Drugs are great when everything's going according to plan. But an altered state of mind can also make it harder to roll with the punches when things go completely tits up, and in those times, nothing seems as sweet as being sober.
I asked people about their worst drug experiences—not just stories about getting too high, but also stories of the times life threw them for a loop they could barely handle because they were high. What ensues is better than any DARE commercial.
"Once I took MDMA and forgot to put my mouthguard in that night. I wound up sucking on my lips all night to such a degree that when I woke up, my lips were so grotesquely misshapen it looked like I'd just received a back-alley collagen injection. I had a flight to Denmark that morning, and my lips were still so swollen by the time I got to the airport that I was pulled for extra screening because the TSA people thought I was trying to use someone else's ID." — Kathleen, 26, New York
"Last year at Coachella, I took some bad acid—or maybe just some really potent acid—at half the dose I normally take. All of a sudden it hit me like a goddamn Mack truck. I was the kid rolling around in the dirt trying to hide in the crevices of different installations. After a while, I couldn't stop projectile vomiting. It came in waves, so every time I thought I was OK to stand and be human again, nope, got knocked straight on my ass, throwing up like a human fountain. I basically rolled around in my own bodily fluids in the grass like a fucking rookie for six hours." — Christina, 27, California
"The year after high school, I went to a concert at the Red Rocks, an open-air venue in Colorado. We drove down from the mountains in a limo drinking champagne with molly in it, just getting super messed up. When we got to the parking lot, I got into my friends pickup truck to do a line of molly off his center console. Then I hopped out and slammed the door to realize my finger was still in the door. I was so fucked up and so shocked that I stood there for like thirty seconds before I started screaming. My friend unlocked the car and pulled my hand out and blood was gushing everywhere.
We booked it through the ticket line toward the EMT station, while I'm simultaneously spraying blood and rolling balls. The EMTs were like, 'Your finger is broken, and you need stitches. It's highly suggested you go to the hospital, but since you're eighteen, we can't force you to do anything.'
I was like, 'Yeah, can you just wrap it, and I'll stay at this concert because I'm on drugs, and I don't want to go to the hospital.'
So I'm at this show with this massive wrap on my hand, with blood seeping through, and every person coming up to me is like, 'OMG! What happened? Here, have some drugs.'
I had so many drugs that night that I'm sure I was one minute away from overdosing. When I got back home, still high, I told my mom I broke my finger. She immediately drove me over to the ER, and I had to get stitches while still rolling." — Ellie, 25, Colorado
"I used to run a warehouse where we threw illegal warehouse parties. I took acid one night, and then I realized everyone at the party was wearing red. I don't know for sure if they were in a gang, but it was either that or it was a party where everyone specifically wore red. I don't want to assume.
Right around the time the acid kicked in, a gun fight broke out, and the cops came in in riot gear. I locked myself upstairs in a room and was looking out through the window assuming I was about to be arrested. Then all of a sudden, I thought I was a garden growing.
Obviously I wasn't a garden, and I didn't get arrested, but I feel like it would've been a great acid trip were it not for all the gang violence." — James, 25, California
On The Creators Project: The Photographer Capturing People on Drugs
"I took shrooms and went to a Korn and Limp Bizkit show. Every time I do shrooms I get all philosophical, so I was standing there at the back of the pit thinking about how many people there were at the show and how each individual person has hopes and dreams and goals and struggles… and how they're all fans of Limp Bizkit." — Patrick, 28, California
"While home over spring break one semester, I went to a house party close to my hometown. Besides drinking a ton of SoCo, I took a pill of something or other, and the next thing I knew, it was the next morning, and I was waking up in the back seat of my car. The keys were on the front dash by the windshield, so I convinced myself I hadn't driven, but I quickly discovered I was missing one of my shoes, had two black eyes, and after surveying the area a little, realized I was two states away from where I started the night before." —Chase, 25, Pennsylvania
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