From Chapter Two of the book
How to Quit Drugs for Good

How to Quit Drugs for Good

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Something You Learned

We don’t inherently know how to use drugs. It’s something we have to learn. In fact, each drug has its own separate learning curve. The more we use a drug and the more drugs we use, the more there is to learn.

Some of this learning can be fun. When we first start using, we learn the many ways that drugs can help us. We think it’s great. Then we begin the long process of learning how to gain the most benefits every time we use. However, that means that we also spend a lot of time learning to minimize the many problems that drugs can cause.

For example, Jeanette learned early on that downers helped her overcome shyness. It helped so much that she quickly began to use them in all social situations. She practiced taking just enough to get the right “buzz” for every occasion. She worked on it long and hard. She had to learn how to take the right amount so she wouldn’t get too downed out. She had already learned that whenever she got too downed out, she became completely uncool.

If you use a drug excessively, you have a few main goals. One is learning to create “just the right effect.” You have to learn not to overdo it. You attempt to get the perfect buzz. Every time.

But this is difficult. You have to learn your limits. If you take in too much drug at too quick a rate, you might become sick or cause an embarrassing scene. You might get in a bad mood or just get downright sloppy. You might get in trouble with the law, or you might get violent and hurt someone you really care about. Of course, with some drugs, if you do too much too fast, you run the risk of overdose. This can lead to permanent physical or mental damage, coma, or death.

How can you control your drug use all the time? It’s hard. In fact, it’s damned near impossible. There are just too many variables. For example, each time you get high, that high is different from any other you’ve ever experienced. Each high varies depending on the following:

  • What your mood was before you started using
  • What drug you’re using (including what it was cut with)
  • What other drugs you’re using at the same time
  • How long since your previous high on this drug
  • How long since your previous high on some other drug
  • How much you’ve eaten, what you’ve eaten, and when
  • How many other toxins your liver is struggling with (e.g., food preservatives and chemical additives, environmental toxins from the air or water, other drugs you’ve taken, and how much alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or sugar you’ve consumed)
  • How you’re consuming your drug (swallowing, snorting, sniffing, smoking, or shooting), how fast you’re consuming it, and what strength it is
  • Other variables, such as time of month (for women especially, but men also have monthly biological cycles), outside stress factors in your life, or whether your body is fighting a sickness, even if it’s something as simple as a sore throat

That’s a lot to learn. But as dedicated users, we attempt to learn it all. Our purpose? To gain control—so we can get as high as we want, whenever we want, without overdoing it. Some of us become so adept that we can control these variables most of the time.

However, when you get this good, surprisingly there’s not much excitement anymore. You normally follow the same routine every day. You maintain a steady habit, and after a while it gets very boring. Most users lose control of their drug intake—not all the time, but often. In some ways it’s more exciting to lose control once in a while, but it’s also dangerous. When we get too high, accidents can happen—serious accidents. So we try to control the uncontrollable. We try to minimize the danger of hurting ourselves and others. Each time we use, we think, “I can control it if I try.” And we keep trying. And trying.