I slipped into deeper depression in the Fall of 1998 than I had ever experienced before. The summer seemed like a vague memory, and all quests for the omniscient faded into a vague fog behind me. I had tasted and seen of the chemical darkness. I was going to jump back down into the chasm of addiction more deeply than ever.
I was a senior in High School. I was failing all of my classes, and I didn’t care at all. I didn’t do homework or put in effort. I may have had little stints where I would try and be sober and grades would start to rise, but then something would happen again and I’d be back to my old tricks. Just to illustrate well, I was taking seventh grade math in sixth grade, and by twelfth grade I was taking tenth grade math, so I had officially fallen three years back academically.
Because of my misfit academic career, I was in a freshman level geology class. I was the only senior there. I had long hair far past my shoulders by this time, which was pulled behind my ears and swooping out on the edges. I had a goatee that made me look a bit like a devil, and always wore psychedelic shirts featuring the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Zildjan cymbals, and bands like Yes and Rush.
My girlfriend Harmony and I had broken up. I was a scholastic ignoramus. My creative passion for writing and creating music was at an all time low. My addicted mind could only go back to the desire to do harder drugs again. I had lost my way towards joy even more than before, and could not sleep unless I had done wrong; I was robbed of sleep unless I had made someone stumble. (Prov. 4:16)
These are how my nights before slumber went; I would lie awake with a guilty conscience, restless. I would have to drink a beer or pack a pipe full of pot and smoke it just to sleep. If not, I would be left to my thoughts. Regrets would swarm around my mind like a legion of angry yellow-jackets, stinging my brain. I would think of my parents, and how we had come to despise each other so much that we constantly fought, yelled and cursed. I would think of my ex-girlfriend Harmony and the fact that she had found a new boyfriend. I would think of all the people I had dragged down, who were living a drug infested life because of my influence. It was too overwhelming to bear, so I would medicate myself once again, just for a night of inebriated slumber.
I was stoned all day, every day, mocked by those younger than me in High School. I started to take LSD more intensely than before. I would eat it in the mornings before school for breakfast with a bowl of Frosted Mini-wheats and a joint for dessert. I would end up in strange situations at school every day…
One time I was in geology class, on acid, and having a rather bad experience on it. We had a teacher, Mrs. Albee, who was a kind, loving and compassionate lady. She even put up with my strange antics in class, trying to love and understand me (while occasionally making a joke towards me, which was completely understandable!). On this day, I was having a very bad moment in my trip. The walls were breathing, and dark shadows were everywhere, as if the power of hell was alive in the room. I noticed something strange about Mrs. Albee. She had what looked like a white force field around her, and none of these dark shadows and images could penetrate it. It scared me so badly that I actually yelled out, “Whoa!!” Then I came out of the intense wave of the drug, only to realize that an entire class of freshman were laughing at me, this crazy drug-addled maniac who had just publicly exposed his madness.
I found out later, that Mrs. Albee was a follower of Jesus…
Another time, I was on LSD with my friend, Kristian, who was angry about his Mom divorcing his Dad and leaving his home in Orange County, California, to move in with his new stepdad, whom he hated thoroughly. In all his bitterness, Kristian would often join me on these drug escapades. We were tripping, and I pulled my car, a 1988 Buick LeSabre with 250,000 miles on it, into his driveway (I had finally obtained my driver’s license at the age of 17). We got out of the car and locked the doors, and I realized that I had left the keys in the ignition, with the car still running.
“Oh man, what are we gonna do???” I exclaimed.
“Dude I don’t know!” Kristian replied.
We knew that we would have to call the cops to unlock the door, and I had drugs and paraphernalia in every crevice of that car. I grabbed a baseball bat from Kristian’s garage, and smashed the small, triangular window behind the rear passenger window, to bits. We unlocked the doors and turned the car off, then duct-taped the window with grey tape. Things like this put my flagrant drug habit on display for the world to see. They used to call my car “The Shwag Wagon”, and people would flip a coin to not have to sit by the cold, duct-taped window while riding with me into dens of mayhem.
Deep down, I was coming apart at the seams. I would use LSD 2 or 3 times a week, even during school. All the friends I once had became afraid of me, because I was going crazy. I was depressing and frightening to be around, I’m sure.
My trips began to go into a deeper realm of darkness than ever before. There would be times when I would see skeleton shaped heads weaved into the carpet in my room. I would stare at the floor and it would turn into a frightening scene- souls in turmoil who were being tormented in a place of punishment. When I would see images like this, I’d ask those who were tripping around me, “Dude, do you see that?” They would always reply, “Yeah, totally.” We’d then describe the hallucination in detail to each other, realizing we were seeing the same thing.
This is why I believe that LSD uncovers a spiritual world that is hidden from us in every day life. It is not a world of beauty and kaleidoscopic wonder. It is a dark world, bereft of light and joy. I would read of a place three years later that seemed similar to this place, a place that Jesus talked of in Luke 16:23.
As I entered the vile sub-culture of acid-freaks, I would hear stories of trips worse than my own. One thing each person seemed to have in common was that they would literally experience hell. I had a friend, a drug dealer, that took so much acid one day that he literally saw Satan jump out of the ground and rip his heart out before his very eyes. I had another friend that went to an underworld, where he saw demons and minions gnawing at the souls of men. Mind you, many of us had no belief in these things, but this drug would cause us to experience them. I, for one, had no knowledge of the Bible or any religious upbringing or instruction, so it couldn’t have been a figment of my imagination. The whole world of it was just plain strange and scary.
I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please
Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
And that was me. I just wanted to experience an altered reality. Even a dark reality deceived me into being better than my own.
Before you run to judge the life of a drug addict, remember this; They are enticed into a hole that they don’t feel they can dig themselves out of. Sometimes the reality they have created for themselves is worse than the reality within their addiction. They are truly stuck in hell. Escape seems like a better route than dealing with all the destroyed friendships and family relationships. It’s a vicious cycle. An addict needs someone to penetrate through all that garbage, and give them a dose of reality and honesty, laced with love and compassion. God gives this stuff out freely, and uses His true followers to dispense it on others.