Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Drugs DO Work (A Little Too Well)

I have been mulling on the subject of drugs and the way they affect people for quite some time and wondering whether to post or not to post...

I quite understand if after reading this your opinion of me changes quite radically and you decide that I am, after all, a hooligan with a lack of morals - that's what makes the world go round I reckon so feel free to say so. Or just to disapprove. Or unfollow, or whatever.

To be honest, I am pretty good these days at being oblivious to contempt (it helps, in my job) so don't sweat it too much if this blog melts your brain into a frenzy.

Drugs, then.

I am referring to ALL synthetic or natural substances which are consumed one way or the other to create an effect on the human body. Prescription drugs, recreational drugs and any other drug you care to mention. 

The reason this has been close to the front of my mind is that I am currently watching two dearly beloved family members try and give up the "demon weed" - nicotine. As far as drugs go, especially those which are, somehow, "legal" this one is pretty evil. Not only does it do all the obvious and awful things to your body but it can turn its users (even very sane, rational, intelligent beings) into monsters.

For instance. My mom and step-dad were taking champix for a number of weeks and have both done absolutely magnificently well so far in living without cigarettes. I am incredibly proud of both of them in their efforts and I am hopeful that this time they have enough desire to break the habit that it will work. However, because of the crazy nature of the addiction I can't really talk to them about it because whatever I say will be interpreted as unhelpful and may well provoke a violent/vehement reaction.

That makes it kinda hard to be supportive to be honest.

But addiction to fags seems to have the ability to cleverly manipulate users into believing that to actually 'give up' the drug is, in some way, to fail. Defensiveness of smokers is akin to that of foxhunters in that no matter how much rationale you can produce (and which they KNOW is out there) as to why it is a horrible habit, the natural response tends to go along the lines of freedom of choice/other things kill you anyway/it's too late in my life for it to make a difference/I like smoking.

To which my response is a slightly baffled one. 

Freedom of choice is an ironic one as from where I am standing and much experience of spending time with smokers, it seems that the habit actually DICTATES what you do, where you go, where you eat, the mood of the group, meal times and many other things. So yeah - if you choose to smoke and you believe that that freedom is important - maybe consider how constraining it is on you in other ways. Just saying.

Of course the actual habit of smoking is as addictive as the nicotine and breaking this is as hard to achieve. But it is achievable. I have watched people do it. I know many people that have - but I reckon that exactly like with alcohol you are never a non-smoker, you are a reformed one who chooses not to smoke.

Too many times the fags creep back in if you let them. The champix apparently make them taste horrendous. They already smell horrendous to me even without the champix but I have never really thought too much about the way they taste - do they seriously taste nice normally? I find that hard to believe when they smell so stale and foul.

Unfortunately the champix has side effects which can mean the difference between staying on them or not. Good intentions can be obliterated by the crazy dreams and hormonal reactions they can cause. What a fucking shame. Surely one day they will manage to make something tangible that works and does not provoke side effects which so easily derail people trying so hard to give up.

Because nothing makes someone who hates failing angrier and more defiant than failing to quit. And the default stance is entirely predictable - "I smoke because I choose to, deal with it" is much easier to say than "I smoke because I have absolutely no choice in the matter, quitting is too hard".

Please don't think I speak without any experience of the lure of the demon weed. I have smoked in the past and tried most substances, legal and illegal. I was a student for christs sake; in the 90s it was, to paraphrase Noel Gallagher, as accesible and acceptable as having a cup of tea and EVERYBODY I knew was a social smoker. Mostly because it was 'cool' to smoke the odd bit of weed and that was all it was. Not many of them progressed to full on smokers but some did.

I always hated the taste and the smell but could see the allure after a couple of drinks. Thankfully I never ever got to the stage of wanting to smoke sober and therefore it was very easy indeed (especially after the smoking ban) to knock that association on the head.

I know people (some of whom are 'respectable' in real life with proper grown up jobs and everything) who have been out of their tree on wild concoctions of narcotics and psychotics in the past. I believe it's part of growing up. The difference is between those who played with it, experimented and decided it was just a rite of passage and those who turned it into a menacing aspect of their permanent personality. In amongst the people I know there is a tangible link between the education level of an indivdual and whether they were able to lose the urge to sniff/smoke/snort as they grew up.

Anyway, I digress, I just wish that it was easier for people to make a choice about smoking. I am certain if you put a button in front of most smokers and said 'if you press this you will immediately cease wanting to smoke' they would press it. Because it would be easy. But stopping smoking is bloody hard work - because the drugs DO work. A little too well.

I reckon cigarettes should either be made illegal or should cost around £20 a packet - then the choice for many smokers might be easier to make.