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Drugs: The Coward's Way

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  • Drugs: The Coward's Way

    This might sting a few of you, but I don't care. If you're one of "those people", you deserve to be stung. Some of you know my story, so it doesn't need repeating. Essentially I struggled with drug and alcohol addiction from ages 12 to 27, at which time I overdosed and came very close to losing my life. While in rehab counseling, I was told to find a replacement. A new addiction that wouldn't be self destructive. I chose strength sports, and eventually fell in love with Strongman. As I became more involved with the sport, however, I was shocked to see how rampant steroid use was, even on the amateur level. It offended me. This was my sanctuary, my place of safety, and it was being defiled by small, weak minded people. Cowards. Yes, you who engage in such filth are cowards. I was a coward. That's what defines a drug user. I was afraid to deal with life, and so I sought escape in the numb, cold world of narcotics. You who claim to be strong, yet pollute your bodies with poison, are also cowards. You fear the time, the commitment, the work it will take to achieve your goals. And so you fearfully scuttle to the den of profligacy. You are weak. You tout your prowess as if you were this great thing, yet you are an empty, vapid shell, bereft of anything resembling true strength. I came to the world of strength for safety, to escape the miasma of illicit substances, only to find its blackened claws firmly entrenched here as well. Some of you may know of my recent involvement with the United States Strength Coalition. You may view it as merely another strength federation, but you are greatly mistaken. It is part of a movement. It stands for something. The world of strength sports is changing, the day of cowards shall soon come to an end. Soon, YOU will be the anachronism. Soon, YOU will be the one that is obsolete. And that time cannot come soon enough for me. You have defiled and besmirched my cherished sanctuary, and I long to rid you from my world. You are no different than what I was, a pathetic junkie. You poison your body for instant gratification, caring little for the heavy price it demands of you. You defy the law, thinking yourself above such standards, in order to obtain this wicked substance. It is not too late, however. I implore you to reconsider your vile habit, as I did. And if you choose to stubbornly pursue your foolish course, then be prepared to levy the toll that will undoubtedly come. I am part of a movement, one I encourage you to join. If not, you truly are a coward.

  • #2
    This is good - you are not coming across as a nutcase AT ALL.

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    • #3
      Haha. I think anyone that competes in strength sports has to be slightly nuts. But I certainly wouldn't want to come across as tepid either, not about something I feel so strongly over. If you have an opinion of your own by all means share it. We're all entitled to that. Otherwise, I'm not certain what you hoped to achieve by your post. I'd much rather be accused of zeal and passion than having none at all.

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      • #4
        I would think it was fairly obvious what I was getting at, Ian - whilst I disagree with what you are saying I don't think you are putting either yourself or your organisation across in a very good light what with your apparent quasi - mystical idealisation of strength and your talk of tolls to be paid and what not. It appears you have done exactly what you were told - replaced your unhealthy relationship with drugs and alcohol with an unhealthy relationship with this pursuit.

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        • #5
          And you are free to disagree. However, you misunderstand. I do not speak on behalf of my organization here. This was a personal post. I would've thought that giving my PERSONAL experiences showed this. I appreciate the fact that the USSC tests, but that was the extent of it. I find it ironic though that you mention health. Would you care to enlighten me on the health benefits of anabolic steroids?

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          • #6
            I'll offer this in anticipation of your reply.

            http://espn.go.com/special/s/drugsan.../steroids.html

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            • #7
              I hear they are quite good at building muscle tissue - can't think of a healthy benefit of that...

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              • #8
                A rather short sighted and selfish outlook. And it seems you didn't read the article. Heart attack, liver disease. Irreversible damage. And for what? Muscle gain? If you find that an acceptable trade then you are the one that is insane. And a fool. I've heard that lifting weights, eating properly, and getting enough sleep can also cause muscle growth. Imagine that...

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                • #9
                  I read the article Ian - perhaps you should read some articles about the circumstances in which steroids are used to treat muscle wasting conditions - anyone familiar with leukemia or other cancers will know that these products can be used with relative safety to beneficial effect. Anyway, going back to my original point - do you feel your PERSONAL statement above represents your view in a positive light?

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                  • #10
                    I do. And I think I was clear in my meaning. Doctors prescribe opioids for pain management. I have no issue with that. Similarly, I don't object to the proper medical use of steroids. Abusing such drugs is where the problem lies. An athlete who takes these in an unhealthy manner, how is he different than a junkie? He is breaking the law. He is being selfish. He is putting his health and life at risk. He does not need these substances, yet he pursues this self destructive course. I am quite confident when I say I do not support such behavior.

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                    • #11
                      Still, your self-processed hatred of these people is more than a little disturbing. And not in a good way.

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                      • #12
                        I don't recall ever using the word hate. And no less disturbing to me is your seeming tacit support of illicit substances. I understand addiction. It's a mental illness. We try to escape pain and feel numb. Strength athletes are a different story, for the most part. They engage in drug use for selfish reasons. This, in my mind, is deplorable. I hate the fact that I am surrounded by drug users still, perhaps more so than when I was using. And as I said, the reasons for using are so incredibly based on hubris, it simply boggles the mind.

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                        • #13
                          Ian- I understand your side- to a point... I've never used drugs, nor would I encourage anyone to do so. The words you used were in-your-face kind of tactics, which won't get too much positive response. You're not the first to talk about the drug users, we have a few- none put it your way before... And I can see why Chris said what he said. I'm not saying that- just saying how sometimes you get into "something" and you want to give it your all.... And you come off as desperate to be heard. But, I wish you luck on your attempt to be part of a solution.

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                          • #14
                            The usual "Don't take a stand" world here. Strength sports has a problem we know about so unfortunately it is a part of our world. If you go to hockey, football or any sport, performance enhancing drugs are a part of "high level" performance.

                            So what. Continue your love of strongman and strength. Become the best you can be. Don't measure yourself against the best strongmen or any other "top athlete". Assume they are "cheating". Measure you against you. Trust me, there is freedom there. As a lifetime drug free strength athlete I know how you feel.

                            Don't be apologetic for the inability to post huge numbers by other peoples standards. Work on yourself for you. You will still be greater than the average person.

                            Be the best you that you can be. I have, and that has made all the difference.

                            Bill

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bill Crawford View Post
                              The usual "Don't take a stand" world here. Strength sports has a problem we know about so unfortunately it is a part of our world. If you go to hockey, football or any sport, performance enhancing drugs are a part of "high level" performance. So what. Continue your love of strongman and strength. Become the best you can be. Don't measure yourself against the best strongmen or any other "top athlete". Assume they are "cheating". Measure you against you. Trust me, there is freedom there. As a lifetime drug free strength athlete I know how you feel. Don't be apologetic for the inability to post huge numbers by other peoples standards. Work on yourself for you. You will still be greater than the average person. Be the best you that you can be. I have, and that has made all the difference. Bill
                              I appreciate your words, and I am indeed proud of my accomplishments thus far, considering where I was 5 years ago. I simply reached a point where I didn't want to "go with the flow". Change only happens when people say something, DO something. If you were to ask someone on the street whether they support heroin use, you'd almost always get a no. Yet walk into a gym and ask who supports the use of steroids and you'll get apathy at best! Both cause health problems. Both are illegal. So why the change in opinion? I can't fathom why one is given a free pass while the other condemned by the masses. It makes no sense to me.

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                              • #16
                                Ian and Bill. As with a recent rant of sorts by Gerrard Ian's response is based on his own experience as a former user of drugs and alcohol - in his words - to escape. He then, his words, trains in strength sports to escape again into his 'sanctuary' and to look for a healthy 'addiction'. Gerrard, if you looked, was up to no good (inferring being a drunken idiot, fighting and possible criminal activity).

                                I'd say the issues lay with you. Nothing that either of you did was healthy. Equally I'm in no great rush to do what you've done in the past. If, as I have made public, I then choose (on occasion) to use steroids you don;'t have to choose to join me. So how come if you think 'roids are bad' (echos of South Park lol) I'm supposed to do that too?

                                The drink, drugs and other habits you've previously had are FAR worse than any of mine. It's obvious that there are many things either of us could be doing which can be damaging to our bodies. Heck, I'm more likely to strain and or tear something on a weekly basis just from working out. My 35 years of training remind me via my left shoulder (possible spurs), right bicep (bench injury), tendonitis in the forearm (world record grip craziness) and two partially prolapsed discs that every time I go crazy in the gym I risk something. I drink, but in moderation, have never smoked, never taken any other recreational drugs EVER, don't abuse painkillers and strangely enough I'm not in the habit - as a once a year roid user - of coming on here preaching to get you to use.

                                I've argued on many an occasion from my own experience: I trained for 22 years and then, at age 37, 'dabbled' with my first cycle. On that single occasion it wasn't in the run up to a competition. I think I was about 264lbs or so before I started. I suffer, as far as I know, with ZERO issues, associated with my roid use. I'm guessing your habits of old are more likely to bite you on the ass as you get older than mine. I've three brothers, all younger, with more gray hair and lines on their faces than I have (a few of both though). Could it be my mostly sensible 22+ pre roids and 35 years total training and eating habits, no smoking (they all have) and light drinking (they all drink more regularly or just more full stop) has damaged their bodies more than I've damaged mine? I think so.

                                I've pointed out that ANYONE with a vague historical interest in our sport can find examples of 'use' and abuse going back to the early Olympics. That's not just in weightlifting but ALL sports pretty much through all recorded history. From wearing sandals when others ran barefoot to eating bulls balls / testicles for their 'power' (roids in their infancy). I've pointed out humans screw with themselves even in a non 'getting of my face' kinda way (as you once did) far more than roids. I recalled writing a John Romano quote about the ways people end up in ER (aka A&E here) in the US of A. Roids rated 120th or so. Even then it wasn't the liver tumors and other possible side effects; it was the **** poor injection techniques leading to infections and absesses. Also, here in the UK, it's NOT illegal. Not everyone that lifts is living in the US.

                                You'll appreciate, of course, that if you offer a strongly worded opinion (heartfelt as it was), you must be prepared to be countered with one.

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                                • #17
                                  I applaud Ian for overcoming his past issues, but using strength drugs (no, I never have) does not make one a coward. Its a choice they've made, period. Like Bill said, who cares what others do, be yourself, enjoy yourself...
                                  ------
                                  Dave

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                                  • #18
                                    Steve, I enjoy a good rebuttal and thank you for your eloquently worded one. Thankfully, I'm 31 and appear to be in perfect health. But legality alone cannot be the deciding factor. Cigarettes are legal in the US, but they are far from healthy. And though you are in good health now, and I sincerely hope that remains the case, that does not mean that steroids have had no effect whatsoever or will affect your health later in life. It's the same with me. And even if you never did suffer I'll effects, there are people who smoke for years, decades even, who never contract cancer, emphysema, etc. This does not mean it is a healthy habit. I have also spoken to various "natural" strength athletes as well as steroid users and the latter seem far more prone to injury. Studies have suggested that steroid use weakens tendons and the like. Could this have been a factor in the numerous injuries you listed? No one could say for certain. I know an amateur Strongman here who has competed at a very high level for a number of years. He has never used steroids, and he has never once suffered a major injury. Seems worth noting. No health risks? Jon Pall Signarsson, O.D. Wilson, Jesse Marunde, and most recently Mike Jenkins would certainly be arguments that there are. No one could blame their deaths solely on steroid use, but it was a common factor with all of them. I couldn't accept that as coincidence.

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                                    • #19
                                      Thanks for the reply. I'll address two issues for now.

                                      Weakening of the tendons. I don't think this is the case. What often happens with roid use is muscle growth and strength come on so quick. The tendons, not affected by roids (some affect from Growth Hormone use), take far longer to adapt and so the muscle, in essence, becomes too strong for the connective tissue and you get a tear. Throw in not resting and recovering from hard training... easy to get a pull.

                                      Bodyweight. O J Wilson et al are all 300-400lbs or more. I don't think it matters one iota if roids are a factor - there's a reason why most people aren't that heavy, or that fast that big - it's not the norm. 350 and running with 400kg on your back... it's pushing what nature intended even if you're natural. There are very few BIG FAT and OLD people about. That's without roids. Plus some strong men look old - they were 220-260 when they left school. It took me a long ass time using nowt to get to 260 or more. It's just more than a heart is meant to handle. NOW add roids etc. You already had a potential and you've added another. Finally (and I'm as bad) 'what is cardio?' lol.

                                      PS: I'll be 50 soon

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                                      • #20
                                        Ha! You're an old man then Kidding. I think I should kind of sum up my point. I am vehemently opposed to drug ABUSE. Any man who had experienced what I have would be just as passionate, otherwise I would hesitate to call him a man. Testosterone is not inherently bad, as opium can also serve a purpose. Humans, unfortunately, have a nasty proclivity to overindulge. Here in lies the problem. Steve, it may be that you avoided abusing steroids, but most do not. The desire to be the best will motivate a person to take extreme measures. A substance that enhances the muscles but not the tendons (I was indeed aware of this fact), that seems as though it only increases the risk of injury. How can that be considered healthy? And my point, why even risk it? You can be quite strong without the use of anabolic steroids. Yes O.D. Wilson was a large man, but not all large men die at 31. Mike Jenkins was the same size, and same age when he passed. I never blamed steroids for their death, but I certainly believe they played a role. Illicit drug use tends to carry a very dark, seedy atmosphere with it. Yes, under a doctors supervision it could be beneficial. But it is rare that this is the case. Again I ask, why? Considering the serous health risks, why even bother? If my original post came off as frenzied, so be it. I will always consider anabolic steroids as a harmful drug (if not taken for a medical reason and under a doctors care) and I will never support their use. Drugs cost me a great deal in my life. As I said, I would think anyone that had gone through what I went through would wholeheartedly agree. In conclusion, I have no idea what cardio is I respect your opinion Steve, truly I do. We all have a right to one. I will just never change mine on this particular matter.

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