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Dating a drug-user?
September 3, 2009 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I've been seeing this guy for over 6 months now, and everything is absolutley wonderful, except that he's part of a circle of friends that are very much into recreational drug taking.. I have some experience of drugs, but am now firmly anti-drugs because of the health risks etc.

The issue is, we keep having quite bitter arguments about drugs - where i'm arguing its too risky and that there arent enough advantages to recreational drug use, and he argues that they are used for temporarily removing the ego and personal growth and development, which cannot be attained (or not as easily attained) without tripping or getting high. His friends have also preached to me about the same things, and despite the fact that i feel like they are being the immature ones... i find myself being treated like this immature, "brain-washed" person who isn't at all open-minded.

I'm hoping this is something we can eventually both be mature about and just accept each others opinion.

Is there something i am obviously not understanding about drugs? (i have dabbled in the past)... This is now involving his friends, what can i do?
posted by clown-mustard to Human Relations (64 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are they arguing with you because they want you tot take them too, or because you want them (or him) to stop taking them? Those are pretty different conflicts, in some ways, but the short answer is you can't change people, and if one of you feels like you need to change the other to be happy, the relationship ain't gonna work.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:19 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


What drugs are they taking? if its anything more then marijuana (prob spelled wrong) then i say stay far far far away.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:20 AM on September 3, 2009


You are probably fundamentally incompatible, or at least in very different life stages.

There's critical information missing here, though -- is this an LSD trip every two months? Daily pot smoking? Opiates?

How have you ended up having these discussions with his friends?
posted by kmennie at 10:22 AM on September 3, 2009


The issue is, we keep having quite bitter arguments about drugs... I'm hoping this is something we can eventually both be mature about and just accept each others opinion.

It takes two people to argue, and two people to politely disagree. You're half responsible for either outcome.

Try to keep his friends separate from him in your own mind, and don't treat them the same way during "bitter arguments."

Try this on: "I'm so glad you're not like your friends who always want to argue with me, and we can just disagree and still get along."

If that feels true, go with it. If it's not true, your relationship probably needs structural changes that don't have anything to do with this particular topic.
posted by rokusan at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2009


DTMFA. You don't need that noise. If you're not into drugs, hang out with people who aren't. Done.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2009


Is there something i am obviously not understanding about drugs?.

The fact that you aren't more specific than "drugs," makes it sounds like there is, as though you think all mind-altering substances and all ways of using them are equivalent. Anyone who is making blanket statements about "recreational drug taking" is very naive on the subject.

If you provide some specifics you can get some actual info.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


he argues that they are used for temporarily removing the ego and personal growth and development, which cannot be attained (or not as easily attained) without tripping or getting high.

I'd be more concerned that this is his big argument for it. It would have more integrity, to my mind, to just say, I like getting high. It's fun. It doesn't hurt anyone. But the number of people who've achieved staggering personal growth without drugs is overwhelming even to consider. What a crock.

On top of that, no one should be anything other than respectful about your distaste for using drugs, and from the other standpoint, it's not your problem or business if his friends do.

As far as your boyfriend, though is concerned, he should especially a) treat your decision with respect and b) develop some compromises about the timing of it (maybe he can go out on his own and go nuts on Fridays and you can go hang out with your friends or something.

Personally, for me, my biggest problem would be that logic up top. Sheesh.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


In an ideal world, i would prefer he didn't take them.. but i've accepted it and it doesnt bother me if he does it occasionally. I'm not sure why they have started arguing with me, i doubt theyre trying to make me take them too, perhaps only for the reason that i dont agree with them?
posted by clown-mustard at 10:25 AM on September 3, 2009


Even if it's marijuana, stay far far away. When my father tried to smoke pot when he was young, it gave him a panic attack. Are the people who claim to care about you saying that you should endanger your health, just because it works for them? Drugs affects everyone differently; they're being snobby at best, homicidal at worst, if they're pressuring you to do drugs.

This Carolyn Hax column discusses the issue in a very thoughtful way, I think. If the way you and them "have fun" on such a basic level is just too different, then the relationship may not progress very much further.
posted by Melismata at 10:28 AM on September 3, 2009


I don't think it matters whether it's LSD or just too many Red Bulls. You don't like what he's doing, and he insists on doing it. One of you wants the other to change in a way that you each don't wish to change. And if one of you caves to the other's wishes just to save the relationship, there's going to be resentment later on. I have been there. It doesn't work. Of course, you can try to become more educated on whatever drugs they're taking to make sure your opinion is well-formed, but the bottom line is you're having "bitter disagreements" about something important to both of you. That's going to be a sore point until the end.
posted by katillathehun at 10:29 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


You still haven't provided examples of the drugs they take. This is important because there are serious differences between the effects and dangers of different drugs. If your arguments don't take that into account, you may well come off as simply prudish and conservative for arguing against drug use (as opposed to simply saying they aren't your thing, which is always ok).

Regardless, this sounds like it's turning into a major compatibility issue. You should either decide to disagree, change, or decide to get out of the relationship.
posted by OmieWise at 10:31 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll take flak for saying it...

But drugs aren't normal, they're not necessary, they're not "a part of who" anyone is. Unlike disabilities, people choose to abuse substances that alter their state of mind. Why they do it is up to them---they don't like who they are, they don't like their current status, they use it to cope, whatever it is. Doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad person, but it means that they've chosen a way to live their life.

You have chosen another way to live your life. (good for you!) If this person is a regular user of anything to the extent that it causes arguments in your relationship, it means you will always suck hind tit to the substances he's abusing. It means your feelings, your needs, your everything will come second to his desire to get high, tune out, whatever he takes and for whatever reasons he takes them.

In short, fuck him.

If you're talking long term here, you need to understand the affects this could have on your family or ability to have a family, your ability to obtain health insurance/care, and you have to prepare yourself for the inevitability of getting caught and him (and possibly you, depending on the state and the quantities involved) going to jail, losing your job, being ineligible for Financial Aid, losing the right to vote, and possibly jeopardizing your lifelong access to federal assistance (including social security, etc.)

Seriously, he's already made his choice, and it ain't you.
posted by TomMelee at 10:32 AM on September 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, everything said about the types of drugs and the frequency taken is certainly important. There's a huge difference between smoking some pot or eating mushrooms every now and again and being a coke head or a heroin addict. But all of that is completely beside the point, as has been said already.

You don't like what he's doing, and he and his friends are being pricks about it. DTMFA.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:33 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


i doubt theyre trying to make me take them too

You are open-minded in that you recognize your disagreement with these folks, but aren't trying to persuade any of them that they shouldn't partake, but rather you're merely reiterating that you decline to partake. The only reason to press you further on this issue, and treat you like an immature, brain-washed, closed-minded person would be to persuade you to use drugs with them.

To be honest, I don't think it's a good sign for a relationship when one person has a habit the other takes serious issue with (this isn't on par with leaving his socks on the floor, this is like a dedicated non-smoker dating a smoker). But, if you think you can live with the arrangement for now, the bigger issue is that he and his friends are not accepting your stated preferences regarding your own behavior and health.
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:34 AM on September 3, 2009


If you are going to meet half way on this and have a relationship where you decide to respect each other's decisions, it's going to be complicated, and you should avoid fighting this fight with other people. Yes, it is ideal that you be friends with his friends if your relationship should continue, but on this particular issue, you need to come to this agreement to disagree as a couple, not as a you versus them.

If they are bringing it up, don't discuss it with them. You don't need to convince them that you are right or even that you respect their decision. You just need to do that for your boyfriend. If you are bringing it up, you need to think about why you are doing that.

You prefer that your boyfriend not engage in this behavior, but you don't mind that he does. Since he has decided that he wants to engage in this behavior, it being something you are granting him permission to do can seem like a judgment even if it wasn't. Adults typically don't like to be told what to do by someone they want to consider an equal. And to be perfectly honest, some of the language you use within this post (about whose decision is more mature, for example) isn't exactly neutral language.

So like I said, it's complicated. If you think it's worth it, it's your call. But also realize, if your boyfriend feels pressured to change or behave in ways he doesn't want, it may no longer be your call and he may decide that his freedom of choice is more important than his relationship. So invest your time and your heart carefully.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:34 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd be more concerned that this is his big argument for it. It would have more integrity, to my mind, to just say, I like getting high. It's fun. It doesn't hurt anyone. But the number of people who've achieved staggering personal growth without drugs is overwhelming even to consider. What a crock.

Well, however you feel about it, there's a tremendous amount of literary and anthropological support for this use of drugs (hallucinogens and cannabis). Castaneda, Ginsberg, Huxley, Leary, not to mention cultures across the Americas, Eurasia, and Australia.

It's entirely possible that this is a rationale along the lines of, "hey, man it, like, frees your mind," but if he is actually educated about the history and methods behind this kind of drug use it might pay to check out some of what he's read and see what you think about it rather than relying entirely on preconceived notions.
posted by cmoj at 10:35 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


And at everyone who says it matters what drugs...it doesn't. Addictive or otherwise, a person who chooses to alter their consciousness with substance abuse, whether alcohol or tobacco or benadryl, cocaine, ambien, or percocet is a person electing to live his or her life a certain way, and that way is in direct opposition to what the OP wants for herself.

Nobody is worth making you change your mind about the fundamental goals and standards you've set for yourself, whether it's chemically, sexually, morally, or financially.
posted by TomMelee at 10:36 AM on September 3, 2009


This argument is not going to be resolved in the way you two have framed it. For one, no one will agree on the facts, and for two, you are each characterizing the other as wrongheaded. There is no place for a discussion that resolves anything in this context.

People use drugs for a variety of different reasons and personal growth can certainly be one of them. Whether that is how it is actually being used or merely how it is described requires looking at the specific cases. To presume his stated reasons aren't valid will not get you heard. Similarly, the health risks of drugs can be from poor judgment on the part of the user, or from uncertainty of what is being consumed due to illegality, but just calling it a health risk as if that sums up the situation just makes you sound like someone parroting the party line. You don't say what health risks you mean which adds to that impression.

On his end, (he's not reading this, is he?) personal growth and egolessness is supposed to enable him to understand where it is you're coming from and not write you off as "brain-washed." There is personal growth available outside of drugs and the ability to empathize with you is evidently not being enhanced on the path he has chosen. You can further this part of his (and your own) personal growth by figuring out how to talk to each other in a way that lets you both feel heard and understood.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:37 AM on September 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Drugs he takes: smokes weed and hash almost daily, acid, ketamine and shrooms tend to crop up about once a month, often more in the party season. MDMA and analogs like mdmc are also a frequent social thing for him.
posted by clown-mustard at 10:38 AM on September 3, 2009


Why do you continue to have a relationship with someone whose personal choices you do not respect? Regardless of the drugs issue, you cannot control another person. You cannot make him quit.

Plus, if you drink, there's no difference between you and him other than you prefer to get high on something legal.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:39 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm with you. You won't change him. I hope he doesn't change you. Plenty of fish in the sea.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:40 AM on September 3, 2009 [2 favorites]



Well, however you feel about it, there's a tremendous amount of literary and anthropological support for this use of drugs (hallucinogens and cannabis). Castaneda, Ginsberg, Huxley, Leary, not to mention cultures across the Americas, Eurasia, and Australia.

It's entirely possible that this is a rationale along the lines of, "hey, man it, like, frees your mind," but if he is actually educated about the history and methods behind this kind of drug use it might pay to check out some of what he's read and see what you think about it rather than relying entirely on preconceived notions.


I understand that -- he's saying that it cannot be achieved through other means. That's the part I have a problem with, not that some people do achieve it through that means.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:41 AM on September 3, 2009


I was fed the same line when I was younger; the personal growth promise is what originally attracted me to them. Hindsight shows me that people I knew who put this argument out have wound up no more or less developed than the other people we hung around with. Some claimed drugs helped them get past their own egos and relate better to others; more power to them. Some others used drugs as a crutch and and escape. Most just used and enjoyed the ride. I found the experience to be motivating but not illuminating, if you know what I mean.

Peoples' mileages vary, and to make grandiose and absolute claims about this is (to my older, and hopefully wiser mind) a sign of immature thinking. This 'removing the ego' thing is bloody hard no matter how you approach it; that's why there isn't any one path to do it. If there was it would be very well-trodden and well-known. But then when I was young I also thought I knew best. So it has ever been.

My off-the-cuff recommendation would be to tell his friends you're feeling like you're being looked down on for your views, and that you would like a little respect for a differing opinion. If they can't accept that their world view may not be perfectly correct and allow that others might just have valid insights, then it's time to step back for a while. Express politely that you'd like to be with them, but that you need to feel like you're not looked down on. Then see how the boyfriend reacts to this. If he's empathetic he should see that just perhaps he plays a part in your feeling low when this subject comes up. Maybe that will improve things, or at least flag the topic as a sensitive one that they will avoid.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's shitting you; there's no "personal growth" here, he's just a stoner.
posted by kmennie at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2009 [18 favorites]


You have legitimate concerns about drugs. Period. I agree with others who say that the relationship probably won't work in the long run. Do you really want to be in a situation in which, (a.) he does something that you don't approve of but merely tolerate, and (b.) have to deal with his friends chastising you and pressuring you to try drugs? His friends sound really immature, and peer pressure is never fun, especially when you're out of middle school.
posted by kookaburra at 10:48 AM on September 3, 2009


Take it from a guy who, in another life, used to get twacked over the moon on drugs of all varieties. This:

he argues that they are used for temporarily removing the ego and personal growth and development, which cannot be attained (or not as easily attained) without tripping or getting high.

Is a bunch of shit. Like Terrible Llama said, it'd be so much easier to take this dude seriously if he would just admit that he's getting high because getting high can be a total fucking blast for some people. Instead, he offers up this mealy-mouthed rationalization and does so, as a bonus, in a mad condescending way - that is, "I'm using these to get enlightened, and if you were enlightened like me, you'd understand that!" He can't just come out and say he likes getting high and giggling at stuff - he's gotta try and justify it. Ick. He wants to remove his ego? He should try meditating, or maybe avoiding haughty justifications for his pursuit of animal pleasures.

Now, obviously, I risk severe hypocrisy if I condemn someone for using recreational drugs, so let's just set that matter aside and consider practical matters. He's into drugs; you're not. What does that mean for your relationship, its future and your day-to-day interactions? Do you hang around with him while he's doing whatever he's doing? Or, do you spend huge chunks of time apart while he's out getting a fat sack of personal growth? Is it fun to be around him when he's high and you're not, or when he's coming down and you were never up? Is this the only concern of yours that he doesn't understand or take seriously?

My suspicion is that, owing to these severe differences in your personal value systems and activity preferences, you two are probably poorly matched.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:51 AM on September 3, 2009 [17 favorites]


Jesus, I just saw your reply about what drugs he takes. Ketamine? (A Veterinary tranquilizer?) MDMA?

I change my response to DTMFA. I thought we were talking relatively harmless ones like shrooms and weed.

The effects of ketamine are, but are not limited to:
* cognitive impairments including memory problems
* urinary tract disease, possibly leading to kidney damage
* bladder deterioration

Anyone who takes this knowingly on a regular basis is self-destructive. Anyone who takes this without checking the effects is taking far too many risks.

The side effects of MDMA are too long to list, but I think the DTMFA threshold was reached long ago.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:52 AM on September 3, 2009


Well if they are arguing with you, then just tell them to agree to disagree. If you can accept it, just tell them to STFU.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:57 AM on September 3, 2009


I am not gonna touch the issue of using those drugs being healthy, normal, or sustainable. I will say, from experience, that it is very difficult to do a relationship when both parties aren't on the same page regarding substance use.
posted by everichon at 10:57 AM on September 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Drugs he takes: smokes weed and hash almost daily, acid, ketamine and shrooms tend to crop up about once a month, often more in the party season. MDMA and analogs like mdmc are also a frequent social thing for him.
That's quite a cocktail. If you are not interested in accepting the risks associated with recreational drug use, move on and quickly. Those risks are not neither small nor inconsequential.
The fact that you are talking about MDMA analogues tells me that you have, at least, been listening to him and his friends when they talk about their mental expansion programs. Have you done your own reading? Erowid is the source on the internet I found most even-handed.
posted by bastionofsanity at 10:59 AM on September 3, 2009


I'm not sure why they have started arguing with me

Not having been part of a similar group in my life, but having had friends who were, I'd surmise that there might be a paranoid element at work here; everything that the boyfriend is doing (that you listed) is illegal, and they're probably worrying that you'll narc on them to try to get your boyfriend away from that crowd. Or, maybe, mellow egoless groovy people that they are notwithstanding, it just bugs them that there's someone outside the group mindset in their circle.

Either way, it doesn't bode well for you and your relationship. You don't have the same legal culpability as they do, and therefore the motivation to keep everything under wraps, so... I hate to be yet another member of the DTMFA chorus, but I really don't see a lot of hope for the long-term prospects of this relationship.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:01 AM on September 3, 2009


Also... does he do anything besides recreational drugs? Like hold a job? If not, I think the recreational bit may be unrealistically optimistic. Especially if he is under 30. Stoned kids off my lawn.
posted by bastionofsanity at 11:02 AM on September 3, 2009


Is there something i am obviously not understanding about drugs?

I think the only point here is that they're a valid though not necessarily legal lifestyle choice that many adults make, and one that particularly seems villified by the American political and educational systems. Without getting into too much detail, I've had this quandary in relationships several times before, interestingly on both sides of the equation. I used to do a lot more drugs, now I do fewer.

The only way you can get to an "agree to disagree" place here is if you're both willing to do that. This also means that if you get to that place, then you have to have some graceful way to deal with his friends and his general cultural choices.

I grew up in a family of problem drinkers and did, for a long time, have a sort of knee-jerkish response to people I cared about drinking around me. I used to be a bit of a hardliner, not wanting to date people who drank and getting into big lengthy "but why...?" discussions with partners and feeling like every time they picked up a beer it was going to start an evening that ended in me getting neglected or treated poorly. I've grown a lot since then and learned to separate what's bad behavior and what's just a situation I'm unsure of or unsteady with. It's okay to not want to be treated badly, it's more your issue if you're just fearing bad treatment based on free-range anxieties and trying to control behavior as a result.

So, if your boyfriend is taking drugs and that is causing him to treat you in a way you don't like, that's no good but maybe workable. If he's taking drugs and the drugs themselves are the thing you don't like, this is probably a parting point for the two of you. For your part, you should listen for this when the two of you talk and act accordingly. For example if he's using his intoxication as some sor tof excuse for dropping the ball "Oh hey sorry I didn't call you back, I was really fucked up." that's an issue. This is true whether he's drinking too much beer or taking too much ketamine.

Many people are comfortable with recreational drug use as a totally valid thing to do for fun. If you're not one of these people and your boyfriend is, that may be a gulf that's not really possible to bridge and you'd both be better off with people who share your outlooks. There's not really a way to win the "there aren't enough advantages..." argument in any real way.
posted by jessamyn at 11:04 AM on September 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


I was going to respond to specific comments, but there's too much self-righteous BS in here to do that. People are reading a lot of things into the post that the OP hasn't said, and even assuming things that the OP specifically contradicted.

I'll just say that people have been using mind-altering substances for all of recorded history, and many many people who used such substances have done great things and made lasting contributions to society. And of course all drugs are not the same, and not all drug-users use substances in the same way. Some people are responsible about it, some people aren't. The "all substance-users are lazy, dangerous, good-for-nothings" attitude is ridiculous and unhelpful. Obscure Reference's comment is one of the few reasonable replies in here.

The bottom line is it's up to you to decide what you want to put in your body and whom you want to date. Frankly I'm not at all clear on what you're looking to get for an answer here, besides a bunch of people posting judgmental nonsense and telling you to dump your boyfriend. If this is a problem for your relationship it's probably not going to change and you should break up. If it's not a problem, don't worry about it. But having a sensible, informed, non-alarmist outlook on drug use is a good idea in any case.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:07 AM on September 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was very nearly involved with someone who was into recreational drugs, and we disagreed a lot about their necessity, frequency of use, etc. Ultimately our different views on the subject is what kept us from a closer relationship. I recognized that I couldn't form anything long-term with this guy, not without constantly (daily) dealing with his "minor" drug habits that I did not entirely approve of.

I think unless you can accept all of what a person is or does, without hidden nagging doubts or reservations, the relationship is bound to get weaker and weaker. Especially when you feel like there are health risks the other person is ignoring. Personally, I could never give all of myself to someone who I knew was harming themselves and blowing it off. Could you really deal with that?

Really think about what you want, because you two really are in different worlds right now that don't seem to be meshing at all.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's you, or the drugs.

Experience tells me that he'll choose the drugs over you, every time. It's a harsh reality.

My advice is DTMFA. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches and heartaches that way.
posted by Citrus at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2009


To make the situation a bit clearer, especially in response to eattheweak, I don't tend to hang out with him when he's " enlightening" himself, but I'm often with him when he's smoking dope and I've been present at parties and festivals or gatherings of friends where he takes MDMA or acid. I don't expect him or his friends to stop taking drugs but I have to disagree when it comes to their reasoning. I did dabble in drugs, did acid, smoked, took shrooms, but I did it just out of fun, curiosity and peer pressure. I'm not against it for a bit of fun, I like to get a bit drunk now and again. I just have a problem with the continually taking all sorts of things in order to better themselves, and their disregard of my opinion. I have a great time with him when he's not under-the-influence but I agree that we probably don't have much of a future.
posted by clown-mustard at 11:11 AM on September 3, 2009


I've been seeing this guy for over 6 months now, and everything is absolutley wonderful, except...
It's not the drugs that throw up the DTMFA flag for me. It's the fact that, 6 months into the relationship, you're trying to fix him. Not a good pattern to get into. But then, I've said that before.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:13 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Btw, the fixing issue is kinda going both ways. As much as I'm telling him that I don't think he's drug taking is justified or necessary, and he's saying I'm immature and I can't understand him or his friends until I lose my ego ( apparently through tripping?)
posted by clown-mustard at 11:24 AM on September 3, 2009


Plus... I'm thinking this isn't going to last much longer. I guess I'm better suited to someone with the same views. (:
posted by clown-mustard at 11:26 AM on September 3, 2009


While he's getting high to remove his ego and experience personal growth and development, what are you doing? Just sitting in a room, watching him and his friends dork around? Isn't that... boring?

If he's interested in personal growth and development, what other things is he doing to grow and develop? Anything interesting, or just the drugs?

I'd dump him just for being that dull.
posted by Houstonian at 11:27 AM on September 3, 2009


This isn't a drug issue at all, is it? I agree with A Terrible Lama. It sounds like he's 16 years old. Personal growth? *Cough* bullshit *cough*. People do drugs for fun, then make up an excuse for why they're more than just drug users. If you can't admit that you're doing it for fun, you aren't old enough to do it. I'd dump him ASAP if he's older than ~20 and still thinks drugs are the path to enlightenment.

I'd also dump him if he's doing any of the drugs that are addictive enough that people are willing to visit someone squatting in an abandoned house or lie to a doctor for their fix. That doesn't end well. Screw that if he's doing it, because he's a time bomb.

If it's just pot (or even occasional LSD use) you're fighting about, I'd call you a bit controlling. You actively disapprove of something he enjoys. OF COURSE you're fighting. That gets old, no matter what we're talking about: drugs, playing video games, or reading trashy romance novels. I'd be irritated if my wife banned me from tinkering in the garage because she found it loathsome. You should limit your control of his life to the point where it intersects yours.

Pot is as harmless as things come from a physiological standpoint. More dangerous than water, but vastly less dangerous than a hamburger. Put it this way: we've proven pretty conclusively that lots of red meat will give you a heart attack. Yet despite decades of trying, the worst you can conclusively say about even HEAVY pot use is that it causes temporary short term memory problems and small-but-statistically-significant increases in rare neck cancers and maybe psychotic episodes in those predisposed to them.

Now...if his pot use were making your relationship suffer because of its effects on him, you have standing to complain. Is he acting stupid? Coming home too late? Gaining weight from the munchies? Useless as a conversational partner because he's high all the time? Unmotivated to move his life forward? A sex fiend? Those things are legit to call him on. Spending two hours a week harmlessly sitting stoned on a couch with friends? Not so much.
posted by paanta at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2009


I've had my share of fun times. But these days I'm a crusty homebody who rarely goes out, so it helps to have a partner who is on the same page.

Unfortunately, there's an ultimatum forming here ("It's me or the drugs") and unless he stops this behavior, you are never going to be okay with this. It will be "the thing" that spells out the demise of your relationship.

I don't mean to make light of your situation, but this reminded me one of Chris Rock's standup routines and there's a lot of truth here:

Whatever you into, your woman
gotta be into, too, and vice versa...
or the shit ain't gonna work.
lt ain't gonna work.

lf you born-again,
your woman gotta be born-again, too.
lf you a crackhead,
your woman gotta be a crackhead, too...
or the shit won't work.

You can't be like, ''l'm going to church,
where you going?'' ''Hit the pipe!''

posted by futureisunwritten at 11:48 AM on September 3, 2009


I was a drug user (pot, 'shrooms, acid) in a relationship with a non-drug user. It drove a wedge between us and if it wasn't for almost dying after taking an ungodly amount of acid, we would have broken up because at the time I felt like I wasn't being my whole self with my partner.

I realize, a decade later, that I was being a tosspot.

I used a lot of the same rationalizations that it sounds like your boyfriend is using and they were really only justifications for wanting to get stoned. I think it's possible for people to use drugs recreationally (and have known several people who have done so) but it sounds like your fella is so far from this that it requires some sort of snappy witticism to highlight the fact.

Fortunately, I hit a low point and realized that I had to make some changes in my life. Perhaps you two taking some time off could help him realize that him acting in this way will have consequences. At the very least, I think you should take some space just because it's not healthy for you to have to deal with this situation. You deserve to be more important than his friends or his drugs.

I say DTMFA for both of you.
posted by jaybeans at 11:50 AM on September 3, 2009


he's saying I'm immature and I can't understand him or his friends until I lose my ego (apparently through tripping?)

Oh please. My eyes just rolled out of my head and down the hall. There is nothing more tedious than listening to a gaggle of stoners ramble on about how deep they think they are. An entire subgenre of comedy is built upon making fun of stoners who think they're deep, and you know who writes most of it? Stoners. Because even stoners know that stoners who take themselves seriously are dipshits.
posted by granted at 11:53 AM on September 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I feel that people who really try to pressure other people into doing their frequent drug of choice are either immature, or addicted and uncomfortable with that.
posted by kathrineg at 11:57 AM on September 3, 2009


Also, if they didn't have an "ego" in the pop-psych sense, it wouldn't bother them what you did or didn't do/approve of.
posted by kathrineg at 11:59 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's more of a personality difference than an OMG DRUGS R BAD D.A.R.E. TOLD ME SO issue, innit? My boyfriend and I have the same views on recreational drugs, and it's a lot of fun, and we can talk about the risks and monetary costs and what we don't like and do like rationally and easily without fighting.

Same as with money, or religion, or any big issue couples either need to agree on or be cooperative about. If we were having crazy arguments about any of these subjects all the time, I don't think I'd be happy.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:12 PM on September 3, 2009


I'm hoping this is something we can eventually both be mature about and just accept each others opinion.

There's a difference between accept and agree.

You aren't going to convince him, and he isn't going to convince you. Either accept that your guy takes drugs, or split up if that's a dealbreaker.

For dealing with situations where drugs are either around or mentioned, don't get into a conversation about them. If his friends start talking about them, just smile, nod and change the subject. They're probably pre-emptively talking about them so they don't feel attacked when you talk about them. The same goes for him. No sighing, eye rolling, or any other stuff like that.

Then let him take his drugs. If he was taking them before he met you, you have no reason whatsoever to moan about him taking them.
posted by Solomon at 12:28 PM on September 3, 2009


Yeah, see if you can sift out the DRUGS R BAD MKAY? responses, as the particulars about your point of conflict aren't really all that relevant, are they? I'd propose that your situation would be no different than if you couldn't deal with his pursuit of race car driving, for fear for his life. Or if he was adamantly against your lifelong dream to be a champion swimmer, because of his fear of water. Or he wanted to be a professional poker player, and you abhorred gambling.

The fact is, if one of you is passionate about lifestyle choices or pursuits that the other can't really get behind, no one is going to be happy. At the end of the day, it's simply a compatibility issue, and depending on the strength of convictions involved, a deal breaker.

If you truly can find a way to live around each others lifestyle choices, then things could be okay. If that's not realistic, I'd say do both you and him a favor and move on sooner than later.
posted by Brak at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


For some direct research on what he is likely referring to, please read up on ego death.
posted by naju at 2:21 PM on September 3, 2009


I should add that it's a very difficult (some would say impossible) concept to describe to those who haven't experienced it, which may be part of the communication barrier occurring in your situation. That said, the ego death experience is generally triggered through psychedelics like acid and shrooms (as well as non-drug methods like meditation), so I think the weed and MDMA use may be separate issues.
posted by naju at 2:30 PM on September 3, 2009


Even beyond how incredibly screwed up recreational ketamine use is (IME, the only people I've met who used it were the people who would take any drug they could get their hands on, whose lives basically revolved around the search for the next high), look at it this way: he gets high EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yeah, it's "just weed," but every day? Would you be asking this if he got drunk every single day? Somehow I think because he's portraying it as some sort of vision quest or whatever you're not putting as much weight on the fact that this is a dude who can't go 24 hours without getting fucked up, regardless of his method of choice.
posted by Kellydamnit at 4:19 PM on September 3, 2009


I'd be more concerned that this is his big argument for it. It would have more integrity, to my mind, to just say, I like getting high. It's fun. It doesn't hurt anyone. But the number of people who've achieved staggering personal growth without drugs is overwhelming even to consider. What a crock.

He's shitting you; there's no "personal growth" here, he's just a stoner.

it'd be so much easier to take this dude seriously if he would just admit that he's getting high because getting high can be a total fucking blast for some people. Instead, he offers up this mealy-mouthed rationalization

I used a lot of the same rationalizations that it sounds like your boyfriend is using and they were really only justifications for wanting to get stoned.

There is nothing more tedious than listening to a gaggle of stoners ramble on about how deep they think they are.


I think listening to people ramble on about how stupid stoners are is at least as tedious.

I just want to add that the people doing psychedelics just to get stoned, or "for fun," or because they're "a total fucking blast" are the ones doing it wrong. Psychedelics have been used in spiritual ceremonies and to facilitate personal growth for a very long time. They can be serious business and it's sensible to treat them that way, as the OPs boyfriend claims to. It's obnoxious and ass-backwards to say he must be full of shit and you could only take him seriously if he'd admit that he's just a stupid stoner trying to have a fucking blast getting high like everyone else who ingests a mind-altering substance.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:54 PM on September 3, 2009


I'm with Kellydamnit. If he were getting drunk every day people would be calling him an alcoholic. There's recreational drug use, and then there's addiction - physical, psychological, whatever. Sounds like he's bored with himself unless he's on drugs. Not promising.

As for the enlightenment nonsense - do people who use drugs for spiritual enlightenment use them every single day? I don't doubt that people can use psychedelics spiritually, but it doesn't sound like that's what's going on here.

Plus, what Chris Rock said, of course. On something as important as this, that's as big a part of his life as this, you have to be on the same page.
posted by walla at 5:13 AM on September 4, 2009


God, some of the people in this thread...

TomMelee: "And at everyone who says it matters what drugs...it doesn't. Addictive or otherwise, a person who chooses to alter their consciousness with substance abuse, whether alcohol or tobacco or benadryl, cocaine, ambien, or percocet is a person electing to live his or her life a certain way, and that way is in direct opposition to what the OP wants for herself"

Guess what, use does not equate to abuse. The OP doesn't want to take drugs and that doesn't seem to be a problem with him at all. I not sure that he is what is stopping them from both being "mature about [it] and just accept each other's opinion".

clown-mustard: "I have some experience of drugs, but am now firmly anti-drugs because of the health risks etc.

What exactly is your problem with him? You don't want him to take drugs? Sorry but I don't think you can.

What you actually ask in the question is, "is there something I'm not understanding about drugs?" and "what can I do?"

The answer is, yes there's a lot you don't understand. The reason they are arguing with you is because you haven't presented a good reason for him to not take them. You're claiming health risks for acid, pot, K, MDMA and mushrooms? Are you serious?

What you can do is try cracking open a pharmacology textbook and actually educating yourself about these substances. It sounds like he knows a lot more about them than you and justifiably isn't very responsive to preachiness. Also, if you hang out with him and his friends more, you might slowly learn that using drugs does not have to be any more dangerous than any of the activities you do on a daily basis without thinking. Believe it or not, there are millions of recreational drug users who don't damage their health or engage in risky behaviour. And there are also millions who take acid, pot, K, MDMA and mushrooms without any addictive behaviour at all.

You're being treated like an immature brain-washed person because it seems you're not willing to re-asses your prejudices about drugs more objectively.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:27 AM on September 4, 2009


The problem isn't that he's doing drugs nor that he's using drugs to expand his mind; the problem is that while he says this is what he's doing, he's also being an asshole to his girlfriend and allowing his friends to do the same.

I suspect that there aren't a lot of spiritual journeys that start with "maybe you should be an ass to someone close to you."
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - stop with the brainwashed talk. question is not anonymous, you are welcome to email or go to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2009


Turkey-
By my definition, repeated, multi-times a week use of a controlled substance not prescribed by a doctor or for reasons other than its intended use equals abuse in my book. Furthermore, when I see threads like this I fear for that girl who subjects herself to this kind of bullshit because she thinks it's all she's worth. The OP doesn't like the drugs, doesn't wanna be near the drugs, and the boyfriend can't go without them.

I've got the native and educational background to talk to you all day about the historical use of psychotrophic herbals. Ketamine ain't used in the sun dance. Furthermore, the historical use of these substances for vision quest related ceremony doesn't involve an apartment full of sacked out dudes passing to the left, and not just anybody with enough cowrie shells for a dimebag procures the substances either.

Nobody here cares what he, or you, or anybody else do behind closed doors (hell, open ones), with your own money and your own health. We're not even talking to the user of the drugs. We're talking to the person trying to figure out a relationship with a person whose druguse is obviously more important to him than his relationship with the OP.
posted by TomMelee at 5:20 AM on September 5, 2009


the historical use of these substances for vision quest related ceremony doesn't involve an apartment full of sacked out dudes passing to the left,

Exactly. "Spiritual quests" are by and large journeys one undergoes alone. Thoreau didn't take all his buddies and a keg into the woods.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:12 AM on September 5, 2009


I've dated people that have done a lot of drugs, but we've been able to calmly and openly talk about what we like, don't like, is good, not good, etc. The problem is, I think, that your SO and his friends are pressuring you/making fun of you. That's unfair, whatever the underlying issue is. I think Terrible Llama puts it well:

> I suspect that there aren't a lot of spiritual journeys that start with "maybe you should be an ass to someone close to you."

Also, IMHO, MDMA and ketamine, while not inherently evil and terrible, are heavy enough that it really helps to be on the same page re: frequency of usage.

But it sounds like you're being looked down on and pressured for airing honest concerns, and involving the friends is just bad form. If your SO felt your concern were a little out of line, he could still carefully listen to you, give you some evidence, speak rationally about it, etc. Did he ever try to do that with you, or skip right to "you just don't get it, you're so close-minded", etc.? That would be my big question.

(This is all assuming that you yourself didn't have some sort of big blow-up the first time you approached him about the drug use. That would muddy the waters.)
posted by lillygog at 8:00 AM on September 5, 2009


TomMelee: "Turkey - By my definition, repeated, multi-times a week use of a controlled substance not prescribed by a doctor or for reasons other than its intended use equals abuse in my book.

Fortunately, any physician or pharmacological expert worth his or her salt doesn't think like this. I appreciate that the use/abuse distinction is open to debate, but taking acid every couple of months is not generally deemed abuse. It certainly is not dangerous.

Furthermore, when I see threads like this I fear for that girl who subjects herself to this kind of bullshit because she thinks it's all she's worth. The OP doesn't like the drugs, doesn't wanna be near the drugs, and the boyfriend can't go without them."

Where does she say that? She says she hangs out with him at parties and festivals when his consciousness is altered and that doesn't seem to be the problem. The problem is twofold: 1) She doesn't buy his arguments for taking drugs (perhaps justifiably) and, 2) He doesn't buy her arguments for stopping (even more justifiably).

Hardcore Poser: "Jesus, I just saw your reply about what drugs he takes. Ketamine? (A Veterinary tranquilizer?) MDMA?"

Kellydamnit: "Even beyond how incredibly screwed up recreational ketamine use is."

lillygog: "Also, IMHO, MDMA and ketamine, while not inherently evil and terrible, are heavy enough that it really helps to be on the same page re: frequency of usage. "

It strange when people come out with these assertions about what are "hard" drugs and what are not. Do you guys actually have any knowledge at all about these substances or are you just basing it on hearsay and tabloid propaganda? As things go, the research shows that MDMA is actually one of the safest and least harmful substances. That is why doctors and medical experts say it is "as safe as aspirin/ice-cream". Certainly it is less harmful than many prescriped drugs as well as alcohol, tobacco and even cannabis. The same applies to ketamine although you do have to be careful of its addictive properties. The OP's ideas about the health risks seem wildly out of proportion with scientific knowledge which, I imagine, is what her boyfriend and his friend's are objecting to.
posted by turkeyphant at 9:27 AM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not the so-called "hard" drugs that seem to be a problem- it's the pot and hash every day. He isn't partying or relaxing, that's the way he lives.
posted by spaltavian at 11:45 AM on September 5, 2009


As things go, the research shows that MDMA is actually one of the safest and least harmful substances. That is why doctors and medical experts say it is "as safe as aspirin/ice-cream".

Whaaat? Turkeyphant, I work in MDMA research, and none of the doctors or medical experts at my lab would ever, ever, in a million years say that MDMA is as safe as aspirin or ice cream. And sorry, the chief constable of North Wales does not count as a doctor or medical expert. Of course the tabloid propaganda about drugs is overblown and misleading, but your statements in this thread are just as misleading, even dangerous.

I do agree, however, the clown-mustard should educate herself on the current scientific knowledge about drug use. Clown-mustard, please do your own research from reliable sources (pubmed, erowid), which are, unfortunately, so few and far between that pretty much anybody with a keyboard and an opinion can post a completely ill-informed screed on a website and label it fact.
posted by granted at 1:30 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


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