Getting out of Your Head & Listening to Your Gut
anonymous Asks ...
I am not a cocaine addict but I am a regular user and binge user of about half an eight ball per week. I have snorted most weekends for about 4 years. I do not have an addictive personality and I have a very high pressure job so I need this once a week to blow off steam. I work hard and I need to play hard. The proof that I don’t have a problem is that I have the money to afford as much as I want and this is all I ever buy. My self control always amazes some of my, let’s say, NEEDIER friends who can’t stop once they start until they’ve blown their bank accounts. Problem is…my septum is getting really thin and I had a cold this week and when I was blowing my nose and one time a huge chunk of clotted blood came out. Scary. It forced me to look at things closely. I will not let myself become an addict. I have done some research and I plan to sniff saline water after each snort and I think this will prevent further damage, since I don’t use that often, as long as I alternate nostrils every weekend. Even in the worst case situation I can afford the plastic surgery. Question is, a part of me knows this is fucked up. Is it possible to choose to do something that you know is starting to have higher and higher consequences and still call it that you are making a free will choice?
Jim LaPierre Says ...
Hey - thanks for your truly excellent question. I'm gonna take some of your words and elaborate on them:
"...a part of me knows this is fucked up."
Yup - that's your gut feeling. You're smart and therefore all the more able to rationalize and justify. There is part of you that knows that if you were truly okay with what you're doing, you wouldn't need to have reasons why it's okay and you wouldn't be asking me or anyone else. If you wanted something other than the truth, you'd seek out people who tell you what you want to hear.
"Is it possible to choose to do something that you know is starting to have higher and higher consequences and still call it that you are making a free will choice?"
Addiction is like cancer - it spreads pervasively, silently, and without notice until we're already well beyond being in trouble. The disease of addiction gradually claims not only a person's free will but also their self. Addiction is unique in that it is the one disease that lies to us and tells us we don't have it.
Look, I'm not saying you're an addict - I am saying there are countless ways to "blow off steam." You need to play hard? Okay - how about playing with something that isn't proven to do damage to your heart? How about looking down the road a little ways? I'm guessing you're young(ish). Ever see a guy my age (late forties/early fifties) do cocaine? What did it look like? A guy whose playing hard? Hell no. It looks pathetic - not because he does or doesn't have a problem but rather because he's "that guy" in the club. He's a guy who didn't grow up.
Look - take that part of you that tells you this is fucked up and let it have a voice. Invest an hour of your life and put pen to paper and let me know (please) what you find out about yourself.
Good luck, friend.