I was a tough kid who grew up in an even tougher neighbourhood. That neighbourhood had all of the things that were not good for children to see visible from your stoop and on every corner. Pimps,whores, gangsters, drug addicts and pushers were my neighbours, my friends parents and close friends to our family. My friends were older than me and my mother said that I would follow a friend into hell if he would only ask. This statement proved to be true although I always thought of myself as not one to follow, but one to manage from the sidelines. The power behind the throne so to speak. I found out we were all followers and that being followers was our biggest mistake.
Experimenting with drugs was no different for me than drinking alcohol or smoking; at first it was just something we did as a gang, something we thought made us cool. We never worried about the consequences of our actions and we were not afraid of anyone, or anything. Girls got pregnant, guys went to juvenile hall and schools stop caring whether we showed up or not. This phenomenon was happening in every section of the city and it did not matter what race you were, or what religion you practiced. We were the lost generation and we were racing full speed into a speeding locomotive.
Did I say we were not afraid of anything? What a lie we were afraid of everything decent, everything that did not make us think we were tough, or cool. We were afraid to fail, so we just did not try; we were afraid to love, so we hated instead. We were afraid to do good in school in case we looked like squares, so we just didn’t go. We were so afraid to live that we just gave up and died inside. We turned to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. We became the Wild Bunch like on television. We began to emulate our favorite movies and became a menace to society.
From westerns to hells angels on wheels we soaked it all in; Smoking, drinking, doing drugs and fighting were all cool and anti establishment was the way to be, because the establishment hated you because you were born and not like them. We became Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, and Jimmy Dean and Clint Eastwood. Every theater in those days had three movies for under a dollar.They had and action movie, a pornographic movie and a main feature that usually contained one or both of the first two topics. Our heroes hated the police or settled everything with violence and so did we. They did not go to school and school was depicted as not cool so we stopped going. They all smoked drank and most did drugs in the movies and so did we. They were all having sex or trying to so we tried as well.
I was having sex with adults by the time I was ten years old and they were not strangers they were girlfriends of my mother. I was raped by a man before I was 14 because I was high and in the wrong place at the wrong time and passed out on a sofa. I was approached sexually by teachers from grade four on. I was beaten by police since I got permission from my mother to leave my street, just for being me. Other kids made it but most of us did not. Of all the things that held us back it was the addictions to drugs and alcohol that did the most damage and over time I will tell you what these things did to me and my friends; me and my crowd, the in crowd.
I do not have a friend that graduated high school the normal way and I am in that group. We were some of the brightest minds of our generation, but none of us graduated. Some of us who were not raising babies by 19 went back to school. Some of us who were not in jail by 18 went back and got a diploma. The sad truth is that most of us highly intelligent people stayed on drugs, drank our life away, or died. Here is how my life of drugs, drinking, sex and violence begins and stays with me and contaminates everything I touch. I have told you about the cocaine, but it did not start there as you will see.
In high school the school was all a buzz about acid and magic mushrooms the psychedelic stone or high. Peace and love were the words of the hippies and flower children and dope was everywhere. I remember getting on the bus to go to a party on Decarie Street in the Cote des Neiges area and one of my friends offering me a hit of micro dot acid. I remember putting it under my tongue and saying to my friend this isn’t shit man you got ripped off and that was the last intelligent thing I remembered for a long time that night. We all got off the bus and my friends crossed the street unaware that I was just standing there transfixed by the traffic lights a quarter of a mile away and the traffic that looked like it was right on top of me, but was actually at location as the traffic lights . All I remember was all the pretty colours looking like a rainbow after a storm, or your eyes when the chlorine hits them in a shocked swimming pool. I could hear them calling to me and me trying to get my legs to move but I just stood there looking and waiting for he traffic that was not there to go away or stop coming at me long enough to cross the street. That part of Decarie is a service road to a highway and as such got lots of traffic and was very dangerous to cross against the lights.
My friends tired of trying to coax me to cross the street decided to leave me. As they started to walk away I decided to do something that could have gotten me killed. I took one more look at the lights, closed my eyes and ran across the street. I made it to the other side safely caught up to my friends, who were laughing and telling me that I was indeed tripping. I decided to relax and enjoy the stone. Easier said than done because soon as the others realized just how high I was they decided to throw objects at me like ping-pong balls and such. The balls seemed like they were floating in slow motion and it was driving me crazy, so I pretended to have to go to the bathroom to see if I could shake the high or bring it under control if I was left alone.
On the way into the bathroom a friend told me whatever you do; do not look in the mirror or you will be unable to pull your self away. After what seemed like ages I pulled myself away from the mirror and gained control of the high. The next time someone threw a ping-pong ball at me I caught it and threw it back.
I was lucky I came back from the trip. I know a young man who after taking hits of acid tried to rob a bank with a water pistol and a note. He never came back from his trip. He was 23 at the time. He could be seen walking around talking to himself. I have lost a lot of friends to drugs, but walking around in a permanent dream world oblivious to reality and everything around you really frightened me as it should you. This is my trip with acid and my warning to you, “It is only a matter of time when you take trips with acid that you will not return to the land of reality. The safest and smartest thing to do with acid is to abstain. Do not let the pretty light show memorize you; acid is a killer and if you take it you could end up the living dead.”
There are other drugs as well and I think I will tell you about my experiences with them as time goes by. My experiences make for an interesting and tragic story that could have been other wise. I had all of the warnings that you are probably ignoring right now, because you are saying not me I am smarter than that, but you are not and I am living proof of that fact.
An arrangement of pyschoactive drugs including (counter-clockwise from top left): cocaine, crack, methylphenidate (Ritalin), ephedrine, MDMA (Ecstasy – lavender pill with smile), mescaline (green dried cactus flesh), LSD (2×2 blotter in tiny baggie), psilocybin (dried Psilocybe cubensis mushroom), Salvia divinorum (10X extract in small baggie), diphenhydramine (Benadryl – pink pill), Amanita muscaria (red dried mushroom cap piece), Tylenol #3 (contains codeine), codeine containing muscle relaxant, pipe tobacco (top), bupropion (Zyban – brownish-purple pill), cannabis (green bud center), hashish (brown rectangle)