Citation: John J. "Changed Forever: An Experience with LSD (exp8232)". Erowid.org. Aug 7, 2001. erowid.org/exp/8232
||(blotter / tab)
It has been 13 years since that very fateful trip, and I am still not over it: I say this without any exaggeration. Not only did that trip re-route my entire existence, but its after-effect lingered for a good decade (I'm not talking about flashbacks - I've never had one - but the duration of the 'highness'), and I am only now, after much reflection and study, at the point where I have some idea just what happened to me, and who I am. If that sounds somewhat psychotic - so be it.
I was 23 when I dropped the blotter. Prior to this trip, I had smoked my fair share of marijuana - I was still very unconscious at this stage of my life, not at all awake (in the Buddhist sense) - and it always made me laugh or at least have a high-intensity aesthetic appreciation of my surroundings and whatever events might be taking place. I had taken mushrooms once or twice, and had enjoyed them. I had also taken some microdot (purple and pink types) and had gotten off hard, but in the best way: the sort of trip where you laugh until you cry and you're just in the greatest groove of your life. In retrospect, I realize that I was with people I liked and trusted during those mushroom and microdot experiences, and that I felt secure, and this ensured positive results. But the blotter was a whole different scene entirely. I have used acid since, but I am afraid of it now. The last few times I used it, I drank heavily first to reduce the effect. I am sad about that fact, because I would love to feel that high again, but I do not need anymore face-to-face with God, or whatever it is you meet while high on LSD.
I took the blotter while I was at work; I was managing a record store, and I dropped the acid about an hour before closing. Everything was fine; I remember that, with fifteen minutes left before closing, I had one customer in the store. But I was starting to feel it: that inexplicable electric weirdness that you only get from acid. It is as if your central nervous system is electric, and you feel charged all through your body. It feels good, and makes you grin. Well, I could only smile at this customer, and nod in response to his questions - I wasn't very helpful, but I was shooting off hard. I finally closed the store (around 9:30) and I was attempting to finish my paperwork, but there was no way I could even count or look at the register journal: I was too energized from the acid.
While I was trying to finish that work, there was an unexpected, loud, frightening crash on the front windows of the store which startled me very badly. I turned, thinking a car was crashing into the store, and I saw my friends, who had brought the acid to me at the store, and who also had taken some (we had all agreed to take it at the same time and meet up later). They were laughing hysterically, and it was funny (or would've been, under other circumstances) but that scare planted the seed of paranoia into me, which grew throughout the night and ruined the trip (although it ended up being a great trip, as I'll explain).
We left the store and all headed to our hometown, about fifteen minutes away. One of my friends - the girlfriend of one of the guys in our little tripping party - was not using LSD, and so I asked her to drive my car, because I didn't feel like driving. She agreed, and on the way it started to rain. The car was at the end of its time, and various parts were defective, two of which were the windshield wipers. I think one worked, but not very well, and I kept telling my friend that if she didn't want to drive anymore, I wouldn't blame her. She was OK with it though; she wasn't tripping so she was coping with the situation well, but I was truly high by this time and had distorted reality perception - the paranoia was increasing (I left work without finishing my duties, the window prank had frightened me, the rain seemed dangerous), and I wasn't enjoying the trip.
We got to our destination and got out. I was craving alcohol, because I knew it would relax me a bit, but nobody had thought to buy beer. We were going to see another friend, who was house-sitting, and we were supposed to meet them in a small cabin to the side of the house, because the cabin had been converted into a game room. I didn't know these people very well, and I wasn't sure that we should be in this cabin, and my anxiety was increasing. But we went in and sat down. Suddenly, a bright red fire-engine style light was shining in a window and there was an awful siren. Needless to say, this only made my condition worse. It was the friends whom we were supposed to meet; they had a hand-held device to simulate a fire-engine, and they had held it in the window and sounded the siren. I remember now that I was sitting on the sofa, peaking on the acid, very uptight, paranoid, and uncomfortable, and that my eyes were darting all over the room quickly, not stopping on anything too long. I was scared. One of my friends noticed my eyes and made fun of me, and that was the end. I said, 'I'm having a really bad trip.' They all looked at me with funny faces: disappointed and worried and annoyed. I said, 'I'm not going to kill anyone or anything, but I'm having a bad trip.' I don't know why I said this; I think I was responding to the worry in their faces - they seemed to be thinking I was going to have a psychotic break. But I was just very anxious and scared. I asked my friend's girlfriend (the one who drove the Pinto) to come outside with me and she did. The whole night was ruined after we went out.
I felt better immediately, and I just wanted to walk, and walk, and walk: that was the only thing that seemed comforting. My friends came with me, but I knew they didn't really want to do this. I wouldn't have minded being left alone, actually, but they stayed with me. We walked all over the city. I became very grim. I couldn't force a smile or a laugh. The blotter was too strong; I was too high and too much information was getting into my consciousness. I noticed many things over the next several hours.
I realized that these particular friends were fakers; that they wore masks over their true feelings and personalities, and that underneath the masks they were unpleasant, small-minded human beings (animals, really). This probably sounds awful, but this is what I thought at the time. My relationship with those people was ruined that night, because I saw they were hiding, that they would never take responsibility for their lives and try to live honestly and good, but would remain low. I felt very much distanced from them. I saw all the manipulation and shrewdness in our relations, the conniving and the back-stabbing, and I wanted to cry. It was sad. I realized that I wasn't on the proper path, and that these friends weren't ever going to be on that path: this was my spiritual awakening, my first kensho, or satori. I understood that I wanted to get as much realness into my life as possible. The acid was forcing me to witness my own faults, and the inappropriateness of my way and the company I was keeping, and the truths which I would have to follow for the rest of my life. It was the end of my delusion. I woke up that night.
The trip was interesting in some ways, if not wholly pleasant. I had episodes of synesthesia, especially blending of sound and sight (I can't describe this, sorry, I don't have the language to do it), and I had major philosophical reflection, most significantly on the nature of time. I gained an incredible amount of wisdom that night. When my friends were finally sick of watching over me, and declared that they were going home, I got into my Pinto and drove twenty minutes or so to my house. On the way, I had trouble. I could only either drive too fast or drive at a creeping speed - I couldn't manage a moderate, consistent speed at all. I was hearing voices in the wind when I had the window down, and I heard bizarre, distorted, nearly demonic voices coming out of the radio if I turned it on. I had my driver's license and car registration out on the dashboard, and I was ready, if I got pulled over by a cop, to tell him or her that I was way beyond anything that could be tested and to just arrest me and have it finished. But I made it home. I was on the back side of the acid peak by this time, but still really high.
The earlier portion of the acid trip had been so rotten - I haven't explained it well, and I can't really - and I had been so uncomfortable. But now, I sat out on the front steps (the house was in a more rural area) listening to the wind and the whinny of some horses across the street, and feeling the coolness of the night air, and everything improved. I was away from the charlatans and had some good peace. As I sat there I had more existential realizations, mostly about 'success', and 'making it'. I understood that it was OK for me to do whatever made me happy in life, and that I didn't need to strive unnecessarily for fortune and fame, and wealth; instead, it was perfectly fine to live a simple, quiet life. I felt unburdened and light at this point. Everything was glowing with niceness.
I went inside to my bedroom, and the walls were throbbing - that was my first real visual hallucination. It was very interesting. I went to the bathroom and, noticing that my jeans which had gotten soaked in the rain earlier had bled blue dye down my legs and onto my socks, I stripped and sat on the floor. I was very calm and content, and I studied my body for quite a while; I was mostly fascinated by the muscle system, how the muscles worked together in groups. I was feeling much better. But I wanted to talk to someone and tell them about what I had thought and what I gained while peaking on the blotter. There was no one to tell, though. I did eventually tire and go to sleep. The trip ended in a quiet bliss, and I was very thankful.
The following day, my quest began. I had seen something different while tripping, something very real and very true, but missing from my normal life. And I knew - or something knew inside me, something 'deeper' than my ego - that I had to find a way back to that height without the acid. I am still on that search. I have gotten some answers, but it gets harder and harder the further I go. The paranoia from that night still haunts me a bit, though it is lessening. I can say that I would want it to happen to me again, because the acid brought me a small measure of enlightenment, and that overall the good outweighed the bad. But that first half of the trip - the climb - I can live without. It was too much; or maybe I just chose my partners very poorly.
That was thirteen years ago. I am now 36. I have a B.A. in philosophy and English literature, and am halfway toward earning an M.A. in theology. I attend Jungian analysis every week. I have a job at a publishing firm as an editor. But I am still questing. I would like to find a way to gain that high again, that certainty and clarity of insight, without the shock of acid, and I wonder if I'll ever find a method for it. Every day I consider abandoning the Western world and joining a Buddhist monastery or a Krishna ashram. But I am still not sure that leaving the everyday world is the key. That trip was memorable and mind-expanding, and I've never been the same, but it was worthwhile, because I started out on the road to my self that night.
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