If somebody had told me twelve years ago what I was in for, I seriously wonder if I would have believed them. Of course, that raises the question of whether or not I would have attempted what I've done if I had believed them. You see, twelve years ago I made the decision to change my life from that of an addict to whatever it is I am now.
I had plenty of excuses for being an addict. That's the great thing about being an addict: you can always find a reason for your behaviour. It's usually someone else's fault that you're the way you are, not your own. You never made that decision to take the first drink, smoke that first joint, or whatever.
Of course there are mitigating circumstances that can drive people to try and hide from the pain of their existence by numbing themselves. Anesthetics that come from a bottle, a needle, a piece of blotter paper, or any of the other many splendid means at your disposal – any of it’s the easiest route to take when you're thirteen, scared, and alone.
As a teenager in the seventies, it was far easier to obtain drugs than alcohol; no one is going to ask you for identification when you buy it and in those innocent days, a nickel bag was actually five dollars. It wasn't until the American government, in a fit of moral outrage, starting spraying the Mexican pot crops with the pesticide, Paraquat, that pot prices jumped from twenty-five dollars an ounce to $120.00 for Columbian Gold. (Not to be confused with the Columbian white powder that was worth more than gold in the 1980s.)
But whatever the price, I seemed able to spend my high school years in a complete fog. By the time I entered my second last year, I made the jump to the big leagues and began chemical usage. Making use of the stuff that passed for LSD in those days was always a risky proposition unless you knew the chemist. Potency and contents were wildly divergent even within the same batch.
Still, it was inexpensive, at most $5.00 a hit, and lasted a good long time. If you worked it right you could stay high all day long for as little as $20.00 and not even be too incapacitated to work. I spent six weeks in the summer of 1979 doing just that when I traveled out to Western Canada to work in a resort hotel in Banff, Alberta.