As sort of a continuation from the previous article, where I mentioned medication can help as a tool. Drugs and alcohol can be in many ways similar to taking medication. Let me just say, in case you are reading this and you’re a bit slow, DRUGS ARE BAD. I am not condoning drug taking, but I’d like to share my experiences with drugs, which may be limited, but hopefully will provide some insights, and you can take what you can out of it.

My former roommates smoked weed every day (and snorted cocaine sometimes, but that’s another story), and I would occasionally join in. I would talk to my roommates, but the conversations were very limited because more often than not, I wouldn’t know what else to say. They were very outgoing people and were always trying to get me to have fun and open up. At that stage of my life I was dealing with a lot of issues as a result of SM and depression. What I found was that smoking weed or drinking alcohol would get you a temporary high for about 10 minutes, and then after that you’re either smoking or drinking more to chase it and get that high back, or you’re back to your old self with all your problems still intact.

I know many people who drink socially who are fine. They enjoy it and just have a good time without any repercussions. And if you are one of those people, that can be a great way to relax. But a lot of people use alcohol as a way to allow themselves to bring out that inner self and to become more social. The good thing about this is it shows them that they can be a social person. The bad thing is once they stop being that social person, they want it again, and they can’t be that person unless they start drinking again. It becomes a crutch.

One of my favorite guitarists is Eric Clapton, who was a naturally shy child growing up. I read his autobiography years ago, and I remember him saying how he needed to drink in order to become that fun person he thought everyone expected him to be. Of course he is sober now, and much respect to him. But isn’t it funny how this problem can affect even the best of us?

I’m not saying never to drink, never do drugs, and never do anything bad ever. I’m saying if you are going to do those things, use your own judgment and be smart about it. For example, if you’ve never been social before, then trying alcohol or medication can give you a reference experience of how it feels to be in that state. Then in your normal state, you can actively try to recreate how it felt to be free and unstifled. But your end goal shouldn’t be the drug itself. If you find yourself saying “I can’t talk because I didn’t take my medication today” then you’ve become dependent on it, like learning to ride a bike with training wheels, but never taking the training wheels off. And unless you have those extra wheels, you can’t ride a bike. You wouldn’t say “I can’t ride my bike today because I don’t have my training wheels.” You have to keep taking action and trying to better yourself no matter what.

The point I’m trying to get across here is if you are planning to take medication or drugs to help you or if you’re already taking them, it’s so important not to fall into that trap of getting dependent on external sources of getting into a good headspace. I don’t want to use the word “addiction” because it has so many other connotations and associations attached to it, but there’s a definite correlation between what we’re talking about and addiction. You always want to be working on yourself without the use of alcohol and drugs. If you keep working on talking and becoming more social naturally, the benefits will be so much more grounded and gratifying, and ultimately you’ll realize that you don’t need anything but yourself in order to be yourself.

-Seth