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Erowid Families and Psychoactives Interview Series
Dialog with Juju
Interview by David J. Brown
Juju is 15 years old. She lives with her mom, Maggie, in Colorado.



DJB: How old are you?

Juju: I'm 15.

DJB: Tell me a little bit about how you get along with your mom.

Juju: For the most part we're best friends, but we fight like best friends do.

DJB: Tell me a little bit about the attitudes that you experienced toward psychoactive drugs around your house when you were growing up.

Juju: When I was a little kid my mom basically just let me go to school and learn like the DARE program and stuff. But then once I got more mature, and she realized that I was kind of taking an interest in it, she basically just sat down and talked about the positive and the negative attributes of it. And basically, she made it seem like I really had my own choice, rather than only one choice, and that's not to do drugs. She basically handed me the option of either doing it or not doing it. And the doing it didn't seem that bad, and the not doing it didn't seem that bad either.

DJB: What kind of experience have you had with marijuana, alcohol and other drugs?

Juju: As far marijuana goes, it definitely keeps me sane. It keeps my head screwed on tight. Whenever I'm upset, it helps me feel better. And alcohol--I used to drink a lot, and it's definitely not my drug. I did a lot of really stupid obnoxious things when I was drunk. I've done a psychedelic drug once, and that was probably the most eye-opening spiritual experience of my life.

DJB: Why did you stop drinking alcohol?

Juju: Everybody has their drugs that work for them, and their drugs that don't, and alcohol just didn't work for me. Basically, every time I was under the influence of it, I totally did things that I regretted. I did things that I didn't even remember, that were totally embarrassing. I told a lot of people things about me that I didn't want them to know, and I became really stupid and sloppy. Also, I would get bruises and cuts, and I didn't know where they came from.

DJB: Have you ever tried tobacco?

Juju: No.

DJB: Or other drugs?

Juju: I've tried ecstasy once.

DJB: How old were you when you had these experiences with marijuana and these different drugs?

Juju: I was 12 when I started smoking pot. I was I think 12 or 13 when I started drinking. And I was 14 when I stopped drinking.

DJB: How old were you when you did the magic mushrooms?

Juju: 14.

DJB: Could you tell me about that experience?

Juju: Well, my boyfriend at the time, or the person that I was totally in love with at the time, was really into doing psychedelic drugs. And he turned me on to the idea. One day he came over, and my mom yelled at me from the top of the stairs. She was like, "Juju come here and pick up this mess." And I was like, what? What mess? I didn't do anything. And then I walked upstairs and there was a whole table full of mushrooms. We all ate some, and we had quite a fun day.

DJB: What was the setting, the environment in the house, like at the time?

Juju: It was pretty cold in the house, because it was snowing outside. There was warm lighting, and it was just friendly. I think I was on Christmas break or something. Or no, that was when I was home-schooled, and I wasn't going to school. It was a really friendly atmosphere. Then, as soon as I started tripping, I just became extremely happy, like ecstatically happy, the happiest I've ever probably been.

DJB: How do you think you benefited from the experience?

Juju: It made me feel more at one with the universe. It made me feel like I could feel all the energy of the universe flowing through me.

DJB: What about the experience that you had with ecstasy? Could you tell me about that?

Juju: That was basically the same thing as shrooms, as far as being ecstatically happy, but that's all it really did for me. It didn't give me any visuals. I just got extremely talkative and extremely happy. It was one of the best highs I've ever had, but I don't think I would want to do it again, just because that was a one-experience kind of a drug.

DJB: How old were you at the time?

Juju: 14.

DJB: Did you have any kind of follow-up, or "integration" after the mushroom or ecstasy trip--where you sat down with the people you did it with, and talked about it?

Juju: I sat down with my mom and talked to her about it. But I never really spoke to the guy I was in love with about it. I just told him it was fun.

DJB: How have drugs or psychedelics affected your life?

Juju: They made me more open-minded, definitely. I can accept people a lot easier for their differences. And, like I said, I felt more at one with the universe. So I kind of just accept things the way that they are, and I don't really think too much about the unknown. And I'm not really scared of anything like that. I'm just a lot more laid back. I don't feel feelings of jealousy as much. I can deal with hard situations a lot easier. Just basically because I'm more optimistic I think. I do actually think that some people can go overboard with drugs, but if you do it once in awhile, like a special occasion thing, I think it's a really good experience.

DJB: Were there other people in your community doing this in a similar fashion? Did you see yourself as having peers, in the context of a community?

Juju: I've smoked pot with a lot of peers and friends. And I used to drink with a lot of peers and friends. But I didn't trip with any peers or friends; I just tripped with my mom and my older boyfriend. When I did ecstasy I was with a lot of people, some of them were about my age, and some of them were like in their early twenties. It was just a big party, but it was at my home, and my mom was there.

DJB: How would you say your use of mushrooms and ecstasy affected your relationship with your mom?

Juju: I think we actually became a lot better friends after that. It's less of a mom and daughter kind of a relationship. We still have that, but it also added a really close connected friendship.

DJB: How do you discuss the topic of drug use with your mom?

Juju: We talk about it only when we're by ourselves. We don't usually talk about drugs together when we're in front of people that we're not familiar with. Like sometimes, around our closest friends, we don't mind talking about in front of them, but we're pretty cautious. We don't like a lot of people to know that we do it together. But whenever we talk about it, usually we say positive things. We also sometimes talk about some people that are airheads because they do too many drugs. But as far as our own experiences, I don't think we've ever really said anything negative about it.

DJB: Do you find the topic uncomfortable to discuss with her?

Juju: Oh definitely not. Like I said, she's one of my best friends.

DJB: Knowing what you know now, and thinking back on your experiences with drugs, would you have done anything differently?

Juju: I wouldn't have become an alcoholic. Alcohol is definitely not a smart drug to use. I can't think of a positive experience that came out of it a single time.

DJB: Do you think that the nation's current approach to drug use helps or hurts your ability to find accurate information about the risks and benefits of drug use?

Juju: It's definitely not a good thing. Yeah, the government, they definitely don't play a good role in it. I can't figure out any benefits of drugs from the government; they only tell me the bad things. And basically, as soon as I hear all these bad things, I know that half of them aren't even true. Like about marijuana, I can tell that they lie about it sometimes, because I am a pothead. Knowing that they never say anything good about it, tells me that they're probably doing the same thing with other drugs. They're only saying bad things and probably making up stuff about them.

DJB: What do you think can be done to help educate people better about the risks and benefits of drug use?

Juju: I don't know, maybe have school programs or something. But not only tell the bad sides of drugs. Tell the positive aspects of drugs, and teach moderation and stuff like that. I mean, everybody's going to do drugs anyway, so it would be better if they knew to do it in moderation, rather than go overboard and do it all the time.

David J. Brown webpage