386. Psychedelics & the Future of Addiction Recovery + 2021 Wrap Up (New Year’s Eve Solocast)

Luke Storey

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

I review the year that was 2021 and my presentation at last month’s MeetDelic conference on psychedelics and the nuances of addiction recovery. 

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Despite chaotic outside circumstances, I have been blessed with bountiful gifts this year. I moved to the greener pastures of Austin, Texas, with my better half, Alyson Charles. We purchased a home, and I expanded my business. I’ve never felt healthier, happier, or lighter than I do right now. 

Of course, as many of you know, it wasn’t always like this. I spent the best part of 25 years obliterating my body with drugs and alcohol and the past 25 years putting myself back together again. I’ve tried just about every spiritual modality out there. 

Still, nothing comes close to the breakthroughs I made during intentional psychedelic experiences, which is why I chose to close out the year reflecting on my recent talk at the recent MeetDelic conference in November. This episode pieces together my journey to sobriety, how I reconciled with my “sober” identity to cross the portal of psychedelics, and why intentional plant ceremonies have proved to be great medicine for my growth. 

03:00 — Review of 2021

24:20 — The Bondage of Addiction

  • Abstinence as the way out 
  • The phenomenon of craving (“my drug of choice was more”)
  • Where addiction and trauma meet 
  • Tracing the origins of my destructive drug voyage
  • The Shrooms of Doom: that fateful night on mushrooms
  • 1987: the year I got sober 

01:02:35 — The Spectrum of Sobriety 

01:41:48 — Peak States of Psychedelics 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology, and personal development. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Welcome to episode 386, Psychedelics and the Future of Addiction Recovery, as well as a 2021 Wrap-Up.

[00:00:33] So, Happy New Year's to everyone that's hearing this in 2021, and especially those of you that are tuning in, in 2022. You can find complete show notes and links for this episode at lukestorey.com/2021. And for those of you who'd like a copy of my slide deck from the Meet Delic event that I'm about to present during this episode, you can find that at lukestorey.com/meetdelicslides. You can also click on the show notes I just mentioned to get that as well.

[00:01:05] Today, I'll be sharing with you the content of my recent talk at the first annual Meet Delic conference, as well as a quick recap of the quantum leap we all know as 2021. Now, before the yearly review, here's a breakdown of the presentation to follow. The difference between the textbook definition of sober and living a life free from addiction, bad trips, and the shrooms of doom, my Big Leap, the call of medicine and the guides, the great escape from sober to free with ayahuasca, the little known story of AA's founder's experience with psychedelics, addiction and the spiritual void or yearning for God as outlined by Dr. Carl Jung, 12-step principles and their correspondence to David Hawkins' Levels of consciousness, enlightenment by toad, calibrating mystical experiences, states versus traits, integration of insights and application of truth, how we can access quantum speed healing, going beyond the limits of time and space to become our higher selves, and finally, the crucial difference between a calling and a craving.

[00:02:12] Before we jump into the main presentation today, I'll go ahead and offer a short recap of 2021. And as you all know, it's been a hell of a year. I think that's obvious to all of us. And I was tempted to do a solo cast on current events, but frankly, I've grown tired of sounding the communism alarm as I've done multiple shows throughout 2020 and 2021 sharing my views on CONVID and the entire plandemic fiasco.

[00:02:40] Now, if you'd like to stay up to speed on the news I find to be true and relevant to those issues, please join my terrifying reality check over at lukestorey.com/telegram, where I post all of the forbidden content that the big tech ghouls won't allow me to post elsewhere. For now, I'll just say that despite all appearances to the contrary and the immeasurable suffering humanity is currently enduring, I am a non-dual optimist, and truly believe that when all of this is said and done, we will re-emerge as a better race of humans.

[00:03:14] It's been dark and will likely get darker before the dawn, as they say, but the good news is that while a great swath of people are being victimized by mass hypnosis, there's an even greater number of people who are beginning to think critically and wake up from the collective slumber in which they've been cast. So, keep the faith, do not comply to tyranny, if at all possible, and let's love our fellows despite our differences.

[00:03:38] And for the love of God, please protect our children by any and all means necessary. Okay. That's that. In other 2021 news, Alyson and I moved to Texas in February after living in LA for 31 years, and she in New York for 15. Now, I did a whole episode on why we moved here, and how we are settling in, and biohacking our house, which can be found on episode 338, published a couple of months ago. So far, we love Texas, its scamdemic freedom, and our massive and beloved community of likeminded friends here.

[00:04:14] When we moved here in February, we bought a home and have been steadily renovating it for 10 months at the time of this recording. Now, it was supposed to be done in July, which would have been a few months after we moved here, and as these things go, it is seeming to just drag on and on, but it's going very well, will talk a bit more about that in a moment. Now, as grateful as I am for the gift of owning my first home, the process has been one of the most stressful and definitely expensive journeys on which I've ever embarked.

[00:04:43] We had to fire our first general contractor demo, most of the work we paid him to do, hired a second, and now, a third to complete the job. It all started because we discovered some minor mold issues in the initial inspection, and you'll know from episode 337 with Michael Rubino. I'm not trying to play with no mold, so we had to deal with that, and thus began the seemingly neverending remodel.

[00:05:07] Now, when it's all said and done, we will have a wonderful and very eco-friendly home to enjoy and share with our friends and family. And despite the nightmare we experienced with our first GC, which actually, I had to edit his name out of the first podcast I did on this, because it was, at that point, kind of a shoutout for him and a recommendation. We've deleted that, so no one has the misfortune of hiring that particular individual.

[00:05:32] But we have had some amazing help along the way, which I feel very confident in recommending and just giving them some love. First, our agent, Johnny Ronca, who's been a godsend throughout, our interior designer, Anna Kidd, our incredible cabinet makers, Riegelwood Cabinets, and the EMF master himself, Brian Hoyer of Shielded Healing, my friend, Marius, who's been a great help with many ongoing projects, including fine-tuning some of the EMF mitigation we're doing, Matt at Principle Faucets, our awesome window man, Jacob Boone, from Graceland Windows.

[00:06:06] I just went over there today and met with him, and I can't believe his team put all new windows in this house in like a week and huge sliding glass doors, incredible guy and has been really a gift with that particular process, which could have been much more difficult. And then, Jim Gale from Food Forest Abundance, who you'll know on this podcast. If it hasn't come out by the time this does, it will soon.

[00:06:31] I forget the order of them, but we're going to be turning the yard from decorative plants into edible plants, so that's super exciting, as well as a host of other characters that have helped us get close to the finish line. I'm sure I forgot a few, but I always like to give some love to people that do great work and are of assistance to us in hopes that they might, someday, be of assistance to you or someone you know.

[00:06:56] And then, once we get moved in and settled, I'll be doing another solo show, wherein I share all of the water filtration, lighting, EMF stuff, gardening, and other eco-building tools and experts we've employed along the way, so stay tuned for that. And of course, that'll come hopefully sooner than later, because we just want to move in this damn house. The dream was Christmas and I don't know if that's going to happen.

[00:07:19] At the time of this recording, that's a couple of weeks away, and at the time that this episode publishes, God, let's just hope we're in there, if not by now, very soon. In other exciting news, probably the most exciting, actually, Alyson and I eloped, and had the most fun and completely off-script little wedding in Las Vegas. More on that later, as well, of course, is a proper friends and family celebration coming in 2022, which will be, I'm sure, documented and shared in some capacity.

[00:07:52] But I would like to just say that we're, of course, in love more and more every day, and I'm personally enjoying the expansion of my capacity for love, to give and receive, and definitely look forward to sharing our experience in 2022 with our higher power couple venture. We've done some presentations as a couple about conscious relationships, and that's something that I'm very much looking forward to sharing with you in the coming year.

[00:08:20] I also turned 51 this year, which feels great. I've never had more energy, better sleep, and overall, life satisfaction. I'd say the biggest needle mover for me in terms of mental and physical health this year has been my brain training with Dr. Lana Morrow, our guest from episode 376. Lucky for me, she moved to Austin recently, and her Think Interfaces system has upgraded my focus, creativity, and overall ability to manage life like nothing else.

[00:08:49] And I've done a lot of stuff. Now, so far, I've done 10 to 12 sessions with her, for which I am immensely grateful. The standard program is five sessions and even that brought immeasurable benefits. But after 10, it's been a whole new world, my friends, and as someone who did a lot of damage to my brain early in life, it's been very empowering to regain my mental faculties and just find that I have the ability to handle more of everything and really keep my composure.

[00:09:21] So, huge shoutout to the brilliant Dr. Lana Morrow for making 2021, not only handlelable, but also way more fun. Another huge blessing and lifestyle upgrading has been the addition of pure spring water here in Texas, courtesy of my friend, Chris, at alivewaters.com. Now, one of the hardest things to leave behind in California after all those years was the pristine spring water to which I had become accustomed to drinking for over a decade.

[00:09:52] I used to go get it myself, and then Chris started his company, and started delivering it to my home there. And to be frank, I got quite spoiled. And unfortunately, Texas is mostly limestone and it's obviously low altitude, so the springs here are very high in inorganic minerals, or TDS, total dissolved solids. Additionally, most springs here are aquifer-fed, which is essentially well water. 

[00:10:18] And while it's better than some water on the planet, it's definitely not equal to true natural spring water. Anyway, after nine months of badgering Chris to find some nearby spring water, he finally struck gold at a spring in nearby Alabama and just began delivery to the Austin area, and I was beyond grateful to be his very first customer. In fact, those of you watching this on video can see the gorgeous stack of glass Alive Waters behind me.

[00:10:46] It's right over there. I have some in the office. And it's funny, I realized when I got this water that I wasn't drinking very much water, because now, I just chug this stuff and Cookie, who's in the studio here somewhere, oh, yeah, she's, for those of you on video, Cookie's passed out back there. She likes the office, but Cookie chugs this freaking water. So, that's that, which is awesome.

[00:11:10] Now, I still use my amazing AquaTru reverse osmosis system for cooking water, and for sure, I'll have that around for any future emergencies. But for now, as far as just pure drinking a glass of water, I'm all about the Alive Water, and I will let you know, if you're lucky enough to live in either California or Austin, you, too, can experience this completely natural living water, meaning it's not been sterilized, so its life force is still intact. 

[00:11:39] And obviously, it's lab-tested for impurities like pathogens, chem trails, acid rain, and all other contaminants. Most water has some funky stuff in it, so it's important to make sure if you're going to drink from a local spring or have water delivered by anyone, that it's tested for all the nasties. Now, we have not yet tested the deuterium levels on the Alive Water, but I'm guessing it's probably low as well.

[00:12:03] I've done multiple podcasts about deuterium. If you heard that word and you're going, what is that, refer back to those episodes. And specifically, if you want to learn more about why I'm so obsessed with spring water, you can go way back and check out episodes 129, 130, and 131. I did a trilogy a few years ago called the Water Wars Trilogy, and that featured both my friend, Chris, from Alive Waters, as well as Daniel Vitalis.

[00:12:29] I realize having access to pristine water is a huge gift and a privilege, as many humans don't even have access to a basic clean water supply, sadly. And so, it's important to note that Alive Waters actually donates 11% of their profits back into the Find A Spring Foundation, which works to build awareness about hot and cold springs, as well as protecting them for local communities. And I wanted to mention Find A Spring, because that's another great resource for you to find spring water in your area.

[00:13:00] It's a really great site, findaspring.com, I'm pretty sure, is the URL, and you'll, of course, find that in the show notes. But I'm all about drinking really pure water, because if you think about it, your body is around 98% water on a molecular level, molecule for molecule. Now, there's debate about the actual weight of your body, the mass of your body, but even that, people say 70, 80%, somewhere around there.

[00:13:27] So, to me, water is the cornerstone of health, and I'm just expressing my immense gratitude for the ability to have this incredible water delivered here in town. I was not expecting that to happen, and so I was working on all my different filtration strategies and things like that. And as I said, the AquaTru is great, especially if you are able to re-mineralize the water using Quinton sea minerals.

[00:13:53] Those of you that heard the episode with Dr. Robert Slovak will understand why that's important. Okay. Next up, it's also been surprisingly a great year in expanding my business, as well as the podcast. And as some of you may have heard, I finally managed to launch my blue-blocking eyewear brand called Gilded. What I did was I took my 17-year career in fashion, I can't believe I did that that long, I mean, it's a fun, creative job, but that was a lot of work, and also my 25 years of biohacking, and created some glasses that not only look super cool, but do an even better job of blocking harmful blue light from your life.

[00:14:32] If you want to check them out, by the way, we have readers, prescription, and regular lenses at gildedbylukestorey.com right now. We're also adding kids and some more frame styles all the time, so stay tuned for more from Gilded in 2022. Again, the new site project there is gildedbylukestorey.com. As for the podcast, at the time of this recording, we're about to surpass eight million downloads for which I am incredibly grateful, and I want to take this moment to personally and very sincerely thank you for listening, and even more, for sharing the shows with friends and on social media.

[00:15:12] I love when you guys do that. Oftentimes, I come across a new listener, I say, how did you find out about the show? Oh, a friend of mine texted it to me, or I see people posting on their Instagram Stories or elsewhere. And I want you to know that I don't take that sharing for granted. I know your time is valuable, so it means a lot to me that you would not only listen, but also encourage other people to do so as well.

[00:15:34] And frankly, this gig is just such a gift in my life and one that I do not take for granted. I'd also like to, of course, thank all of my brilliant guests who are too numerous to mention and our sponsors. I mean, it costs money to produce the show and to take time out of life to prep and record episodes like this one and the guest episodes. And we have some incredible sponsors, and I'm also really grateful that they have faith in me and that I'm able to produce media outside of the media machine and talk about what I want to talk about without getting any pushback from the brands that I work with.

[00:16:09] That's just incredibly important to me, and also, it's important to me that they are businesses that conduct themselves in an ethical fashion and also produce products that actually work. So, as far as working with advertising and selling things, I feel very fortunate that I'm in a position to promote and sell things that I actually believe in, rather than something that I might have to promote if I had a true radio show that was syndicated, or a television show, or something like that, in which I'd be promoting Pfizer or something horrendous like that.

[00:16:42] So, what a gift it is to be able to produce this podcast and have the support from them. Now, in addition to producing around 60 for podcast, I also got back on the road this year and hit the stage at an incredible event called Meet Delic, held in Las Vegas. And it was a psychedelic symposium of sorts and was a massive success for all involved. It sold out and it was an incredible event.

[00:17:12] Aubrey Marcus was there, Alyson was a speaker, Duncan Trussell, a number of other incredible presenters, and the crowd there was just awesome, too. Las Vegas, and no offense to anyone that enjoys or lives in Las Vegas, but it's probably my least favorite place on the planet. It's just me, like everyone has preferences, right? But that particular event and the location at Area 15 was insanely cool, so I had a really great time.

[00:17:45] And as I said in the intro, this episode is going to be a talk around the topic of psychedelics and addiction recovery, and my original intention was to just publish the recording of my talk there. But after the presentation, I thought I could offer more cohesive version of it right here with you all alone in the studio, so that's what we'll do. Over the past three years, my entire life, sobriety included, has been absolutely rocked in the best and most profound ways possible, in large part by the periodic, and note this part, very intentional use of psychedelics and plant medicines.

[00:18:27] The presentation, which I'm about to share, is the first I've put any concerted effort into in terms of connecting the dots between addiction recovery and the use of these sacred medicines. And as far as this year goes, back to the recap, I started off 2021 with four 5-MeO-DMT journeys, which, I'll just say, is probably three more than anyone needs in one lifetime, but that's just how things played out.

[00:18:54] And it not only changed my life, but specifically my ability to cope with the current state of the world in a positive and constructive manner. And really, nothing has helped me live more fully in non-duality than that particular paradigm shift, which took place in January 2021. Now, it did take a few weeks of integration to fully land back in this reality, truly, but for me, it was well worth it.

[00:19:22] And the Bufo Alvarius medicine has truly been one of the most profoundly impactful experiences of my life, and it's, quite frankly, way beyond words, but I'll do my best later in this presentation. I then went on to participate in a couple psilocybin ceremonies, which I've shared about on the show, one of them, as part of the sacred hunting program. We didn't hunt and do mushrooms at the same time, just to be clear, but you can find that episode and learn more about that.

[00:19:54] I also participated in one magical evening of kanna, which is an incredible heart opening medicine from South Africa, and this night, the medicines of choice were kanna, and then a combination of mushrooms and ayahuasca. Sounds crazy, but it was very carefully facilitated and a massive success. That was with a group of some of my favorite men in an undisclosed location. It was totally legal, of course.

[00:20:24] And it was just a beautifully life-changing experience, to say the least. I'm sure I'll expound on that and the realizations that resulted later. But for now, I'll just say it was a major initiation into the next phase of my life as a man, and as a husband, and hopefully, father. And finally, I had the opportunity to sit in ceremony with the one I love and two very skilled wachuma or San Pedro facilitators who happen to be former guests on this show.

[00:20:58] And this was one of the most healing and enlightening evenings of my life, and one in which I became much further embodied in this physical form. It really was a marriage of consciousness and physicality. And I hope to report more on that later, but we do have a presentation to get to. So, that's kind of how those medicines tied into this year. And I really think—well, no, I don't think, I know that some of those experiences have made this very, at times, scary and confusing time something that I've been able to thrive through.

[00:21:36] Despite the abundant chaos of 2021, with the assistance of my spiritual, physical, and medicine practices, I've managed to find the grace to experience what has been the best year of my life. I was writing this and kind of preparing my transcript of sorts, and I thought, has it really been the best year of my life? And despite the nature of things in the world right now, it really has been. I mean, that's it, and I have kind of, I think at times, survivor's guilt, because I know so many people on the planet are suffering and have suffered with everything that's going on.

[00:22:08] And it's not been easy for me either, but man, I don't know. Yeah, I've been at this a long time. It's been 25 years of healing all the things and doing all of the work that I've done, all the meditation. And just, God, all of the books I've read and done my best to apply, and all the interviews I've conducted, and all of the hours and hours of prayer, and all of that has really helped me to be able to contextualize what's going on in a way that alleviates a lot of the fear and anxiety that many people are experiencing.

[00:22:45] And it comes and it goes, but for the most part, I feel, as I said earlier, quite optimistic about our future. And I'm also grateful for, oh, God, the past 20 years that I've been putting hours into learning how to be an entrepreneur and become less dependent on having to have a straight day job. And I know so many people have been out of work and have their businesses crushed by this whole scamdemic, and obviously, I feel the utmost compassion for those, but also very grateful that I keep finding ways to diversify, and sort of carve out a living, and find a way to live according to my mission and my purpose that also happens to pay the bills.

[00:23:29] So, I'm sitting here with just immense levels of gratitude. And before I start the talk, I'd love to thank all of you who have supported me, my journey, and especially this work. Okay. Now, let's explore the ever surprising, and for sure, paradoxical intersection of psychedelics and addiction recovery. And I'd like to add for those of you listening who are or hope to become free of drug and/or alcohol addiction, please pay very close attention to the points of prudence and discernment brought forth in the episode you're about to hear.

[00:24:06] As for the rest of you, please exercise your best judgment, and as always, follow your heart, and remember, safety first. I'd like to start this with a dedication to the fallen soldiers in the war with drugs. Now, I've lost a few friends over the years to addiction, and it is truly a tragic consequence for so many. And not only are there the fallen soldiers in my immediate vicinity and those in the vicinity of friends of mine, who have also managed to evade the destruction and demise of drug addiction, but I know that the vast majority of people, or at least I think the vast majority of people, don't escape the clutches of true acute addiction once they've fallen into it.

[00:24:51] And so, I'd like to add that as a sincere dedication to the people that are out there that are still struggling and the people that didn't make it. And I'd also like to dedicate it to the ones that did, man, my brothers and sisters, who, through grace, dedication, surrender, hard work, have managed to liberate themselves from the bondage of addiction. Man, more power to you. You are true heroes to me, because I know from firsthand experience how difficult it can be.

[00:25:21] Next, I'll add a sobriety disclaimer of sorts. Now, I realize that the topic of today's show, where we're sort of having an examination of addiction recovery, and sobriety, and mixing that in the murky waters of plant medicines and psychedelics, that this is conflicting to many people and perhaps controversial in some circles. And I'd like to say, first off, that I'm just speaking about my own subjective experience as someone who's been free for almost 25 years from many addictions, probably too numerous to mention.

[00:25:57] Just about any drug that you can get addicted to, I think I've had my bout with, and I'm approaching my 25th year of sobriety or at least my version of it. The past three years have, of course, been filled with much experimentation, but definitely not with any of the offenders that I sought to escape from those many years ago. So, I'd like to just acknowledge that, and also address the elephant in the room, which is the model of complete abstinence and the phenomenon of craving.

[00:26:32] It's well known for many people that are recovering from addiction that complete and total abstinence from all mind-altering chemicals is the way out, and that was certainly the case for me for the first 22 years of my sobriety. The odd relationship with nicotine, and caffeine, and sugar, and some of those things that are sort of allowed within the paradigm of addiction recovery circles, I think, typically, because they don't tend to destroy your life like some of the other offending molecules do.

[00:27:08] But it's generally understood and wisely so that if one seeks to truly be sober, that the way out is abstinence. And I think that this is a wise approach, and as I said, one that really worked for me. My experience was that in many times, I tried to just use cannabis, which I've really enjoyed for a very long time since early childhood, actually, as I'll get into briefly. But I found that over time, it was necessary for me to drink more, and then the drinking grew in excess.

[00:27:47] And if I happen to be drunk, well, then I was much more susceptible to the temptations of something like cocaine. And if I engaged in that, well, I might as well just smoke crack, because I already did some coke, and that would cause me to live in such discomfort. I don't really even consider that being high, it's just being super sketched out, then that would necessitate the use of heroin and other opiates, and I was back in the same predicament in which I found myself in the beginning, a guy that just wanted to smoke weed and kind of be left alone.

[00:28:23] So, for me, the phenomenon of craving was very real. Any time I touched any of the drugs that I was addicted to, it would eventually lead to me becoming readdicted to all of the drugs. So, when I entered into a treatment center at 26 in 1997, I knew at that point that the way out for me was the willingness to surrender, well, not just surrender my use, but really everything about me, which we'll get into later.

[00:28:54] But I absolutely knew, and I had learned through my own experimentation and kind of failed self-management of my addictions that I was going to have to give everything up. And that's what I did. Still, to this day, have not done any of those drugs and don't ever plan on it, not because I demonize them or consider them to be morally wrong, I just have an acute and very tangible subjective memory of me being led down some very dark paths if I were to touch certain substances.

[00:29:26] So, for most people, complete abstinence forever seems to be the answer due to the fact that when one who is addicted in just a mind-altering chemical, typically, what happens is something known within the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps as the phenomenon of craving, which is framed there, at least, as an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind. And for me, it really was sort of an allergic reaction.

[00:29:58] I would be off the booze and the hard drugs, maybe for a couple of days at best, and would think, you know what, I'd really like a couple of rips off the bong for breakfast, and so would ensue another trip into the hellhole of addiction. And it really was a phenomenon of craving. I would start craving more of that drug and I would start craving other drugs. And it was very much akin to a physical allergic reaction to those substances, which would manifest as not only cravings, but true obsession for more, and more, and more. 

[00:30:35] People often ask me what my drug of choice was, and I always say, my drug of choice was more. I mean, I did have some preferences. I'm kind of partial to downers, I guess you could say, or as a friend of mine, a fellow heroin addict, used to say, man, we like the slow jams. And I'm not trying to romanticize them, but I did stimulants like crystal meth, and crack, and cocaine, but I never liked them.

[00:30:59] I always just wanted to be anesthetize and essentially put to sleep. That was always kind of the goal, is just that pseudo theta state of not really being awake, but not being asleep. And it was ever elusive in the years of active addiction for me. Very rare was the moment where I was able to achieve that perfect state of balance, which, for me, was quieting my mind, and suppressing painful emotions and memories.

[00:31:30] And I'll add to that the pervasive shame that goes along with being addicted to drugs and knowing that you are. There's the phase of denial for addicts, where it's everyone else's problem, and if they would just leave you alone, you could go live happily ever after with your stash of drugs. But for me, there was something within me that knew I was on the wrong path. And so, as my addiction deepened and became more widespread, there was a compounding of shame knowing that what I was doing was not, in a sense, morally wrong or the fact that it was illegal, but just that I knew that there was perhaps or I hoped, at least, that there was a higher calling for me.

[00:32:20] So, this vicious cycle of addiction for me was usually due to the fact that I could never quite reach complete abstinence from all drugs. And once I did, a higher quality of life developed out of that, and I was incredibly committed, and am committed to my own recovery and sobriety. Although, as you'll learn in this episode, it's looking much different over the past couple of years.

[00:32:48] And as I get into some of the story and some of my research on this particular topic, I'd also like to add not as a defense or a justification, but rather, well, as objective as one can be about their own life circumstance, sometimes, I stop and check myself, and I observe the results of my actions or the decisions that I'm making, leading me and my life into a happier, more successful, more fulfilling direction.

[00:33:19] And I have to say, despite the fact that three years ago, I really had to come to terms with a new definition of what my sobriety looked like, that by every external metric, my life has improved, all of my interpersonal relationships, my relationship with my wife, my finances, my physical energy, vitality, health, business, everything that is indicative of being on the right trajectory is manifesting before my eyes. 

[00:33:51] And above and beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, my relationship with myself, my mind, my emotions, my ability to interface with our increasingly insane world is also improving. In other words, just my general sense of well-being and happiness. And so, that all flies in the face of the prior position I had on complete abstinence, although I am very much so committed still to abstinence from all of the substances, which, in the past, I felt as though I was addicted to or had negative consequences.

[00:34:35] And those would be all of the substances that I just mentioned. Really, anything that gets you high without the intention of healing or spiritual growth and transformation. How it started for me was really in my childhood. I was probably eight or nine when I started to drink and use cannabis. I think back then in the '70s, we called it pot. And a lot of this was just around, well, it was kind of a perfect storm of unresolved and ongoing childhood trauma, neglect, abandonment, things of this nature. 

[00:35:17] And I would like to add that I have great relationships my parents today, and we've talked about a lot of these things, and I think they did a great job and did the very best that they could at that time. But my family history involves a lot of, I don't know, mental illness might be a stretch, but not very much of a stretch, definitely rife with dysfunction in a lot of destructive patterns.

[00:35:43] It just goes back as far as our family history does. So, add to that the environment in which I grew up in Northern California, in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco in the '70s was just abundant with drugs. There were drugs everywhere. It was just part of the culture. So, you add kind of the post-'60s San Francisco Haight-Ashbury culture with a kid who's got no real ability and support to deal with trauma, and perhaps, something in my DNA that made me more susceptible to using those drugs as self-prescribed medicine.

[00:36:26] And I was an addict at a very young age, and was involved in crime and problems with the police, and problems in school, and all sorts of behavioral issues. I was lucky enough, I think, to self-administer drugs myself, which, in the very beginning, was largely cannabis, and then grew to include some of the other things that I just mentioned. But I was fortunate enough to get arrested when I was 14 for breaking into a house in our neighborhood in Colorado and being sequestered to a reform school, a boarding school of sorts in Northern Idaho, at which I was sober by force for two years.

[00:37:04] So, from 14 to 16, I did have my first taste of sobriety, and I was very happy, and dealt with a lot of the underlying issues, and underwent all sorts of experimental and strange therapies there, which I don't have time to get into. But I emerged a sober kid at 16 and unfortunately was not familiar with 12-step groups, and the phenomenon of craving that I just described, and an understanding that I needed to maintain absolute sobriety if I didn't want to end up in the same place at which I found myself at 14 getting thrown in there.

[00:37:40] So, I got out and thus began the journey from about 16 to 26, which was a very fast—well, not fast, I guess if it was 10 years, but it was a downward spiral, to say the least. So, where addiction and trauma meet is in an interesting place, because sometimes, we experience trauma as something acute that happens to us. But in some cases, and this is definitely true of some of my friends who are also in recovery, that they had great parents, and they were healthy and happy, but sometimes, there was something missing.

[00:38:22] So, trauma can be experienced as something that happens to you, but often, trauma is more subtle and something that doesn't happen for you. So, one might have been the middle child that had expectations thrust upon them that they could never meet in terms of being a star student, or athlete, or perhaps they were just ignored, because their parents were emotionally or physically unavailable, or absent, or there were circumstances in which they were abandoned and just not having space held for them, and affection, and love, and touch, and all of those things that are so critical to our development as people.

[00:39:02] And I've yet to meet an addict or an alcoholic that didn't have some trauma on one end of the spectrum that I just described. And so, I think this is something really important to address, especially in the context of this piece of content, is that one of the underlying benefits that I've experienced from my use of plant medicines and psychedelics while in recovery is the phenomenal levels of healing and discovery around not only childhood trauma, but just the trauma of being a human on planet Earth.

[00:39:42] I mean, let's face it, being a person is traumatic in and of itself. Even if everything goes well for you, there are car accidents, and dog bites, and all sorts of things that can transpire that are felt and experienced as trauma. That said, many people, I would say maybe even the majority of people, I'm taking a guess there, do experience some degree of trauma in their formative years, and for whatever reason, don't turn to addiction.

[00:40:08] Many people process trauma by internalizing it and becoming reclusive, or shut down and numb, or perhaps use other less overt means of coping, like shopping, or hoarding money, or striving for success, and accolades, and approval, and all of those things that can, for a short time, help someone to feel whole and complete. But the story for me was trauma, despite periods of being happy as a kid, and also, getting a lot of love from my caregivers as well.

[00:40:43] It's not like it was all bad, but it wasn't the positive things about my childhood at least, and the love that I did receive and continue to receive from my primary caregivers, family, parents, et cetera, that led me into addiction. It was the broken parts of my life and my family system that I think necessitated for me, and I do mean necessitated it, I needed drugs when I was a kid.

[00:41:07] I just felt as though I had been dropped off on the wrong planet, is the way I like to describe it. I just never fit in. I just didn't get it. I remember sitting in my desk, I'm at a desk right now recording this by myself in my studio, sitting at that school desk, just going, what? Like I am not like these kids. Something is wrong. I need to get out of here. And for me, getting out of here was relatively easy.

[00:41:31] I usually had something in my pocket that would get me out pretty quickly. So, that's how it began for me. And as I said, I went to that boarding school. And shortly after, when I was 19, I moved to Hollywood, California, the den of iniquity and depravity, and started playing in bands and just running wild. And I'll be honest, it was really fun. It was the early '90s. It was kind of the genesis of the music scene there. On one end, you had kind of the Guns N' Roses scene. On the other side, you had the more avant garde Jane's Addiction scene.

[00:42:04] Those were kind of the primary musical scenes going on then. And I was kind of in both of them, and playing music with rock stars that I had grown up listening to and having their posters on my walls. And I moved to Hollywood and just met some really incredibly wild people. And it was fun for a time, but it was also the first time I was really free of any sort of adult supervision at all.

[00:42:31] Not that I paid much attention to whatever supervision I had, because I've always been kind of fiercely independent, sometimes, at my own peril, but I moved to Hollywood and it was just the Wild West. I mean, all I had to do was have a waiter gig and sell weed. That was kind of my primary vocation through my 20s, and later on, added mushrooms to my repertoire of products, which I'll talk about later, ultimately ended up being quite a gift in many ways, but I just went down a really dark path.

[00:43:01] And it's not just the destruction of one's livelihood, friendships, relationships, housing, finances, all of those things that we think about as the wreckage of addiction, but I think, most importantly, it was the destruction of my own moral fiber and putting myself in situations with people with whom I had no business interacting, and just spending time on the streets in really dark and dangerous situations, and there was a sort of shadow element of my personality that really enjoyed that.

[00:43:41] I was really drawn to danger, and buying drugs in the hood from gang members, and narrowly escaping getting robbed, and sometimes, getting robbed, and brushes with the police, and violence, and all of this for me was, I don't know, somehow intriguing, if not sexy. But on the flip side of that, there was always an immense amount of shame that was present during those years in Hollywood. 

[00:44:15] Because I had been sober for two years, as I said, when I was a teenager, I knew what it felt like to receive love and to be cared for by adults, who were the teachers at this boarding school, and also, my friends there. I mean, it was a really healthy period in my life, and I think, ultimately, what saved me, because there was always a sense of guilt around my using. I knew I wasn't supposed to be doing this, but I was just so compelled to do so and so obsessed with drugs and alcohol that I couldn't have stopped even if I wanted to.

[00:44:49] And toward the end, there were brief periods where it did try to stop or at least curtail the use of certain substances that I found were just so destructive. And I was never able to do it no matter how hard I tried. And I think that's really the tragedy of acute addiction, is that willpower is insufficient when you're really captured in the ways in which I was. And so, I would try and try again, and ultimately, because I never experienced total abstinence, I would always get entrapped again.

[00:45:31] And it was a very dark time. I mean, I think it's been so many years now, in many ways, it feels like another lifetime that happened to another person, yet at the same time, strangely, I can still remember those moments of despair and incomprehensible demoralization, just feeling so helpless, and so defeated, and just so ashamed of myself.

[00:45:55] I mean, there's nothing cool about walking around the streets of Hollywood at 9:00 in the morning after being up all night on crack and being dressed as a homeless person to evade being robbed or arrested, and seeing the happy tourists walking their kids down the stores on Hollywood Boulevard, and people dressed, going to work and driving in their cars, and everyone else is just waking up, and you're out there with $4 in change trying to buy a rock to keep it going.

[00:46:29] And I'm not trying to—I mean, it doesn't sound glamorous. Glamorous isn't the right word, but I'm not even trying to be dramatic, right? I mean, this was life, and it was very sad. It was very sad. And I was physically ill and I was extremely mentally ill. I don't know that I would have been diagnosed with anything like bipolar, or schizophrenia, or anything like that, but I was just absolutely a mental and emotional basket case.

[00:47:00] And so, eventually, thankfully, yours truly, I mean, I really wouldn't be here if I hadn't gotten sober, but what happened some months prior to that happening was one night, as I was prone to do, I took a bunch of mushrooms, and was drinking copious amounts of alcohol and God knows what else, and I had what would be classically described as a bad trip. I just had sort of a nervous breakdown.

[00:47:29] I'm high on mushrooms. I keep drinking to make the mushrooms go away. It's not helping. And I had a very profound night of realization and that night of realization was that I was a truly hopeless addict and that there was no way I was going to be able to help myself. So, as I said, I had tried many times, failed miserably each and every one. And I remember I was with my friend, this guy named Repo, who was the drummer in my band.

[00:48:02] He was from Finland. I think he might have moved back there since. Another musician that I had listened to in high school, and ended up playing in a band with, and I must have been a real downer that night, because I just kept crying and crying, and just sitting there tripping on mushrooms. And really, the crux of it was like, I have to get sober, like I have to go to a program, I can't do this anymore.

[00:48:23] And it was really the self-awareness and the reality check that those mushrooms gave me that night that inevitably led to my hitting bottom, and truly surrendering myself, and availing myself to getting help. And it's interesting, because I had totally forgotten about that experience, because I used to take psychedelics all the time, starting when I was probably 16. That's first time I took LSD, was in home ec class in high school, and just watching the table start to move.

[00:49:01] And I did have some good times on psychedelics, but I was always using them to try and escape the pain of being me, and all of these suppressed and repressed memories, and emotions, and traumas, and insecurities, and neuroses. And I would like to add that if you're trying to escape from your pain and your problems, psychedelics are a horrible way to do so. Some of the other drugs I mentioned were much more effective in numbing me out and just rendering me as unconscious as one can be.

[00:49:33] But that particular night, as I said, I had some great realizations and it wasn't until I was at least 22 years sober and had participated in four ayahuasca ceremonies that I was brought back to that one particular evening on which those mushrooms, which I call the shrooms of doom, because it really was a horrific night, really gave me the insight that not so much even that I needed to get sober, but I think more importantly, my consciousness, through the assistance of that instrument, let's call it, these mushrooms, an instrument, sort of sang the song of hope to me.

[00:50:22] And the realization I had, ultimately, was that there was some minute hidden part of me that was worth fighting for. I was able to summon a morsel. I mean, it had to have been so small, but a morsel of self-love and evaluation of my life. I remember, you don't remember much when you're drunk and on a bunch of mushrooms, but the crux of it, as I said, was just going, I've got to get sober, man.

[00:50:59] I think my life could mean more than this. And not just that, but if I don't stop, something very terrible is going to happen very soon, whether it was being arrested or being seriously harmed out on the streets and involved in all of the violence that I had so narrowly escaped over those years. It was kind of like when you watch a cartoon, and there's people in a canoe, and they're going down a river, and then it zooms out ,and you see they're about to go over a big waterfall, and they have no idea.

[00:51:37] Well, I knew that waterfall was coming. I didn't know what it was, but I just felt like, man, something needs to change. And as I said, it would be a couple of decades later before I realized that that night was actually the impetus for what would come a few months later, and that was making the fateful call to my dear mother, God bless her, that she was present and available to help me in this way, but I don't think I would have been capable of getting myself into any kind of treatment program, because I just couldn't get myself anywhere at any given time.

[00:52:12] But I did manage to call her and she facilitated the process of me getting into a treatment center, and I somehow miraculously managed to get myself on a plane from LA to San Francisco, then to Santa Rosa. And she was there to meet me with loving arms and drove me into a treatment center. And that would have been, I think, February 14th, 1997. And the very next day was my first day sober in many, many years, and has been one that has continued since that day.

[00:52:47] And here, I'd like to, A, just give thanks to God. I mean, there's no way that I could have been set free from the predicament that I had wandered into without the grace of a higher power. It was impossible, and I proved that to myself. But what happened was I checked myself into this treatment center just hammered, and it was a great drunk, I'm not going to lie. My last drunk, I knew it was the last drunk of my life, and I don't know if I've ever been that drunk, it was fantastic.

[00:53:31] I was in the parking lot of the rehab like hyperventilating joints and just pounding beers. I remember my mom picked me up at the Santa Rosa Airport, and I thought I was—I was so out of it, I didn't know what was happening, but I thought I was going to go to her house, and like party for a few days, and then go to the treatment center. I get to the airport, it's at night, and she's like, okay, let's go.

[00:53:52] And I'm like, well, go to your house? She's like, no, you're checking in tonight. And I was like, no, no, no, hold the phone, and proceeded to drink a bunch of tequila in that little airport bar, and just make a complete ass of myself, I'm sure, not that I cared in the least. And then, even on the way to the treatment center, I was like, nope, not done, mom, you got to stop at the liquor store, bought more booze, and then, as I said, proceeded to drink it in the parking lot, and checked in.

[00:54:16] And the next morning, it's crazy, actually, telling these stories, I've never talked about this on a podcast, but I don't know, my hope is that it might be useful to someone out there who finds themselves entrapped in the ways that I was. And I can kind of laugh about it now, but as I said, it's still quite tangible. And I'm glad that it is, right? I never want to be so self-deluded that I forget about that depth of suffering to the point where I would think, well, I could probably have a beer, watch the game, have a wine at Thanksgiving with the family.

[00:55:10] I never have those thoughts, never have actually since that day. So, what happened was I checked myself in this place, and the next day I wake up or come to rather, I was in a bad way. I mean, I was 135 pounds. I'm 6'2", I'm probably 185 now, and I still think I'm relatively thin, but I mean, I was a walking shadow of death, literally. And I remember going to the nurse, and saying, you guys got to give me something, man, I'm not well here. 

[00:55:43] Because oftentimes, when you taper off opiate specifically, they'll give you some sort of barbiturates or I don't know what they give you, but they didn't give me anything, because I had actually detoxed myself from that particular drug a week prior. So, this was just alcohol, and pills, and weed, and whatever else I was doing, but I was still having withdrawals from all that and I was a hot mess.

[00:56:08] I mean, scorching lava hot. I went to the nurse, I mean, you got to give me some meds, they took my vitals, and she said, you're fine, you look fine to me. And so, what they recommended was that I go to my room and I prayed to God, and I'm like, really? How about some Dilaudid? Like God, I come in here in this shape and what you're going to give me is a prayer, but that's what they gave me.

[00:56:29] And I went to my room and I did just that. I kneeled on the bed, I put my hands together, like I saw people do in the movies, because I'd never been to church or participated in any religion in any meaningful way, but I prayed. And the prayer was just, man, get me through this, and really more than anything is just, God, if you are real and you're there, remove this obsession for drugs and alcohol. I want to be sober, will you help me? 

[00:57:00] Something to that effect, right? Just a desperate prayer with the utmost sincerity and humility. And I'll be damned, it worked. From that moment until this moment right now on this microphone, I have never once had a craving or a desire to do any drugs or alcohol. And I realized this after probably two or three days that something had happened to me that was truly unexplainable. It was an act of benediction, I guess you could say. 

[00:57:36] It was just wild. I mean, not that I was happy or healthy. I mean, I still felt like, I mean, God, just beyond depression, and anxiety, and sick, and weak, and I remember one day, God, I forgot about this, too, they had to like carry me to the bath, because I couldn't walk. And I mean, I was in bad shape, but I didn't have any ideas about trying to catch a cab out of there and go score. And I knew that something very strange and phenomenal was taking place despite my lack of overall awareness.

[00:58:16] There was one other indication to me that something was happening to me and for me, and that was when I was unpacking my bag, I found a 10 milligram Valium, which I used to take like Pez just to, I don't know, go to the grocery store. It's a benzodiazepine, kind of calms your nerves, I guess you could say, one of mother's little helpers, and I just had a bunch of those laying around all the time. I used them a lot to do my own sort of self-administered detox from opiates. 

[00:58:44] And I found one in my bag, and I've told the story a bunch of times two ways, and to be honest, I don't remember which happened, either I took this little blue pill and flush it down the toilet, or I went and turned it into the nurse. I think it was the latter, because I don't think I would have wasted good drugs even at that point. But the important part of that morning was that I didn't take it.

[00:59:08] And I remember not taking it and going, who's the guy that just didn't take that, what is happening? And what had happened was the most divine grace that one ould ever pray for was bestowed upon me and that obsession was truly gone. So, that's the story of kind of where it went and how it ended. And I'm going to skip a bunch of years, but I'll just say that I absolutely and wholeheartedly wanted to get and remain sober, so I followed all of the directives in this treatment program, which was essentially built around the framework of the 12 steps.

[00:59:55] And I did all the assignments. I went to all the meetings. I did all of my 12-step work. I got a sponsor. I did all the stuff. Because I wanted out, I wanted to be free, and as I said, there was some small, barely tangible or recognizable part of myself that felt like I was worthy of this endeavor, and thank God I did. But as time went on over the years, I discovered that there was—well, there were multiple definitions and levels of sobriety, and over time, after much pain in early recovery, was exposed to this idea known as emotional sobriety.

[01:00:43] And this is where one really starts to address their entire character. So, one might be physically and technically sober, but as what we call dry, like a dry drunk, you might have heard that term, where you've not really changed fundamentally as a person, your thoughts, feelings, behavior, selfishness, attitude, defiance, anger, jealousy, dishonesty. I was a taker at that point. Most addicts, due to the nature of that predicament, become very self-centered and self seeking, and that marked my character.

[01:01:25] Although I was a relatively kind person most of the time, because I'm just sort of wired in a kindhearted way, I was not a great person by any objective judgment. And so, over time, I started to really work on more of the internal recovery, the emotional and mental sobriety, and discovering and relinquishing defects of character, really getting into the deeper work of recovery that brought with it great rewards.

[01:02:01] And this would have manifested as a deeper dedication to meditation, and prayer ,and being of service to other people, and applying all of the amazingly powerful and transformative spiritual principles encoded within the 12 steps, et cetera. And so, my life did steadily improve, but in the first few years, I was still pretty crazy. There's a saying that goes around that says, what do you what do you get when you sober up a horse thief? And the answer is, well, you get a sober horse thief.

[01:02:34] So, the horse thief part of me, although I wasn't stealing at that point, I'd given that up as a teenager as a result of that great and weird boarding school I went to, but I started to work on my behavior, and just changing my character, and maturing, and growing. And that led me to do a lot of research about the history of alcoholism and addiction, and the different ways in which it's been treated, most of which, on recorded history, have been unsuccessful, with the exception of complete abstinence and the affiliation with a 12-step group.

[01:03:10] But at one point, I looked up the definition, because I thought, you know what, if what I'm about is being sober, what does that really mean, and why do I feel so crazy a lot of the time? And one of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is not affected by alcohol, not drunk, right? I had that. Then, it goes on to say, marked by sedate, or gravely, or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor, unhurried calm, marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness, showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy emotion or prejudice.

[01:03:45] Now, I don't know about you, but if you've never known anyone in their early sobriety and probably some people well into a couple of decades of it, that would not be a fitting description of someone who hasn't really undergone a deep psychic change fundamentally. And as I started to learn more about the inner workings of my mind, and my emotions, and the deeper levels of dysfunction and patterns that had developed out of my years as an addict, I think I would have had a very hard time and likely not been able to maintain sobriety.

[01:04:27] And so, I think when we're getting into the conversation of someone who wants to be sober or someone who is sober using plant medicines in a ceremonial shamanic context or psychedelics within the framework of psychedelic assisted therapy, et cetera, there are two very important important points to make. One being if one has truly surrendered, and within and of themselves has a deep, sincere desire to be free of addiction.

[01:05:03] I think we've kind of figured out now, if you try to get someone else sober, you're going to likely be unsuccessful, but if that person has a sincere desire within them, and they're able to humble themselves, and get through those walls of denial, and self-righteousness, and blame, and all of the things inherent to the addict psyche, that you've got a shot, right? So, the first thing here is, does this person actually want to be sober? Do they want to be free of these addictions?

[01:05:33] And moreover, is one willing to really look beneath the hood and start to get into some of the inner workings of their mind, and emotions, and psyche, and really get in to start do some of the deep healing that's required not only to maintain physical sobriety, but also emotional, and mental, and financial, and sexual, and all of the other areas of our personalities that would be best defined as sober, as I just described it from that definition.

[01:06:07] The term sober is a judge, someone who's thoughtful, and conscious, and awake, and present. My definition of sobriety has expanded to be more inclusive of my whole life, not just my physical sobriety. And so, if one is curious about embarking on some of the exploration we're going to be getting into today, I think there's some introspection that would be very useful. Does one really want to be sober? And is one willing to do the work that goes into eradicating the trauma, the hurt, the dysfunction that's at the root of addiction?

[01:06:48] Over the first few and in some cases—in some categories, rather, many years of my sobriety, my addictions were shifting and entered into my relationship to my own sexuality, to money, to debt, to co-dependency, and different types of dysfunctional patterns within relationships with those about me. And so, one can be physically sober but still incredibly dysfunctional. And this often necessitates the participation and membership in different, more specialized 12-Step groups around those other areas of life that I described.

[01:07:31] And the shadow trauma and the PTSD that leads people into active addiction is often left unchecked post-sobriety. And from my perspective, even though I made so much progress in all of those years, the progress was very slow, relatively speaking. If you compared the five-year sober to the 20-year sober Luke, I mean, wow, I really had my shit together from all outward observances and expression. But within me, there were still areas in my life in which I was stuck.

[01:08:11] And that was the unresolved PTSD and trauma that still persisted in the realm of the subconscious. It's like doing the same thing over again. God, how did I get in another relationship like that, or how did I squander all of my money again, or rack up my credit cards again, or ad infinitum destructive patterns of behavior that had persisted? And this gets into, really, the underlying cause of addiction.

[01:08:42] And in my experience and in my observation of working with dozens of other recovering alcoholics and addicts, those that don't have the opportunity or the willingness to really get in there under the surface, and start to work on the underlying issues, and really, the spiritual sickness are going to have a difficult time maintaining, in the long run, physical sobriety. And those that do will be largely dissatisfied with their sobriety, recovery, and indeed, their life.

[01:09:18] So, what happened for me was that about 22 years, I had already been producing this podcast and was interviewing people from all walks of life. And this would have included meditation teachers, spiritual teachers, the odd shaman, psychotherapist, et cetera. I started to meet people that would refer to psychedelics outside of the context of "doing drugs or getting high", but using these substances truly as medicine, as healing tools, and also tools of spiritual exploration and expansion.

[01:10:01] And I didn't pay a lot of attention to it as it started to kind of emerge and re-emerge in my awareness, things like ayahuasca specifically, because I had the underlying framework of complete abstinence from all drugs, as I talked about in the beginning. So, I would hear about someone having these incredible revelations doing ayahuasca or something of that nature, and I thought, wow, that's amazing, good for you, but that's off the table for me.

[01:10:30] And then, I started to meet people who were either addicts that had actually been struck or rendered sober from doing plant medicines, or people that were sober, did plant medicines, and continue to be sober, yet had lives that were now thriving and people that had addressed the underlying issues that I described. And this was a major curiosity to me, because it contradicted everything that I held to be true.

[01:11:01] And as fate would have it, eventually, after hearing enough of these stories and getting an invitation to go to Costa Rica and participate in four ayahuasca ceremonies, I just felt called. And I remember at one point, I interviewed a man named Paul Selig, who's a medium, and I was sort of pondering this invite to Costa Rica, and I asked him if he would be willing and able to ask his guides if this would be safe and advantageous for me.

[01:11:34] And he sort of checked in, in his Paul Selig way, it's on the podcast, I forget the number offhand, but we'll maybe put it in the show notes for you. So, it was a great interview. It was very interesting. Paul channels his guides during the interview. So, he asked the guides, and the answer that he gave me was that it would be safe for me, that it would not interfere with my sobriety, and that there was likely something for me to learn, and that it would be a beneficial experience for me.

[01:12:04] So, combined with Paul's guides and not that I hinged my entire 22 years of recovery on the guides saying I would be cool, but that sign and many other signs, and more than anything, just an inner knowing. After 22 years, I had developed a fairly strong capacity for self-honesty, and introspection, and discernment, and had grown to known myself, and kind of know my blind spots, and was able to identify when I was justifying something or being self-deluded, and I agreed to go on this trip.

[01:12:40] And this was the great inscape, going to Costa Rica and participating in my first of many ayahuasca ceremonies. And that particular week was such a huge turning point in my life, not only because of their revelatory and just life-changing experience of ayahuasca, but also being given the opportunity to really recontextualize my self-identity as someone who was sober, in sobriety, this many years sober, in recovery.

[01:13:20] I mean, when I would meet people and they offered me a drink, I say, no, I'm sober. I mean, it was a healthy part of my self-identity. And in order for me to reconcile this journey to Costa Rica, I really had to grapple with my self-definition and what this was going to mean. And there was a lot of this sort of inner work that went into going on that trip and also very much so during the experience itself.

[01:13:49] And I remember on the first night, and I did a bunch of podcasts from Costa Rica about this, which you can find and there's much more detail there, but in the interest of time, I'll just allude to the part that's most relevant to this piece. And that was drinking my second cup of ayahuasca, now, keep in mind, I've been sober as a judge for 22 years. And anyone that's done ayahuasca knows like you don't feel sober.

[01:14:15] I mean, it's powerful medicine man. Powerful, just earth-shattering, paradigm-breaking, etheric, interdimensional, ineffable experience. But I took the first cup, and waited, and when it's time for the second cup, I drank that, and I remember sitting in the most still and razor sharp presence on my little mat, because I mean, I know what it feels like to be intoxicated, right? You might have gathered that by this time in the show.

[01:14:55] And I'm waiting just for a sensation that's not normal, and man, it started to happen, and the first thought or feeling that I had when—the visuals in this envelope of profound consciousness started to overtake me, was that I was free, that I was still sober. Like I didn't have to cling to that, I was, I guess, safe, would be the word. I was safe. It came on, and I thought, oh, I'm fine, like I'm good. 

[01:15:44] And it was really such a poignant moment in so many ways, one of which being that I really just sank into a trust within myself, for myself and of myself, I know what I'm doing here, this is intentional, I've not made a mistake, this was the right thing to do at the right time, in the right place, with the right people. The context, the set, the setting was perfectly orchestrated for me by God.

[01:16:13] And I had the ears to hear, and the eyes to see, and the hands with which to seize this opportunity, literally to seize the opportunity within that cup. And sometime into that first journey, I recall asking God, myself, consciousness, in medicine, often, I just ask, I don't know to whom the question is directed, but I ask questions and I get answers. And the question on this night was, am I still sober? Like what do I call myself? Did I just break my sobriety after all these years? Right?

[01:16:50] And I said, Am I still sober? And this inner voice or inner knowing said to me, Luke, you have never been more sober in your entire life. And man, I could break that down for you for three hours right now, what that means, but in brief, to truncate it, it was that my spirit was for that moment, being liberated from the intellect, even the body, the mind, my emotions, any self-identification with the personality known as Luke Storey, that I was truly free in a spiritual sense, and that freedom to me in that moment equated to another level of sobriety.

[01:17:40] And so, ensued much research and exploration into what had happened to me and for me, because my life began to unfold in the most beautiful of ways after this. And as I said, I was just set free in all of these other previously prohibited experiences, where now, at least to some degree, on the table and had availed themselves to me. And over the course of the past three years, many such opportunities have presented themselves, and I would say the vast majority of them have been declined.

[01:18:15] But the ones that have been accepted and undergone by yours truly have been nothing short of miraculous, and thus led me into, well, why isn't everyone doing this kind of—it's like I had these areas in my life in which I was stuck after working so hard and so hard. And this trauma that was under the surface, particularly around sexual abuse that I experienced as a kid on a few occasions from a couple of different people, which I had dealt with in therapy, and written about, and talked about. 

[01:18:51] I didn't think there was anything left there. I had forgiven the perpetrators. I mean, I've done a lot of deep work around this, but that's just one of the many and they're just endless array of realizations and healings. But around that on this particular journey was a depth of acknowledgement and healing around those experiences specifically that I just don't think I ever would have been able to reach to face in such a stark, brave manner.

[01:19:22] And more importantly, and ultimately, be able to truly heal. And so, I thought if the root of so much of the suffering, and addiction, and alcoholism is centered around these unresolved traumas, why aren't more people exploring this, and is there any precedence for this within the annals of AA or recovery history? And I went on to do some research and found that the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose name was Bill Wilson, had his last drink on Tuesday, December 11th, 1934. 

[01:20:07] And under the care of a Dr. Silkworth, he entered Towns hospital, December 14th, 193, and he had what he described as a white light spiritual experience. And I'll add that in my understanding and perspective, the entire purpose of the 12-step experience or movement or the teachings codified in the 12 steps is indeed to have a spiritual experience, which is what struck Bill Wilson sober and how he went on to create this incredible formula of principles that we call the 12 steps that have been—I don't even think we realize how profoundly that teaching has impacted our society. 

[01:20:59] Because it's kind of just commonplace now, you just sort of take for granted that people that have issues, they go to 12-step groups and a lot of them are good. It works for them, and I guess some, it doesn't. I can only speak for myself, but it worked for me magnificently. But Bill realized that what was needed was not quitting drinking. What was needed was a spiritual experience, and if somebody has a transformative, mystical spiritual experience, what it will awaken their spirit or heal their psyche to the point where they will be free of the necessity for addiction.

[01:21:37] So, many people think that one goes to a 12-step program to quit a thing, but I believe that you go to a 12-step program to have a spiritual experience. And when you have a spiritual experience, the thing is no longer needed. I digress. So, during the time in treatment, there was something called the Belladonna treatment, The Belladonna treatment administered to bill by Dr. Silkworth started with the deliriant, a trope of belladonna, and delirants are a class of hallucinogen that are unique, in that even with lower doses, they offer very solid hallucinations, which display themselves seamlessly into waking consciousness similar to fully formed dreams or delusions.

[01:22:28] The second ingredient in this protocol was another deliriant called henbane, or hogs bane, or insane root. And the third major ingredient was dried bark or berries of something called, I think its prickly ash. And so, this was a concoction that was used back in the '30s as part of a drying out protocol, essentially sort of a detox m edicine that was administered to people to get them through the DTs of alcohol withdrawal.

[01:23:01] And it's debated amongst recovery historians as to whether or not Mr. Wilson had this white light experience under the influence of this psychedelic plant medicine called belladonna, or if it was just something that took place during his initial stint. The first time bill described this vision of light in any detail was in 1955. And he described it as follows, this is his quote, "In three or four days, I was free of what little sedative they gave me, but I was very depressed."

[01:23:35] So, this would indicate, if the timeline is right, that he had already had this plant medicine, belladonna. He goes on to say, "After a brief visit from Ebbe, who was a childhood friend of his that had gotten sober by other means," Bill said that, "my depression deepened unbearably. And finally, it seemed to me as though I were at the bottom of a pit. All at once, I found myself crying out. If there is a God, let him show himself.

[01:24:01] I'm ready to do anything, anything. Suddenly, the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy, which there are no words to describe. It seemed to me in the mind's eye that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air, but of spirit was blowing. And then, it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly, the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed. But now, for a time, I was in another world, a new world of consciousness, all about me, and through me, there was a wonderful feeling of presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the god of the preachers.

[01:24:40] A great piece stole over me, and I thought, no matter how wrong things seem to be, they are still alright. Things are alright with God and his world." Now, I don't know about you and your experience with plant medicines or psychedelics, but that description sounds very similar to what is experienced by many people who participate in mind-altering chemicals of the psychedelic nature, entheogens, some call them. I mean, you can't really call them all plant medicines, because they're not all derived from plants.

[01:25:17] I mean, mushrooms aren't a plant, nor is 5-MeO-DMT that is derived from the venom of a toad. So, I'll just kind of call them all psychedelics for the purpose of getting through this with some clarity. So, he takes this plant medicine, this is the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is where the whole abstinence principle was really concretized. And as I said, rightly so. I'm not against abstinence.

[01:25:45] I'm still abstinent from all kinds of stuff, and I'm very happy to be so. But this is indicative of the spiritual experience that leads many to overcome their addiction and all sorts of other pathology, both of mental and emotional origin. So, Bill has this white light experience, then goes on to meet another alcoholic named Dr. Bob, and together, they both get and remain sober, and go on to form this incredibly influential movement that's all over the world in probably every country, and has helped untold tens of thousands, if not more, addicts, and also, family and friends of addicts recover, and find a sense of peace and purpose.

[01:26:37] But this was all born out of this mystical sort of religious experience. And as I said, it's not just my opinion or estimation that the entire 12 steps as a spiritual teaching are designed to induce not a single white light mystical experience, but a spiritual orientation to one's life. So, this leads us into something even more interesting, and perhaps, controversial and somewhat known within the circles of Alcoholics Anonymous and such, but I think many people are still relatively unaware of this, and that is that in the 1950s, Bill W. joined with Aldous Huxley and took LSD at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital under the guidance of a Gerald Hurd and Dr. Sidney Cohen.

[01:27:30] In AA's official biography, pass it on, a whole chapter is devoted to Bill's experimentation with LSD. On page 371, it's noted, "Bill was enthusiastic about his experience with LSD. He felt it helped him eliminate barriers erected by the self or ego that stand in the way of one's direct experience of the cosmos and God. He thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered."

[01:27:59] And even further in the history, which I don't have time to really delve into in the interest of time here, but Bill did seek, after having such positive experiences with LSD, to integrate LSD therapy. And keep in mind, this is in the '50s. This is pre-illegality, pre-Woodstock, Summer of Love, Hippies, The Beatles, getting a hold of this LSD stuff, and it sort of hitting the streets, which is a whole other conversation.

[01:28:30] But at this time, it was used in the context of therapy. And he, at the time, was very enthusiastic about this prospect and saw it as a potential tool of addiction and alcohol recovery, in that he felt that this vital spiritual or mystical experience that he had experienced in 1934, this white light experience that's very famous in AA, that perhaps, this could be administered and that people could have this transformative experience in mass, wholesale, wholesale enlightenment, if you will.

[01:29:12] And obviously, he was met with much resistance from the sort of administration of Alcoholics Anonymous at the time, and rightly so. And I'm not saying that it shouldn't have been that way, who knows, the thing might not have lasted if everyone started doing a bunch of acid, and I'm very grateful, personally, that it did. But that's what happened. And so, a few years after these LSD experiments, he passed away from emphysema.

[01:29:42] Interestingly enough, he was never able to overcome his addiction to nicotine and cigarettes, which I totally understand, because that's one I've wrestled with for many years. Well, I'm not really wrestling with it right now, I'm just kind of letting it ride itself out, although I haven't smoked cigarettes in a very long time. So, that's a very interesting bit of history, is it not?

[01:30:06] And I think it speaks to the third wave of psychedelics that is now emerging within the context of therapist, psychotherapy, and also, even to some degree, in the realm of plant medicines, and shamanic ceremonies, and so on. As it pertains to someone in active addiction that's seeking to get sober, one could surmise that if one could have a profound enough spiritual, mystical, so-called white light experience, that it could indeed perhaps render them sober as it did Bill Wilson shortly after his Belladonna treatment. 

[01:30:54] And as I indicated earlier, anecdotally, I did meet quite a few people that never went to any rehab or 12-step program and had gotten sober from doing things like ayahuasca and ibogaine, and they had spiritual experiences. They met God and they became free. So, this isn't unheard of, and I'm assuming that throughout history, when indigenous elders, and shaman, and medicine keepers had someone that maybe had an issue with, I don't know, if you could have been addicted before alcohol was invented, but let's just say someone had some sort of mental, or emotional, or spiritual pathology presenting that it's quite likely that psychedelics or plant medicines would have been administered to help that person out of their funk, or to heal, or transmute trauma.

[01:31:48] So, what we're talking about really is addiction and the spiritual void or the innate human yearning for God. And in 1961, Mr. Wilson, Bill Wilson, was in touch via letter writing with Dr. Carl Jung. And Carl Jung has an interesting relationship to the early history of Alcoholics Anonymous, in that he, and all his wisdom and expertise had attempted to get a gentleman sober, and was unable to do so, and was in communication with Bill Wilson about why he felt that his expertise and knowledge of the human psyche had failed to get this guy sober, and had described it as a spiritual illness and a yearning for God, and that the only way that Dr. Jung had seen an alcoholic of this nature recover was by having, in fact, a transformative spiritual, or religious conversion or experience.

[01:32:51] So, that was sort of the context of the communication between Dr. Jung and Bill Wilson, which is fascinating. Anyway, there was a letter that Carl Jung wrote to Bill Wilson in 1961, referring to his former patient, and Bill Wilson's friend, Rowan H., it's the guy I spoke of that Jung failed to get sober, Jung said his craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness expressed in medieval language, the union with God.

[01:33:22] The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality, and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to a higher understanding. You might be led to that goal by an act of grace, or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism, a.k.a., possibly a psychedelic or plant medicine experience.

[01:33:55] So, I find that really interesting that if at the core of one's inability to get or stay sober is a lack of connection and availability of a higher power, then it stands to reason that one could go straight to the source by whatever means. I mean, it could be meditation, it could be yoga, it could be reading spiritual books, sitting at the feet of masters, I mean, all of the things I did for 22 years prior to taking ayahuasca, I've made a lot of contact with God, and God did in fact enter into my life, and I had a very long and drawn out spiritual experience.

[01:34:38] But it wasn't a sudden insight as being described here today. But I did get somewhere and I made some progress. So, another interesting correlation I'd like to explore, man, this thing is going on—we're about an hour and ten minutes into this, and had a feeling this would happen, but it's just, I mean, I think this is so interesting and fascinating. I'm going to roll with it and just complete the presentation here.

[01:35:06] And as I mentioned earlier, you can get the slide deck on which this presentation you're hearing is based. Years into my recovery, I discovered a really interesting correlation between the 12-step principles and the levels of consciousness, as outlined and explored by my all-time favorite teacher, Dr. David R. Hawkins, who wrote a number of different, extremely powerful, high-level books on consciousness and spirituality, the most famous of which being Power vs, Force, which is the first of a trilogy.

[01:35:45] And I find his later and more in-depth work to be, I don't know, a bit more meaty and less heady, but that's the book he's mostly known for. And so, I started to look at the levels of consciousness and the fact that, I mean, really, to be honest, I could do a whole presentation just on the correlations between the levels of consciousness, as identified by David Hawkins on his map of consciousness and the 12 steps as a teaching.

[01:36:13] But for now, I'll try to summarize it by saying that each of the 12 steps takes one who practices them and applies them to a higher level of consciousness. The lowest level of consciousness in this scenario being active addiction, which is apathy, shame, guilt, all of those base emotions and felt senses of being that I described earlier in this recording. And so, as one begins to apply these spiritual principles, which don't even have to be sort of couched within the 12 steps, but just applying more powerful truths or universal laws to one's life, they have the effect of elevating one's consciousness.

[01:37:06] Interestingly enough, in my experience, in addition to the application of spiritual truths to one's life, plant medicines have most surely elevated my consciousness not only in the temporary confines of a ceremony itself, but in most cases, through the integration of the revelations and healing that has transpired in those ceremonies, but also my level of consciousness overall. So, applying these truths and having them sort of integris to one's being.

[01:37:53] So, having a sense of wanting to be of service, the ability to take personal inventory, the practice of making amends when you've harmed someone else, turning one's will and one's life over to the care of God as you understand him, or as they say now, as you understand God, developing a relationship with a higher power, admitting to yourself that you in and of yourself can't fix your problem, all of these fundamentals.

[01:38:19] Prayer and meditation. These are all universal and timeless truths and principles that when they're put into action, have a transformative effect on someone. So, having a framework for that, a psychological sort of framework and also real-life anecdotal experience in living by those principles. And in my case, the addition of some incredibly profound, even beyond words peak states or conversion experiences has rocked my world in the most unbelievable ways.

[01:39:02] And that's really the impetus for me doing my best to put together a framework here, and I sense that I will be continuing to do more work around this piece. And it's by no accident that this is the sort of special bonus New Year's Eve 2021 show, because this particular area of exploration is exceedingly interesting to me, because of the benefits that I've derived through exploring this marriage, really, of these recovery principles, of sobriety, and the peak states brought about through the intentional use of psychedelics.

[01:39:49] Talking about peak states, I would say that out of the exploration that I've endeavored into over the past three years or so, that 5-MeO-DMT, which, as I said, is extracted from a toad called the Bufo Alvarius toad. It's a relatively rare toad that only exists in one particular place on the planet. And the venom of this toad can be smoked, and the experience of this is truly, and I'm not being lazy in my effort to describe it, but it is subjectively really impossible to describe.

[01:40:39] It's truly ineffable, and it's, for me, not only by far the most powerfully transformative medicine with which I've worked, but also, hands down, beyond any shadow of doubt, the most transformative and profound experiences of my entire life beyond measure. And I'm not dramatizing this, nor am I recommending this for everyone, by the way. As I said in the beginning, for those of you that didn't hear that part, that's not to say it's so incredible, everyone should go do 5-MeO-DMT.

[01:41:29] That's not the message of this podcast. I'm literally just sharing my experience. Do with it what you will, especially if you're someone who's trying to get sober or someone who is sober. Like this is Luke's path, it might not be your path, But I have to be honest, not only in the exploration of this entire topic, but I have to be honest that my experiences with 5-MeO have transformed my entire life, and there have been six of them, for the record, to date, which is probably five times more than anyone would ever need within one lifetime, but it's how it played out.

[01:42:09] I followed my intuition, my discernment, my prudence, my heart, my guidance, and that's what has happened up until now. After one such experience with 5-MeO, which, incidentally and strangely enough, was the one time that I experienced what could be best described as resistance during the ceremony, meaning I kind of came out of it. I did a podcast about it with Aubrey Marcus, which you can find in the show notes.

[01:42:46] And the title of it was around like 5-MeO Bufo toad integration. And this was, I think, a few days after he and I had shared this experience. And even though I had this classical ego death during that ceremony, and really, for all intents and purposes, had kind of a bad trip in the middle of it, bookended by exquisite beauty and absolute union with God and all of consciousness, there was a very difficult time in the middle of it.

[01:43:28] However, in the subsequent days that followed that second dose of 5-MeO, I had done it once prior maybe a few months before that. This would have taken place—actually, I have the date somewhere, because it was such a huge turning point in my life, but it was around Christmas time 2020 and it's now obviously around Christmas time 2021.

[01:43:52] So, this is about a year ago. And I felt so different in the days that followed. And my consciousness was so altered that I became extremely curious about the level of consciousness that I had experienced on that particular day, so much so that I reached out to a friend who's an expert kinesiologist and is very familiar with the work of Dr. David Hawkins, and I reluctantly asked him the favor of tapping into this date and time, the date on which this ceremony had taken place, for the purpose of finding out what the hell had happened to me and for me, because it was profound, it continues to be profound, and I knew that I was a changed man after this experience.

[01:44:49] So, this is essentially the information I got when I reached out, and said, okay, on this date, during these hours, this is what I did, what was happening in consciousness. And so, what I got back was the purpose of analysis of Luke Storey's LOC or level of consciousness at the time of the event, and the highest level of consciousness is to explore what happened during the event and understand its meaning in his life. So, I reached out to say, hey, can you calibrate using muscle testing or kinesiology what levels of consciousness I experienced, because they felt real high, and I don't mean high like, well, man, I'm so high, but it was an exalted moment of about, I don't know, an hour.

[01:45:40] So, he said, for comparison, the average level of consciousness of Luke over the previous month was 540 out of a thousand. Now, normally, I would not want to know my level of consciousness, and it's not something I would publicly share. There's stickiness there around the ego's identification with one's level of consciousness, wherein you're going to be ashamed, because it's lower than you would hope it would be, or your ego is going to be elated, because it's higher than perhaps other people think it would be.

[01:46:16] But for context, 1,000 is the ultimate, and it's an arbitrary logarithmic scale that Dr. Hawkins used. So, Jesus, Buddha, et cetera, Krishna would be a thousand. That's the highest level within this framework that the human body can withstand, the highest level of consciousness, down at the other end of the spectrum, way under 200, you have murderers, rapists, pedophiles, et cetera, that can be down in the serial killers, et cetera, down in your levels 20, or 90, or 190, the Mussolinis, the Hitlers, et cetera.

[01:46:53] Over 200 is the critical level of integrity. That means you're living your life with some degree of truth, and courage, and also, neutrality, right? You're malleable, and becoming more easygoing, and ultimately, just more honest.

[01:47:10] Level 540 is pretty good, and I'm very happy that my spiritual work has paid off, or at least that month, that was the average, which is the level of unconditional love. It's an experience of not love in the romantic sense, like I love you, man, or I love you, baby, but just having a love for life, for oneself, for all sentient beings. And really, frankly, and this is still my experience is just a love of reality and the experience that the creator has gifted me as a human being. 

[01:47:48] So, 540 out of a thousand for the previous month. So, from my estimation, again, all ego aside on the shameful or prideful end of the spectrum, I'm like, cool, I'm making progress. I'm on my way to enlightenment and self-realization, which is more into the six and 700s, at which point, incidentally, most mystics and sages leave their body. When you get to a certain point, there's kind of no point being anymore, because you've surpassed what's necessary in the human realm.

[01:48:24] I would encourage you to listen to the podcast I've done on the work of David Hawkins, or to buy some of his books, or audio programs, or lectures, and you can get a much deeper understanding of the context of the levels of consciousness. But anyway, that's what it was. Now, he went on to report that the average level of consciousness of Luke Storey on December 23rd, 2020, between 2:30 and 4:00 p.m. Central Time was 850 out of a thousand. 

[01:48:53] Well, if you're not familiar with the levels of consciousness, this is incredible. I mean, that is an enlightenment experience. 850 is, I mean, if you were able to sustain that, as I said, you probably wouldn't be on the planet, and I would venture to guess that there are probably very few people at the time of this recording who are existing on average throughout their life at a level that high, because of the energy, and really, the fact that there is nothing that necessitates you staying embodied if your level of consciousness is that high.

[01:49:39] So, that was the average for that hour-and-a-half or so, 850 out of a thousand, which if I just found that out, I would just say, wow. And I had a sense, and this is why I kind of did some research on this, that something very special had happened for me, and I don't think I'm unique or special, because it did, I have a sense that this is probably very common, that this is what some of these substances have the ability to do, is to remove the veil and to remove the blocks that keep us in a lower state of consciousness. He went on to report that the highest level of consciousness that was sustained for one minute or longer was 920 out of a thousand, and the highest LOC that was sustained for five seconds or longer was 985 out of a thousand.

[01:50:32] And I don't know how to sort of frame this, but I think if someone like me was struggling with addiction or struggling in any capacity with being sober, or just perhaps being sort of plateaued at a certain level of understanding or spiritual evolution that five seconds at 985 is going to change your life in ways that are immeasurable, permanent, and extremely profound.

[01:51:11] And this, to me, going back to Bill Wilson's white light experience, I'd be curious, actually, there might be a record of it of what level of consciousness Bill W. experienced in that white light. I imagine it was something of that nature. And I have a sense that enlightening experiences that have transpired and been recorded throughout human history have likely been in that realm, 850, 950.

[01:51:40] I don't think that it's probably in the nature of God or creation that, at this point in time, everyone's walking around with an average of that level all the time, or we would be on a completely different planet or a different plane of reality, because that is a very exalted, frankly, angelic state. And so, we're kind of here in the density of duality in the Earth plane, and I think that it's perfectly designed that way, because it gives us contrast, and frankly, grist for the mill, right?

[01:52:12] If the world was all walking around at 850, we wouldn't need the world, because we would be existing in some etheric, or celestial planes of reality, or other dimensions that wouldn't necessitate being embodied as a person. So, I'm not coming from the angle here of like escapism, and I want to be there all the time and leave the planet, although truthfully, my goal is to keep going.

[01:52:41] And if that involves leaving this body or leaving the planet, well, then so be it. I trust that the creation of consciousness itself knows better than I what is going to serve my highest good. As it pertains to sobriety, after one minute of that or five seconds of that level of consciousness, I can tell you that I've never been more committed to staying on the path on which I walk, and I mean, I had no desire to use street drugs or alcohol, but now, I mean, it's like, oh, my God, why would I ever do that?

[01:53:22] I highly doubt that smoking crack, cocaine puts you at a consciousness level of 985, at least it never did for me. And that's not to vilify or demonize other drugs. I'm not a psychedelics elitist where I don't think other drugs have a purpose and have an appropriate time, perhaps, of use for certain people. I mean, thank God we have cocaine to numb your mouth when you get a tooth pulled or some morphine when you break your leg.

[01:53:58] I think that all drugs probably serve a purpose, but my purpose, being self-realization and enlightenment, there is only a very narrow sort of classification, which I find personally to serve that purpose. I can just tell you subjectively that after that experience, as I said, my life has just never been the same and there were also, goddamn, this is a whole other story, which I won't get into, but shortly after that Christmas of 2020, I had the opportunity to hold space for some friends that wanted to experience 5-MeO-DMT.

[01:54:40] And I went along to offer sort of emotional and energetic support, and subsequently ended up taking four journeys in one day, one with, well, kind of on the heels of each one of those people. It's an entirely other story, which I feel like I could write a whole book about that one day, but I would not recommend that, and that is not typically how this medicine is used. So, I'll also offer that disclaimer.

[01:55:06] But again, I followed my heart, and intuition, and was guided that way, and I will say that it took some time for me to reintegrate into being a person. It was earth-shattering, to say the least. Brings me to the next point. When using plant medicines and psychedelics, for me personally, what I'm going for is a change in my traits, not a change solely in my states. And this is a terminology, a vernacular that's been used for many years in the realms of psychedelics, states versus traits, right?

[01:55:50] Are we just wanting to escape our current reality, and seek visuals, and have sort of an entertaining journey? And not that there's anything wrong with that either, because I've also done that, not recently, but I mean, when I was younger, I didn't find that to be very useful in most cases, but in the context of elevating one's consciousness and having a true mystical or spiritual experience, what I'm looking for is a change in trait.

[01:56:19] In other words, to have a solid integration of the insights gained from these experiences and an application of what I've learned, much like the application of the spiritual principles encoded in the 12 steps. You can sit there, and read them, and they have very little effect on your life, and even less so on your ability to get and stay sober. However, in the study and the experiential relationship with those truths, one can move mountains within themselves and experience the outward manifestation of profound and lasting change.

[01:56:58] And that's a change of trait, meaning that the character that I present in my day-to-day life has been altered in a positive sense. And so, I'm more connected to who and what I really am, more connected to consciousness itself, have a deepened faith in God, a more tangible relationship with God. And as a result, a higher quality of life and a healthier relationship with others, with oneself, with thoughts, emotions, the cessation of negative and even destructive patterns that might lead someone into dysfunction or ultimately back into a life of addiction.

[01:57:44] So, within the context of this recording, and really, this sort of exploration on which you're joining me, I'm talking about the necessity of integration of applied wisdom, right? It's not just knowing something, but putting that something you know to use, and transforming that, and elevating that into tangible wisdom. Another interesting aspect of psychedelics, in my experience over the past three years, has been what I refer to, for lack of a better term, as quantum speed healing.

[01:58:19] And I alluded to some of this earlier in my first ayahuasca ceremonies, really just going to the depths of hell of the sexual trauma I experienced as a kid, and just, oh, man, just really, I don't know what the word is, it's not owning, it's just an acknowledgement of how dramatically and negatively those experiences affected me, and how they really shaped my life, and for sure, the path of addiction that I wandered for so many years aimlessly and hopelessly.

[01:58:56] I've had numerous experiences and too many to name here, where while stepping outside of the confines of time and space, and sort of diminishing the veil of being in the body, and being limited to one's intellect, and emotions, and physicality that I've truly been able to experience the miraculous by entering into that quantum realm of no time and no locale, meaning my consciousness has merged in the greater field of consciousness and within the framework of sort of self-understanding, and the psychology of self and all of the things that I've been covering here today, I've been able to gratefully, oh, God, and I don't want to take credit for this, and it's not like a boasting thing, I'm just acknowledging a truth about myself and I'm just going to own it, that I've been able to work very artistically and masterfully at my own self-healing in these experiences, because of the level of understanding that I bring to the experience.

[02:00:11] It's like, and I don't know that this would happen for everyone, although everyone I know that participates in the intentional and sacred use of psychedelics shares this experience, I'm definitely not alone in this, but I don't know that everyone would have this, just as if you handed someone a guitar that has never practiced playing a guitar. They have an instrument, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to make music.

[02:00:35] Well, I think it could be also said that you could give someone copious amounts of psychedelics, and if they don't have an understanding or a framework with which to play that instrument, so to speak, they might not develop the same relationship or be able to extrapolate the value therein. So, for me, I'm going to have a list of them here in front of me, and I won't go into them, really, although I did in the talk at Meet Delic, but just long-standing stock points in my life, and many of which I had no awareness of prior to ingesting said medicine. 

[02:01:21] Like I'm fine with this, I'm fine with that, and then through the dissolution of those barriers of awareness and the opaque nature of your waking state on a day-to-day basis, that prohibits one from really seeing the depths of one's psyche and soul, frankly, I was just kind of unaware of them or unable to really heal them. And so many things that I was completely unaware of have come to light in ceremony and in a matter of minutes, or sometimes, I guess as long as hours.

[02:02:00] I've worked through long-standing traumas and issues that I just think would be very difficult to ever even gain access to, let alone heal in my normal waking state. And that's just stating a fact. Of course, maintaining that disclaimer that I'm not claiming that this would be the case for everyone, although, as I said, many of my friends in this realm share that experience, universally, I would say.

[02:02:36] So, as we start to wrap up, I think I'd like to venture into a little more disclaimer. Now, I know you're responsible for yourself, you listening or watching this video, and I lack the grandiosity to think that you're going to do anything just because I say I did it, but for the record, I will say that I think it's incredibly important to check one's motives, especially if you're in recovery around this type of exploration. 

[02:03:11] And there's only one person that can do that, and that is you. And what I would be looking for is an attachment to peak experiences, escapism, wanting to fit in, because it's trendy to do plant medicines, right? I mean, one part of me, to be honest, wishes it was more trendy, we'd have a much more healed world, but we're getting there. But it's really about asking oneself, especially someone in sobriety. 

[02:03:40] Like when I went and did ayahuasca the first time, checking within my conscious and subconscious, as much as I could access, there was no part of me that was wanting to have that experience, because I wanted to get a freebie, so to speak, and like I just wanted to know what it felt like to be high again or something. Like I don't care, I'm not interested in being high. What I'm interested in is a deeper level of healing, and a higher level of consciousness, and a more concrete experience of God in my day-to-day life, less self, more God.

[02:04:17] That's what I'm after. And I don't think that there's a self-righteous or a moral reason to experiment here that has more validity than the other, but I do know that these experiences can be extremely powerful and probably not appropriate for many people in and out of addiction recovery. And only one's ability to be honest with oneself is going to reveal which side of that spectrum one falls on, right?

[02:04:57] And so, I just want to say, as an act of responsibility, although as I said, I'm not responsible for your life, I am responsible for the words that I publicly express on a platform, especially a platform as modest as this might be, it's big to a certain number of people. And so, please, please be careful and don't take this type of work lightly. It's very serious business and I've known people personally that have gone a bit off the rails with this and haven't necessarily lost their sobriety, but have had some very harrowing, very, very challenging times.

[02:05:41] I mean, super scary stuff. I'm not exaggerating that fact. I feel I've been fortunate, I've been moderate mostly, temperate, I've been mindful about when, with whom, why. I get invites all the time for ceremonies, and it's like, I see it on my phone text, hey, this thing's happening, da, da, da, and it's like, hmm, gut check, and it's gotten to the point, where it's like a gut check, nope, not right now, or nope, not with that group.

[02:06:14] Not because of anything in specific, it's just a feeling, right? It's like, no, I'm not feeling it, or the particular medicine, I have no desire, at the moment, for example, to go drink ayahuasca. I'm just like, ah, don't have a desire to go do 5-MeO-DMT, might never. I have a very healthy respect for all of these medicines, especially that one, and especially in my case, doing subsequent 5-MeO journeys back to back within essentially a month period, doing five sessions is, like I said, is enough for probably five lifetimes.

[02:06:51] But there are times where I got an invite the other day, for example, and the intentionality around it, the focus of the ceremony, the medicine, which in this case was wachuma or San Pedro Cactus, which contains mescaline, and I got the text, and I thought, huh, this sounds interesting. And I set my phone down, I was in the car, I read it again, and my heart, which I'm growing more accustomed to listening to and developing a relationship with, my heart said, yeah, you're supposed to be there, do it.

[02:07:27] Text back, I'm in. I don't know how to explain that. It's an inner knowing. It's an inner feeling. It really is a call. It's a call of the medicine. The consciousness of that medicine, the consciousness of God, the consciousness of the collective is reaching out to me, texting me, saying, hey, there's something here to gain or something to contribute. Maybe I'm needed there, because there's something energetically that I have the capacity to carry and hold that could be useful to the other people there.

[02:07:57] I don't know. We'll find out. Maybe a bit of both, likely. But because of the topic and the intention set behind that invitation, I just knew, I'm doing it and I am. I will have done it by the time you hear this recording, in fact. It's on December 27th and 28th. And you know what, though, if I wake up on the morning of the 26th or the 27th, and I go, nope, I'm out, I'm out, I have no attachment to that experience or any others, I could never touch any of this stuff the rest of my life and live happily ever after.

[02:08:30] But due to the reasons that I've explored here with you ad nauseum today, in great detail, my curiosity is piqued to say the least. And if there's some benefit that I can derive from further exploration with the right set and setting, and especially the intention and the integration, I will probably elect to participate from time to time. And so, I think, my friends, that is, for the most part, what I wanted to say.

[02:09:06] I want to, again, invite you if your curiosity is piqued to really go inside and determine whether or not that curiosity is a true calling, or if you're someone in recovery or someone who wants to be in recovery from addiction, is it a craving? If you've been taking plant medicines and psychedelics, I would encourage one to explore, whether this is an attachment, right? It's like things can be so sticky, we get attached to these peak states without, perhaps, pausing afterward to truly integrate what we've learned, and we sort of ceremony-jump and chase that experience, because the just overwhelming sense of joy and fulfillment in the grace of God and in the envelope of infinite consciousness can be very enticing. 

[02:10:08] And I don't think that that's something that's wrong to be enticed by, but I think that one would be well-advised to have a sense of prudence around the frequency with which you're embarking on these explorations for all of the reasons that I've described. And this is me talking to myself on this microphone, right? Because as a former addict, man, if you can get far out, sign me up, right? I'm not a teetotaller.

[02:10:40] I mean, like I love altered states of consciousness. That's why I started smoking weed when I was seven, eight, nine years old. Like, whoa, my first drug was probably Jimi Hendrix. I mean, I heard, I think it was, I don't know, Foxy Lady—or Purple Haze. No, it's Purple Haze. Purple Haze. I mean, talk about a drug. I heard that when I was a little kid, maybe, I don't know, seven, eight, around that same time, and it was like, oh, I feel funny. I like this feeling, right?

[02:11:14] So, I get that, and I'm not even discounting or being critical of humanity's desire to alter their state of consciousness. It's inherent to who we are, at least most of us. I mean, we alter our consciousness by scrolling Instagram and by watching horror movies, or skydiving, or making love, or all the different ways in which we seek to have a more rich and full experience of who we are and what it means to be alive.

[02:11:44] But in this realm, I would encourage you to exercise prudence, and the definition, or at least one definition of prudence is a rational concern without worry. So, I'm not saying be afraid of medicines or be afraid of the experience, but a rational respect and concern that we're playing in realms that could and sometimes do have as devastating consequences as do they have tremendous gifts and value.

[02:12:23] And I think without, my friends, I will end this portion of this New Year's Eve 2020 presentation. Alright. That's it, folks. Thank you so much for joining me on this continued journey of self-discovery and personal evolution. Now, if you found value in this New Year's Eve episode, please do me, you, and a friend a favor, and go ahead and share it. If you want to post it on social media, text it to a couple of friends who you feel might benefit, I would be forever grateful.

[02:12:55] As a reminder, you can find complete show notes for this episode at lukestorey.com/2021. And if you'd like a copy of the actual slide deck presentation from the Meet Delic talk from which this episode was obviously derived, you can get that at lukestorey.com/meetdelicslides. And I'd like to announce that we are kicking off 2022 next week with an incredible episode. It's called Soul Mate Manifestation and the Ancient Keys to Joy and Success with Dr. Barry Morguelan. 

[02:13:33] And he's been on the show before. It was a huge hit, actually, one of my top episodes, and he's just a true wizard, just an absolutely incredible person. So, really excited to start off the new year with that episode, and it was no accident that I chose finding love as the kickoff topic for the New Year, because really, what else matters? Lastly, I'll once again invite you to visit my uncensored content and news feed on Telegram.

[02:14:02] Now, be forewarned, this is not the love and light content you're used to hear on the podcast and on my other social media channels, but I have to have somewhere where I can sound the alarm, honestly. And Telegram is the place where I share news currently disallowed on the communist controlled social media sites and apps. So, if you have a strong stomach, you can find it at lukestorey.com/telegram.

[02:14:27] And for those of you who wish to start off 2022 with great sleep and high melatonin levels, make sure to check out my new eyewear line, Gilded. We carry standard, readers, and even prescription blue-blocking glasses for men, women, and kids. You can find that at gildedbylukestorey.com or simply click on the show notes on most podcast apps. Okay. God bless you, and happy new year to you and yours.

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