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MAPS BULLETIN
MAPS Bulletin Summer 2014: Research Edition
 
Media > LSD and Psilocybin
April 27, 2006

A personal account of a woman who overcame her cigarette addition during an LSD experience


I had the intention to quit smoking cigarettes for some time. My history with tobacco is long, beginning when I was in elementary school and continuing through the most part of my twenties. I can attest to the change in cigarettes over the years, namely the increase in added chemicals, which make it more difficult to quit. My struggle to quit had many twists and turns, coughs and illnesses over the years.

The night I finally quit was like most, initially. I had three cigarettes left upon heading out for the night. I intentionally did not buy another pack beforehand. I was with a great group of people, most of whom were non-smokers; a great night to try again, third time that week.

We were at a party where taking LSD was only proper. I hadnt taken acid in some years. My relationship with LSD also goes back a long time, the age of 13 to be exact. I must say that LSD has been a lifesaver, in no exaggeration of the word. The most valuable thing Ive consistently gained from this teacher is clarity. As a teen, I called it my reality check, especially when I would come down from the happy, happy high. Clarity was invaluable for me in my chaotic youth. Many of my decisions, directions and redirections were aided by my acid journeys. This journey was no different.

Upon being asked if I wanted to journey, I was reminded that LSD is powerful medicine. I took a moment to reflect. Some time had passed since my last adventure and we were in a very public environment with many people around, which always deserves special consideration of energy flow. I felt a pull to embark on the trip and responded, Yes.

With my three remaining cigarettes in their pack, I started to feel the effects of the LSD. As the bodily sensations came over me, I greeted my old friend with warm familiarity and a big smile. Tripping between dimensions in public spaces is always an interesting experience.

I had never attempted to quit smoking while tripping before and wasnt quite sure what to expect. A short while into my journey, my nerve synapses fired a craving for nicotine around the same time a friend asked me for a cigarette. I offered to share one with her. Upon the first inhale, the familiar smoke filled my lungs. The experience was more pronounced than the usual mindless habitual action I was accustomed. The nerve reaction that set off the craving was sedated, but with each new inhale, my bodys reaction was intensifying. I refrained from pressuring myself not to smoke, something that had traditionally resulted in smoking more. With as many times as Id returned to my relationship with tobacco, even though I didnt enjoy smoking much, I was generally deaf to my bodys cries.

Back to dancing, watching performers on the stage, conversing with friends, watching the dreamweave dance with the rhythm of the music along the walls and in the faces of those around me.

Generally, my frequency of smoking was an average of 30 minutes, give or take depending on the environment. The time between my cravings was at least tripled. This of course is a rough estimate, as time is distorted during trips. Upon the next firing of my nerve synapses, I had no interest in smoking an entire cigarette alone. I sought out a fellow smoker to share in the smoke.

The experience was more powerful than the last. I could feel the real-time impact of smoking tobacco in my body. The harsh feeling in my mouth and lungs was more intense. My throat felt instantly swollen. I could feel my nasal passages fill with phlegm and drip down my throat. My lungs hurt. I felt constricted. My breath was shallow and short. Air was not flowing freely through my body. The cigarette tasted hideous; more so than I am able to taste in the first few puffs after at least 3 weeks of being smoke-free, an experience that should be enough to inspire anyone to be a nonsmoker. (Im always fascinated by how quickly our bodies adapt and adjust, even to things that are unhealthy.) LSD enabled me to feel in real-time what was happening within the cells of my body and it was quite disturbing.

The value of this instantaneous feedback cannot be underestimated. We generally dont feel much of the abuse we inflict on our bodies until we are much older. Smoking tobacco is a leading killer in America though the onset of lung and heart disease usually occurs later in life, sometimes even after a person has stopped smoking for several years. This made it easier for me to deny the infliction of a slow, painful death from smoking cigarettes; easier to ignore the coughs and more frequent colds that later result from a chronic, heavy nicotine addiction. I am healthy and young. I am invincible. I was no longer able to fool myself into this false sense of security.

My desire to bid cigarettes a final farewell felt closer than ever. Many of my attempts to quit incorporated the one day at a time philosophy. Forever seemed so long and caused me mild panic, even slight emotional remorse. Tobacco had been a source of strength in my turbulent teenage years. I found the tobacco plant to be a powerful ally; consistently offering a habit to take comfort in, a surefire way to stop crying, and a connection to my dream of adulthood and independence.

Back to dancing, the dreamweave, music, enjoying the company of friends, and contemplating my addiction and relationship to my body

One more cigarette to consume and contemplate Off to find a friend to share my last cigarette. After time to reflect and integrate the feeling of smoking the two previous cigarettes, I was ready to part farewell. As I lit the remaining cigarette, I gave thanks for it being my last and for all the positive things I had gained from the tobacco plant over the years. I stopped halfway through the cigarette, which again had the special effects and amplified feelings, with a sense of completion and peace.

I, like many, consider LSD and other teacher plant experiences as opening doors, broadening perspectives and warming the heart. To walk through the doors and integrate lessons learned is our responsibility. LSD is powerful medicine. Through this journey, I was able to connect to the role tobacco had filled in my life and that resolution entails refraining from smoking and finding new ways to experience life. The most significant difference between this experience and those of earlier years is intent. I would anticipate the reality check in my earlier years experiences, while I was not an active participant in the direction of the trip. On this night, my intent was to heal myself from my addiction. I was able to connect with the roots of my habit, the chain reaction of returning to old habits in uneasy times, and then connect with the desire and possibility of creating new and different ways to experience my life.

Six moons have passed since that special reunion with LSD and my farewell smokes. I remain an ever grateful nonsmoker for the clarity and connections LSD once again brought me and its enhancement of my ability to create positive change within my life.


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