Psychedelic Recovery

Brooks Park
7 min readAug 9, 2020

After tripping acid in 1955, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson said of the experience; “LSD. deflates the ego in order to allow the influx of Gods grace.” A pioneer in many respects, Wilson became an early advocate of LSD use to facilitate recovery from alcohol addiction. This brought scrutiny from AA as an organization, and so acid never became an accepted element of the recovery movement.

Despite Efficacy in treating alcoholism with LSD has been shown in research, this approach has never gained a enthusiastic reception from the recovery community or the addiction treatment field. To suggest psychedelic cure for alcoholism would most likely elicit mockery and snorts of derision. However, the origin of recovery has its roots in the psychedelic experience.

A drunken stock broker making a last ditch effort to get and stay sober, Wilson entered Towns Hospital under the care of Dr. Silkworth, a physician who dedicated his career to helping those who were addicted to alcohol. He had developed what he called the “belladonna cure”. A concoction made of belladonna and morphine, patients at Towns hospital were administered a serious of doses of the cure, and Wilson found himself the recipient of a life altering spiritual experience.

Having identified as an agnostic prior to this experience, Wilson was struck suddenly by the presence of “the God of the preachers.” This experience would alter the direction of his life and influence the future of recovery. Well known today as a source of psychospiritual awareness and healing, psychedelics had not yet received the notoriety they would eventually hold, or the public awareness of their existence for that matter. Despite human use for spiritual purposes which most likely spawned human psychospiritual evolution (as hypothesized as by Terence McKenna and Paul Stamet), knowledge of these plants, combination of plants, and fungi was extremely limited. Awareness of naturally occurring sources which, when ingested, generated spiritual experiences was limited to small numbers of indigenous populations, some scholars, and early psychedelic pioneers such as Aldous Huxley. So few would understand that the spiritual revelation experienced by Wilson could be facilitated by belladonna.

Belladonna, although not technically considered a psychedelic, possesses the ability to induce similar experiences. An ingredient of many a potion, it was purported to have been the ingredient which manifested the witches experience of flying. Side effects are…

Brooks Park

Mystical Hedonist; Drug Geek; Psychonaut. Prone to irreverent social commentary.