While it’s most definitely possible to feel emotionally addicted to psychedelics, you can’t get physically addicted to substances like LSD, mescaline, DMT, mushrooms, etc. These substances simply aren’t addictive. Because of how powerful the experiences with these drugs can be, it’s also very hard to overuse them, but it does happen.
When you feel like you’re addicted to psychedelics
While you may feel addicted to psychedelics, the addiction is psychological, not physiological like an addiction to nicotine. This psychological addiction can feel very real, and it’s sparked by something that the psychedelic is giving you, such as a way to escape the pain of daily life. This leads to overuse or misuse of psychedelics.
So, what does psychedelic over-use look like?
The experience of a psychedelic trip can be so intense and mind-boggling that fully processing and integrating the information you learned into your life can be a multi-month or multi-year process. It could even take a lifetime to fully understand a trip, good or bad, but we often don’t give ourselves the time and mental energy necessary to process a trip fully. Instead of seeing them as a gateway to cosmic knowledge or powerful mystical experiences, we can easily fall into using them as just another drug. This is where you can run into trouble, because they just aren’t the same.
Psychedelics open you up to your own subconscious mind as well as to a web of ancient, sacred knowledge and information. When we take psychedelics over and over again without truly trying to understand ourselves or the universe on a higher level, this is misuse. You can certainly take psychedelics however you like, but without giving these substances the proper respect, you run a serious risk of having an experience that could turn your life upside down.
Each situation is unique, and no blanket “sign” will always apply. Here are some signs and examples what being emotionally addicted to psychedelics might look like:
- Routinely taking a psychedelic as just “something you do”
- Constantly anticipating the next time you’ll get to trip
- Taking psychedelics more than once a month
- Constantly being on the lookout for new drugs and psychedelics to try
- Being unable to resist taking a psychedelic when someone around you has some or has decided to take some
- Taking massive doses
- Tripping at parties, clubs, or other environments that don’t provide an opportunity for introspection
- Looking to psychedelics when you feel down or in need of an escape
- Tripping on a schedule i.e., “I trip every [specific period of time]”
Feeling addicted to psychedelics because you have trouble finding meaning in normal life
This is an extremely common reason why people take psychedelics, but it can turn into overuse as it becomes a repeating pattern. If you have an intense psychedelic experience that promotes introspection, you can find enough meaning, inquiry, and intrigue right then and there to last you a lifetime. Psychedelics have the power to open you up to the spiritual nature of the universe or the connectedness of all people and things. They can show you how a seemingly insignificant spider’s web or leaf holds the entire meaning of life, beauty, love, and existence.
It is simply impossible to fully comprehend a deep trip in a week or two and be ready for the next one. When you take psychedelics in situations that don’t allow for true introspection and eye-opening on this level, it’s easy to get into a rut of spinning your wheels and not gaining any deeper understanding.
If you love the feeling of connectedness or spirituality while tripping, realize that you don’t have to trip again to continue feeling those feelings. This is the meaning of the term “integration.” Psychedelics can teach you wonderful lessons, but they can’t force you to learn them. It’s your job to take what you felt during the trip – that heightened sense of oneness, spirituality, or creativity – and make it a part of your everyday, sober life. This is the true work – the hard part – but it is the part of tripping that is truly life changing. Without integrating your newfound understandings into your daily life, you’ll feel the need to trip over and over again in order to feel the same level of insight, connectedness, or creativity, leading to misuse.
If you find yourself using psychedelics as a way to escape the boredom or pain of everyday life, realize that you have the power to change your situation. You have the power – and responsibility – to make life worth living without additional substances. It’s all up to you. This is true even if you’re young and don’t have the freedom to make big changes in your life like someone who already lives on their own would. Your attitude towards life, feeling of purpose, and goals make life meaningful, not your physical surroundings or age.
If you feel stuck in this kind of pattern of overusing psychedelics, here are some things to do:
- Take an inventory of your life. What is it that is causing you boredom or pain that you want to escape? Do you feel that you have a purpose? How is your overall attitude towards life? Do you have goals for yourself that you created?
- Change your attitude. This can be hard, but it’s so worth it. If you’re in the habit of saying “I can’t do…” or making excuses for yourself, start doing the opposite. Start trying to see the bright side of things and taking yourself less seriously if you’re overly self-conscious or perfectionistic. Work on identifying how your beliefs and worldview is holding you back and make some changes. For example, say I believe that I’ll never be able to achieve my goal of learning to play piano because I can’t afford to buy one. That belief is very limiting, because there are lots of other ways to learn piano without having to spend $5,000 on one. If I change that belief to, “I’ll certainly find a way to learn how to play piano if I put my mind to it,” then a whole world of possibilities opens up for me. I could use the practice pianos at my local school or college or save up over a few months in order to buy a keyboard for $200.
- Create a purpose for yourself. This doesn’t need to be the overall purpose of your entire life, just one that works for right now. Your purpose could be something like, “To discover the meaning of femininity,” “To get out of my family’s cycle of dysfunction and make a good life for myself,” or “To find financial stability and freedom.”
- Create some goals. These goals should be measurable, reasonable, and things you actually want to accomplish. Once you set the overall goal, you should try to break it into smaller, also measurable goals that you can work towards along the way. Some examples of possible goals could be, “To work as a server in a vegetarian restaurant by this October,” “To plant an herb garden this spring,” or “To learn how to code HTML and CSS over the summer.” Your goals should align with your currently purpose and give you something motivating to work towards.
- Stop doing things that feel wrong. If you’re in a relationship or friendship that’s bringing you down, have the courage to end it. If you can’t stand your job, start looking for a new one. If you’re stressed because you don’t have enough money, evaluate ways you could save or spend less. If you don’t like how you look, start getting healthy, get a haircut, or change your clothes. There are so many little ways you can change yourself that will have a big impact on how you feel. Often, they require a little bit of courage but are so worth it.
Feeling addicted to psychedelics because of the desire to feel spiritually connected
It’s easy to get “addicted” to the feeling of spiritual unity that psychedelics can give us. In normal life, it’s difficult to feel as connected to source or the Divine as we do while tripping. It can be done, but feeling that level of connection naturally requires diligence, patience, and practice. It requires constantly focusing on your goal of spiritual attainment and prioritizing it over other, easier things. In short, you have to really want it and work to get it. This where an “addiction” to psychedelics comes in. Psychedelics allow us to get the spirituality we want for a number of hours, but because we didn’t do any work to get it, it goes away again as we come down.
If the feeling of spiritual unity or connectedness to source is what you really want, it’s worth working to achieve it. The psychedelics aren’t what makes you capable of having those feelings. It’s something that exists naturally in your mind, and psychedelics just help you access it. Think about the spiritual feeling as being inside of a beautiful paradise garden. Psychedelics can pick you up, drive you there, and drop you off so that you can experience the garden. But, in a matter of hours, they’ll take you back home without telling you how to get there yourself. It’s your job to figure that out. You just need to start exploring, making a map, learning how others have found their gardens, and looking for clues.
Here are some things to do:
- Read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. This is a great book which can expose you to the far-reaching possibilities of spiritual experiences on earth without needing to use substances to get there. It’s very enjoyable to read, and it certainly changed my life for the better.
- Spend more time observing nature. It’s great to disconnect yourself from the outside world and go into nature alone (in a safe way). Perhaps there’s some woods behind your house or a local park. Just go there and observe what you see: the movements of animals, the patterns of bark on trees, the sounds, the leaves. At first, it may not feel like much, but once you can establish a deep, personal connection to nature, you’ll start to feel like you’re opening up.
- Start exploring spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation, astrology, energy work, tarot, crystals, etc. There are so many systems of spirituality that all lead back to the same place. It’s worth exploring many of them in order to find a few that truly resonate with you.
- View everyone as spirit, and your animosity or negative feelings towards others will start to melt away. If someone typically angers or annoys you, try to view them as a soul or spirit that is completely connected to you and everyone else. Try to view your interactions as exchanges of energy, which will help you to take things less personally. The more you can get out of your earthly ego and into the part of you that realizes everyone is part of the same spiritual existence, the better off you’ll be.
Feeling addicted to psychedelics as a result of self-destructive tendencies
When something is self-destructive, that means that it’s a behavior you do to yourself continuously, even though it’s harmful to your overall well-being. An example of this would be taking full doses of psychedelics every few days or every week, without seeing or recognizing that it’s wreaking havoc on your day-to-day life and mental state. Another example would be routinely showing up to work late and high, even though that will probably lead to you getting fired. When we’re engaged in self-destructive behaviors, it’s often difficult to see the cause-and-effect relationship between the thing we’re doing and its negative impact on us.
It’s generally self-destructive to take psychedelics very frequently (such as more than once a month consistently), especially in situations that aren’t conducive to introspection or expanding your mind. If you feel like you constantly need or want to be high or are constantly looking for the next drug to try, it’s important to realize that something is causing you to feel that way. Often, it’s the desire to get away from something about yourself or normal daily life that can make you feel addicted to psychedelics.
In this case, it’s really important to start trying to identify why you’re taking psychedelics as often as you are. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What is it about psychedelics that makes me keep coming back to them?
- What do I hope for or look forward to when planning a psychedelic trip?
- Is there a certain mood or mental state that causes me to begin wanting to trip again?
- What’s so much better about psychedelics than normal, daily life?
While some of these questions may seem simplistic or obvious, spending the time to write down thorough answers can really help you begin to understand why you feel addicted to psychedelics. For example, if your answer to the first question is, “I just feel and see so much beauty in the world that I don’t see without psychedelics,” that is a very telling response. Based on that answer, I would suggest to start trying to see beauty in the normal world every single day rather than relying on psychedelics to show it to you. The same level of incredible beauty exists in this world too – it just takes some effort to see it. As you start to see more and more beauty in the everyday world, it’s likely that you’ll feel less and less addicted to psychedelics.
I want to emphasize that taking psychedelics is a personal choice. The way you choose to take them is up to you. But if there comes a point when you are starting to feel addicted to psychedelics, then recognizing that is a great first step in healing a self-destructive pattern. The good news is that, since these substances aren’t physically addictive, the process of “quitting” is truly up to a mental decision and a desire to stick with it.
It’s up to you to evaluate the roots of the over-use and to make changes in those areas of your life. There are steps you can take to change your life no matter your age, financial status, or position in life. Even the smallest of changes can make a huge impact.