Cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana are what some people call "gateway drugs." When users have had their fill of any or all of these three, they might be more encouraged to try other addicting substances.
I tried cigarettes last year. Drunk and curious, I begged my chain-smoking friend to let me experience it. I tried smoking during a few more inuman sessions, but I never made it a habit. Alcohol? Well, that's a different story. I've been drinking beers, cocktails, and shots since high school. My family and friends love alcohol, so I don't think I'll ever give that up completely.
I've had several opportunities to try weed since college. I guess it's because my friends were into it, and knew suppliers who could get it for them.
During parties, they'd occasionally talk about how bizarre and entertaining the hallucinations were, or how extreme the munchies were when the high wore off. It sparked my curiosity, but I never had the urge to try it.
I was going through a stressful week at work and was dealing with personal problems, so I went with one of my friends to get wasted. There was a lot of alcohol, red Solo cups, and pulutan. I knew I was going to get what I wanted. I didn’t even eat before drinking, which I never did normally. The people at the party started rolling joints, and someone came with pot brownies, which looked like factory-produced packets.
I ate pot brownies. It felt surprisingly normal, but the effects after were intense and scary. I eventually tried smoking a joint, which was easier compared to smoking a cigarette.
At first, it felt like I was drunk (or maybe it really was a mix of getting drunk and high). I was wobbling when I walked to the comfort room. I was munching on snacks uncontrollably, and I was vomitting a lot. I wasn't worried, because I was having fun watching people and listening to them.
Aside from weed, someone also brought muscle pain reliever that kind of worked like laughing gas, too. It's usually sprayed on some cloth and then inhaled. The instant effect? Uncontrollable giggling. I decided it was harmless since they were all doing it, and it really made me LOL.
Then the high from the weed kicked in. I became really drowsy, but I didn't want to sleep because I was afraid I wouldn't wake up again. Everybody in the party was doing their thing, and some were knocked out already (the person who got us the weed said it was the kind that made you sleepy; not the kind that made you hallucinate).
A couple of times, I approached a few of the people who looked sober, and asked repeatedly if it was okay to sleep and if they’d come check up on me to see if I was still breathing. I am generally praning, but I kid you not, what I felt that night was not paranoia—it was genuine fear.
I regretted that night. A lot.
I remembered everything so vividly. I didn't black out before I puked. I remembered how my boyfriend's voice sounded over the phone when I called him—he was obviously beyond mad, scared, and spiteful at one point, because he said I got high on purpose to push him to his breaking point (he’s clinically diagnosed with depression). So much for getting wasted and forgetting my worries for a while. The whole ordeal actually made me miserable.
A friend, who didn't try pot, drove me home. She did have a bit of alcohol and she inhaled the muscle pain reliever. Throughout the ride home, I watched her intently and prayed we wouldn't get into a car accident. I also asked her to call me after she got home, so at least I was assured that she was okay.
I tried not to fall asleep as soon as I got to the condo, and Googled "how to stop being high."
It didn't help that I was alone. I found it funny that "how to stop being high" was among Google autocomplete’s search predictions when I typed "how to stop being h."
But it shouldn't have been funny—I was so scared for my life. I thought about the grief, disgrace, and the possible hatred my loved ones could all experience if I died just because I was curious and miserable enough to get high that night. I wanted to write them a letter or send them a text message, but my drowsiness was taking over. I sobbed to sleep and hated how I had no hangover (aka well-deserved punishment for being stupid) the next day. I remembered everything so clearly, and I regretted that my decisions led to those memories.
I really should’ve known better.
I'm not proud of getting high. I dabbled in drugs, despite my educational background (I’m a licensed nurse, but I’m not practicing the profession), and TBH, that makes me more ashamed about the whole thing. In college, we learned that marijuana was the "safest" illicit drug, since it rarely killed anyone, but I found out that it could cause organ failure, especially if you took it with alcohol or other drugs.
The muscle pain reliever apparently has an ingredient called ethyl chloride, which is a component of shabu (Crystal Meth), according to some experts. When you inhale too much of this anesthetic, you could trigger a heart attack or a coma. The horrors of drug use are truly serious, and you shouldn’t need a firsthand account to believe so. I was just lucky.
Despite the risks, the threats from the authorities, and the stories that ought to scare the shit out of anyone, a lot of Pinoys still deal with drugs. It’s never the answer, however, and the consequences are too severe. I just got lucky that the worst-case scenario didn’t happen to me. But luck is not something I’m going to count on again—and neither should you.