I was watching this documentary that Aubrey Marcus has on Youtube called Ayahuasca with The Dragon of the Jungle and it’s really good. Near the end of it, this lady was talking about the universe and the stars which one of my favorite things to learn about and then a guy that was being interviewed started talking about some things he learned from his experiences. He mentions acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and love.. How love is the foundation for everything. But while he was talking, I started thinking about the universe and then I literally speak out loud and say “love is gravity” because I was thinking about how people need each other… and how crazy it is that gravity is a force?
But what is crazy is that while I said “love is gravity”… out loud… The guy said it at the exact same time, on the TV (its near the end of the documentary). I’ve never seen this content before. So I felt it fitting to change the title of this post to it.
So I’ve started remembering more of my earlier years lately. The more I write, the more I remember. So I’ve been trying to focus on those years, back when I started experimenting with drugs, with the hope of figuring out why most of my friends continued to live their lives (they grew up) and why my life took such a different path.
I don’t remember exactly when I decided to do drugs. I think one of my friends asked if I wanted to smoke pot later that day, and I must’ve agreed to. We were meeting this other kid in our class that had the pot and the make-shift pipe. It was an inhaler (but with no medicine in it). He had put foil on one end and poked holes through it, and we would light that and inhale from the other end. It worked I guess. But I don’t think I got very high. Regardless, I was very intrigued by the whole idea of doing drugs to expand your mind and consciousness and to learn from. And from that moment on, I knew I had many more experiences to try, and I wanted to try them all.
The school library
I started smoking more pot, fairly regularly. And began reading all the books I could get my hands on (from the school library mostly). Books about drugs and what they do to us. I remember the library had many books just titled the drugs name, and that’s it. For example a book titled “LSD” and another “PCP”, and so on. I read all of them. Then I started reading books about Jim Morrison, Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, Timothy Leary, Bob Marley, and so forth. I started getting infatuated with learning everything I could about these like-minded individuals who always took things to the very edge like I did. I romanticized their lifestyles (even all the pain some of them went through). These were my idols. They still are to this day (amongst many others).
I got pretty involved with drugs fairly quickly, and soon started selling pot. Which brought me to the “Chicago house” (which is just what I’ll call it here). This was a strange location for a house (the only one on the block). Located at a 5 or 6 point intersection, so it was in the shape of a triangle. They also had loud parties every single night, and sold a lot of drugs out of there. One time, when I was picking up a lot of pot, there was one of their friends who happened to sell cocaine there, and he was splitting up (what looked like) around a kilo on the mirror.
By this time, I had started smoking cigarettes (they were $1.90 a pack when I started smoking Marlboro Reds) and doing LSD fairly regularly. It was only $5 a hit, so it’s more accessible at my age. I loved every second of every trip I took, and I did it during school, after school, in the middle of the night, sometimes alone, sometimes with many others, during holidays, etc. And there was a surge of LSD in the 90’s in my area (north suburbs of Chicago), so we were able to try many different kinds (mostly blotter).
Back to that night in the Chicago house…
I split a gram of cocaine with a friend and tried it for the first time and that was an amazing feeling but it’s never felt like that again.
Slow down, you crazy child
I immediately started selling and using cocaine daily, along with the other drugs, and I eventually ended up in this house in Northbrook, IL. It was a few guys living in this party house, and they liked drugs and I had good ones so we became quick friends. Not long after hanging out there pretty regularly, I was introduced to crystal meth, shrooms, pcp, crack, ecstasy, mda (and other variations), ketamine, china white, black tar heroin and good old afghan dope. My new love was heroin. That night changed everything. I remember being offered a line of china white, and I snorted it.
The way it made me feel … I remember laying outside on the sidewalk in the freezing cold, and it was snowing on me, and I just laid there as if in a warm embrace, as the opiates flooded through my body. That was it for me. It felt like I finally came home.
The last time I did heroin was back in 2004. It’s been methadone, or suboxone since then. And I finally got off of all drugs like this, for the first time ever, around the end of 2019.
The Northbrook house
Don’t get me wrong though.. I wasn’t burdened by all the things I learned from hanging out there. It was exactly what I was looking for. And for a year or so, it was a blast. It was one long party. Every single night. One of the guys played bass in a band and they would play live shows in the backyard. There would always be a lot of people over, till all hours of the night. Everyone was a few years older than me. In fact, I was the only 17 yr old allowed there.
When I was younger, I hung out with older people… But when I got older (I’m 44 now), I generally hang out with younger people. I’ve never grown up. Younger people seem to be more open minded. More spontaneous. Not rigid. Less judgmental. I’ve found that many people get less flexible with age. It’s the way our brains work. You create these neural pathways, and over time, you re-use these paths over and over again, you get more rigid. It’s for survival but when not kept in check, it narrows your view on the world… In my humble opinion, anyhow…
Coincidentally, that’s what psychedelics help with. You can literally reset your brain, and start creating new neural pathways, theoretically better ones… Allows you to make different, healthier behavior patterns.
Of course, the good times never last. Not when you’re abusing so many different substances with little or no intention. And my progression was incredibly fast. I quickly went from a LSD taking hippy, to a heroin addict (and everything in between), in a very short time. When I started doing heroin, I basically stopped doing anything else (for the most part) and after a month or so, I started getting sick when I didn’t do any for awhile. I quickly accepted that I would be addicted to heroin for a very long time.
The walking dead…
It wasn’t very long before I ended up getting on methadone, and then rehabs, and relapses, and jails, and hospitals, in 6 or so different states, until I temporarily halted the craziness one day. I decided to get on and stay on methadone one more time, for the rest of my life. I was on it for 10 years after tapering down my dose for the last 5 of those years, slowly. I then switched to Suboxone sometime around when I moved to Madison, WI. Which I remained on until two years ago (the second ibogaine experience). I was on opiates for over 25 years. I didn’t know it for many of those years, but I wasn’t really alive, or at least present.
Being on such strong opiates for your entire life, eventually deadens your soul beyond what seems to be repairable state. You feel nothing. You are the walking dead.
For many of those years, I considered myself on borrowed time anyhow (living past my expected 21 years of life), and in my head, it was absolutely logical to not think about consequences.
Quite a long one. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I’ve learned a lot as well. It’s got me thinking a lot about why I do the things I do. Why we’re drugs such a focus for me for so many years. What am I trying to learn? Am I trying to learn something? Am I trying to run away from responsibility? From life? Am I running from pain? I think the answer has been yes. But it varies largely on the type of drugs being used and the intention behind using them…
Doing substances in a ritualistic or ceremonial way has an entirely different effect (and/or consequence) for me, then if doing something out of habit or to dull a pain or emotion.
Treating substances for the healing medicines that they are allows for a much healthier relationship with certain kinds of drugs.
It reconnects me to the source. The source is us. The collective. It’s the universe. It’s every thing, just from the beginning. It helps me remember what is important. It reminds me why I am here. It allows me to rejoin the world in a way that resonates with me. It peels back a layer of reality, allowing me to understand more deeply the universe and my part in it. It also lets me release a lot of trauma I never deal with. Not by stifling feeling or emotion, but by actually processing the trauma and releasing it. It lets you know that you don’t have to hold all of this in. Nature can heal. We can heal. Just need to trust it.
Sometimes it can knock you off your ass, and other times it can be nurturing and all loving and it feels like the world is hugging you so tight.
Sometimes it feels like my life was a puzzle and all the pieces were thrown up in the air… And other times it feels like it’s sewing me back up. And if I’m lucky, and maintain healthy living and integrate, etc.. I will get downloads of memory and wisdom for weeks later.
You are asking something from the medicine. And sometimes nature shows you what you needed to see.. and other times, it’s less giving. But you can learn and grow from all the experiences if you allow yourself to.
On one end, your family, your community, your people – they want to shine the light on any and all problems because they inevitably affect everyone. They start with an open mind. They share their grievances to the people they love. And in a loving, caring manner, the whole family or tribe will be in a medicine circle and an elder or shaman would start a ceremony of healing, and the entire group would join in on various rituals including taking psychoactive substances of all kinds. And it’s important to note that everyone participates. (unless too young). They heal as a group. Being in ceremony with other people is such an amazing experience, and I imagine it’s just such a more loving, safe feeling environment than our modern “enlightened” society typically allows for…
On the other end of the spectrum, you have hiding. You have shaming.. You have no one to turn to. You have people imprisoned for doing the very thing a tribe was using to heal the entire community on a regular basis with no negative consequences. You use drugs to suppress your feelings about your life, and other people, and your circumstances.. There’s no grievances to air to anyone… None that anyone cares about (you think).
What’s ironic is that if given the chance, most people do care. Even in the gravest of circumstances. Even when we have tough things to learn… People are still there.. But we allow our differences to separate us, instead of inspiring awe and curiosity, and love. Instead of seeing the beauty in nature, and in our uniqueness … Just sitting and listening to what nature has to teach us… We take things for granted. We want to be the same. To not cause a fuss. And in today’s ambitious world, it’s easier to take a pill and white knuckle through our miserable days until we don’t have the energy to go on, than to confront our fears. Because that can be painful. Growth… Experience.. Living… Surviving.. Feeling… Pain…. Love… Being present… These are not easy things, but without them, there’s no point..
The 5 personality traits?
OCEAN: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism
I was thinking maybe it’s just the right mix of personality traits that made me go the way I did, but I don’t think that’s correct.
I think life in general is always trying to maintain some level of homeostasis. Some levels go up and down, but the goal is somewhere near the center. Sometimes our genetics are the cause of our varying levels of this or that, and sometimes it’s our environment or something “external”… But that always bugged me.
We are our environment, are we not? We’re all one. All made up of star dust. The same stars… So technically, (in my way of thinking of things), we are everything. Everything is us. Past, present, and future. It doesn’t really matter… It’s just our perspective… Our lens of living within this universe that we, ourselves, have created for us. And it’s simultaneous. And real… And that is hard to grasp.
The theory of entanglement tries to provide an explanation for how an atom in one end of the galaxy, can affect another on the other side, instantaneously. Faster than light. Instant. It’s like when two energies leave an imprint on each other.. what affects one can affect the other at the same time. Across galaxies theoretically… One way they explain this is by using worm holes in the theory. So it’s the idea that a worm hole is connecting the two particles that could be separated by 100’s of millions of light years of distance between them. It’s doing this, not by quicker than light travel… but by the nature of the universe, it’s being stretched and bent, and thus when something is affecting a particle in one end of the universe, the worm hole is just bringing two points together at the same time… Or something along those lines… I’m no expert here lol….
A convenient fiction?
I was watching Russell Brand on Youtube like I usually do (highly recommend his channel), and one of his videos this morning was an interview he was doing with a guy I don’t remember the name of, but it was very interesting. He was saying many scientists push a convenient fiction. They say they understand the world. They give explanations based on observable and measurable phenomena but his premise was that just because we see something happen, we call it something, it doesn’t mean we know everything behind the how and the why. What we’re observing is not everything in the universe. Not even close.
He offered an interesting metaphor; There’s a 10 year old kid playing a video game on a computer monitor. He does it so well, because he knows the outcome when this button is pressed and that one is not and so on and so forth. It’s predictable and the environment is stable. So this kid can become the world champion of this game. He’s the best player in the world and no one can even come close. He knows everything about the game. On the screen.
But at the same time, he does not know how the game was created. He doesn’t know how the image is output on the screen. He doesn’t know all the transistors and microchips that are controlling this game. He wasn’t there for the genesis of the idea that brought this game to fruition. But he still is our top expert.
We were given 5 senses which evolved over time for survival. They give us what we need to survive and interact with this universe. To have something tangible. But to assume that’s all the data that is really out there, is kind of absurd, don’t you think?
There is no external
You can be taken to a place of pure bliss. It is so stimulating in your brain, and can feel overwhelming, almost like you are tasting something too acidic or bitter… like a lemon. Life becomes such a bright light, all encompassing, all loving.. It’s hard for me to explain to someone that hasn’t been.
It’s like your life was this one unit.. This one room.. It has everything you need. And you’re okay in that room for the rest of your life. It’s all you know. This one room… It’s safe… It’s predictable… Which is ironic considering predictability was one of my reasons for using drugs.
But when you take the journey… All these other rooms become available now. Doors appear and you aren’t confined to one room anymore. There’s an infinite number of other rooms to explore and experience, and the universe is no longer confined to one single space.
The world is full of people just needing to get unplugged from the distracting day to day dribble that keeps us occupied for the time being… like materialism… (well, all the “ism’s”)… It keeps us steered away from the truth. The truth that we are all connected. All necessary. And if given the chance, all are very interesting perspectives of this universe that we all created by ourselves, for ourselves. And we all have different curriculum to learn, and some of it is tough. But once you see past the distractions, you start to see how beautiful every single person and thing is, in this world.
Most of us get caught up in these roles we create for ourselves, and they imprison us.
Shamans believe that everything has life/energy. Even man made objects. Because, again, we’re all from the same stuff. There is no “artificial”. There is nothing that’s not “natural”. Everything we’ve made has come from our planet. Our universe. Ourselves. I love this belief or idea. Everything should be treated with love and care and respect.
Trying and learning new things
I always wanted to try new things. I love learning the intricacies of a particular industry, or skill. Reading up on all the up to date trade journals and updates in the industry. I would get hyper involved with something I was interested in, but it generally only lasts like 6 months to 1 year. I just get bored with things too easily. And always bouncing around from thing to thing.. Occasionally, some passion or interest will stick around a bit longer.
So for a year or so (while a teenager), I got hyper involved with my fascination with drugs. It just happened to be around the time I also got introduced to so many different drugs, very quickly. I couldn’t wait to try them all. Throw in my high level of neuroticism and openness, and so on and so forth, when I was introduced to the harder drugs, it became an issue. Because they immediately solved all my anxieties of fitting in and worries, and I no longer had any crazy ups or downs or instability. What I was taking may have been considered crazy and chaotic (and would literally cause more chaos in my life), but to me, it was at least predictable.
When I ingest this substance, I know exactly what I will be feeling for the next X amount of hours. If I don’t ingest any substance, I no longer know how I will be feeling. Primarily because I’m forced to interact with my environment more, with more intention, and also forced to interact with myself, as well as others. On some drugs, these things are not required. They are not wanted. They are not even considered really.
There are no bad drugs though
There are just some drugs that don’t mix well with the way I am. Doesn’t make them bad drugs necessarily… In my opinion, it’s all about the dose, and intention of use. And with some drugs, that’s hard to control.
Take cocaine, for example. Indigenous people, or older societies, and even some modern societies have been chewing coca leaves for thousands of years without problem. It’s used for specific purposes, in its natural form. The dose is at a much lower, slower level.
Cocaine, on the other hand, is manufactured from these coca leaves, and is made incredibly concentrated. It’s not the form we were meant to ingest. So, of course, it causes problems with some people. Not all though, I want to point out.
And heroin… Comes from the poppy plant. Opium will ooze out of the bulbs when cut, and if not processed further, has much less detrimental effect on humans. And even when it is processed… opiates allow us to have surgeries and dental work, and millions of people taking them without issue, and only temporary. Again, not a bad drug exactly.. Just when abused.
Different kinds of drugs…
There are some drugs that end up stifling your emotions. They don’t allow you to feel anything after awhile.. And there are some drugs that amplify your emotions, and allow you to feel everything again. The latter, is what interests me more.
These are in the group of drugs that amplify your emotions. They are non-addictive and can help you get to the source of problems, rather than dulling the feelings (while trying to treat the symptoms). Treating the symptoms will never end. It’s why the pharmaceutical companies focus on those kinds of treatments. A “cure” provides a one time customer, which is less valuable. When profit-driven, no organization will have your interest at heart. We need to adjust our priorities.
For me, they’ve helped with depression, anxiety, quitting smoking, and many other areas in my life as well. I’m just a better person. There are more studies being done every day and they’ve been finding it’s more beneficial than the standard treatment available to the general public, and usually by a lot. In fact, most people that take a dose large enough to where they describe having a “religious experience”, say that it is one of the most impactful experiences they’ve ever had. It’s similar to someone surviving a near death experience. The impact it has on their lives is substantial. Profound…
They change the way you think. Which I think is why they were demonized by the powers at be and the media. If they can’t control what people are thinking or doing, they lose their power.
So what now…
I’m moving. Looking for a new place. I want more land (trees) or I want the ocean, or the mountains, or the desert. Something… The ocean is expensive in California though, so I’m thinking more inland. Back when I was at that Florida retreat, one of main things I took from it was that I need nature. I felt so at home with these trees that I connected to on an emotional or spiritual level. No words were exchanged, but I learned so much from them. Just because the intelligence wasn’t transferred verbally, doesn’t mean it’s not intelligent.
I just need a place I can walk around in my bare feet and experience our planet directly. Too much concrete in this neighborhood.
My therapist asked me what my ideal situation would be and I said something along these lines; I want to live on an island somewhere tropical. I want a simple life, with my two daughters. It would be a small community, with a small school district where everyone knew everyone, and wouldn’t be too far from our small home on the beach. I would have a partner that I loved to help keep me whole, and I would be earning my living from my writing and/or playing music and/or owning a small family establishment where good people could get together and have a great time, with good music, and food. And I could be in the ocean every day. Not too much to ask, is it? 😉
I’m also going to goto Peru. It’s calling me. The jungle. I’ll keep you posted on this trip. Then Africa, India, and a few other places.