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Anyone familiar with the Autistic Psychedelic Community?

Mister_Niles

Rising Star
(TL,DR - Is it just me being paranoid, or is this group sketchy? It seems to go against many of the things I stand for as someone who takes psychedelics seriously. I'm not sure if I'm just being dogmatic and pedantic, or if my spidey senses are going off for a good reason.)

Is anyone here familiar with the Autistic Psychedelic Community? They have a Discord server and a weekly Zoom meeting for neurodivergent people. The meeting was crated by a guy named Aaron Orsini who wrote a book called Tripping Over Autism.
My girlfriend told me about the meeting, and I was very excited top check it out. I have ASD and ADHD combined. I have had addiction issues in the past, but I conquered alcohol decades ago and with the help of psychedelics, I was able to get opiates out of my life. I identified as cured. Not as a lifelong alcoholic or addict.

About a year ago, I started going to zoom AA meetings for neurodivergent people to support my gf and to see what it was like to be around a bunch of autistic people. It was a revelation. A lot of things that have confused me about my life clicked into place. I've known I was something like autistic since the 1970s but autistic people who need less support were not being diagnosed as autistic back then, so that label didn't come until the 1980s, when other ND friends and I sussed it out.
Finding the people in the neurodivergent AA meetings was a real eye opener, but.... it's AA. A cult. And even if they say that it's a judgement free zone, it's still a cult full of indoctrinated people. I tried talking about how psychedelics had saved my life, but I was shut down and shamed. Not good for autistic people. Not good for anyone. When someone tells you that you shouldn't do what saved your life, when you've told them it's the only thing that has ever worked, it feels like they are telling you to die instead of using psychedelics, because they make you feel good.

Then I found The Sober Faction through The Satanic Temple, which is much better. Some really great people and a much better program IMO. I do run into neurodivergent people who use psychedelics there, but there is no designated meeting for ND people. Also: at this point in my life, I don't really need a recovery group. I need support.

So I went to the Autistic Psychedelic Community meeting. I was 10 minutes late to the first two meetings I attended, so I missed their rules. I listened very closely. The first thing I noticed was that everyone seemed to be hesitant to talk about psychedelics unless it was to quickly mention that they sometimes used them. It seemed like most everyone was tiptoeing around the subject of psychedelics. Some people did mention having had experiences, using vague terms like "micro-dosing" and "macro dosing" with "psychedelics". No one seemed to be speaking about specific substances, dosages or even set and setting.

I was slightly disappointed, but decided to give it time.

Then, at the third meeting I attended a woman shared about how she had been taking 200mg micro doses of "psilocybin" and was wondering why she was an emotional wreck. She was crying and obviously raw. She asked for feedback.
The next person shared, and then I came in and said: "You say you've been taking 200mg micro doses of psilocybin...." and that's when the leader of the group came in and rudely shut me down.

"No mentioning dosages!"


I reminded him that I was responding to someone who had just mentioned dosages. Something I had heard several members do in other meetings. My intention was to suggest that maybe 200mgs was too high for her. For me, 200mgs means being high. A micro dose of dried psilocybin mushrooms is between 50-100mgs is about right for me, depending on the batch of mushrooms. But I never got to share that information with her. I was informed by Aaron that a lawyer had told them that mentioning dosages was incriminating, as was mentioning specific dates of usage, in the future or in the past. (I believe these rules also apply to their discord server.)

I got very upset and asked him "Is this a place where you tiptoe around talking about psychedelics and talk in code?" He said "yes"! At which point someone came in and tried to clear up what Aaron actually trying to say.

I left the meeting. I was emotionally dysregulated and it felt wrong to not be able to mention the importance of knowing what was a good dose for you.

I decided to go back to the next meeting, and made sure I was on time to hear the rules. I also wanted to see what resources they gave for safe use. There were indeed rules, which seemed like nonsense to me. They claim to not condone psychedelic use, while obviously condoning it. I understand covering your ass, but I also have a hard time with people saying one thing and meaning another.

I was especially interested to see what resources for psychedelic doses were given. Using terms like micro and macro dosing 'psychedelics" isn't detailed enough, IMO. Language is important. Details are important. I've been seeing people online talking about taking 30 dried gram doses of cubensis and calling that a macro dose! I'd call that an unecessarily high mega dose. I've also seen people refer to taking 500mg-1g of cubensis a micro dose. That sounds like being high to me.

At the last meeting, resources were indeed given. I clicked the links to see where they were sending members of the group to get info on dosage etc. They were paid sites. They were sending people to places where yo had to pay for courses to learn about dosages.
That seems wrong and reckless to me. It seems like a money grab.

Then there's the fact that he guy who runs the group, who allegedly cares about incrimination, shared about having a bunch of friends over and gifting them mushrooms and trading other substances.... "last weekend". To me, that sounds like incrimination and a specific time. I don't do well with gatekeeping and hypocrisy.

Perhaps plant medicines are decriminalized in his city. Nonetheless, I feel that it is infantilizing to tell people they don't have the right to say what they feel safe saying. Especially considering that he has no idea that I may in fact live in Washington D.C. right down the street from a shop that sells psilocybin mushrooms... sorry, gifts them, when you buy a sticker, or whatever. Why is it okay for him... and other members of the group I heard mention times, places and dosages, but not for me. I wonder if they've paid for the courses. Or maybe Im just being a jerk.

I feel like there may be some exploitation of vulnerable people going on here. It also seems like a bad idea to form a psychedelic community that fosters an environment of fear and paranoia. It seems dangerous.
My gf argues with me about it, telling me "there's nothing nefarious going on, people need to make money, it may be capitalism, but that doesn't mean it's evil" (lol, that one's funny)
Maybe it's not nefarious and merely clueless, which seems just as bad to me.
And it seems convenient to ban sharing information about dosages when you are sending people to paid sites to get that information. Or to sites selling tickets to your seminars. It reeks of gatekeeping to make some cash.

Other issues I have: In a podcast interview, the runner of the group seems to sort of take the position that he took psychedelics to understand his autism so you don't have to, and goes on to recommend going to the Netherlands or Jamaica if you must take psychedelics, or... and I like this one, like he did, go to some Vipassna meditation retreats.
I'm pretty sure it's widely accepted that Vipassna is at least very culty, if not a cult.
These are all things people with money and executive functioning might be able to pull off. Telling autistic people, of whom many are unemployed and have a difficult time with change, seems like a big ask.



So, is it just me? Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm paranoid. I'd love some input from people familiar with the community. And if anyone knows of other psychedelic zoom meeting spaced for people on the spectrum, I'd love to know about them. Thanks.
 
Go to another meeting and specifically talk about harm reduction/minimization. Talk about websites like Erowid, Bluelight, and - what's that other one - DMT something?

That should be fun 😉

Sounds like you're far from naïve and your suspicions are completely warranted. It seems highly likely that some kickbacks from the monetization are involved, if you ask me.
 
Your spidey senses are probably fine.

Community is a ticky thing, what works for some doesnt work for others, there could be objectively negative things going on and still be incredibly validating for some.
Something that might be worth considering is that these communities might serve a purpose for the ones that decide to be in there, even if for others it could be outright damaging.

I know it can be emotionally challenging, and even if we assume this is someone completely trying to take advantage of others, it is, in my opinion, up to you to either accept or reject that.
 
Just wondering why do you consider Vipassana as cult? I'm a Zen practitioner, but I go to Vipassana whenever I can. I cheat though since I'm practicing my method and not what Goenka is teaching.... I like the format for me personally, but the method is off and no goop interviews.
 
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