His biggest problem, however, is something he shares with millions of recovering alcoholics and addicts: Once you give up your addiction, you often give up your social group, too. In Brian's case, it meant all his "swole" gym buddies, who by this point were also some of his only buddies. "After I told them I was stopping because I had a problem, they told me I really was weak. When I canceled, the bodybuilder who ran the gym said to me, 'You're turning your back on your physique, bro. You'll lose all your muscle.' I told him again it was for my mental health, since I would feel bad about my body no matter what, but he and a few others who passed me by just called me a quitter, as if this was personal." Of course, it is personal, in a way -- this is still all about validation, and tearing down quitters reinforces their group as the dedicated elite.
What is it? An anabolic steroid (a steroid that acts as the hormone testosterone) that occurs in small amounts in the human body.
Medical Use: Used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, to aid in the growth of blood cells in bone marrow, and to help tissue and muscle growth in people suffering from degenerative diseases like AIDS.
Athletic Use: To grow muscle mass and aid in physical recovery from workouts.
Possible Negative Side Effects: Cardiovascular damage, sexual dysfunction, liver damage, acne, sterility, baldness, enlarged prostate.
Is it legal? Available only by prescription.