Drugs and the Myersons
I have been reading about the Myersons, and their experience closely resembles that of at least two of my friends or relatives.
I also, unfortunately, can see that many of my students quite obviously use skunk. It makes them abusive, arrogant and unable to listen or learn. The users sit with a grey cloud over their heads, red-eyed and with a yellowish cast over their skin.
The next day, they can be normal and charming.
The problem with all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco (and I am not a stranger to them) is that they group the users together as a romantic clan. We have all seen films of the heart-wrenching troubles of the alcoholic, or know of the poets' struggles with opium. The user does not realise that they are boring, destructive and delusional (again, I include myself in this definition). There is something in the nature of humans to experiment to excess with chemicals, believing that they will solve all sorts of issues and help one to escape to a better place.
In a peer-group of users, even one as apparently simple as the lunchtime smokers outside an office block, the us-against-them feelings are reinforced, and all the inadequacies and failed expectations are rolled up into a ball of idealised otherness that makes one feel special for one's dependency.
Not using substances takes one away from comforting rituals and often social circles and friendships, where there is an agreement about what normal is. Most substances seem to have a built-in evangelism facility. I mentioned this once to a singer I knew, because smack is particularly bad in this respect. All addicts I have met have tried to tempt me into using it, waxing lyrical about how fantastic it is. He agreed with me. 'Mind you', he said, I have used it a few times and it's absoultely amazing. You've really got to try it'.
Myerson's father writes that he is an aspiring songwriter. If they're lucky, the family will get away with a set of seething songs describing their painful family relationships (no doubt a record deal is being negotiated). If they are not so lucky, young Myerson is negotiating as we speak with Max or a Max-a-like to write a totally poisonous book about his parents, and this will very probably focus his mind on his writing skills, justify his addiction (to himself) and if the family are fortunate, distract him from his utterly distressing and destructive behaviour.