Drugs, Identity and Youth Culture - Part 3
My Mind Isn't What It Used To Be, But Let's Not Think About That
Last Updated: 11 October 2013
My Mind Isn't What It Used To Be, But Let's Not Think About ThatIt is clear that the drug taking experiences varies considerably between individuals. Those who have self-confidence or identity issues prior to embarking on recreational drug consumption usually come out much worse than those who are confident and have a solid foundation of identity. The latter group often never take drugs in the first place, as they don't feel they need or want to to feel good about themselves. However there are a number of negative patterns and fundamental belief and value changes that occur when engaged in this activity. The extent and severity varies from individual to individual, but no one comes away psychological unscathed. Drug users or ex-drug users may recognise some or all of the patterns discussed below.
When a person embarks on his drug career, he expects to have the same views, values, perspectives and way of feeling that he does further down the line. This however is more fantasy than reality. It is like engaging in any sport, at first one is a little careful, and believes that one will only do it occasionally and in moderation, but eventually one will be taking more risks and becoming more heavily involved. It is also like growing up, when one's values and goals can sometimes radically change from one's youth to adulthood (not necessarily 'selling out'). This may sound like anti-drug propaganda, but I can testify that the vast majority of drug users I have ever known have started off with occasional cannabis use, and within a couple of years, have become heavy cannabis users, and users of harder drugs. They wonder, 'how did I end up here'? It is as if something crept up on them, but invisibly.
This is no coincidence. Drugs have alter one's state of mind, and quite frequently, users change their values as a result of drug use. This is particularly the case with psychedelic drugs, such as cannabis, marijuana and magic mushrooms and LSD. Before one has ever taken drugs, one has heard anti-drug propaganda/education in the media and at school. One has an association with all drugs being evil and bad. When one first starts to smoke cannabis, one may think that it is 'harmless'. One however has broken down one old belief about a drug. As one becomes used to the effects of cannabis, and it has become part of one's routine, it is no longer the outrageous, mind warping experience it once was. The seeds of wishing to try other drugs has been planted, and one begins to question the 'horror stories' one hears about drug users destroying their bodies and minds. Inhibitions decrease and the barriers to 'graduating' are greatly reduced. Peer pressure and how deeply ingrained one's fear or association of pain regarding harder drugs however ultimately decides which direction this individual takes.
What a cannabis user does not realise at the time is that for every time he smokes cannabis, his references shift. Smoking cannabis is only enjoyable supposedly because one has been free of psychedelic drugs for one's entire life previously. One has been socialised and has been in a rigid educational fabric and had restrictive values imprinted upon oneself by teachers, the media and parents (probably). Therefore experiencing a psychedelic and intoxicating substance such as cannabis allows the person to have a strong reference point against which to enjoy the effects of the drug. The longer a period that person smokes cannabis, the less concrete this background reference point is, and the less fun being 'stoned' will be. The individual will not be content just to sit around being stoned as an incredible source of entertainment, he will feel like intensifying the experience, doing different things.
Cannabis preys on people's mental weakness, and in many cases causes users to become extremely apathetic about their own personal appearance, reduces one's sexual identity and aggression. A person in a sense loses his spirit. The tendency to never actually go out, but stay in and get stoned in a nice, protective environment is very strong, especially as the effects of cannabis are largerly a depressant and result in a tired feeling. Many cannabis users know the feeling when they intend to do something or go out to a party or event, and decide to smoke a joint beforehand, and mysteriously never make it out of their bedroom all night. And every time they never make it out they are as suprised as the previous time. At least they felt sociable as they intended to go out.
Dope smokers are often psychologically torn apart. Their sense of normality and pre-drugs values are still strong, but they have developed various psychedelic-influenced values too. On the one hand, they feel embarrassed about their cannabis habit, about breaking the law, and their inability to have a 'normal', relaxed relationship to it, but at the same time feel that it is their basic human right to be able to light up a joint wherever they please, regardless of who might not appreciate having to inhale their smoke or have an idiot ruin their evening etc.
Dope smokers often 'spark up' or 'light up' at concerts or similar public events, in crowds, and usually have the attitude where everyone around them is expected to be complicit in the activity, to condone it, and to put up with all the smoke wafting in their direction (they may have quit or suffer from bad effects from inhaled smoke, or even be in the small minority of people who have psychosis triggered). It is a little like forcing other people to take drugs without their consent, which stoners are often very politically correct about (freedom and such like) ironically. Dope smokers are often oblivious to people around them becoming annoyed and if they receive dirty looks may get offended or take it personally, as if the people around them are out of order. This is ironic as those around them are really doing them a big favour, providing 'crowd cover' (i.e. to blend into the crowd to avoid detection) and putting up with passive inhalation etc. However, stoners would not consider not 'lighting up' as they need their fix too much. Many stoners dislike people smoking cigarettes around them so it is ironic here that they do exactly the same thing with cannabis (mixed with tobacco).
In other situations, when friends or colleagues know a person smokes dope, they are expected by the stoner to keep quiet about it, and not tell anyone else or to talk about it in front of authority figures. Whilst the stoner may believe this is expected, it is actually quite a liberty and the others are really doing them a favour. The stoner may see it as a basic premise of common decency. It is a little like knowing someone is a thief and being expected to shut up about it, one becomes an accomplice to the crime. If someone is that bothered about keeping it quiet, they should shut up about it and pretend they don't do it like a thief would when asked - unless talking to fellow criminals.
Dope smokers become very upset if people tease them for their addiction, which seems ridiculous to most non-drug users. Dope use often reduces one's libido and sexuality, often gradually turning users into asexual being. Whilst becoming more asexual and losing one's natural sexual confidence, one similtaneously craves attention and romantic/sexual interest with the opposite sex (or same sex if one is homosexual/lesbian), yet one stops oneself from achieving it. This is incredibly frustating. Conflicting values ultimately result in depression, pain and stress. The brain seeks congruency, and makes sure that a person is congruent in their values, even if it means denying certain values or beliefs that the person knows to be true to achieve that congruency. It is better to actually be congruent in one's values, and have one's beliefs strengthening each other and empowering one to be oneself and express oneself. For many marijuana smokers they see anyone who is interested in sex and displaying an interest in the goal of having sex or pursuing someone they like as being rather crude and 'cave man'-like - whereas the reverse may be true that the dope smokers in question are just in denial and have low self-esteem and are reverting to a child-like asexual way of being in the guise of seeming intelligent or not playing games. This cerebral (often depressed) existence is not really what they want however and cannot really be considered a development of the personality. In some areas it is regressive, and romantic relationship skills and self-awareness may trickle down to virtually zero.
People who first start out smoking cannabis often reject accusations that they are psychologically addicted, and say that they happen to smoke it all the time because they want to, and that they don't want to stop smoking it because they have too much fun. Whilst this may be their official reason, I am not sure that they themselves actually believe this. With every time one gets stoned, one's natural high is eaten away, and drains away, grain by grain, without the person noticing it. It is only really half acknowledged when cannot score or one does not have the money to buy any more, and has to 'straighten out' for a few days or weeks. This straightening out period is usually very uncomfortable on the next day, resulting in anxiousness and irritability, and a sense of regret or guilt about not having been straight more. Often the person loses all sense of reference and as the day/evening goes on, the brain feels more and more alert. The every day dope smoker is not used to having their brain functioning more efficiently, and has trouble relaxing and enjoying himself whilst 'straight'. The person has disempowering values, and strong negative references.
The tendency to not do anything manifests itself very much in sapping away a person's creativity or creative outlets, except perhaps for a few very basic ones (child-like outlets). Dope smokers tend to watch life pass them by, and over time become very frustrated, depressed and upset about this, and increasingly cynical about what they are doing and feeling more and more empty and unexpressed. However, they often do not associate enough pain with continuing their habit in order to gain enough leverage to actually stop. Cannabis smokers frequently require a religious conversion or psychotherapy in order to stop smoking for more than a few months, and to effect a permanent change in lifestyle. Whilst teenagers have more of an excuse to be emotionally inexperienced, adults do not, and adults who continue to smoke cannabis are indeed in even bigger trouble psychologically. Again, a person may not realise it until they step out of themselves.
The mindset and subconscious values that always follow drug taking, no matter what form or severity, is the mindset of 'having a buzz'. The drug taker expects things to happen to him or her, to be moved or given a feel of exhilaration, rather than actually partake in anything requiring any intellectual involvement. Everything will turn into a 'buzz' eventually. All sense of subtlety is lost and the person's thoughts are all reduced to the lowest common denominator. Meals become a buzz, and often the persons concerned develop a love of spicy food, fried food, sweets, snacks etc. All senses must be continuously stimulated, included senses of smell with josticks (which also cover up the smell of the cannabis smoke). Constant music must be played. Dope smokers must be constantly stimulated with images from a TV screen (often with the sound off, so they can listen to some repetitive, soulless psychedelic music). This attitude is very destructive and prevents the individual from fully appreciating and experiencing life, and from being in the here and now, which is something that they ironically value. All of the above may not be true for every drug user, but it frequently and sadly is. The reason why cannabis users are ostracised and excluded from most other social circles is that they lose grip on what most other people are interested in. Frequently their conversations revolve around drug taking and intoxication. Whilst this may be very interesting for cannabis users, it is about as interesting as a bullet in the head for non-drug users. Non-drug users also pick on up their negative outlook and depressed nature and do not find such a person such fun to be with (after the 'whackiness' of a dope smoker's anally retentive humour has worn off, which is usually about 30 seconds).
Not only this, but because dope smokers or drug takers in general have an attitude of wanting entertainment to happen to them and being generally self-focussed (but perhaps seeing this as looking out for everyone else's right to be self-focussed and do whatever negative things they want to do - 'freedom'!), then the circle of friends they attract are likely to be self-focussed also. As one grows up and possibly gives up one's drug taking career, one may soon realise that one's friends are all jerks and all selfish, and not really friends at all, and may promptly seek some proper friends who actually care about you.
The attitude of expecting entertainment and everything else to happen to you does little for your motivation or drive. It is not uncommon amongst stoners and wasters to give up on challenging career options or studies, or pursuing careers, hobbies or sports that they would really enjoy because they involve effort and dedication to gain competence and skill. Wasters often end up with no skills or hobbies of any note as a result, and may be riddled with regret deep down, which they may not admit. Dropping out and doing something boring for money because it is easy or little mental effort rather than pursuing your dreams is not a good idea!
The lyrics to Green Day's song Burnout can be found herea>
Ironically, the actual act of being stoned isn't actually that much fun! The first dozen times you smoke dope, you have a buzzing headache, feel a little strange, and if you have consumed any alcohol whatsoever, often violently sick. This is exaccerbated by the fact that the person probably smokes it in a joint with tobacco, and may not even be a cigarette smoker, resulting in further feelings of nausea. They may come to associate the nicotene feelings with a joint, giving them more of a pull to perpetuate their habit. After the first dozen times of forcing oneself to smoke dope because one feels one ought to like it (perhaps a counterproductive belief?) and through peer pressure, one slowly gets to enjoy the psychedelic and 'fun' effects of cannabis, including the 'giggles', the 'munchies', spending hours talking complete rubbish like a child and finding it amusing, and enjoying psychedelic music and movies, and also the warm, fuzzy, smothering feeling. One's dress sense, taste and language usually take a distinct turn for the worse! Everything one likes now has to revolve around being good when listened to whilst stoned, or anarchist/left wing politics etc. (depending on the person). This is the honeymoon phase of a drug career. Through each phase, the average waster has a repertoire of songs, played in a certain order, that make him feel good whilst getting stoned. This repertoire may change according to the exact phase. It doesn't stay on this level however, it just goes downhill, and a dope smoker who is honest with himself will admit that subsequent dope parties with his friends aren't quite as fun as the last one, and some insidious element of depression/paranoia creeps in and mingles subtly with the fun and extreme experiences. One loses touch with 'normality' and most normal, mundane activites, including employment are treated with contempt and irony, having little meaning anymore. One can tell one is moving into the heavy dependency phase when one is smoking every day, and requires a spliff near bedtime just to be able to get to sleep. If one is deprived of this, then one lies in bed for hours unable to nod off, feeling frustrated and craving that extra spliff that will calm and nullify the mind (i.e. that melatonin and serotonin release, which is produced naturally if one doesn't mess around with drugs). Prolonged cannabis use or any drug use for that matter interferes with one's hypothalamus and natural melatonin and serotonin production.
Frequently, a waster or group of wasters will delay the lighting of the first dope of the day as long as possible, in order to experience as much 'potential difference' as possible. It is not being stoned that is really that enjoyable. It is the act of 'getting stoned' and enjoying that change in potential difference that they 'enjoy'. Perhaps the spliff or bong is a 'reward' for coping so valiantly with the harsh experience of being 'straight' and having to engage in mundane activities, like cleaning, going shopping for food, eating, getting dressed, working or studying! Being stoned all the time is incredibly boring. So maybe there is something about 'not being stoned' that is actually good. Otherwise, one would wish to be permanently stoned every day. The same principle applies when one first starts taking drugs. That is when one has the greatest potential difference between a lifetime of being 'straight' and being stoned. This is the honeymoon phase, the most fun part. It should therefore be of no surprise that things go downhill and get boring thereafter. It's only logical. That is why experienced wasters perhaps try to limit the amount they smoke, so that when they do, it is still enjoyable. Otherwise they get totally bored. Food for thought?
It is likely that half of the enjoyment of drugs in one's youth is in fact the release and sense of relief and pleasure one experiences from finishing years in school or leaving school itself, and being free of parental domination. Dope smokers often crave for a joint every 30 to 60 minutes after the previous one, mainly because the 'pleasant' effects of the previous joint have worn off, and they are left with a largely buzzing/throbbing type headache/sensation in the head that will last for half a day afterwards. Dope smokers probably spend half the time during a 'dope session' thinking about when the spliff will arrive in their grasp (being painfully slowly passed around the circle, all eyes unhealthily on it, like Gollum with his preciousssss), and when the possessor of the sacred lump of hash will next 'skin up', which usually seems like it takes forever, and worse still if the joint is passed the wrong way around the room - oh no! Torture! Some Gollum/Lord of the Rings 'humour':
Oooh my preciousssss! I love it when I score after a dry spell!
That first spliff is always the best! I wish they were all like that!
I am really going to make this last as long as possible!
Many dope sessions comprise of numerous youths crowded and huddled around the 'possessor of the dope' who is skinning up, all looking gormless, desperate and weak, and staring intently as the 'skinner upper', as if the person might run away with the stash and the spliff if they look away for a moment. Fear of the torture of 'missing your turn' and having to wait for the next spliff to be made. No one says anything and they can't focus on the here and now. And maybe when it is time to pass the joint to the next person, you make sure you take a few tokes in quick succession and an extra big toke before you pass it on, so the buzz will keep you going until the time in the distant future (what torture!) when you will next get that doobie in your mouth! Perhaps you are one of these joint hoggers as you can't deal with getting less than a good hit. If you go to a party like this, consider whether it is a 'party' and whether people are actually having a good time and socialising. Are people feeling relaxed or stressed because they want that next spliff so badly? If you have ever lost your 'stash', it is amazing that one can spend hours turning over a room, car or scanning each inch of the ground looking for it. It is as if it is worse than losing one's wallet, one's keys or as it is a matter of life and death! Smoking dope whilst drinking alcohol or drunk is often tempting fate, and seems like a good idea to many when they are drunk, and many end up throwing up and spending the whole party kissing the toilet seat and feeling violently ill.
Maybe one of the people at the session is desperate for that next joint, and the owner of the 'precious' or the lump of hash is trying to draw it out as long as possible, to conserve his lump, which is the opposite of what everyone else usually wants. There is almost always a little tension in the air between the owner of the stash and his entourage. Sometimes one of the entourage will offer to skin up! 'Can I skin up?' - it puts the dope holder on the spot and makes him seem tight fisted if he refuses. This is sometimes accepted by the possessor of the dope, but often rejected. The person offering to skin up tries to force the owner of the dope into a 'next spliff' and when they make the spliff they usually get first rights to 'spark it up' and enjoy the first part of the joint - to ensure they get their 'fill'! And perhaps a little extra! If it is rejected, the owner of the lump may try to save face and mumble something about being just about to skin up anyway! Or on the odd occasion they may say 'good idea', as if the desperate waster who requested it was being imaginative or creative in some capacity!
Perhaps you have 'blim' or 'hot rock' burns on all of your t-shirts and tops. Blim burns are small holes where small burning pieces of hash fall out of the end of your joint and burn a hole in your top and you only notice them when you feel you are being burnt alive. So whilst you are trying to relax you may be paranoid about being burnt and holding an ash try an inch away from the end of your spliff. Great! Or maybe you are paranoid about your parents coming into the room; and 'pretend to be on the toilet' regularly whilst rolling a joint or smoking a bong; or you are worried about other people in your halls of residence smelling the smoke (which is highly likely given the small windows in student accommodation to prevent suicides) - so you can't breathe for all the dope and josstick smoke in your room; or you are worried about the police driving by or creeping up on you in your car. Maybe you 'enjoy' scoring or buying drugs from unknown parties in dodgy parts of town. Or the fear of your seller not having the goods. Or the fear of getting ripped off (i.e. paying the full maximum street market price for an 1/8th or 1/4 ounce and getting a few/several grams short). You don't have as much of your preciousss as you had planned!!! Or the fear of getting stopped by the police once you have scored, before you can get your preciousss back to the safety of your bedroom. Perhaps you fear your stash running low or running out of Rizlas or cigarettes. Perhaps your joints always burn down one side, and require constant attention with the cigarette lighter to correct it or application of saliva on the side that burns too much. Perhaps you find this stressful (at least manufacturered cigarettes burn properly!) Perhaps you spend the entire evening indulging in mindless and anally retentive activities such as staring at curtains and ceiling lights move (a little). Perhaps people prefer to stare at fractals or other psychedelic pictures rather than engage in intelligent conversation or interacting with each other. Perhaps whilst at a concert you smoke a spliff and your legs immediately feel heavy and the rest of the night is spent fighting your legs and forcing mind over matter just to stand up and feel lively. Or if you smoked a bong or bowl, without the tobacco, perhaps you felt like running around for 5 minutes until you 'veg'ed out and wanted to sit down. Ruining your natural energy production. Great! Parteee!
One of the other really great things about being a dope smoker is that you often have burnt or cracked lips (from smoking through a very hot roach regularly). Another is having your upper front tooth or teeth get stained brown. Another is a sore throat that never goes away, and a constant thirst, making it hard to stay asleep, and meaning that you sip on drinks all the time (often sugary drinks which are bad for you and your digestive system). Maybe you have a constant cough and excess of mucus in your lungs. The kind of mucus that when you cough it up it is a thick green or yellow with many black specs in it (tar and other burnt products). Maybe when you first start smoking dope you think you are invincible and that a few days after a 'session', your lungs feel back to 'normal' again. It is clearly totally harmless! ;-) It's only after a couple of years of regular smoking that your lungs don't bounce back a few days after smoking. It takes a few years of quitting for your lungs to return to a close approximation of what they used to be like before you started smoking.
When you stand up from your optimum comfortable sofa seating, during a session, to perhaps negotiate your way to the kitchen or the toilet, you have an immediate head rush, where you feel dizzy and lose your vision for a few moments, where your vision goes fuzzy, all colours start to go a deep red. This often occurs the morning after a dope session too, and also for days after taking acid (sometimes never quite goes away). Is this borderline nauseous feeling good? Pleasurable hallucination? I don't think so! When you come back from the kitchen (making all your 'friends' a cup of tea/coffee) or from the toilet, someone has taken your place on the sofa, as a comfortable sofa seat is seen as the holy grail. It's each man for himself with your 'caring' stoner friends! Immediate physical needs come first - nothing personal! I have observed many an evening spent with 'friends' where no one gets out of their seats, despite being very uncomfortable, delaying toilet visits and no one making any tea or food etc, because if anyone moves from the best sofa, they know someone else will steal it (e.g. those on shared sofas or sitting on the floor etc.) Peace and love guys!
Perhaps you have enjoyed regular bouts of the cold or influenza, brought on by a weakened immune system and constant battering of the lungs. And sharing mucus with other people via the roach of a spliff or pipe for a bong/bowl. Would you want to kiss all the people you share a spliff with? Every one of them?! Perhaps you have suffered bouts of bronchitis also, disabling you for weeks. Perhaps you have gone through a major emotional trauma trying to quit for just a few days or weeks whilst you are recuperating from the flu or treating your bronchitis. Another advantage of getting bronchitis is that you will probably be prescribed sulphur-based anti-biotics, which also wipe out your beneficial gut flora and clog up your inter- and intra-cellular membranes. So apart from having a buzzing type headache and not being able to think clearly, concentrate or remember facts as well as the next person, you get to enjoy spending half your time either being ill or recovering from illness (flu etc.) In business, there is a term called 'opportunity cost', which is the cost of spending money on one thing, and missing the opportunity to be able to spend it elsewhere on something else. You could apply this principle of opportunity cost to the amount of your time that you spend doing nothing, sitting around with fellow smokers, and not exercising your full mental or physical faculties! That time never comes back! When you are older, you will kick yourself, as you will likely not have much spare time. There is nothing more depressing that getting progressively older with no skills, no hobbies, little or no creative or expressive output (from the soul, not anally retentive, immature, 6th form self-expression or emotionally repressed, one sided, negative self expression) to show for it. Perhaps you enjoy the stigma of being looked down (rightly or wrongly) upon by much of the population as a 'waster' and 'dope addict'. Perhaps you enjoy being forced into a counter culture which doesn't suit you, all because you want to defend your inalienable right to spark up!
If you haven't sleep really fully or had a lie on the day of a dope session, e.g on Friday night after a long week at work or studying, it is likely that you will feel extremely tired perhaps 30 minutes or an hour after the initial 'up' feeling of being stoned. This occurs normally when one first gets stoned, but is particularly accentuated when one hasn't slept that well. Often, dope sessions are fun for 30 minutes or so, and then the remaining 6+ hours are spent suffering, struggling to keep awake, feeling totally exhausted, as if you are running a marathon, or participating in some kind of endurance activity. Like a form of punishment. And ironically it is! No wonder dope sessions suffer so many casualties, of people 'monging' out and sitting still with their eyes closed listening to music, yawning and sometimes nodding off. Partee!!!
Stoners may recall many friday or saturday nights spend moping around feeling depressed or bored as they were unable to score any dope. Their non-drug taking counterparts may conversely be having a great time at the weekend and be carefree! If stoners get very desperate, especially during a 'drought' (when there has been a big drug bust), they may go beyond their usual dealer and channels for scoring, and go to dodgy areas and dodgy pubs and ask around if anyone knows where one can score some hash or weed. Often the most stoner person in a pub is approach by numerous desperate wasters and asked the same question! What a compliment. If one does go out to score in a dodgy part of town, then one is probably extremely nervous about either getting mugged, ripped off or given a bad deal. Especially so when one hands over one's money to someone who disappears to 'get the goods' - will they come back? Many chancers can see a sucker coming. Stoners may well spend an entire evening trying to score, walking the streets, whilst their non-drug taking counterparts are having a great time doing something else! If you fail to score or get ripped off, you will probably be even more miserable than if you were just moping around at home depressed about not being stoned.
It is not unusual for doper friends to only get together when they have some hash or weed. If they don't have any, they may find each other's company rather boring or strained. Is this friendship? If they do hook up when there is no dope, the atmosphere certainly won't be the same, and they won't be having as much fun. Or if they are, they are trying to hide that craving into the background. Some friends you may only ever see to score dope from. What kind of friendship is that? One where they are not worth seeing if they don't have any dope to sell you. Friends that make a profit from you.
Teenagers and kids in general are often taking in many experiences for the first time in their lives. This is what makes playing for children so much fun. If the children or teenagers never openly talk about certain topics with their parents, then they may well come to the conclusion that the parents don't or have never done a particular thing, even if it is patently obvious they must have (e.g. sex!) Often we don't want to think of our parents as real adults, sexual beings, but in some idealised manner. If adults never discuss sex or drugs with us, in a manner that suggests they really know what they are talking about, or in a balanced manner, then a teenager may well assume that when he begins his drug career and is in the honeymoon phase of drug taking (first starting out getting stoned or taking acid or speed) that he is being very clever, and that no one else has ever experienced this or really knows the score. It is a little like teenagers assuming that no one has ever had a blow job before the milennium. That in the 1940s and 50s, that no one ever did it doggie style or had a blow job, because TV was black and white then, and that it is only recently that people are doing these things. Adults do much of their 'taboo' activities behind closed doors and do not openly discuss them, so teenagers become embarrassed about the subjects and feel they are all new to everyone somehow. This is not always the case of course, and may vary according to the individual's perception to varying degrees. If you are taking speed or acid for the first time and it seems that all you had was a good time, but that you did not feel 'too' bad afterwards, you may assume that all negative anti-drug propaganda is false and somehow is talking about something totally different, alien to what you are doing. It is the way people assume something bad will never happen to them. Stoners often think that they are discovering the 'best way' to smoke dope etc., that previous generations never knew. Thus one can view past generations as backwards or as 'losers', whilst oneself is 'cool'.
Many dope smokers when they first start out, look at other, more 'experienced' smokers and think 'How sad, I'll never end up like that. They are just weak or stupid'. A little like the Heroin user who doesn't think he'll end up an addict. Unfortuntely, fate often has the last laugh. Even if a dope user escapes the circle of depression and laziness, aka becoming a human vegetable, then he will have suffered psychological damage on one level, whether he knows it or not. Such a person may appear somewhat flakey or perhaps mad. Psychedelic drugs and mental health do not go hand in hand.
Frequently, a dope smoker will admit that natural high is the highest goal, but will rarely actually do anything about it. They may say that they can feel totally relaxed all the time and have a natural high all the time, but to actually do so would require immense mental effort, would not last long, and they give up and can't be bothered. So they spend most of their time in a netherzone. Frequently, a dope smoker's friends will all be smokers, so there are no longer any reference points in normal life to relate to, and with a group of friends all of whom share the same psychological problems and negative outlook, the chances of breaking out of the cycle or even engaging in anything creative, productive or positive are fairly slim. Also, before one started smoking dope, one was quite happy without it. One did not know about it, and one had a basic reference point of what day to day feeling was like. When one starts smoking, one could theoretically get back to feeling the same way if one just stopped smoking, if you listen to the arguments of the dope smokers. However, try it! It's not true! In fact, it may take years to get back to that natural feeling! And the longer you leave it, the longer it will take to get back there.
A dope smoker may often cite that being 'straight' is simply not that great. This may of course result from the destruction of their natural high, that increases as their dope habit carries on, but also from their generally poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, and increased accumulation of toxins in the body. However, it should be considered that the person may not ever have experienced genuinely excellent health and energy. That person may never have truly tried 'life' and so is not in a position to knock it until they've actually tried it. Many people pollute their bodies pretty much from early childhood with processed foods and exposure the environmental pollution and harmful EM fields. They may well have forgotten what it feels like to feel truly great. Without proper references, how is one able to judge what is in their own best interests and be aware of the options available to them?
It may often be observed that prior to taking drugs, a person may be more laid back and less fussy about the people they hang around with. But with years of drug taking, the person may become very fussy and almost hypersensitive about their crowd or friends and become very cliquey. Everyone they hang around with has to be 'safe', or a drug taker too. Or someone who puts himself down in some way. Not only that, but cliques get very fussy about new recruits having to 'groove' and make jokes in exactly the 'right', annally retentive way. Someone who isn't quite on the same groove may well be laughed at and looked down upon, even though on paper they have very much in common (superficially). No one who makes them feel uncomfortable or lost can be part of the social circle. Eventually you may end up ironically hanging around with purely self-interested drug users whom may not really be great friends to you, but whom you feel trapped to hang around with, and self-perpetuate each other's drug and psychological problems - and social suicide! Stagnation and over-familiarity follows, exaccerbated by the fact that many of the clique sit around stoned all the time and with time don't have anything to say for themselves because they don't really do anything. The lack of outside input and anything new therefore becomes a real chore. Whilst holding the pretence of brotherly love or freedom and openness etc, members of a clique may ironically feel isolated and find it hard to open up to people. It is like being with a group of people who are physically together but psychologically all alone. Not much fun. Of course, each person's individual experience is different, but this pattern is not uncommon.
Drug takers, particularly those who take psychedelic drugs like marijuana/cannabis, magic mushrooms and/or LSD, in the beginning may well find the experiences inspiring or uplifting (if a disconnected type of way). They may feel that they have experienced higher or previously unexplored states of being, and that because they know what it is like, they feel they can access these states of mind any time they like, at will. Using willpower to override their 'normal', slightly depressed or bored state of mind. However, as people have found over many millennia, it isn't possible to maintain 'higher states of consciousness' or 'feelings of nirvana' through willpower alone. This will only get you so far and is likely to fizzle out, which seems to occur in the majority of cases in those who make such claims early on in their drug careers. Without having a fundamental understanding of how the mind works, what causes you to feel good and bad, you are not going to be able to consistently feel good in the short term or long term. The brain soon adjusts to consumed drugs and their initially outrageously euphoric effects will be overtaken by their intoxicating or numbing effects. If a drug taker who has this kind of enlightened experience wishes to attain higher levels of mental functioning 24/7, then he or she will need to start consciously working on their focus, and examining their core beliefs and removing layers of self-loathing that they have carried around for a large part of their lives. This often is very difficult if not impossible if one is still taking drugs, of whatever kind, even on an occasional basis (especially psychedelics as mentioned above.) Sometimes the intention is to push oneself into the mould of another 'ideal' personality type, without addressing any of one's personal issues of self esteem and expecting it to stick! The brain is not stupid, it puts out what is put in. So nice idea, but sadly it is unlikely to amount to much. The beneficial side of psychedelic drugs and the loss of inhibitions with respect to social conventions cited by many often only pertains to negative, anally retentive, childish or destructive behaviour and rarely (or not often enough) positive behaviour, creativity and real self-honesty, so the overall effect becomes negative rather than positive.
The lyrics to NWA's Express Yourself can be found here
Amongst some circles of 'friends', stoners have the attitude that they should all try to be sharp, especially when taking drugs, and that if anyone acts dopey, cabbages out or acts like they do not know what they are doing, they are ostracized and looked down upon. This 'sharp nazi' approach is a kind of sport and may well have some sound grounding, but instead of trying to remain sharp in spite of what one is doing (using willpower alone, which works only some of the time), inevitably one will feel 'cabbaged out' some of the time. Why not go one better and not get stoned at all? Then you wouldn't have to feel cabbaged and you could stay even sharper and for longer? Often people's objectives and behaviour are not congruent and goals supportive of each other.
When a dope smoker says that he enjoys smoking a blunt, chronic, number, a cone, or whatever, what he probably means is that he doesn't enjoy not smoking dope. There is a subtle difference. After many months or years of getting stoned, it may not be as much fun as it used to be, and that the periods of 'straightening out' or being sobre/not stoned are less fun than they used to be (one's natural high gone or considerably lessened/'blunted' - and one increasing suffering the effects of a disrupted endocrine system, psychological dependence, depression etc.). So getting stoned is a way to feel semi-good or slightly less 'shit', with maybe the odd 20 minutes of actual pleasure here and there. This is not the same as 'enjoying it'! Please do not kid yourself.
It is not uncommon for a dope smoker to think he looks 'normal' or fine, but in objective terms he may look like crap and not all there mentally. It is often as if he is half in the room and half left his brain at home - disassociated. A gradual loss of awareness and concern for one's appearance or a narrower vision and perception of these things may add to this pale complexion and general look. This loss of perception of how one is is a little like being brainwashed by a cult, except that one is being brainwashed by a plant!
Look at a stoner dancing! Smoking a little dope may help to loosen one's inhibitions (if one has the necessary attitude to back it up - as otherwise it can work the reverse way around as one becomes lethargic and perhaps paranoid and overly self-conscious) and help some people to get up and dance (for a short while until they feel too tired!) Many dope smokers probably think they are great dancers. However, the reality is often the total opposite. It is said that dancing is a way of expressing oneself and one's sexuality. Doper dancing is often a mass of chaotically flailing limbs, with no style, elegance, grace or co-ordination whatsoever; or perhaps an inexpressive and mentally constipated swaying of bend arms from side to side. That is perhaps a method of self expression, but on the lowest common denominator. Stoners rarely have the confidence to express themselves sexually in their dancing, and with confidence. One's cluelessness about dancing and one's sexuality often reflects in other areas of one's personality that may well have regressed or become underdeveloped. Often they hide behind the mental haze of dope smoke. It has been observed by various people that whilst a group of dopers may dance in a group, they are all dancing in 'their own heads', or dancing alone in effect. Robert Forster's song Snake Skin Lady sums this up quite well.
Dope smoking parents often have a hard time with their children. A dope smoker may after many years of smoking develop a sense of 'righteousness' and 'political correctness' and try to formulate relationships with people that one can talk to in a sensitive manner with, and have adult conversations with, with no aggression or 'front'. However, when it comes to children, dope smoking parents often assume that they are adults when they are simply not yet (talking to their kids like they do their waster friends). They may treat their children like friends rather than actually be a proper parent to them. To some extent they don't like to tell others what to do, as they don't like being told what to do themselves, so in a sense they lack the confidence or will to acually behave like parents and take on a predictable parenting role for the child. Perhaps being 'parent'ish is considered un-PC or 'not cool'! Perhaps they seek a 'cool' relationship with their child - which may well be possible when they are in their late teens or early adulthood, but certainly not when they are very small. Doper parents may well treat the child like an adult, and when the child acts up, instead of providing boundaries and being firm, they may just try to explain why the child should not do it, in a soft and unauthoritative manner, as if the child will comprehend this. The child will in all likelihood not take them seriously as a parent. This often leads to the child acting up more and more, desperate for someone to show him boundaries and what he can get away with and what he can't. Dope smoking parents may also find some of the child's spoilt behaviour or attitude as funny or a sign of independent will, which they may encourage. One should not confuse independence with being spoilt and behaving badly. Stoned parents may not only smoke dope in front of the child so that he learns that he should copy his parents and be a stoner from an early age (there being no 'straight' or clean living role model to copy), but gets to inhale dope smoke as well, poisoning his lungs and making him stoned as well! This is really rather selfish. What stoner parents often forget is that they probably had the luxury of straight parents, but that their kids aren't getting that same chance.
Parents who smoke dope may also be influencing their children's beliefs, as those who do not influence their children's beliefs. Beliefs affect a child's present and future behaviour. When I was 21, I used to go around to my Jamaican friend's in North East London, and hang out, score a 'lid of Sensei weed' and smoke and listen to reggae with my friend. My friend was staying with his mother, and he had his 2 sons living with him. Over time, his kids became acclimatised to the weed smoking. The sons were around 6-8 years old. One son said 'Daddy I don't want you to die' when he was skinning up. He explained that it wasn't going to kill him, and that it was 'harmless', but for adults only. A few weeks later, one of the sons was sitting in the living room with us, and he started to skin up! He took out a Rizla and put it on the coffee table near the cigarettes and lid of weed. I can't recall whether it was me. my brother or my friend who put a stop to it. But what did we expect? I felt very bad about it at the time, and still feel a little bad about it now, but not bad enough to stop smoking weed there and thereafter (addictions must). Who is likely to have started smoking dope in his teens as he was copying his father? No prizes for guessing. Their cousin, a young teen who was just getting into Drum and Bass and Jungle at the time, did not smoke weed but within a year or so he was smoking weed - would he have done so anyway?
It is clear that a drug works because it confuses the body's endocrine system and results in a temporary state some people equate to pleasure. Drugs also confuse the mind in an insidious manner over a period of time. In short, they confuse both the mind and the body on the most fundamental level. The reason many people feel this is liberating is that they have closed their minds, focus and beliefs for many years and seek escape from this. Many people when they are high believe that they experience clarity of thought, spiritual beauty or ultimate confidence. If you have to confuse both your body and your mind to experience confidence, then you have some serious belief issues to address. If you believe that any kind of valuable clarity of mind can come from confusing both the body and the mind, then you need to be honest with yourself. It is possible to be clearly confused, but this is not the same as clarity. One never quite experiences the same sensation of clarity the morning or day afterwards. Some people when they take LSD believe they have moments of understanding everything (when they aren't feeling the sensation of needing to go to the toilet for hours but not actually needing to), and write down their grand ideas on a piece of paper. When reading it the next day, it is nearly always complete rubbish and gibberish, and either makes no sense whatsoever or means absolutely nothing. It was the sound of the words that impressed the user so much when he was tripping. It is clearly possible to experience clarity in a confused state where one's boundaries are edged away, but it is no absolute or objective kind of clarity. Often cannabis users are out of touch with their emotions or sexuality when they are 'straight' and use drug taking as an outlet to feel overly emotional or experience longings and a willingness to engage with the opposite sex. Everyone needs balance, and it is best to feel confident, have focus, have clarity, be honest with oneself and align one's beliefs with what one actually wants, and feel one's sexuality and be one with it, 24 hours a day, not just when you are high as a kite (for brief moments when you aren't feeling paranoid).
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is! When people first start to take drugs, they are often in disbelief over how something they feel is so wonderful can be given such a bad reputation in the media. Often new drug takers choose to blank out everything they've ever been told about drug use as a result, as if they are the first people in the history of the world to experience the great benefits and experiences they offer. Some people with elitist or anti-establishment beliefs enjoy the superiority they feel when embarking on a drugs career as they know what time it is more than anyone else. Sometimes people only feel good when they feel they are more clever than the mass of sheep around them. People who take drugs often boast statistics about the small percentage of the brain that is used in the average human. In reality, the amount of brain power used by the average, emotionally and spiritually indisciplined drug taker is even lower. Any area where one can feel good without having to make any mental effort or without having to give up one's negative emotional patterns and addictive negative behaviour has very little value. One's negative beliefs and patterns do not just disappear the longer you take drugs! Replacing by an idealised super 'chilled out and sorted' personality. It is ironically usually those with such negative beliefs who start taking drugs in the first place and end up worse off at the end with even more negative beliefs to deal with and inability to control one's focus. Ultimately it all comes down to consciousness and the ability to be honest with oneself. Don't fool yourself and blank out certain facts about how you feel so you can perpetuate your lifestyle. Try to step outside of the situation and view your life from a different perspective. This is sometimes very hard without actually arriving at the different place (belief and focus-wise) and looking back at how you used to feel, what you used to believe and how you used to focus. Quite often the enjoyment of drugs has disappeared a long time ago with users, but they are simply locked into a certain way of looking at themselves and the world and a way of feeling that perpetuates their lifestyle indefinitely. Give it a go - try to step out of yourself and be objective.
In many ways, taking psychedelic drugs is like being lied to. Your perception of reality is being changed over time without your full knowledge. It is like paying for lies and consuming lies. Smoking lies. I have not met anyone in whom drug use has had any overall positive effect on their personality. Not a single one.
Below is an interesting documentary video examining the effect of common recreational drugs on a variety of insects and animal species.
I first started smoking dope when I was 15, and continued until I was 25. This was never my intention at the outset of course. My brother started smoking dope when he was 18, at University, and when he came home to our parents for the weekend, he would bring home his stash, and although he felt protective of me, he was stupid enough to want me to keep him company whilst he smoked his joint in the garden every time. This led to me gradually wanting to try it. After an initial period of forcing myself to keep smoking it (my brother's values having changed by that point, surprise surprise), as I wasn't actually enjoying it,I gradually learnt to 'enjoy it'. I had an alcoholic father from an early age, and was often in fear of when the next drinking binge would take place, as was the rest of my family. I was strongly against addictive drugs, but regarded cannabis as 'harmless' as it was 'only' psychologically addictive. My brother was also quite domineering, ironically even more so than my father. My brother would heavily pressure me to keep him company and stay in all the time, and stay up ridiculously late at night, every night, sapping my sense of freedom, my 'balls' and individuality. I became gradually brainwashed as a result and somewhat depressed. My brother and I lived at home with our parents when I was 18, and when meeting up with my friends, who had jobs, I felt that they were wasting their time, working 'straight' jobs just to pay for the bills and to have enough money to get wasted at the weekend. However, I did not appreciate that it is not normal to just live with your parents and have everything paid for. Bills must be paid and independence is a must, whatever the cost. My brother gradually went mad, and had arguably various psychological issues already when he started smoking dope. My brother, when confronted by his parents about anything, would state that from his 'cosmic perspective', that it did not matter. However, ironically, he did not see that from his 'cosmic perspective', the universe did not care about his welfare and income and keeping him in dope, and equally why should it matter if the parents did not feed him and support him and keep him in dope money, and kicked him out and expected him to earn his own money? He hadn't thought of that, and as wasters often do, view the world from a primary selfish perspective. At the age of 22, I had a falling out with my brother, who was more interested in me scoring dope for him than actually seeing me. After many failed attempts at quitting dope, mainly on account of maintaining the same negative and dope smoking friends and association with my brother (why would someone who did not smoke dope want to sit around with people who were getting stoned?! It can only go in one direction.) Eventually I managed to get the leverage I needed, and this involved funnily enough religious conversion (at the time). I consider the 10 years I spent smoking dope as a total waste of time, 10 years flushed down the toilet.
The lyrics to NWA's Gangsta Gangsta can be found here
That is not counting the subsequent years spent trying to learn about who I was because I had never really done this in my teens, choosing to fool myself instead with drugs. I have however attempted to impart my own knowledge of what is necessary on a psychological level to quit. This information can be found in the following section and elsewhere on my other web site.