I Do Drugs

It’s time to revise our puritanical, all-or-nothing approach to substances

Timothy Kreider
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readJul 17, 2019

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Photo: Petri Oeschger/Getty Images

AA psychiatrist was once so surprised to learn that I was a regular recreational drug user and yet seemed high-functioning and successful (these terms being relative to the literary world — not necessarily meaning “able to pay rent”) that he asked to make me a case study for his group of medical residents. I don’t know which of us found the other a more perplexing specimen. I was like: Dude, you’re a physician — do you seriously believe you don’t have colleagues who are addicts? Maybe doctors are so routinely lied to about drug and alcohol intake that they have no sense of people’s actual habits (one doctor was so shaken when a friend of mine was honest with him about how many beers he consumed per week that she wordlessly left the room, returned, and handed him a pamphlet). I assured him that on the periphery of the addicted or dependent population is a vast penumbra of people who take illegal or unprescribed drugs on a regular basis while carrying on careers and relationships, paying rent and taxes, raising kids, feeding pets, attending ball games and operas. I’m not about to out any of my friends who enjoy drugs, but I can tell you that they are people in perfectly respectable, high-status professions, positions of trust.

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Timothy Kreider
Human Parts

Tim Kreider is the author of two essay collections, and a frequent contributor to Medium and The New York Times. He lives in NYC and the Chesapeake Bay area.