"You know I've smoked a lot of grass / O' Lord, I've popped a lot of pills"

Great testament, Chasmatic. But your view on Prohibition is so unclear that it could be taken as support.

It is curious that the police state which is imposed through Prohibition eventually morphs into the state which supports the product and licenses it. Booze, drugs, tobacco, gambling.

Posted by james wilson at February 18, 2014 10:27 AM

Obscurity is not necessarily support, "speed is not necessarily fast, bullets are not necessarily specific."

Posted by vanderleun at February 18, 2014 10:36 AM

My libertarian instincts favor legalization of all these mind altering life changing, ruinous substances. Let people do as they wish as long as it doesn't harm anyone else, right?

Unfortunately, I've seen several people, a couple of which were close to my heart, slide down the slope of addiction. Mostly, it's been alcohol, because that was the drug of choice of my generation. But a nephew's life was flushed down the toilet by coke and speed. He started on marijuana, the harmless drug. Family interventions work - sometimes. Prayer doesn't seem to work when it is for the salvation of an addict. At least in my experience. And what of the family members, especially children, who suffer because of a loved ones addiction? Shall we write that off as collateral damage of the human tendency toward addiction?

It is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. How do we stop the loss of so many promising lives? Or shall we legalize it all and shout, "Good riddance of bad rubbish," when those who succumb to addiction fall by the wayside? Is that too much Darwinism? Is there a better way than prohibition? I confess I have no answers, but I think we need to keep looking for some.

Posted by Jimmy J. at February 18, 2014 11:12 AM

I've been in the rooms for a few years now. For me, it's one drug in particular, and none of the others were ever a problem. Avoiding the others is easy for me, as I don't even want them, and that includes alcohol (though I do miss a glass of good wine).

One of the things that keeps me clean is that my drug carries with it a serious risk to life in just finding and purchasing it. Oh, when I was using, I didn't care about the risk, not much anyway. But with a few days of being clean of it, the risks I took look amazingly stupid. There's also the social opprobrium. People look down on addicts and users of anything stronger than weed. Even AA members often look down their noses at folks who are addicted (to something besides alcohol).

It's mildly amusing, in meetings, to hear folks who are addicted to pot talk about how they realized they were not, in any way, different from those addicted to cocaine, or heroin, or meth. Those of us who know pot addicts knew better; those of us who are recovering addicts know with certainty. The symptoms and behaviors of addiction are universal; the only difference, sometimes, is the degree of depravity.

So seeing weed be legalized is difficult for me. Truly, I don't believe that weed is more dangerous than alcohol. That said, I know that alcohol is very, very dangerous--for some people.

I have to stay clean. I can't use my drug recreationally, as some can. Once I start, I don't want to stop, and I'll become the nasty, lying, thieving bastard who will do what it takes to get more.

Could I stay clean if my drug were available legally, without the stigma and danger of street purchase? Probably I could. Lots of alcoholics do stay sober, despite the easy availability of alcohol. In my heart, legalization makes sense, if for no other reason than that the drug wars are expensive, senseless and damaging to society.

But in my head, I know the ending of the social stigma and legal risk means that a lot more folks are going to wind up in the rooms with me, sooner or later.

Posted by Gordon at February 18, 2014 11:37 AM

It's rare to find a "pure"alcoholic in the rooms of AA anymore, most of us have used a number of substances while we were out there.
Frankly I'm all in favor of total legalization, let God sort us out. The machinery of prohibition is totally out of control and enables all sorts of abuse from police and dealers alike.
Those of us in recovery have been blessed by the chance to take an honest look at our lives, and to make amends where possible, something that many "normies" never get to do.

Posted by Old Surfer at February 18, 2014 12:08 PM

Good testimony. I've been sober 25 years. I'm addicted to lots of things, but the thing that attracts attention from the police is my addiction to alcohol. So I quit.

Like many people, I have mixed feelings about legalizing drugs. On one hand, it is causing the militarization of our police forces and it has caused a mess for our neighboring countries. I have a cousin who just got five years because he can't stay away from cocaine. He was given a hundred chances, suspended sentences, withheld adjudications, house arrests ... yadda yadda yadda, beautiful girlfriend, loving family, heart-felt attempts ... didn't stop. Doing five years now.

Then on the other hand, I have another friend whose strikingly beautiful 22-year-old lifeguard daughter OD'ed (as in dead) on heroin. WTF, kid? This is middle-class life today. Unheard of in my town back then (25-30 years ago) but now kids much like I was are exposed to effing heroin. Her mother has posted wounded messages for a year.

I dunno. I don't want the dead kids; I don't want the neighboring countries torn apart by our drug addiction. I'm out of ideas.

Posted by Lee Johnson at February 18, 2014 1:28 PM

So much dope around growing up, became such a big problem for a lot of people I know/knew...took years to get away from it, made life difficult and dangerous for so long. Can't imagine how rough it's going to be in the coming years, all them elementary school kids, sitting around the vaporizer, playing Grand Theft Auto...

Posted by Will at February 18, 2014 2:26 PM

My goodness......

So far, at least, this thread hasn't attracted the ubiquitous angry deniers - those who claim that, since we have the temerity to report on our having seen the elephant, we could only be the agents of the Big Uh-Uh.

I would imagine that all here, with our well-earned scar tissue, would agree that legalization/criminalization is not the issue. Promotion of weed as a lifestyle is the issue, however, and we know the dangers of that first-hand. Chasmatic was responding to Gerard's earlier post, in the Sidelines section, concerning the kind of products entering the market in Seattle since the recent legalization of marijuana.

I pointed out that this stuff would be drunk by grade-schoolers before the school year is out (how are you going to stop them?,) and the usual suspects generously gave us all the benefit of their lack of experience.

Sigh. They don't call it dope for nothin.

Posted by Rob De Witt at February 18, 2014 3:06 PM

Well summarized, Rob.

Posted by Gordon at February 18, 2014 5:46 PM

I think that the only two viable solutions are binary, and poles apart.

We either legalize it all, and deal with the outfall by other means...treatment, quality control, etc.


Or, we do what the Chinese did in the Opium Wars. Summary, on the spot execution, both user and dealer alike, every time, no exceptions.

Middle ground between those doesn't seem to have been working out very well.

What's MY solution? I don't have one. I'm just on the outside, looking in.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by Jim at February 18, 2014 5:48 PM

james w: I didn't take a strong stand on anything, except by saying: " I maintain that all chemicals that alter our reality are essentially not good for us as individuals and certainly not good for society as we all seem to wish it was ...

None of my business to coerce folks into stopping their addiction. My sponsor told me "chas, if you ever save anybody in these rooms it'll be by accident".

My theory about Life and all its attendant activities, paradigms of morality, spirituality, social involvement is that Life is an Inside Job. The only changes people make that are effective and long-lasting come from within. You gotta want it, they say. of course the changes might be negative. We are talking about the easy availability of mind-altering chemicals. Nobody held me down and stuck a spike in my arm or poured booze down my throat. I made a conscious choice every single time. You good with that?

I did not blame my parents' dysfunction or the guys I hung around with or blah blah. It was by my hand. I take most credit for quitting too. God helped and the folks in the rooms helped but it was on me. Just as it is on any and every one of us. First thing I had to do was admit I was screwed up, and I had to take responsibility. Same thing goes for anyone reading these words: you gotta take responsibility for your actions. .

I ain't preaching or teaching. I am sharing lessons I learned the hard way. If anybody reading these many words is helped, fine. If they don't learn, OK by me. As they say where I come from:YOYO. You're On Your Own.

Posted by chasmatic at February 18, 2014 7:46 PM

Rather than making it legal, just get the gov't out of it. Stop making it illegal. People that want to do it, will. People that don't, won't, regardless of how much money the gov't steals and the number of lives it destroys.

Posted by ghostsniper at February 18, 2014 8:35 PM

ghost: correct as usual. Ain't nothin' wrong with your eyes.

"Just get the government out of it" would turn the nation around. Easier said than done. You ever tried to rid your house of fleas or cockroaches? Best way is to tent the house and infuse poison gas. Hmm, I say that the Mississippi River might be a dividing line, making a diversion for the South of course.

it's gonna get there, boots on the ground. Whoo hoo, drifted right offn the topic. Need a cuppa coffee, jack me right up. Ah, the alkie's friends, ciggies and coffee, the nastiest shitcha can find.

Posted by chasmatic at February 19, 2014 4:10 AM

"Conservative values. Class Warfare is for dope-smoking commies. Stand on your own. No leeching. No whining. Fuck the hippies." — Hanify

Posted by chasmatic at February 19, 2014 4:38 AM

I think that you might be able to stop people from making drugs, although I can't really cite an instance where that has been the case. If you have to use some sort of chemical potion to produce an intoxicant they might be able to eliminate the supply of a vital ingredient. That has worked so well with meth and alcohol. Think of all the laws restricting formerly-legal substances in the effort to choke off supply of ingredients.

But to eliminate something that the earth is going to produce whether man helps or not? How are you going to beat that bitch, Mother Nature?

Posted by razorbacker at February 19, 2014 8:48 AM

I had my own 15 years of poly-substance madness. Drink it, snort it, smoke it, shoot it up. Whatever gets you through the night and all that rot
Problem was, it was always night, until the lights went out and you were dead. Seven of my homeboys bought the farm as they said in Viet Nam.
36 years ago,at a little adobe mission church on the southside of Tucson, Jesus took me out of my trick bag. He gave me my life back. Dope is for dopes. Life is good when you're sober.

Posted by bill at February 19, 2014 4:47 PM

Its obviously not good for society, its bad for individuals, its bad for the culture. I've seen personally with family members the damage drugs do, even "harmless" weed. I've seen the wrecked lives and relationships, the almost total loss of productivity, the loss of intelligence and creativity. Its wretched and awful.

And don't hand me that "oh you just don't know how to handle them (like I do)" line. Nobody can, its not a "handle" thing. These are chemicals which specifically reduce your capacity to function normally and be productive.

Pot makes you dumb. I've seen it happen over and over with great minds and smart people. It makes you dumb, and lazy and useless.

You can argue "I should be free to ruin myself" but please don't argue "its harmless, who does it hurt?" Because that's a stupid lie.

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