So when is it time to stop your “exciting” and hedonistic lifestyle? When your septum collapses because of frequent drug benders? When you catch HIV because of mephedrone-fuelled sexual promiscuity? When you lose your job after calling in sick so many times because you’d rather be at a chill out?

What a lot of people tend to forget is that the world revolves around balance; for every action there is a counter-action somewhere else in the world. Similarly, for every high, at some point down the line there will be a crashing a low. Nobody gets to miss work, have unprotected sex, and dance all weekend without reaping the consequences one day. Unfortunately, the thing is most of us will have to reach that day before we realise this.

The thing with getting high is, that while its “fun” at the time, you never really notice the gradual downhill slope it takes your life on because you’re constantly fooled by a temporary buzz that nothing’s wrong. The fact that our social scene is basically dying because a bag of Mephedrone is the same price as a few drinks speaks volumes. People that openly regret their drug in-take one week find themselves high again days later because drugs are so accessible and cheap. Even when the chill out gets boring, the effects of the drugs start to plateau and we run out of money, quite frequently the only thing that will stop us from continuing the party is if we stopped breathing.

How many times have you been at a chill out in the middle of God-knows-where-Green, with a whole lot of nothing going on and after the last lines have been snorted, scoured your phonebook, Facebook and hook-up Apps for a dealer you wait so long to arrive you’ve actually come down by the time he does? And then the last two grams, (that six of you have chipped in for), is gone in the space of 40 minutes and it’s nowhere near enough to get you even remotely high again. And then you’re stuck on Sunday service – without rail works if you’re extremely lucky – trying not to be paranoid about how copiously you’re sweating. Was it really worth it? Of course not, but let’s meet up next weekend and do it again though yeah?

It’s bad enough that we’ve put our bodies through the unhealthy process of starvation, sleep deprivation and any other unknown effects of reasonably new drugs…yet we can’t even say no when we all know it’s time to go home.

We live in a culture where everyone is constantly chasing a high, but more often than not we end up chasing the dragon of a good night that doesn’t exist. Even when our best friend calls to say they’re sick, and your other wingman texts to say he’s too broke to go out, it would just be wrong to stay in. Then there’s rail works on your line that are gonna add an extra 30 mins to your journey. Oh, and you’ve heard that the club night has sold out of tickets and it’s gonna be mega busy. And it’s raining. Next thing you know, you’re in the queue for over an hour, dripping like menopause, £60 down before you’ve even got in the club… and sober. But still you’re gonna have the best night ever. Why is it so hard to accept that a night just isn’t happening?

The next thing you know, you’re on a rail replacement bus home three days later, sweating like Heather Mills when she hear the word “pre-nup”, have racked up a generous number of sexual partners/sordid activities, owe a selection of friends various amounts of money, have missed work (again) and you face two days in bed hiding under the covers because even adverts for Tampax make you emotional.

Unfortunately, there’s no “off” button for this kind of lifestyle – hence why they’re called drugs, because addiction isn’t something most people can control; not easily anyway. So to answer the original stated question, the time to stop isn’t when you’ve shit all over your career and flushed it away, nor is it when you need medical attention to correct the physical damage you’ve done, and it certainly isn’t when you’re faced with a life-long illness because one night of poor judgement. The time to stop – or at the very least, slow down – is the second you feel remotely ready to.

By Anthony Gilét

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