Drug Use and Separating from Friends
Sometimes women changed their thoughts about drugs or their own personal drug use. Differences in drug use or attitudes about drug use often resulted in a separation from friends. This separation was difficult, and often began with harsh criticism and judgments of a friend's drug use or her behavior when she used drugs.
Many of the women judged how their female friends acted in particular drug- using or drinking situations. When a woman was sober in instances when her female friends were drinking, she tended to become particularly judgmental and critical of her drinking friends, particularly when she described how her drinking female friends interacted with men. If a woman was "out of control," she was sometimes judged very harshly by women who were in control at the time, as well as by women who were usually in control (i.e., infrequent or nonusers) using morality-laden discourses loaded with dichotomies such as good or bad, right or wrong. Some of the women were critical even when they knew that occasionally they might act exactly like the other women they were condemning. Sometimes, if situations where a woman was highly critical of a friend happened frequently, the woman would choose to separate from this female friend.
Light users or nonusers were often the most severe moral judges of "out-of- control" drug use among their female friends, perhaps because they claimed always to be "in control." This criticism may have been made in part because they resented being placed in the caretaking role so often. Gilly was a self-reported nonuser, and her feelings of pride were evident throughout her journal entries and her moral judgments of other women's use. For her, as well as for many of the other light users or nonusers, loss of control seemed to be what separated problem users from infrequent users and nonusers. She wrote: "I think it's pretty scary to