DOB: 11/19/46; the Bronx, New York.
In the late sixties I followed, believed, the gospel according to Timothy Leary and Baba Ramdas and Sri Ching Moi.
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I grew up in the Bronx, New York City. I don’t know if you would call it lower middle class or upper lower class, in a very functional Jewish household. American born parents with foreign born grandparents, mostly from Russia, Austria, Hungary, Poland.
There were a lot of kids my age when I grew up in New York, a lot in our apartment building alone. There were about fifteen kids my age. Ninety per cent of them were upper lower class Jews, mixed with some Irish and Italians. That’s all I ever thought there were, were Jews and Catholics, and Catholics were Irish and Italian, and the rest were all Jewish.
And I rode a bicycle when I was four, loved riding on the bicycle. Went to P.S. 104. Was an average student in junior high, Taft High School. When I think about my childhood, it’s generally happy feelings.
I don’t know what was going on in the early to mid-Sixties, but for some reason I started to hang out with the crowd that kids and parents would say are bad for you, the bowling alley crew, and I think that’s where addiction started.
I was too scared to stay home at seventeen so at eighteen I enlisted in the Air Force. That didn’t last very long, getting high on downers. Pot seemed to be the priority. In the late Sixties I followed, believed, the gospel according to Timothy Leary and Baba Ramdas and Sri Ching Moi.
I remember Ramdas or Leary having a record album out at the time where the basic theme of the whole side of the album or one cut that kept repeating: “You can be anything you want to be this time around, you can be anything you want to be this time around.” I think they were probably referring to consciousness under the influence of LSD.
It’s twenty years later now. I am forty one years old. I’ve been clean and serene for nine months, and if I thought that I could be anything this time around, listening to those gurus in the Sixties meant something, it means absolutely nothing. Now it means everything by making myself clear. Being straight. Being clean. The cliche “you can be anything you want to be this time around” really applies.
I have never felt so peaceful, so calm, my life has been wonderful. I am finding out things about my character, about my dynamic with friends and family. Why I got high for twenty three years. How I stuffed, medicated, covered my emotions.
It seems now it’s been a long hard road. I’m not regretting everything that happened. Some of it was a lot of fun, but as I look back now it does seem like a long hard road. What a long strange trip it’s been.
I used to dream, in the last days of my addiction, I used to pray to be straight for two or three days. I knew how I felt, I knew how good I felt just being two or three days straight. Of course, I was never really straight. There were always chemicals inside my body. Now it’s nine months and I think a lot of the residue is gone, maybe all of it. I sleep well at night. I eat well. I have friends. I look healthy. My skin looks healthy. I feel good.
My job is great. I love more, my family, my friends, the spiritual principles I learned again, I felt 20 years ago tripping when Ramdas said be here and now. I thought I understood what he meant. But being straight, I realized the highest, the happiest, the most at peace I ever am, is when I am here now in this instant, because it is clear right now. That’s all of it, is right now. Now. And I want to be straight right now and take it in all right now.
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