Navigating the Dark Spiral

If you’ve been following my blog then you probably know that I write openly and honestly about drug use. While my posts are primarily about travel, dating, and motorcycles, more often than not drugs are involved.

Immediately after I publish this stuff, I ask myself, “Why? Why did I just post that?” Then I wait for the repercussions, and they don’t come.

The same could be said for my drug use. Overall, I’ve been lucky, but recently I took it too far with a cocaine and speed trip (bad, very bad), which put me into a dark spiral that took nearly a week to pull out of.

Thankfully I had a trusted friend to confide in during this time. We exchanged some WhatsApp messages about my issues, a few of which I’ve pasted below:

Me: “Isn’t it crazy enough to be one of the last Americans traveling through India during COVID? Do I really need to throw every drug into my system like some depraved rock star?”

Trusted Friend: “Of course you know the answer to the question. You don’t need to do that shit at all, and you shouldn’t. It’s super disrespectful to this incredible vehicle that we use to experience life, the body. Enjoy the fuck out of it without trying to destroy it as you go along. Karma’s a bitch.”

I agree with Trusted Friend and this isn’t the first time I’ve had such a conversation. I’ve been through several addiction recovery programs and even completed a whole year of sobriety a while back.

Not one drink for a year. Try that for a New Year’s resolution.

So I know I’m capable of serious, sustained self-control. But once you know you’re also capable of throwing all fucks to the wind and taking MAXIMUM RISK, things can get scary.

I’m talking about downing ten drinks, smoking five joints, popping two ecstasy pills and then riding a motorcycle with a girl on the back with no helmets, on the way to do more risky things. That’s a Tuesday night in Goa.

And that’s just the tip of the spiral, which can get darker and darker as you plunge through its coils. But paradoxically, the spiral is also where I’ve learned the most about myself.

I’ve had experiences on a drug trip that blew away many conceptions of my own sexuality, physicality and gender. You won’t get that from a college textbook or YouTube video.

It’s all in the spiral.

But the spiral doesn’t have to be dark or even dark grey. It can be a warm place for guidance and growth.

The best travel guidance I ever received came right on the beginning of my trip. I was swimming in the Arabian Sea with a Swiss girl named Natalia from my yoga school. Natalia is younger than me, but also much more experienced as a traveler, having completed several years around the world.

(Natalia (right) and local henna artist Anita in Goa)

She told me how to navigate our planet’s hidden beaches, hostels, scuba spots, parties and more. In exchange, she made me promise one thing while traveling: that I enjoy every minute of it. 

I promised.

One year later I’m back on the same beach where I made my promise to Natalia, but now understand that keeping it is difficult. It takes enduring energy, curiosity, constitution, and trusting of yourself and strangers in a foreign country.

And if you really want to enjoy it, traveling involves taking serious risks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been trekking or riding a motorcycle on the edge of some cliff looking down into the abyss.

(Riding my Royal Enfield Bullet cliffside in Ladakh)

But that’s the right type of abyss to been looking into: nature. And its much more memorable and rewarding than any drug spiral, because it’s 100 percent real.

You can touch it. You can ride it. You can explore it. You can get the necessary training to take major risks in nature that are calculated, yet as intense as any drug trip.

Just don’t fall off the cliff.

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