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Lsd Refugees

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written seven books, and columns and articles for many newspapers and magazines.


Psychedelic cathedral

I'm in the toilet, sitting on the closed lid. It's dark, though not completely. The orange glow of the streetlight outside is making a bubble-effect pattern through the frosted glass, and there's a splash of light under the door from the hall. And there's my own internal light too, of course, those geometric flashes of colour that tend to dance before your eyes whenever external light is dimmed or diminished.

I'm in the toilet because I've just had an anxiety attack. There's a knot of tension in my stomach. It's like that feeling you have when they've finished cranking you up to the top of the roller coaster and you look down at the sheer drop in front. A lurching sensation, a real physical pang which, if it were to be verbalised, would come out something like: "Oh my God! Oh Jesus! Oh Lord! What the hell am I doing here?"

Except that a roller coaster ride is over in a minute or two, and the ride I'm about to embark on will last all night.

I've just taken LSD. For the first time in 25 years. That little brown drop of liquid, placed on the end of my finger and ingested some 30 minutes ago, is about to play havoc with my sense of self.

Suddenly there's a kind of humming noise. This low-down, deep-bass growl sound, like the boom of an organ in an empty Cathedral, like the lowest, low-down bass note on a massive pipe-organ going in and out of phase. Reverberating. In and out. Hum. In and out. Hum. Like that. Slowly and deliberately. With a sort of rhythmic insistence.

It's hard to say where, exactly, the sound is coming from. It's not in the room, as such. It's not in my head. It's just there, at some deep level. It's like I'm hearing the sub-atomic pulse of the Universe in the very fabric of matter, so low it's thrumming in my guts. And then it's as if an invisible pair of hands had taken space itself and was squeezing it like a concertina. In and out. In and out. The Universe is pulsing to a living heart beat.

Now the colours in front of my eyes are circling, shifting, swirling, weaving, shaping, changing to make an endlessly morphing, moving mandala, the colours coming in from all sides now, streaming at me, taking on dimension and form, creating a sort of tunnel down which my all too mortal eyes are staring in fear and awe and wonder.

In and out. In and out.

That's my breathing.

Where am I?

Oh yes, I'm in the toilet.

That's when I decide I have to leave. Not just the toilet. This house.

Ace of Spades

Downstairs they are playing the Ace of Spades by Motorhead.

You know I'm born to lose

and gamblin's made for fools

But that's the way I like it baby

I don't want to live forever

The ace of spades...

I pop my head around the door. Back in control, momentarily.

There’s a bunch of people in there, sitting around on the soft chairs and settees ranged around the room. Posters on the wall (including one of Che Guevara). Lamp to one side, draped in a red, translucent scarf, giving off a soft, silky light. Low table in the middle of the room, scattered with bottles from our earlier drinking. No one’s drinking now. One person is rolling spliffs. This is the person who’d given me the acid. He’s hunched up over the table, concentrating, looking like a big, friendly devil. He turns to me slowly with this arch look, out of the corner of his eye. It‘s like he knows what’s been going on in the toilet.

The rest of the room are chattering in what seems, at first sight, to be a perfectly normal manner. There’s a lot of laughter. But, you realise, this is nervous laughter. There’s kind of hum in the air. The trip is coming on. You look people in the eye and you can see it: a sort of swirling depth of colour with a startled spark in the middle.

I must admit I’m panicking. I’m afraid that if I stay I’ll not be able to get out again. The room wants to suck me in and hold me there forever. It‘s looks like a bordello dungeon in the mansion-halls of hell. All I want to do it to get out of the front door.

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There’s one man sitting near the door. This is my charge, my guest for the evening. A man who calls himself Arthur Pendragon.

I say, "Um, I'm off. I'm off. I'm going home."

"What about him? Aren't you going to take him with you?" says Polly, indicating Arthur. She’s in her early 40’s, an old friend of mine. She says it like he’s some sort of a package I’ve got to deliver.

"Oh yes. Are you coming Arthur?"

"Yeah, yeah."

And he gets up, and we go out together saying our goodbyes, closing the door behind us. Who knows what will happen next? Who knows what demons of hell or angelic apparitions are lying in wait for us on our strange journey home?

Picture yourself

In the late sixties, of course, LSD was on everyone's mind. That was my era. I was in my teens at the time. I'd been interested in acid ever since I'd first seen Timothy Leary in a news item on TV, since seeing a picture of the Grateful Dead in a Sunday newspaper (they looked so cool, with their granny glasses and long hair), since hearing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds from the Sergeant Pepper album down at Robert Russell's place. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was, I was reliably informed by Robert Russell - who was an expert on such things - an elliptical reference to the LSD experience.

"See, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," Robert Russell said, pointing out the letters as he went along, "It spells LSD."

“Picture yourself on a boat on a river,

With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.”

I pictured myself doing just that.

I used to go to a large municipal library about four or five stops on the bus from where I lived. I loved that library. I loved the sense of hushed reverence that seemed to pervade the place, the smell of the books, the air of musty restraint. There was one particular corner I used to frequent. It was full of peculiar tomes about psychic phenomena and the like. I guess it was the parapsychology section. There was a book about LSD. I got it out. It was a case-studies book, full of people's first hand experiences of the drug. They were describing all sorts of weird events, like tasting colours and smelling sounds. Synaesthesia. Visions. Nightmares. Surrealistic dream phantasms. Hallucinations. I guess I thought it must be like a picture show, a bit like Disney's Fantasia, perhaps, with cartoony colours swirling and dancing about. I imagined the tripper would lie back and just watch the entertainment as it unfolded on the TV screen of his mind. I had no idea.

I’d taken a few drugs up till now. I’d smoked cannabis at a festival once, and it felt like my body was melting into the ground. I’d drunk some beer and laughed loudly in the evening and then been woken up by a raging thirst and a head full of concrete. I’d taken some cough medicine containing Morphine and watched grey, night-time visions in a detached, headless sort of way. I’d sniffed some glue and disappeared down a funnel in my brain. Drugs did all sorts of things to you, but they always still left you feeling like you were yourself. Not so acid, although I didn’t know it yet. Acid is like eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Once you’ve taken it, nothing ever looks the same again.

I finally managed to get some in the summer of 1971. It was California Sunshine, pretty well the last of the strong, pure Owsley acid coming out of the West Coast hippie scene at the time. It was a big, orange tab, like a flat square, about the size of my fingernail. I say "big" because acid after that got smaller and smaller, till it came in tiny pillules, the size of pinheads. They were called microdots, and they were always black. That was the only kind of acid in the 70s.

I was with Colin, a friend of mine at school. We got the acid from an older head. "Head" was a word we used to describe each other back then. We were either heads or freaks. This guy seemed so sophisticated at the time, although, thinking back on it, he was only about 20 years old. A child like us. He had bright red, bushy hair and a beard. I can't remember his name. Graham maybe. We took the acid and went out to the park. I was wearing my new skin-tight loon-pants, made of fine-weave corduroy. Straight black hair, parted in the middle, just grown over my ears. Colin was little and blonde, with a similar hairstyle. He was wearing his trippy tee shirt.

We were walking through the park when it hit. When I say "hit" I mean that literally. It was like a blow to the temple, and then, there I was, catapulted into a different world. It was so disorientating I felt I'd lost my balance. We were walking up a slight incline through some clumps of grass. Only now the clumps seemed like vast tracts of untamed jungle, and I was trying to make my way through them. The rise was suddenly mountainous. I think I actually did lose my balance, and had to grab hold of Colin's arm for support, only he was as unbalanced as me. We were holding onto each other, wobbling. And there was a strange feeling in my body. It was like my body had become lighter. It was made of cork, light enough to float on water. And when I lifted my legs to get over these epic jungles of deliriously knotted grasses, my legs came right up. Right up. It was like my eyes and my legs had become disengaged from each other. Like my eye didn't know what my legs were doing. Everything loomed and lurched as if the whole world was made of elastic.

I said, “wah!“ Words were coming out of my mouth, only they didn't have any meaning. I was still holding onto Colin. I looked him in the eye. He didn't say anything. He was silent, in some other place. Words were tumbling from my lips in a torrent of nonsense, like someone had opened the sluice-gates of my mind, and all of this dammed up verbiage was being released. I was trying to find Colin. He was there, but he was somewhere else at the same time. Where had Colin got to?

Graham was looking at us, worried. He was standing about three feet away. He'd come on like this oh so cool head, but I don't think he had any idea what was happening. Now he had these two raving lunatics on his hands, one of them gabbling incoherently, the other in stunned catalepsy. Time had hit a brick wall. It had come to a sudden catastrophic end at this exact moment, like a train hitting the buffers. Colin and I were stuck here in this moment of foreverness, on a slope in the middle of a park in suburban Birmingham, boomed into oblivion.

How long did this go on for? Well, forever, of course. Or for a few minutes. In the end some sort of sense floated in through the forests of time. It became obvious that Graham was panicking and wanted to get rid of us. We started walking home and eventually came to the parting of the ways.

Then I was on my own, walking down long streets lined with restless confusion. Colours were everywhere, in every branch of every tree, in the pavement, in the hedges. The colours conveyed strange messages. It wasn‘t clear whether the messages were in my head, or out there, in the world.

I got home and braced myself for normality before knocking the door. My mum answered it. As the door opened I was assailed by this scent. Pungent, sweet, like slightly gone-off meat. It was obviously the smell of all those human animals nesting in there. The smell of human. My smell. Immediately I was back up there amidst flying lights, reeling. I went into the living room and the rest of the family were watching TV. I tried watching TV too - this little black and white flickering thing in the corner - only I couldn't make any sense out of it. The room was streaming with viscous colour, bending, looming. It was all too distracting. I got up and went to bed.

Later my mum popped in to see how I was.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

"Yes," I lied. "I'm a bit tired. I want to go to sleep."

But there were too many colours for me to sleep.


The spirits of wood and stone and water

I took LSD, on and off, for a number of years after that. I learned how to cope with it. Sometimes it was an ecstatic experience, sometimes less so. I was always searching for something, some meaning in my life. I guess I thought acid might help me to find it. The earlier hippies had told us that acid was going to change the world. By the mid-seventies this had become Holy Writ. Acid was the sacrament that would bring on the New Age. It was a new evolutionary step. And - young and naïve as we were - some of us believed it.

No one is completely sure how LSD does what it does. One of the explanations is that it works on the Hypothalamus, the emotional centres of the brain, blocking the regulators that censor the flow of information. Normally information is carefully ordered into what is important for survival and what is not. What you’re getting with acid is sensory overload. Everything assumes an equal importance. The brain just seizes up, trying to make sense of it all. In this sense, what you are experiencing is not hallucination, a kind of unreality, but MORE reality. It is this, maybe, that makes acid so disorientating, the sense that this isn’t some living cartoon to be observed from a safe distance, but more real than the real world; something to be lived not commented upon.

I used to get my acid from Colin, the same man who I’d taken that first trip with. I’d hitch over to Colchester where he was living, and he’d sell me about 20 at a time, most of which I’d sell on. Always black microdots. There was a whole industry in the 70s. A bunch of crazy hippies trying to sell the stuff as cheap as possible. It was 50p a tab for nigh on ten years or more. Less if you bought in bulk.

I never quite lost my mind on a trip as I had that first time, but I was never entirely comfortable with it either. Some people love it. Some people don't. It depends on your personality. I wasn’t what you would call a happy hippy. There's something about acid that's just not like other drugs. There's a part of the experience that the mind simply cannot accept. It messes about with time and it messes about with language. I'm a punctilious linguaphile by nature. It really didn't suit me.

But - well - I believed the hype, didn’t I? Timothy Leary had spoken to us from on high, as the High Priest of the High Church of the Holy Sacrament. He’d said, “this will change your life.”

And - Lo and Behold! - nothing much happened.

I'd thought it would help me with my writing. I was writing science fiction short stories at the time. After the acid I became self-obsessed. My stories became a form of emotional naval-gazing, almost always exclusively about myself. In the end I gave up writing for several years.

The last time I took LSD I was in my mid-20s. This was in 1977, the beginning of the punk era. We took the acid and went to look at the sea. I wasn't all that impressed. I'd been doing this, "being a freak", surfing the impossible realms, roaming in these weird wildernesses of alienated thought-forms for too damn long now. I'd also just come through a crippling depression. What was I doing with my life? Endless days overly focussed on internal processes. I wasn't making anything. I wasn't doing anything. I'd stopped functioning as a person at all. Didn't know who my friends were. Wasn't even sure I had any friends. Stuck in this out-of-the-way seaside town bringing myself down.

Not that that last trip had been bad in any way. It was comfortable enough. Pleasant. But I realised then that it wasn't going to change the world. It wasn't going to change my life. Only I could change my life. I vowed never to take it again.

So why have I taken it, all these years later?

That‘s difficult to say. I was drunk for a start. I remember it being offered and looking around the room, asking everyone if they were going to take it too? Everyone said yes. Someone bought out the bottle. It was about the size of a salt cellar, with a dropper on the top. He squeezed the bottle while I held out my finger. I remember the little blob of brown liquid glinting on my finger like a polished jewel. It looked so innocuous, so harmless. I’d just drunk gallons of another kind of liquid and the most that would do would be to have me babbling nonsensically before sending me to sleep. I looked at the acid, weighing it up, for maybe half a second. Should I? Maybe? Yes? And then it was just: “oh fuck it! Why not?” And it was in my mouth. Gone, but not forgotten.

I guess I thought I could handle it, and I wasn‘t expecting it to change the world this time. I’m fifty something years old. I’m an adult. It’s easy to forget just how warping the LSD experience can be. The intervening years had formed a sort of cushion against the sharper edges of memory.

And I was right, to some degree. Being older does help. Once we were out of the door, it was lovely. Acid is usually much better in the open air. The world of nature is a safe, kind place, full of presences. You sense the life-force rustling through everything like a wind. So I was walking home with Arthur, and he's all dressed in white and his hair is white and floating like a mad magician, and he's talking about his mum and dad, and I'm listening.... listening to him, listening to the breeze, listening to our footsteps echoing down the empty streets, hearing colours and seeing sounds, being at one with myself and my surroundings. I'm guiding us home. This is my town. I'm in my element.

It was after we got back to my place that things began to go wrong. Arthur went to bed, and I did a conditioned thing. I did what I always do when I get home. I switched on the TV. This was late at night, perhaps 3 or 4 in the morning, and the only thing on TV was BBC News 24. So there were these images of mothers and children being driven by unnamed soldiers, running screaming from the guns. You could see all the pain and fear etched into their faces: the pain of mothers in fear for their children, the pain of children in fear of their lives. And now that was the world. That was what the world was like. It was utterly, unspeakably evil.

I can’t say now where the film was from. It could have been from any one of a number of places. Such scenes are the norm these days. No one is immune from the horror of war any longer. Even children are targets.

Acid works well with the imagination. It works well when you can project your child-like senses into something neutral and safe. Music is nice. Trees are nice. Soft breezes and lyrical sunsets are nice. But heavy reality is like a grinding chainsaw to your heightened sensitivities. Those images on the news were a reminder of how ugly and vicious the world is becoming. I came down with a jolt.

After that I was stuck with this caustic chemical pumping inexorably through my veins, that wouldn't let me relax, wouldn't let me sleep, wouldn't let me be, but which had absolutely nothing to offer. All the visionary colours were gone. It was just grim reality out there. Bleak and drained. I guess I was creaking through the house moaning to myself, waiting for the dawn.

The following day I just sat around. What else can you do? I felt like my brain had been put in the blender and liquefied. All I could say to myself was, “I’ll feel better in the morning, I’ll feel better in the morning.”

And I was right. A good night’s sleep did me the world of good. But I’m left with a puzzle, whether to take it again or not. Elements of the trip were a healthy reminder that the world is not quite as we perceive it. It was good to be made aware of the sheer beauty of the natural world again, the way the trees shivered with a kind of innocence, how everything seemed to glow with its own internal light, the sense of personality in every discrete object, as if the whole world were alive, and not some dead thing to be administered and then forgotten.

I remember from my early readings in that case-histories book, that often people who had taken acid would claim to have encountered God. But that’s not what it is at all. What you encounter are the gods in the old sense, the spirits of wood and stone and water, the feeling that places are alive with their own presence. There’s also the reminder that imagination - that long-forgotten childhood thing - is real and substantial, and that it has a place in this world.

On the down side, you are so over-sensitised that it’s as easy to get sucked into another person’s unconscious cycles as it is to get trapped in your own. The barriers are down, both between different people, and between various parts of yourself. That’s what had happened with the news item on TV. That snippet of horror had sucked me into a depressive portion of myself which then would not let me go.

That’s the problem with acid, you’re not even in control of your own mind.

So - on balance, and for the time being at least - the answer has to be no. No I will not take acid again. Not until the world is a better place, that is.


© 2008 Christopher James Stone


Judy johnstone on September 16, 2017:

loved being able to read people's minds on the stuff ( or at least I thought I could , ) loved the colours and patterns,

Sian on September 13, 2017:

1985 was the beginning of my acid daze, first off the pinkish blotters which didn't do much at all other than a speedy stoned ness? Then progressed with the red window panes, and the chess blotters which were more visual and powerful. Then the mighty micro dots came into my existence. Potent and overwhelming not to be dilly dallied with, especially out s d about in Soho full of people and then a surreal journey underground from the magnificent spiralling Shiva Natarajas swirling on Holborn stations platform, then through electrified tunnels never ending into claustrophobic time cycles. Luckily I had a friend with me who had be staying over otherwise I may have lost my destination not only time span. Getting to the elevator of the high rise I lived, In North Kensington I remember understanding the universe being myself and feeling joy rising with the up lift to the 15th floor. My friend promptly went to bed while I stayed up and struggled with the swirling Paisley energy that i believed was a feeling of drowning until I felt the vibrational pull of the

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on August 19, 2014:

My friends used to go on about the white light too. I never saw it either. However I had several bad trips, which is why I gave it up in the end.

Sharon Vile from Odessa, MO on August 19, 2014:

I was rather of a frequent user of acid many years ago. I never had a "bad trip"--just some passing anxiety on one occasion when I took a bit of a heroic dose. This was because of that fairly common situation where you have four hits that you have promised to share when your friends show up. You take one and wait. Nothing happens. You take another and wait. Nothing happens. Then, perceiving that you have been ripped off, you take the other two hits--hoping there's enough active ingredient to produce a little effect. Then the walls melt. Then the friends you promised to share with show up, and you can't really explain what happened to the acid--because what happened to the acid is complex beyond the expressive powers of language.

I tripped alone a very few times, which can be a frustrating experience--though not the dreaded "bad trip."

What people see and experience is so highly individual that they can never give you a clear idea of it. I remember someone aking me if I saw "The White Light": "So when you took acid, did you see the White Light?" Nope. And no idea what they were talking about.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on August 19, 2014:

Thanks for your reminiscences blueheron. You are right that "the LSD experience seems to be very different for different people--or even for the same person at different times and in different settings". I was never all that comfortable with it myself. I particularly identified with the last statement: "you couldn't live with that level of perception on a continuous basis". No, you would go completely insane from pressure of it.

Sharon Vile from Odessa, MO on August 19, 2014:

This was a stroll down memory lane for me! The LSD experience seems to be very different for different people--or even for the same person at different times and in different settings. One thing I consistently noticed was that language was inadequate for expressing thoughts. Thoughts normally operate within the restraints of language, but acid frees the mind from these restraints, and you find that words are inherently inaccurate.

I think some peole do see "God"--or something along those lines. I myself have been to "heaven"--or something along those lines--and encountered spiritual beings that existed in this "other place." Looking back, I can see that this experience had a profound impact on my life, from that point on--and that it was positive. Even though I wanted very much to repeat this experience with subsequent acid trips, I was never able to do so.

I also found that acid could offer deep insights into other people and your relationship with them. Once when tripping with several friends, it became clear that we functioned as a family--in which one of my male friends had assumed the role of our "mother," and two others the role of siblings. These roles were on constant re-play. Ever since then, I have thought that I and this little group of friends had actually been a family in a previous incarnation. The sense of being reunited with a long-lost family, with long-lost loved ones, was very intense. Two of us even remembered some details of our previous life together: certain tragic events, what our names had been, that one sibling had become a minister, one had died young, and that I had never married.

I think it can do a person a lot of good to find that there are things going on in this world that we are blithely unaware of--though you couldn't live with that level of perception on a continuous basis.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on August 18, 2014:

Thanks Don, thanks Kaili. Glad you enjoyed it.

Kaili Bisson from Canada on August 18, 2014:

Not sure why I hadn't "tripped" across your hubs before, but thanks to Don...and Dr. Tim...I now have :-) Thanks for sharing.

Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on August 18, 2014:

CJ- Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!


Nick108 on October 16, 2013:

Haven't had that stuff since 1980, but for four years previously, lost count of how many time we took 'trips' mushrooms. And all that kind of stuff. Yes, what an experience, as Jimi would say, 'Are You Experienced', well I got experienced. Never forget those amazing cartoons of cosmic stuff going through the movie theater in my mind.

Now I am into spiritual life. That also can lead to similar 'experiences. Go easy on it, but dare to be different and enjoy. I did.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on May 21, 2012:

Anjili, LSD is non addictive. The opposite in fact. The more often you take it the less the effect. It's a quite mysterious substance. The tiniest amount can have the most extraordinary effect, way beyond anything you can imagine, but if you take more of it it doesn't necessarily increase the effect. Indeed, it can diminish it. So the word "sober" in this context isn't quite right. LSD isn't like alcohol, where larger volumes of the stuff send you into greater degrees of insobriety. It's a totally unique and even religious experience in which reality itself seems to be coming at you at some strange angle and you find that much of what you had previously believed is not true. Something like that. Just don't think of it as a drug, that's all. Think of it as another kind of reality.

Anjili from planet earth, a humanoid on May 21, 2012:

Your description is quite vivid. I've always wanted to know how addicts feel from within. This definitely gives insight on the state of things beyond a sober minds scope. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful

Robert Murray on May 26, 2011:

An interesting article - as always, C. J.. The idea of taking acid after a quarter-century break doesn't appeal to me. I only ever took it less than half a dozen times in '76 / '77 and then again in the eighties after a decade and it didn't do much for me. One of the people I took that last trip with freaked out (he thought I was the devil - he later had a full psychotic episode).

Apart from the fact that acid was much stronger in its heyday, I think it doesn't work so much nowadays because of the context of information overload we now live in (computers, satellite t.v., mobiles, etc). We are surrounded by a hyper-reality that most of us have adjusted to. If anything, we need drugs to blot this out occasionally.

Another reason why the 'heyday' was such an intense experience, even for weekenders such as myself, was because it is a substitute for the War (WW2 that is) that was still much a part of the collective consciousness of most of the population - even its younger, baby-boomer, members (all those Action Men and plastic weapons of mass-distraction). The War was a big trip for us - certainly bad for some (those in Japanese POW camps), but exciting for many. The further away we got from the event, the greater the need to replicate it, internally and personally. There was, of course, Vietnam in the US (with its own attendant drug-culture), but that was an experience imposed on a politically fragmented population.

Nowadays drugs are so pervasive (people snorting coke in the toilets in Wetherspoons) that the original attraction of taking acid as a kind of quasi-religious sacrement has been lost. And then, there is the internet, which makes what was once both a highly individual and collective (the loss of ego, etc) experience a mere commonplace. To extemporise the example that Aldous Huxley made in 'The Doors of Pereception', the circus has come to town and most of us have been conscripted into it - presumably as its clowns, rather than its tightrope walkers. (The notion of the acid experience being conducted by central government is a valid, but one for discussion elsewhere.)

Then again, and purely co-incidentally, the soundtrack to this missive is my recently purchased copy of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' 'Easter Everywhere'. they were the ultimate acid band (as well as grass, hash, nutmeg, banana-skins, spiders-webs...)

Yoiurs sincerely,

Rob Murray

D.C.Gallin on May 06, 2011:

Fantastic hub as always! Acid is pretty much the only thing I take nowadays...I love it for dancing and keeping my marriage alive in the bedroom keep with the Pranksters and Leary. Wasn't Leary's ultimate message that we could become Tantric lovers in an instant and achieve world peace by freeing humans of sexual conditioning?? Maybe I love it also because when I took it for the first time in my late twenties after having read Brave New World (thanks for that Aldous :) I've always been aware that you have to prepare the journey for acid to work its magic....

B. Sanders on August 02, 2010:

I began to research mandalas and sacred geometry after seeing these things when using lsd, still wanting to know why one would see such things. Are these things residing in the fabric of matter that I am made from, not just my brain's chemistry? As an after-effect I also dreamt so lucidly I was able to record them in a journal, and weirdly enough some of them came into fruition as premonitions. I still can't wrap my mind around it.

Levi Joshua Kell from Arizona on May 26, 2010:

This was a truly great hub, and even had me rolling with laughter when you were stuck in the toilet. I've been there. The last time I took LSD was a couple of years ago, and I thought the whole time "I am getting to old for this shit!" Thanks, and take care.

goldentoad from Free and running.... on January 02, 2009:

after reading this I had to become a fan! LSD wasn't part of my generation but I found my way to it every now and then. I think anyone who is ready to see what they are made of, should trip just once, after that, the world is definitely a different place. What's that I hear...the trees breathing and talking to each other as I can also hear that leaf being eaten by a worm.

Gail Jewel on October 02, 2008:

I always seem to be late reading your hubs! But yeah, i tried a tab at an out door party in the woods (not good for the wildlife..sorry for the noise). My friend and myself watched these plants and we could hear them! It was like our hearing was 100 times more acute! Also I could see the plants growing. wasn't weird or scary but quite enlightening. Not something to do all the time, but was for me at the time another way to spiritual enlightenment!

Rik Rodriguez from Hawaii on September 23, 2008:

Great Hub and comments from the hub crew. Interesting enough I have heard Ahum ;-)

That when you are in the US Military you can get the good stuff. Plenty of it and what ever you want. Be all that you can be.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 22, 2008:

Nope. :) Time didn't change for me...nor my perception of it. As for knowing things beforehand and deja vu...I never needed a drug to induce those feelings. I've always been what I like to call...hyper-aware. Sometimes it's outright ESP, but I think sometimes my own defense mechanism (being aware of everything around me constantly) just filters into my subconscious and while I sleep it unscrambles it for me.

My experiences all seemed to center around...trying to find a way to put it without sounding like a total whack job...the "id." It's also the only way I can even begin to find a satisfactory explanation for the need to touch everything and the uh...umm...nearly predatory sexual nature that came out. It was all very Dr. Jeckyll - Mr. Hyde in some respects.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 22, 2008:

Ah but that's it spryte: nothing is real, not even the world of everyday reality. That's what's so shocking about it. And time too..... time just goes out of the window, didn't you get that? Knowing things were going to happen before they happened, and that permanent sense of deja vu, each moment revealing something you already knew...

Shadesbreath from California on September 22, 2008:

To me I think it proved the fragility of our biology and how, with seeming as little as a tic-tac sized piece of paper, everything we take for granted is just gone, even our very faculties, our reason, or our ability to sleep when we wish.  Almost like a brush with mortality but instead a brush with fragility.  This amazing machine we call our bodies is one tiny droplet away from betraying us miserably.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 22, 2008:

I think it's this: that whatever your experience, it reveals a world which is so unfathomably different than the one we are accustomed to, that you can't imagine it is a drug that has done this, and it shakes your view of the world we live in to the very core. Some people can live with that, others can't. Me, I always found it a nerve-wracking experience, though it's still a touchstone for me, something I hold inside me as a measure of reality, and can refer back to in my mind whenever concrete reality comes jangling in too close.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 22, 2008:

It's so never even occurred to me at the time that I would have a bad experience or one that I couldn't control with positive energy. I went in with the thought that it was like a pharmaceutically induced lucid dream. I knew the entire time that nothing was "real" and I guess in a sense I gave myself permission to just enjoy the wonder of the ride.

If I had been privy to Shadesbreath's experience prior to my own...I might have had second thoughts.

It does make me wonder though...why are experiences SO different?

Shadesbreath from California on September 22, 2008:

No, you're right, you didn't give it a rousing endorsement. I guess my experience was just so awful even the idea that someone could entertain a second or third ... etc. trip is, well, beyond comprehension. But, totally like you said, that's the enigma. You just don't know how it will be unless you try. I guess that's the thrill for some, like jumping out of an airplane. Don't know if you'll like it or not until the parachute actually opens and then you find yourself on the ground rather than tangled in the high voltage lines. I can tell that you had a lot of the same experience I did, which is why this hub evoked such poweful memories in me (causing me to perhaps emote a bit). Maybe I had it worse, maybe you just handled it better than I did. For me it will forever remain a terrifying drug.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 22, 2008:

shadesbreath, I didn't say I liked it. Some people I know took to it like ducks to water, but i was never one of those. It was always difficult for me and the conclusion of this hub is that I probably wouldn't ever take it again. As I say : "Bleak and drained.... creaking through the house moaning to myself, waiting for the dawn." It's not a rousing endorsement of the LSD experience is it? And I think your warning is timely and it's right that it should come in here. It's the enigma of acid isn't it that no two people's experience is the same. You should check out the link though about it's use as a therapeutic tool. It makes interesting reading. btw, I know that frozen molasses feeling, looking at your watch and realising the incomprehensible immensity of time, and you being stuck there in your madness forever. It's awful.

Shadesbreath from California on September 22, 2008:

I was talked into taking LSD once in 1986 and had the most miserable experience of my life.  I'd never had an anxiety attack in my life until that point and ended up having them for years after having had the concept and emotions "introduced" into my system.  You're totally right about being in nature helping make it bearable, and it wasn't until I found myself beside a stream, sitting on a rock in the starlit darkness making out shapes in the wicker limbs of the trees across the water from where I sat.  It was a moment of peace and even beautiful at that, but it was beauty clung to desperately as I waited out the passing of the monster running through my head and veins, counting miserably each slugging tick of a frozen molasses clock. 

I was in a delightful mood when they first gave it to me going in, and even spent the first hour or so laughing, but that "startled spark" you talked about is in other people's eyes for a reason.  Had I had any idea, it would have been the raging fire of a warning beacon barring me from that experience as would the heat keep me from walking into a burning house.

I'm glad you liked it, CJ, and I mean no disparagement to you or this hub at all.   It was a delightful read, though it made me wince and cringe almost the entire way.  As always I enjoy your work, but I would warn with a wholebodied urgency anyone away from trying LSD.  It's awful and can cause emotional baggage that you must carry around for a long long time if it doesn't go the way you hoped.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 21, 2008:

allshookup, yes alcohol is a drug too, and causes a lot of problems. Like you say, there's all sorts of reasons to take drugs, not all of them negative. The strange thing is the amount of negativity that is thrown at what is, after all, a quite natural thing to do. Most societies have their drugs. Here in the West it tends to be alcohol, but there is a long tradition of explorations by artists etc into all sorts of altered states of consciousness. In some traditional societies hallucogens are commonly used, for healing and religious purposes. Your Mom is obviously a bit closed minded, but she probably doesn't know any better. You at least have learnt something she could never understand. And it's good that you are open minded and willing to listen to people who might otherwise be rejected by society. It is society'e fault, not theirs.

allshookup from The South, United States on September 21, 2008:

It's a very interesting and really draws a person in. I worked with people who had panic attacks and DT, etc from using a variety of drugs. You express your story well. While working with those people, I learned something important. My mother had always been the type to be the holier-than-thou type about drugs. She grew up in that time period and didn't drink or do drugs yada yada. She never could understand why people did that. They are evil, etc etc. Well, my job was helping people that had done drugs and was having problems from that. I learned a geat deal about these people. The first is that they are people just like me. They are not another specific race of 'bad' people. They all had a story and they all had their reasons for what they had done. I learned that my mother was wrong for all of those years. She shouldn't have judged them. She's no different than they are except she just didn't to that one thing they did. There is a multitude of reasons for the reasons people do things. They were some of the sweetest and most gentle people I've ever worked with. The people I worked with were genuine and real people. I made many friends through that experience. And I'm thankful for the experience to get to know them better and understand their side of what I had been hearing one side of for so long. For people like my mother who feel they are better than others are for this reason, you are still alive and you still have time to screw up. Maybe they feel the same about you since you are judging them. You've not been in their shoes. Be careful. My mother still doesn't understand how I can be friends with people who I became friends with when I worked. Because of their 'past.' She still judges, but she's still alive and still has time to step in something. Her brothers drink alcohol, but she never says anything to them about it. Both are drugs, right? Alcohol is a drug, LSD is a drug, Pot is a drug. All of them are, at least they were the last time I checked. I guess if your family does it, it's ok?

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 21, 2008:

Good luck with ALL of your explorations Misha. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun.

And of course I'll sign the book spryte. Not sure how we'll go about it. If I had copies myself I'd send one to you, already signed, but I haven't so I can't. I think it's a very "English" book which is why tha original hippie didn't get it. Actually a lot of old hippies over here didn't like it either, so it must have had something going for it.

Misha from DC Area on September 21, 2008:

LOL On that particular list of drugs to try there are only four items so far, and I mentioned all of them here.

On a more general list the first one is creating an income stream that would allow for the rest of the items to be implemented, and a bunch of other things, one of the most exciting being to learn to pilot a plane...

And I am working on those lists all the time, and keep adding to them :)

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 21, 2008:

CJ - I looked at your book and since I'm basically a "book pig" (long past the stages of the rather polite worm phase) I'll probably pick it up and read it. I'm intrigued that your book was both a one star and a four star recommendation...and that you offended an original hippie somehow. Hehehe!

Just one little small eensy weensy problem...

I don't mind making the investment...but only if I can get it autographed. :)

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 21, 2008:

Misha - You are cracking me up! What else is on that list of yours? Now you have me dying of curiosity. What other nefarious deeds are on your "to-do" list?

Misha from DC Area on September 21, 2008:

Thanks CJ, and those were on the list already, as well as cannabis. It's hard to do any of those though in USA, so I am waiting for my move outta here to a more tolerant country to start with experimenting :)

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 21, 2008:

I've put a link for Last of the Hippies in the hub, but here it is again, for those who've already read the above:

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 21, 2008:

Hi Marisue, no that's not the only point, but it is one of the points of putting stuff up on here: to act as a showcase for my work, so I can say "look at what I've done" and offer a link. In this case I can add "and look what interest and controversy I've generated."

You should check out my book, The Last of the Hippies, which deals with all of this stuff.

The problem with Leary is that he took it all too far. He started off as a serious researcher but because of his noteriety he wrecked the whole thing for anyone else and he ended up saying some pretty stupid things.Everything went too far in the sixties and it was right that we rowed back from that abyss. But some of it was right and important and the backlash against it has also gone too far, so what we need now is some balanced perspective, which is what i was trying to give in this hub. Read it again and you'll see that I'm NOT encouraging people to take it. It's quite negative about LSD.

That goes for you too Misha - experiment if you like, but there are a number of other drugs which are just a lot more stable of your consciousness. Like Ecstasy for instance, or mushrooms. I would actively recommend either of those, if you can get the real thing.

oem people take to it very well. A lot of my friends did. For some others it didn't work, or it created bad experiences. You should ask Bard of Ely about the bad experiences as he's had a few.

BTW Marisue, the "drug of choice" expression come out of the heroin community. Whenever a heroin user says "drug of choice" they mean heroin, and most of the descriptions of what drugs do to you in your comments are actually descriptions of what heroin does to you. " Not paying the rent; not paying attention to family members, losing their job, all could come from the desire to play instead - with the drug of choice..." That's heroin, not LSD, and in case you don't know it the CIA were actively been involved in the heroin trade for years (probably still are) on the basis that "my enemie's enemy is my friend" and most drug barons are anti-communist.

No offence taken though Marisue. I mean, I AM really glad to have aroused this much debate, and your contributions are always welcome.

I'll check out your hub now spryte.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 21, 2008:

Okay CJ -

It took me a while to write...but I really enjoyed reliving the experience. Thanks!

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 20, 2008:

Hmmm...our own experiences huh? I just might take you up on that.

Misha from DC Area on September 20, 2008:

Interesting. I found this hub yesterday night, I was too tired to comment already, but I read the whole thing and comments, and my reaction was - Wow! Shit! Another interesting experience I was denied access by my birthplace!

And now I return here and see Marisue's reaction - just the opposite of mine! How different people really are, and at the same time how similar :)

Anyway, thanks SJ and others, you really opened my eyes. You know, communists were really hard on drugs, and in many places they managed to completely get rid of them. Or almost completely. Being a curious puppy as I am I would have probably tried all that exciting stuff in my teen years - but it was just not available. More, pretty much like Americans now (sic! - one more similarity) we were brainwashed into believing ALL drugs are physiologically addictive.

So, I was limited to tobacco (which I got rid of after 35 years of heavy use) and alcohol, which I still enjoy. And I am discovering drugs in my late 40s instead of my 20s. :D

Done deal, LSD goes on the list of the stuff to try, when opportunity arises. :)

marisuewrites from USA on September 20, 2008:

I know that in the 1967ish years, it did have the hype of fear and danger.  I don't think I was personally aware of that particular theory, though, at the time.

CJ, you're lucky some of your experimentation didn't hurt you.  Curiosity like that gives us mothers nightmares!!  LOL  be well, I didn't mean to offend you.  I would still say don't always check stuff out personally, be wise.  My farmer uncle always said to me..."Don't have to walk thru the barnyard to know there is Kaka..."  LOL

No man is an island, what damages you would damage anyone who loves you.  That was my point.  I've tried to put the familes back together that were damaged not only by LSD but by many drugs.  Not paying the rent; not paying attention to family members, losing their job, all could come from the desire to play instead - with the drug of choice.  That's my point.  You come from a difference of opinion, and Hubpages is a welcoming community.  I am in that circle as well...does not mean I agree or have to condone everything everyone did.  In a discussion, we have differing opinions...well written or not, some things need to be disagreed with, if that's where the writing takes you.  That's the reason we write isn't it CJ, not to do just a good piece, but to provoke emotions, opinions and thoughts? 

That's what makes a piece good, not soley the subject nor they way it's put together, but the partnering of both the writer and the reader.  


marisuewrites from USA on September 20, 2008:

I've not been mad.  Did I make someone mad?  hope not, but thanks for steppin' in CWB,  I like moderators!! 

ColdWarBaby on September 20, 2008:

Hey guys! Let's try to avoid fisticuffs O.K.? I’d hate to have to call in the constabulary. Have we reached the point where you just need to agree to disagree?

marisuewrites from USA on September 20, 2008:

Oh. I didn't realise that was the point of the writing; that it was a good writing.

It did cause me to do a bit of research on LSD, which i did not mean to zero in on...but anyway, the drug when used properly under monitored conditions, can make one feel "better" but also can cause someone to lose touch with "normal life and relationships or non-users.." just because they want to use it again and again, tho' the drug itself is not habit forming, but psychologically could be...which to me is about the same....even if it doesn't match the medical definition.

I agree that to feel not in control of your own mind would be extremely uncomfortable and I'm glad you didn't like that part. That would be one of my objections, as well.

Very sorry if I took your hub off track...but those were my thoughts it provoked. Malarky? hmmm....

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 20, 2008:

So what's wrong with experimenting marisue?

I was remembering all the propaganda about LSD, that it made people leap out of windows cos they thought they could fly, and that it caused genetic damage. Several years later the latter claim was shown to have been a fraud, while ANY LSD user knows that the former is just plain silly. How about you Marisue? Do you know it's silly, or did you - do you - believe the lies and the hype about it? That's the difference between us, that I was never content to merely listen to the propaganda and instead wanted to find out for myself. That's what I'm proud of.

There was also the thing about drug casualties, and it's true, a lot of people were damaged by it. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, being the most memorable. But then, John Lennon was taking it almost continuously for a number of years and it didn't seem to harm him at all. I guess it depends how stable you are in the first place since LSD certainly brings you close to the psychotic experience: you need a stable base to come down to.

As for people being nostalgic for it: if something is beautiful, don't we remember it? If it has altered our perception of things in some way, shouldn't we think about it? LSD changed my life. I know it changed the lives of a lot of people of my generation and pretty well everyone I know - everyone I'm friends with - took it, and after that we just grew up and got on with our lives and most of us were remarkably undamaged by it. Shouldn't the world know that too? Personally I hope all the people who've commented on this hub who've had some sort of experience with psychedelics will write their own hubs on the subject, and I fee right at home here knowing that I'm part of a community that accepts these weird things I've gotten up to here and there in the past.

One last thing: is it dangerous? Well yes. But so is Bungy-jumping, parachuting or driving too fast along the motorway, the difference being that with LSD, unlike the latter, you can only damage yourself.

Nuff said.

Glad to have generated some interest here.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 20, 2008:

The problem is that such is the stigma surrounding LSD and its use that proper research is virtually banned in most countries, particularly the US, and that researchers find it almost impossible to get funding or access to the drug. I think that LSD is SUCH a potent drug that one shoudn't really be self-administering with it, so in this sense I agree with you Marisue.

Did you check out the link? Part of the problem is that, with the right gudance, and the right setting, LSD could be used as a once-only cure for a number of chronic illnesses, such as depression or alcoholism, and - as the guy points out - which drug company is going to fund research into something that will actually cure depression, unlike prozac which merely holds it at bay and which you have to take for the rest of your life and which consequently generates huge profits?

But then, some of these illnesses are actually illnesses created by the kind of world we live in, and the other quality of LSD is that it helps people see through the illusions created by our propaganda system. Hence the stigma. Hence the "revolution" in the 60s. In this sense we are all "brain ill" and we all need healing, since we are all subject to the same illusions. This what Timothy Leary was on about and why he was attacked and vilified at the time.

Meanwhile it seems to me that the main point of this piece is getting lost in all of this malarky: that it is actually a very fine piece of writing. I wish I wrote as well as this every day.

marisuewrites from USA on September 20, 2008:

is the therapeutic drug monitored by a physician?  I think many "drugs" under a doctors care take on a whole new avenue of thought...but the individual use without proper monitoring is also for another purpose,  I hardly think acid was used by most users in order to self medicate.  sigh.....but I am out of my league a non=user  ------  =)) squares do stand out in a crowd and I don't mind being different.

I'm sure my thinking is colored by my life experiences. that's all any of us have...and I am not trying to criticize just for the sake of criticizing.

Seems like a waste of the brain. Now, if one is brain ill, and it's administered in proper doses to's a different story.

Let me re-phrase my "sad" comment CJ, I am not so sad for you as an individual human on the planet, I'm sure you're doing fine and certainly don't need any sadness from me or my sympathy.

What I am refering to is how the "those were the days" theme carried through the story and your comments as well as others.

That sends a message that experimenting with drugs is good and even a preferred lifestyle.

Surely you don't believe that and if you do, that's what saddens me...who might be influenced and then end up on the "other side of the light" by making a huge mistake with the wrong thing.

LSD may have need to be researched....I have no need for it and unless a person is having a psychosis episode, I would hate to see them choose it just for a mental "trip."

I realize everyone is different and certainly "to each his own" is my motto, within limits and this subject just crossed my own boundaries.

I am shocked, CJ, that you are "proud" to be of that generation of drug use.

It matters to me what people do, and I felt the need to comment on it.

I'm from that generation of time, and proud to have chosen to abstain from the drug use.

I agree that our view on drugs is always changing with new research. I think my point on of the basic danger of personal experimentation with potentially harmful drugs is credible.

Actually, people who are reflecting on those days with happy memories - well, it kinda gives me a sick feeling. may not matter to anyone, but

I felt safe to say that here.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on September 20, 2008:

Chris, I'm back just to say what a really excellent hub I think this is!

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 20, 2008:

Here's a link showing the value of LSD as a therapeutic drug:

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 19, 2008:

Spryte, I'll pay once I'm cured, OK?

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 19, 2008:

That answer was about twice as long when first I wrote it btw. Something went awry with the spell check and wiped out a whole paragraph, turning it into gobbledegook. I'll write some more later. I'm glad that this topic has generated some debate. That's what these hubs are for. Marisue, you have no reason to be sad for me. LSD is the least of my problems. And remember who it is who's been giving you all this propaganda about it: the same people who bought you the war in Iraq. There were no WMDs and LSD is not the killer drug it's made out to be.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 19, 2008:

Just tell me where to send the psychoanalytical profile and bill for my services and I'll be content... :)

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 19, 2008:

I've just figured something out. I've just got up to discover that my hub has become one of those long threads, with everyone discussing various aspects of the subject, including my personality, which is amusing and flattering and annoying all at the same time (annoying because i wasn't around to comment). But what I've just figured out is that there's a greater fear of LSD in the United States than there is in the UK. It's funny, cos I wrote a hub a while back in which I said that heroin should be legal, and no one commented upon that, but the idea that I've admitted to having taken LSD seems to have set off a chain reaction in people: marisue being sad for me and everyone else rallying around.

Me: I'm from that generation, and proud of it. We took risks and tried things out. I've taken just about every drug you can name and I can tell you now that the legal ones are the worst. I was a nicotine addict for over thirty years. I've been a borderline alcoholic. LSD is none addictive, none harmful. You cannot get addicted to it. It's physically and mentally impossible. I took it a lot when I was young, and I've tried it out a few times since, including the time I wrote about it this hub. Do I sound like I'm damaged? It doesn't actually suit me, but I have no objection to people using it, least of all to there being some properly funded research into what it is and how it works, since that would tell us a lot about what we are as human beings.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 19, 2008:

LOL marisue - I do understand.  My own mother was forever cautioning me not to make a face because it would freeze that way, never to walk along the cement walls with friends because I'd fall and be a parapalegic, don't go into the desert because I'd get bit by a rattlesnake and die and my personal favorite...never take drugs that don't belong to you because snakes will grow in your belly...and you will die.   :)

That's a Mom's be overcautious.  Some Mom's talk on a more rational level with their children than mine did, but it all stemmed from the same things:  love & concern

Luckily my grandfather happened to spend a few years with us and he iimparted this gem, "All things in moderation, Laurie...and you'll be okay."

marisuewrites from USA on September 19, 2008:

HI spryte -- well it's not my place to criticize the story beyond a few points.

My middle son has to find out everything on his own...the large ocean waves, fast cars, pot, drinks, and tears things apart to learn putting them back together. I understand that burning curiosity, 'have to know on my own"

I haveit....but not in that respect. have to set some boundaries somewhere. I like honesty..but good personal choices are even better.

Not my life and to a large degree not my business. just had to comment.

=)) be the mom/friend you know...."put your jack on....wear your mittens....don't do drugs, eat some supper...." all that jazz !! =))

marisuewrites from USA on September 19, 2008:

No loss coldwarbaby, we're most often on the same page and a little variety keeps things interesting!!! 

You may be right, it's not my experience in the field tho. Most users I cleaned up after had families with few clothes, often no shoes, a bare shack for shelter, little food, but always had their hand on a carton of cigs and the other one wrapped tightly around the drug of choice. 

I supposed some with money are more apt to be a polite drug user and maybe don't hurt others.  I'll agree that those people who wouldn't sell their mom exist, I don't like to see the use of it glorified.    Each to their own, of course,  I'm not the boss.

I have trouble bossin my own crew.  ahah my whip has lost its power of's all  "awww  mom,"  LOL  I get no respect --=)

ColdWarBaby on September 19, 2008:

sorry msw.  Didn't mean to set you off. 

You loose no “points” with me because your view on something doesn’t exactly coincide with mine. I hope I can expect the same from you. 

You can rest assured I wasn’t “selling” anything.  I was just hoping to make you aware of the fact that not everyone who has used specific drugs for specific reasons is an evil, looser drug fiend that would sell their mother for their next fix.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 19, 2008:

Aww...Marisue, you shouldn't be sad. Ironically, I had just the opposite reaction to CJ's hub. He became more "human" to me and added yet another facet to his personality.

I don't think CJ can be lumped into the same category as a person that has turned to drugs to escape life. I've read quite a few of his hubs and I think that what stands out most about him is his innate curiosity about the world around him. CJ seems to want to know about everything...and he's not afraid to put his rational self aside and give himself over to the experience. I really like that about him.

If I wanted to know about something...if I wanted an honest opinion, I would have no qualms asking CJ what he thought of something because I'd feel as if he could tell me what he thought of it from experience and not because he had a predisposed prejudice. Does that make sense?

Some people just aren't satisfied with being given the answer...they want to find it out for themselves and form their own opinion. I have immense respect for them.

marisuewrites from USA on September 19, 2008:

Well, Coldwarbaby, I'll have to leave the reason people turn to mind altering substances to those who use them or have studied the use of them, I have not; but I've spent 20+ years working with the effects of drugs; acid only being a small portion of the percentage, mostly it was cocaine, which many people rationalize using as you say - to improve their concentration.  Because people since the beginning of time including the Indians have smoked, stroked, popped, grown, eaten, inhaled, or dreamed their way into new inspiration or a new awareness isn't a good enough reason for me to accept it. 

If they can't drive, walk, or talk coherently, while or after the influence of such wonder pills/liquid, whatever, I'd rather not be in the path of them until they are back on earth with their normal thinking power...give me the unenhanced version.  I only saw someone on acid once, and I don't think their IQ was raised any, nor do I think they were smarter or better before or after.

I admit to not knowing a lot about the subject; I still say it's more of an escape than what you describe....I know just enough about psychology to be dangerous...I admit that part...but I'm not persuaded, though I do appreciate your attempt to do so...

I am very saddened that anyone would try to rationalize the use of mind altering anything to an drink doesn't have the affect of one acid use....but both are like being a little bit pregnant.

I don't feel "left out" not having tried drugs; I've heard this kind of rationalization before, mainly from someone trying to get me started on it....

I don't feel better than anyone; I am just very glad I didn't nor would I tomorrow.  I've been in the ditch and on top of the moon, I've cried a river and had tremendous inspiration....and I've had horrible doubt and been able to get through it all without the use of anything stronger than aspirin.

again, I've seen drugs of almost any kind destroy families, brains, individuals, pocketbooks, jobs, relationships.

I've never seen anyone lead another or themselves to a higher plane that didn't involve a huge crash back to the earth.

Sorry, I "ain't" buyin' -- not saying you're sellin' - but I'm not a buyer - regardless.  If that makes me square, not with it, ignorant, egotistical, above the fray, below the belt, under the rug, above the plane, in the clouds, or "dumb." I'll take it. 

I don't understand the need, desire, and can't rationalize the curiosity as a reason to do drugs,  and after #$ years on earth and 20+ years working with families suffering from whatever drug was the choice, nothing in my life or what I've read makes me think it's a life enhancing experience. 

Who, on or after drugs has helped their fellowman to a level they wouldn't or couldn't have before unless it's because they are changing their life away from drugs and are committed to persuading others to do the same?  I have witnessed that kind of change. 

but, improve their mind??  reach a higher level of understanding??  uh, huh and Palin told Congress "no" on the Bridge to Nowhere.   LOL

I'm an old lady, but I'm not that old.

I realize I've probably just lost some points of popularity, but I've been out of high school a long time, I'll survive.

I'm accepting of many things; but not this.

hot dorkage from Oregon, USA on September 19, 2008:

Wow who know how many of us did some illegal things in the 60's and 70's. Evil, dangerous, mycelial things. Being from the USA which used to be a free country but is now a police state, I'd be much too paranoid to put a story like this on the web. For the record I never did anything illegal. NEVER. It was illegal to even think about it where I was. And if I happened to smell anything illegal I didn't inhale. And I guess I will now go and heave a silly sigh, Ben.

barranca on September 19, 2008:

CJ, Many thanks for sharing. I am just short of 60 myself and can relate to the time and cultural awakening. I have enjoyed writing memoirs lately, but I have been rummaging around in my more tame memories and avoiding the 60's. The politics of experience/transcendence is 'society' puts particular substances off legal limits.

ColdWarBaby on September 19, 2008:


It’s not always about “turning” to drugs, as in seeking to escape from ones troubles.  As often as not people have only themselves to blame anyway. 

I never used any drug, with the possible exception of alcohol, for that purpose.  Alcohol, unlike many mind altering substances, is very debilitating. When I once found myself relying on it far too much, far too often, I dropped it like a hot poker.

As for drugs which produce altered states of awareness, they have been used by many cultures over many centuries in attempts to reach a deeper understanding of the inexplicable mysteries of the universe, to commune with the gods and the spirit world.  Many renowned writers, artists and musicians were known to have dabbled.

That’s not an attempt to escape.  Quite to the contrary. For me, it was always an effort to become more deeply enmeshed in reality, both material and spiritual.  I never relinquished my “total self”.  In fact, I added to it.  Drugs, I suppose, are much like anything else.  They aren’t inherently bad.  It depends entirely upon the purposes of the person using them.  Considering the responsibility you bore it was probably, I emphasize probably, just as well that you refrained from experimentation.

Of course, when you start messing with things like heroine or crack it’s another matter entirely.  Drugs like that fall into the same class as alcohol; poison.  Anyone resorting to such extremes is indeed turning to drugs in the sense that you mean. That isn’t to say that having a few cocktails now and again makes you a drug fiend!

I just don’t think it’s a good idea to lump everyone who has ever experimented with drugs into a homogenous pile and assume their purpose was to escape from reality.

Like I always say, reality is for people who lack imagination, which is in fact one of the most potent drugs ever discovered!

marisuewrites from USA on September 19, 2008:

I want to say something; but I don't know what. This hub shocked me tho' CJ. I was born in the 50's and remember the "love in's" and "sit-ins" around the country. It never occurred to me to alter my reality. Never. I may not like the world I'm in, but it's enough to deal with, as is; I had a great fear of going places where I could not have the company of my total self.

I guess I was square...I have sympathy for those who trun to drugs, I've never known them to solve anything, and I don't like false escape.

of course, I don't mean to imply that all are like me...I'm just sharing why I didn't use drugs. Besides, I was on call for a blind mother at an early not be there could have been life or death and that would have been a horrible memory, I did not have the luxury of thinking any other way and really -- I do not regret that.

I liked my life of school, straight sober thinking, even real tears.

Somehow, this hub makes me sad.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on September 19, 2008:

Chris, my first comment is that when you were experiencing the humming it might have been a bit like the humma-druz that I used to get!

As for acid as you know I got scared of the stuff and I would agree totally that you can lose control of your mind and self - I have done so several times! But then again I was no better with dope and have had some of my most psychedelic and out of the body experiences on cannabis including seeing people who aren't actually there, being out of the body and hearing voices and when I've come down paranoia, confusion and depression. All from a herb that people tell me makes you feel good and makes you relax and happy! The temptation was always seeing others having a good time or doing normal stuff and musicians singing and playing while stoned. That's how it always got me. I can be like them I'd say but I never could!

I was always stuck with the idea of why me? And how come everybody else is OK and I've lost it? Or even how do I communicate what I am experiencing?

There's that hit song with the lines: "Momma told me not to come, she said that ain't no way to have fun, son..." and I also related that to getting in a real mess on acid, and in my case dope too! Eventually after enough horrifying experiences I learned to just say no and leave these drugs to the people who somehow like them. Strangely I found that I was fine on shrooms and took them thousands of times. Now I take nothing apart from alcohol in moderation.

Constant Walker from Springfield, Oregon on September 19, 2008:

Good stuff, CJ. Long forgotten memories I hadn't thought of in... a lifetime.

ColdWarBaby on September 18, 2008:

Oh man cj.  Have you ever made a connection with this one! 

I’m about to turn sixty two.  I was in high school when the British Invasion occurred.  I promptly taught myself, left handed, to play bass guitar and got a band going.  The rest, as it’s said, is history. 

I had the great good fortune at that time to be living in northern New England.  There were forests, lakes, rivers, minor waterfalls and old abandoned stone quarries filled with water which all provided most excellent environments for tripping, which I did at every opportunity. 

If you’ll read my Hub, you may find something familiar in the memory I describe.  It was brown blotter if I recall.  That walk across the frozen lake was one of the most beautiful and exhilarating experiences of my life. 

In all the years I was involved in amateur music I had only one trip that could be described as a “bummer”.  I just went home, passed out and slept it off like a bad drunk.  I never experienced any of the wild, uncontrollable hallucinations I’ve heard stories about.  It was more like entering an altered state in which everything took on much greater significance than was “normal”. 

For instance, on the shore of that same lake where the winter crossing took place; there was a small floating boat dock that was taken out of the water each winter.  In the spring, before it was put back, its underside became a veritable city of spiders as it stood, leaning against a pair of trees.  On one sunny, very warm morning in April I spent several hours there studying those spiders and their webs with absolutely unwavering attention.  The rest of the world simply ceased to exist and, for those hours, I was immersed in the incredible beauty of those creatures and the unbelievably intricately engineered structures upon which they dwelt.

Aside from that one misadventure, which simply involved too many people and too much acid, every trip I took was much like the one I describe above.  The world and everything in it became incredibly vivid, real and of the utmost importance.  Nothing was to be taken for granted.

That feeling of awe and the awareness of the great significance of absolutely each and every tiny element that makes up the infinite organism called life has never left me to this day.

You freak!  I knew there was something I liked about you!

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 18, 2008:

Brilliant Hub. I used to smoke anything up to 7 joints a day when I lived in Tenerife, (ask Bard of Ely who shared the apartment with me at the time), and on top of this I could easily down a bottle of red wine. My secret was always to smoke first, never drink first, always in that order and then you aren't made ill.

I have been offered various drugs over the years, but have always said no thanks, and on one occasion was even given a free sample of cocaine, but as it was wrapped in brown paper I thought it was simple cannabis resin. Months later my friend opened it up when I told him I had it, and we realised what it was, and it promptly went down the toilet.

When my late Husband was alive we  used to have about 6 joints a day each, and alcohol on top of this. After he died I bought a 9 bar of cannabis, which lasted me the next 7 months until just before I returned to Guernsey. Once I got back here cannabis was so expensive and so hard to get hold of that I gave it up until I got to Tenerife. It was really cheap there, (42 euros for a half ounce), so I started smoking it again regularly. Two and a half years later I returned to Guernsey and stopped again, and nowadays if I want to get "high", I smoke "Spice", which is completely legal and made of herbs such as marshmallow etc. It costs about £15 for an eighth, but has much the same effect as cannabis, and smells like freshly baked biscuits. The best thing is that you can buy it in shops. They do the standard strength which is "Spice", and the higher strength which is called "Spice Gold", both are great. You treat it exactly the same as cannabis, so you can smoke it neat, mix it with tobacco, stick it in a bong, or whatever.

I guess I love the idea of trying LSD in the great outdoors, especially as I am surrounded by countryside, but I am also too scared to chance trying anything else other than cannabis or Spice in case I get addicted to it.

spryte from Arizona, USA on September 18, 2008:

CJ - I have to say I admire you for writing this was a brave thing to do. I'd tossed about the idea of writing about my own experience with LSD and mushrooms but ultimately chickened out. I experimented with each of these things once...and not because I didn't like it, but because I did. I enjoyed myself immensely, even though like yourself I found myself saying things like, "Okay...I'm done now, it's been fun...can I sleep yet?" :) I think the reason I didn't repeat the experience was because I was afraid of ruining such a good memory with a follow-up flop.

I never saw it the same as you did though...but that could because I just missed the whole Timothy Leary movement by a smidgen of years. It was an experiment, an adventure...I didn't expect it to change me. It did though...but not in a profound way. Having seen things in an altered perspective, I think subconsciously I'm always aware that nothing is ever just what it appears to be. Good,,'s all there, existing at the same time on many different levels.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Ryan, "the innermost thoughts of my companions". That must have been very odd. Mind you I agree it's possible.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Agree about the drugs and alcohol Ananta. However I've heard that alcohol and CJ Stone go very well together.

Ryan Keith on September 18, 2008:

I'm so very attuned to a lot of these sentiments. There came a point where I could no longer embark on hallucinatory excursions. Their splendors are almost too encumbering. When I started to hear the innermost thoughts of my companions, I decided it would be best to stick to smoking weed late night lonesome languid for levity.

Ananta65 on September 18, 2008:

Could it be that LSD stands for the Legal Stone Doses?

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Glad you enjoyed it Amanda. So I'm a vicarious drug experience now am I? Actually I quite like that idea. I could make that my selling point. "Scared of drugs, but curious? Read CJ Stone instead."

Ananta65 on September 18, 2008:

Absolutely agree, CJ. A safe environment is key. As is the rule not to mix drugs and alcohol. The only times I had a bad trip was when I smoked after having a considerable number of beers.

Amanda Severn from UK on September 18, 2008:

Amazing Hub CJ. I've never taken drugs apart from pot, but along with a conditioned horror of drugs, there's also, always been a sly curiousity. I don't want to try them, but I want to know how it all goes. This hub gave me just that, the vicarious experience. Very trippy, very strange, and totally engrossing.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Thank you Alice. It was a pleasure to write.

Alice Grey from Pasadena, California on September 18, 2008:

What an extraordinarily 'real' and quite riveting piece of writing. I found it quite beautiful.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Christoph, I think the problem is that we were taking it as a social drug, when it really isn't like that. A few people have been doing work recently using it as a psycho-therapeutic tool, and it seems it can really be useful for certain illnesses. But then you're in safe hands, in a safe environment, with people who know what they're doing. Set and setting as Leary used to say. In know that the wrong environment can be disastrous sometimes.

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on September 18, 2008:

Hi CJ: This brings back a lot of memories (or portions of them, anyway). I had some experiences which I could probably count on one hand, like the...uh...ok, two hands. I can count them on two hands, and then in N.Y., uh....three hands...ok? Three hands.

Really though, not that much. The only bad experiences were when I shouldn't have taken it in the first place because I was sad to start with, and then I only got sadder. If my sadness had seemed unbearable before, the acid sure didn't help.

I still think about trying it again sometime, as you have so eloquently described, but I just don't know. I don't know if I am happy enough to risk it.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

No Pam, I'm not sure living in the US counts as reality. More like a nightmare from what I'm hearing. I've a vague notion of coming over there and writing something. That's if they'll let me in that is.

Trouble with pot is you have to put up with nicotine. I still rate xtc every so often, but I just haven't got the stamina for it all any more. This story was a few years back, when I was writing the Arthur book: hence his vague presence in there. He always gets me drunk, which I also can't cope with any more. Ah age. They say you get wiser, when what it really means is you just get less able to handle the consequences.

pgrundy on September 18, 2008:

Wow. Well, at least you know now. It's funny, this past weekend the thought hit me out of nowhere and I said to Bill, "You know, we could just start smoking lots of pot. It's so much stronger now. I think I'd feel a lot better about everything if I was just incredibly stoned." I'm 55, he's 57. But as an ex-junkie he's less than enthralled by the notion of drugs redux, unless it's heroin, and we both know how that goes.

Looks like I'm stuck with reality for at least the short term. (If you can call living in the U.S. right now reality.)

Thanks for another fantastic hub. I was right there with ya, dude.

Ananta65 on September 18, 2008:

I concluded that from the hub already, CJ, but thanks for pointing that out. :)

Fortunately I'm not much of a television viewer anyway, but if I'm in the mood for drugs, I'm definitely not in the mood for watching television. I have clear associations with the drugs I've taken. Cannabis 'equals' being in good company, relaxing. And xtc 'equals' either dance and music or sex.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on September 18, 2008:

Ananta65, yes but I tell you the reason for the mood swing, and what the solution is. Nature. Wind and trees and sunsets. Nice music, and, if you're going to watch the telly, make sure sure it's a beautiful film. No war scenes. It's a very potent drug.

Ananta65 on September 18, 2008:

Great hub, CJ, a great hub. Even not having used anything it sucked me in and didn't let go. It also made me curious, wanting to experience it at least once. I know from experience that drugs like pot and xtc will sort extend the mood you're in, so you don't want to take them when you're feeling down. I never experienced a moodswing as strong as the one you describe (and I must say that indeed doesn't sound very appealing).

Anyway, wonderfully and vividly described.

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