that look in the mirror and really examine what each of our relationships really are with substances – and where the lines of use/abuse may have become blurry.

    In the meantime, I am going to go fire up the Krups.

    xxxooo

  3. frnndo says:

    I agree with Fausto. It takes an awful lot of work to maintain a habit like crystal meth. The amount of attention/effort that something like that steals from you is astronomical.

    Personally, when I think about addiction in general. I remember all of the awful, inhumane, and unfair injustices that are going on in the world today. Petty self-inflicted addictions just get in the way of fixing what we really need to fix. If you are healthy and able, get over yourself. And your addiction.

  4. Mateo says:

    Fausto seemed pretty off in this interview. I winced at some of those questions. And his analysis seemed inapropriate. A rare miss. Is this book just locally distributed? If not I\’d love to read it.

  5. Terry Oldes says:

    First of all, thanks to Marc and Fausto for inviting me on the show. As far as the \”concentrating on addiction\” comment goes, I personally (and this is just me) believe it did not take much effort on my part to do drugs. I was in a space where I loved the feeling, it lifted me up out of the depression, etc. It certainly isn\’t anything that took work. However, the walking away from drugs, that took effort.

    I certainly agree with Jim\’s take on drug abuse that we need to analyze gay men using alcohol, poppers etc. before we start passing judgement on Meth users. Substances are substances and pigeon holing abusers based on the type of substance they use is hypocritical, there are much more complex issues here. It\’s important to be open-minded when talking about substance abuse and non-judgemental. We all have our own private opinions about things, but publicly we need to support those trying to get out of the drug vortex and avoid judging them. We also need to realize over-reacting and chicken little media tactics are only hurting the situation not helping. It\’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed with honesty and compassion, but gay culture is not going to fall due to meth abuse. Alcoholism is a much more common thing.

    Again, here comes the blatant self promotion, but if you go to http://www.dancingwithtina.com you will find Susan Kingston\’s talk on Crytal Meth she gave a few months ago here in Chicago. It says more than I ever could about Meth use and she was kind enough to give me permission to use it in my next book \”A Barrel Full of Monkeys – OR – More Baggage Than Ann Miller Brought On the Love Boat\”. I posted it on the site since her words are objective, caring and realistic. Plus she\’s funny. Hearing a pretty feminine redhead talk about barebacking and booty bumps really was acutally quite an entertaining visual. When I voiced to her my concerns about \”Dancing With Tina\” she was very supportive. Meth abuse is a serious thing and at times I worried I was too lighthearted, at others, too dramatic. Her reply was \”“Terry, I certainly can relate to the appropriateness of one’s own words. But, in the end, one has to just express themselves as authentically as possible, right? And if some folks don’t like it, what can you really do about that?”

    Readers will come away with different opinions about DWT, and that\’s okay. Some will be shocked, others may find it humorous, others will probably think I was too emotional in my reactions. I did try be honest though, even about things that didn\’t necesssarilly place me in a good light. While I thought I might be villified for admitting certain things, that has not been the case. So far, not one person has been negative and most people have been very kind and supportive. I doubt that we will ever completely lick this problem, but I do believe we are making strides on helping minimize it.

    The book is available through Amazon, Borders.com, etc. In Chicago, Unabridged has it and many large urban bookstores with GLBT sections carry it.

    Thanks again Marc and Fausto. Take care. Terry

  6. ibox2000 says:

    Interesting guest, boys. Refreshing to hear \”drugs are bad, mmmkay?\” without it being chlorinated to \”just say no\”.

  7. DC_gay_man says:

    When you realize that you are no longer the choreographer of your life, I think that is where drugs are bad. And, most do not know that is occurring until late in the game.

    But, I often think about the skewed discussions about men on drugs and there inherent tendency towards sex. In college, it was known as \”study aid\” and people did drugs for the sake of learning, looking at issues with a new light, and soul searching for an inner self that is there but untapped.

    To create this bridge to no where of drug use to sex is often an overstatement of what else can be done through drugs.

  8. How could you call it an overeaction when a whole generation (gay & straight) of 18-25 year olds are ruining their lives on crystal meth? Not to mention the toll that it takes out on their families & friends. I grew up in the Bay Area for most of my life and I have seen some great people succumb to their addictions to the point where they\’re living on the streets looking 20 years older than their real age. I\’ve seen a grown man with a degree in engineering shoot holes into his ceiling because he constantly thought that someone was walking on his roof. It\’s an epidemic out here in California.

    Now that I\’m in the Central Valley, where a lot of crystal meth is made, it\’s devastating to see what it does to the local communities. Just last night I was watching the news where because one of the neighbors was dealing out of their house would have over 300 visitors in ONE night looking to score. Once again the customers were gay & straight.

    I recommend reading \’Tweak\’ by Nic Sheff & \’Beautiful Boy\’ by David Sheff. Both father & son wrote about the son\’s addiction and how they went through years of destruction because of crystal meth.

  9. jimberly says:

    Of course crystal is a huge and important – and quite often devastating issue – for many people in our country. And I would never want to minimize that in any way. But it is an overstatement to say that a whole generation is being wiped out.

    I want to talk about crystal and gay men, because that is what I know and what I am working on. In urban areas, it is gay men most impacted by crystal, in contrast to rural areas where it tends to be more heterosexual, blue collar.

    Our best data in Chicago indicates between 10 to 11 percent of gay men have used crystal in the last year. And a small percentage of that number is using crystal every week. Now, for the folks in these numbers who are in trouble, and for all their friends and loved ones, this is HUGE. But at a population level, this means that, in Chicago, around 90 percent of gay men ARE NOT DOING CRYSTAL. The vast majority. Now, of course, many gay men are doing other substances, but it is a good thing that most of us have stayed away from crystal.

    In cities with a higher prevalence of crystal use among gay men – such as San Francisco, where the rates are around 20 – 25 percent if I am not mistaken – the majority of men 75 – 80 percent – are not doing crystal.

    It is important for us to address the issues and the serious problems without conflating the numbers.

    As for crystal being a drug linked to more than sex – absolutely. Many, many people use crystal as an aid to be more productive, to work that second or third job, to clean the house from top to bottom. It often works quite well for these tasks, in the beginning….. Because crystal has the common side effect of impotence – \”crystal dick\” – it really did not become strongly linked to intense sexual experiences until the advent of Viagra. The little blue pill changed the game for a lot of people.

    Finally, I still want to challenge this notion that \”drugs are bad.\” Substance can be abused, for sure, and because we are not always well-educated about their effects, and how to use them in safer ways, they can and do lead to many horrific things. However, substances can alsp be used in ways that don\’t lead to horrific conclusions – but it requires being absolutely conscious, being educated, and responsibly planning for their use.

    I want to also again point to our community\’s relationship with alcohol and suggest that while not as dramatic as crystal, perhaps, alcohol has contributed to many, many, many more problems and horrific things in our lives that crystal or any other illegal drug. I would bet many, many, many HIV infections include alcohol in the back story, for instance.

    Our community\’s, and our society\’s, intricate relationship with licit and illicit substances is a complex one and cannot be explained, or understood, with terms like \”bad\” and \”good.\” Or by exaggerating the impact of any one substance. I mentioned that 10 to 11 percent of Chicago gay men have used crystal in the last year – well, over 40 percent have used some other illicit substance in that year. And we don\’t even have data – at the moment – on how many used alcohol! Was it all educated, responsible use? No.

    Was it all out of control abuse? No.

    How many of us know our own personal lines between use and abuse? How many of us consistently use the substances we use without ill effect?

  10. tommy100 says:

    I thought the interview was great. I am a fan of Terry\’s writing and his story is nothing less than an inspiration. I would wholeheartedly recommend you read \”Dancing With Tina\”

  11. TrickyToro says:

    Great show guys. I really enjoyed the guest and the topic(al) discussion of something I feel is very relevant.

    Terry is absolutely correct when he speaks about the “benefits” of experiencing addiction as a mature adult. I myself was surrounded by rampant meth use in San Francisco’s heydey bartending at numerous and famous South of Market hotspots namely the End Up where I worked Sunday mornings when the club opened to throngs of patrons at 6 a.m. I was always fearful of stimulants. And in fact I did not experiment or try “hard” drugs until I was 27.

    I have to disagree with the charecterization of drug addicts as broken creatures. That kind of belief system is eerily similar to the Christian belief system.

    Its difficult to summarize here in a comment the better approach but I think we can definitely take a lesson from our neighbors to the South and North as well as the progressive members of the European Union. The problem we have addressing drug use/abuse in this country is that we cant even speak frankly or honestly about drugs much less drug abuse, and that stems all the way from the top down. Dont get me started on just say no. What a collosal waste of money and resources.

  12. DCRyan says:

    I’m just going to be brutally honest, I think drug addiction, like depression, comes from being self-centered. Now I don’t mean that with the normal connotation one attaches to that word, I literally mean a person that focuses on, pities, primarily centers on oneself. As such, I think a great way to take a first step at overcoming addiction is to do something that forces you to be selfless. For me it was volunteering and working as a social worker for several years that helped me to get over my self-centered attitude. I found that I truly appreciated everything that I had because of my experiences, and along with that, realized how incredibly immature it was to let a day go by without making use of all the blessings I have.

  13. jimberly says:

    Self-centered -ness cannot explain the chemical issue and hardwiring in the brain that can lead to depression and addiction. It is far too simplistic to put the onus on the individual just pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and re-directing their energies. Addiction and depression are mental illnesses, not simply character flaws.

  14. kilo_hotel says:

    As a teetotal non smoker who’s never taken anything stronger than a Solpadeine (there’s some on the way soon Marc, promise!), I found the show fascinating. I had never heard of crystal meth before FoF started talking about it some years back and don’t hang out in circles where I’ve come across it. In fact none of my friends even smoke joints, but I don’t know how unusual that is. Often the bad things in life get more press than the good.

  15. DCRyan says:

    I will recant part of my statement as per depression, but I will not about addiction. I respectfully disagree Jim. I know you are an expert in the field, but in my experience as a social worker, I did not meet a single drug addict was not constantly focused on their own problems in a very self-centered manner. Now do I think telling them to “pull up their bootstraps” and deal with it like a big boy/girl was the right therapy to give addicts? No, of course not. However, I am a firm believer that community service can be an extremely theraputic means of overcoming addiction because it helps one to focus on others beyond themselves.

    Though I agree with your assertion that people can be predisposed to addiction due to a certain chemical imbalances, I also believe that both are also linked equally to the actions people are willing to take in order to deal with those imbalances. The buck has to stop somewhere, and people have to take responsability for their actions at some point.

    I do not write to point the finger, or to imply being self-centered is necessarily a character flaw, in fact I tried to make that clear in my post by drawing out my meaning of the word self-centered, but I do reassert that I think addiction is self-centered.

    Perhaps I was wrong to say that the cause of addiction is being self-centered, but I would say that the two correlate

  16. jimberly says:

    Yeah, I think it is a bit of the chicken/egg thing.

    Which comes first?

    I would suggest that being self-centered does not lead to addiction, and I do agree that drug addicts do become, in many cases, very self-interested. It is indeed the nature of addiction.

    The best treatments for addiction include medical, psychiatric, psychological and social interventions. And they need to look at the roots of addiction, not just chop off the tops of the weeds.

    Many of us are able to use alcohol and other substances with no ill effect, no drama,no addiction. I am in that camp – have tried just about everything, have had my years of clubbing and partying, and never became addicted to anything. Others are predisposed to running into trouble with substances (My brother was a heroin addict for 7 years, now he’s clean, thank Goddess) – and the problem is, we don’t really know until we are in the thick of it.

    My main point, always, is to approach the topic with compassion and with a willingness to understand. Too often, we don’t do that. We live in a culture that is absolutely saturated with pills, drugs and substances, licit and illicit, that are designed to change how we are feeling in one way or the other. It only makes sense that some of us have a harder time navigating the strawberry fields than others.

    MWAH

  17. Ramble Redhead says:

    Amazing interview and so glad Terry shared his story and hope it will help others as well.

    It is sad that so many in the GLBT community deal with low self esteem and look toward drugs, booze or food to deal with the pain. I hoping that shows like FOF and mine can help people see that we all have value and we need to be proud of who we are and live our lives the best we can!

Leave a Reply to tommy100

Login or Register

 

Facebook Conversations