disclaimer: this is not typical acid use. There are many concretely ‘beneficial’ effects from lower, more infrequent doses
In 2014, I did on average 250ug of acid once a week(ish) for ten months, from January to October, or approximately 40 times. Doses typically ranged from 150ug-600ug (I assume; I never knew for sure how much I actually took). Subjective experiences ranged from slightly glowing colors to complete loss of any contact with the physical world around me. I remember listening to a song, and by the time I heard a note in the song, I’d forgotten what the last one had been, and it didn’t sound like music anymore, just occasional ‘sounds’ piercing through once every few eons.
I had the ability to do this. I had savings. I lived in a house of accepting camgirls. Real life wasn’t getting in the way.
The first thing people usually want to know is why? Nobody gets addicted to acid. It’s unheard of. When people trip, they stay generally avoid it for several months. It’s usually beautiful, but intense, difficult, and often terrifying.
For whatever reason, acid was useful to me in a way that I’ve slowly grown to realize is not common in others. Every time I tripped I had the overwhelming sensation that the doors had opened and I was mainlining epiphanies from a direct source of truth. Every time I stopped tripping, it felt like those doors closed, and I forgot most of what I’d learned. But I wanted to remember.
So I kept doing it. Again and again, higher and higher doses. I needed to know. I produced art. I played music. I got very excited and tried to make everybody I knew do acid too.
When we imagine frequent drug use, we imagine it as a form of escapism – that real life is too difficult, that we want to shut down for a time. Acid is exactly the opposite. It heightened what I was aware of in my own mind, let me explore the way my own thoughts formed. It took what I was and shoved my own face in it. I couldn’t look away. There were times of deliberately induced and absolutely excruciating emotional pain, to which nothing in my regular life has ever come close. I did it on purpose. I needed to know.
It is very difficult to talk about the “things you learn” while tripping, because it occurs while in such a deeply altered state that language ceases to apply. It really is more about a way of looking – a very specific type of engaging in experience. “Thinking about the experience” defeats the point, because thinking about it is not the same thing as “having it”. Applying words to the experience is misleading by nature. Defining a thing gives it an outside and an inside, and thus you can never define the thing that is “always outside” – in giving it a term, in identifying it with boundaries, it is no longer what you are trying to say. The Tao that can be named is not the Tao. To name a thing is to give it form.
As time went on, I stopped viewing myself as a being separate from the universe. Sensations became interesting to watch, not motivating. I entered such a permanent state of utter peace and contentment that I stopped wanting anything at all. And by the end of it, I barely got out of bed, barely ate. My sleep schedule became erratic, as I woke and slept as I wished. I had vivid lucid dreams. I had stopped working almost entirely and was living off slowly depleting savings. Why would I work? Why would I do anything? I was…. not happy, not sad, I simply was. I was free of desire. I did not fear death.
And, ten months in, I realized that’s what I was looking at – death. I would compulsively whisper “I am dead” under my breath throughout the day. I was an empty vessel. And I realized, that if I kept doing acid, I probably would die, out of sheer apathy. I imagined becoming homeless, and that did not worry me. I imagined freezing on the street, and I embraced it.
I wasn’t terribly worried – but I had to make a decision. Did I want to continue down this path, knowing the end was oblivion? Or did I want to close the doors and return to the world of the living?
This choice and my decision occupies a very curious spot in my memory because I don’t really understand it, and it feels like the small center of something, like this was the thing I’d been circling around all this time. I chose life, as you can see, and I have the sense that my choice was inevitable, or that it wasn’t ever a choice at all. It happened to me. Once I saw what the end was, the next step was to close my eyes. Or, really, the sight of the end and the rejection of it was done in one motion, like it is in the nature of seeing the end to shut your eyes. Something something quantum immortality.
The journey back was almost as strange and beautiful as the journey in. As my motivations slowly began returning, I found all I wanted was to forget. Whereas before I was trying to immerse myself in the knowing, now I was constantly attempting to shut eyes that were permanently pried open. No matter where I turned, the Knowing had been seared into my brain. It was like that feeling you get when you watch a movie and are suddenly aware that, just out of the frame, there are camera crews standing around the actors, and you stop buying into the story because all you see is the movie set.
I just wanted to pretend this was all real. I wanted to feel invested in myself. I wanted to feel upset, insecure, proud, happy, anxiety, anything. I wanted to stop knowing.
Before I chose life, I didn’t mind the deep nothingness I had sunk into – but after the choice was made, it became… not uncomfortable, but strange. I felt like I had abandoned an old lover, like this constant twinge of pain, like a splinter in my throat I couldn’t dislodge. I thought constantly about tripping again and being reunited. I did acid in my dreams.
Over time, almost without me realizing it, the eye slowly eased shut, like going to sleep. I started to find myself caught up in moments of investment. I started to feel insecure again, annoyed. And it was shitty and amazing.
It took about another ten months for me to return to roughly where I’d been when I started.
I’m mostly normal now, with only a few remnants. Sometimes certain types of conversations will trigger it, where I’m sitting there and suddenly the eye of the universe has turned on me and I am melting away. It is very intense. I don’t mind, though. That’s a fundamental part of the feeling, really – that I don’t mind when it’s happening.
I feel like I’ve pulled the wool over my own eyes. I’ve bought into this world. It is profoundly comforting in a way so subconscious it’s difficult to identify. It’s as though at all times, behind my ears, there is a powerful belief whispering it’s okay. I chose this. I am full, I am held. I am not afraid anymore, and when I am, it’s because fear is interesting, because I have the privilege of feeling it. I am so grateful to get to hurt.
My underlying motivation now is to convey this awareness to others (or feel as though I have). It seems like the most important thing, the only important thing. And so here I am.*
An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path. He wasn’t sure of which direction to go, and he’d forgotten both where he was traveling to…and who he was. He remembered absolutely nothing. He suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: “Now your third wish. What will it be?”
“Third wish?” The man was baffled. “How can it be a third wish if I haven’t had a first and second wish?”
“You’ve had two wishes already,” the hag said, “but your second wish was for you to forget everything you know.” She cackled at the poor man. “So it is that you have one wish left.”
“All right,” he said hesitantly, “I don’t believe this, but there’s no harm in trying. I wish to know who I truly am.”
“Funny,” said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. “That was your first wish…”
unknown author; if you know who, let me know so I can give credit
* The effects of taking this much have only continued to sink in and settle over time. I no longer feel some of these things. I have lost a large chunk of my desire to communicate it, and I have increasingly intense episodes.