Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I do not presume to know what is best for anyone else, nor am I advocating “drug use” or other illegal activities.
(Thursday, March 7, 2019, 1:15 pm)
Here are my views on drugs:
Certain plants have evolved symbiotically with the animals that use them for food or medicine or shelter. The more useful ones get used more, so their seeds get scattered (or even cultivated) and they’re more likely to survive than the less useful ones. Animals develop digestive tracts to process the chemicals in the plants, and receptors to take them in and use them in their bodies and in their brains.
That’s how it works in nature. In modernity, we’ve figured out how to isolate and intensify some of these chemicals, or to create analogues that don’t actually occur in nature, or even entirely new substances which never existed before. Even the natural ones have been completely separated from their natural states, and consumption of them has been streamlined so that we can take much more of them much more easily, without ever having to put in the time and effort to grow/find and process them ourselves.
Additionally, we are taking in tons of chemicals and pollutants, and we’re eating bizarre processed foods that are completely unrecognizable to anything found in nature. We live high-stress lives, and the meat and dairy we eat comes from stressed animals whose stress hormones remain in their milk and muscle tissues after death to be added to our own as we break them down with the rest of our food. And this has been going on for generations.
So our bodies and brains are completely out of whack. It’s not a totally crazy idea to think that we may need some sort of medicinal substances to try to bring them back into balance. But it’s WAY too easy to acquire those substances. And there is ZERO education out there to teach us how to use them appropriately. I would imagine that in traditional societies, people could harvest the locally available wild plants as needed and process them as little as necessary for effective consumption. So maybe when you’re feeling kinda tired or sad in the jungle, or you have a toothache, you go find some coca leaves to chew on. When it’s getting late in the season (if there are seasons), you might even pick a bunch of them, as much as you can carry, and dry them in the sun to use over the winter. But you won’t have enough to get fucked up on them every day. And you won’t have nearly the variety available to you at any given time as people have now.
So it seems to me that drugs should be taken in as close to their natural form as possible. Smoking weed is pretty natural. Kratom and psilocybin are also pretty natural. Making tea from poppy pods, valerian root, etc, can all be done pretty naturally. But then you still have to slow it down. Imagine if you had to grow it or gather it yourself. How long would that take? How many calories would you burn while you did it? How much would you have to harvest to last all year? People might have been getting fucked up occasionally during peak season, but they almost certainly were not for most of the year.
In practical terms, we have to exercise a great deal of self control in order to not overdo it on these easily acquired, little understood medications. It does no good to ask the doctors. Doctors are the new priests. They are too steeped in the pharmaceutical dogma to understand your questions or to give you a straight answer. And most other people don’t have the cognitive abilities necessary to figure out for themselves which substances, in what quantities, and with what frequency are safe and beneficial for each individual person. So they embrace certain cliches, like “Get sober!”, without ever realizing how meaningless that is.
So for those of us who experience emotions too deeply at times to function properly in the modern world, whose brain chemicals have become unbalanced (or who are just unacceptable as we are to modern society), it may be desirable and/or necessary to experiment with some of these substances in a desperate attempt to regain whatever it is we believe to be a comfortable/bearable equilibrium. Sometimes the brain chemistry can be altered without ingesting additional chemicals, through exercise, behavior modification, social contact, biofeedback techniques, temperature or sleep regulation, or thought processes. Sometimes it can be done fairly gently through dietary changes and awareness of blood sugar levels. It’s almost always safest to try the gentler, more natural methods and substances first, in moderate quantities, before moving on toward harsher, synthetic chemicals.
Personally, in addition to utilizing a great deal of non-chemical methods of brain/body chemistry manipulation, I find that NOT eating grains can be used to treat my panic attacks more effectively (on a regular basis) than benzos. And I treat my depression by adding controlled amounts of honey to my tea every two hours. I drink caffeinated tea every four hours in the earlier part of the day for extra energy. I can increase my honey intake, within reason, when the depression gets worse. I can increase the caffeine (VERY slightly) to help with headaches and flu-like symptoms. Those are my only daily chemical modifications.
I also find that small amounts of alcohol will take the edge off of any raging anger I may be experiencing. And benzos (when I can get them) are good for high anxiety days. Benadryl will help me get to sleep sometimes (because maintaining a regular sleep schedule is important for mood regulation and for general health). I do all of those very, very rarely, maybe once a month on average.
But sometimes, you need to just completely rearrange your relationship with reality for a minute, and get actually fucked up. Because life is fucked up. And we are fucked up. And sometimes it’s all so fucked up that you need a reset. At moments like those I have commonly used any combination of the following: weed, molly, acid, mushrooms, ketamine, MXE, or whatever else I may have available to me at the time. I also might do larger quantities of alcohol or benzos to that end.
Maybe you have found things that help you feel better about the world, and get along with people better, but then you do more and more, because it just gets better and better, and every day, because you want to feel ok every day. But at some point it becomes too much. And then when you stop, all the bad shit comes crashing down on top of you. The world is full of bad shit. If you forget it’s there, it will sneak up on you. It’s best to deal with it as it comes, if possible. And if it’s too much sometimes, use some of these substances to help you navigate through the worst of it, temporarily, before going back to the just-bearable misery of reality.
Anything that helps, that you use every day, will have some sort of withdrawal when you go off of it suddenly. When I run out of honey, I consistently want to kill myself about 24 hours later. If I quit caffeine all at once, I get a migraine. If I’ve been eating lots of grains and then I suddenly stop, I get panic attacks for several days and then feel like SHIT for at least a week. But I don’t get withdrawal symptoms from the things that I only do some of the time. During periods of high anxiety, I might set up a three day cycle, with benzos one day, alcohol the next and then a day off of both. I can do that indefinitely without ever increasing my tolerance or going through withdrawal. I generally take an increase in tolerance as a sign that I’m doing something too frequently.
And there are some things, like grains, that I have found that I cannot do in moderation. I don’t have the self control. I can eat tiny amounts, like the breading on fried chicken, or oats mixed into a meatloaf. That much is ok. But if I eat a big bowl of pasta or if I eat sandwiches every day for several days straight, I start to get ravenously hungry two hours after eating. I get uncontrollable cravings for more grains. I binge on whatever I can find to satisfy them. And if I don’t eat every two hours, I get panic attacks and migraines. It’s a really ugly cycle. And I had no idea what was causing all of that until I intentionally stopped eating grains for a while. And then started and stopped several more times. I have also found, when I get the terrible cravings and I’m trying not to give in, I can use potatoes as a harm reduction substance. They satisfy the cravings without causing a crash later on.
We all have different needs and we all react differently to different things. Most people don’t have the problem I have with grains. They have other problems. Anyone who says “Don’t do drugs!” is deluded and completely confused about the nature of reality. Everything is a drug. And people who fanatically try to get everyone else to try this new drug/diet/religion/etc that works so well for them, is just projecting themselves onto the rest of the world and attempting to increase intimacy and/or inspire gratitude even at the expense of the other person’s well-being. You have to figure out what works for you, in what dosage, in what combinations, and at what frequency yourself. The only ones who can help you figure that out are people who you trust, who know you well, who are intelligent and honest and perceptive enough to let you know if you seem better or worse, and when you’ve gone too far. And even then, the final decision is still yours to make.
I hope that we can all develop a good regimen that will help us deal with life’s absurdities. I know how hard it is. Mine doesn’t always work either.