More on gay guys and drug use
There are many things that gay guys may do to excess. The excess causing the most problems I see in our community are: alcohol, Crystal Meth, coke, body image concerns. The things that we do not do enough of are: self love, support for each other, self acceptance as we are, pursuing things that make us really happy. Here I will look at the excesses.
Is there anything wrong with occasionally using drugs? While some gay guys do not use substances there are many who do. A few of those who use substances sometimes have trouble because of their use.
Some of the main problems around substance use are: unsafe behaviour, using drugs so much that is causes problems for the user i.e., financial concerns, and disrupting relationships, hindering personal growth.
I have tried to experience most drugs during my life, but I have not achieved that yet.
I think that the typical way of approaching problem substance use is to focus on the drug and not on the reasons for using the drug(s). There are reasons why we may use drugs. Drugs do something for the user. The most common benefit we look for in substance use is to feel free/uninhibited. Crystal Meth is a good example of this. Crystal Meth often allows guys feel sexually free; to be free to be the sex pig they would like to be but are too inhibited to freely enjoy such sex without the assistance of drugs. Alcohol also helps guys to feel less inhibited; coke can help guys to feel less vulnerable/more in control. Marijuana can help us to feel more mellow/relaxed.
So the common theme behind most of this substance use is to compensate for feeling inhibited. We do not feel free enough to be ourselves. We learned at an early age to not be the gay kid in school, to not be who we are, to hide who we are … to inhibit our natural feelings. It is no surprise to see our community use drugs that helps us to feel less inhibited and freer to be ourselves.
Most of us spent years trying to survive childhood and early adulthood by hiding our feelings, because we felt that was the only way to survive and thrive. We knew that there was a risk in being free to be ourselves, these risks are real and intense, the most common fears of being ourselves centred around: safety risks (gay bashing), risk to our career advancement, risks to being teased or bullied in school, risk of losing love of our family/friends. This early trauma of threat and survival will have an effect all our lives. Some of us can use these experiences to make us stronger, confident that we can handle what comes our way. For others we feel afraid, scared to be; apprehensive about the world that seems unsafe and unfair. For most of us it is a bit of both. (For me I think part of the reason for getting a PhD is to prove I was ok I was acceptable.)
It is not surprising that some of us use substances. I believe that drugs are not the problem. Drug use is the symptom. Usually the symptom is our trying to cope with fears and inhibitions in our lives.
Some guys find the traditional drug abstinence programs work for them, but many do not.
So what is another way to approach drug use in our community? There is no one answer for everyone but I believe that for most guys it is important to explore what we get out of our drug use. How can we get that same result without problematic substance use? An example of this might be, how do we be free enough to be the sex pig we enjoy being without Crystal Meth? Again in this case Crystal Meth may not be the problem but the enabler to allow us to be free. Crystal often provides the sense of being free/spontaneous/inhibited, but most guys find the actual sexual stimulation/organism is less important than the feeling of being free to be a sex pig.
We all use substances to help us feel better it may be coffee, alcohol, chocolate, etc. Do these substances we use bring us closer to being the person we feel good about, and do they make us a happier better person? If these substances do not contribute to our ultimate happiness then we may want to make some changes. We must understand our fears and inhibitions as well as work on ways to change our habits. I think drug use is not a bad thing but if we feel it is not helping us to be the best we can be, then we may want to make some changes. Some things that we can do is use less of the drug, try a different drug that does not cause us problems. But addressing the underlying issues is important to grow to be who we want to be. This may involve counselling, or self-examination, or just pushing ourselves to take some risks to be more our ultimate ourselves.