Planning a positive and productive psychedelic trip
Since you're reading this I will assume that you already know that drugs carry risks and spare you most of the requisite warnings and finger-waving. You're here because you know this and have most likely already made your decision to embark on one of these bizarre and wonderful journeys into a state of altered perception. The remainder of this page is a guide that should help you plan your adventure for safety and success.
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Understanding the nature of a psychedelic "trip"
A psychedelic drug-induced trip can make you feel as if your senses are awakening to a new way of interpreting the world around you, the experience feels quite honest and real and at the same time quite foreign. Maybe it is real or maybe it isn't, this is your decision to make. The point here is that from our current sober perspective, the things we are aware of that define our existence are the sensory impulses from the environment as translated by our brains, and our own minds and thoughts. These are the things in the foreground through most of our waking lives. We are used to having a large degree of consistency in both how we experience the world, as well as what we think and feel. If you look, you can see the consistency in the patterns of thoughts and feelings that we experience from day to day.
When you embark on a psychedelic trip you are taking those two things that define your daily existence (thought and experience) and turning them upside down. You're senses no longer "feel" the same as they have always felt before and your mind no longer seems to function the same way as it always has before. You will think of things you have never thought of before, you may also feel things you have never felt before. Normal, everyday common sense and logic can go flying out the window and cease to make sense. It is from this unfamiliarity that fear can creep in and a bad trip can begin, but it is also from this freshness and purity of experience that you can "step outside of yourself" and see things in a whole new way. If this is your first time then you may have no point of reference for this experience, the closest thing would be dreaming.
To sum it up, be prepared for anything, and be 100% confident in what you do because once the ride begins, there's no getting off early. Don't let this scare you though, because any trip that goes 'bad' can also be brought back to 'good'. Adequate preparation and focus can easily accomplish this.
So what's the plan, Stan?
Now is the time to begin planning for your experience. Here is a basic skeleton from which to design your own plan. There are some important steps here so don't get lazy. You must safeguard both your mind and your body.
1. For what purpose will you be tripping? (Why?)
This is important for planning. A spiritual trip requires a different environment than a recreational one. A creative trip is usually found in lighter doses then the other types. Different drugs have different effects. Once you know WHY, you can then choose HOW. If you are not sure, ask yourself the question "Why do I want to trip?", then write that answer down (or remember it) and ask "Why?" to the answer. Repeat these steps until you have a solid understanding of your reasons. This requires a good degree of honesty to do successfully but it is important.
2. What drug are you planning on using? (What? How?)
You had better know more than just it's
name. This step is very important for both your physical and mental well-being.
Go to Erowid.org right
now and learn everything you can about it. The
Lycaeum is also a good place to look. Understand how the drug works
in your body. Understand what physiological processes are occurring,
creating it's effects, and understand well how to identify it and gauge
your dosage. Are there any drug interactions possible with other meds
you are on? Read all of Erowid's experience vaults for your substance
of choice, real people write these and they are invaluable for gaining
unique perspectives on the experiences that different drugs can bring
to you. Learn from the mistakes of others so you don't make them yourself.
Knowledge is the key to confidence. Confidence is a sturdy and dependable
life-line during a psychedelic trip only when rooted deeply in sound
Find a forum about it. Use search phrases like: "mushroom forum" or "LSD forum" and search the results for relevant forums that have lots of members. Forums are fantastic sources of info because you can register and ask questions as well as search through years and years of conversations. I have gained much from forums and I recommend them to everyone for any subject you wish to learn more about. Always remember that they are populated by people unknown to you, so you should use them for direction and not as the final word. Try and confirm everything you read on a forum before acting on the information. As you build your plan write down all questions as you go so you don't forget them.
3. Who is taking the trip with you? Are you going it alone? (Who?)
My first trip was solo and it worked out well, so don't feel that you need to have a partner for your first time. An experienced buddy can spice up your first time tremendously though and help you through any rough spots if you have the need. Make sure that you trust everyone who will come into contact with you and that you will NOT have to pretend to be sober. Be aware of people on different types of drugs. Drunks are a bad mix with people who are tripping. Do not trip around people who are drinking, as they get drunk, their sloppy boisterousness will annoy you as it grows and continuously grabs at your attention. Stick with people that can remain mellow and composed. Show anyone who will be joining you this site and let them plan along side you.
4. Where will you do it? Inside? Outside? Day? Night? (Where?)
This is very important. Your environment WILL largely dictate the overall mood of your trip. 90% of bad trips are the result of a bad environment. When you are tripping, you are experiencing a series of chain reactions of thought, so you must identify everything that can trigger a negative reaction and remove it from the experience. To select your environment, first decide how you need to feel to achieve your purpose for tripping. Then ask yourself what places make you feel this way. Once you know where, get specific. What items will be around? What imagery, sounds, music, textures, colors, etc. Focus on each one individually and ask yourself how it makes you feel. Analyze any negativity you feel from something that will be present and discover why you get a bad vibe from it and either eliminate the bad vibe or eliminate the stimulus. You can eliminate a bad vibe by understanding why you react negatively and by making one or more decisions about the nature of what causes the negativity. This process comes down to figuring out what bugs you and why, and then making a decision about it that prevents it from bothering you any more. If your decision is solid then the negative thought pattern will not return (unless you focus directly on it) because it's cause will have been resolved. Do not reevaluate these decisions mid trip, have faith in yourself and your decisions.
Prepare situations and environments that are both happy and relaxing, and that also work well with your purpose. What is the most relaxing music you've ever heard? What music makes you feel happy and bubbly? Prepare a large selection to choose from, sometimes you will enjoy some off the wall stuff that you wouldn't normally like while sober. What else relaxes you and makes you feel secure? Prepare several interesting 'diversions' that will engage your entire mind if need be. When a trip feels like it is getting too strong it often leads to focusing too much on the experience itself thus magnifying the problem, so bring along some simple things that you can immerse yourself into completely. Quantity breeds quality. The more you have to available do, the more likely you will have something that will 'fit' the situation. Video's and DVD's work well as distractions but will leech away precious hours if you are not careful. Comedy shows are a better diversion, like Family Guy or The Simpsons. Something short and engaging that will leave you in a better mood. Write out a list to refer to for when you are blasted out of your mind and hope you are able to read it ; ). Set up as much ahead of time as possible (DVD in the player, turned on and ready) to eliminate confusion.
5. Additional steps
Ensure that no one will interrupt you. Turn your phones off. Lock the doors. Prepare as if you are expecting someone to come looking and you don't want them to find you, that way if someone does come around then you are prepared to avoid contact. Interacting with outsiders means you must try and think like you are sober so you can interact and this is almost always a drain and a drag to do. Decide ahead of time who will deal with these distractions should they arise.
Plan your meals. Depending on your drug of choice the effects could last anywhere from 15 minutes to 12+ hours. Eat healthily beforehand and according to the drug you will take (Some require empty stomachs) and plan to keep your body nourished throughout. It can be difficult to gauge hunger while you are tripping, in fact, most people completely loose all appetite so it is important to make sure your body and brain has nutrients available. Fill up a quart bottle with water (Stay away from caffeine and too much sugar) and prepare a few small meal(s). They probably won't taste good regardless of what they are so make them small, healthy, and easy to chew and swallow. Plan the quantities out ahead of time and stick to your decisions.
Plan your mood. Do not embark on a psychedelic trip if you are in a negative mental state. A trip begins with your existing thought patterns (but the come up will often trigger new ones as well). If they are negative then your trip will begin negatively. You want to be in a good mood, and in a positive thought-pattern cycle. Try and begin your trip after doing something that consistently leaves you feeling good, like getting laid.
|So you are now a genius in the area of your chosen drug. You understand where it comes from, how it works, how to identify it, possible dangers, how to dose, what effects to expect, what others have experienced, and you trust your sources. Procure slightly more of the drug then you are planning on taking and several days before the real thing, take a very small, trial dose. Based on your research, set aside a good dose to just barely feel some effects and take it when you have some free time. This will serve to gauge your bodies reaction. Some people are hypersensitive to certain drugs, you want to make sure that you are not one of them before dosing any higher. Other drugs, like mushrooms can vary greatly in potency from batch to batch so test carefully. This will also for the most part rule out adverse reactions and give you a very minute taste of what to expect. If all goes well then decide on a good dose for your planned experience and give your body some time to drop any tolerance you built up during the test (5 days - 1 week is usually plenty)|
Last minute prep
You're now ready to go and you feel 100% confident in your preparations. Congratulations, you are in control. Here are a few things you can do to reassure yourself of this FACT if you begin to doubt it at any time in your trip.
Write some notes to yourself. Put post-it's on everything you are not supposed to do. Put a post it on the phones with a simple, SHORT, clearly written message reminding yourself that regardless of how you feel, whatever it is can and should wait until you're sober. Put a note everywhere you know you shouldn't be poking around. Write a brief "freak-out" note to yourself along these lines; "Everything is fine, your safety has been completely planned for. Have faith in your preparations." Just something simple and easily readable that will remind you of the confidence you feel in your decisions and planning. Do not mention specifics in any of these notes as they can cause you to attempt to reevaluate a decision mid-trip. Always remember that your judgment may be flawed and have faith in your preparations. All you should be focusing on is are positive, fun things, everything else is already taken care of. Enjoy it!
Test your friends mind-states. Ask them open ended questions that aren't obviously designed to find their mood. Make sure nothing is "on their minds". Creating a fun atmosphere and getting everyone laughing works wonders for preparing friends. If you can't make them laugh then something is wrong, or you are simply not funny. In this case put a little forethought into it, if you know what tickles your friends minds then you can design something to do or say to make them laugh pretty easily.
Keep yourselves occupied during the onset. Some drugs have easy come-ups and hard come-downs, others have the opposite effect. Know what to expect and if anyone speaks in fear during the come up help them direct their focus elsewhere with control and confidence. Engage them in something that requires their whole mind. The waiting is the hardest part, so have something to do like video games or cards. Anything but sitting around waiting. Happy, calm music works well at this stage.
Take note of the time you dosed and the time you first started feeling effects. Depending on the drug you should already know how long the peak will last and an approximate amount of time for it to set in. From now on you can use the clock to gauge your progress through the experience if you feel the need.
Arrange everything neatly and simply. Your music, diversions, food, etc. Assume that you may confuse easily and make sure there will be nothing complicated for you to have to do. Nothing is worse then trying to comprehend how to set something complicated up when you are trashed on psychedelics.
Be prepared to help a friend. Just because you are well prepared mentally doesn't mean you friends are. Exude confidence (not arrogance) and let them have faith in your plan. Remember that a bad trip is nothing more than negative thoughts prevailing in the mind at the time of intoxication. Recognize any indicators that your friends are beginning to think negatively and direct their focus to better things if they are. Do not engage in a group session of feeling your own heart beats. When a negative enters your focus (and they will), just let it pass on through along with everything else you experience. Trouble only comes when you grab the negative idea and focus on it, this causes your mind to explore it and elaborate on it. The process is very natural and logical and once you understand then it will be simple to control your state every bit of the way. Remind your friends of this when the need arises.
Remove everything that could become dangerous. Take note of places that could be dangerous, especially if outside. Do not engage in dangerous activities like rock climbing, swimming or driving.
That's it, I hope this guide helps you in some way. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions please drop me a line here:
This site was made to help everyone so if you see something that should be changed or have something valuable to add please let me know so we may improve it for the benefit of all who find it.
May wisdom find you in your journeys!
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