“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Have you ever tripped on drugs? I have. And I’d like to share a little bit about that. There are many reasons that people use drugs. It’s becoming an increasingly common past time for young and old alike. It’s as ancient as human history, the practice of altering consciousness. Alcohol, in wine was common all the way back to the times of Jesus and further. Opium was common in China centuries ago. Tobacco and peyote was used by native americans. On and on the list goes.
Why are we compelled to alter our consciousness? One of the most common reasons is simply for the joy of celebration and enjoyment. That was the original blessing of wine during celebrations. But when drug and drink take over a life, it can become a stop-gap for reality. It can become a way to escape life.
As with our day and age, given all the wonders of convenience and comfort, also comes magnified and multiplied dangers and temptations. Such is the case with drugs, pharmaceuticals, and street dope. There are so many multicolored medications and substances that one can hardly imagine it.
To a young person with serious issues, with trauma, family problems, and the like these options a plenty become quite appealing. So I decided to walk that road, twelve years ago, not fearing what lay ahead for me.
The road is dark, but it’s hard to care at the time. Satisfaction is so desirable. For just a few moments of peace! When I first found it I felt as if I’d struck gold. No, even better than that. I’d found the elixir of endurance. I’d found an escape from the horrors of life. I’d found escape from the prison of fear, worry, and anxiety in my own head.
I could hold a giant middle finger to the world that had ravaged me. And it had, it truly had. I hadn’t deserved many of the things done to me. But I soon find, having embraced the drug, that I would deserve what would come next.
For many years I was locked away inside my own mind, having shut the world out. I shut out family, I shut out friends, I shut out everything. And soon found myself becoming something… I was being transformed into a shadow. But at least I could make the pain go away for a few hours everyday. And for much longer too.
Today I’d like to tell you about where I went, and what I did there, with the hope that you’ll understand the addict a little better. With the hope that you’ll understand the trip a little better. And with the hope that you’ll understand your own need for God a little better.
Tripping is like a exceedingly provocative adventure. It is a perfect deception, as far as it’s appeal and rosy beginning.
The stomach begins to feel carved out. It begins to hurt. But it’s a good pain, because you know what comes next. The pain begins to mix with the altered state. It seems almost as if there is a cloud around oneself. The cloud grows stronger. The emotions of the mind begin to intensify. I would sometimes to describe it as a blur of color intensified with bright lights. You don’t see those things per se, but feel them.
The first time for me, was wonderful. It was like walking through a dreamscape. I felt serene emotions. It lasted for several hours. And when I came down I felt fine. There was no hangover. The next day I went to work. I didn’t fiend for the drug. The first time is usually like that.
One would be prompted to assume that this experience is of little to no danger! By outward appearances it would seem fairly harmless. I can do this every once in a while, no big deal. I didn’t experience any negative side effects this time. Why would I in the future?
The next time, the euphoric feeling was less pronounced for me. And I had a slight headache after ward. Several days in a row followed, chasing after that initial high. I had to sleep for a whole day after three days straight of use.
When I woke up I wanted more. For years this pattern seemed to repeat. Increasingly, the experience became less pleasurable, and the search for more of the substance, more desperate.
Yet the alternative reality was so appealing. It was like being in a dream. And the real world seemed so bland, so ugly. Little wondrous things would happen during the trips. And I’d remember the wonder and awe of the experiences. Life became more than a simple drudgery in the trips. It wasn’t just work, sleep, eat, repeat. Magical things were happening. Wonderful things seemed to happen. My life finally had real meaning, or so I thought.
I recall nights when it felt like the world itself was ending around me. I recall walking around the city, like walking in a dream, like walking on clouds, though I soon began to hallucinate and see police officers coming after me. I recall the days of sitting out in the sun during spring observing all the beauty of the nature around me. I recall the night walks and the beauty of the night. There was something so appealing about it all.
Yet my body was beginning to crumble. The trips were getting too powerful. I was staying up for too many days in a row. I would only sleep for an hour, then get up with a friend and go to the coffee shop. We’d trip for several days straight and the trip would turn dark. We’d start seeing shadows, and dark, demonic feelings would fill our souls. There was an increasing sense of impending disaster, of doom lurking nearby.
We’d been trapped in, cornered with a lollipop adventure. But now we were addicted, and sleepless, and seeing dark things. The lollipop yellow brick road had turned into a haunted mansion full of demons wielding sharp blades and knives. And we’d found ourselves shackled to the walls.
There was a place I went many times in the dark days of the highs. I called it the red room. I’d hallucinate and see a dark red velvet room. And I’d look around. And I was amazed by the scene. But I had found after years that the red room was a trap. A trap door opened under the floor, I fell through the floor, and was mounted on a meat hook landing roughly with the blade jammed into sternum. No doubt the butcher was lurking nearby.
This is the quintessential reality of the altered consciousness through chemicals and substances. It is a candy-land walk onto a misty road of natural beauty leading to a dark, yet fascinating mansion, and once inside the individual falls through the trap door, and the reality of the experience is finally shown true: The person is rendered helpless, shackled, broken body, mounted on a meat-hook, in a butcher’s freezer at the mercy of darkness and death, unto utter oblivion.
What had seemed so happy-go-lucky and harmless becomes a death trap, and it is quite a shock to the traveler. Very few escape that meat hook. Most die on it, from overdose, or some other malady of the mind and soul. I’m one of the few that through recovery, the twelve steps, and most of all Jesus Christ my savior, did in fact escape the meat hook butcher’s room. Though I still bear the scar on my chest from the terrible ordeal. I tell you about it now, so that you will never go there. But if you do, there is hope of escape, though perhaps only a fool’s hope.
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