Taking Psychedelics massively improved my life

I took drugs and they changed my life for the better, but don’t you dare follow in my footsteps, says MONSIGNOR ANON-Y-MOUSE.

addiction Alcohol argument Cambridge criminal debate Drugs high illegal magic mushrooms smoking Student talk to frank

When I was 18, I began using psychedelic drugs.

It’s one of those decisions almost every mother must dread their child taking, the thing the ‘Talk to Frank’ adverts and PSHE lessons desperately attempt to deter us from. If I could reverse the choice I made on that day, I would. I can only hope that now, with the damage well and truly done, I can stop others from making the mistakes I made.

My first experience was with psilocybin (the active agent in magic mushrooms). Unsurprisingly, the psychological consequences of using a Class A drug were immediately apparent: I re-discovered feelings of wonder, and uncomplicated, emphatic joy that I hadn’t experienced in years.

Over the following days, I felt something leave me. Perhaps it was my psychological stability, but to my mind it felt much more like the mild depression I had struggled with through my mid teens.

Perhaps I am romanticising the effects of my trip, and demonstrating the disturbing potential in the minds of addicts for delusion, but a 2006 study funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse seems to vindicate my feelings.

Trips lead only to Bad Things

But this, obviously, is all beside the point – because my drug use ruined me in other ways.

Whilst exploring similar psychoactive substances (LSD, DMT, Salvia Divinorum, NBOMe, and mescaline) I lost my motivation to begin a military career, and began entertaining delusions about choosing something more ‘compassionate’.

I also began to entertain political delusions: that, somehow, there was an injustice in how those in power, despite openly confessing to using illegal drugs themselves, will happily perpetuate a system that purposefully ruins lives in a futile attempt to compel the obedience of responsible drug users, carelessly cast under the same status as the irresponsible. (I can only assume that my sense of anger is the LSD-psychosis I hear about.)

Be warned, then: do not take these drugs if you feel disillusioned and apathetic, because personality changes may occur. Do not take them if you wish to maintain a comfortable, unchallenging middle-class attitude of ‘well, the government’s probably right’ (as I did myself): these assumptions may become difficult to hold.

It is also possible that some people will act differently towards you as a result of your new experiences (coming out to parents as a drug user is definitely worse than coming out as gay, in my view).

And it is not always the case that your emphasis upon psychedelic use in a safe, controlled environment (preferably a natural one) in a calm and inquiring state of mind, and in a very small group of close, trusted friends, will convince them of your responsibility. As we all know, deep down, drugs are inherently bad – so who cares about the circumstances of their use? Because (see above) they’re bad.

Better that drug use be as irresponsible, depraved, dangerous and misguided as possible – because there’s nothing like seeing people needlessly maim themselves to vindicate a moral argument of prohibition.

It’s clear to any rational person that these substances are too dangerous to be made available to plebs like the British public. Better to be grateful for the muddy warmth of alcohol and tobacco. No danger of life-changing experiences there, no possibility of challenging assumptions about goals and values. Thank goodness for that.

The disgusting stench of tobacco and middle class behaviour

I’m sure we can all lean back and amuse ourselves with the thought that responsible drug users like me face criminal prosecutions for our subversion. Naturally, I’m exhibiting the classic defensiveness of the drug user/abuser/addict (the terms often seem interchangeable in our crude discourse on the matter of drugs).

But when some of the most emotionally significant moments in your life are treated as a crime, to be punished and treated almost as a disorder, it’s surprisingly easy to be defensive.

Hopefully, though, you won’t be defeated by my defensiveness. Stereotypes of drug users – emaciated and alone – are simple and reassuring: I’ve held them myself. Please follow my advice, and don’t alter the stereotype.

My experience of drugs has not been one of uncontrollable addiction, nor even of a vice for which legal regulation would merely an attempt at damage limitation. It is my belief, rather, that these substances have helped me in profound ways. But I suspect this is a dangerous idea.

If one’s image of a drug user is no longer taken from Trainspotting, and is one of a University of Cambridge student re-discovering his happiness, the entire issue of drug use itself becomes less simple and reassuring, and prohibition and sobriety not the self-evident solutions they once seemed.