iece of advice number one: The most important thing to remember is: you just took some acid. This might seem like an obvious point to you right now, but trust me – at some time in the next few hours you will find yourself asking, “What did I do to my brain? Is my brain broken? Am I going to be this way for the rest of my life?” That’s why I’m telling you, now -- always remember: You just took some acid. (Maybe write that on a Post-it note, for yourself. ) You will be fine. In about eight-to-twelve hours. Probably.
The second most important thing to remember is: You took the acid on purpose. No one made you take it. Charles Manson didn’t slip some into your Kool Aid at a love-in: no – you took it yourself. You meant to take it. You wanted to feel this way. All of this confusion, disorientation, hallucinations (if you scored some good stuff) -- this is what you wanted. This is what you planned for the evening. Acid is a lot like a Haunted House at Halloween: if you were just walking down the street and some dude in that mask from Saw jumped out at you with a knife, you would NOT enjoy it. But in a haunted house, that you paid to get into, it’s a good time.
Acid is just a haunted house that’s inside your head. That lasts for eight-to-twelve hours. That you bought from some dude who a friend of a friend knows.
With these things in mind, and a little preparation, you’re going to have a very pleasant, although at some points terrifying, ride. Okay… About the terrifying parts. It’s usually not your dead grandma jumping out at you from the shadows terrifying, like in those movies they show you in health class (though that may happen). It’s more like… Oh my God, I’m not a real person because I was never born terrifying. But don’t let that put you off. Good trips are like those rides in Fantasy Land, in Disneyworld. There are happy parts, and there are scary parts. And sometimes you see talking skulls. Try to enjoy it, it’ll all be over in half a day or so.
Remember: Good, laugh-at-the-carpet-for-four-hours-acid can be a real treat. (…If you scored something else -- speed cut with Robotussin and glass – less so. But try not to think about that right now. ) Either way, you already took it and there’s nothing you can do about it now. Get that through your head, too. Say it out loud: “I just took acid, and there’s nothing I can do about it now.” Sometimes that helps.
Other things to remember: Often, when you do acid for the first time, some dude says something to you like, “Hey, don’t worry about it man, I’ve done a lot of acid, and I’ll be your Tour Guide.” Or your “Flight Attendant.” Whatever happens, stay the fuck away from that dude. Anybody offering that kind of help from the get-go is trouble. He’s probably a sick, degenerate freak on a power trip, who’ll take less acid than you just so he can feel superior (which he never gets to do, unless surrounded by folks who are tripping their balls off). The last thing you need is to have that smug little Jim Jones fuck around, playing mind games and telling you “you’re doing it wrong.”
Even if that not what he’s saying, that’s what he’s thinking (and on acid, there is no difference).
Lastly: have some orange juice in the fridge. When you’re a few hours into the trip, someone might remember “hey, I heard drinking orange juice increases the visuals.” (“Visuals” is an acid term: a harmless enough sounding label that can mean anything from the walls breathing, to your best friend’s skin sliding off his face. One time the guy on the album cover of The Cramps’ “Bad Music for Bad People” climbed off the LP, took me into a limousine and talked to me about Hell. He said it wasn’t that bad. That’s what we mean by “visuals.”) Anyway, someone will remember that rumor about orange juice, and then you’ll all go pour and drink some orange juice. It’ll be like a field trip, and sometimes it’s good to have “planned activities” – just so you feel you’ve accomplished something. Even if it was just going to the fridge. Trust me: it will feel as logistically as difficult as Operation Overlord on D-Day. And you pulled it off. You’re fucking rocket scientists, and one day you’ll be the ones people come to for answers and leadership.
Let’s see… what else. Avoid things that might stress or freak you out. Like people, clocks, mirrors, urinals, money, junk food, healthy food, and The Man. I’ve known some folks who had a pretty rough time dealing with their cutlery drawer, too.
The most important thing: Enjoy the confusion. Enjoying starting to freak out that the confusion won’t stop or even lighten. Enjoy pulling your shit together, and then being filled with pride that you made it though the roughest patch of your young adult life. Then enjoy the fact that you didn’t really “make it through” anything – you’ve just been sitting on the couch in silence for five minutes, and you still have eight-to-twelve more hours of this shit to go.
Remember: it’s only the acid. You’ll be just fine. Probably.
This article was originally published May 2012