Taking the plunge into the world of anabolic steroid use was not a decision I took lightly. Users face extreme legal penalties for being in possession of a schedule 1 drug, as well as the social stigma surrounding injectable drugs should people become aware of what users do in the privacy of their own home.
My interest in anabolic steroids began at the very start of my 20s; one day a friend of mine told me that he had started using them. I had all the objections to his personal choice that readers of this piece may have to my own use – steroid use poses established medical risks to the individual, as well as considerable social ramifications if made public. I quizzed my friend on why he would even consider such a thing, and despite not agreeing with his decision I decided that he was fundamentally a good person and if he could sleep at night knowing the risk he was taking, I had no reason to pressure him on it.
Despite my initial apprehension toward my friend’s decision, I followed his progress and he gave me an open and honest insight into his experience. Over the next two years I became fascinated with anabolic steroids, both as a tool for recreational use and as a tool within the medical field. My interest grew to the point that I changed majors at university and decided that I wished to pursue a career in academia. In my spare time I was reading medical journals outlining the risks involved with steroid use, as well as engaging users online about why they decided to use and how they managed the inherent risks.
After roughly two years of reading about steroids and talking to men and women on forums about their own use, I decided that the next step in my training involved the use of anabolic steroids. I started with just testosterone, before eventually expanding my horizons to nandrolone (deca), trenbolone (tren), boldenone (EQ), methandrostenolone (dbol), oxandrolone (anavar), and oxymetholone (anadrol). On top of the steroids I used (and still use), I was taking exemestane (aromasin) to minimise estrogenic side effects and cabergoline (caber) to minimise prolactin side effects (feminising side effects). (Note: I did not run all of these compounds at the same time, rather that I have used different combinations of these over the past couple of years).
While this list seems intimidating at first, polypharmacy (the use of multiple drugs in conjunction with one-another) is common in the world of performance drugs. My drug regimen follows the philosophy of ‘blasting and cruising’; that is the use of exogenous hormones until my blood results show changes beyond the acceptable range (under doctor supervision), and then dropping all hormone use except for a physiological dose of testosterone to put me in the normal range of an adult male until my blood markers return to the normal range. I also monitor blood pressure and heart health with medical supervision to minimise the risks that I am exposing myself to.
Throughout my few years of use I have encountered the expected acute (short term) side effects; acne, water retention, minor blood pressure increase, elevated heart rate, delayed ejaculation, shrunken testes, as well as changes in the blood markers I mentioned earlier. Medical supervision has kept all acute side effects manageable; I am of good health. Given that I am in my mid 20s it is difficult to determine what, if any, chronic (long term) side effects I will exhibit. One of the goals of continuous medical supervision is to minimise blood pressure problems long term, to reduce the chance of suffering chronic heart health issues. In the world of anabolic steroid use this is my biggest concern for my long-term health; extended periods of elevated blood pressure are a major cause for concern with anabolic steroid use due to its impact on the heart.
These days I find myself still pursuing my academic studies, hoping to one day be a researcher in a related field. My steroid use is a minor component of my life – it does not define me, nor does it hinder my ability to interact with others. I simply keep my personal use private, except for friends and family who I trust with the full story. Perhaps one day I will be completely open with my use, though existing drug laws and social attitudes currently make a poor decision. Until then, I will simply continue my life, enjoying training, work, study and paying bills – just like everyone else.
Watch the full episode of Sizing Up Steroids here:
Note: *Brian's name was changed. SBS does not endorse the use of illegal drugs