A few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, typing away at yet another shit stirring story over the perils of marijuana prohibition, when I received a Twitter notice from one of my readers claiming that comedian and all around wise man Joe Rogan was on the air discussing an article I had written for High Times. Being the curious little bastard that I am, I followed the link and I'll-be-damned, sure as shit, there he was, reading a little piece of journalism I had penned back in 2013 entitled “AA Founder Believed LSD Could Cure Alcoholism.”
The conversation that prompted Rogan and crew to dig up the piece on Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson experimenting with acid as a method for controlling the insanities of alcoholism began during a discussion with a couple of cats from the medical marijuana industry over how loyal followers of the “Big Book” frown upon the use of cannabis because they still consider it a drug. Of course, anyone who has ever had the unfortunate displeasure of sitting in on one of these godforsaken 12-step meetings -- regardless if that shit was court ordered, of your own volition, or simply a stipulation for getting a frightened girlfriend to fuck you again -- is fully aware that the program does not allow wild-eyed loudmouths that have been officially lumped into the category of "rabid boozehound" to relish in any substitutions for demon alcohol – unless, of course, it is a socially accepted drug like coffee or tobacco.
The article Rogan mentioned outlines a book written by author Don Lattin called “Distilled Spirits,” which was compiled using a series of letters and other documentation Wilson left behind after he died in 1971. The 320-page document details how, two decades into the life of Alcoholics Anonymous, Wilson began to suggest that LSD should become a part of the program because he believed the drug could help “cynical alcoholics” find a certain level of spiritual awakening that could make it easier for them to travel down the road to recovery.
According to the book, Wilson’s seemingly madcap idea of incorporating hallucinogens into AA began back in 1956 when he started using the Los Angeles Veterans Administration to conduct supervised trials with the help of psychologist Betty Eisner and ‘Brave New World’ author Aldous Huxley. Interestingly, it was during this time that Wilson determined the drug had the potential to help one achieve insight into his or her spirit -- not by sending them on a roller coaster ride of terror -- but by allowing them to step inside a world of simulated insanity.
"I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much," Wilson wrote in a letter to science writer, Gerald Heard back in 1957. "I find myself with a heightened color perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depressions."
Despite Wilson’s hell bent attitude to make psychedelic trips a part of AA, his practices were often criticized by key members of the organization, which eventually led to him abandoning the program altogether in an effort to continue his research. As you can probably guess, Alcoholics Anonymous never made it acceptable policy for members to use LSD to help them discover a “higher power.” In fact, during the early 1980’s, AA World Services even published a paper explaining that it was the “inevitable repercussions” of Wilson’s ideas that kept the organization from endorsing the use of LSD.
“Most AAs were violently opposed to his experimenting with a mind-altering substance,” the document reads. “LSD was then totally unfamiliar, poorly researched, and entirely experimental -- and Bill was taking it."
Now that you have a little background on the article, let’s get down to the real reason I made the decision to cover this particular topic in my first column for Potent.
While it was an honor to listen to Rogan casually spout off many of the interesting details contained in my AA article, it didn’t take long for that sense of pride to transform into a vicious attack of foul-mouthed mortification after I noticed the piece was riddled with fucking typos.
“Sweet Jesus, you brain dead imbecile, you’re ruined,” I thought to myself, while seriously trying to determine if I did, in fact, have the guts to commit suicide the moment Rogan or a member of his staff made a public mockery out of me for completely sabotaging what had the potential to be an interesting read.
The most confusing part of the situation was the mistakes were not the typical grammatical and spelling errors, but entire fucking words were missing throughout the piece that made at least two paragraphs impossible to comprehend. For example: The first sentence in the last paragraph reads: “Unfortunately, LSD made its way into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, simply because others in the hierarchy did not support it as a viable treatment.” It’s missing the word NEVER!
I sat there at my computer in absolute horror, thinking about how there was just no way in hell’s rotten name I could have missed so many blatant errors while proofreading the piece. And even if I did royally screw-the-pooch, my editor, who is no longer with the magazine, surely would have noticed that I was, all of sudden, writing as though I had been kicked in the head by a well-endowed horse.
My only theory for how this blunder must have happened is that a few words may have been mistakenly erased somehow during the editing process. But there was nothing I could do about that during Rogan’s show. I just closed my eyes and listened while he read the damn thing to his many followers, waiting for him to swiftly end my career by way of verbal guillotine.
“I could always go back to driving a fork truck for a living,” I mumbled to myself.
But then something miraculous happened. Not a single person in the studio, not even Rogan, himself, seemed to notice that I had taken a mega-shit all over the piece. In fact, Rogan read most of the article during the show, complete with all of its painful puke points, and never once missed a beat or said anything to the effect of, “Who is this fucking clown Mike Adams.”
It seems that while the moment had the potential to be one of those career-ending bungles that has caused better men than I to come crashing down from the heights of credibility, only to end up sucking off truckers for spare change, had somehow redeemed itself and allowed me the luxury of living to fight another day... not that I deserved it. And who the hell knows -- maybe I would have lived out the rest of my life a secret idiot -- forever escaping complete and total embarrassment -- had I never opted to use this column to talk about this nervous incident. But fuck it, I figured I owed it to my readers and the folks at The Joe Rogan Experience to come clean. Perhaps my honesty might even buy me a stay of execution if and when it is further revealed how much of a dumb fuck I can be sometimes.
The moral of the story: Be careful what you write because you never know who is going to end up reading it. But if you fuck up, do your best to make it right and don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself.
Stay high, you animals -- that is unless you’re editing my work!