“It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment… But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions…More harmful still than all these pleasures, many will say, is the reading of evil literature.” –Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism (Photo Credit: iStock.com/diego_cervo.)

I’ve Been A Drug Addict Since I Was Six.

Mitchell Earl
Feb 16, 2016 · 5 min read

I didn’t get really into drugs until I was about six or seven years old. During the summers I used to visit the public library and wander about the shelves carte blanche. It was there, cloaked from the public eye behind numerous texts, where I administered dosage upon dosage of fresh, enlightening, psychotropic devices. This freedom to binge diminished as I relocated during the school year to a more cautiously monitored environment: the public school library.

If you look carefully enough potent substances of epidemic proportions can be found littering the shelves of most libraries. I roamed each determined to find the most satiating of these. Naturally this caused me to be banned from visiting certain “Dark Arts” sections as an elementary student. No doubt the librarian recognized that crazy look in my eyes. Perhaps they were too red, or maybe she noticed a slight change in my disposition each time I visited this wonder emporium. I had to proceed with caution most days if I was going to get my fix.

One day the librarian caught me perusing around this “off-limits” section of the bookshelves. There I was at 11 or 12 years of age, Atlas Shrugged in hand, when the user’s itch overtook me. I dropped the book immediately and began convulsing frantically. It was part from fear of being caught in the act, part from knowing my stash was about to be flushed. I knew if I did not administer soon I would surely die.

It was no use. The ruse was up. At that age I was hardly tall enough to see over the counter to check a book out, let alone hide a 1,200-paged manifesto behind my wimpy little back. I retrieved the book from the floor, replaced it on the shelf, and obediently followed the orders. I silently promised myself I would return to unlock the potency of its contents at a later date.

That memory seems so long ago that I oftentimes wonder if it happened at all. Maybe it was just the birth of some intense trip. I mean, I have been using most of my life. Sometimes the lines between reality and the visions of a high become so blurred they’re indistinguishable.

Even if the instance with the librarian never happened I am certain the restrictions were in place–probably to prevent me from self-medicating or overdosing at such a young age. Whatever the case, I despise those prohibitions to this day. They never stopped me from introducing myself to hard drugs. They merely delayed me.

What I know now is that had I simply been allowed to satisfy my craving when it initially had sprung I wouldn’t have been so keen to discover even harder, more illicit substances. I hankered to fill the void such a prolonged introduction had created. I had a craving and every line I snuck just made it worse.

Maybe the cautious supervision of the librarian or some other pedagogue dealer of dalliances would have curbed my binging. Maybe I wouldn’t have consumed so far above the recommended dosages. Maybe given the chance at self-discovery I would have even hated the drugs. Then again, maybe not. I sure took a liking to them.

I’ll never know because I wasn’t given the chance. It was made clear early on that such voyages into the unknown were not just discouraged. They were impermissible. This created nothing but contempt. It inspired in me an unquenchable sense of rebellion. It fueled my courage to gallivant off into uncharted waters as a freelance pharmacist for myself. It made me eager to indulge in every new available banned product I could find. It even made my craving for the mind-altering effects of these unapproved commodities worse. And to think a simple granting of permission at the onset might’ve prevented me from ever trying.

Substance abuse didn’t just give me an escape. It allowed me to discover truth. I felt alive and aware every time I used. I felt as if my eyes had at last been opened to all that was around me. I saw the world not as I thought it to be but for what it truly was. I saw myself juxtaposed to the universe as a finite entity. I felt free yet powerfully awestruck by the magnitude of my ignorance as it became apparent to me. Every hit revealed a former blind spot. Every bump improved my eyesight. How could you not get hooked?

Sober, I lived under the restrictions imposed by coercive authorities and the inhibiting limitations of my own ignorance. But when I used I tapped into a vast expanse of intellectual wealth. I gained a new appreciation for life. I rediscovered a passion for learning. I found a means for contemplating axiomatic truths.

When I was stoned I discovered how to listen rather than talk. The drugs elucidated how to humbly promote myself rather than boast. I saw through my visions how to speak sincerely and not with grandiosity. Far and above more imperative than all, though, I learned how to love myself. I learned how to love others. Years of trips and highs in prose and poetry unlocked all of these things for me. I think they can for anybody courageous enough to give them a try.

For every prohibition, censorship, or coercive deterrent, may there always be a black market to catch a buzz. For every rule may there be someone courageous enough to break it.

If you want the trip of a lifetime hit up your dealer today. Who knows? Your gateway drug could be waiting for you. But I call greens.

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Mitchell Earl is a writer, entrepreneur, photographer, and staunch advocate for personal freedom. This piece was originally published on his blog. He now regularly features his musings at mitchellearl.com. If you’re interested in learning more about his latest professional development adventure, log on to www.discoverpraxis.com. You won’t be sorry you did.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal…

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com

Mitchell Earl

Written by

COO @DiscoverPraxis | I write education, career, and money advice for young adults who are just getting started. New book coming summer ‘21.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at discoverpraxis.com