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Post Deployment Rebirth
How do i make it right again?
This will be my first report of many, as I am most fond of the profound revelations I had while experiencing this trip. Unfortunately this is not one of the more comically entertaining trips that I plan to share, but what it lacks in humor it more than makes up for in the resonance it has had in my life since then.
The year is 2010 and I had just returned home from my second deployment to the war in Iraq and received my final release papers from the United States Army. I decided to call an old Army buddy, J, and see what he was up to and if he wanted to catch up on old times as it had been six years since we were deployed together on our first deployments. It only took one phone call and a steely determination on my behalf to drive 1100 miles to visit an old friend and rehash some great times. J and I through our time serving together in Germany had grown very fond of psychedelics and regularly frequented Amsterdam to indulge in psychonautical behaviors. You will find that he is a regular staple in many of my reports, but this time he wasn't only a fellow cosmonaut, he was my host as I was a guest in his house.
With the background out of the way I will get to the trip.
I am not one for sightseeing or staying at several strange hotels on a road trip so i decided to make the journey in one go. With that said, when i arrived at J's house I had been driving for nearly 17hrs strait and managed to arrive around 10'ish in the morning. J was happy to see me and I was glad to see him as well. He was a room mate of mine for two years and served an entire year of hell with me in the heart of the height of the occupation of Iraq. Needless to say J and I aren't friends, we are brothers. Since he knew I was tired we took it easy the first day and took my truck out for some rally driving in the desert and then got a good meal and I headed to sleep. We had determined that the trip would wait till the next evening.
The next day began and we started where we left off before, rallying through the desert and doing what soldiers do by shooting guns at inanimate objects, we did a fair bit of light drinking and a great deal of catching up to kill the time until evening when it would be more environmentally pleasing to trip. J also was kind enough to show me his grow chamber and share with me how he had become a hobbyist bordering on down right scientific genius of the psychotropic. I was impressed by his skill and he asked if i wanted to take it easy or go for the hero's dose. Now, J and I had never shy'd away from heavy doses so naturally I agreed to go all out.
We began by taking a few grams of fresh shrooms he had picked for the occasion, and LAN partying some counter-strike to wait for the come up. (I was never really into CS, but having watched J play on shrooms in previous trips was something of an awesome experience in itself, in short, HE's SCARY FUCKING GOOD.) Unfortunately i was playing on his then wife's computer and for some reason I could not stay connected long enough to get into a decent set of matches. This really started getting to me as I couldn't tell if I was starting to lose concept of time, but I do know that I didn't feel like dealing with it anymore so i went to his living room to watch some TV. The news was on and I remember thinking how overly flashy and eccentric the Fox news room was, and how annoyingly biased and angry the reporter at the desk was. In that moment, still at a 1 out of 5 trip, I had my first epiphany of the night and decided that after this night I will never watch the news again. (To this day I still have not.)
About half an hour went by ( 1 hour total ) when J came into the living room and asked me if I wanted to try something new. He had taken several of his past dried grows and made a "Lemon-TEK". Since I had been a long time member of the Shroomery I was very interested and agreed to take about half a shot glass worth of it. I must say, as far as shrooms go, this was by far the easiest way to ingest mushrooms I have ever experienced. J finished the shot glass and we both sat down to "rag" on the uber angry news reportery guy.
I don't think I made it ten min. before the TEK began kicki....no, suplexin.....nah LAUNCHED ME AS IF I WERE DUCT TAPED TO THE TIP OF A SATURN 5 ROCKET HEADED FOR THE MOON........OF PLUTO. It began as a series of rings crashing into me. These rings were comprised of an escalating series of LOUD, DEAFENING Frequencies contained within glass shells of mental fractals and patterns formed from my memories and morphed like a Google Deep Dream image. With each ring that smashed into me I was literally shaken and knocked back. This cosmic onslaught felt like it had gone on for eternity, twenty or thirty rings in total, but as I managed to focus on the news again for a second i found that they were still covering the same story as when it started. Soon thereafter I made a decision that I had never made before in all of my tripping experiences and told J that I had to go lock myself inside his guest room. He grinned and chuckled, but after looking at my face he realized what I must have been going to experience and set me up with some extra fluffy blankets and tons of pillows.
Once in the room it began to take over me. Never in my dozens and dozens of times taking mushrooms had I had a "bad trip", but this motherfucker was not going to be ignored. Instantly my mind went back to Iraq. The things that I had done and seen were in a constantly repeating loop in my mind. Every detail, from the heat, to the smells of sewage, sweat, war and diesel constantly playing over and over and over again. Then came the humbling, soul shattering truths of the person I was when hiding behind body armor and a rifle. "What a Punk, What a Bitch, What a Coward"!!!! over and over again until I was reduced to tears...and then until I was out of tears and just moaning and squeezing my head so hard due to trying to crush these things out of me. Finally came the realization that I had indeed died on that deployment, down to the very moment that It had happened.(If you wish to know more about this you may PM me but what I have to say is very personal to me and a belief I still have to this day.) Finally I reached a point that I have experienced before with mushrooms that I like to think of as Ego Death. After hours the pain and misery and regret had subsided in a moment of pure clarity. I accepted that what I had done was wrong, not just on a personal level, but on a HUMAN level. I accepted that it was in the past and I came to a couple of possible resolution/retributions. The first was that I kill myself right then and there and spend the rest of eternity in Hell. But, since I was at my friends house and he probably wasn't having as bad a trip as I had had, i decided against it. The other was to return to Iraq as a humanitarian and attempt to right the wrongs that I had committed by giving back the money I had made on my deployments.
About a year after this trip I actually attempted this venture but Iraq was still far too much of a danger zone for any of the big humanitarian organizations to get involved. Once that effort failed I felt broken and dropped out of school and developed a hell of a cocaine habit. It looked like it could be option A after-all and I commenced to putting nearly $25K up my nose. Through this entire time of self destruction I knew that I was doing the best possible thing with that blood money, destroying it, and myself at the same time, and always had my moment of clarity from that trip in the back of my mind. In two years time the money was finally gone. Its funny now in hindsight because as soon as the money was gone I ended up meeting the woman I love very dearly and plan to spend the rest of my days with. She saw a broken man, picked him up and weathered the storm of rehabilitation by his side.
As for J, I never really told him how the trip went, but as brothers do, I am sure that he understood completely, we still remain brothers and frequently play Tactical Shooters and surf each others Shroomery posts.
In closing, I vowed to take what I learned from that experience and the following years to finally grow into what I am proud to call a man again. I have found happiness and peace through bringing others happiness and peace.
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