Read Sober Psychonaut disclaimer for people in sobriety exploring psychedelic medicine.
Back in the day the gay boys in New York called me Special K⏤nicknamed like the hardcore club drug “ketamine” we used to snort on the dance floor at Sound Factory.
Special K was what we did coming down after a night of dancing, sweating, and multiple hits of ecstasy. It was a way of easing out of one altered state and into another. It kept the party going.
“Time for breakfast!” Someone would announce, and out came the inch-tall brown bottle and mini spoon to serve up a bump of white powder to our eager nostrils.
I remember a 7 a.m. pileup at my girlfriend’s house, five of us draped across each other and a sofa, not being able to tell where one person’s body ended and another began.
“I can feel her cables,” said one guy, referring to my friend’s skinny legs beneath the blanket, which cracked us all up.
Somebody got up to go to the bathroom but decided it was better to crawl. It might’ve been me.
“Don’t look in the mirror,” everybody called in unison. “Whatever you do, don’t look in the mirror!”
Looking in the mirror after taking Special K was like looking at a sickly, papery, two-dimensional version of yourself. It just got too weird too fast.
One time I was so completely within the ketamine world⏤down in a K-hole, went the expression⏤that life outside those Manhattan windows ceased to be real. The only thing that existed was life in the apartment, and I was totally alright with it.
A couple of my friends had out-of-body experiences.
“I was on the dance floor and suddenly was up above everybody and could see people dancing,” my friend told me. “Even though I could see myself dancing down there, I was out of my body watching the whole thing.”
That was more than 30 years ago.
I never gave much thought to ketamine again. Never once craved it or wanted to do it or missed it in any way, especially being 31 years sober.
Responding to an ad for ketamine therapy for depression
But then the ad pops up on Facebook: Ketamine Treatment with Psychotherapists for Anxiety & Depression.
“Are you fucking for real?” I actually said out loud, still amazed that psychedelic medicine (although ketamine is not psychedelic necessarily, it often gets categorized that way) was seemingly gaining ground so suddenly.
I had to click and see what it was all about.
Depression? Yep. Got that. It’s better than it was. At least I don’t want to die all the time. Still, I found the possibility of a few psychedelic sessions, potentially weaning me from multiple antidepressants for good, to be quite seductive.
Aside from that, it just sounded like a fucking good time.
Lifting up out of this realm of reality?
Loosening negative brain patterns and behaviors?
Connecting with self and the Universe and realizing self-compassion…
How much is it? I wondered.
After watching some videos and reading about the protocol—everything very well-monitored and guided with professionals in mental health and substance abuse and a wide range of holistic modalities, I said fuck it, I’m doing it.
I used to embrace life and experience authentic gratitude, in practice and belief, almost daily. In spite of my growth and improvement through intensive outpatient therapy, ongoing cognitive behavioral therapy with my regular therapist, numerous coaching sessions, meditation, energy release, and grief work, and a return to doing things I enjoy, including engaging socially with friends and participating in what I consider to be my purpose in life (giving voice to things that matter to me)—a lingering cynicism colors my world, and I resent it.
Not to mention, I used to trust the Universe and I kind of just don’t anymore. Can ketamine therapy help me?