Citation: Sputnik. "Nothing but Strips of Color: An Experience with Ketamine & Alcohol (exp110995)". Erowid.org. Nov 4, 2017. erowid.org/exp/110995
Let me start with a disclaimer: Pretty much every harm reduction publication in existence advises against combining ketamine and alcohol. There's a reason for this, and I strongly caution against ignoring it.
As background, I am an experienced psychonaut and ketamine enthusiast. I have never administered any drug intravenously and have no intention to. My relationship with ketamine has been off-and-on, having discovered two years ago that I really like it, and so decided to take multi-month breaks between uses to avoid dependency. I have had many experiences with around 20 different substances, and my highest recorded dose of LSD is 800ug. I am a super-lightweight and only ever do one bump of ketamine at a time.
This was Wednesday night at Burning Man. I had been mixing drinks (vodka, mainly) for an hour or two, not paying attention to my consumption levels; if I had to guess, I'd say I had had the equivalent of 4 or 5 drinks. I was feeling tipsy but not incoherent or out of control in the least.
I have developed this habit of drinking and then magically forgetting that ketamine and alcohol DO NOT mix well. So, when someone in our area asked me if I'd like a bump, I enthusiastically accepted, after confirming that they'd tested it to ensure that it was actually k. I remember taking the bumper and hitting it, and then...
The best I can describe this experience was a shifting, morphing blob of timelines all converging on each other at once. Within 30 seconds I was feeling the effects of the bump, which led me to repeatedly insist out loud that it wasn't real k. (It was.) In a matter of minutes I was tossed into a COMPLETELY bizarre universe in which different parts of my perception were being tacked onto or layered over each other
I was tossed into a COMPLETELY bizarre universe in which different parts of my perception were being tacked onto or layered over each other
- my body was so impossibly disconnected from my brain, I was unable to move anything but my eyes. For a while, it was like different segments of time were copy pasted in different regions of my mind, and every time I looked at something different it would become a mass of color and shape with no meaning attached to it. Colors were ethereal and shifting.
I'd like to pause here to clarify that I had NO idea what the fuck was going on during any of this, and was only faintly aware of being anywhere at all... at first. Then, probably 5 or 10 minutes in, the strings attaching me to anything ever were snipped entirely, and I sank into a thoroughly unpleasant existence as nothing but a strip of orange and red light with white on either side.
I didn't realize it at the time, obviously, but this was my first experience with ego death. The strip of light and color was everything ever, and I had an innate understanding of this fact, and zero concept of a self or any objects existing within it. This strip took up my entire vision, and all of my senses blurred together into continuous blocks.
Eventually, probably after 30 or 40 minutes or so, I had started to regain some semblance of vision, and found myself lying on my side with my head in someone's lap. I have a foggy memory of knowing that someone was asking me if I needed to throw up, and I insisted that I didn't ('Get the bag, that's what she says when she's going to throw up,' he said - and then I did, a lot). As things came back into focus, I was still largely unable to move for another 20 minutes or so, and my vision was slanted and translucent, like multiple images were stacked on top of each other. I wasn't able to perceive depth very well, still, and people's faces were either extremely close or very far away.
After another 30 minutes of being curled up in a ball, shivering (my body temperature dropped drastically), I hauled myself onto a bike and finished the night.
From the people who were kind enough to babysit me: Apparently, throughout the whole experience I was whimpering and crying (when I'd just done the bump, I slumped onto my side with my eyes glazed over and just said 'help' without moving) and apologizing over and over, saying how embarrassed I was and how stupid I was for mixing substances (again). That transitioned into me repeating either 'I'm so high...' or 'I can't see' or 'I need water' or 'I'm cold' or 'I need help' for 45 minutes. I have no memory of saying anything at all.
Ultimately, the physiological dangers of combining K and alcohol are real, and the experience that ensues is so muddied and uncomfortable that it's difficult to actually feel the psychedelic effects of a k-hole. I have made this exact same mistake twice before, but this was the first time it kicked me into ego death, and the shifting of timelines and shapes is almost impossible to describe verbally - it induces a delirium-like state in which there is no up or down and physical movement is pretty much out of the question.
Please be safe and do your research.
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