Judging by the stories that have been posted so far, this is a pretty non-druggie crowd. My experience is quite different. I am going to take Retrospect up on its offer to publish this anonymously, even though I know that the statute of limitations has long since passed for anything I have done. I remember the advice I was given, and that I passed on to my kids: Never say anything online that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the newspaper. I wouldn’t want any of this in the newspaper. I don’t regret any of it for a minute, though.
I was first introduced to grass at a summer program I went to before my senior year of high school. I thought it was great, much better than drinking alcohol. Also easier to get, because you didn’t have to show proof of age, like you did to buy alcohol. I continued smoking senior year (although only at a certain friend’s house, whose parents were never around) and all through college. Grass, and occasionally hash, were present at all the parties I went to, and made everything more fun and more intense. Ginger Baker drum solos were the best thing to dance to stoned. Movies were better stoned too, especially ones like Yellow Submarine and Woodstock. I occasionally tried mescaline and LSD and enjoyed them too, although they were a little scary because you took one pill and you never knew how wasted you were going to get or how long it would last. Once when I was tripping a friend invited me to go for a motorcycle ride with him, but I had the sense to decline. Even in my altered state, I knew I would probably decide to let go of him and just go flying through the air, and that that would not work out well for me.
Heroin intrigued me — I heard the warnings that Mike mentioned in his story, that it was so good that if you tried it once you would be addicted for life. That just made me want to try it. I was sure that I was mentally strong enough to avoid getting addicted. And if it was that good, I certainly wanted to experience it. However, I never knew anyone who had any, so I missed out. To this day, I have never met anyone who tried it, or at least who admitted to having tried it.
It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I was exposed to cocaine. My first experience was like something out of Hollywood — we actually snorted it off of a mirror, through a crisp rolled-up hundred dollar bill. I loved cocaine because it made me so wide awake and aware of everything around me. Getting stoned (or getting drunk) usually led to my falling asleep, but with cocaine I could stay up all night. Once I graduated and got a real job, I gravitated to the other people in my office who were into drugs, of whom there were not that many. It was a fun group to hang around with, and made the transition from grad school to the office much easier. One of the guys was a coke dealer, so he could always get some for any of us who wanted it. However, after I had known him for a couple of years, we were talking on the phone one night, arranging for me to buy some coke from him. All of a sudden, he addressed me by my full name, and then said “so I will bring it over to your house, which is at [my street address] at 7:00 tomorrow night.” I felt a chill go through me. Why did he say all those facts so clearly? He must be setting me up for a bust! So I said, “you know what? I changed my mind. I don’t want to buy anything after all.” He said okay, and we hung up. And I never snorted coke again after that. I will never know for sure whether I would have been busted if I had gone through with the purchase, but I think it is highly likely.
Even after getting married, I continued to smoke marijuana at parties and other occasions, but once I had children I stopped. I missed it, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea. Over the past 30 years, I have only smoked a handful of times, all of them in Cambridge. Once at a party with my son when he was in college, and every five years at my college reunions. I look forward to the time when marijuana is legalized where I live. I will definitely enjoy smoking again!
Reading back over this story, I’m afraid that it sounds pretty boring. It wasn’t! I apologize for not doing a better job of conveying the wonderful role drugs played in my life.