Because we’ve all been there right? Smoking weed, dropping acid, popping a pill, snorted blow…
It can seem like oh-so-much fun and so very sophisticated when you escape the confines of high school and parents and otherwise well-meaning authorities who always told you drugs were bad.
Everyone’s doing it. Can’t be all that bad. Right?
Well… there’s always consequences. And some of those consequences can be completely unexpected. So if you’re a recreational drug taker, or on your way to becoming one… here’s a few things to consider.
1. Your kids are going to want to know what drugs you did.
It’s difficult to imagine now, but at some point in the distant future, maybe even 20 years from now, your kids are going to be hitting their teenage years. And with that will come curiosity, questions and experimentation.
If you’ve been a recreational drug user at some point in your life, you’re going to face a big choice. Lie about your use to your kids. Or be honest and risk that your honesty and experience means they perceive it as okay to take drugs and potentially do themselves some serious harm.
After all, if you partied hard and took a whole load of drugs and came out a-okay, why shouldn’t they?
Problem is, not everyone does come out okay. Back in my drug-taking days, there was a three month period when two friends died from drug-related incidents. One friend got drunk, passed out on the couch and chocked to death on vomit. Another was boating at midnight doing lines of Special K and fell into the water. He didn’t make it back to shore.
Your kids won’t relate to those stories. They’ll relate to you coming through mostly okay. That’s what they’re more likely to base their choices on.
2. At some point, you’re going to have to come clean, and face up to how you really feel about your drug use.
In the midst of partying and having a good time it’s real easy to believe that you’re just having fun. That you’re living life to the fullest, making the most of your youth, going with the flow, expanding your consciousness, becoming one with nature man.
However, any time we’re using a substance to change our reality, we’re subtly avoiding or denying the reality we’re currently living in and there’s a reason for that. What that reason is will be different for every single one of us, but trust me. There’s an underlying issue or 10 that’s driving your drug use. Eventually, you’re going to have to face those issues.
The longer you leave it, the more you run and hide, the more you avoid and deny, the more difficult it will be when you finally face up to the music. Spend 10 years running, and you might spend 10 years clearing the crap.
3. Some jobs take past drug use seriously.
I’ve been completely up-front and honest about my drug-taking past, but I’m also not going for jobs that make it matter.
Some jobs—like anything do to with the military, FBI, CIA, police, fire—are tough to crack if you’ve got a past history of drug use. Sure, you might be 19 and have no intention of doing anything like the FBI, but you have no idea how your life might unfold and where you might be when you’re 29. Suddenly you might be applying for your dream job and discover that your year of hard partying post-high school rules you out forever.
That’s a hard one to swallow.
4. You’ll no longer fit inside the normal parameters when you go for life insurance.
And because you no longer fit inside the ‘normal parameters’ for life insurance, that means you have to pay more. You may be paying more for life.
In my case, my past drug use and history of psychosis (drug-induced) meant my life insurance cost was 30 percent higher than the normal. That’s a huge extra premium for be paying for the next 50 years or so, all because I had a damn good time in my twenties.
Oh, you could lie, sure. Deny any drug use. But with the way information speeds around the ‘net now, guaranteed if you needed to claim on that life insurance, they’ll be looking for any reason to deny it.
5. For the rest of your life, even when you’ve been clean for years, decades, there’ll always be that part of you that remembers and maybe—just maybe—wishes…
It’s been a long time now since I had a stonking great time while high. But I still remember. I still remember what it was like to have those first few Es. I remember those full moon parties on mushrooms. And I remember lazy days spend by the pool smoking weed. Fortunately, I also remember the come-downs. I remember feeling like I just wanted this to stop now. I remember the cost.
Now yoga, meditation and life gets me high—and keeps me high. That’s enough to keep me off the drugs. But if you don’t have a life filled with natural highs, you’ll struggle when the going gets tough. There will be a part of you that remembers the easy high and wishes… maybe, just maybe…
And that’s dangerous.
6. The consciousness-expanding nature of some drugs means you’ll have to find more time-consuming, laborious ways to get back into that state of mind again.
Cue yoga and meditation practice. I loved taking mushrooms outside in nature and dissolving into a total state of oneness, allowing my mind to expand and expand and expand until I didn’t know where I ended and the world began. Everything looked shiny and new and sparkly and so very alive.
Now I can’t just eat a handful of funghi to get there. Instead, I’m dedicated to my yoga practice, spending time each day disciplining my mind so it can open and expand and I can again feel that sense of oneness with the world.
The beauty of this grounded, systematic way of moving toward Oneness is that it’s not dependent on anything outside of me. It’s something that comes when I connect to the deepest part of me and relax and open. It’s something within me. That can never be taken away from me, no matter what.
But it takes commitment, dedication and discipline.
7. Aging drug users just look….sad. And old.
I see this in friends who still party and drink the way I used to in my twenties. They’ve aged, particularly around the eyes. Wrinkles, wrinkles and more wrinkles. Aging drug fiends like Courtney Love may be able to cover it all up with surgery, cosmetics and soft lighting, but the rest of us mere mortals will have to live with the ravages of drug use on our faces and in our bodies.
Just look at photos of Lindsay Lohan a few years ago and compare them to now. Her drug and alcohol abuse shows. And over time, it will show even more.
When you’re young, the flush of youth keeps you looking amazing no matter how you live. But over time, how you live determines how you look. Your life shows up on your face.
8. It may affect future travel plans.
That minor recreational drug use may result in a minor drug conviction. No big deal right? Until you want to travel. Then it suddenly becomes a very big deal.
I’ve got friends with minor convictions for marijuana use who can’t travel to the U.S.. No worries, they say, I never want to go there anyway. But what they didn’t realise was that to get from New Zealand to say Canada, they have to fly through the U.S., landing in either Los Angeles or Hawaii. That minor drug conviction means they can’t. They have to find an alternate travel route, which can sometimes cost a whole lot more money.
Oh wait, Canada can also deny entry based on a drug conviction. Doh. Where to now? China? You have to register with the Police after you arrive if you have any kind of conviction. That sounds like fun.
Bear in mind too that rules for entering countries change all the the time, and generally they get tougher. You may be able to move around alright now with a drug conviction, provided you don’t want to go to or through the U.S., but that could change at any moment.
9. Drug-use can ruin your mental health.
Okay, this is obvious. And is likely something you’ve been warned about. Take drugs and it ruins your health.
Hard to imagine, or quantify though, especially when results may not show up for years. Sometimes though, there are immediate and terrible results.
I made the dangerous mistake of mixing consciousness-expanding drugs like marijuana, mushrooms and acid with meditation and yoga. Cue psyche-explosion and two episodes of psychosis. That messed up my mental health for a long time. Fortunately, I was able to systematically work through those issues of the psyche and put myself back together with the help of drug-free yoga and meditation. Other people haven’t been so fortunate. Just check out your local residential mental health facility.
Now, those may be nine solid reasons to not take drugs, but I’m not going to tell you that. This is not about telling you what to do. No, what I want to do is make you fully aware of consequences so you can do your own self-inquiry and come to your own decisions.
The next time you’re tempted to smoke weed, pop a pill, drop acid, snort blow… pause. Just for a moment. Take a breath or two. Feel yourself in your body. And ask yourself.
Do I really want to do this?
Do I really want to deal with the consequences that arise from this?
Is this the best choice I can make for myself right now?
And if it is—go for it. Go for it with full conscious awareness instead of being driven by your unconscious desires and needs. And challenge yourself to stay conscious of your experience all the way through, from the initial flush of highness to the darkness of the come-down. Stay with it, stay conscious, feel it all, deeply.
Be fully present to your experience. Be fully present to the consequences.
Now that’s a serious yoga practice.
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger
Bonus: The Pros and Cons of Smoking Dope: