DRUGS ARE BAD
I recently returned to my hometown of Dinwiddie, VA, to fight two questionable traffic tickets. I used my Alan Shore skills to get each one dismissed. I haven’t had a moving or non-moving violation in the past seven years. As I was exiting the courthouse, I saw my old D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher. Every month, Officer Hodges would come to our 5th grade class and teach us about the dangers of using drugs.
I remember him telling us that we’d likely be tempted with drugs once we reached middle school the following year. The next year, I saw Officer Hodges at a football game and felt so proud to be able to say, “Officer Hodges, I still haven’t tried drugs!”
If only I could’ve remained so naive.
Drugs didn’t become a consistent part of my life until I moved to Birmingham. I had begun smoking weed in Virginia, and I had already tried cocaine by this point, but the drug scene in Birmingham is an entirely different ball game. I attribute most of the problem to the fact that bars and clubs stay open until four or five in the morning. Some clubs will stay open until noon the following day. As the old folks say, “Anybody out past 2 am is only looking for trouble.”
I agree with the professionals who say “marijuana is a gateway drug.” It was certainly the case in my experience. When I moved to Birmingham, I was smoking weed on a fairly consistent basis. What I wasn’t doing on a consistent basis was cocaine and ecstasy. I quickly discovered that these two drugs are Birmingham favorites. In Virginia, I remember people paying $35 for a hit of ecstasy, but in Birmingham, they were selling them for $10 a pop. In some cases, people would just be passing them out for free! I also noticed a big problem with people abusing prescription drugs, although I never jumped on that bandwagon.
As covered in the last chapter, most substance abuse issues begin with alcohol. I can’t tell you how many weekends my friends and I agreed to not do drugs, only to be bitching on Sunday morning about why we were doing drugs. Once alcohol entered the system, one person would inevitably let his guard down and initiate the idea of doing some coke or ecstasy. As soon as the first domino fell, most of the other dominoes began to fall as well. The next thing I know, we’re all making promises to each other about “never doing drugs again.”
It never worked. The very next weekend, we’d be doing drugs again. Same scenario. Same broken promises. Same frustration.
I always felt like an absolute loser every Sunday morning (when I was still awake from the night before). Most Sundays, I’d have to look forward to going into the radio station to do some production (commercials), or voice-trac (pre-record) another show for a different city. So I’d roll into the station late at night, feeling like a zombie, and get all my work done. Luckily, I didn’t have to be back until the next night (Monday), usually around 5 pm.
Other than that, I never let drugs interfere with my work. During the week, doing drugs wasn’t an option. I was focused on creating a quality radio show each night, and I feel confident that I exceeded those expectations.
Nevertheless, doing drugs every weekend began to wear me down, both physically and emotionally. I remember a challenging three-way phone call with two of my best friends, in which, I said, “I can’t hang out with you guys anymore. Not until I’m strong enough to resist the temptation to do drugs. Somebody always has it, so I have to take myself out of the place of temptation.”
Both guys thought I was abandoning them; they didn’t understand; they took it personally. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy hanging out with them; I merely recognized my weakness. I couldn’t resist the peer pressure (especially while under the influence of alcohol) to say no to the drugs that were constantly present.
About three months later, both guys finally understood my perspective, and admitted I was right.
Matthew 5:30 says, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body go into hell.”
The morning after I did drugs, I always felt like I was in hell. A living hell that I had created through the choices I had made.