GETTING REAL ABOUT ICE – REAL STORIES ABOUT DRUGS AND GAY SEX

Be-Longing For It is a new digital storytelling project exploring the use of meth amongst gay, bi and queer men. The men’s personal stories are accompanied by Sam Wallman’s comic illustrations and the result is a series of powerful narratives which aim to stimulate and challenge viewers to reflect on the meaning of connection and intimacy and their relationship to sex and drug use in the hopes of encouraging conversations on healthy relationships and harm minimisation.

 

I remember I took my first pill when I was 21 and I probably did my first amphetamines maybe a year or so after that.

I can be a little bit shy and so a line will make me feel a bit more confident when I’m out and about and stay awake. I think I was probably using speed when I first started using and at some point ice started to come in. I’d always heard that ice made people more irritable and it was this much more hardcore drug. My experience of it was actually I was more irritable when I used speed and ice was a nicer thing for me.

I think it was before Mardi Gras or something like that I got that friend to inject me. I knew that because I liked it so much, I’d have to be pretty careful with it. Set really clear rules for myself that I would only ever inject on a big occasion so if it was a Mardi Gras or some big thing. I’d do it a couple of times a year and the rest of the time just keep to snorting the odd line.

When my current partner and I got together. About six months into our relationship we started injecting together in the context of then having sex and having a big weekend at home with each other. That use probably crept up till we were doing that maybe about once a month. Then realised that actually our tolerance was starting to go up and sometimes the highs weren’t as good. We again backed off and set some rules for ourselves where we’d only do it a few times a year and the rest of the time leave the needles out of the equation essentially.

For me, I regularly check in on my drug use. It’s always an assessment between what am I getting out of it versus any potential negatives. If at any point it feels like the pros are not matching the cons then I assess what I need to do?

There’s been literally a handful of times when I’ve probably gone a bit too hard over a weekend, not drunk enough, not slept enough. Then it’s taken me a whole week to recover because I’m super tired and my brain’s fuzzy. Any time that I feel like I’m spending a bit more time recovering or I’m a bit more sick or those kinds of things are happening, it’s a good check for me to go, “Hang on, are you using too much or too often? Or what’s going on?”

I essentially keep a track on how much money am I spending? How am I doing at work? How’s my physical health going? If I feel like any of those things are suffering then that’s a real sign to do something about it. Mostly though I’ve found that setting rules and sticking to them prevents any of those things happening.

I don’t think I have a problem with my drug use based on those assessments that I do across how are my relationships going? How is work going? How’s my finances going? How’s my health going? I don’t think I have problematic drug use.

For Nam’s full story go to touchbase.org.au