Last month we posted “Ten Signs You Are Partying Too Much,” and as usual, your responses were as illuminating as the article itself. We bow to the collective wisdom of you, Queerty readers, and bring you five more signs a lad could find himself in trouble, brought to you by the men of the comments section.
One strong objection to the list was the use of the word “party” in the first place. “Dear God, stop saying the word ‘party,'” begged reader boring, and he had company. “The creepiest thing about this,” said onthemark, “is that the innocent and fun word ‘party’ has been co-opted into a euphemism for DOING METH!”
While “partying” typically means a fun night out for most people, gay men branded the word as code for using crystal meth at least a generation ago. The phrase “PNP” (party and play) began appearing in the personal ads of gay papers in the early 90’s, long before online cruise sites appeared. Leave it to gay men to rebrand drug use.
The reader list pulls no punches. Take a look:
1. The only other guy who is high at the 12-step meeting is the homeless dude who has bummed half your cigarettes. (Silas Wegg)
Readers debated the value of meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous, but generally agreed that everyone needs a little help sometimes. People like Stache99 and Lvng1tor shared their own battles with addiction and how meth “rewires the brain” to make you believe everyone is a-okay. For several of them, it has been a slow and painful battle back to sobriety.
2. The problems you are running into are bigger than the problems you are running away from. (QJ201)
There was a lot of chatter about the “reasons why” gay men turn to drugs and alcohol more than our straight counterparts, from low self-esteem to our bar culture. But turning to self-medication never makes anything better. And more than one reader has lost all patience with those who fall under the spell of stimulants. Meth addicts “should have known better in the first place,” said onthemark.
HIV is often linked to drugs and alcohol, both as a cause and as an effect. New HIV infections are often the result of impaired judgment while drunk or high (meth users are three times more likely to test positive). Meanwhile, those living with HIV, particularly long term survivors, have a history of turning to drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing with a generation of loss and grief. HIV activist and recovering addict Peter Staley once famously began an anti-meth campaign in New York City and paid for it himself (see poster, right).
3. You are downsizing your lifestyle to make room for all the drinking and partying. (TrueWords)
Many commentors who had been addicts discussed how their lives became very small, as their dependence on drugs or alcohol grew. They lost jobs and careers, took on a roommate in their small apartment to support their habit, or simply lost everything in the spiral.
4. You can’t remember the last time you were sober more than a few hours. (Silas Wegg)
This is clearly a sign that you’re already in huge trouble, but according to our readers the slippery slope between casual use and being hammered 24/7 is a fast and tragic one. While some are capable of walking away when they recognize a problem, others more prone to addiction can’t stop as easily, and are often helpless as the addiction takes bigger and bigger bites out of their lives.
5. How do you know if you’re doing too much meth? You’re DOING METH! (Geeker)
Crystal methamphetamine is made from amphetamine mixed with ingredients such as battery acid, lantern fuel, and drain cleaner. Readers were clear: anyone who believes that injesting this substance, whether once a day or once a year, is in trouble. For too many of us on the scene, we have normalized something that most of us would be horrified to even consider using.
Readers like misterhollywood wondered if meth use was dropping among gay men, or if he was just getting older and out of touch. While no exact numbers exist, a random search on Craigslist will produce pages of “PNP” matches, says Stache99.
Whatever the amount of meth addiction in our community (or dependence on alcohol, the most abused drug of them all), there is help out there for anyone who is suffering and wants to make a change. The key is to take these warning signs to heart and to ask for the help you need. Life gets better.