What’s been a “gateway drug” for you? [NOT 26/2/23]

Hi, friends!

I hope your weekend went well and you had some good times.

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting here drinking a cup of hot coffee. This is related to the theme of tonight’s NOT, I promise.

I don’t know if my lovely Canadian neighbors to the north had the DARE program in school, but the idea that sending a cop into your 4th grade or whatever classroom to try to teach kids why drugs are super bad was always a stupid idea. First of all, for most kids in the Midwest at least, you already had an idiot uncle or cousin doing meth. Also I don’t recall DARE talking about alcoholism at all back when I was kid so that’s a huge miss for anything about addiction.

Anyways, one of the key ideas of DARE when I was a kid was that weed was a “gateway drug” and if you took one hit of that, wowsers downhill from there you were gonna end up strung out on heroin and then dead from all your drugs because OMG slippery slope once you started with the weed. Because the people behind the program are stupid, they also missed the point that once you know someone who casually uses weed and *gasp* doesn’t go on to use other drugs, well fuck obviously the whole program was a goddamned lie.

So in the concept of a “gateway drug,” what’s something that opened up other things to you? Like an artist that seduced you into an entire genre you had always disliked? Or an entree that completely changed how you felt about a certain food?

High quality black tea was definitely one for me. I never liked coffee or bitter drinks in my teens or twenties. I also always thought beer tasted sour and gross. I’ll ruin cheap beer for you in the comments if you ask. I don’t like really really sugary drinks (unless they contain tequila or rum) and the idea of blowing 500 calories and $5 on a sugary Starbucks drink never appealed to me, so my morning caffeine was always a diet soda.

Fast forward to my mid thirties, and I started drinking good hot tea as a way to drink more water*. I don’t like hot tea to have any cream or sugar, so shit like Lipton ain’t gonna fly. My palate became more appreciative of savory drinks. Because I really like Irish breakfast tea (has a lovely malty flavor much better than English breakfast tea), I realized a few years back that I quite enjoy some beers now, although it’s not my first choice of alcohol still. A couple of years back I was in Oahu and in an inspired “when in Rome” moment, I was like fuck it, I’m gonna drink coffee here and it’s going to be delicious. Dear friends, I did, and it was. So now I also casually drink black coffee when it’s a good roast. I’m still like fuck that Starbucks crap.

*listen as far as I’m concerned, if I don’t add sugar or cream to my hot tea, it counts as water



  1. I was in college before craft beer really took off, especially for broke college kids. So I can very much remember stuff like Busch, Natural Light, Strohs, Schaefer, Oly, Hamms….

    • Uggg, we would play quarters with that stuff in high school but I was a beer snob from the start & would have a Steinlager or Becks on the side.  That definitely got me started towards craft beers. When I first visited WA & CO, it was over & I was hooked on the good stuff.

  2. i dont believe in gateway drugs

    i’m happy to try anything 🙂

    Anyways, one of the key ideas of DARE when I was a kid was that weed was a “gateway drug” and if you took one hit of that, wowsers downhill from there

    ironically….out of all the drugs ive done…..its weed what fucked me up the most…..that stoned introspective shit is not a good match with depression…least it wasnt for me…took me years to figure it out too

    tho….i guess deadsplinter is my gateway drug…lot of music i never would have even looked at without yous

    • its a wierd thing with weed…..the feelings linger…like…you may not exactly remember what you hate yourself for anymore…..but the feeling stays…even when you sober up

      and it stacks…and makes everything worse….

      not a drug to take if you arent happy with yourself is all im saying

      tho the same goes for alcohol…cept the feelings dont linger…other than a splitting headache…and a why the fuck am i wearing a paper suit in a cell?


      • I think that can be said of most drugs but I found it is WAY worst with psychedelics.  I took mushrooms in a good mood & had time of my life.  Did the same after a fight with a girlfriend & had worst trip of my life!

        • never had a bad trip on shrooms….used to watch anime on them….having the room be black and white but the tv in colour was a thing

          also spent a couple hours waving at the moon once coz my hand was leaving cool traces

  3. My older sister had two daughters & got divorced pretty young.  They lived with us & the eldest was brainwashed by DARE.  She used to search our house for drugs & kept tossing my sisters weed.  I made it quite clear if she went in my room she would die young.  I was only 12 years older than her.  I smoked a ton of pakalolo back then.  I think she even called cops on her mom.

    • The other problem with “just say no!” is that for many kids and teenagers, they actually are interested in the experience of getting high. Like I know I should just say no to junk food, yet here I sit snacking on cheez-its.

    • When my kid blew out his knee playing soccer and had surgery, he was prescribed opiods right after. Fortunately there were no addiction issues, but when we went to the surgeon for followups there were a *ton* of kids cycling through that office after their surgeries.

      You have to wonder what the numbers are for kids who have withdrawal issues. If it’s just 1%, based on the numbers of kids who get hurt playing high school sports, that’s still a lot.

      • I got a second cousin about a decade younger than me. Given how common the thing to do when they were in high school was steal pills from other people’s prescriptions, I suspect a lot more kids than we think went through withdrawal and probably had a hard time differentiating their withdrawal symptoms from general teenage batshittery feelings.

        • A wild guess is 1/3 of my kids’ high school classes played sports and 1/3 of them got hurt. You start to do the math, and I think back to how cursory the instructions on taking that medication was, and it starts to add up.

  4. I am not the type to get euphoric from drugs. Opioids make me really miserable and grouchier. Not to say I didn’t get addicted. I spent a week in the hospital after major surgery on morphine drip and later oxys when I started having hallucinatory dreams and they took me off the drip.

    I was sent home with codeine pills for the pain. When I stopped taking the pills because I wanted to wean myself off them, I discovered I was addicted thanks to the symptoms of withdrawal like nausea and the feeling of spiders crawling up and down my body.

    I spent a good two days vomiting before I felt better.

    I also know coke isn’t my gateway drug either. When the cokehead first lived with me she insisted I have some. Being the curious sort I tried it but I found it mostly made me grind my teeth.

    Afterwards when she went on a bender she would insist I snort rails with her. After about six months I stopped because I didn’t like coke.

    She got really upset with me but I never did that shit again.

    I’ve tried weed but all it does is turn me into a vegetable. I don’t mind gummies because they help me reset my circadian clock. Haven’t had any since my friend died two years ago. He was my “source”.

    The closest thing I have these days to an addiction is regarding plastic models.

    • Aside from my lil propofol nap last fall for the surgery, I haven’t had anything stronger than NSAIDs for years. When I took anything with codein when younger, all it did was wire me up and cause extreme insomnia. Which was just fantastic that time I had really bad bronchitis and was prescribed Tylenol with codeine to help deal with it.

  5. I’ve always felt that I am prone to addiction so I never tried anything more than cigarettes, weed and alcohol. Cigarettes I quit cold turkey when I started dating my now husband who doesn’t smoke. Weed makes me feel like my brain is on fire and not in a good way. Alcohol is my happy place but that wasn’t always the case. I was definitely self medicating with it in my early twenties and depressed. I’ve always been curious about ecstasy but too chicken shit to try it when it was available (Montreal is full of readily accessible drugs).

    ETA that calling it ecstasy probably dates me. Molly. I meant molly. Like what Mikey Cirus sang about…. Omg a decade ago. Now I really feel old.


  6. Caffeine and legal amphetamines are the pnly things I use…

    But before getting on the Vyvanse, I drank a LOT of caffeine at certain points in my life!

    Never did any other stuff on purpose, because I’ve always had odd reactions to things (codeine fucks up my vision & vestibular systems far too much–the only thing I can do, is sleep it off.

    Weed just knocks me out, so I avoid being around it as much as possible (difficult in my household, tbh🙃, and things like Morphine make me see giant, 3-foot long bugs, crawling across the ceiling, coming to “get” me🤯🤯🤯

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty sure that in early childhood– somewhere between the ages of 2 and 4, I was most likely exposed to, and ended up tripping a *few* times, on Acid.

    “Dreams” i have from back then, about being on cartoon/Krofft-Supershow-style “rollercoasters” with “shooting stars in a swirly night sky” and multiple “out of body experiences” i had, where I “left my body on the bed” (or couch” then “walked around, upside down, on the ceiling, all around the house,” plus the fact that the husbands of *two* different babysitters of mine were busted for being dealers, and I had a *massive* fascination with the “candy buttons”  that were sold attached to those paper strips–and were commonly used to take Acid…

    Plus the fact that when I lived out in Utah the second summer, doing summer repertory theater, and we laid out in our yard, watching the fireworks overhead–which reminded *me* of those old “Rollercoaster dreams,” but reminded my theater friends of past Acid Trips? That made me pretty darn positive that my intense dislike of having my body feel “loopy” plus all those various “horrible trips” which’ve happened while I was on *prescribed* drugs, means that yeah, I was likely exposed to that stuff as a toddler who didn’t understand what was going on.🙃

    That dislike of feeling “odd,” combined with the addiction/alcoholism which is SO common on my Mom’s side of the family, means I’m boring, and don’t even honestly drink very much. .

    It’s just too often *not* fun or relaxing to me, and the genetic risk for me, personally, just isn’t worth it.

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