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.
I have a 40-something friend who joined the PNP scene about two years ago. He’s a full-blown player now, and has all but dropped out of the local mainstream community. As much as I (and others) miss him, I really don’t have too much sympathy for his situation. Over the past 6 months he’s lost his job, which caused him to lose his condo. The little bit of money he made selling his home was quickly spent by him and his new pals on drugs (meth and other drugs as well). The last I heard, he was living in a basement apartment with another gay man and a straight female.
As I said, I have no real sympathy for him. He knew what meth was when he suddenly started using it, and had seen its effects on others. I can accept that some of us have an “addiction gene” that can all but takeover our faculties with respect to drug use, but I still go back to the moment he made the informed choice to experiment and embrace “casual” use… as if it were craft beer or a new brand of poppers. It still baffles me. I just don’t get it.
Thanks for the kind references to my comments! I did however learn a lot from the previous thread. For instance, Stache99 convinced me that meth addiction COULD have happened to me back in the ’90s, if I’d happened to live in SF instead of NY at the time. (Meth took a lo-o-ong time to move to the East Coast, for some reason.) So I’ll stand by my remark that any RECENT meth addicts “should have known better in the first place,” but not in the distant past when people just didn’t know yet how fvcked up meth was. Everybody knows now. And @Trippy: confirms that.
As for “PNP” ads in the ’90s, yeah I probably saw them but assumed it was a vague reference to “drugs” in general. (I hate the idiotic drug war and think the US should adopt Portugal’s successful approach of legalizing the whole thing including heroin.) The addicts can say what works with addiction, but prison obviously isn’t doing it.
Meth Reason #6. Your teeth fall out?
Gay men and Meth…
Drugs are bad mmkay? It always seems to be meth that takes the blame but honestly it is the user not the drug. I have used crystallized meth amphetamine for at least 15 years & yet manage to maintain all my teeth. If you can’t handle it don’t do it, don’t even try it but please accept the blame is on you and don’t try to shift it off on the drug.
PNP or using drugs and having sex……well it is not a gay thing or a straight thing…..it is something some people do, while others judge at every turn of life….. First of all HIV is a myth and Crystal Meth is also something called Desoxyn that one can get from your friendly neighborhood drug dealer called Walgreens or CVS, it’s just in pill form and ten times stronger…… In a life ruled by money, some people do fall in to the addiction of wanting nothing but that feeling of pure connection between two human beings…….
BTW, who ordained which religions have the legal right to marry anyone? so, why do we care if they agree that we have the right to marry someone of the same sex………the real question is how does anyone stand for the obvious use of civil rights laws to discriminate against gay men? God didn’t keep a diary handed down to us by anyone……..if there is a God, then why doesn’t he just kill child molesters like that 7th Heaven actor instead of making men like that examples of manhood and fatherhood on TV? The joke is real people of good moral character don’t need to be afraid of going to hell or a fake God to behave well towards other humans or the world
Nobody should be doing this. I lived in the Castro 30 years ago and left after one year because my friends were all destroying themselves with drugs, booze, and acquiring HIV as a result of it You’re crazy if you keep doing it. Period.
2/5 — hell yeah. Almost six months sober now; life is great.
“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.”
Well, this happened to many of us anyway over the last decade WITHOUT drugs, as the economy deteriorated (except for the 1%) and the cities became unaffordable.
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