SALVIA – CIRCA 2008
Before having taken salvia, my conception of salvia was that salvia was ‘really retarded,’ manufactured and produced for people in high school that got caught smoking marijuana by their parents and had to be drug tested and sent to embarrassing rehabilitation centers for ‘troubled adolescents.’ My friend had been caught by the police for smoking weed and was getting drug tested, or something, and was so addicted to weed that he felt ‘forced’ to smoke salvia. We smoked some in our mutual friend’s computer room. I think my eyeballs were pointed straight ahead but my vision kept rolling downward to my legs while my pupils remained pointing forward. My face and ears were hot and kind of stinging. I said “This is really uncomfortable” to my friend, who was sitting in front of me, I think, and he said, “Yeah, it really isn’t pleasant, is it?” I don’t think I said anything for the remaining 15 to 20 minutes of the experience.
RITALIN – CIRCA 2008
Ritalin was taken the first time I went to New York as an adult. A friend that I had met while going to school in Holland was in New York at the time. He had what struck me as an obscenely large prescription bottle of Ritalin, orange and wide, as well as a small squeeze bottle of what he called “Ritalin water.” We were somewhere in Manhattan with a mutual friend, drinking beer at a table outside a large sports bar, and then, a little later, after it had turned dark, in an empty dance club. I’m not sure I was on Ritalin then, but later, when we were at our mutual friend’s cramped, hot apartment somewhere on the Lower East Side, I feel sure I was on Ritalin, as my two friends were kissing each other and a lot of strange Polaroids were being taken. We were ‘railing’ very large, pink lines of Ritalin and writing what I later felt to be embarrassing, nonsensical captions on the Polaroids. At some point we moved to the roof of the apartment, where we leaned over the edge. We could see much of the city. We were drinking the ‘Ritalin water’ and talking a lot. Some time after the sun rose, I left the rooftop, but I was very confused and could not find the door to my friend’s apartment. I went back to the rooftop and asked where the apartment was. I could not understand what they were saying to me. The tone of my feelings had changed from ‘excited and happy’ to ‘life is not okay and will never be okay, life is a utterly bleak, your behavior is shameful and irredeemable’ and included a somewhat out-of-control desire to be away from all forms of human interaction. I do not remember getting back into my friend’s apartment, but being in her shower, which felt too small, but offered relief from people, and then attempting to sleep in her bed, where I had only lay there feeling uncomfortable and afraid. When my friends came in from outside, they wanted to go to a restaurant with someone I didn’t know. There, I couldn’t eat any of the vegetable sandwich that I had ordered, and everyone around me was talking. I wasn’t talking at all. I think one of them thought I was bad. I was shaking and sweating a little. Outside it was hot and crowded. I felt sure I would vomit. I was afraid of fainting. Eventually, I called the friend who I was staying with and went to her apartment in Brooklyn, where we ate popcorn and watched movies, which made me feel a lot better.
OXYCONTIN – CIRCA 2009
I was able to obtain Oxycontin from a friend whose father had Alzheimer’s, and way, way too many prescription drugs. She had a small bottle of liquid Oxycontin. Its cap had an eyedropper sort of thing, and we tended to use it all night, at bars, dropping an eye-dropper full in our mouths. We made no effort to hide our use. It tasted like Dimetapp. Oxycontin, I felt, gave me a sort of ‘insane power,’ where I would be highly social and talkative and able to drink a lot of alcohol. I mostly have vague memories of being on Oxycontin—vague memories of grinning and laughing and being loud, talking too much, doing embarrassing ‘hitting on-esque’ actions ‘to’ girls, and terrible hangovers the next day.
TYLENOL 3 – CIRCA 2009
I took Tylenol 3 one morning to combat an Oxycontin hangover. I quickly fell asleep. I lay on my couch for over 14 hours. I woke up a number of times but was so weak with sleep that I felt that I could hardly move my limbs.
DIAZEPAM – CIRCA 2010
I first obtained diazepam, also known as Valium, while traveling through Mexico and countries in Central America. I was initially afraid of the drug, mostly because of the context in which I had to take it—in hostels of various third world countries. However, it was easy to get, as I could find at least one pharmacy that would sell it to white people in whatever town I was staying. Usually the attendants grinned when I asked them. I first took it while drunk. Within 2 minutes of ingestion I felt dizzy. I said to my friend “shit, this is strong, should I have taken this much?” but the dizziness went away and I was pleasant, calm, and happy for the next couple of hours. I slept with an incredible feeling of peace and joy after listening to emotional music from my iPod. Over the next month, I took diazepam somewhat habitually. Disappointingly, my tolerance increased so rapidly that I found myself having to take up to four ‘units’ in one night to achieve the feeling that I had achieved during my first experience with diazepam, and I always had to do it while drunk, which worried me, because I heard that diazepam and alcohol are a potentially seizure-inducing combination.