Recreational Drugs and Writing

This post began as a comment to this blog post, but I soon realized there was just too much to be said from my mobile. So I got out of bed and decided to write a proper response, and give Trevor the additional 30 minutes of sleep he requested.

So, for those of you who didn’t click the link, a pox on your house! No, not really, though I may bite my thumb at you. And apparently I’m feeling very Shakespeare today. Anyway, in his post, Eli Glasman talks about his experience with and dislike of recreational drugs.

Now, for my own personal experience, I agree. Not something I’m a fan of. But, I know quite a few people who can enjoy weed with no backlash on their professional or personal life. These people smoke weed, or sometimes bake it into delicious looking morsels, probably less than three times a month. Others in my acquaintance are even less frequent than that. And they all give the same reason for why they smoke at all.

To relax.

Some get baked and play video games for hours. In fact, most of them do. It’s a relaxing way to spend a day you had no motivation on anyway. You had no plans, or pressing chores. It’s your day off to spend as you wish. Because it’s recreation. It’s fun and or relaxing.

And I think that’s where there’s a disconnect in the anti-drug logic. They say that so-and-so is addicted to recreational drugs. Hmmm… That just sets off an alarm in my head.

 Addiction: to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.

We’ve all seen it, whether on television or in real life. We’ve seen and known addicts. Something that started rather innocently has become a need in order to survive. Addicts are the extreme. The people who punch you when you ask for your left over beer from last night’s party. The people who steal from your tip jar so they can buy a McMuffin from across the street.

But, here’s the thing. Addicts don’t drink, or smoke, or do drugs because it’s fun. Sure, that’s how it probably started, but by the time the addiction is recognizable, they’re probably not having much fun anymore. They do it to feel normal. Which is a terrifying thought. But, smoking weed does not an addict make. In fact, I’m not sure I know a single person who is actually addicted to weed. Even those in my acquaintance who smoke every day, could go an entire day without smoking without withdrawal symptoms, or a meltdown. Because it’s still recreation.

Recreation: refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also :  a means of refreshment or diversion: hobby. 

Whether it’s a cigarette after a shitty shift, a beer after a long week, or a joint on Saturday night, it’s still something we do to relax and shed the responsibilities of the workday/week.

“Whenever we purchase recreational drugs, even if we know that we’ll be okay, we are still contributing to an industry that causes people’s lives to be torn apart. Even if we were to say that it doesn’t always happen, nobody can deny that it still does happen, that it’s still a risk that somebody, somebody we may even know and love, will become addicted. All I keep wondering is, what is so important about taking drugs that we’re willing to take this risk?”

An argument from the post. And yes, what he says is true. But, the same could be said of car/motorcycle sales. How many people die every day in motor vehicle collisions? About 120, in the US alone. Approximately 3,000 people die every day due to car accidents across the world. So, how dare you buy a car? A little extreme, but technically the same argument.

About 100 people die from drug overdose every day in America. So yes, drug abuse is a problem. Obviously. But one way to prevent abuse is to educate, especially as weed legalization becomes a reality across the nation. Although, you can’t really OD on weed. You just fall asleep and wake up sober.

And here’s another reason legalization is good! How many people go to their dealer just to get weed, and end up trying something else? Something ‘stronger’? Weed isn’t the gateway, dealers are. Legalize pot, regulate it, and suddenly it’s being sold in dispensaries by licensed government employees. The offer of something more, something that will keep you coming back and willing to pay more and more because you NEED it, has been removed from the scenario.

Because, once and for all, weed is not the villain. Addiction is a symptom. Something that occurs due to a need to escape one’s own reality. AKA, a way to deal with/ignore your inner demons.

Now, this is a writing blog, so let’s swing this thing back around.

Let’s think of some famous writers who were addicts…

Hemingway. The lifelong alcoholic. There’s countless proof behind this one, even his own admissions to fellow writer/drunkard F. Scott Fitzgterald.
Stephen King. Alcohol/Cocaine. And boy was he a mess. He doesn’t even remember writing most of Cujo, and it became normalcy for his wife to find him the next morning, passed out by his desk next to his own vomit. She threatened to leave, and over many hard years, he figured his shit out.
Aldous Huxley. LSD and Mescaline. This was later in his life, but the dude enjoyed him some crazy trips.
Philip K. Dick. Speed was his flavor of choice, used to enhance his productivity. He must have struggled with word count too.
William Faulkner. Alcohol. Though he did state that he wouldn’t drink and write. Always sober to write. I like that.
Edgar Allan Poe. We all know this cat was messed up. Alcohol was the big one, though I could see him enjoying absinthe along the way. I’ll admit that’s just stereotyping on my part however.
Brandon Sanderson.  Chewy fruit candies. Every writer has an addiction, even the Mormon ones! I’ve heard him talk about hot chocolate on several occasions too. Better be careful, Brandon!

Anyway, this response has sort of blossomed into its own animal, and its time to put it out of my misery. Besides, Trevor’s been asleep for more than an hour now, and I can hear his snores through both doors. It’s time to wake up the bear. Wish me luck.




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