Catholicism, alcoholism and drugs
My catholic upbringing never prevented me from going beyond limits exploring new sensations; however its rigorous dogma and doctrine made me for a long time questioning the sanity of my emotions. It is true that I had never have to confess for being drunk or smoking like a chimney but when it came to marihuana that was a different matter.
I remember my school days very clearly with twenty Camels or Chesterfields always in my pockets. I remember too how the Opus Dei teachers and priests of my school encouraged us to smoke not only to probe our manhood but also as a form of proselytism. If you were a good student, you could always enjoy a cigarette break with your tutor in his office to chat about God, sainthood, heaven or hell. You could really associate those moments of freedom from the tedious classes with the taste of the tobacco in your mouth. Smoking in those days was good and God protected you.
With alcohol I have a similar experience, I saw once a young priest finishing a bottle of wine in just two gulps, or I could also talk about my alcoholic Jesuit teacher who was famous for always having a complete mini-bar in his office and getting totally trashed with other students when on school trips. Regrettably, I never had the chance to drink with him because by the time I became his student he was already out of his mind, with a perpetual body shake and a bizarre sense of what the discipline of being a Jesuits entailed. It was funny though, how the Jesuistic hypocrisy worked. On the one hand, teachers were obsessed with controlling our whereabouts during the weekends. They wanted to prevent us from our drinking and they wanted to know all the details of our activities on Monday morning. And for that they had their spies or at least they knew very well how to make students talk. On the other they kept that drunkard in charge of our formation.
Drugs were out of the question, any reference to them supposed that the person who had mentioned them instantly became a drug addict and that meant isolation, exclusion from those called to reach the highest goals. You could easily be accused of smoking pot in front of your parents even if you had not had a joint in your life. You could be condemned to spend the rest of your school days with the groups of the lost causes, those who, for whatever adolescent reasons, could no find their way around and what is even worse you risked becoming another anonymous victim of scholar failure just because there was not information around. I can picture very well now how I was called to the office of my teachers to report on my (inexistent!) knowledge about drug trafficking in the school. The reason was very clear I was different and hence a drug user, even though at that stage I had never touched the staff. However I was beginning to feel the attraction for that marginal world just because I hated the system that was sentencing me.
I was becoming a rebel because I did not trust them. My faith had gone and I was alone in middle of a big nonsense. The real hash smokers in my school did not want to be with me because they thought I was a tattletale and the good students thought I was an addict. A high barrier of misunderstandings divided my school and I was nowhere to be seen. Crying for help was useless as there was no place to go. Jesus was making his distinctions and he had clearly forgotten me. I refused to believe and I was put under observation. My tutor recommended me talk to another priest who happened to be a psychologist. During our first conversation he proudly mentioned that Christianity had ended with all Roman decadence and promiscuity, after that I decided to remind quiet for the rest of my days at that horrible place. Silence only made things worse because I reached a point where I could not find anyone to talk to. Not even at home
So my imagination grew and so did my repression. For years after that I had to live with the feeling that I was not going to be accepted anywhere and that my ideas were the product of an act of resistance against catholic indoctrination. I began to drink, but the fear of draining my thoughts and wishes in alcohol put me away from actually enjoying it. When I was drunk all I could think about was starting a revolution and when the effects finally disappeared I realised that I was still on my own. I needed to go out but I could not. I was trapped and although I thought I could fly away from their ideas they always forced my return. I hated them as much as they hated me despite that their hate was called education. And so I became a survivor until many years later I found by chance in marihuana the freedom to puke the secrets of my silent world.