Tomorrow we’ll begin looking at how effective self-management stems from seeing the value of your experience.
Today I’d like to share about another set of experiences that helped me see my addiction in a completely new light.
A few years ago, I got high and wrote:
“Salvia training program!”
What was I talking about?
Like weed, Salvia Divinorum is an herb that’s been used for centuries for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
In some ways, though, I feel like weed and salvia are exact opposites.
While weed seems to sneak mischievously in-between the details of my normal perceptions and thoughts, my salvia experiences have been more like rich dreams in which I rapidly detach from my mind in its current state to an entirely different space and time before gradually floating back to my everyday self.
Both weed and salvia help me appreciate my life, but in vastly different ways—one from deep within the details, and the other as I approach from far away.
Though the idea for a “salvia training program” was just a silly high hunch, I found that salvia really did enable me to see my weed addiction from a totally different vantage point.
I’d like to share some of those salvia training sessions with you.
One night in August two years ago, I wrote this (while high and on salvia):
“I like salvia.
“I smoked some just now, and then stood and faced whatever would come the way a person longing for any experience should—as if to say, ‘Take me and do whatever you will; I’m ready.’
“Coming back from salvia, I see my current state of marijuana addiction as I’ve never seen it before.
“I see that the price I’m paying is totally unacceptable.
“I don’t do anything I tell myself to do.
“I’m a self-help failure.
“Tony Robbins says choice is the power we all have.
“What I see as I return from salvia is that I don’t seem able to trust myself to choose anything at all.”
From salvia’s distance, the person I was drifting back to appeared sad, dirty, and unable to focus.
I heard the approaching sounds of my own inner workings as garbled noise.
The sounds were patterns I recognized as having once been majestic and magical, but which had crumbled to winding, crazy mash.
My mind looked like a spent machine, rusty and wound down.
Such ugly details became clearer and clearer the closer I got.
The next night, I mixed the two herbs again and wrote:
“Treat everything the way you would as if staring into salvia.”
People call weed a gateway drug.
If I’m honest, there have been times when I’d be high on weed and wish for something more—something on another level.
In my younger years, the epic realness and unpredictability of a psychedelic experience often made the anticipation somewhat scary.
During my salvia training program, I found myself absolutely ready and eager for whatever the plant might bring: good, bad, frightening, exhilarating…
Several days later, I smoked salvia and weed again, and wrote:
“I saw this giant creature looking like it had just come out of a furnace, burning red hot.
“It was animated, as though flashing in some other texture or reality.
“It wore bright, shiny chainmail armor, and brandished an enormous weapon.
“It spoke and told me to obey my conscience—that the way I’m going would be a way to die.
“I don’t know if there’s a right way to use weed.
“I just feel like I need less of it.
“I feel sad because I don’t think I’ll listen to these words.
“I never do.
“STOP DOING SO MUCH WEED!
“It doesn’t matter who just said that—the weed itself or my conscience.
“The high at least seems to work with my conscience, no?
“Both together show me I’m immature and…
“I was confused on my way back to normal just now, trying to figure out which of my thoughts were the voice of my conscience.
“I honestly couldn’t tell, but concluded that at least half of what I was feeling was that I truly need to stop going against my conscience so much.
“That’s what I saw in the armored figure’s metal face.
“I’m not sure why, but I feel compelled to write that this is the psychedelic buildup to my next phase.”
Basically, seeing that horrifying fiery figure, and feeling the full weight of my confused conscience on weed, was incredibly helpful.
It helped me in the same way that being mature enough to imagine the results of my decisions, good or bad, empowers me to make better ones.
As I drifted back to myself from salvia, I heard the ever-present shuffle-and-tear of my addicted mind again.
It sounded like polluted, bizarre hisses and distortion, though I still somehow recognized the sound as having once been a pleasant high representation of my own cognitions.
Basically, salvia helped me see my compromised, limited state far more objectively.
I mixed marijuana and salvia again the next night, and wrote:
“My biggest fear is one day being old and thinking, ‘Well, I did put a lot of challenges on my premature, underdeveloped lung. My dad did have leukemia, and I was sure pretty reckless with…’”
When I used salvia years ago, long before my weed addiction, I remember the drift back to normal being something of a warm, joyous slide toward renewed focus and appreciation for my own life.
It was a bubbly, smiley feeling I always wished I could share with someone else.
Once I’ve successfully brought my addiction under control, I’d like to try salvia again.
I bet the echoes of my conscience will then be far more peaceful, beautiful, and enjoyable as I re-approach them from afar.
Perhaps salvia can be another good that pulls me across from my own limitations to maturity.
P.S. During the years of my medical marijuana addiction, I actually had a few psychedelic experiences.
I’ll share about them in another story.
For now, I’ll just say that those profound experiences (including my salvia training sessions) seemed to perfectly punctuate my growth and journey toward balance and control in ways that seemed far too perfect to be coincidental.