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Dropping Acid: A Beginner's Guide to the Responsible Use of LSD for Self-Discovery
by Dale Bewan
Publisher:
Self-Published 
Year:
2013 
ISBN:
1492318191 
Categories:
Book Reviews
Reviewed by David Arnson, 5/28/2014

“When you take LSD or (most) other psychedelics, you experience a state that is even more conscious than your regular state; just as your regular state is more conscious than your groggy-just-woke-up-and-need-coffee state. This comes as a surprise to some people,as they assume – quite incorrectly – that their normal state of being was the most conscious they were capable of being.”

The pseudonymous “Dale Bevan” has written a self-published guide for those interested in taking LSD for the first time. It is written in a very thoughtful manner, and, to it’s credit, does not necessarily act as a cheerleading ‘infomercial’ for use of the substance. What we are given here is a fairly balanced overview of LSD in terms of it’s history, chemistry, and the author’s own experiences with it.

It is notable that the writer identifies himself as having Aspergers’ Syndrome, a degree of autism where one can still be highly functional. Part of the book’s purpose is to convey that a methodical use of LSD has helped the author recognize and compensate for his his condition, primarily in regards to his behavior in social settings, and has even helped him find solutions at his job as a software developer.

You can get an idea of the ambitious scope of the book by the listing of the chapters’ titles here:

The Effects of LSD
Your First Trip
Structure Of The Trip
Tales Of Some First Trips
Dangers And Risks
Don’t Panic
Self -Discovery
LSD And Creativity
The Meaning Of Life
States Of Mind
Where Do I Get It And How Do I Take It
LSD Research And Medicine
The History of LSD
LSD And The Law
The Chemistry
Final Words

Much of the information is, of course subjective, but overall sober and sensible, such as advice on avoiding crowded public places, and for having access to a safe ‘home base’ for decompressing afterwards. One learns that Sydney, Australia’s ‘Bondi Beach’ is a good place for having a first experience (the author was living near there for a while)! Some interesting comments are delivered in the ‘Meaning Of Life’ chapter, and on LSD’s spirituality-inducing qualities even as the author remains an atheist.

In the chapters on ‘Where Do i Get It And How Do I Take It’ and ‘The Chemistry’, Bewan practically stumbles over himself listing all of the possibilities, pitfalls and factors on whether what you have is real or fake, but still, better over-informed than under-informed, right? And again, it is very interesting to read how LSD (and MDMA) has helped the author deal with his Asperger’s Syndrome.

Overall, this is a reasonably good overview and user’s ‘101’ manual for someone who really wants to do their research and homework before ‘Dropping Acid’. At 280 pages, myriad fact and factors are earnestly addressed, and the all-important concept of ‘set and setting’ is constantly reinforced. Kudos on mentioning ‘Erowid.org’ as an information source, but we will subtract one microgram of credit for misspelling Ken Kesey’s bus as ‘Further’ and not the more often used and well-documented ‘Furthur’!

1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for the nice review. I only just happened to stumble across it now, so it was a pleasant surprise.

    I’d just like to add that unlike some authors, I’m also very open to discussion and feedback from readers or even interested people who haven’t read the book or have no intention to. I keep active on my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DroppingAcidDaleBewan and on http://reddit.com under the username /u/dalebewan

    Dropping Acid is definitely a book that is mostly subjective, as indeed the primary theme of the book is ‘self-discovery’, which is in the realm of psychology and philosophy more than the harder sciences. Where I do touch on history, law, neuroscience, chemistry and so on however, I did my best to make it clear what was my own opinion vs what information was gathered from elsewhere. I hope that that came across well for people reading it.

    I’m currently working on my next book, and really hope to have it out before the end of 2014 but if not, then early 2015 for sure. The theme of this next book is a deeper investigation of the concept of psychonautics in general, aimed at people who are more familiar with the overall idea and experience, but are looking for a compendium of information covering different concepts and perspectives so that they can continue their journeys in to those lines of thought with a broader base of information than they might previously have had. It also naturally covers a range of different psychoactive substances and methodologies aside from drugs beyond just psychedelics however given my own experiences and interests, psychedelics are at the forefront. It should also be readable for someone with no background or knowledge in the area, but they’re not the primary target unlike Dropping Acid.

    I have some plans for other books beyond that as well – including diverging away from the topic of psychedelics completely, such as a book on critical thinking, logic, and how subjectivity influences our understanding of the objective world and the philosophical debate as to whether there is even an objective world. As of yet, I have no idea when I can write/finish that one but I really hope to release at least 2 books per 3 years, with one per year for the coming five to ten years as an ideal goal. I’ll never release a book unless I’m sure it’s actually going to be of interest to someone though – I write because I want to spread information, not necessarily to make a huge profit if I was in it for the money, I’d write teenage romance novels – they make much more than books about LSD!

    As for Furthur – I know it was originally written that way, but it was also ‘quickly corrected’ to the spelling Further so I went with the name that more people would have seen. I originally had mentioned this in an earlier draft of the book, but it got cut in my editing towards the end I wanted to keep the book under 300 pages, and near the end I was at around 320, so quite a lot did get cut that I hope to be able to include in future works.
    —Dale Bewan

    Comment by Dale Bewan — 7/25/2014 @ 2:10 pm

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