I’d like to start by saying thank you to Amber Lyon. My first experience with this site was through her article “How Psychedelics Saved My Life” and her eloquence and direct message resonated deeply with me. This article was also the icebreaker for a recent conversation with my mother about psychedelics that ended up radically altering her perspective and helped change her stance from “Oh my god my child is talking to me about how great drugs are – danger danger DANGER!” to one along the lines of “I wonder if your grandfather would ever consider psilocybin mushrooms to get over his PTSD?”
In my early twenties I was a disaster. I came out of high school with the expectation of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. At Virginia Tech I quickly realized that I wanted to do neither of these things but felt compelled to continue school because of the debt I had already accrued and the disappointment of my family I desperately wanted to avoid. I smoked weed for the first time when I was twenty following the end of a long term relationship and self-medicated heavily while moving through a host of antidepressants. I switched majors at least twice.
It all came to a head in the spring semester of 2007. The mass tragedy at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 that resulted in the loss of 33 souls occurred within a week or so of my dad getting diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. I would have been on campus that day had it not been for a last minute dentist appointment. After that I began having agoraphobia and developed panic attacks any time I thought about going out into crowds or public places. I also developed an opiate addiction to morphine. I dropped out of school to attempt to get my life under control and help my dad getting back and forth to radiation and chemotherapy.
The year did not go well. My father passed away in September 2007, just five months after his diagnosis. I had stolen his oxycontin from the medicine drawer multiple times to sell and pay for my bad habits. I hated myself for it. I was working at a call center and engaging in many self destructive behaviors: lots of alcohol and indiscriminate marijuana use which resulted in three different possession charges in many states, unprotected sex, using psychedelics like DXM and mushrooms as a way to escape reality, constantly partying and pretty much anything I could do to attempt to escape myself. It was during a powerful mushroom trip around this time that a repressed memory of being molested when I was a child surfaced and this further confused me and made me question my sexual behavior. They say a lot of pedophiles were molested as kids and a proclivity to strictly 18 or 19 year olds in pornography made me scared I’d end up hurting someone the same way I had been.
It was in the following two years that I had my first experiences with LSD. It profoundly changed my life and I believe that I, just like Ms. Lyon, would be dead were it not for the healing I received. LSD allowed me to step outside myself and look at all of the walls I had created and the barriers I’d placed between myself and being happy. I looked at my own soul and saw who I truly was in a way nothing else had allowed me to. I realized that I was not my addictions or a monster but that I had simply made a lot of mistakes and that that was okay. I realized I could forgive myself. I found the beauty of Now and learned how to appreciate this constantly unfolding moment. I could change the path I was going down that very moment. It changed my stance on being an atheist and rekindled my connection with the divine when I had the epiphany that God is Love and that through expressing love we become a reflection of the divine. I was able to use mushrooms the right way and revisited the memories of my childhood molestation to move past the trauma and the grip it held on me. I felt like I was finally in touch with who I truly was for the first time in my adult life. It felt good.
That’s not to say I haven’t made a lot of mistakes since then. I moved to California in 2009 and moved back to North Carolina in 2012 following the completion of another self-destructive cycle, this time revolving around a cocaine addiction and narcissistic, glamorous lifestyle. Thankfully I have been clean from both opiates and coke for almost 3 years now and psychedelics were crucial in that struggle.
Psychedelic drugs (medicines?) change the way you see things, and by changing your perspective, you can have greater control of your reality. I’m so thankful to have had them in my life as a learning tool. If you’ve never been a part of the psychedelic experience I high recommend it as long as you’re doing it the right way and with the right intentions. My mind, body and soul are all in symbiosis thanks to these powerful, life changing substances.