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How can I emphasize with those who do drugs? Family, friends, significant others

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  • #386357
    Finch
    Participant

    Hello,

    After facing mental illness for my entire life, from within myself and from members of my family, and to see first hand the inability of oneself to control their own thoughts, I have always been fearful of “losing control” of myself. From my disassociation to my depression and anxiety, mindfulness of myself and my thoughts has been the one successful route to calm my impulses and feel at peace with the world.

    One of the greatest ways this anxiety presents itself is this extreme avoidance of drugs, of alcohol, cigarettes, etc. For a “healthy” person to choose to resort to self-abandonment through intoxication of any form to me represents this fundamental and deep self-destructive behavior that both makes me feel the need to withdraw into my ruminations. When my friends drink, or smoke, or use a recreational drug I feel like I can no longer look at them as the same person, or even as a friend anymore, I can only see a reminder of an ever-present urge to escape my present.

    I have never used any drug, other than medical, except for a non-inebriating amount of alcohol on one occasion. So when I see my friends drinking, or hear them speak of their experiences using “harder” drugs, I can only feel like I am unable to empathize with this experience that they have created as fundamental to themselves, and become deeply unconnected to them.

    To add to this, I am currently in a relationship with a man who smokes, has a dependency on caffeine, and has told me he on rare occurrences uses “hard” recreational drugs (LSD, MDMA, etc). And of course, he, as a young person, enjoys going out to bars, clubs, to drink and dance. My problem, of course, is that I have never had an interest in drinking, of participating in this culture of drugs prevalent among my peers, and that extends to these sort of venues. At times, however, I feel a certain guilt in this absolute abstention from intoxication, as if I am creating this opinion on anxiety alone rather than true mindfulness and acceptance of my continued sobriety. I think to myself at times that I should experience this escape at least once, if only to be able to ground my relations to others in knowledge of this experience, even if it is self-destructive in my opinion.

    How should I perceive these feelings, and how should I decide which feelings come from a place of guilt, and which feelings come from a place of self-knowledge?

    #386375
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Finch:

    I have always been fearful of ‘losing control’ of myself…  mindfulness of myself and my thoughts has been the one successful route to calm my impulses and feel at peace with the world… to resort to self-abandonment through intoxication of any form to me represents this fundamental and deep self-destructive behavior“-

    – reads to me that you are afraid to lose control of yourself, and therefore, you are afraid of alcohol and other mood altering drugs that bring about loss of self-control. Practicing Mindfulness is the opposite of losing self-control, and it works for you!

    At times, however, I feel a certain guilt in this absolute abstention from intoxication, as if I am creating this opinion on anxiety alone rather than true mindfulness and acceptance of my continued sobriety… How should I perceive these feelings, and how should I decide which feelings come from a place of guilt, and which feelings come from a place of self-knowledge?

    – reads to me that your anxiety has a lot to do with the extent of your anti-alcohol/ drugs feelings. But.. what’s wrong with anxiety alone being the reason behind your abstinence from mood altering drugs? Whatever increases your anxiety, when it’s not necessary for your survival and.. even socialization- you should avoid, is what I think.

    The guilt feelings is about being the only one, the odd one in the group of friends and boyfriend, and for having negative feelings toward your friends and boyfriend because of their use of alcohol, in any amount, in any setting- isn’t it?

    There are such communities as Alcoholics Anonymous that socialize plenty without a single drink.. or drugs. There is an article: “Navigating social situations as a non drinker” by AARP. org, Jan 2020, “How to make friends without alcohol, very well mind. com, Sept 2020, “How to have fun and socialize sober”, by Ed Latimore. com, and more.

    anita

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