“I felt a strong need to talk about my drug use”
Jack (29) told his family about his drug use over Christmas dinner. That led to an open conversation. “My uncle confessed that he had secretly taken ecstasy during a festival.”
“For years, we have had a tradition of sharing our highs and lows of the year over Christmas dinner. During the dinner in 2019, I told the whole family about my struggle with drug use. In a flash, I thought, ‘this is a great opportunity to share my story’. It was a chance to talk about club life, the dark sides of the gay scene; where I stood in that, what my complaints were; that it had also brought me a lot of good things, but that I was currently struggling. I felt a strong need to talk about my drug use.
I never touched drugs until I moved to Berlin in 2017. I discovered the vibrant and free nightlife there and used mostly ecstasy or MDMA. I sometimes used speed to stay awake for a long time, and sometimes ketamine or coke. I also smoked weed a lot. I would start on Saturday night and roll out the club completely broke on Monday morning. My usage got more out of control, which had a negative impact on my personality. I became emotionally unstable, experiencing a stark contrast between my hedonistic lifestyle of sex and drugs and my ‘normal life’. I couldn’t talk about it when I visited my family in Amsterdam.
“My mother has been more understanding since that conversation.”
When I shared all this over Christmas dinner, everyone went quiet. An engaging dialogue followed. My aunt and uncle, for example—at first, they were cautiously curious, but they kept asking questions. My mother kept in the background. On the one hand, she seemed to radiate some sort of acceptance. She has been my best friend for many years. Nevertheless, it took time for my story to sink in. She was in shock—I could tell by looking at her. Several months later, she asked more about my drug use and then asked a lot of questions. She has been more understanding since that conversation. She now says that I have to make my own choices as a grown man. ‘I trust your sense of responsibility and ask you to always be honest and open.’ It’s good this way. She understands it more, but not like: ‘Oh, it’s so great that you’re using drugs!’
My drug use is not a problem now; I drink or smoke a joint from time to time. I still think back to that Christmas dinner regularly. About the laughter we also shared. My uncle confessed that he had secretly taken ecstasy at Dance Valley and completely lost it. He was at the festival with my mother. As he staggered around the festival grounds high as a kite, she waited for him for hours and was pretty pissed afterwards. It is great when family members are open-minded without condemning someone’s drug use in advance. My aunt and uncle’s reaction allowed me to have the conversation.”