If there was ever any doubt in my mind that, once an addict, always an addict, an experience a while back erased that doubt.
At a store where I sometimes shop, in the case to the left is the headshop section, and in that case sit a pile of punchbag balloons, some brass crackers, and boxes upon boxes of nitrous oxide cartridges. For your whipped cream machine, of course. I noticed them for the first time not long ago, and it reminded me of college but I didn't think much about it. This day, though, I thought, what the hell. It had been decades since I huffed laughing gas from balloons, and I still have my old cracker on the shelf of my closet next to my ancient college-era bong. Yes, I'm an former alcohol addict, but this isn't alcohol. And I was never a nitrous addict, it was just something I used to do sometimes on rare occasions. I guess I was just curious, and I remember it as being fun.
So I bought a couple boxes and a few balloons, and went on my way, thinking "Wow, this will be fun, it's been like 30 years!". And, later that day, it was, in fact, fun. There's something indescribable about a nitrous high, fleeting as it is. For 30 seconds, you are in a blissful place, and then it fades rapidly and you drift back to Earth, laughing about what you just experienced. Back in my drug days, I rated it as the best, far better than weed or acid or pills, and in a different league than alcohol. It is very fleeting, not the least bit social, and it leaves you incapacitated until you come back down, but nothing beats the high if your ideal "high" is shooting to the moon and drooling on your shirt.
But once I had come back down from my first balloon full of nitrous, I found myself filled with the urge to suck down another balloon full of nitrous. Man, this stuff is great! And so I cracked another cartridge and sucked it down. And then another one. And another one. Three hours later, I had gone through both boxes and two balloons, and my kitchen garbage can was about 5 lbs heavier with dozens of empty nitrous cartidges.
The next day, I thought, yep. There's a reason I shouldn't use mind-altering substances for mind-altering purposes, not even innocent and essentially harmless laughing gas. There is a part of me that has been trained to love the stuff, going back to my teen years, and that part does not know how to stop, no matter what the substance is. I don't regret buying the nitrous, it was kinda fun and it was certainly an interesting and illuminating experience. But I won't be buying it again.