I have a small group of very long-time friends. We’ve known each other since the seventies – some even before then. Our group meets once or twice a year to keep caught up on what we are all doing; who has more grandchildren and who has died. And we reminisce about the old days which we all seem to remember differently, if at all. The old saying “If you remember the seventies then you weren’t really there” applies whole-heartedly to this group.
In our hey-day, each one of us used mind altering substances from alcohol on up. Not having a very addictive personality I was one of the lucky ones that stood on the threshold presented by the gateway drugs but didn’t go through. The same can’t be said for others in our group. Some of those who barely survived crossed the threshold, looked around for awhile and said, “Maybe not so much.” Others became counselors and helped those more unfortunate return from the gateway. Some are still recreational users and many of our number are no longer with us. A few have been lost to drug overdose but most of the time old age in our group has been accelerated by the extreme wear and tear that the toxins put on our body.
Those toxins affected each one of us differently. One of the women that was in our group back then now looks five or ten years older than me and is actually two years younger. When last we met, the first thing she said after not seeing me for 15 years was to remark on how grey my hair has become. I was so stunned I couldn’t even form a prune-based comeback about her appearance.
Only The Strong Survive
Going through the decision maze of drug use can be a difficult journey. Those of us who survive the journey learn many things about ourselves and others. Today of course I’m not supposed to advocate the use of drugs of any kind. I’m sure that the parents of the children we once were, back then were sadly sure none of use would ever amount to anything. Surprisingly we not only survived but we became productive members of society. Several of us even went on to form legitimate small businesses. How responsible is that?
So maybe Nietzsche was right though he did fight his own demons in that arena. What doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. Never count someone out whom you believe is destroying their life. They might just be taking the life class they need for graduation.