By now many of you have heard of the Heroin epidemic that seems to be sweeping the nation from corner to corner. Some of you may be effected by this evil in your own families – it has hit ours, and it’s like a body slam when it hits close to home. So I offer this a warning from my own personal experience.
I’m no stranger to the drug scene, but I am immensely grateful that it was short lived and far away in my past. Let me tell you the story.
My career in the drug culture happened in the late 1960s just prior to me graduating from college, and somewhat in the midst of the 1960s drug scene and the whole counter-culture scene that was running rampant then. I was somewhat immune to all of this since I was married with a small child and going to college which took up enormous amounts of time and energy – I just didn’t have the time to “save the world” by getting high.
Then he came to live with us for a time. He was a full-fledged 1960s prototype Hippie complete with the long hair and clothes to match. Rolled his own cigarettes and smoked the “cool” grass of the time and listened to the hard rock music. He was cool, he was sick of the “system” and held a middle finger up to it – whatever it was — often.
He was my brother in law – fresh from the divorce of his new wife and running away from the little girl that was his beautiful daughter.
While he was with us – I don’t recall how long – there was often pressure to try some of his “stuff.” I generally resisted, but every now and again I rolled one and inhaled deep and long – and waited for that promised high. It never came, and each time I found myself sulking away in a corner saddened by who knows what – but saddened.
Gordon then started the pressure of trying something new and different – something he was sure I would like. This something was what the Indians used in their religious ceremonies, so how bad could that be, and it could be a way of opening new vistas to my life. It was safe he said because it was natural (haven’t you heard that if it’s organic and natural its gotta be good?)
This natural and organic stuff the Indians used for spiritual and religious use was Mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic with a long history of human use. It is best known as the primary active chemical in the peyote cactus. So before too long I was primed and persuaded to partake of this pill that was to enhance my life experience.
As I mentioned earlier, this took place close to the end of my studies at San Diego State … in fact what I am about to share with you happened during finals week of my final semester at school — I was about to take that big step into the real world of full responsibility and citizenship … well maybe not.
So Gordon and I each took our pill and set off into the night in his car. Thus began the most frightening experience of my life – before or since that night.
We wound up at an all-night drive in restaurant along Harbor Drive in San Diego. We settled into a booth – across from one another – and settled in.
As we sat there I could feel the changes taking place in and around me. I would look across the table at Gordon and would begin to see changes in his face – unpleasant faces that I tried to shake off (not a whole lot unlike the picture above) . But they came back … and worse each time. At peak I saw Gordon’s face dissolve into an evil distorted countenance of oozing skin and bone — something out of a horror movie.
I was descending into insanity (and I mean this literally) … and then I would come out of it to a place of sanity. But then right back into insanity. In and out – in and out – each time as bad or worse. I began to fear that the next trip into insanity would be my last and I would never come back – a deep and profound fear had a grip on me.
Eventually, after a night of this I guess the stuff worked its way out and it was gone – and I was on the sane side of reality.
But it was not over – remember, it was finals week and I was right in the middle of it. Fortunately that day was one with no tests and I settled into the Student Union for the day. And what a day it was. I lay down on a bench and stayed there all day unable to move. My body felt as if it was filled with concrete and I couldn’t move even if I had wanted to.
And I had finals pending!
I made it through, passed my finals and graduated to a brand new job as a computer programmer. It very easily could have been different – very much different.
Thus ended my career as a drugee … but I still continued my drinking for far too many years.
The drug problem has not gone away … on the contrary it has intensified with the strength, harmful effects and lethality increasing as the years go by. And has a sense of hope increased or diminished in the years of children growing up to adulthood?
So this is my note to my grandchildren — from one who has not always been clean as the driven snow:
· Be very careful who you hang with – they may not have your best interests at heart.
· Resist any and all pressures for you to do the wrong thing. Get help with this if you need it – parents, teachers, pastors, grandparents, even police – people who have demonstrated a love and concern for you over the years.
· Know that this stuff can kill you in very unpleasant ways. It has killed others.
· You can get through this. If you can find a Christian Youth group try it out and get plugged in – you might find peers that actually care.
And remember — I love you very much,
Stay away from me or I’ll kill you!