I think like most people who grew up in the suburbs, my parents always told me not to do drugs. I grew up in a stable home and didn’t have any major reasons to escape, besides maybe my mom telling me to clean my room when I was willing to eat off the floor. When I started high school, I had never gotten drunk (I had been taking sips of my dad’s alcohol with his permission since probably around 14) nor had I tried any drug (including coffee!)
During my freshmen year of high school I looked down on those who drank, but maybe that was just because the opportunity to do so wasn’t presenting itself. The week before sophomore year of high school I got invited to a party and I knew there would be drinking involved. I was excited. I thought it was something amazing, a rite of passage, better than being king of the world.
My one friend, Matt had drank before and told me that he would be my caretaker for the night. It started out great. We took Yagershots, which I think is pretty adventurous for one’s first time drinking, and had a great time. I remember both the good and the bad. Being excited to talk to my friends, having pointless yet hilarious conversations, giggling at my inability to walk straight, and the fact that my female friend decided to squat down and pee in the middle of our friend’s backyard, not in the bathroom or even the woods at the end of the yard.
My first time smoking weed was a little different. It was the end of my freshmen year of high school and I was hanging out with an older friend. His two friends were also there and I remember them sneaking out in the middle of the night to smoke. I came with them of course, but decided not to smoke.
A few months later, I made plans with that same friend and one of our other friends to smoke. They had both gotten high before and would take me under their wing.
We were about to arrive on time and our friend, Adam, called us and told us to wait 30 minutes because his parents hadn’t left the house yet like they had told him they would. My friend Matt and I went to the Wendy’s near Adam’s house and talked; probably about my thoughts on getting high for the first time, but I cannot remember the specifics from that night six years ago. So we went over, smoked, and started hanging out. It never really affected me that night. I remember just sitting on the couch kinda bored and watching them play Tony Hawk on the Play Station.
My first time actually getting high was probably a few weeks later. It was at Adam’s house again, but this time it was a bigger group of us. His parents were home so we quietly went onto his back steps and sat there, smoking the bowl. It was six of us: Adam, Matt, Sarah, Jake and myself. My friend Julie stayed inside because she didn’t want to smoke and probably didn’t think it was worth being outside in the cold.
This time, it hit me hard; that high could quite possibly fall into my top 10 highs ever. For the rest of high school it was a night my friends and I all looked back fondly upon.
I just remember afterwards when we came in watching some random movie on TV but thinking it was hilarious, laughing at Jake and Adam making hilarious impressions of famous people and our friends, and Sarah, Jake, and me destroying a tub of ice cream in the corner because Matt and Adam refused to share their Wendy’s. Man did Matt love his Wendy’s, he is currently a Ph. D. student at Stanford and would still consider it a high value meal (maybe because it just costs such little money, I don’t know.)
The rest of high school I smoked and drank pretty regularly. I don’t think I was anywhere near the top percentile of kids my age in my amount of alcohol and drug consumption, but it was safe to assume it is what I searched for in having a good time on the weekend.
My sophomore year I kept my habits to the same group of friends and didn’t share it with the rest of the world, but junior year I was able to expand my group of who I would drink and smoke with. I guess at the point in time, everyone being 16 for the most part, we just didn’t consider it a big taboo and was something to share, something that brought us together and not that separated us.
I didn’t try any hard drugs until Spring break of my senior year of high school. My friend Sam told me that he could get us ‘Shrooms and I decided that it was what I wanted to do. I don’t really remember my reasoning for why I wanted to do them, but I think mostly it was because I didn’t not want to do them so when the opportunity presented itself I went ahead and took it.
This seems to be a theme in my life in terms of illicit drug use: I never sought out the opportunity to try them, but almost always accepted them when giving. I guess I was curious for the adventure and the experience, because those are things that I am still curious about today at 21.
Anyway, Sam, me and his girlfriend at the time Hillary decided to go to a park and take the ‘shrooms. We smoked a little and just hung out. It was a nice way to get us to be in the present, since we all turned our phones off for fear of a random text sending us into a bad trip and we were able to just enjoy life. I can say that I successfully tripped, and that it was a very emotional and personal experience that I don’t regret.
When I started college this kid Elliot from my Synagogue was in my stat class during my first semester. He was a year older than me, and we had always knew each other, but we never really hung out just the two of us. .
After class he asked me what I was up to and asked me if I wanted to get high. At that point I had done a lot of college drinking during move-in and was missing my old friend Mary Jane. I said yes and from there our college friendship commenced.
What soon came to be was a relationship where I would give him free stat help, and he would give me free bud. Sometimes I bought from him when I wanted to take it back or share with other people, but whenever it was just us two hanging out he always took care of me. I helped him do the homework and I would always make him a copy of my “cheat sheet” for the test that we were allowed to make and bring to the tests.
At my college there is a club called Students for Sensible Drug Policy, or SSDP. Every fall SSDP hosts a safe rave in the student union where it is a safe place to be yourself, as well have fun, in whichever way you so choose. Elliot told me about it and insisted that I went. He even said he would find some ecstasy for me to take, since I asked if that’s what everyone else would be doing.
It was a Friday night and after classes I went over to Elliot’s place to get the stuff. He wasn’t there but his roommate Chris was there. Chris was a really nice guy and not only let me in to sell me the drugs, but also packed a bowl for us to smoke together and had a very nice and personal conversation with me. Later that year Chris ended up dying from mixing pills with alcohol, rocking that group of friends that I was just starting to be associated with, and I will always look back on that memory as a testament to Chris’s character, and the value of Elliot’s friends.
Later that night, all my friends on my floor were going to the big soccer game. They all invited me to go but I didn’t want to tell them why I couldn’t come. I don’t remember what I told them but I was able to go on my merry way and walk to the student center to start my night. I called my friend and asked her what it would be like. She had tried some drugs and was my sounding board for what to expect. She told me not to worry and as I walked there I took the capsule that I had gotten earlier from Chirs.
When I walked in I was shocked at how alive the room felt. There were so many lights and pretty colors it was a visual masterpiece. My feet started tapping and my head nodding; I could feel the energy pulsing through me. All of a sudden I was just happy. I left all my troubles at the door and I was able to focus on the now, the present, the moment. I was racing with energy and emotions and the beat of the music was calling my name. I was powerless to it; my body had a mind of its own. There was nothing I could do about it; there was nothing I wanted to do about it either. I started to dance.
It wasn’t awkward like being at a middle school dance and you are trying not to mess up. This was something completely new. I danced to show my emotions, my happiness, my trip. And those who were on my level completely understood and would be there dancing along with me. We would stand in a circle, each of us dancing to our own rhythm, yet still synchronized with the music. What SSDP did was create a safe environment that let people be themselves, whether they needed drugs or not to be themselves.
After that I didn’t roll for a long time. I continued living my life and making new friends. In my core group I was the only one who had rolled and I was predisposed to convince them to try. We did experiment with tripping and were able to connect through that, but I never went to any raves or shows off campus. It wasn’t until the SSDP Safe Rave of sophomore year that I rolled again.
That time I felt pressured to find molly. It wasn’t an outward pressure but more of an inward pressure. I felt that once I year I would treat myself to doing this, gaining from this experience, feeling the rush one more time, and that I needed to do it right. My friend Sam and I were able to pick up from my friend Becca, but we knew it wasn’t Molly. It was a pill, likely cut with something, and a decision I regret to this day. It worked, but that euphoria wasn’t as pure, wasn’t as transforming, as the first time I tried ecstasy.
The first time I tried fake stuff was at a NERO concert. It was my first big rave show. I bought the ticket a few weeks in advance; I made big plans for going, and thought that rolling would be the cherry on top for a great night.
We drove to the venue and took the capsules after we parked, around 10:30 p.m. I remember waiting in line and not making it inside for at least 30 minutes after we had taken our dose. We walked in and I felt the energy of the crowd. I started dancing but it was nothing crazy; we were still waiting for our come up.
By the time NERO came on, about 1 a.m., I was starting to get a little suspicious. I felt like I was pushing myself to be having a great time; that, on the drop of a dime, I could either be euphoric or exhausted, energetic or lethargic. I mentioned this to my friend Mark and he agreed that he wasn’t sure if it was working. He told me not to worry about it though and to just have a good time while I was there. We did and went home to just hang out and listen to more music. Not a bad night at all, just one different than expected.
More recently I have made myself a priority. I have had opportunities to experience the wonder that is doing hard drugs. It is an extremely personal decision and I cannot judge those who do it. At my point in life the most important thing to me is the personal connections I have with people around me.
I have been able to find a bigger friend group that is aware and has participated in the “raver” lifestyle, but mostly I choose to surround myself with successful people. People that are involved on-campus and worrying about their future; those for whom fun is a secondary accomplishment, one to be had once the important things in life have been settled. I am comfortable with myself and focusing on what makes me happy. I know people think it’s cool to go party all the time but I am fine with taking these opportunities when I want to take them, and taking other ones as they come along as well.
In my college career I have noticed the trappings that a life of drugs can bring. I think we all can agree that our lives are based on the decisions that we make. I am in now way ashamed or regretful of the ones I have made. In fact, I am happy to share them with all the readers of my article.
I am comfortable saying that as someone who you might not expect to be into this lifestyle, I have gotten an inside glance, and will continue to do so, but one who also prioritizes other aspects of my life, which I am sure people more heavily into that lifestyle than I do as well. I think that we need to treat every one equally and with respect.
For those that are unaware of the “rave” environment or unaccustomed, I hope that I have given you an glimpse of what it is like, and to help break down any negative stereotypes that you might be carrying in your attitudes.