Walk Down Misery Street

In describing this event, Liza expressed outrage at her husband’s behavior, how rude it was for him to think only about getting high and not about the wife he had left on the roof. More so, she blamed herself and not her husband, and laughed at her gullibility.

Yes, despite her age and experiences, Liza sincerely felt she was a naïve and gullible woman. She believed that this “character defect” was the source of her many problems in life.

In this way, Liza was typical of her peers: Almost all drug users sincerely believe they are naïve and very easily fooled. They claim they have suffered because of their gullibility. But, having suffered much at the hands of others, they’ve learned that no one in the world is to be trusted.

All people are malicious and cunning and take advantage of the drug user’s trust. Doesn’t this sound ridiculous?

At first, I thought they were kidding. How could someone who has lied incessantly, robbed, broken oaths, spent time in jail—how could such a person be called naïve?

But over time, after constantly hearing similar points of view from different patients, I began to reconsider. Could they be right? They couldn’t all be conspiring to proclaim their credulity.

Naiveté and gullibility are not the most precise words to correctly describe a drug user’s character. A user’s problem is his inability to comprehend the complex nature of human relationships. They understand ways to secure money for drugs and using them, but with relationships at work, with family, or in society, most users behave like teenagers: they either place implicit trust in those who cannot be trusted or else lie to those who take care of their welfare. They see the world as black and white, with few shades of gray, much less the other colors on the palette of complex human interactions.

They rush from one extreme to another, express rage at others, and then become angry with themselves. Convoluted and twisted, surrounded by broken relationships, unable to assess their situation calmly and sensibly, they turn vehemently defensive. They convince themselves they are victims and everyone else is the enemy. They begin to battle with the world (with you, dear reader). They come to think, “I’ve had enough of being a sheep waiting for slaughter. I will be a wolf.”