Effing grade A synergy (ending the war on drugs)

Written in a sketch pad after a dextromethorphan trip in February, 2017:

“What it goes back to again and again and again is, I always end up coming out of a dextromethorphan trip with a longing desire to bring people together, matchmake, pool resources, and create fucking grade A synergy.”

That is true.

It’s more than desire. I can see the path to building bridges between any two vantage points. I can sense the possibility of it. I can sense the infinite possibility in all things. All I have to do is move towards unite by following intuition, being bold, taking action.

But it’s not exactly that simple, is it? Because I share this place with countless other lifeforms with their own unique subjective interpretations of reality.

Some are cynical to these visions. To them, these ideals are pie-in-the-sky delusions of grandeur.

It’s difficult to let go of a vision so pure, but sometimes I have to surrender. As a survival mechanism, to preserve my sanity and dignity.

When I refuse to surrender, the reactance principle rages out of control and I lose control of my behavior in a desperate and foolish attempt to assert the dominance of my relevancy.

To let go is not to give up.

To surrender is to make space. Space for others to make their own choices without my intrusions.

Space for planted seeds to grow, rather than smothering the seeds with too much attention and then wondering why the results are not fruitful.

Sometimes, I wish everyone in the world would try DXM just once.

That’s a selfish wish. I just want people to see a glimpse of what I’ve seen. So that they can connect to a higher vision for the future of this world, and feel in their hearts and souls that total transcendence of all interpersonal and planetary dissonance is possible.

So it’s not completely selfish, because what I truly want is for everyone, everywhere to be able to see the power, divinity, and perfection in themselves.

However, DXM is not the only way to accomplish this. It was just my way.

And others have found themselves on this path as well, and most are rejected and stigmatized by society, their families, loved ones, and even themselves.

My goal is not to promote the use of DXM.

My goal is to establish that DXM and similar substances provide a legitimate path towards self-realization, perhaps even at a rate equivalent to what could be accomplished in several generations.

The purpose of establishing this legitimacy is not to promote further dextromethorphan use, or that of any other psychoactive substance.

In a twist of irony, my purpose is actually quite the opposite.

By legitimizing the use of mind-expanding drugs in our culture, we will reduce the tension that is a major root of such reckless misuse of these substances.

People use drugs because they receive a profound benefit from that use.

When we are stigmatized by our society for seeking that benefit, our determination builds to protect our sense of autonomy.

Again, this is reactance.

Some people experience reactance to a stronger degree than others. This may be largely connected to why some people struggle with excessive dependencies to drugs, while other people are less prone to excess.

I believe another factor in my own reactance may be the double-standards present in the system, and the hypocrisy I perceive in those who seemingly-mindlessly have judged my behaviors and tendencies.

What I mean is, when I get lectured on the perils of using dextromethorphan by people who 1) do not use it, 2) do not understand it, 3) do not necessarily know why they feel so strongly about it, and 4) who have no qualms with prescription medications, fast food, our mistreatment of the environment, etc., I tend to dig my heels into my beliefs that 1) I have valid reasons for doing dextromethorphan, 2) it is not as dangerous as people assume, 3) the reasons that society fears drugs so much are based on largely misguided reasons, and 4)  that prescription medications, fast food, mistreatment of our environment, etc. are far more perilous concerns than the use of dextromethorphan and chemicals with similar effects.

On both sides, we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Living in extremes. And those extremes keep each other polarized.

The more one side reasserts its own dominance, the more likely the other side is to react in overcompensary ways.

For me, this has been especially true when dealing with medical and mental health professionals who seem to be so off base with their assessments of my condition at various intervals, that my trust and respect for them in these matters are diminished.

For example, the days following a DXM trip are a bit interesting, to say the least. Prone to sweating (I already sweat a lot, anyway), accelerated heartrate, and dehydration are some of the main features that my body experiences while recovering from a DXM trip.

I have been through that process hundreds and hundreds of times. Maybe over 1,000. Hard to say. At any rate, I have reliably recovered like clockwork, every single time.

In a few instances when I was unfortunate enough to get tangled up with medical professionals during that recovery period, these were some commonalities in the ensuing interactions:

-They insisted to hook me up to an IV

-They gave me drugs to lower my heart rate

-They would not let me leave until my levels had normalized to their satisfaction

-They were often condescending, calling me degrading names within earshot

-They’d refer to DXM as DMX

I wonder if he makes that face when people call him DXM

-They 100% of the time disregarded my autonomy and self-determination, usually undermining my intelligence and disregarding my knowledge

Here’s a fun fact:

The IVs and relaxants they gave me did nothing to accelerate my physical recovery from DXM. It took me just as long as it would have to recover at home, if not longer in some cases.

Again, I have been through this process several hundreds of times. So having people treating me like I am dying when I am in that state is just absurd to me. It speaks to me of lack of information and education in the medical community, about DXM and the effects it has on the body.

To be honest, I strongly suspect that the process of recovering from a DXM trip actually contributes to my overall health and longevity. I am not sure how else to explain why my gray hair keeps going away, or why I look and feel younger after getting through those initial couple days of recovery from the substance.

Sound absurd? Fine. Then prove me wrong. With actual extensive scientific research instead of unchecked preconceptions.

Do you see what happened here? Reactance.

As I wrote about my experiences at hospitals, my blood boiled and I was overcome by a need to defend my autonomy. Henceforth, I became a bit of a d-bag.

I threw the other side’s baby out with the bathwater and dwelled in my own extreme, not being understanding of the medical personnel or seeing their admirable qualities.

We need to learn to listen to each other. People in general.

But I can’t make anyone learn to listen to me, or to anyone.

All I can do is learn to listen for myself, learn to back down when my reactance is blazing out of control, and learn to be reasonable and understanding to others.

In my experience, when I do those things, other people often respond in kind.

But even if they don’t, that is irrelevant to the fact that I am simply a more decent human being when I commit to understanding others unconditionally.

I don’t get to control if anyone listens to me, but I am going to keep telling my truth the only way I know how.

And if someone listens, all the better. But if not, at least I told the truth.

Again, my mission is not to convince everyone to do drugs.

But we need to make the world a safer, friendlier place for people who have found their truths this way.

Those times when I got fed up with hospital staff, what do you think I did first thing when I got home?

Drugs. Lots of them.

Not just because I wanted to. But because I, even in private, felt a need to defend my version of the truth. Even when no one else was looking.

You may be getting tired of the word reactance, but that is reactance.

By diminishing the stigma of substances and acknowledging the validity of people’s choices, we make a path to a new future.

A future where people don’t go so overboard with proving their right to make their own choices that they end up killing themselves, and making erratic decisions that obscure their futures for years to come.

In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs and started treating addiction as a public health concern rather than a criminal concern.

In other words, they diminished the stigma of addiction.

What were the results? Well, this is from Washington Post: “Among Portuguese adults, there are 3 drug overdose deaths for every 1,000,000 citizens.”

Three. Out of one million.

Don’t get me wrong. Those three lives matter.

In the United States, about 570,000 people die drug-related deaths every year.

Those lives matter too.

And we need to do something about this.

We need to step up our game and make a new world, where people are given the space the explore themselves without unreasonable condemnation and judgment.

As a result, we’ll see what happens when we trust people to be and express themselves authentically.

We’ll see that the war on drugs as just bad logic from the get-go.

The tighter the system’s hand grips people’s autonomy, the more the people fight back and reassert themselves.

Or in some cases, they just give up and concede to a life of depression (oh, but there’s a pill for that).

Also published on Medium.