Citation: Chaos Path. "Karmic Retribution: An Experience with Inhalants (Gasoline) (exp81631)". Erowid.org. Nov 1, 2010. erowid.org/exp/81631
Our understanding of the literature is that there is no such thing as safe recreational use of volatile solvents, aerosols and other street inhalants : their psychoactive effects are inseparable from nerve and organ damage. We have chosen to include these reports to help document the real world use of inhalants, but their inclusion is not intended to imply that they are anything but dangerous.]
This is the tale of the single lowest point in my existence, although after alot of thought on the matter I have decided to share my experience with inhalants, (mainly gasoline huffing) with others in the hope that someone will think twice before making the same mistakes I have, The following takes place over several months so bear with me.
I was 15 at the time had just started a new school after being dismissed from my last one for drug paraphanalia(sp?), I had started smoking pot the previous summer but before starting at my new school my dealer had moved away after nearly getting busted by the cops (while I was there and fucked about face, but that's a EXP for another day). So I was generally feeling quite down plus on top of that I had just begun using Valium recreationally a few months before and was starting to feind for it, Well needless to say I was on a slippery slope and when I started school I found it was hard to find others I could relate to, although I had a few close freinds outside of school I was beginning to feel more and more isolated at school.
Although I had very few 'freinds' so to speak of, during my time at the new school I had met another dude with similar interests (B), though in retrospect I wouldnt consider them a freind as I stopped talking to them long ago. After 4-5 weeks of sobreity I was sitting at home bored and desperate to catch a buzz and with no cannabis around I was keen to try anything, this was when B suggested that we try huffing gas, I had tried butane before but at the time never even knew you could get high off gas so 'holy shit you can get fucked up off something ive had in my garage this whole time!?' I replied 'yeah man I thought you would know that' replied B, so without much more forethought we were up in the garage crouched over my dads large red boat gas tank, (worst decision ive made and probably ever will).
I unscrewed the large cap on the tank and peering inside I asked B what the best way to do it was to which he answered 'just stick your nose in there and take the deepest breaths you can as quick as you can' I asked him to show me what he meant and before I had finished the sentence he had his nose in there huffing away after what seemed like 20 or so 'tokes' he stood up with a very dazed look on his face saying 'fuck you gotta try this man'. Well seeing how eniebriated B appeared to look I immediately put my nose into the huge can and began to huff, the first few burned my nose so bad I had to stop mid-huff an take my nose out just to stop the burning, but soon the effects began to take hold and by the time I had taken my 10th huff I began to experiance auditory hallucinations (these infamous noises are known as the 'ding-dings' in my circle of freinds, other people who have tried inhalants will know what I mean).
By the 20th hit these 'ding-dings' had increased to such an intensity it felt almost deafening and as I stood up a huge wave of this strange warm 'fuziness' hit me, it felt not unlike my previous experience with butane although to a much greater degree with gas. As the 'high' progressed it began to take on more of a drunk quality almost like skulling a six pack back but with a slight rush to it, At this point B and I were stumbling round my garden like lunatics laughing at the absurdity of it all, things in my peripheral vision began to shift and I began to see what I can only explain as slight 'heat shimmering' type visuals like when you see heat coming off the road on a hot day. The delirium we were in soon began to taper off after this, I'd say the whole experience was only 10 mins in all including after effects, DEFINATELY NOT WORTH IT if I had known what was coming later in life, but at the depths of depression I was just stoked that I had found something that got me high.
I didn't try gas again till the following weekend when after another miserable week at school I found myself feinding for that rush again, this may sound ridiculous and in hindsight I can see how stupid it was but at the time it seemed like all logical thought just went out the window. I either didnt think it would do me any harm or I just didnt care but either way I abused gasoline (and to a lesser extent butane) occasionally(3-4 times a month) for the next 3 months until one night after a long huffing session I opened the garage door and began to walk down the garden path in a benzene induced stupor, strung out in my own little world, and I failed to notice my dad standing on the deck outside his room, (he was very anti-drug at the time and we regularly had arguments over my habitual cannabis use when I was younger)
He tried to talk to me but I didnt hear for some reason, I had already walked round the corner when he followed me and asked what I was doing in the garage this late. I was so shocked to see him and trying to maintain balance my head spinning I simply replied 'havin a ciggy' he told me to go to bed because it was Sunday and I had to get up for school, so I obliged and went to bed but I knew I was in no mood for sleeping. I lay awake my mind still racing from the close encounter, I thought alot that night and stayed awake to enjoy the beautiful crimson sunrise and as it came up over the islands in the distance the cool autum air soothing my ravaged lungs and it was then that I sat and decided there were much more important things in life. I don't know entirely what caused it but I made a concious choice that dawn and have never used inhalants again since that night, a choice which I believe may very well have saved my life.
About 6 months after my 'epiphany' I was expelled from school after a friend (this one is the only 'friend' during my time at school who I would really consider to be a true friend) and were caught smoking cannabis behind horticulture block which wasnt really a big deal to me (still young and dumb) i just hated school anyway so fast forward 8 months, after several odd jobs with several different temp agencies I had finally found a job I enjoyed, was good at and had plenty of new hook ups, things were really started to look up for me and I was just proud to have finally got my life on track. I was making money and in good health everything was choice.Then it happened.
I had been starting to develop back problems which had slowly been increasing in intensity over the last few days, just shrugging it off I had assured myself it was due to all the heavy lifting i had been doing at work but deep inside i knew something wasnt right, plus it was getting worse and really begining to impact my work after taking the day off the pain was getting really unbearable, my dad decided to ring an ambulance to take me to hospital as I had begun to develop a weird rash and I couldnt even walk to the car. Soon enough i was in the back of the ambo sucking back Nitrous Oxide an having a merry old time totally oblivious to what was right round the corner.
When I arrived at the hospital I immediately had a nurse walk up and start asking me questions about my symptoms, she asked to look at my rash and took a blood sample then I was wheeled into the ward like a lamb to the slaughter. After about an hour or so of waiting we saw the curtain open and as soon as I saw the concerned look on the nurses face I knew my life was about to change forever 'Your white cell count appears to be abnormally low'. 'What do you think could be causing this?' I asked. 'At this point it appears you may have leukemia'.
I froze, it felt as though time stopped the nurse continued talking but I was just tuned out a thousand different scenarios ran through my head and I perished everytime, eventually the nurse walked out and the walls crumbled in on me, I couldnt breathe eventually my mother sobbing eventually snapped me out of suspended animation. I was so sure I was going to die I began to prepare my mind for the cold embrace, I knew what leukemia was, well at least I thought I did at the time and at that moment I felt as though I literally had months left. I was still sobbing in my mothers arms when the nurse appeared again and informed my father (I was inconsolable) that they needed a bone marrow sample to fully diagnose which type of leukaemia I had, ( at this point I had no idea there were more than 1 'type' of leukaemia) so they heavily sedated me took the sample and then I was wheeled into the childrens oncology ward.
I was told they have the highest survival rate, and thats were I spent the single most terrifying night of my life, I lay there contemplating my own mortality at the tender age of 16 I felt as though I was on the brink of death, my life had run its course and it was my time to go, not something anyone should have to even think about at that age. Needless to say I didnt sleep a wink that night despite several high doses of lorazepam and a continuous patient-controlled morphine drip (which I eventually had confiscated because I kept hammering the button :D).
The next morning brought rays of shimmering hope into the dark abysmal world I had been brooding in all night. Just before noon my oncologist came in and explained that the particular strain of leukaemia I had is called ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) quite easily curable and has a very high survival rate, It felt as though several tonnes were lifted from my shoulders, I was overjoyed it was like I had been given a second chance to live and thats the way i still see it to this day. What i was feeling was indescribable I had gone from preparing my self for death to just jumping for joy just to be alive.
My oncologist spent several hours explaining my treatment phases to me, that I would have to have a three year long course of chemotherapy to prevent it coming back, this daunted me but I was so stoked that I was gonna live that I would have crawled a mile over broken glass to get rid of it. She also explained that if I had left it much longer I would be facing a more malignant diagnosis and that usually my age group 16+ didnt fare to well with other types of leukemia, I felt so lucky that I had an easily treatable type but also a deep empathy and sorrow for those 'others' (one of which I would meet during the two weeks I initially spent on the ward).
Then I asked the million dollar question what could of caused it?, she explained they werent entirely sure but asked if I had been swimming near mangroves I said no and the very next question was 'have you spent much time around solvent fumes at work?' I froze it suddenly appeared so obvious to me 'no not really' I replied 'whys that? is that known to cause it?' she explained that certain solvents such a toulene and as I recently found out benzene causes leukemia I clicked and it suddenly made sense to me, I had brought it on myself. Although this might appear a bit controversial here are the facts so you can make your own conclusion : (from Wikipedia) Benzene causes leukemia and is associated with other blood cancers and pre-cancers of the blood. As a gasoline (petrol) additive, benzene increases the octane rating and reduces knocking.
So here I am alive, well, active and almost two years into my treatment, I lost all my hair a few months after starting chemo (which I might add is working extremely well better than expected as I had no trace of blast cells in my marrow within three months of starting chemo) and its now grown back very thick and curly albeit a bit slowly. I am now real keen to get back into work and have been job seeking the past few months. Being diagnosed with leukemia has been the scariest and most intense time of my life, It has changed me in a deep profound way as I have gone from abusing my body and mind, making my parents life a living hell and just generally taking the great life I have for granted and now to enjoying everyday to its absolute fullest, respecting myself and others and most importantly I now know what it truly means to be alive.
Personaly I feel this was a classic case of karma. I didnt give a flying fuck about myself or anyone else and I took it all for granted, so the universe just dealt me a mean dose of cause and effect to kick my ass into gear its been quite a learning curve. Though thinking back on it I wouldnt have swapped my experience for the world because it has gave me something priceless, a deep respect for life not just my own but all those around me. As they say what doesnt kill you can only make you stronger.
Thanks for reading :)
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