There were no tell-tale signs in my youth pointing toward any reason for deviation from the norm. All signs pointed, instead, toward success and fulfillment. I was relatively intelligent (again, by societal standards). I seemed to be popular, always having a diversified set of friends. I wasn't physically revolting or anything. In my mid-twenties I actually had a woman tell me I looked like Robert Redford. I kept shouting at them to let her talk as they were dragging her out of the bar. I don't think the fact that she was grossly inebriated made her a totally unreliable witness. Of course, that's my opinion.
To this day, I can't understand the mind of a non-addict, just as a lot of non-addicts simply can't understand addiction. They wonder why we don't just stop if it has become a problem? Or they ask why we started in the first place? But for me, the opposite is just as puzzling. I know non-addicts who will have a drink or two once in a while and call it good. I ask them, "Why do you take a drink in the first place?" Their response is invariably, "Well, it relaxes me" or "It makes me feel good." Precisely. So why do you stop? Why don't you want to do it more often? If something relaxes you and makes you feel good, why wouldn't you pursue more of it and pursue it more often? In fact, why wouldn't you want to feel that way all the time?
Perhaps it's because they know what the inevitable outcome of addiction is. Perhaps they can simply rationalize in this manner and call it good. And they're right, of course. Because once the drugs begin to turn on you, once they begin to show the other side of that double-edged sword, it's too late to go back. They will eventually bring you to your knees. Or they will land you in prison or in an institution or kill you. . .