Drugs during long term survival situations (Part II: Marijuana & other drugs)

Before SHTF I tried marijuana one or two times, and my alcohol experiences were connected to parties just like young folks everywhere around world.

In our political system people who used drugs of any kind were strictly separated from normal way of life, so in our city circle of folks who used any kind of drugs were stigmatized and definitely outsiders.

Nobody really talked about these people. So normal folks knew there are drug users, but what kind of people and drugs and any other details were not known much. Those kind of folks were just wrong kind of people and thats it. Period. That was before the war and total collapse of normal society.

My first contact with drugs during the collapse

When SHTF, I went with my friend to some guy because word was that someone sees him going out from military storage in the first days of chaos with few RPG. So we just want to check the guy and see can we trade something for that weapon.

After hours of finding right connections with people and digging trough the rumors we finally find the house of the guy. Man who brought us there went first in front of the house to call him, and he tell to me and my friend to take cover somewhere until he is done negotiating, because guy inside is heavily armed (from military storage) and he usually shoots first and then checks the remains of who was outside.

Finally we were cleared to go inside house. First floor looked like big animal fight with other big animal. Fight must have went on for few days. Everything was upside down, and common things were mixed with strange things. So you could see refrigerator taken upside down with bullet holes, and next to that there was traffic light severed from pylon.

First floor was not in use, guy made something like medieval fortress from his house. Second floor was in use and we climbed up there trough the hole in ceiling and some kind of navy stairs (ropes). His stairway was burned down.

We did not make any kind of trade for that RPGs because he fired all of that as he said. But I saw 5-6 full trash bags in one of the corner, and I asked him what is that? He said:“check it, be my guest“ .

Every bag was full of marijuana. There was small mountain of it. I never before saw so much of that stuff in one place.

I guess guy was dealer before the war, instinctively I was paralyzed, flashbacks of police, jail, courts, and folks point at you went trough my head. Man noticed that and laughs to me and say “do not worry, just take it and smoke it, that sh!t is our smallest problem now“. He was right and I was there to get a RPG but in shock in seeing drugs.

Why drugs matter during long term survival

I make myself unpopular here. Sorry, I just say what I experienced. Reality is not all clean and good or politically correct.

First I have to say we talk about long term survival scenario here. Few days of fearing for your life is problem, few weeks is crap, few months and more can easily take all will for survival from you and leave you empty.

It is hard to imagine and I never saw one of the “TV survival experts” do anything really long term.

Nobody who is sane probably does. I didn’t choose, I was thrown into this.

When the world breaks down around you, you want things to be normal. Even if you had bad life before in normal times it will feel like paradise to nightmare that happens outside or around you when you fight for your survival.

I do not do any drugs (besides coffee) and think drugs is for weak people… but if life slaps you around like it is hard to imagine, everyone becomes weak at some point.

So during the war marijuana was used to disconnect from horrors around you. When you find yourself with few friends in some safe building, basement, and if you have few cans of food, someone brings guitar and few bottles of alcohol and marijuana, you can start to feel an hour or two like nothing is wrong, people do not get shot outside, women do not scream in distance, peace is there again, at least for few hours, and for that small group of friends.

And when someone pass you small jar with hash „bubbles“ you can imagine almost that Jim Morrison came alive that night in that particular basement, in that small and unimportant city in Balkans, in the middle of civil war, and that he is gonna spend that night with you discussing about ridiculousness of life, and then play „The end“ song.

It also had some sort of therapeutic importance. When one of the member of our friends group died, we sit with someone close to him, for example with his brother and drink and smoke for a while, until he gets „numb“ from drugs. Only then we could tell him news about his brother. Everybody did that.

I can say that normal folks (something closest to today understanding of normal average folks) did not drink or smoke marijuana because they were curious what is like, or because they want something different. They did it in order to survive everyday life in new world.

You might think now, I never would do this. It is against my principle. When you see everything breaking down around you a lot of what you think now is principle falls away too.

So very soon some things that were wrong in normal times became natural. Folks started to smoke marijuana, even people who never heard for that, or even people who thought that is completely wrong to use it.

People started to trade for seeds, dealing advice how to grow it, dry it, what parts are best and son on. I am talking here about people who did not have clue about anything about that just few weeks before. Few weeks before it was completely wrong to know about these things.

Whenever I felt bad, or way too bad, or got some chance to sit with my friends I smoked marijuana. Older folks smoked it, grandpas smoked it. Joints made from newspapers, jars full of hashish, or bottle smoking.

It was so much of that stuff that even did not have some big value, I mean you could trade it but it was not very valuable because lots of folks grow it. When it is not illegal then it is completely other thing. When I told Jay while recording my course about this he was surprised. Seems like not many people knew that so many people start growing marijuana during the war but this stuff was everywhere.

Lots of the folks had it for few joints in their pockets always.

It was a pain medication too, when my cousin took out his infected tooth with electrical pliers, all of the „medicines“ he had were couple of joints before procedure, and half liter of heavy alcohol. Alcohol was for his wound and his stomach too.

Whatever you think about alcohol and drugs, you need to understand that they were important in that time, and they gonna be important again.

Hard drugs

Gangs still had access to them but of course, most of the real drug addicts, heavy drug addicts disappeared very soon. It was bad time for detoxification from heavy drugs when you had not time to stay in bed and throw up all day.

Of course people did some stupid and wrong things under these drugs too.

It was not time when you just can go out and drink and party. You needed to be alert most of the time.

It was wrong to drink a lot or get high before some hard jobs, like going out to find and trade things, because you just needed to be completely ready for anything. Anything that clouded your judgment and reflexes was wrong, and very dangerous.

I knew a guy who go out in wrong moment and gets shot in head, just because he thought that he hearing some music from the distance, his favorite song or something like that. He smoke too much, yes.

With all urban myths about how alcohol can keep you warm, or can give you more strength of course wrong things happened.

But for me, in some moments when it was very hard for me, alcohol and marijuana helped me to go trough some things. For all of you who still resolutely say that you are not gonna use alcohol or / and marijuana, just try to be prepared for a fact that those two things gonna be important when SHTF.

Don’t do drugs of course, but just like painkillers, some things have its place when things get really hard no matter if legal or illegal. Even if you can not imagine some things, part of being better prepared then next human who has to deal with same situation is to have a more flexible mind. To be ready for whatever gets thrown in your way.

As you know, soft drugs are controversial topic right now, especially in the US. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, legalization can cut cartel profits but maybe also create more smokers. What are your thoughts about marijuana?

Drugs during long term survival situations (Part I: Alcohol)

Today most people drink alcohol because they want to get away sometimes from hard reality or just to have some short good time. Another simple reason many people drink in my country is they have been scared, or they just can not take it any more.

Why did drugs become more important during the war?

In hard times people experience lot of different emotions. Fear, courage, anxiety, crazyness or not logical bravery and so on. Fighting to survive was also new feeling for most. People needed something to melt all that together, thats why drugs were so important.

When you are inside your head in complete chaos, so many different emotions, using drugs to get away from everything to get one feeling that you know, even if feeling is not real and just you taking something, it is relief. It feels like you get to place you are familiar with in world that is full of chaos and suffering.

Alcohol becomes your very good friend, it became mine too. It was ticket to short ride somewhere else from very bad reality. Everybody drink or (and) smoke marijuana in that time, but more about marijuana in next post.

Alcohol

Alcohol has many good sides. It is useful for hygiene or to trade or give as present.

It was not very valuable compared to some other items, but you could go out with few liters and almost always find something to trade and possibility to trade at all mattered often more than having something with high value but only few people want / need it.

Lot of things needed to be suppressed in that time, so alcohol was something like emergency vent, preventing folks from exploding.

Somebody used it to laugh in situation where there is no too much reason to laugh, other people used it to cry out some things they were holding back.

One of the guys from my street became completely other person when he was drunk.

He was big scary looking man, very hairy man like some kind of Neandertal man, and usually nobody wants to argue with him when he was sober, even when he was not armed.

He had a hands like small shovels and whatever weapon he hold, it looked somehow small in his hands. Anyway kind of guy who you wanna have on your side, not on other side.

But whenever he drank, I mean whenever he got really drunk / wasted he turned in some kind of „unknown poet“. He was all about „cruel life“ and sad stories and crying. At first few times for us it looked funny for us, and we cry from laughing and kidding him.

But after some time it becomes spooky and sad even for us to look at that big man crying like a baby and whining about everything. But no doubt it helped him to get some things from his mind out.

But actually we all use alcohol for that, some of us cried and other laugh. We all used it for venting. To get some order in our chaotic mind and let things out.

Whoever did not cry then, cried later when everything ended. Nobody could run away from that.

Before you start talking about bad examples and bad influence of alcohol I must say that we used it also for hygiene a lot. In most of the situations for common folks first aid items meant alcohol and some clean rugs. So it was common to use it for disinfection and cleaning of wounds, cuts scrapes etc.

Also if you have to eat something quick with your hands, quickest and sometimes only way was to clean your hands with alcohol.

Whatever you think about alcohol, about how dangerous it is for man, society etc. you must understand that when SHTF it is gonna be very important because of so many reasons, and good idea is to have it, no matter if you drink or not.

People here drink a lot, when somebody is born and when someone died, and in every possible occasion in the middle of those two events, so when SHTF people want to have some kind of connection with „normal“ time. Alcohol was easiest way to get that connection.

This is also something to think about when you stock items for trade. What is most common “comfort items” in your area or culture? Coffee? Cigarettes? In Asia maybe soy sauce or chili. These things will be good for trading.

My uncle was a heavy drinker in that time, every day he drank in order to get himself to function in that hard new world. It helped him to hold his mind together and survive. And he was good. He did his part of job great and we all could rely on him in every moment.

But without alcohol he became useless and ruined, so he just had to drink. After everything ended he stopped with drinking almost completely, but that could not save him from losing one of his kidney, and getting some serious liver condition.

Not to mention PTSD. Things catch up, if you numb yourself with drugs or not.

Everyone paid for that time sooner or later. So for folks who drink a lot in that time alcohol was not golden solution, but it was one of the easiest solution to go trough all little bit easier.

I drink beer or two, from time to time, the years when I waste myself in order to feel better about some things are behind me, but I still have lot of alcohol in my storage, and try always to keep numbers of stored alcohol rising.

With bottle of alcohol you can make a good friend from possible enemy. Of course you need some good attitude, I’ve seen that many times.

Once I got myself in fight with guy over some tree that needed to be taken down in the back of my house for firewood and we could not agree is it belonging to me or him (it was on public property) and in the middle of pulling out our knives he lost his small bottle from his pocket. I asked him then „look man, lets drink few rounds from that thing and have some kind of agreement, it is better then to use knifes“ and we did that.

How are you stocked up with alcohol? What role does alcohol play in your preparations and how do you plan to use it? Just write in comments.

Post Shtf Society: Corruption as a Way of Life

corruptionI read often in discussions in survival forums that people say that people from poor countries have easier transition into chaos and collapse scenarios. I agree. One of the reasons is that they already live in some sort of shtf scenario every day.

Today I want to tell you about major aspect of what keeps broken systems going all around the world. Corruption.

When resources are few and many people want something and person who decides who gets it is short on stuff too (or just greedy and there is no one who enforces law) then you enter into world of corruption.

I think it is important part of understanding how things work in corrupted systems. This does not only help you in post shtf scenario but even when you travel or move to what I call „unorganized countries“.

I live in one so this is something like everyday school of survival, after the Balkan war my country never recovered. If both parents work full time and you still sometimes do not have enough money to feed your kids something is wrong. (Money from my course helps, thank you for everyone who signed up).

Anyway, I hope you can benefit from my experience of living in such broken system. First thing:

„I have certain rights!“

Wrong.

This is first and most important rule of surviving in unorganized country. You do not have right to anything. Right of freedom of speech, right for job, right for some protection from the law or any other „right“. Now do not get me wrong, laws are same like in any other European country here, and they say that you HAVE all of the rights, but reality is different.

You need to fight for all rights, and find a way to make them work for you in some cases.

You are only one man with whole bunch of other people who are all equally jobless, tired of crime, political nonsense and many years of hopeless economical situation.

So at the end you find out that only thing that you can do is to blend in, to act like most people. If you want to live you are gonna have to bribe people on every step, you are gonna have to accept bribes.

Sounds bad? Unmoral? Read on.

If you want to work in some company you gonna need to start to look for people who have connections with people from management in that company. The person in the management who decides who gets job knows that having work is worth something but he will not ask directly for bribe. No matter what qualifications, somehow he will just not give you job.

Nobody openly accepts bribe in most cases because its against the law. You need someone the person from management trusts and then send the bribe through this middleman.

You are giving money to the middleman, he is giving money to the management guy. Rich management guy gets richer, middleman takes cut and if middleman did not screw you, you get a phone call when you can start working.

If you are lucky enough there is gonna be just one middleman between you and management guy, because if there are more middleman you need more money. Everybody is taking their cut.

After you get, actually after you buy that crap job, you start to work for crap salary that is clearly not enough for feeding your family. So you are starting with small things in your circle or network of people you know. Small wrong things.

For example if you are policeman you are gonna have something around 600 USD salary per month in country where you need 1300 USD for living for family with 3 members per month. And that is living under poor conditions.

So you start to “close your eyes” on some things. Small things. Taking bribes for traffic tickets, then you gonna cover some drug dealers in your street, then you gonna figure out that you can earn more if you take out some infos and give it to some guys, for example just to call some guys and tell them where next police raid gonna be, some drug action.

If you don’t do this, your colleague does and you have to explain your child why there is no decent food on the table.

This is how it is for great majority of situations in unorganized countries. As soon as you plug into that weird and corrupt system you gonna have better chance to live, to feed your kids.

Another example. If you are having some bigger money and want to start some job, for example lets say you want to open some small business or whatever, bakery shops. OK law says you gonna need some licenses from state, some workers, some building, equipment etc.

So you go to government offices or whatever and start to work on paperwork and licenses, and you figure out that on every step those people making problems for you. And you may ask yourself why? I want to start normal job, to earn honest money, to give job to 10-15 people and they cause all these problems?

And sooner or later you realize that whole system does not give sh!t for your intentions, because every small or bigger clerk want bribe for his stamp on paper. Or in other case your paperwork gonna be strangely lost somewhere, or you gonna be faced with some weird sanitary regulations or whatever.

So you finally bribe people, have all paperwork, rent buildings, employ workers and start to work. After 10 days you gonna have some inspector coming over who says that you do not have suddenly all what it takes for doing that business, because some of your paperwork is not correct. And of course you need to bribe again.

Anyway if you are not part of that weird corrupt system you are going down.

If you have mother who is sick, and she needs to go to hospital, you will find out that no room in hospital is available, and that she can come in for next month, not before.

So you are looking over to your friends who have some connections there, with some physicians. And you offer some money over that friend to some physician, and miracle, there is a room free in hospital for your mother on same day.

Then what you need is only to find some nurse there and offer something to her, so you can be sure that your mother not gonna die in the middle of the night because some equipment malfunctioned or whatever.

OK if you decide to go to police and talk about fact that somebody asked bribe from you because of whatever you will be welcomed. Police guys there gonna listen very carefully to whatever you have to say, after you finish with your story they gonna take all notes, and say to you that you fulfilled your duty as law abiding citizen and that you did right thing because this region is suffering because of corruption, crime etc etc.

And then you are screwed for real. Suddenly some small junkies gonna start to threaten your kid on the way to school, local police officer always stop you and ask for funny things and mistakes in your driving or find problems with your car. You can find your car without wheels or maybe even burned out. And if you still trust in law and order you call police, and circle is going again and again and again.

And then one morning you wake up with the great idea that you are living in a sh!t country, and it is time to start to act like everybody else. Do not hear, do not see, do not talk. You plug yourself into corrupt system and become part of everything.

So you are starting to do small scams with your employers, tax scams, you find connection in taxing department, bribe guy there, steal from your employers, split cut with that dude from taxing department.

Your employers start to steal from you, whatever they can. And again circle is going on.

Point of living in unorganized country is how many people you know, I mean how many people with connections. You can become rich or powerful by just being the man with many connections. Corruption becomes not only part of system, corruption is the system to get things done.

In order to finish whatever job, you gonna need connections and bribes, smaller or bigger. And at the end to survive you become one of those people with connections. Man who can finish some business that helps others.

You are finishing jobs for people, sometimes for money, sometimes for favors, sometimes for friends, and you are expanding network of people you know. Word “human capital” gets new meaning. More people you know (people who can finish something) more power and money you have.

If I order something from Ebay in 80% I have chance that item gonna be held in customs, and some ridiculously high tax for that gonna be sent to me, import tax or whatever, usually 20X more tax then value of order. So I need to find some guy there and offer him maybe 2-3x value of order in cash, and order can be mine.

It is in every aspect of society, you can not live without it.

And I mention only very harmless examples of corruption…

Already living in corrupt system and making things work through people you know is one of the reasons why it is easier for people in unorganized countries to live better through consequences of collapse. People have already adapted to fact that they need connections to make pretty much anything happen.

So how does this information help you? I hope this article gave you basic understanding how corruption works in real life. This can help you when you travel, when you want to make things work in unorganized countries and also should give you ideas for your preparations. Store some “presents”, think about skills you can learn that you can trade as favors. Corruption will be big part of post shtf society… at least in beginning before law is enforced.

If you have questions or stories about how presents helped “someone you know” to make things work, please share in comments.