CAFFEINE – CIRCA 1987 TO PRESENT
First exposure was sometime during childhood, probably around the age of three (via some painkiller). Adolescence did not seem affected by caffeine, except for one memorable instance, at age 14: making coffee (for the first time) for my friend and I while my parents were out. When my parents returned they berated me. I began using caffeine strategically after college, at office jobs—drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, and again around 1 or 2. Around this same time, I began writing creatively, and for this developed a more sophisticated strategy for caffeine use; mental intake schedules, diversifying vehicles by which it entered my bloodstream (caffeine pills, different types of coffee/espresso, different brands and types of green tea, yerba mate, different types of soft drinks, and Mega-T Green Tea). I currently use caffeine once or twice a day—always with breakfast, and sometimes in the middle of the day, preferably from french-pressed organic coffee, double-shot Americanos with soymilk, giant iced coffees with soymilk from Starbucks, etc.
CIGARETTES – CIRCA 1998 TO PRESENT
My first experience was around the age of 14. There are no specific memories of this event. There’s a memory of smoking a pack of menthols while drinking orange soda in a gully in suburban Utah and jumping in a small river with a dangerously fast current to hide the smell and almost drowning, sort of. I was caught a couple times for smoking, and once my mom gave me a small booklet with ‘Joe Camel’ on the cover that detailed how to quit smoking. I’ve never had a smoking problem, I think. I don’t really smoke now.
ALCOHOL – CIRCA 1998 TO PRESENT
My first incident drinking alcohol occurred after a 2-month period in which I stole wine coolers and beers from my parents and hid them in different places around my room. I was 14 years old, in eighth grade. I invited a friend over one night after I had stolen enough. After 2 wine coolers the friend interrupted me, saying, “Hold on,” and vomited into a trash can. I vomited a lot into the toilet. The next day, like a dumbass, I put the empty wine cooler and beer bottles in our outside garbage bin without trying to cover them. My dad caught me as a result, but hid it from my mom for unknown reasons. Obviously there were numerous occasions later in which I made a complete dickhead of myself on alcohol. I’ve used alcohol regularly since the first experience, with peak times during my year in Europe and the year I wrote my first novel, when I realized it was good for reducing anxiety.
MARIJUANA – CIRCA 1998 TO PRESENT
Before the first time I used marijuana, I unsuccessfully tried to use it at least 10 times, every time having used fake marijuana. I was watching a Peter Jennings news report during the first time I used it authentically. I heard Peter Jennings repeat the same headlines. It was like the chorus of a song stuck in my head. At a grocery store, later, I couldn’t stop my internal monologue from repeating “sorry but you’re dead”—an Insane Clown Posse lyric that my friend kept saying. Walking away from the grocery store my friend pointed at a car and said “Haha look it’s your dad.” I saw my dad’s car. My dad’s car was stopped directly in front of me. My dad was staring at me. I stopped walking. I looked at my dad. My friend laughed and said “Sorry but you’re dead.” I looked at my dad. My dad was staring directly at me, wrist resting at the 12:00 position on the wheel, hand down. He was wearing Oakley sunglasses. I said “Fuck.” My friend said “Sorry but your dead.” I realized it was not my dad. I used marijuana regularly during high school, college, and sometime after college. I was addicted to marijuana in sophomore year of university. I quit smoking marijuana around the age of 22 when I realized that marijuana just made me berate myself and feel terribly embarrassed for my behavior, etc.
LSD – CIRCA 1999 TO PRESENT
I first used LSD in my freshman year of high school at a homecoming football game. A friend had taken it too, knew more about it than me, and when asked, told me to just stare at certain things. The friend pointed at a rail that had some paint chipped off it and said “Just look at that… it’s trippy.” I looked at the rail with some paint chipped off. Nothing happened. I was in front of the school after the game was over and must have been high because two friends were in front of me crying. I asked them why they were crying and they said because I had taken acid. “Are you going to tell my parents?” I asked. “I don’t know,” they said. I was afraid. On the way home someone in the car started screaming. We found an albino praying mantis in the car, stopped and let it out. In a friend’s room, later, I was lying on the bed and seeing in the corners nets of colors beating. A Nirvana poster was surrounded by color and moving slightly. After this incident there are no memories of taking LSD until senior year of high school. No one paid enough attention to notice I wasn’t getting dressed in the morning, just taking acid and going to school in my pajamas. I would walk in the hallways staring forward with a neutral facial expression. I was terribly depressed. My mom eventually found out.