“You become like who you hang around with,” are truthful words my parents tried to ingrain into my inner-soul as a young flourishing teenager. I was enjoying peer pressure from my friends.
In fact, I didn’t pay much attention to the valuable advice my parents offered me until I was in my late twenties. Peer pressure can be one of the most influential stimuli that life has to offer. This influence could be positive or negative.
As a rhythm guitar player in a local, professional, top-40 band at only 12 years old, I looked up to the senior members and would often heed their advice regarding various circumstances which surfaced in my life. Because they appeared to be successful and popular, I eventually allowed their influence to replace the mentoring role of my parents. I didn’t realize I had elevated their opinion to such a high level until many years later.
Live music has a powerful effect on listeners. It causes partying people to indulge in alcohol more than in an environment without music. Hundreds of times I witnessed brown bottles and toasting glasses tip to lips as soon as our first note was played. In contrast, I have observed spiritual people raise their hands with passionate praise while performing in a dynamic worship band.
I soon discovered that creating music with fellow band members frequently generates a bond of friendship more intimate than other influential circles—including my family. This is why I would regard their advice as truth, especially the older members. I became close to the bass player Bill, who was three years older than me and had significant influence in my decisions.
When Bill started dabbling in drugs, he seemed to be cheerful and laughing more than usual. His happy-go-lucky attitude relaxed my preconceived perception that drug use was dangerous and damaging. Bill seemed to have a smile on his face even after the gig; when tearing down the equipment would often create an irritable environment.
Eventually, Bill approached me with the intention of getting me high on marijuana. I was nervous and reluctant to engage in this illegal activity for many reasons. Although smoking weed didn’t appear to negatively affect Bill, I was not prepared to encounter a buzz—especially only being 12 years old.
Come and find out what happened next by reading my book “30 Years High”. You’ll probably be surprised at the outcome.
D. Jack Oswald