From Another Life

An excerpt from a letter I wrote in 1995 to a friend, attempting to explain just one of the reasons we could no longer spend time together.

I remember a time when I was very interested in, even obsessed with, getting high. As you know, I no longer have much interest in it. I want a quiet and peaceful existence that doesn’t involve drinking or dope smoking on a regular basis. I don’t want to spend my days in a fog figuring out where the next bag is coming from and how I’ll pay for it. I don’t want to wake up in the morning feeling like crap because I drank the night before. I don’t want to be broke from spending all my money on an ounce and waiting until I can sell three-fourths of it. I’m tired of being with people who just don’t care that they can’t function normally, or that things get broken, or stolen, or that they hurt other peoples, feelings because they are on some obsessed, self-destructive quest – even if they can’t help it.

I’ve chosen not to be self-destructive with drugs and alcohol (chocolate and cigarettes are another matter altogether, everyone has vices). I’ve chosen not to abuse. Of course, I still use – there are still times and places to party and get high, but they are fewer and farther between than ever before. This is not simply a conscious decision I made one day; “I’m going to stop drinking and smoking.” I never did that. Rather it was an evolution of my thoughts over time; that events and behaviors occuring while I was high, and/or in the company of those who were high, were becoming more unpleasant and had always been potentially dangerous (like getting busted, or drinking and driving, or having unsafe sex). I think it took a certain amount of maturity on my part to recognize this, I’ll say its about getting older and realizing you are not invincible – that your abilities to learn and work and care for yourself for the rest of your life could be impeded. So, I’ve changed, and unfortunately, I sometimes get angry with people who I view as not having ‘woken up and smelled the coffee’ when they assume that I haven’t really changed and attempt to convince me to party. I apologize for that.

I can’t believe I apologized.


  1. you definitely had no reason to apologize… but i can understand why you did… i’ve done it myself. good for you for having the courage to know what you need.

  2. Well said. Kudos to you for moving forward with your life. I agree that you didn’t need to apologize, but also would have done the same.

  3. you rock… and while I made the same decision for myself a while ago as well, it was good to read this letter, to help remind me about how that decision affects the choices I make in my friends… thanks for posting it.

  4. i remember when portia posted awhile back about always having the disclaimer. sometimes, we find ourselves presenting however strong of an opinion, with an automatic apology for having that opinion. i still do it, but i know that it’s best to just have the opinion, and to stick to it.<br><br>you do rock.

  5. Well, of course you apologized. You didn’t need to, but it soften’s the blow a bit ("you are kind of a fuck-up and I am not wasting my time with you" is a difficult message to deliver….sometimes you can afford to apologize when delivering this message). I personally thought the letter was extremely tactful.

  6. I join the chorus of apologizers. But you weren’t actually apologizing in the letter, you did better than that. You showed how you had changed.

  7. Great blog, Bird.<br>Now that I’ve quit smoking, I have to let a good friend know it’ll be front porchville for her when she visits.

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