A Descent into the Maelstrom [Part I]

I decided to start pursuing drug abuse as a career when I was 14. I hadn’t arrived arrived at this decision overnight. Actually, maybe it’s closer to the truth to say that I had.

Prior to one particular fine spring evening during that magestic specemin of a year that was 1995, I had been flirting a bit with smoking pot on the weekends, mostly because my friends were doing it. It had all started a few months earlier.

My friend Tim had called and told me that he’d run away from home again, and that I should come down to 7-11 and meet up with him. Tim was always doing stuff like this. His dad was, from what I could gather, a violent alcoholic, and he basically needed to run away on occasion in order to avoid death or serious injury.

After meeting Tim, he and I walked to a house I’d not been to before, and two girls from the grade above ours came over and brought some weed. I was freaked out. Before this, I’d been firmly against drugs in any form, as were most of my friends at the time. If I could sum us up in one sentence, it might be “those kids in 9th grade who listened to Metal, set things on fire, and got in fights with everybody else.” A crew of hellraisers, to be sure; all very much against the whole idea of using drugs, though, at the time.

I’d been through D.A.R.E., and had grown up during the Eighties, with all of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ propaganda. Even so, it took about ten minutes of them all working on me before I agreed to just try it once. I literally did try my best to ‘just say no.’ It didn’t work. We started down the street, headed to another house, and when the joint got passed to me, I hit it. It was a great big fattie, too. I probably ended up hitting that thing like ten first I wasn’t feeling anything except a tiny bit lightheaded, and I was like, “Oh, it’s not even going to be bad. I’m fine. This is okay.”

As soon as we started waking up the driveway, my brain basically started getting ripped straight out the top of my skull. What I remember happening was that everything started to sort of roll upwards, like when you need to adjust the verticle hold on one of those old TV sets (does anyone even know what I’m talking about? I feel like I should start looking into nursing homes and making out a will.) I guess I passed out as soon as we walked in the front door, but I don’t remember that. The next thing I do remember is sitting in the corner of a bedroom, holding my head in my hands, just absolutely terrified.

It was like my mind was racing completely and totally out of control. I feel like the phrase “out of control” is used way too often for it to be able to convey the level of chaos that was going on inside my head. I literally could not control my thoughts. About 99 percent of my entire consciousness was a virtual tornado of irrational fears, anxieties, and worries, and the other one percent was composed solely of my abject terror at this pure and simple fact. I was certain that if we left the house I would be killed shortly thereafter in some kind of freak accident. I was convinced that my life was in terrible danger, and was sure that if I did die, I would spend forever in the worst kind of torment imaginable.

To make a long story short, I spent the entire rest of the day in that state with Tim trying to talk me down from it. It didn’t let up until later that evening. I don’t know what the deal was with that weed. It must have been the best bud on the best plant that somebody would ever grow in their entire life. Not to say that I had enjoyed it even slightly; it had been a nightmare, and I swore I’d never do it again.

Somehow, though, that oath just didn’t take. My friends started smoking weed here and there, and they all really liked it. I would do it with them, just because I was simply that insecure. Before long I had developed a tolerance, and it wasn’t affecting me as strongly anymore. I began to enjoy it, too.

I was still very much averse to the idea of getting caught up in anything like full scale potheaddery, though. Every time I did it, I would think to myself, “Just one more time. This isn’t the direction I want to go in life, though.”

Now it was just after the herb smoking had begun to get somewhat routine that I stumbled into my first romantic relationship with a girl. I was super insecure and sappy at that age, so this girl became everything to me very quickly, and I had every intention of staying with her forever and marrying her someday, fourteen years old though I was (I had a lot of issues.) She, of course, was freaked out by this, and so broke up with me about a month after we started going out, when I first began talking that crazy talk.

I’m not sure if I can even really explain exactly how or why it was that I’d gotten so incredibly invested in that relationship so fast, but the emotional devastation I experienced when she called it quits with me was just insane. [Puts on amateur psychologist’s hat.] Deep seated abandonment issues, probably. [Removes hat.] At any rate, it was in direct response to said devastation that I decided to just say the hell with my life and commit myself completely to using drugs, without regard for anything else whatsoever.

I mean, looking back at this whole thing as a thirty-four year old man, it seems completely ridiculous that I should have been, at that age, so absolutely hellbent on self destruction over this girl, but I totally was. And thus began the summer of ’95, which, if you ask anyone who was involved, was absolutely epic beyond description. That is a story for another day, though.




By Ben Wolf

It's a secret!

One reply on “A Descent into the Maelstrom [Part I]”

Epic. I totally get it. (Your message) keep going. No pressure. Really. I am almost twice your age and my story is much different but the reality of it…… I can actually see it. Good work Ben.

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