Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Have you ever woken up somewhere the next morning and not known how you got there? Have you ever found yourself lubed up and not known why? Have you ever seen the person next to you in bed the day after and not recognized them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are involved in risky business.

Risk is exciting. Thrill-seeking is life-affirming. People jump out of planes, ski down steep hills, ride motorcycles over rough terrain and get so drunk, stoned and uninhibited that they don’t know where they are or what they’ve done. In that state of mind, anything can happen—and often does.

Absolute abandon is ecstasy. No one thinks about times they were totally in control of themselves as the most thrilling moments of their lives. We think about the times when we were completely outside our comfort zones physically or emotionally and when we were in jeopardy in one way or another. A life without any thrills is kind of boring. A life made up only of thrills will be short, dangerous and
ultimately tragic.

You don’t have to be a drunk or drug addict to find yourself in harm’s way. One night on the town where you wind up you don’t know where, with you don’t know whom or how you got there can be enough to ruin your life. It’s amazing how one DUI can set you back or how one dangerous sex act or one act of violence can change everything.

Is it possible to have an amazing time without flirting with that much danger? Can you have 80 percent as much fun without losing it completely? That decision is yours. I am just asking you to think about it. And I am asking you to talk to your friends about it. When you are recounting drug and sexual war stories to each other, think about asking your buddies if it scared them at the time. Would they
do it again? Why can’t you have enough fun without going
completely crazy?

Most of us have family and friends who really care about what happens to us. When we wake up in a strange, dangerous place, think about how your mom would feel if something really bad happened to you. There is some place of balance where you can find ecstasy without taking ecstasy. Where you can get a little buzzed without putting yourself in harm’s way and without screwing up your life.

Not only are you not invincible at any age, there are consequences at any time of your life. What’s worth it? What’s not?