I’ve been trying for years to write a song that captures my sense of loss about doing drugs. I used to have a good time smoking pot and eating mushrooms and then I had an episode of psychosis that just fucked everything up.
After that if I tried drugs and it didn’t go bad I still had a terrible time because all I did was try to assure myself it wasn’t going bad. I became completely neurotic, I panicked whenever I was around marijuana, I would even get scared when people talked about drugs too much. Then it became a much broader fear, I started washing my hands a lot because I was scared I’d accidentally poison myself, I wouldn’t eat food I hadn’t seen being prepared, I’d leave drinks if I’d let them out of my sight for too long. I lived in a near-constant state of terror that some substance was going to get in my body, by accident or by malevolence, and make me sick or insane. I knew the fears were irrational but that didn’t change how scared I was.
This happened 8 years ago and it’s only in the last couple years that I’ve mellowed. And now that I can think about drugs without freaking out completely I started thinking that I missed them.
I’d be outside on a beautiful summer day and think “This is like those beautiful summer days where I’d get stoned and think what a beautiful summer day it was.”
I realized I didn’t really do much when I was high. I just enjoyed existing. I enjoyed the feeling of realization that the world moved like clockwork even though it was totally imperfect. And other such stoner nonsense, but it was great. I enjoyed the feeling that everything was okay. I enjoyed enjoying stuff.
And if that sounds trivial you haven’t had a serious chat with me ever. I don’t enjoy anything that feels like mere enjoyment. I want to cry whenever I think about how imperfectly I’m using my time. Not only do I not enjoy existing, I down right loathe it.
I think that time in my early twenties was the end of a certain naivety. I hated my life for my entire life but I always thought it would get better. When I was suicidal in teens it was because I ran out of the strength to keep waiting, now when I’m suicidal it’s because things not only won’t get better but will surely get worse.
The feeling that things were right, the feeling that it was okay not to be worried just isn’t something I have easy access to anymore. People say they’ve never seen me as happy as I am on stage and what they mean is joyful. It’s an exuberant, energetic happiness. It’s unself-aware and in the moment. It’s how I felt at Frank Turner. The other slower, calmer type of happiness I’m talking about here is contentment. Being content is about not being in the moment, being totally self aware and enjoying it. It’s how I felt when Caught Off Guard was on tour and it’s how I felt when Greystone Gardens was recording over Christmas. Both were wildly impractical, unsustainable times but that’s neither here nor there, I felt like I was home.
And to bring this back to drugs I also remember that alcohol used to make me happy too. Having a beer on a beautiful summer day felt like the best use of my time, there was noting better I could possibly be doing. Drinking used to blissfully relax me. I embraced existence.
Now drinking feels like a vacation when you know the house is a mess.