Years ago, during another life, my lover spoke of the “unknown/invisible” number hanging over every drug addicts head: the dollar amount squandered on drugs. Something you try not to think about if you can help it -serves no purpose, other than a marked depression in mood, unless it is that final straw that will push or keep you on that road to sobriety.
So, yes, I’ve spent a hell of a lot of money on mood-altering chemicals, but something not often admitted, or even recognized, is that at a certain point in one’s chemical career your appetite becomes insatiable and normal 40 hours a week income is just a pittance and hardly worth pursuing, as a bi-weekly check is easily spent in two days or less. Therefore, the point being, you are hustling almost non-stop solely to fund your drug habit, earning exponentially more than you ever did while sober, only the money is spent quicker than it is, ugh, “earned”. So, yes, there is an “unknowable” (at least grossly inaccurate) dollar amount, most likely depressingly high (that being the whole point) accumulated over time and inextricably linked to your person, but that number is not the result of however many work weeks added together or tax returns, or college loans, etcetera, but is skewed in a major way by the endless, uncountable hustles you’d never have bothered to pursue if it wasn’t for the feral, dictatorial monkey on your back. Which, when finally recognized, often leads to the daydream-like idiom of “Imagine what you could accomplish, what you could achieve, if you directed all that energy, all that ugly passion, into a more positive pursuit?!” Or in more capitalistic terms: “Imagine what you could do with all that money if you saved and invested instead of bought and ingested?!”
That logic is sound to a point, realistically though, all that energy, at least at such an intense level, is just not translatable to a more “positive pursuit”. It is a sad but true realization, that in this case, simply more is accomplished by a demonic whip-yielding slave driver than a passionate artistic muse or entrepreneurial drive – the intensity in which one pursues a passion resting upon how fervently one believes to be pursuing a NEED rather than an even highly sought after WANT. Neither are “needs” in the purest sense of the term, but it is very difficult to achieve the same delusion of need that an opiate deprived body creates when applied to, say, an artistic endeavor. Though, it can be done. Myself, I can’t shrug, no matter the level of personal apathy, the notion that I am to be a writer and that I “need” to write. Instead of acute withdrawal to convince me of my “need,” I harbor an ever-present fear and anxiety at the void of regret I will feel if I do fail to pursue my literary muse. But, again, the intensity is markedly lower: I don’t wake up every morning shuddering, dry-heaving, wondering if I can manage to write myself “right”. Instead of avoiding sickness, I write to maintain a baseline of sanity. We all harbor delusions to a certain degree, the trick is to use them in your favor.
(Drugs and Culture)