Drug use, addiction, and neuroqueering
I have extensively explored my Autistic relationship with addiction thus far. I have considered and lamented the inappropriate treatment services, the suffering, and rejoiced in the moment that I came out the other side. I have listed numerous reasons that contributed to my active addiction, but what I have not done is really drive home the core point of why I kept coming back to drugs. I need you to know what gave me that drive to persevere with something that could have very well cost me my life.
I was undiagnosed Autistic for the first 26 years and 7 months of my life. I know that many, if not most of you, will understand the isolation and alienation that comes with such an existence. It seemed as though everywhere I turned, I was met with condemnation and assertions of my inadequacy. It extended far beyond bullying. It was more than abuse. The world taught me that who I was, the very essence of me, was only as valuable as my ability to assimilate into the culture of my local environments.
I had never wished to enter into the culture of normality. I felt that my lack of desire to fit in reduced me to a non-person. In a world where I could be anything, I would give anything to not be me. My fluid identity was more akin to vapour at this point than it was to any tangible form. Society constructs our sense of Self through our interactions with the environment. My environment rejected me like a gangrenous limb.
Perhaps then you can start to see where the twisted beauty of drugs seeped into my life. Not only could I alter my perception of the environment, but I could also alter the way those in my environment perceived me. Different drugs allowed me to put on and take off identities like clothes. They allowed me to explore the inner workings of my mind. I could manifest the Self in whatever way I saw fit.
Much like the sculptor trying to free the art from its marble prison, I was able to shed the constraints of human thought. Drugs allowed me to rewire my bodymind. I was no longer the necrotic manifestation of the universe, but instead the explorer. I was attempting to neuroqueer without even knowing it.
Sadly, this lifestyle was not sustainable. In order to explore the fluidity of one’s identity, it is necessary to be at some level of peace with your Self. At least in my experience. My attempt to neuroqueer my way to peace was fundamentally flawed. I wanted to subvert myself, not normative attitudes. I was trying to diverge into neurotypical performance.
Perhaps that is why I kept returning despite the dangers. Neurotypicality was a performance that I could never manage. What is it they say about try8ng the same thing over and over and the definition of insanity?
The irony in this story is that at almost seven years of tee total sobriety, I can now see that my journey through that time has actually made assimilation not just less possible; The thought is abhorrent to me. For my safety now, I steer clear of “recreational drug use”. My days as a self-confessed psychonaut are over, and quite honestly? I’m okay with that.
Some people falsely believe that addiction is an illness. Personally, I believe that given the right environmental ingredients, it becomes an inevitability. For me, addiction has been a necessary evil. It was necessary for me to deconstruct the Self that had been built on the rotten foundation of subjugation and childhood trauma. That deconstruction allowed me to make space for the infinite possibilities that lay within my neurology.
The world needs us to regularly deconstruct that which society has built. It’s often a violent and painful process, but necessary as we explore what it means to be neurodivergent. Perhaps more so, what it means to be human.
If I could ask one thing of you, dear reader, it is this; when you see a person suffering, do not offer them vague pity and generic platitudes. Offer them your hand to place a new foundation, upon which all can stand to explore the fluid nature of human identity.
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