Read Sober Psychonaut disclaimer for people in sobriety exploring psychedelic medicine
Since my second ketamine session and days beyond, I've asked myself "Is anything happening?"
As I read more about the dissociative effects of ketamine, I recognize that perhaps that blank blue canvas and having very few thoughts flashing in my mind was an example of that experience—disconnection from the trappings of human existence, including the constant mental reel.
Wow! That’s kind of cool.
I did have that during that last session. Such that I don’t remember much of my thoughts at all.
In the time since, I have microdosed with psilocybin but taken no other mood-altering medications. I’ve wanted to write—a lot. Creative urge has been scratching at the door yet work load at my 9-to-5 has been prohibitive.
I’ve also done some pretty good integration work since my Sunday session, including:
I’ve been thinking about Costa Rica a lot as well. My trip is coming up in February, and I'm pondering the need for resources to take that trip, how I’m going to manage it money-wise and work-wise, and whether I should invite anyone to go with me.
And should I get a second job doing global online teaching so I can make money to pay down credit cards and afford my travel lifestyle?
And how can I get this Ketamine Diaries book out there fast enough to keep up with what’s going on in the market?
I felt prompted to get in touch with a book marketing friend to help me get clear about how to best bring my ketamine stories to the marketplace, so I have an appointment with him this week.
I've also gotten so tired of being in physical pain from my car accident a few years back and resulting arthritic stiffness and pain in knees and hips⏤so I made an appointment with my chiropractor. I haven’t seen a chiropractor in probably five years.
AND⏤I discussed with my regular therapist about taking someone to Costa Rica. By the time that conversation ended I was convinced this next trip needs to be just me doing the leg-work about eco-living in community⏤so I can get an intuitive sense of whether it’s right for me, and therefore whether I would bring it to others.
Psychedelic support, wherever you are in your 'journey'
So I guess you could say I’ve gotten some answers, but I might have gotten those answers with or without ketamine. Except, if you’ll recall, my intention for my session was: Clarity, Source, Peace.
Clarity: Clear next steps in my life for major projects.
Source: Being sourced, by Higher Power, energy, Universe, whatever you wanna call it.
Peace: At ease with what is and what isn’t, not getting worked up about not having done “enough” quickly enough.
I really liked what I read on one of the pages of Michael Pollan’s book, about the term “recreational use” of psilocybin, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy) and so forth. He stood corrected by one of the people he was interviewing who told him that recreational doesn’t necessarily mean frivolous or without intention.
Which is totally in line with some of these psychedelic support groups I’m seeing listed all over the country, with names like Using with Intention, Psychedelics in Recovery, and Navigating and Integrating Non-Ordinary State Experiences.
In a few more days, I’ll have a follow-up integration conversation with my guide Billie and perhaps more to share with her. Perhaps she can also extract from my experience even more that she can contribute to me. (Guides are not there to be therapists in any way or even to coach but more as support as you work through each session, quite independently at this point.)
My ketamine experience, of course, is different from the intravenous ketamine treatments I’ve heard others talk about. My friend in New York said that ketamine clinics offer ketamine IV sessions for about $1,000 per treatment, out-of-pocket—a hefty price tag compared to Mindbloom. $386 is charged to my card three times for a total of six dosing sessions plus clinical consults, guide support, online portal resources and more.
I’m starting to feel hopeful, more hopeful I suppose, that there’s something here for me. What will be the determining factor? How will I know that it worked?
Waking up and experiencing joy in living? Joie d’vivre.
Embracing life in every aspect, the dark and light, the inevitable death and decay, because I’m profoundly, solidly, spiritually connected in some way?
Wanting to move my body and get out in nature so I can express gratitude because I’m alive and healthy and feeling good?
Having a dissociative experience (or multiple) that affected me so deeply I’ve been able to completely release whatever was in the way of joyful living?
I think about my regular therapy sessions and how much progress I’ve made in the last few years⏤since my mental meltdown in December 2019 when I kicked my son’s door down one awful, unforgettable, regrettable night.
My therapist is good, really good. She rocks and I love her. She gets me more than I get myself sometimes. She was with me there on the precipice and she’s helped me come back from being in that very dark place.
I feel a tad guilty not telling her about my psychedelic medicine exploration. I know she’d be great about it, not judgey.
I think I’m hesitant to tell her there’s little bit that just keeps hanging on, I don’t even like to call it depression at this point. Just that thing that has me hang back from loving living.
How much more can we pick it apart in therapy?
It’s not a therapy thing. To me, it’s soul sickness or soul disconnection or one of those woo-woo things that only make sense to people who know exactly what I’m talking about.
I may tell her at some point, when I’m further along and have had more experience, more confidence in the whole process. I also haven’t told my mother about my psilocybin experiences although if she’s been reading this, it’s already out.
Psilocybin and sobriety
As a sober person, I have not a pang of guilt or concern about experimenting with mushrooms to enhance my experience of life, to have more fun, to push my consciousness to further limits. I am thinking soon of taking a deeper “heroic” dive, involving a larger dose of psilocybin, which requires having a “sitter." (If you’re going to be responsible about it in this new day and age of psychedelic medicine, there are guidelines and standards for partaking). A sitter is similar to a Peer Treatment Monitor, someone who is there to check in on you and be available to help you process your journey and deal with anything difficult that might come up. And of course assist, on the off-chance of a medical emergency.
Psychedelics is seriously calling my name and there’s something about it, and Costa Rica and my writing, that's all coming together serendipitously.
I think I need to talk to my friend Ed about the eco-village thing in Costa Rica.
I’ve got a whole slew of exceptional humans in my life lined up and interested in living with other like-minded people, each of them contributing their own talent and skill to the whole. And mushrooms, there must be mushrooms!
Nine Perfect Strangers with Nicole Kidman, there are places like that, and no, that’s not what I have in mind. I don’t feel like being accountable for people’s well-being. But I do love the idea of being in a beautiful place with people who want to live beyond the bounds, as it were.
I read something else in Pollan’s book that intrigued me a bit, people experiencing their own birth and sometimes their own death through psychedelic journey and guidance. There’s something about that as well. Perhaps my fear of losing others is tied to fear of losing my own life. Or lack of trust that life goes on, just beyond the mantle of what we think of as reality, all our ancestors are right there with us all the time.
This ancestor thing keeps coming up strong. I believe there must be more work for me to do or more to be revealed to me in this area.
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Navigating the psychedelic medicine universe as a sober person