When I was nineteen, I flunked out of business school. I’m not even sure why I was there apart from just being overly impressionable. All I really wanted to be doing at the time was music. All I actually did was jot down thoughts on life . . . kind of like I’m doing here.
I also did a lot of drugs. Memories from that time are a youth-enriched blur of seedy houses, spaces under overpasses, crazy faces, trees rushing by, falling…
I might have even scraped by that semester if not for a random drug dealer at a bus stop the night before my first final exam. I asked if he had any acid. I’m pretty sure I caught a faint twinkle in his eye as he sold me a gram of weed and muttered something along the lines of: “Trust me…”
Now, when I’m high, I sometimes see these racing, shifting, oddly familiar images in my mind. I see them more when I use less often. If I’m high all day, every day, the images will burn out to nothing before they can really begin.
Well, that first night with the bus stop weed, those beautifully complex images were all I could see. The weed must have been spiked or laced with something else.
The experience wasn’t unpleasant, but it was definitely all-consuming. I was locked away in an inward world for about twelve hours.
The next morning, during my exam, I felt twisted and totally unable to focus.
So, I failed the exam, went home, and smoked some more of the bus stop weed.
That became my pattern for the week. There was a different final exam each morning, and I failed all of them.
I now see that week as a sort of foreshadowing, almost comical illustration of the detachment and self-sabotage that would later re-emerge and culminate in full-blown addiction.
One night that week, I remember sitting in this big chair at my parents’ house, incredibly high. I forget exactly what I was thinking about, but I clearly recall the sensation of my normal, conscious thoughts slowing and spreading to where it was like I could literally see in-between them. Details I’d never noticed about my everyday world suddenly seemed so obvious. Reasons for my own conclusions and reactions became inescapable.
What I wrote down that night (super high, about fifteen years ago) was:
“This is the shit BETWEEN the shit.”
Perhaps weed just helps me appreciate my regular thoughts more. It certainly seems to help me imagine and daydream more freely.
Yesterday I brought up The Test.
During the weekend of The Test, I wrote the following while high after having not had weed for days:
“It’s funny: This was supposed to be my big moment of truth; but I hadn’t even considered so many important factors: like the weed could have been weak.”
The Test was to see how a little weed would affect me after a break. But once I was high again, I realized I’d been so fixated on the details of my plan that I hadn’t even considered how my mood that day, the specifics of the strain I’d be using, and so many other variables might have affected the results.
It all seemed so obvious once I was high again.
I took out a 3-by-5 card and wrote something that touched all the way back to my experience with the bus stop weed all those years ago:
“The thing I hate [love] about getting high is you immediately see all the flaws in [underlying reasons for] your normal, non-high conclusions.”
Writing that thought felt like a turning point for me. It was when I first had the sense that the high thoughts and intuitions I’d been recording all along might actually prove useful.
On the other side of that 3-by-5 card, I wrote:
“I’m ready. I’ve trained (see the quote on the reverse of this card).”
“Trained” might be a little overdramatic. I’m imagining some sort of smoky montage showing bong hits, thoughtful stoned looks, and progressively cooler scribbles on paper—all backed, of course, by enthusiastic ‘80s music.
I was just excited about the idea that my high experience might be a valuable part of my story to share. It was like seeing a potential conversation take place—a conversation with another version of myself.
Now, my aim is not to hold my high thoughts up as some sort of authority. They’re not like arguments in a debate . . . quite the opposite.
Recording your convictions and intuitions over time can be like seeing sets of paintings in ever-closer detail. Being aware of the overarching “shit between the shit” just keeps the current confines of your conscious mind from distorting your vision.
Why do you get high or do whatever you’re addicted to? When you record your experience with the intent to share, you can’t hide from the fact that only by doing whatever it is in a non-addictive way will your initial reasons ever be satisfied.
To put that more simply: When you see objectively how your addiction experience plays out in time, you know on every level that you’ll never find what you’re looking for in whatever you’re using if you keep using addictively.
Preparing to share your experience forces you to be honest with yourself. It eventually makes all your own “whys” impossible to ignore.
Tomorrow: why I got addicted to medical marijuana in the first place.