Written By: Anton Sawyer
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I must start this piece off with a warning. This article is going to be very real, and very raw. It's going to openly discuss subjects like eating disorders, self-harm, drug addiction, and depression. If you are sensitive to these kinds of subjects, then your time may be better spent elsewhere. With that being said, here we go ...
I know there are going to be a lot of people who look at that title and assume it's all click-bait. It isn't. I'm going to get to the part where I explain what I mean by "peddling anorexic fetishism" a little bit later. But I first need to give a decent amount of context, or it's all going to come off with me looking like a bully—and that is not the place where any of this is coming from. I first learned about her in the famous Shane Dawson docuseries about Ms. Cooney, and have been following her ever since. Not because I want to see her fail, or really have any negativity come to her in her life; no, I wanted to see how long it would take before she would eventually fail—it was an inevitability.
Condescending? Not in the least.
You see, I am a drug addict and drug addiction is very much in the same wheelhouse as eating disorders. In fact, according to American Addiction Centers (AAC), in 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.
And let me clarify. Right now I am not in any serious "addictive cycle." I haven't done opioids, meth, cocaine, or any drugs that brought a special brand of hell into my life for a number of years. But when it comes to drug addiction, it never leaves you. Joseph A. Califano, Jr., former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and founder of the National Center on Addiction and Substance said “The therapeutic community claims a 30% success rate, but they only count people who complete the program.” Califano adds that the other 70-80 percent have dropped out by the 3-6 month marker. Why the low success rate when anyone who has ever had a life-decimating addiction warns to stay away?
Whether it is drugs, sex, eating disorders, etc., they share two main characteristics. Medically, addiction is known to be a “chronic, relapsing disease” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Physiologically, it completely rewires your brain. In layman's terms: the existing roads and highways that your brain has been mapping since birth have been fizzled away, and construction was done to move those highways to many horrible off-ramps. The reason why it is so difficult to break addictive tendencies is the fact that some of the turnpikes that once went to "Guilt City," well ... they don't exist anymore ... at all ...
The longer you are in an Active Cycle (AC), the stronger those roads become reconstructed. Fortified. I was fairly lucky that my meth addiction only lasted for a little over six years. I had seen people during that time who had been active for decades. That's why I wanted to give another little warning when it comes to the personal stories I am about to share; none of these are to glamourize anything about addictive behaviors. Most of them follow a pretty typical pattern:
A traumatic event happens during your youth (for me it was not being raised in the "right religion" where I was bullied)—often these events get repeated.
A major event usually happens to open the flood-gates (for me it was my mother dying of cervical cancer when I was 16).
The person looks around and sees what is not only available but least likely to get them caught (the drummer in my band in high-school band smoked marijuana).
It provides the "best relief" for what you are trying to remove. In this last case, that also includes having some really fun times. People don't become addicted if what they try sucks for them. The addiction is designed to remove the problem, not add to it.
I smoked pot for the first time when I was 16. By the time I was 17, I almost died from my first meth overdose. I pushed it as hard as I possibly could. Not because I wanted to die, but because it gave me a reputation to a degree. People who were on certain scenes when I was a teenager knew about me before meeting me. Trust me, it's not bragging. To get to that point I had to attend parties where people were shooting up meth in their necks because all the veins had collapsed in their arms. Standing there, wondering what to do as my friend lay on the floor twitching for a half hour. Just so later on, I could be at another event, hear someone who heard something about "The Neck," and I could bust in by saying "I was there."
I was lucky it never killed me, and I was able to stop meth by the time I was 22. But when you live in that world, you get a special kind of radar. You can see someone who is in an AC, and know within the first four or five minutes of watching them.
When I became aware of Eugenia Cooney, she was in recovery. All of my senses could tell that she was getting help, and trying to get better. I kept her in the back of my mind because I know (not only because of the stats above but personal experience) that she could relapse. I hoped she didn't, but the odds were not in her favor.
I saw that YouTubers like SL04N, Of Herbs and Altars, and many others have been consistently putting out content over the last few months about Eugenia. The more I watched, the more I knew she was back in an AC. The one video that not only terrified me but also had the largest impact on the opinions I have formulated about Eugenia; a video called "The TRUTH About Pro-Anorexia Forums" (link in the bibliography). In it, Of Herbs and Alters makes a pretty clear case of how Eugenia is making money from perverts on the internet who are fetishizing her eating disorder. They are paying her big bucks to move large, heavy objects because it plays into their twisted fantasies of a woman being weak due to starvation. Watching recent Twitch stream compilations sadden me because she is so active that she has lost touch between who she is, and how much attention she's getting—for better or worse. At this point, from her actions, there is absolutely no difference between love and hate. A click is a click, the comment is a comment, it all adds to the numbers. But at this point, if she gets banned like millions of tweets and comments that have been circulating indicate, I think it would have serious, unintended side effects.
Having had minor run-ins with the law as a youth, court-mandated rehab was always a part of the sentence. From doing Intensive Outcare Patient Programs with six meetings a week, to once a week drug tests with a side of therapy, I have been through a few. It's largely a revolving door. You learn so quickly that if a person is forced to change, they don't like it and will revolt. If you do want to change, it's also a hell of a lot of work. Therapy, getting to the root of the problem, opening yourself up in ways that you may not be ready to. I can say that every time I was forced to be a good boy I did it. As soon as I was done, I went right back a drug-addled maniac. I can see this same thing happening to Eugenia.
There have been internet rumors that she's thinking about starting an Only Fans page. If you don't know, it's where people who are at varying levels of fame have fans that pay them for private videos and other things. The issue is that it's really no-limits. The more extreme you are, the more money you can potentially make. I fear that until Eugenia Cooney faces her demons on her own terms, if she were removed from her main platform, it would drive her to make much more nefarious decisions. If she's potentially already doing these minor tasks for donations openly, what could come under the cloak of secrecy?
She has millions of supporters. Maybe some of them share the same experiences with addictive tendencies and look to her for fellowship. Not everyone will be able to relate and those are the people I worry about. A heroine in denial, spreading the word that everything is OK. This young person thinking that if they send love, money, whatever they can to help Eugenia "get better" (and then being utterly let down when the love, prayers, money, whatever doesn't fix it), is some of the fallout to all of this. It's ultimately this misdirection that could cost her more than she may anticipate.
But don't kid yourself, she knows the game.
You can't sustain an AC for years without being able to learn how to read people, and in almost every case, exploit them on some level. To be perfectly honest, she's incredibly clever. When she says "I'm sorry you feel that way," she's using is an insta-classic in the world of deflection without openly denying what someone just told you. Her ability to switch it though and transition to the victim is also impressive.
Remember that radar I spoke about earlier? That last paragraph is filled with examples that set it off.
It's a fine line she's riding, and she knows it.
I'd love to see her make it. It does seem that she genuinely wants to be an addition to the world. That she feels indebted to those who give her the most love. The only thing she has to do is learn to return that love appropriately.
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