The Girl On The Bad Trip Brought Me Back
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The Girl On The Bad Trip Brought Me Back


Look, I know it’s hardly a major revelation that people—particularly kids—do drugs and drink at concerts. I’ve even written about people who have died as a result of taking MDMA at live shows. But after seeing Jay Z and Beyonce at the Rose Bowl over the weekend, I got a fresh, first-hand reminder.

The girl in front of me, Asian and I’m guessing in her late teens, was a walking This Is How Bad Drugs Can Be announcement. Slumped over, with sweat pouring down her arms from below her hair, she alternated between giving way to the full slump her body craved and forcing herself to sit up and take deep breaths. The friend with her alternated between attempting to help and rocking out when Bey and Jay performed a song she seemed to particularly like. I of course became semi fixated on the situation, on alert in case something dramatic happened, though nothing did unless you count the friend buying her some sort of a juice as dramatic.

God, how she brought me back. Not specifically to concerts, though concerts were the first places I ever experimented with drinking and drugs since they were the first places we could get to where parents weren’t around. David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight Tour was serious for me because it was the first time I ever smoked a cigarette. Did I even like The Stray Cats? Hell, no. But my friend Maria and I got tickets where we met these two punk boys who’d somehow smuggled liquor into the show and were kind enough to share it with us. As far as we were concerned, the concert was a success!

I held it together at concerts for the most part but boy did I log some hours being that woozy, dazed girl. The time I puked in the street next to my friend’s older brother’s car while a kindly cop begged them to take me home. The bong hit that rendered me unable to speak, let alone remember my name (alas, it was not the only one). The first line of coke I ever did, which went up my nostril just as someone mentioned that Len Bias had died the first time he did it. (I always blamed that comment and not the coke for the fact that a few minutes later, I was nauseated and supine.) The ecstasy my boyfriend and I took at my high school prom, which somehow made me mute and paranoid while transforming everyone else into beings created solely for love and nuzzling. Oh and the real doozy—the ketamine I snorted thinking it was cocaine (note: when your druggy friend says, “Hey, I stole some coke from my roommate, wanna do it?” it may not always be coke). It was my birthday—my 27th I think—and I was having a party at a bar on Fairfax. My best educated guess for what happened to me is that I went into what some affectionately call a K-hole, a state my body dealt with by positioning itself—supine again!—next to a dumpster in the bar’s parking lot. I lay there all night as my guests enjoyed themselves inside, though those who were informed of the situation came out, wished me a happy birthday and tried to talk to me through my comatose state. It surely says something that no one seemed too shocked by the situation.

So that’s what that girl reminded me of as she swayed and sweated and sighed in relief after gulping down that juice. Of course, she had a much better time at the show than the guy who got his finger bitten off after an altercation with a couple, not to mention the 10 other people arrested for public drunkenness. I left early because that’s what sober non-kids do if they want to avoid trying to leave a stadium with 50,000 non-sober kids so I don’t know what ended up happening to the girl in front of me. Let’s just hope her bad trip’s over.

Photo courtesy of sashimomura (Flickr: Jay Z Beyonce) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Anna David is the founder and former CEO/Editor-in-Chief of After Party. She hosts the Light Hustler podcast, formerly known as the AfterPartyPod. She's also the New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Party Girl and Bought and the non-fiction books Reality Matters, Falling For Me, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There and True Tales of Lust and Love. She's written for numerous magazines, including Playboy, Cosmo and Details, and appeared repeatedly on the TV shows Attack of the Show, The Today Show and The Talk, among many others.