The “Summer of Love” of 1988
When I look back, for me it all started in Manchester in the “Summer of Love” of 1988. Acid House had hit the UK via Ibiza, and the clubs were buzzing with a new wave of electronic dance music and a new drug called ecstasy. I was 18 and at art college, and for me and my friends there was no better time or place to be young and alive. On Friday nights we’d go into the city and take an ecstasy pill, a tab of acid or a line of speed (or a mix of all three), then make our way to a club. We entered an underground nocturnal world of strobe lights, lasers, pulsing electronic beats and all-night dancing. At the end of the night we’d all go back at my flat in North Manchester, listening to records and smoking copious amounts of hash until the sun came up. We were young, cool and full of hope, and if someone had walked into that room and told us then that in just a few years a couple of us would be dead, one of us in prison, a couple more would be addicted to hard drugs and some of us would suffer mental health problems, all as a direct result of drug use, we would have laughed in their faces.
For me, it began with small, subtle things: I’d be buying a newspaper in a shop and find I couldn’t look the shopkeeper in the eye. In public places I’d feel paranoid and edgy, often getting the idea that people were looking at me. Friends reported similar mental phenomena. But we kept on partying, falling into a routine of weeknights at someone’s house smoking hash and listening to music, looking forward to a weekend of chemical-fuelled clubbing.
This went on for over a year, but things had changed and we had changed: a friend started to suffer from drug-related panic attacks so severe he had to drop out of university. Another friend believed aliens were communicating to him via his TV set and he was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital. Manchester was changing too—cocaine appeared on the club scene, criminal gangs moved in and the whole vibe became darker and heavier.
I left Manchester and the drug scene, but I knew that taking drugs had changed me for the worse. I was less confident, more introverted and pessimistic.
I became more or less a ’regular citizen’ with a 9 to 5 job, house, car etc. My lifestyle improved in that I started going regularly to a gym and jogging three times a week. I certainly felt better physically and mentally, but some days I felt “spaced out”, unwilling to communicate, irritated and generally out of sorts. I didn’t enjoy daily life as much as when I was younger, although by all accepted standards I was doing fine in life. I told myself that what I was experiencing was merely a result of ”getting older”—though I was still only in my early twenties.
Several years later, I was still feeling the effects of the drugs I’d taken and I was searching for a way to feel “alright” again. One day a work colleague told me about the Sauna Detoxification. I completed the program and felt I’d been given the chance to start my life again. The toxic drug residues were eliminated from my body, and I no longer suffer from LSD “flashbacks“, I no longer feel paranoid or introverted, and I can honestly say that I’m now in better mental shape than before I ever touched a drug.
I think if I’d never done the Detoxification, I’d still be alive, but I believe my ability to enjoy life would have remained permanently impaired as a result of my earlier drug use.
I’m glad that an effective and comprehensive program like Narconon exists to help users get off and stay off drugs for good.
Ecstasy: A common name for MDMA, a stimulant drug producing effects which can include euphoria, increased energy, hallucinations and paranoia, usually sold in tablet form. Numerous deaths have been attributed to ecstasy use.
Acid: Lysergic Acid Diethalymide, or LSD, a powerful mind-altering drug with effects including hallucinations, euphoria, feelings of paranoia and unreality. It is often produced and sold in “tabs”, which are small squares of paper or gelatin impregnated with the drug.
Speed: Amphetamine sulphate, a stimulant drug usually sold as a white or pink crystalline powder. Sniffed nasally or injected intravenously, its effects include increased energy, talkativeness and sometimes paranoia.
Hash: Hashish, which is the pollen of the marijuana plant compressed into blocks. Light brown to black in colour, it is often crumbled and smoked in cigarette form or in a specially designed pipe.
Flashback: When an LSD user re-experiences the effects of the drug, sometimes years after taking it. This is caused by minute particles of LSD being stored in the body and released back into the bloodstream.