Addiction and Stripping
Images & Words: Chase Kelly
I cannot think of a more important and poignant topic to write on for my first entry of this blog. If you yourself have never had to deal with being dragged onto the merry-go-round of drugs/alcohol/stripper lifestyle, you have surely watched someone else go for a ride. Dancing is often extremely taxing mentally and emotionally, and with a limitless supply of cash, alcohol, and (depending on the club) pills, powder, ecstasy, heroin, and meth, things can go downhill pretty quickly.
Many girls are already volatile upon entering the club for the first time. For whatever reason, each of us has made the decision to ignore the status quo and expose ourselves to strangers, in some cases allowing them to touch us (and more.) The coupling of our prior dysfunction and our current level of freedom can often overshadow our desire for normalcy and protection. Entering this profession, many of us already have self esteem issues and the club does not make it much easier. Of course, each person has a uniquely crafted constitution, and for some it is easier to cope with the physical and emotional trauma associated with dancing, however for some people it is devastating. Depending on your background, your emotional health, and your unique experiences, you may end up (or may have already) battling with addiction.
As with any difficult task, our minds find ways to make the challenging tasks easier. I talk a lot about habit and ritual throughout Survive the Club, because I have seen first hand the effect habits have on humans. Ritualization makes it easier for the mind to create concrete information and organize it, which is precisely why it makes such an obvious coping mechanism. Whether you notice what you are doing or not, each one of us has a specific routine that becomes part of our “getting ready” process. When I ask myself honestly, I have to admit that for about 95% of dancers I’ve met, having a drink, a hit, or a bump has become part of their nightly routine. If you are one of these girls, get rid of the ritual immediately! Even if you decide to still use, try not to make it nightly, and definitely don’t make it ritual; ritual=habitual.
If you are worried that you might be developing a problem, you CANNOT ignore it. You are in a very scary position, one where you literally are completely alone. Most of us do not have the luxury of insurance, workman’s comp, unemployment, and disability benefits. For many of us, our family structures are faulty and unable/unwilling to aid us. We have bosses and coworkers who don’t care, we don’t have schedules, responsibilities, or anyone asking after us. Many of us have boyfriends, but many of those boyfriends aren’t always exactly what we’d hope for them to be. It would be an understatement to say that we, as women (and especially as women in the adult industry) have been disappointed before. I think it would be a stretch to suggest that we would be surprised if it happened again. We have seen enough of humanity to know: we need to take care of ourselves.
If you do nothing else right now, start looking into insurance that will cover treatment should you decide you need it in the future. It is almost impossible to get treatment for addiction with no money, and unfortunately, if your use is linked with your job, you will probably have to find another way to make an income. It is definitely better to address the situation before it is too late. Camming is always an option for girls who cannot say no.
If you know you’re in trouble, it’s ok. There is help, and there are people who care. I urge you to find an addictions therapist and find a support group immediately, like AA. It would also be a good idea to order a book or two off amazon dealing with you think are your core issues and start getting to the bottom of them. Addiction is a terrible struggle, but there IS hope, and there is a better way. Getting through it may be painful, but waiting too long to get help could be fatal. I know you know what a really bad-off veteran stripper looks like, and I don’t think you want to imagine what she must feel like inside.
It is really important for all dancers to realize that on any given night, there are girls in your club that are fighting to stay clean and sober. If it is not in your power to stay sober, or if you simply do not want to, please consider these girls. Talking about drugs in front of a person struggling to stay sober will trigger addictive cravings, which are multiplied by being inside the club. Practice compassion every day, even at work. I know you’re grown, I know it’s your body, but it’s just so much easier and rewarding to be conscious of other people’s struggles, and support them. One day you might need people to consider your triggers. Everyone else has turned their backs on us, we need to at least be there for each other. Please use drugs discreetly, and please keep your conversations private.
Peace and love,
your neighborhood stripper.