As my research continued, I remembered that Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, had his infamous “white light experience” while under the influence of a plant medicine called Belladonna. This drug was sometimes used in various detox concoctions in the “drying out” wards of hospitals. This psychedelic was, in part, a catalyst to his sobriety.
Later, I discovered Wilson also experimented with LSD during his later years of sobriety. He had many documented LSD treatments in a clinical setting, to replicate the spiritual conversion he had come to believe was the keystone to achieving his lasting freedom from alcoholism.
Of course, this fact contradicts the widely held belief that all drug use will eventually lead an addict or alcoholic back into the depths of uncontrolled and often terminal addiction. However, by all historical accounts, despite his experimentation, Bill died a sober man, and his inspired teachings went on to save the lives of countless alcoholics and addicts to follow.
I continued my research and gradually opened my mind to the prospect of stepping outside of the traditional confines of recovery to continue my spiritual growth. Then, a suppressed memory resurfaced one day while I was meditating: A few months before I committed to sobriety, I recalled an incident where I had ingested a “hero’s dose” of magic mushrooms. This procedure was commonplace at that point in my life. I was frequently prone to taking combinations of just about any drugs available, in vain attempts to escape my misery. On this occasion, however, the outcome was very different.
Rather than achieving reprieve, the mushrooms I took that night brought me face-to-face with the harsh reality that my life had hit a dead end. An awareness of my life choices descended upon me, and more importantly, I realized the time to get sober was drawing nearer. It was during this moment that I sensed an ever-so-faint feeling of hope. An inner voice spoke to me with self-compassion, delivering the message that I was indeed worth fighting for, and under my many layers of self-hatred existed a pure soul with a potential for success in life. Somehow, in the dense fog of my intoxication, on that evening, I had committed myself to future sobriety.