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Erowid Families and Psychoactives Interview Series
Dialog with Maggie
Interview by David J. Brown
Maggie is a single mom raising her 15-year-old daughter, Juju. They live together in Colorado.

DJB: What is your personal experience with drugs and psychedelics?

Maggie: I had my first acid trip when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and it was with a group of friends who were older, and who had tripped many times before. They prepared me ahead of time. They told me to expect some strange visuals, and they pretty much promised that they would be there to guide me through it, and to not be scared by anything, that everything would be okay. I think I did like a hit of 4-way blotter, so it was like four hits of acid, and I tripped so hard. It was so much fun! I really loved it. I just laughed the whole time. And then I had to go home and face my grandparents. I had to sneak by them without them knowing I was tripping, and that was interesting. The weird thing is I was able to fall asleep that night, pretty late, but I woke up the next day and I was still tripping. It lasted for a really really long time, and that kind of surprised me.

DJB: Do you feel like it benefited your life in any way?

Maggie: Aside from being really fun, yeah I think it did. I don't think I realized it at the time. I mean, they were promoting the fun aspects of it. They weren't really delving into the mind-expanding properties of it--you know, how you get a deeper understanding of the universe, or how it opens up different channels in your brain. They didn't really go into that with me, but yeah I think it wound up happening, definitely.

DJB: Tell me a little bit about your daughter, and your relationship with her. What is her age?

Maggie: My daughter is 15. We usually have a good relationship. We're close. We're friends. But, you know, at the same time, I'm still the mom. So there are times when we run into conflicts, and I have to set out rules and boundaries, and she doesn't always want to follow them. So sometimes we argue and stuff. But we have a pretty good relationship, probably better than a lot of teenagers and their parents.

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

Maggie: I didn't want to be a hypocrite when she started asking questions. I started smoking pot when I was eleven, and have pretty much been smoking pot ever since. I've experimented with a lot of drugs, so I didn't want to tell her that I hadn't. She was going through the DARE program, and I have a big problem with the DARE program, because I think a lot of the stuff they say is not true. They're purposely lying about some things. So basically I told her what I believe to be the truth about different drugs. I strongly feel that marijuana has a lot of medicinal benefits, is pretty much benign, and a lot less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. I talked to her about that, and I also tried to talk to her about the other drugs. I feel that some drugs are very harmful, They can be habit-forming, or they can damage your brain, or cause really bad judgment, or psychotic breaks, different things like that.

We talked about all of that. And we talked about acid. She started getting very interested in that. She started listening to psychedelic music, and getting into psychedelic art, and hanging out with hippies. And everybody was talking to her about mushrooms and tripping. She asked a lot of questions, and basically what I told her was that, under the right circumstances it can be really really mind-expanding and wonderful and all of that. At the same time I was worried, because if you take the wrong kinds of mushrooms it can make you really sick. Or it can be poisonous if the person who's harvesting doesn't know what they're looking for. Or if they're just like trying to make money, and selling you something that's not good. Because all of this is done through the black market, you have to be very careful because you never know really where it's coming from. It's not as if you were getting it from a reliable source, and the same thing with acid. You know, it's only going to be as good as the person who manufactures it. So there's a big worry for me that she's going to wind up with something that's going to be harmful. Or that under bad circumstances she might not be able to handle it.

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

Maggie: Only in the sense that I worry because she's so young, that if she were carry our conversation on to someone else they might call in law enforcement or something because it's illegal. I worry about those kinds of ramifications. But as far as telling her about my experiences, and telling her what to look out for, and telling her what the benefits are, I didn't feel uncomfortable about that.

DJB: Tell me a little bit about what the general attitude toward psychoactive drugs was like around your house while your daughter growing up?

Maggie: There's a lot of psychedelic influence stuff throughout the house. I mean, some of the art work and the music. It's just sort of been intertwined throughout her life. The general attitude, well, when she was little, drugs didn't really come up. I never did anything in front of her, and I was pretty much a very straight-laced kind of mom. I was the Room Mother, and chaperoned on school field trips. I would plan the Christmas parties at school, and bring in the cookies for the parties. I was a traditional kind of mom, and the drug use that I did before I was a mom, I kind of set that aside when she was little. I was really focused on cooking and cleaning and being a mom.

Then, as she got a little older, I had a little more freedom to do things that I wanted to do without having to worry about, "If she gets into trouble, where am I going to be at? Am I going to be in a position to help her? Am I going to be too fucked up?" Once I didn't have to worry about that so much, then I was able to kind of pick back up where I left off. And I don't do a lot of drugs anymore. I don't like cocaine anymore. I pretty much basically stick with pot. I really love pot. I always have. I don't really like to get that messed up in the head on anything because when I was going through cancer they had me so drugged up, and I decided I really didn't like being that befuddled, I guess. So I don't like stuff that puts me to sleep. I don't like opiates. I just don't care for it that much.

As far as tripping, I do that very rarely. I didn't do it that often before she was born; it just very special occasions, like maybe once a year or something. And now, pretty much, it's even less. I've only tripped once in the last ten years probably. And a lot of that is because of not knowing where stuff is coming from, and being worried about being able to maintain myself if an emergency or something like that came up.

DJB: What were some of the things that influenced your approach to how you educated your daughter about drug use?

Maggie: I think there's a lot of disinformation being put out there, and it just really made me angry. I wanted to make sure she got a more balanced view. You know, there's the political lines of the way things are, and I don't see them to be true. I think they're politically motivated and biased and stupid--sort of like Reefer Madness propaganda. I wanted to make sure she got my view point, what my experience was, the good side of it, and not hiding the fact that there is a down side to it. I wanted to give here a more balanced view because I think a lot of times they just get one view, and it's not necessarily a correct or truthful view.

DJB: How have drugs or psychedelics effected your relationship with your daughter?

Maggie: I think they've helped. It's given us one more level to bond on. She tripped on mushrooms for the first time with me here at the house, with a very close friend of ours, and it was a really great experience for her. She just really loved it. She loved the visuals. She loved the guy who brought the mushrooms over. He was like her first true love. It was just really a great experience for her, and it made her very happy. And it was nice that we all shared that together.

DJB: What did you say to her in preparation for the experience?

Maggie: I tried to prepare her for how strange things were going to appear-- the different colors and the visuals. And like the floor took on a three-dimensional quality, and the wall paper was kind of moving in spirals, and stuff just looked very different. I tried to tell her about that ahead of time. I tried to prepare her for the fact she might feel sick to her stomach, that we would be there, and everything was going to be okay. She didn't need to worry about it, it was just going to be kind of a fun experience.

DJB: Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently, with regard to how you approached the topic of drug use with your daughter?

Maggie: Probably not. I'd say the main concern that I have is balance. I don't want her to go so far into it that she just can't function without it. I think there's a time and place for everything--a time when you need to be straight, and a time when it's okay to get high. And I just try to emphasize that, I think. I don't know. She seems to have a pretty balanced approach. Hopefully that will continue. I don't want to see her go too far into the drug use.

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

Maggie: I think the government needs to stop spreading lies. They need to look at the scientific studies, and not have a hysterical approach. I think it would be a lot easier for kids to accept that there are consequences if they could believe what the government is saying. But when they find out they're exaggerating, and being hysterical, it's hard to believe anything they say about it. So then they wind up thinking that the consequences aren't as bad as they really can be. So I think that the first step would be to just stop acting hysterical--and to point out that there are some benefits, but there are drawbacks as well. Then maybe they would be more credible.

David J. Brown webpage