Scott Weiland, the front man for Stone Temple Pilots passed away on December 3, 2015. Why does this matter, you may ask? Well, it matters to me because I have seen too many members of my generation fall to their addictions. They do not just hit rock bottom; they smack into it so hard, it should knock them out cold. So many people, both famous and those that others consider inconsequential, have fallen and died because their addiction was stronger than they thought they could be.
This morning, my boyfriend and I were having a discussion regarding why so many people in my age range (I am on the early end of the gen-Xer’s) have fallen victim to drug addiction and alcoholism (same thing in my mind,) and he, being the good child he had been (no hard drugs for him, and there are reasons other than he just never got into that space) has had little to no personal experience with drugs like speed, coke, and heroin (and it’s derivatives.) I, on the other hand, had a life changing experience when I was a little past 16 that led me into the “oh, fuck it. what’s the real harm?” mentality. Little did I really know. I was the good girl that went bad due to a raging case of PTSD, and the beginnings of a lovely case of Bipolar disorder.
We almost got into an argument about this because I understand the why’s and all the other questions that come up about addiction because I have been and am currently an addict (except now the Doctors give me the addicting drugs.) I have been addicted to cocaine, meth (my drug of choice), pills, crack and morphine. He sees things from the side of someone who managed to get through life without becoming addicted to a substance. So, while members of my generation are dropping dead from heroin addictions first cultivated in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I have managed to kick all street drugs except marijuana which I do not consider a drug in the way that meth is considered a drug. If meth has any redeeming qualities, I’d love to know. He is a bit older than I am so for his generation, smoking pot and stealing a bottle from the parents liquor cabinet was more the norm. That type of behavior was really subversive in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I was born in 1971, and didn’t do anything until about 1987 when aforementioned incident occurred, but I was really quick to make up for lost time.
He is disgusted with addicts because I think they represent something he really does not talk about: his real father who passed away from alcoholism when he was 12 years old. His father was only 42 or 52. I do not quite remember, but I know he was very young. There is a story there that he doesn’t feel comfortable with. I understand. I am not real comfortable with my own story. However, it is my story. It was and is my life. I cannot just up and walk away from it. The people you meet in that life will forever haunt you; you will see them again…maybe in rehab, maybe not. It is something I have to own, it is me that lived, that I am going to say, demeaning lifestyle. It is not glamorous, it is not fun, it is not sexy or any other adjective you can come up with. It is demeaning, debasing, and a whole bunch of other words.
You know it’s weird, but I was just re-reading parts of this, and I felt this odd calm come over me. Yes, that WAS my life, and it taught me a lot about how to survive, but it is not the life I have now. Because I choose everyday not to live that life ever again. I guess that may be the one thing about addiction and all it’s ugliness that I don’t understand; if it is so atrocious a lifestyle, why can’t more people find the strength inside that it takes to stop? Why can they not see that they are smacking their heads against concrete over and over again? I get through reminding myself of all the not glamorous, the not fun or funny things about getting high, the really not sexy nature of addiction. That’s how I have done it for years. This is not to say I am some kind of special person. Lots of people kick addictions of all types all the time, and everyone has their own way of keeping clean. I guess when you have too much money, and you are a successful young rock star, it is easy for it to get out of hand. Then it kills you.
Too many people struggle everyday, and I think I was a bit put out by my boyfriend’s lack of any compassion for people in a really, really bad way. I have had friends die, artists that were my age die, I almost died. Sometimes people need help, not more discouragement.
Scott Weiland was just another casualty of an addiction that was ultimately stronger than he was. But, just like every druggie out there, he had a family, a mom, a dad, wives, children, many people who loved him, and grieved for him long before he actually died. His ex-wife wrote a really candid open letter that explained to the public how unglamorous and destructive drug addiction really is. The picture above really got me because, even while I was off being out of control, my mom never stopped being there. And, she still hasn’t stopped.
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