OM225 - George Bush’s Crack Dealer

This week, Ken and John talk abot:

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John running the pep assemblies in his High School (OM225)

John was a Senior in High School when Dare came to Alaska and they had a big assembly where everybody in the school came crowded down to the gym and watched this presentation. At that point John was the student who ran all the pep assemblies. He wasn’t on the football team, but he was the kid with a bow tie who was like: ”Allright, everyone! Welcome to the gymnasium for the big show!”, and he MC:ed the big Dare reveal in Anchorage. They wheeled in a crashed car where some kid had died in a drunk driving accident in and everybody had to gawk at it.

Crack vs heroin (OM225)

Crack is a stimulant while heroin is a downer. Stimulants are a lot more threatening because the person on the drug appears agitated, while someone on heroin assumes a posture of real passivity. Both drugs inspire petty street crimes because there is nothing more energized than a heroin addict who doesn’t have heroin.

John smoking crack in Washington D.C. (OM225)

In 1990 John was working for Ralph Nader and lived in Washington D.C. At the time he occasionally smoked crack because he was already a pretty established drug addict and he wa able to buy crack not very far from his house, which was not very far from the White House. He lived in a couple of different places, but his main crack stomping ground was in Northwest D.C. at 14th and T, between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle, up there in the diplomatic area which today is a nice part of town, and you could buy crack in a park right across the street.

One time John had some friends come into town. He needed some pot and he went to a dealer who was standing out on the street. The dealer didn’t have any pot, but he had crack and if John would give him the money he would go up in this building and be right back with some pot. John was not some noob or some guy just off the farm, and he was not going to give this guy his money and have him go in and find him some pot, so the dealer suggested: ”Why don’t you hold this crack, give me the money, and I will come back with the pot?”, which seemed fair!

The guy never came back, John had falled for a real crack pot scheme, and he ended up not being able to buy the simple normal desirable mild organic gateway drug of marijuana, but he got duped into buying crack. Because they were hippies, all John and his friends had was a wooden pot pipe made out of mahogany that was meant to only be heated up a little, and they smoked the crack in that. During subsequent years crack was part of John’s drug diet, but at this point it wasn’t yet. Crack has a very surprising effect because it is very immediate - ”euphoria” is even an understatement. You really feel you have done somthing great and you have a feeling of accomplishment!

What makes crack or cocaine so appealing is not that you are suddenly halucinating glowing orbs, but it elevates your actual normal emotions. It is so addictive because when you come down from it you get a feeling of realization that not only did you not succeed, but you are a loser and you want the feeling of accomplishment back. It is much more intense, immediate and briefer than powder cocaine. To do cocaine is to feel like you really have done a good job today and your parents would be proud, to freebase cocaine is to feel like you have just won a marathon, and to smoke crack is to feel like you are the first man on the moon.

It is addiction to a feeling that hopefully we all feel at some point in our lives as a result of actual accomplishment, the feeling of your wedding day or the day you graduate, but intensified. Your mind can connect it to things that feel like reality and when you are in the throws of the high it doesn’t feel artifical in any way, but: ”Finally! I am this smart! I am this funny! I am this good!” You feel that good that you know is in you. It is why rich college kids and stock brokers who are on cocaine are so unbearable because they already feel that way about themselves and the cocaine just gives them the additional sense that they were right all along.

John saw three people get shot across the street from his apartment during this time and he ran across the street to the police that came out of nowhere. There were cops everywhere right away. John came across the street because he was standing there and said: ”I saw the whole thing!” and the cops ignored him until one of them finally told him: ”You need to get out of here! Do you realize that you are standing in the middle of a park where there are now 400 people and you are saying: I saw the whole thing? The one white guy in this whole park? What did you see? Three black guys? Go home!” and he wasn’t wrong and John slunk away for sure.

John having since gotten sober (OM225)

John was one of the fortunates who found a path to sobriety. It is never too late and there are lots of people out there who want to help. John suggests to find a 12-step program in your neighborhood because there is almost certainly one within a 15-minute journey from wherever you are listening to this program. John also offers to contact him directly if you want to talk about your process because he is always here to help. He does try to make himself available to people that are struggling as part of the graditude that you need to maintain.

It also helps him with his own sobriety because it is not a thing that you win, but you have to maintain it, and part of that is to be ever mindful. The appeal of drugs and alcohol dissipates, but it is not something you can master. You always have to think about it. People helped John and now he has to do the work of helping the next person that comes along. We should thank the people who helped John, but not all of them made it. Life is hard. People die.

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