AMYL NITRATE – CIRCA 2001
My first experience with amyl nitrate occurred around the time I was experimenting with LSD, MDMA, ketamine, etc. I was 17 or 18. Medically, amyl nitrate is used as an antidote to cyanide poisoning, and the drug’s Wikipedia page says that it’s “most often… used recreationally by men who have sex with men as a sexual enhancer.” I had attained a small, brown bottle of the drug from someone who had gotten it from a medical worker. The person showed it to me and said, “Just open the cap and sniff it hard, it’s so cool.” I did it. I got a head rush, fell over making a sound. My face and ears felt hot. The feeling lasted maybe 60 seconds. It was embarrassing. I bought it from the person. Instead of using amyl nitrate to have sex with other men for sexual pleasure, I used amyl nitrate for other people—going around parties and offering it up. I used it as social capital, which seems ‘piece-of-shit-like’ at this moment. I would probably never do amyl nitrate again because it seems ‘so retarded.’
DEMEROL – CIRCA 2001
I took Demerol, also known as pethidine or meperidine, as a prescription, which was given to me by a dentist for pain associated with a wisdom teeth operation, which is weird, because Wikipedia describes Demerol as such: “In fact, [it] is no more effective than morphine… and its low potency, short duration of action, and unique toxicity (i.e., seizures, delirium, other neuropsychological effects) relative to other available opioid analgesics have seen it fall out of favor in recent years for all but a very few, very specific indications. Several countries, including Australia, have put strict limits on its use. Nevertheless, some physicians continue to use it as a first line strong opioid.” I was seventeen years old. I had taken all of the Demerol, mostly resting on a white couch in my mom’s living room while high, and when I closed my eyes, I saw terrible, disturbing things on the back of my eyelids. Mostly viscera and gore, I watched weird time-lapse things play out tangentially in an extremely detached, but almost disbelieving manner; I remember thinking “Damn, this is sweet,” and simply “Damn,” “Cool,” and “Damn, is this really happening?” Dreams I had on Demerol were in the same vein—weird, bloody, worrisome, and characterized by the manic quality of a complete loss of control. I felt oddly content, however.
COCAINE – CIRCA 2003
Before having used cocaine, I had a low-level, widespread fear of cocaine, which now seems connected to my middle-class, suburban background. The fear was that once I used cocaine, I would have crossed some threshold into being ‘fucked.’ My first experiences with cocaine, which occurred when I was around 19, were generally negative. I consistently became depressed after cocaine use. After college, I seemed to grow to accept cocaine, maybe as a result of an increased ability to see past previous ideas I had been conditioned/ conditioned myself to believe, such as “Taking [‘hard’ drug] will destroy your life,” and to substitute them for more liberal and sophisticated ideas such as “Taking [‘hard’ drug] does not produce any inevitability, and if used thoughtfully, will not result in dangerous consequences.” At the same time, I was still affected by the idea that cocaine was something of an ‘older person’s drug,’ or something—a drug that was more classy, perhaps. Definitely ‘way more mature than weed.’ After I accepted cocaine back into my life, I used it somewhat regularly, with peak times when I was around 25, in karaoke bars of ambiguous sexual orientation. I did an entire session worth of filming for this short film I made with two friends, as an actor, camera man, and director, on cocaine:
ADDERALL – CIRCA 2008 TO PRESENT
I first did Adderall on somewhat of a whim after my roommate had given me one or two. My friend had obtained the Adderall from someone in his AA group, who had been selling his prescription for around five dollars a pill. I enjoyed the Adderall that day, experiencing an increased sense of productivity and delight in life. I was later able to attain more Adderall, this time from my roommate and a variety of other clandestine outlets, and began using it for social situations, as it enabled me to act more social, spontaneous, and—some might say—charming. Adderall also enabled me to consume more alcohol than I normally could without feeling as intoxicated, and for some reason, I felt that this was a positive benefit. I found, however, that my perception of my behavior while on Adderall may have been vastly different from onlookers’ perception of my behavior, well illustrated by the night I most likely completely alienated a girl I was dating because of my ‘extreme state of highness’ on Adderall, because by the end of the night, I couldn’t find her and we never spoke again. It was embarrassing. Generally, my Adderall use in public has seemed characterized, retrospectively, by behavior for which I’ve felt ashamed “for what I’ve done” the day to week after use.