Every hero has their sidekick. Every protagonist needs an assistant. Every train needs a driver. Just like Frodo had his Sam, Harry had his Ron, and Luke had his R2D2… a tripper needs a sitter. A psychedelic trip can be the most amazing experience of someone’s life, full of beautiful hallucinations and euphoric feeling.
However, it can also be horrifically awful, riddled with unwanted thoughts and scary sprites. A trip is always in the balance and could always go either way, and that’s where a trip sitter comes in. Being the perfect trip sitter is challenging, important and it takes time. That’s why we’re going to go through a few integral steps that should be taken when becoming a trip sitter, to ensure the safety and well-being of the person you’re watching over.
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What is a Trip?
For hundreds of years our species have used psychedelic drugs as a way to enter into alternative realities. Ayahuasca is used by indigenous people in South America, LSD was used by the Beatles to inspire their music, and Ratafarians commonly use cannabis in their religious ceremonies. But why do people do it? Well, to understand why people trip, we first need to understand one crucial part of humanity: humans have always searched for more. It’s part of our DNA. When the first tribal communities spread themselves across more land and across vast oceans, they were searching for more. When man first landed on the moon in 1966, they were searching for more. When people turned to psychedelic drugs for an alternative way of looking at the world, they were also searching for more. Not only that, but a trip can allow a person to delve deep into their subconscious and deal with someone they’ve unlocked in their mind. In fact, hallucinogens are becoming more popualrly used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Many report feelings of clarity and contentment after experiencing a trip. That’s not to say that trips are always good things. Nonetheless, a trip is an experiential journey. Here To Help writes:
“When a person says they are “tripping,” it means they are experiencing the effects of hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are psychoactive (mind-altering) drugs that significantly alter our senses and perceptions. Some common ones are magic mushrooms, LSD and ecstasy. Cannabis can also cause hallucinogenic effects at high doses.”
But the question is: what does a trip feel like? Trips can vary depending on which drug you take, but almost always there are certain similarities between trips. When someone is experiencing a trip, it’s almost always due to them taking a hallucinogenic drug. More euphoric drugs like heroin and ecstasy, are not usually considered to cause trips. It is a very specific experience; here are some of the common feelings:
- Beautiful hallucinations
- Sensory enhancement
- A sense of love towards your surroundings
- Sounds and smells become better
- Mental clarity
- Scary or sad hallucinations
- The world can seem cruel
- Existential dread
A psychedelic trip does not need to be a negative experience, but it can be. Like with anything, there are certain preparations that should be put in place before you decide to go on a psychedelic journey. One of these preparations is ensuring you have a perfect trip sitter.
What is a Trip Sitter?
A trip sitter is an important part of the psychedelic experience. Although many people go on a trip without assistance, if it’s your first time then it might be worth getting one. Double Blind Mag writes:
“A trip sitter is a sober person you trust to keep you safe while you’re under the influence of a psychedelic, and having one along for the journey can make the difference between a meaningful and challenging trip. With a supportive presence, you’re much more likely to release your control…and have an insightful, perhaps even transformational experience.“
With a trip sitter you can feel more comfortable and safe letting yourself go and giving into the full potential of the psychedelic experience. In other words, you won’t need to keep one eye on your well-being and the other eye on having a good time. The trip sitter can look after you. That’s why it’s obviously very important to choose someone you trust and someone you know has your best interests at heart.
So, assuming you’ve chosen that special someone or perhaps you yourself are about to be a trip sitter, let’s delve into how to be the perfect one.
The Perfect Trip Sitter
Here are the crucial steps to consider in order to become the perfect trip sitter. Remember what Sam said to Frodo: “I can carry you”.
Step 1 – Research The Substance
The first step is to research the substance that your partner on this voyage will be taking. Is it LSD? Is it acid? Is it magic mushrooms? Although many trips are similar, it’s important to understand that all drugs are different and have various effects. If you haven’t taken the drug yourself, then research online the common positive and negative experiences of the selected substance. This will help you understand fully what your tripper is going through.
Step 2 – The Psychedelic Experience by Tom Leary
The Psychedelic Experience is a popular book by Tom Leary and it’s, sort of, like a trip bible. Becoming aware of its contents could be useful to you when being a trip sitter. Leary splits trips into 5 categories, highlighting the various extremities of psychedelic experiences. Level 1 might include slight sensory enhancement, whilst level 5 will consist of complete dissociation from reality. This book can be used as a dialogue between you and your tripper. It will help you understand.
Step 3 – Free As A Bird
Step 3 is ensuring everyone has the space and time to complete the trip. You can’t leave and go to work halfway through, and neither can your tripper. Most trips can take up to 6-10 hours so make sure the day is free and time is not at the essence.
Step 4 – The Perfect Place
Next thing to consider is where this trip will take place. Not only must you ensure it’s safety, but also the correct atmosphere. You don’t want the location to trigger a bad trip. Nature is always a safe bet, although you cannot always trust the weather. Alternatively, indoors with soft surfaces, nice colours, warmth and comfortable blankets is also a good option. Speak with your tripper and decide on the ideal location beforehand.
Step 5 – Essentials
Experience a trip can make you hungry and thirsty. But it also can make you forget about drinking and eating all together. That’s where you come in. Ensure that there’s plenty of liquids and tasty food around, so that your tripper does not get too hungry or dehydrated.
Step 6 – No Judgement or Questions
It’s important to ensure the surroundings are perfect for the trip, but it’s also important to remember how to speak to someone who’s tripping. Avoid judgemental comments and avoid asking too many questions. ‘How are you feeling?’, ‘why are you doing that?’ or ‘you’re acting weird’, these are definitely not good things to say. Instead, be open and allow the tripper to lead the conversation. Be calming and do not encourage fear or too in-depth conversation (unless they need to delve into this).
Step 7 – Guide Don’t Dictate
A trip sitter is not a trip dictator. Don’t lead the experience, simply guide it. If you feel that the trip is becoming sour or dangerous, lightly try and change the atmosphere and mood of the trip. Encourage playing some games, or looking at some fun lights. Maybe even try giving them some sugar as that can slightly ease the intensity of the experience.
Step 8 – If A Bad Trip Begins
What if a trip becomes really bad? Sometimes trips can take a dark turn and encouraging games or showing the tripper some cool lights isn’t necessarily enough. In this case, remind the tripper that they’ve taken hallucinogenic drugs and that this won’t last forever. If they keep trying to delve into bad thought patterns, speak to them on their level and help them through their negative thoughts. If the trip is out of your control and you fear the tripper could be in real danger, then don’t be afraid to call someone professional.
Step 9 – Be Empathetic
A crucial tip to remember when being a trip sitter is to be empathetic and loving. This trip isn’t about you. It might get boring and it might be longer than expected, but don’t let this turn you into a sour trip sitter. It’s integral that you personify a loving entity for your tripper. This will help them through the experience. If they feel you’re lacking in patience or that you’re getting agitated, this will manifest itself into their trip. Be kind and loving.
Step 10 – The Aftermath
As the trip comes to a close it’s important not to ease off on your perfect trip sitting abilities. When the drugs wear off, your sitter may start to feel down or introspective. Ensure you’re still being empathetic and non-judgemental. Also, take some time to speak to your tripper about their experience if that’s what they want. It might be the first time they’re able to properly discuss it from an outside point of view. The aftermath is just as important as during when it comes to creating the perfect trip.
A psychedelic trip can be a beautiful experience and one that human being’s have been enjoying for centuries. However, it doesn’t always go to plan. The trip sitter can be the difference between a positive and a negative trip, and that’s why being the perfect one is so important. Hopefully these 10 steps will help you be just that.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.