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on Vortex I
I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary by Matt Love. Having been one of the tens of thousands of young people who ventured out to McGiver Park that week, it was interesting to revisit that historic "scene." I was 17 years old and made several trips to the park, staying overnight on one occasion, against my parents' wishes. It was at Vortex that I took my first hallucinogenic drug, mescaline, which would prove to be the beginning of a lifetime of drug abuse. Three decades later, almost eleven years ago, I finally got clean and sober. Drugs were quite prevalent at Vortex, as everyone knows. And I mention my drug history not to taint the memory of Vortex, which was really a very beautiful and peaceful moment in time, but so that the dangers of drugs won't get lost in the discussion of brotherly love, rock festivals and peace movements.
I, too, was enthralled by the aura of peace and love that seemed to permeate the air those days (in spite of our government's insane involvement in a war we had no business being in). I was NEVER against the brave young men who went to war -- but I was adamantly opposed to the war itself.
My point is that in addition to the political aspects surrounding Vortex, and the uniqueness of the festival, I think we have a great opportunity (if not a responsibility) here to point out to listeners, or to remind them at least, of the dangers of drugs.
My memoir, Hungry Tigers: A Candid Account of Addiction & Recovery, was published last year. (www.garyswoboda.com) It is my hope that its message can help others who suffer from addiction, as well as the families and friends of addicts. I lost a lifelong friend to a drug overdose (on heroin I bought for us) the day before I checked into rehab. I've also lost two stepsons to addiction-related causes. The oldest was stabbed to death in a park in Los Angeles 14 years ago. The youngest died of a heroin overdose four years ago in our basement. Both times I was the one who had to impart these tragedies to my wife. And both times I thought she would die in my arms.
I'm not trying to be a "downer," just a realist. The gravity of drug abuse is real. If we learn from the past, we can improve the future.
posted 3 years, 3 months ago
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