Amy dead at 27, the papers have been full of it, but is she any different from a G overdose at Fire or a middle aged gayer on a crack pipe?
It’s easy to sneer at scuzzy street junkies, scuttling off for their next drop while gayers fix themselves up in A&F Muscle Fit, a bump, a line and serial sex. This observation illustrates how we all have a scale of snobbery when it comes to junkie behavior. Someone else is always a benchmark for addiction. If someone is talented like Amy it seems wrong to cuss but if a junkie makes home under a cash machine on the street it’s easy to sound off, look down and snear.
Bears often add to their profiles ‘No druggies’ while they sup 10 pints of Newcastle Brown a night without heeding that alcohol is the oldest known drug. When I was bang at it, junkies were smack-heads, horse dealers, scat boys, skaggies or simply “on the brown”. The lowest of the low after meth drinkers. Now heroin addicts are almost respectable living on benefits, methadone and 6 packs of Special Brew. What a turnaround, well at least it helps the crime figures. Thankfully most gay men don’t go round snatching bags and mainlining in parks but in some quarters gayers at home on the crack pipe is the new hubble bubble of fashion.
Glamorous addiction never lasts, the cheeks soon turn pale. It’s easy to think that gay men just do ‘hands in the air’ club drugs, that they never have to resort to dogs on string, but the reality is that many are out there using to oblivion, nicking to survive, just like a street junkie. Stealing from banks by maxing a credit card and moving on with no forwarding address is no different, the courts would say. We are all junkies on some level but the extra luggage of shame and low esteem that homos bring to the table reflect the present day consumption of goodies that we use to escape fearful feelings, realities of life and viral intervention. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Look where SILENCE has led us – the world of illusions.
The illusion that tight tops and big Muscle Bears are somehow different from the manic street junkie is an epidemic of denial. Whether you score from a phone box or have it delivered by Addison Lee is off no consequence when you use a drug every day.
Daily drugs users are not always addicts but they are junkies. Using dry cleaning fluid as a stabilizer is junk. Drug and alcohol dependency is so insidious that no one knows where the magic line is that gets you hooked.
I have seen drug fucks use for 10 years and be able to cut back or cut out within a week while others become addicted to a drug of choice within weeks and can’t stop (and never stop till they OD). Most gayers sit in the middle of social using and heavy using without becoming addicts, but heavy using can still destroy what’s left of your relationships, bank accounts and sanity. Rehabs will tell you that you don’t have to hit bottom with a habit, you can get off at the 2nd Floor, so wise up while you can, the body will only take so much.Think how many times you have gone out without a drink or drug inside you. When was the last time? When did you last have sex without stimulants? ( . . and I’m not talking Viagra). When was the last time you pigged out on comfort food and went on a binge? The propensity for JUNK is everywhere and our lifestyle of no dependents can lead us to junkie thinking of instant gratification, I want, I must have, I WILL have – the illness of self obsession. Tempering our needs and knocking out the wants leads to balanced thinking, balanced lives and less emotional comedowns – which some of you may desire but have no idea about obtaining.
Amy had help thrown at her from all directions but the illness of addiction, blocked her ears. Addiction is not choosy, it hits up the super sexy and the mundane and it’s the illness that tells you you haven’t got it. Recovery starts with ownership, awareness and surrender.
Focus this week on your own junkie behavior, it’s easy to knock someone else’s (especially a partner), try recognizing where you relapse into junkie thinking, acting out and progressive denial. Then consider a game plan for reversal toward more conscious using, for as I’ve said many times before, chems are not the problem, the problem lies in the vessel that consumes them. It’s not what you take, it’s how chems make you feel, and at some point the romance ends and you flat line into oblivion.
Living with a partner with a habit is exhausting, even more so if you join them. They may not die in body but the brain and spirit is gone, taking logic and time with them. It’s easy to think you can help, assist or fix someone, you can’t. Amy is an example of this, for until the junkie shows the white flag the battle sadly continues for all, until death.
Sadly I doubt whether Amy’s death will allow LGBT users to think twice about their own using habits, since using Amy as a benchmark for what ‘real’ addiction is, is a game well played. It’s easy to blame fame as a co-conspirator, or talents beyond management, when the reality is we all believe this stuff happens to other people, not us.