I was brought up with a independent streak. Throughout my life, I just did my own thing. I had a strong sense of self and wanted to do what was right for me, not because someone told me to.
My parents never told me not to smoke or do drugs. I was very much self-policed. I am not Christian either, so I don’t have any religious dogma that stops me from taking drugs. I just care about what I am putting my body. We have only one body and we need to look after it.
I am a very visual person. What stopped me smoking for example, was that ‘it looked bad’ and I saw X-rays on Open University about the effects. The fact that you could die from a slow, agonising death too, and an early one at that. Yes, I was watching Open University at a young age. People who smoked did not look glamorous, I suppose they looked ‘rough’ and ‘dirty’. The same for alcohol. You saw a few alcoholics and they looked a right mess and out of control and friendless.
Now, with drugs, I was aware that they were bad at the time from the media, and I wasn’t interested in anything messing around with my brain. I think what really stopped me was a book I bought from a charity shop in Kent, about this woman who worked in Kowloon City, Hong Kong, with the criminals and drug addicts and dealers. There were photos of young people who looked really thin, spotty and ill and this was not a good look. So, the library book helped me see the effects of drug addiction from an outreach worker’s experience.
That was it for me, not a good look, and they all looked pretty miserable too. Then shortly afterwards the photos from Leah Betts who died taking drugs came along. She looked terrible too.
I never mixed with the druggie brigade at all, supposedly the ‘cool crowd, that drank, smoked and had babies at 15, which was another blessing. I lived in the countryside and had few opportunities to mix with people my age anyway. However, reading about drugs and seeing the photos in the charity shop book, was a real eye opener. I never saw the ‘fun’ side of drugs at all, which you see these days. It was like, ‘What fun side?’.
Even now I meet people my age who have taken drugs in the past, due to peer pressure, and they come up with ‘trip stories’, which are really boring to me, but because I have never tried, or wanted to try recreational drugs, I don’t miss anything I have never used and it has stood me in good stead.
Sometimes people can make me feel that I am ‘missing out’, but I am really happy not taking such drugs. My health and my brain cells are so important, particularly as I am getting older and I need all I can get. It doesn’t stop me from having fun at all, and nowadays there are plenty of drug and alcohol free rave style clubs popping up too, which look a lot of fun, without the aggro and sex attacks as people are so vulnerable at other clubs and festivals. I have also have a lot of good hobbies, that no drugs could compete against!
Oh, and finally, the ‘Just Say No’ Campaign they had years ago, DID WORK for me and I am glad that the Government is bringing it back again.
Here’s a video you may like. It is a social experiment on Peer Pressure and Drugs.