Having now worked in the service industry for several years, I've witnessed more than my fair share of drug and alcohol abuse. People often conflate the two, insinuating that by handing others alcohol I'm serving in a role similar to that of a dealer. My mission with Mint & Mirth has actually never been to get lots of people drunk, but rather to inspire them with the creativity that working with locally-sourced, seasonal, delicious ingredients can bring. We're creating a world where loved ones can gather and celebrate in a special way, because the greatest joys of life are spending time going deep with family and friends, creating new art, new moments, new endeavors, and living to our fullest potential. As silly as it sounds, that extends to every aspect of our choices including what we choose to imbibe. Life is too short to endure vodka-crans. Life is too wonderful to drink weak tea. This is one of the reasons I founded an events company that focuses on innovative, exciting beverages.
If you think the bar managers of some of your most beloved restaurants across the country aren't crushing up Adderall and Oxycontin after work, you're wrong. The food industry is infamous for its drug use. Historically, the two have gone hand in hand. This fact has affected the lives of bartenders I admire, restaurateurs I respect, and, yes, some of my very good friends. So as you might imagine, this is a difficult post for me to write.
I don't know many people who do meth in the "Breaking Bad" way that it's commonly thought of. Pharmaceutical amphetamines are much more common. A good post if you want to look into this further is "The Speed of Hypocrisy: How America Got Hooked on Legal Meth". In it, Alexander Zaitchik notes how "...both excite the central nervous system in nearly identical ways, flooding and blocking dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline receptors. The brain responds the same whether it’s produced by the Sinaloa boys and slung by the gram-baggie as glass, or made by Lundbeck Inc. and sold in orange bottles at CVS as the meth-based ADHD drug Desoxyn."
The most common industry phrases I've heard in favor of drug use concern how it will help our creative careers, love lives, and waistlines. These are selling points that were also used in the lucrative female-oriented speed marketing campaigns of the postwar decades. Like most people, I work towards and desire a flourishing career, passionate love life, and perfect waist. I'm just not willing to indulge in something that so openly comes at the cost of others' lives and my own freedom from attachment. Interestingly, the fastest growing market for prescription amphetamines is young women. A drugged population is easy to control.
Another main reason people in our industry do drugs is boredom. I totally get that. Boredom is probably my least favorite sensation on earth. So here are five things you can do instead of drugs if you're bored:
Most compelling of all is FOMO. Sheltered people and sanctimonious types who push an anti-drug rhetoric miss the point on how coercive the fear of missing out can be. People don't want to deprive themselves of transcendent mental and spiritual experiences that the cooler, artsier, more successful, more interesting people around them are having. The reason I don't buy into this half-assed, morally-limp-wristed reasoning: drug trafficking. Closely linked to: human sex trafficking. If you aren't the political type, that's OK. This isn't much of a political argument; it's a moral one. Anyone can have a fun for a night with coke, but the people who died to get it in your pocket had decidedly less fun.
These facts led me to the conclusion that using opiates, heroin, recreational prescription drugs, etc. is harmful to others, and that I'd rather not engage with it. If I feel compelled to sway from this decision, I have a stable foundation of beliefs (described above) to return to so I can proceed with my chosen course of action. It isn't a belief based on religion, fear, or any sense of any superiority but based on an educated choice. In order to make successful choices with the components of our lives, we have to educate ourselves. An uninformed constituent is easy to manipulate. Who could possibly capitalize on an addicted population? I decided to find out for my own self.
Benefits I've enjoyed as a result of this decision include wellness, creative thinking, and mental health. I have a clear mind that I can use to make personal and business decisions, I have more money to spend on fun things like classes and traveling, I get sick infrequently (people who use drugs often have weakened immune systems), and I have more deep and meaningful personal relationships.
The effect this has had on my business is that I get invited to fewer super cool insider industry parties. It isolates me in a sea of passionate artists and creatives.
I wanted to share these thoughts with you in case they assist you in making a decision about whether or not to pursue drugs recreationally. If you don't have anyone you can speak candidly with about these issues, you can always email me at Joni@mintandmirth.com.
Proud sponsors of the Women's Foundation of Oregon, MercyCorps, MercyCorps NW, The Q Center, and Oregon Tradeswomen.
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