Friday, June 05, 2009

Sending You Away, But Clearing Up Things If You Decide To Stay

Hello! It's Friday! Yay!

I'm going to send you to two places for entertainment, but if you stick around for a bit, I have something for you to read here, too.

First, go to The Boomer Chronicles. Rhea just celebrated her 51st birthday. For her present, I am directing a few folks her way. If you'd be kind enough to wish her a happy birthday, that would be nice. Of course, her place has all sorts of interesting links and articles, mostly concerning life as a Boomer (age 50-and-up, I suppose.) Enjoy!

Second, I have a new piece up at The Talkback Button. Please go there and leave comments that will let my boss know that you love me dearly.

Now, on to a self-serving screed.

Fat, Frumpy, And Fifty - a very nice woman with a very nice blog - had some misgivings concerning my writings about drugs and dealing. I hope I'm not misrepresenting her if I edit her comment to what I feel is the gist of it. The complete comment may be found in the comments section HERE.

"...addiction I get... I have a problem with dealing though. I don't want to get into it. You stopped dealing and using. Hat off and all that. I know how hard it can be for some to kick an addiction. But dealing. well it hurts others. You can never be sure.

It so frightens me. As a Mum, I cannot detach from that.

I read with interest. But its like their is something caught in my throat and it irks me."

I will try to elucidate concerning some of my feelings on the matter. All further comment - positive or negative - is welcome, of course. However, personal insult directed at me or my readers will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Marijuana, which is the thing we dealt 95% of the time, is utterly non-addictive physically. Yes, as with anything (a good TV show, sex, milk) there is always the possibility of dependency, but no physical addiction whatsoever. In other words, if it's not available to be used, there will be no physical withdrawal - shakes, hallucinations, whatever. You gave up nicotine, which is harder to kick than heroin, so you know about physical withdrawal. None of that with marijuana.

The other drugs we sometimes dealt (putting aside the angel dust for the moment) were also non-addictive in a physical sense.

Now, let's talk about what happens mentally with these substances. Each individual's body chemistry, and reaction to ingestion of anything, will be different. Some people eat chocolate and feel very good after doing so. Some people eat chocolate, enjoy the taste, and not much else happens. Same with marijuana, lsd, mescaline, or mother's milk. Some folks will enjoy the experience and have no lasting after-effect. Some will have a bad experience and never do it again. A few, unfortunately, have very bad experiences, including lasting psychoses. Some might kill themselves, some might die (again, though, I wish to stress that marijuana has no known lethal toxicity level. You cannot overdose and die as a direct result of ingesting marijuana.)

Now, as I clearly stated, angel dust is a hideously dangerous drug. Had I known how hideous then, I wouldn't have touched the stuff or sold it. However, with the batch of it I talked about, we realized how bad the stuff was and offered everybody their money back. As I recall, we had a few takers on that offer, but some smoked it and enjoyed it. Every person we sold to was still walking around afterward. This was the only thing we did that I have any feeling of regret about, but it luckily turned out to be unregrettable in the long run, anyway.

I facilitated people's recreational use of illegal substances. The illegality of these substances is the only thing that bothers me about it, and by that I mean that they should NOT be illegal. If the substances were legal and subject to governmental inspection, the incidence of overdose - via those substances on which a person is able to overdose - would be no more than alcohol, in my opinion much less. But, even when illegal, I sold only what the people buying wanted. They were happy to get it, I was happy to sell it, a good time was had by most. The great majority of drug users know a fair bit about what they're ingesting - there's a pretty good pipeline for knowledge among that community - so we always assumed that knowledge, or availability of same, to be present. Personally, I studied up everything, and so did my partners. If anyone had any questions, we were happy to provide detailed answers.

This is quite long, but I could write a book and still go on. Here's the main point worth considering: There are dealers and there are pushers. A pusher's modus operandi is to get people addicted and then bleed them dry. He'll give a bargain or a freebie at first, knowing that addiction will eventually overtake some, at which point he'll make it back in spades. And pushers don't care about their customers, except to the extent that the money keeps coming in. If someone dies, that's an unfortunate loss of an asset, but otherwise unremarkable. We were dealers. We only sold when asked by others. If nobody asked for what we had, we didn't force it on them. And (again, excluding the angel dust incident) we believed - and I still believe - that we sold nothing but physically benign goods. Mental effects? Hey, that's why people buy drugs; to have a different perspective. It was not our duty to give everyone a thorough psychological evaluation before selling, anymore than it's the responsibility of a movie producer to test everyone for murderous tendencies before allowing them to see a Freddy Krueger film.

I'm sorry if anyone is bothered by my attitude regarding these things, but I won't be a hypocrite about it. When I was selling, I believed it was a service being provided by someone who really was trying to deliver good stuff at reasonable prices to people who wanted what I had and were not in any way pressured into buying it. When I've been on the buying side, that's how I've expected my dealers to be, too. And when I was addicted, it was my own damn fault, not anybody else's.

I don't know if this will assuage some of the feelings you have or not, but it's my truthful stance on the whole subject.

And that's all for now. Softball and other non-threatening topics will be discussed on Monday.


Soon, with more better stuff.


Ragtop Day said...

I'm a certified drug virgin - never even puffed a cigarette, but I appreciate you sharing your stories. If pot were legal, I would probably try it, in a brownie anyway. I'm not really sure why it is treated so differently from alcohol, but there you go. I also think the distinction between dealer and pusher is key.

I like that you are who you say you are, and make no apologies. And it doesn't sound like you have anything to apologize for.

Off to check out the folks you linked to now!

Chuck said...

I never did try anything illegal, growing up. Was tempted to once or twice. Alcohol is a different story though, and its effects in terms of addiction, etc. can be just as bad as any "illegal" drug...including the possibility of overdose and death, when you think about it.

Amsterdam/Holland and that culture in general seems to do pretty well with a government oversight of the pot industry, but I doubt it will ever happen here.

endangered coffee said...

I do not believe someone should say they don't mind if people use drugs, as long as they don't deal them. As long as drugs are illegal, the user is as complicit as the dealer. (This comes across as more of an antidrug screed than I intended. What I meant was, if you don't mind if someone smokes a fat one on their own time, where the heck do you think that fat one is going to come from? Put it in the aisles of Wal-Mart next to the guns and ammo, and then we'll all be okay)

There are reasons not to spend your days constantly smoking pot, but the same stands true for booze.

Man, sorry Suldog, this is making little sense, and I don't even get high anymore.

Ananda girl said...

This is such a touchie subject for people, especially ones who have had loved ones endangred or damaged by drug use.

How can I say this nicely? Okay, myself as an example... I knew the risks going in and I knew every single time that I was breaking a law, though the laws were overlooked for the most part in that point in time. I come from the same variety of drugs used.

I think it is easy to blame those who sell. The truth is it was our own curiosity and continued use... that should only fall on ourselves.
I cannot even blame peer pressure if I am honest about it.

I think too that parents and other relatives often feel blamed or worry that they have failed. Again, the fail is on the user. Just my opinon. It is usually the family who succeeds in giving the support required to help someone get their life back. So those folk should not feel blamed or lacking.

It's such an emotional issue!! Thanks for your honesty Suldog. Made me feel a whole lot better.

Chris said...

Sully, I think you've explained this as well as it can possibly be explained, and from how you've described your state of mind at the time, I don't think anyone can rail you about it.

It is what it is. Like another reader said, your distinguishing between "dealers" and "pushers", while admittedly a fine line for some, makes a good deal of sense.

Jazz said...

I'm with EC on this one. Just recently I was talking with someone who was saying that exact thing: I don't care if people do drugs, it's the dealers I have problems with.

If that's the case, let's not be hypocritical about it and sell pot legally.

Because lets face it, most people who are inhaling are not growing their own organic weed in their back yards.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Sully, No time to read just now sorry...on the run fact, all week...but will try to get back later tonight...If not, I'll catch it all on Monday!!! Have a great weekend! ~Janine

endangered coffee said...

Thanks, Jazz. You said that thing I was trying to say, 'cept more better.

Buck said...

In the immortal words of Steppenwolf: "God DAMN the pusher man!"

I'm on the pro-legalization side of this argument... for all the reasons you've mentioned and quite a few more. Well said. Kudos. And all that. Srsly.

Janet said...

Even my MOTHER has said she thinks marijuana should be legalized, as she feels it's less problematic than cigarettes or alcohol (and she should know, as her father was an alcoholic, and two uncles died of lung cancer).

All the moonshine stills that got busted up by the feds here in these Kentucky hills were not because they produced alcohol - it was solely because the government didn't collect any taxes from its sale. That's why the government doesn't like marijuana. They aren't making money on it. Legalize it. Stick marijuana cigarettes next to the cigars, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco in the gas stations. Put it in spice jars as a brownie ingredient. Regulate it so unscrupulous people don't lace it with ugly stuff.

Wow. Sorry, didn't mean to do a whole post in your comments section. I'll go away now.

Stu said...

I'm solidly impressed with this essay, specifically with the unflagging respect you pay to your commenters. I feel that the respect is an obligation, but that's just me - some folks might not see it that way and they'd be well within their rights to do so. This stuff is personal and you can't take any comment in any way other than personal. Bully for you for addressing the comment so gracefully and so full of respect and dignity. That speaks loads about your character.

And as for the comment, I get it, I truly do. My kids are 13 and 17 and I get the back of the throat feeling when I read about the angel dust. And the fact that you rail against it now makes it better - There's nothing more valuable than the tear of repentance.

MVD said...

"I sold only what the people buying wanted. They were happy to get it, I was happy to sell it, a good time was had by most."

The free market in action. You did what you did. You made a few bucks off a substance no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, and no one got hurt. And to boot, you're a better man than I in explaining/defending your motives with a follow-up comment. Every town should be so lucky to have ethical dealers like you on the corner.

SweetPeaSurry said...

I'd say you have a healthy attitude about the subject. I would love to see some of the drugs out there legalized, and taxed the hell out of too! That's a pot-load of lost revenue for the country. eh ... don't get me started on that! lol

I tripped acid one time in my life, I had a TERRIFIC time and decided never to do it again, for fear of risking having a 'bad' trip. See I experimented, it wasn't forced on me. I made a choice and I made a choice afterward. I'm still alive and kickin' ... I think.

blessings on ye!

Rob-bear said...

My first visit, and I walked right into this. Life is very interesting.

I've never done street drugs, though I have had lots of chances, and never had any inclination to do them. If the government were to legalize them, and tax them, there would be a lot less crime and a lot more money in government coffers. Governments learned that prohibition was a mistake; but politicians are not very bright -- they keep making the same mistakes, as in their handling of street drugs.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Urbie said...


Potheads and their endless rationalizations crack me up. It's always the same: "no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, and no one got hurt." And this "not physically addictive" stuff -- WTF is that supposed to mean? This "physically vs. psychologically addictive" argument is a distinction without a difference. Addiction is addiction.

A substance abuse counselor of our acquaintance used to say that pot is the toughest substance to convince an addict that they've got a problem with. They'll always say, "Ya, man, I get high, I get the munchies, I blow off work, I don't hurt anyone -- what's the problem?" Well, the problem is that pot makes you stupid.

This has nothing to do with whether or not it should be illegal -- FWIW, I think pot should be legalized. But that does not diminish the fact that pot -- like booze -- makes you stupid. Being stupid isn't, and shouldn't be, illegal, but that is a separate issue.

Nonetheless, I appreciate your honesty -- even when you're giving us TMI, your blog is always a good read! Now when are you ditching softball for good and going back to bowling? :-D ... Urb

Anonymous said...

I know that Sazzie thought long and hard before writing a comment, Suldog, and I appreciate the fact that you handled her comment with a gentleness and understanding. For that I thank you. She like me, does not like to read a post without commenting-it seems rude-rather like being a guest at a party, eating the food and drinking the champagne then leaving without thanking the host.

Unknown said...

The grand total of substances I have tried are caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and pot. In a minute, maybe less, I would give up alcohol if marijuana was legalized and distributed under any type of controled guideline. Mostly for all the reasons you have indicated here, but there are others that would be far too long to discuss in a comment. Maybe I will write about this at some point soon.

I tend to agree with your stance on dealer v. pusher. I have known both in my life. Glad to not know any pushers anymore.

Saz said...

Thank you for the elucidation. I read with interest your words and your views.
Sometimes a post will hit me right between the eyes and I cannot avoid the confrontation in the comment I leave. It unconfortably sits with me until it is acknowledged or ignored.
We don't have to agree with everything that is written here.(Though I do agree with much of your post for the record.)

Like Moannie writes, ' not like to read a post without commenting -it seems rude-rather like being a guest at a party, eating the food and drinking the champagne then leaving without thanking the host.'

Especially yours...
Saz said...

Nothing wrong with MJ...harmless as my pale ale!

I was taught moderation in everything by my parents and the lesson has served me well throughout my life.

However, it hasn't worked for food! I'm addicted and it will eventually kill me.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Sir Suldog, as always, I value your honesty and your integrity... Would all pushers had your values, my fine gentleman...

Eleonora Baldwin said...

In Italy there is no age restriction to purchase alcohol. Therefore no kids do. People take an interest in drinking wine or beer with no hurry.

In the Netherlands marijuana is regulated, and apart from the stoned tourists, the Dutch live their day out very focused and rarely high.

Prohibition should have taught us a lesson...

I enjoyed your clarification. Having been addicted to nicotine in the past, I know exactly what you mean, and I treasure your words.


Shammickite said...

I know absolutely nothing about drugs. Recreational or otherwise.
I don't take 'em.
I don't smoke 'em.
I don't sell 'em.
I wouldn't even know a recreational drug if it jumped up and bit me on the nose.
But I know that I don't approve of making money on other people's misfortunes and physical dependancies.

Rhea said...

Thanks, my friend, for the link love for my blog, The Boomer Chronicles. I am going to check out Fat, Frumpy, too.

Sandy Kessler said...

discuss as you wish ..the choice to read and digest is ours.. I feel though noone asked is that it's healthy to see where we were where we went and what our future will be . Going to Talkback now Bye

Michelle H. said...

I think what is great about these posts is that it can bring so many different viewpoints together and still maintain a peaceful exchange.

THAT'S what I enjoy most about coming here -- well, and the free popcorn when you talk softball.

Chris Stone said...

good post! Your honesty and directness is refreshing. The only attitude on drugs I've developed over the years is I don't agree with supporting the drug cartels with money... which puts me pretty firmly on the anti-illegal drugs side. though, I didn't appreciate such distinctions of voting with your pocket book as an 18 yr old, and saying "boycott illegal drugs" still sounds odd!

people have responded to my "boycott illegal drugs" rant by saying, sounds like a pipe dream! lol.

Implant Solutions said...

I think it is easy to blame those who sell. The truth is it was our own curiosity and continued use... that should only fall on ourselves.
I cannot even blame peer pressure if I am honest about it. -

Suldog said...

Urbie - I love you, but you're dead wrong.

"And this "not physically addictive" stuff -- WTF is that supposed to mean?"

I think I explained it in great detail already, but I'll try again.

The active ingredient in marijuana, the reason it is smoked, is tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. Unlike, for instance, an opiate drug, there is no physical craving for THC, even after prolonged exposure. Thus, no sweats, shakes, hallucinations, puking, and other nasty effects of withdrawal from drugs that ARE physically addictive. If you don't understand that distinction, then you don't know dick about addiction.

As for pot 'making you stupid', that is not entirely true. What pot does, and what all psychoactive drugs do, is change your perceptions. Now, if you start out stupid, pot won't do you any favors. But, if you start out with intelligence, pot won't turn you into a drooling moron. Pot's greatest asset is its ability to make you become fascinated with things. Since being fascinated with, say, dust motes in a sunbeam will look like idiotic behavior to those folks not so fascinated, yes, pot appears to make people stupid. But I guarantee you, Urbie, that there has been no reduction in specific cognitive function. Instead, the person's focus has been changed. What was important before may no longer be and what was trivial before may become much more interesting. That's not a lack of intelligence. That's simply a change in perception.

Stu said...

Johns Hopkins did a longitudinal study that put to rest any suggestion that pot diminishes brain function over the long run, no matter how much you smoke.

No one doubts the damage pot does to your lungs, but no one talks about the increased alpha waves and increased cranial blood flow either. Hmm.

Urbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hi, Jim! I'm back now that I have time to do your post justice...and give you the respect you deserve for baring your soul, and speaking so truthfully and honestly about your life! We truly appreciate are a can swing from humor to pathos and then, to the controversial... penning it all with such passion, skill and authenticity! And I think that is why we all keep coming back!!~ Janine