It was the first day, and the last, that I ever took LSD.
LSD is a powerful drug that anyone with a brain will studiously avoid.
Unfortunately, the brain part seems to have eluded me at the time.
It was a Sunday morning, and a friend had given me some. It looked like a small piece of paper with a slightly stained circular blot only a few millimetres in diameter.
The instructions were clear: Cut the circle in half, then cut the half in half (resulting in a quarter of the blot), then take that. That would be plenty.
I followed the instructions very carefully, and duly swallowed my quarter of a blot.
I had my doubts that it would do much, if anything at all. So, shortly afterwards, when nothing had happened, I swallowed another quarter.
Nothing happened again, so I swallowed the rest.
Then something really happened!
The weirdest sensation came over me and the walls, and everything else, started to swim in psychedelic waves. Everything was alive.
I was in the middle of a full-blown drug-induced trip that was to last a full eight hours.
It was still happening when I went to church that evening!
Looking back on this experience, I’m thankful that I didn’t undergo the nasty mind-blowing event that some people go through.
All in all, it was a weird, but pleasurable, episode.
And therein lies the problem.
Even though addictions are highly destructive to people’s health or wellbeing or relationships or a bunch of other things, no one is going to get hooked on something that doesn’t begin with some kind of payoff.
People get addicted to drugs, sex, gambling, nicotine, alcohol, even devices, because there is something at the start that makes them feel like it’s worthwhile continuing to do it.
With drugs, it’s experience of the trip.
With sex, well, work that one out for yourself!
With gambling, it’s the hope that they’ll walk away rich.
People will even choke their way through their first cigarette because of the acceptance they feel from their friends.
Of course, none of the payoffs ever last.
Eventually, the drug addict needs more and more, or stronger and more dangerous, drugs to get the same feeling they used to have.
Sex addicts have their minds constantly occupied by sex and have to pursue increasingly bizarre fantasies to satisfy their addiction.
And even though the chances of making a big win when gambling are extremely small, the advertisers always show how happy people are when gambling, and never show scenes of ruined families living in misery when a husband or wife has frittered away their entire savings to the point of leaving them bankrupt.
Does bankruptcy cure them? Nope. They have to keep gambling to win it all back.
And so it is with all addictions.
So, what’s the solution?
My mother, who was often a fount of practical wisdom, and could quote a gazillion ancient proverbs in support of her sage advice, would say: Prevention is better than cure.
She was right.
It’s always better not to start in the first place, rather than to try and fix up a monumental blunder.
In my case, Jesus got hold of my life very shortly after taking LSD. But I still battled the desire to take it again for a full six months.
I mean, just once more can’t hurt, right?
If, like me, you’ve been dumb enough to get yourself ensnared in some kind of addiction, then there are three important things to keep in mind.
First, there is an all-powerful God who loves you regardless of your foolish choices. And He specialises in putting broken people back together. His love is the greatest healing force on earth.
And if you’re seriously trying to beat this thing that has bound you, He is there to draw upon His power and His wisdom and His never-ending presence. His name is Jesus.
Second, it still helps to relate to someone you can actually see. A real live human being who is trained to walk you through the process of disentangling yourself from your addiction is invaluable.
There is nothing quite like the help that a gifted and qualified counsellor can give you. So, swallow your pride, take the step, and stick with it.
Three, support groups exist to provide people with a network who will help them to stay free. And that’s the real trick.
You might have heard people say things like, “Giving up smoking is easy. I’ve done it dozens of times.”
There’s some truth in that. Giving something up is one thing. Staying free is something else altogether. Join a group.
Ps. Tony Llewellyn