June 23, 2022 – I took my last dose Saturday morning. I didn’t experience so much as any discomfort. On Sunday, I went hiking. On Monday, I went to a Pride Gay Skate event at the roller rink. And it struck me anew how little drug addiction has to do with the drug itself.

There are some important caveats to my personal experience. I may be formerly incarcerated with mental health challenges, but I am not subjected to extreme poverty, racism or any number of other stressors that heavily impact people’s management of their relationships with drugs. Yet none of these very real societal factors are inherent to any drug—and that’s the point.

Drugs are inanimate substances. They are not good or bad. It is our relationships to them, influenced by many outside variables, that form the crux of our subjective experiences. Human beings are so desperate to externalize our internal emotions, to find something else to obsess over beyond our existential dread. I realized this once, fresh out of inpatient treatment, pulled over on the side of the road with the Domino’s Pizza sign alit on top of my car midway through my shift, gasping for air as I descended into a panic attack.


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