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Book Blabber: Dirty By Meredith Maran

Posted in Alcoholism, Book Babble, life, Mental Health by Amy on February 6, 2009

dirtybookI enjoy non-fiction in all types, but particularly enjoy books that introduce concepts or exploration and follow with examples and stories of individual experience to illustrate concepts, inquiries, and argument. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was picking up when I picked up Dirty: A Search Inside America’s Teenage Drug Epidemic By Meredith Maran, but I found it at the library sale and thought that if I didn’t learn anything from it, perhaps I could pass it onto the social worker at my daughter’s school.

Teenage drug use is a subject that hits home for Maran. She reveals that one of her son’s dove deep into drugs in his teenage years. She looks inside the adolescent drug rehabilitation industry, drug courts, and juvenile detention facilities following three drug-using teenagers: Mike, Zalika, and Tristian. The three kids come from different backgrounds, have different dysfunctional familial units, but all find themselves constantly in and out of trouble over drug use. It was an interesting book as you follow the kids. It was also a heartbreaking book.

I don’t understand drug use. Call me a square or lame, but I don’t.

The first time I ever saw pot was when I was covering a band and watched as the bassist smoked pot from an apple. The only reason I was able to see this is because I was backstage watching the show. That was this year. I am thirty-two. Coke, Meth, Crack. None of that registers to me, except from what I have seen on Intervention or Sober House, and I ask my husband questions about drugs all the time. He has his BS in Psychology and worked briefly at a detox center.

I cannot understand what leads someone to use drugs. let alone become extremely dependent on them. From what I have seen, people act like idiots when they are high. They do stupid things. They get into trouble.

What keeps some people from getting involved in drugs and what keeps some people from not? What trigger goes off in a person’s head that leads them to decide that drugs are a place to go? I understand feeling hopeless. I understand feeling despair. Perhaps the thing I don’t understand is feeling.. desperate? I’m not sure. I think about this, though, and think about my children. Will the split custody affect my youngest two badly and will they be likely to turn to drugs, particularly since the one parent that would monitor that will have them less than the parent that needs to be monitored himself?

Or what about the kids I interact with at my daughter’s school every day? What is going to stop them? How many of them are going to be Mikes or Zalikas?

At any rate, an interesting read, leaving me to question one thing:

If AA and NA want people to admit that addiction is a disease – which is medical – why do they expect people to depend on a higher power – which is spiritual – to fix it? Just wondering.

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2 Responses

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  1. Lisa said, on February 6, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t get it either. I grew up around people who smoked pot but it never appealed to me, even in college. But I am such a control freak that even the thoughts of being”out of control” cause me anxiety.

    A very very close and dear family member of mine started using crack. At age 63. WTF? Who does that? I do not understand at all.

    • Amy said, on February 6, 2009 at 8:19 pm

      Maybe that’s it for me — the fear of not having control. At 63? Seriously, WTF?


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