Citation: P. K. Dick. "Moon Safari: An Experience with Zolpidem (Ambien) (exp56032)". Erowid.org. Feb 28, 2008. erowid.org/exp/56032
I had been waiting for an opportunity to try the few pills of Ambien I had been hanging on to for well over a year. I had no real interest in its effects (I tend to favor the more thought-provoking psychedelics), and took it only to perhaps satisfy my curiosity -- all in the interest of science, as they say. A few nights ago, I had that window of opportunity -- I needed to get to bed early so I could awake much sooner than I ordinarily do. My girlfriend would be up for another several hours making noise and burning lights. I felt that perhaps Ambien would allow me to sleep uninterrupted while she went about her business.
At 9:20 PM, I took (3) 5mg pills. Five minutes later, after some deliberation, I went ahead and took one more. All pills were taken on an empty stomach. (Well, technically, only the first three were...) Immediately after taking the pills, I gathered the garbage and took numerous bags outside to the road. It was an overcast but pleasant night.
By the time I had taken the trash out, I felt noticeably different -- the feeling I get from perhaps half a beer on an empty stomach, just off baseline. I was surprised at the quick onset -- at this point, maybe 10 minutes had elapsed since I took the pills. Over the next 5 to 10 minutes, the effects manifested themselves at an increasing rate. By the time I was back upstairs, I was completely in its clutches. I decided to stay awake for as long as possible to see what would develop.
A brief but necessary aside - at this point in my journey, fully affected by the Ambien, it is impossible to faithfully reconstruct what happened in chronological order. The rest of the evening, in retrospect, seems to exist out of time, out of order, with only brief glimpses and fragmented images that I must piece together. If there is a prevailing theme to Ambien at this dosage, it seems to be one of AMNESIA. The effect is similar to the part in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (how many hats have been tipped to this movie?) where HST is playing back audio tape of his own chaotic unintelligible rantings, none of which are familiar to him...
(T+ 00:20 I came in and used the bathroom and talked with my girlfriend, who was at the computer. I don't know what I was saying or doing, but she was cracking up at me and saying 'Oh my God, this is too much!' I don't think I was trying to be funny. From where she was sitting, about fifteen feet away from me, she appeared in double, her head having three eyes. Everything close by was crystal clear. Further away, objects doubled and trebeled. I remember showcasing something I called the 'Ambien Dance', which I remember thinking 'captured' what Ambien was all about. I seem to remember it being something like the delivery in bowling. My coordination was completely shot, and it was for the best that I was inside in the privacy of my own home.
(T+ 00:25)I sat on the couch and cuddled my dog. These are the only two events I can report on with any chronological certainty. At one point in 'time', I remember hearing my girlfriend saying 'And now you're smoking, too?' This 'woke me up', and sure enough, I found myself sitting on the couch smoking a glass pipe. No recollection of packing it, lighting it, etc. As I surfaced into waking reality, I realized I was having a hard time breathing in the smoke. It was as if I couldn't inflate my lungs fully. It reminded me of the first time people try smoking, not quite having the hang of it yet. This is doubly strange, because, while I usually smoke one in the evening, I would not have consciously smoked after taking Ambien. I steer clear of drug combos. This is disturbing in that it seems I had no conscious control over my actions. (Upon further inspection of the pipe the next day, it seems I only took one hit from it.)
Another weird fragmented memory I recall--very dream-like, so not sure if it really happened--was of maybe getting into the bottle of Xanax. There's this image of having little pills of Xanax stuck to my face, and of licking them off, casually thinking 'It can't hurt me at this point.' I really do not know for sure if I actually took Xanax or not. It's absolutely not something I would do, but considering the pipe incident … it makes me wonder.
Somehow I made it into bed. I don't remember doing so. I do seem to remember being able to perfectly reconstruct, in my mind, Air's 'Moon Safari' album. It was as if the album was actually playing. The entire experience seems to have lasted for hours, but from what my girlfriend says, I was asleep within half an hour of taking the first pills.
The next morning I bounced out of bed as the alarm went off. It's a strange sensation not remembering how you got into bed--one wholly unfamiliar to me, at least.
No after effects the next day, no hangover. Seemingly no side effects -- however, if one's goal is to simply get to sleep, I would suppose that everything I just described could be considered one roller coaster of a side effect.
I guess some would call this 'fun', but it's really not what I look for in a recreational substance. The unconscious actions and amnesia I find rather disturbing. There was nothing rewarding about the experience, from a creative or productive perspective.
An interesting note -- the next night I had the absolute worst night's sleep ever -- beset by disturbing dreams, tossing and turning, a feeling of being hot and dry. The first thought that popped into my mind was, 'I could just take an Ambien…'
Careful with this stuff...
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