The Age Of The Addict

The Age Of The Addict

by Alison McCrae                              Posted: 2011/02/20

The trip from recreational user to addict.

Alison's latest opinion piece circles around her observations of drug users in Joburg society. No judgement passed, just comment.Tell us your stance on this topic below.
Avoiding the stereotypical "when I was your age" type speech, I would like to make a simple observation. When our parents were in their twenties, their generation was mainly focused on settling down and creating a stable life for themselves. This generally entailed getting married, finding a solid career path and having children. This I know makes the average "youngster" these days want to head for the hills or die of boredom but that was the reality then.

My, oh my, how things have changed. Please know that I am speaking now from a purely observational point, and this of course does not apply to everyone in their twenties today - but in my opinion it does to a fair majority of people out there, especially in Johannesburg.



I realize how naïve I was to the power of "recreational" drugs.

Thinking back a few years, I realize how naïve I was to the power of "recreational" drugs. As many late teen/early twenty year olds do, I laughed in the face of danger. With my new found independence I was invincible.  This attitude is all well and good when it comes to bungee jumping or even body piercing - but to snorting a big line of coke after too many tequilas- not so much.






Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to preach a rehab fable or use scare tactics to encourage the youth to "Just say no!", but the fact remains that one line leads to one gram leads to ten. And the same goes for Cat, Crystal, MDMA or whatever else the party calls for you to ingest.






A dumpsite for broken souls.

The point that saddens me is that in my late twenties, I look around at the "hardcore, crazy jollers" from back in the day, who were glorified when we were younger, and it is like looking at a dumpsite for broken souls.





Some are now heavily addicted to their drug of choice. They try to pretend that it is still all about a "good time" and start hanging around with younger and younger crowds, sporting dead eyes and fake smiles on their faces.  They stick out like bald eagles while the "youngsters" around them begin their experimentation with "recreationals", having the time of their lives.





Drug buddies - remove the drugs and the friendship fizzles out swiftly.

Other glory-jollers have managed to kick their previous party habits, but at a cost of having to change and rearrange their lives entirely. Every single tedious day they make a point of staying away from triggers and influences that could send them back down their path of self-destruction. These "triggers" can be as simple as driving down a road where they used to pick up drugs, or going to a public toilet as that's the type of place where they would have chopped lines before.

They simply can't have a few drinks after work as even a sip of alcohol will lead them straight back to their Nigerian drug dealer. Their friendship groups also tend to dwindle dramatically because most of their "best buddies" from their jolling days were just in fact "drug buddies" - remove the drugs and the friendship fizzles out swiftly.





At the end of the day, we all enjoy a good time, and every person has individual ways of blowing off a little steam. Experimentation can also be a positive thing through which we grow and learn.

All I'm saying is that there is nothing glamorous about being a thirty year old drug addict, scrambling for money to buy your next gram, while your peers are buying houses and cars. Enjoy every day to the full but keep your head tightly screwed on at the same time.





Want to rant,, rave or share? Email your Joburg- based opinion and send it through to





The trip from recreational user to addict.


The best of JHB Live delivered straight to your inbox every week. Simple and easy...