When I first discovered Drugs-Forum, I believed I had found the place to learn about my new-found drug I was using—Methamphetamine. Yes, I already knew about how to get high, how to use a needle and some of the bad feelings you'd get coming down from it. I started reading posts in the meth sub-forum, and I was surprised.
It seemed many suffered from Spelling Aversion Disorder. And some words were abbreviated, which I knew was what's referred to as txt-spk, impossible for some of our international members to decipher (and even older generation members such as myself). Getting beyond that was another problem: paragraphs that were over 100 lines long. And even if I waded through them, complete sentences were a rarity, and thoughts were abject and disconnected. What was the meaning to all of this?
It finally dawned on me that these people were Posting While High. Not only could I not make any sense out of some of the posts, but I had to question whether anything they said was accurate. And of the ones I could understand, most were anecdotal—one person's experience or viewpoint. I needed to find somewhere else where there was some context, some believability, some science to it.
A few weeks later, after discovering Medline/PubMed, NIH and other government-sponsored websites, I had learned quite a bit. I decided to come back to D-F, became a member and began writing some posts with the best truth and science I could offer. I also pledged to myself that I would never write and post while high, and it's never happened.
Since I went to journalism school and have written and edited for a living, I hoped to make a difference and maybe lead the way to a new and better representation of what a meth forum could be, if the people writing could have a better awareness and example. Maybe it would even attract others to the forum who didn't post while high, had some knowledge to offer and could write in a cohesive and objective style.
Overall, I think the meth forum has improved and we have added a few good people to our ranks. Maybe some were already on D-F, but seldom dared venture into our dark place in a back alley. It still has a smell of its own, and people do continue posting while way too high to be doing so. There are exceptions to this, however, which have to be considered.
Some people post while high because they have a real dilemma and are pleading their best for help. The forum is useful in helping these people. Sometimes they can be calmed by the more knowledgeable and sober responders without resorting to the overused “Go to the E-R!” More times than not, that advice is given by someone who does not understand the problem.
Then there are others who sign on and post almost anything because their minds are high and rambling, just like the resulting words they lay down. Even if they have no respect for themselves, they should have respect for their fellow members and not let us have to wade through their garbage.
Too often lately, I have seen posts/threads that are terribly wrong. The information is bad. The people are too high to even realize what they are saying, sometimes creating drug-fueled emotions that make each succeeding post more inflamed and absolutely ruin good threads by trampling through them and devaluing them. It is disheartening for someone like me, who researched for a new post, delivered a good, factual report which I was proud of, not only for my own ability and the content provided, but how it might enlighten others.
It is thoughtless of people to have such little respect for others who have joined the forum with good intentions to inform, educate, set good examples and spend their own free time in an earnest attempt to help others. When we are high we lose our mindfulness—being aware of ourselves and the things around us. The directives we receive from our minds come out scrambled and we proceed on them. We tend not to care how we represent ourselves to others.
Simply because this is a forum about drugs, it should not give people carte-blanche to sign on in a drug-addled state, leaving good manners and sober thinking behind. To many, this forum represents a lifeline, a chance to become educated about their drugs, to seriously contemplate addiction issues, and improve their lives. The ones who work the hardest on the forum, with the best intentions, are those who are here to help those truly in need.
What I did notice when I was high on meth is that my perceptions changed. What I thought and said could not be relied upon. What if I wrote something that turned out to be harmful, and actually was the cause of someone hurting themselves? My lack of care and aforethought, my lack of judgment, would be unfair to them as well as myself.
To do so would go against everything I learned in school about writing, as well as my own set of ethics about how I conduct myself in life and treat others. I am a couple of generations removed from many of our members and perhaps had a stricter upbringing than many. I still find it shocking and inexcusable that in this time frame, our civility and knowing how to act in public has been denigrated to such a low point.
Social media has helped change this downward spiral, allowing for the acceptance of lowered standards of expressing one's self and the easy accessibility to infect other minds. Drug-induced musings read by drug-infused minds can make much of anything too believable, and at times, dangerous.
I will offer an exception. It is true that some people who have used drugs extensively throughout their lives have developed a different equilibrium and can still make cogent remarks on the forum. I know some who do. It is a talent I don't have and never will.
Looking back a few years, before the internet, we had a thing called hot lines. Maybe a few even exist today. The premise was that a person with problems could call someone who was educated about the situation, whether suicide, drugs or medical and health problems. It stood to reason that the callers had a decent chance of being helped, and even referred to another resource for continued help. It was a valuable resource with a very human touch. The hot line operators screened and monitored the counselors for verity.
My remarks here will not make any difference. We have nothing in our rules (which are probably not heeded by the offenders anyway), that says they shouldn't post while high if their posts won't make any sense. Our reputation system, used by both qualified and unqualified people, cannot guarantee any reasonable enforcement with an after-the-fact slap on the virtual wrist. We are not here to teach people social qualities that were never instilled in them, nor to give them the tools to help develop self-respect and a sense of purpose on this planet Earth.
There is a current fund-raiser on Drugs-Forum to buy new software and servers to bring us to a higher level of harm reduction information. Will we become the world leader in a progressive movement to give people inalienable rights to pursue their drugs of choice in an unfettered environment? Or will we remain an unfiltered view of how people consume their drugs, showing positive and negative aspects—how to tame the beast, and how to let the beast overcome? As it stands now, we make a poor showing that people can handle what we want our world society to condone.