Citation: Casaubon. "Bad News Overload: An Experience with ALD-52 (exp110991)". Erowid.org. Sep 22, 2017. erowid.org/exp/110991
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On a gray, overcast day in late summer I decided to test out a recently acquired batch of ALD-52. My experience with psychedelics up until that point had been fairly limited, mostly confined to various haphazard experiments in my teens (also including ketamine and other dissociatives). I smoke pot regularly in small amounts (never exceeding 1 gram per week). Two weeks prior to this experience, I had taken an identical dose of 1P-LSD, which resulted in a mild, pleasurable adventure. This was probably the chief reason why I approached the ALD-52 trip with little to no mental preparation, which in hindsight turned out to be a mistake.
My rekindled interest in psychedelics was owing primarily to Ayelet Waldmanís recent book on microdosing, in which she singles out LSD for its therapeutic benefits. My plan was to begin with a full-blown trip, assessing the substanceís potency and effects, before embarking on a careful microdosing regimen in the following weeks, mirroring the one described in the book. Set and setting for the trip were identical to the aforementioned 1P-LSD trip: me, alone in my apartment, with no work plans or commitments for the day. This being the Labor Day weekend, I had plenty of time to recuperate should the experience prove more exhausting than expected. Around 10 a.m., I placed a single tab of the substance under my tongue, and put on some music while waiting for it to activate.
The come up period was as gentle as with the 1P Iíd taken two weeks before. Circa 90 minutes into the trip I began to feel elation and a pleasant body high
Circa 90 minutes into the trip I began to feel elation and a pleasant body high
, which quickly elicited bouts of uncontrolled giggling. By this time I felt so confident in my ability to control the experience that what happened next took me totally by surprise.
I sat down in front of my TV, considering putting on one of the new Twin Peaks episodes, but the first thing I caught was CNN. By now itís a trite observation that as a society weíre being constantly inundated by a barrage of bad news, but I have rarely felt it as acutely as in that moment. Against my better judgement, I watched on as the segments flashed by. Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing their homes in the tens of thousands. Threats of political violence in Kenya. Hurricane Harvey ravaging the Texas coastline. Hoping for something less emotionally intense, I switched over to YouTube. On the top of my recommended list there was a video of a Utah nurse being unlawfully arrested by a police officer and violently dragged out of a hospital.
By this time the ALD-52 had begun to approach peak potency levels, and I have no other way to describe what happened than that I was completely overwhelmed. When the video ended, the recommendations list showed titles that referenced various skeevy conspiracy theories, stuff that I would not normally watch or be influenced by. In this vulnerable state, however, I began to feel the onset of paranoid thoughts. I started imagining that the nurse incident was a prelude to some global plot involving massive arrests and information warfare. Were the Russians behind it? They have been on the news a lot recently, after all. Was it some undefined oppressive world government? *Gasp* Aliens? I couldnít really keep the story straight in my own head.
Ultimately, logical plausibility and reasonable explanations did not matter one bit. Almost any fact that would not agree with my paranoid interpretations I could twist around, getting mired further and further in the bad trip. I started messaging some friends on Facebook, and even went so far as to call a friend over the phone, but their ostensibly calm responses did nothing to dispel my fears. Every new person I talked to became just another object for my suspicions. All this time I was aware of having ingested a substance, but I constructed completely absurd explanations to get around that fact. Somebody must have planned it this way. They wanted me to ingest a psychoactive substance at this exact time, to get me while I was vulnerable. I didnít mean to wait around for the police or the military to show up at my doorstep, looking to arrest me.
I had to go outside, not only to assess the situation, but also to make sure that my parents were safe. They live in the suburbs, about a half-hour drive away, and in my present state I had to call an Uber to reach them. I phoned beforehand to make sure that they were home, which made for a very awkward and frantic conversation. Initially, I wasnít able to find the car, and the driver wasnít picking up his phone, increasing my paranoia to an almost dangerous level. Somebody clearly didnít want to me get out and see my parents. I started walking toward the neighborhood Catholic church, somehow getting the impression that this is where the authorities wanted us to gather before spiriting us away. Itís good that I ultimately decided against going in there, avoiding a potentially painful embarrassment. I stumbled around the neighborhood, not knowing how to contact my missing Uber driver. I started accosting random people and asking them what was happening. A weird kid at the soccer field. Some elderly couple trying to get into their car. A food delivery guy. All of them seemed oblivious to the nightmare I was experiencing. In my mind, that only made them seem more guilty.
Somehow I finally managed to find the driver and get into his car, almost immediately fessing up that Iíd taken LSD and also, that there was a sinister military conspiracy underway. The ensuing half-hour drive was excruciating. He was alternately playing along with my delusions and poking fun at me. We were driving through what I imagined to be a desolate, almost post-apocalyptic cityscape. At no point did I experience any intense visual hallucinations, but everything seemed excessively drab and gray, with certain subtle changes in perspective and color. I did not have the time nor presence of mind to check for closed-eye visuals. My paranoid thoughts and fears alternated between having to spend the rest of my days in a concentration camp for acid-addled second-class citizens, or being an unwilling subject of a whites-only totalitarian state under Russian control.
By the time I arrived at my parentsí house, the wave had already crested. Seeing them, along with my younger brother and our old dog, further assuaged my fears. Normally, I would have been apprehensive about revealing to my parents that I was under the influence of a psychedelic drug. In my adolescence, they were very controlling and had a strict anti-drug stance. This time, however, they accepted my having taken LSD without so much as batting an eye. Perhaps it was owing to my relatively mild demeanor (at no point during the trip do I remember becoming aggressive), or maybe that they did not believe my confession at all, but we quickly moved on from the topic of drugs to regular family gossip. That would normally bore me, but now I felt emotionally in tune with everything that we talked about. My cousin getting married. A new mall being built in their neighborhood etc. By this time I was beginning to get flashes of regular consciousness, slowly clawing my way out of that overwhelming dystopian delusion Iíd fallen into. Being around other people (and a dog) combined with a decrease in the substanceís intensity, making me feel more at ease in my surroundings. Looking at my phone, I remember this as happening around 4 p.m., six hours from ingestion time.
My dad very considerately offered to give me a ride home. I was still somewhat dazed, but I remember laughing at myself for all the stupid things the substance made me believe. There were some flashes of embarrassment. Accosting people in the street is very out of character for me, and in regular circumstances I probably wouldnít have done it. At the time of the experience, though, I was completely submerged in my feelings. There was no outside frame of reference. Up until that point I had never experienced such total loss of mental control. With my previous psychedelic and dissociative experiments, I could always remind myself that they were temporary states that would sooner or later wear off. At the peak of the ALD-52 experience, however, I simply accepted my delusions as an absolutely real representation of the world. I could seamlessly incorporate the fact of ingesting ALD-52 into the overarching nutty plot I constructed.
I could seamlessly incorporate the fact of ingesting ALD-52 into the overarching nutty plot I constructed.
Thankfully, I did not beat myself up about it too much. A complete immersion of this kind allowed me to process emotions that I would otherwise be unable to access. If you truly believe that the world is hurtling toward a catastrophe, as I did, youíre going to act like it. You will be looking for help from others. You will try to connect with the people you care about, however estranged from them you might feel in everyday life.
A focused experience of that kind could feel almost like an intense therapy session, which makes it all the more regrettable that I neglected to bring a trip sitter into the equation. With a friendly presence to keep me grounded, and a certain level of analytical clarity that the substance still allowed me to retain, I might have made even greater strides in my personal development, without necessarily having to endure all the unpleasantness of a bad trip. I have since discussed the experience with my therapist, agreeing that it highlighted, among others, my trust issues. I donít consider myself a conspiracy-minded person, but I do struggle with a native tendency to assume bad intentions in people I donít know well. I also allow myself too often to be consumed by guilt and self-blame (perhaps an outgrowth of my Catholic upbringing), as evidenced by my recurring delusions of being punished for taking the substance. As if I couldnít allow myself to relinquish control even for a moment, for fear of committing some sin that would diminish me in the eyes of others. Needless to say, thatís a serious barrier to forging meaningful relationships with people, which Iíve been struggling with all my life.
After returning home, I felt the afterglow effects of ALD-52 for another couple of hours, but they consisted mostly in increased wakefulness and slight disorientation. One comparative trial is certainly not enough to base iron-clad conclusions on, but I can tentatively confirm my earlier suspicions of ALD-52 being a significantly more potent LSD analog than 1P-LSD. As mentioned in the beginning, I had taken the latter in a virtually identical set and setting, experiencing noticeably milder results with the same dose. Both samples originating from a trusted vendor, the only other variable here could be my own physiological makeup, which I wouldnít credit with influencing the results to such an extreme point. Therefore, given ALD-52ís superior effectiveness, I have decided to use it as the basis of my microdosing regimen. My hope for it is to be a helpful complement to regular psychotherapy sessions and an important aid in self-discovery, ultimately contributing to a more fulfilling everyday life.
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