I just finished reading your words and I find myself in tears. I am a 26-year-old struggling artist/designer living and working in Philadelphia. I have been HIV-positive for a little over a year, and rather than having pointed the finger at someone else or blaming another for my own faults, I blame myself. I know myself well enough to know that I have practised unsafe sex and used crystal and many other drugs.
I never truly felt addicted because I am a strong person; my belief in Buddhism has been a continual source of inspiration, guidance and support, but the temptation of tina has been extremely strong and constant due to the fact that many of my friends use and abuse her all the time.
I have been struggling with this habit for the last four years so maybe it is an addiction, but I truly feel I am at a point in my life where I can no longer walk hand in hand with tina and must let her go. I can't begin to imagine what damage I have already done to my body, my brain and, well, what it has done to my soul which once shone brightly and now is dim and dull.
I really feel you hit tina right on the head, especially about the whole feeling and vibe of the clubs. You may have sparked something in me, not sure what yet, but sleep may bring it out, or meditation. Thanks for your honesty and bravery. I think you said a lot that so many people try to say.
"HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO US?"
LIFE OR METH was like reading a biography of my own life. Tina has destroyed everything that was important to me, and although one of my very dear friends is gone forever (he took his own life on July 4, 2003), I am grasping to regain everything and everyone else, including myself.
Usage among myself, my partner of five years and my inner circle of close friends had increased steadily over the past year, starting with "special occassions" and "party weekends", then every weekend, then eventually every day. We started smoking in March and it went downhill fast from there.
I isolated myself, I no longer have close friendships or family relationships, and the love and initimacy has diminished with my partner. I can't remember when the last time was we did anything "normal" or "social". Everything has slipped, including my finances, bills and work performance.
I quit using about two weeks ago and hit the "wall" head on. On Monday I went on short-term disability from work (I just could not function), started on Paxil, and will begin seeing a phychiatrist next week. I have no energy whatsoever or motivation to do anything; just taking a shower or doing a load of laundry is a struggle for which I need to lie down and rest immediately after.
My best friend and his partner are in much deeper - so deep that I do not believe they are capable of quitting on their own. One is in complete denial that he has lost control. Their addiction is coupled with anonymous sex, often unsafe, with internet hook-ups. I'm afraid that, for them, rehab is the only answer, but I don't know how to get them there.
The one in denial has been my best friend for 15 years. He is showing all the signs of aggression, anxiety, violence, paranoia. I know he is doing lots of tina, is engaging in very dangerous activities and making company with a bad crowd. I can't just watch him throw away his life, but threats are not working and I have my own problem to deal with. I feel so helpless.
Thank you for your site's openness and honesty. I can't stop wondering how could this happen to us? I wish more of the gay community could hear your message.