Citation: Anatoli Smorin. "Deep Happiness: An Experience with Floatation Tank & Oxycodone (exp112676)". Erowid.org. Jan 20, 2019. erowid.org/exp/112676
This report is part of a collection of seven reports. The collection consists of a summary report that is retrospective and generalized in nature as well as six more detailed chronicles of my experience with sensory deprivation, or floatation tanks. If desired, please see the summary report
, where one can find links to each of the other experience reports.
A little background: I consider myself to be well versed in the realm of substance use. Previous experiences include opiates, stimulants and psychedelics. A fair amount of my substance usage history includes novel research chemicals often in less than common combinations.
With the exception of the time spent in the isolation tank, I kept detailed written notes in combination with an audio recording device in order to write this report as accurately as possible. I am confident that all timestamps are correct to within a + / - 60 seconds.
Tolerance is a non-issue for the oxycodone. I have not used any opioid or opiate substances for over eight months. I have been drinking alcohol regularly for the week leading up to the experience (2-3 drinks per day). I have not been smoking cannabis much lately either, it has been over five days since I last smoked.
The substances used in this experience were sourced reliably from a pharmacy. The pill I use in this experience is produced by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and is blue and round with a ďbreak markĒ on one side with a 30 imprinted one on side of the line and on the other side of the pill is imprinted with the letter M inside a square outline.
It has been 21 days since my last float. This is the longest I have gone between sensory deprivation experiences since I began a regular schedule. I had a bad head cold that made the idea of lying on my back extremely unattractive. I am excited to resume the practice since Iím feeling better this week. I am also looking forward to taking an opioid in general. This is a class of substances I chose to use relatively infrequently in order to ensure I do not develop an unwanted dependency. I have several options available but opt for the oxycodone as I have more experience with this substance than the others and want to have the best chance as hitting the ďsweet spotĒ for the float.
I often start small with this class of substances and work my way up to a desired state level of effects. This is not an option while in the float tank so I utilize notes about onset, duration, and dosage from past experiences as well as a reputable harm reduction website to help decide the timeline and dosage for this experience. My goal was to avoid nodding out or being close to that point. I also did not want a mild intensity. Being that I will likely take at least a month off before taking any opioid or opiate after this experience, I want to really capitalize on the opportunity to experience sensory deprivation while significantly under the influence of this substance.
The experience took place on a Friday. I had a productive day working at home that I was able to wrap up early to run some errands. I am in a good mood overall without any major external stress. My upper body is slightly sore from a workout yesterday. I had a light fruit-based smoothie for breakfast around 8:00 AM and some barbecue chicken with mac ní cheese for lunch around 1:00 PM. I have consciously drunk some extra water throughout the day to ensure I am well hydrated.
Floatation Tank: Deep Happiness
T + 00:00 [5:15 PM]
I use a utility knife to split the 30 mg pill neatly along its break mark. I have tension in my stomach and a rush of adrenaline coursing through me. I am confident in the safety of my dosage but I have some slight concern about nausea. I place the half pill onto my tongue and swallow. The instant I am past the point of no return, I feel a weight lift off my shoulders knowing there is no more debate to be done regarding dosage.
T + 00:07 [5:22 PM]
My stomach is tight and some slow turning nauseous sensations are present. I attribute this to my nerves and anxiousness rather than the ingested substance.
T + 00:09 [5:24 PM]
I can say with certainty I am feeling the first effects of the oxycodone. My stomach is relaxing and my mind is calming down. The beginnings of a good mood are developing: happiness and relaxation are replacing the anxiousness I was feeling.
T + 00:14 [5:29 PM]
Iím at a Ī on the Shulgin Rating Scale. A natural feeling of happiness is taking over my mood. I know that the dosage will be fine, more than fine; likely perfect. This is going to be an awesome experience! Iím feeling more excited and begin to collect my things I need to head to the float session.
T + 00:21 [5:36 PM]
The dog has been fed and my wallet, coat, and notebook have been laid out on the counter ready for departure. A light tingling is vibrating in my forearms. This buzzing sensation is wonderful, like a warm euphoria is being generated in my bones and travelling out towards my skin.
T + 00:23 [5:38 PM]
My partner Kai is my designated driver today and we head to the car and begin the trip to the float shop. As we walk, I feel a slight drop in coordination and motor skills. I by no means look intoxicated, but I can feel some minor clumsiness in my steps and when capping my pen, I miss the tip on the first try.
T + 00:33 [5:48 PM]
My mood continues to improve. I am so happy! I have been chatty with Kai on the drive and have been thinking about contacting close friends and loved ones and how much I desire to spend time with these people. This desire is limited to my inner circle, unlike MDMA or other stimulants where any human interaction would be welcomed. Now, I desire the intimate conversations but Iím not feeling particularly outgoing or upbeat. Iím feeling nostalgic and completely content.
The physical effects are ramping up now. The light buzzing I felt in my forearms is intensifying. Warm euphoria pulses up and down my arms. My muscles are not significantly sedated but they are shedding natural tension and relaxing.
T + 00:39 [17:52 PM]
The interaction with the employee as I checked in was uneventful. I tried to keep it short as I am having some notable auditory effects. Everything sounds muted, like I am underwater or have earplugs in. This makes me a little conscious of my volume level. I canít tell if Iím talking too loudly or not.
I am now in my float room and undressing. I usually have a routine of neatly folding up my clothes and arranging my notebook and phone in order to make the intoxicated exit simple and avoid getting things wet. Today I forego this process. I canít be bothered with the effort and my clothes and belongings end up in a haphazard pile on the bench.
I put in my earplugs without too much difficulty from deteriorated fine motor skills. The physical buzzing continues to increase in intensity. The sockets of my shoulders are pumping out pleasant warmth that flows out towards my upper back and down my arms.
As I climb into the float tank I feel as though the intensity of the effects are settling into a plateau. I find myself hoping things increase, especially since I am not experiencing any nausea.
T + 00:44 [5:57 PM]
I shut the tank lid behind me as I enter.
As I slip into the salt water, I turn off the interior light of the tank and allow the darkness to consume me. My stomach has completely settled and there is no discomfort and queasiness, even as my body bobs up and down slightly in this sensory void. With my main concern about the experience squashed and my body happily warming up in the solution, I am able to really release my mind.
Initially a sensation of good old-fashioned happiness washes over me. I feel a sense of accomplishment. What have I accomplished though? I am not sure; I donít care. The feeling is real, and Iím enjoying it.
My pride over the unknown accomplishment evolves a step further. Iím a particularly genuine happy that seems unselfish. It feels deeper than some of my other moments of happiness recently. I feel the same way I do when I think of the perfect gift for a loved one during the winter holidays.
Iím having no problem staying still in the tank today. No restlessness is present and I find that Iím drifting around less than average. When I do slowly drift towards one of the walls of the tank and become aware of it, I am less concerned than normal with resetting myself to the center. I simply allow my body to lightly touch the edge and I allow myself to rest in this position, staying in contact with the tank for a few moments before reluctantly exert the minimal energy required to push off the side (something I have never done while floating on any other substance or sober).
I couldnít be much more comfortable than I am in this moment. Complete relaxation has been achieved. My muscles are loose but not sedated to the point of numbness. I can still feel the soreness in my pectorals from yesterdayís workout. In fact, I feel perhaps more aware of my body than I have on other substances in the tank.
I feel perhaps more aware of my body than I have on other substances in the tank.
The main reason for this is the internal tides of pleasure that continue to radiate from my shoulders and down to my fingers. The pace of the pulsing euphoria is just right; not rushing too fast like a euphoric stimulant nor too slow, allowing it to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
This feels a lot like a lazy Sunday morning during the wintertime. With endless blankets, pillows, and my partner Kai to cuddle and shift from one perfectly comfortable position to the next. The warmth, the contentment, the lack of desire to be anywhere else; all these feelings are here with me now in the darkness.
The blackness is plain, as I lay with my eyes open. There is very little static or buzzing. Itís legitimately difficult to know if my eyes are open or closed based solely on the visual field. I am very aware of my eyelids however; they continue to become heavier and heavier. I donít want to nod out, and if I was anywhere with more stimulation I donít think I would be close to achieving that, but currently it is difficult to hold my eyes open for more than a few seconds at best. I toy with myself, forcing my eyelids up with seemingly great effort. I look into the blackness and feel the unbelievably pleasant vibrations travel through my upper body. My eyelids crash down against my will as I fight to keep them open. The final surrender, letting them rest closed, is absolutely blissful.
I am laying with my arms at my sides rather than my normal position of having them extended over my head. Typically, I find it easier to take deep breaths in the overhead position but today it seems to make no difference and the euphoric sensation in my forearms is notably stronger with my arms down. I realize my breath has actually been impeccable. More than any other float session in my life, I have kept an astonishingly even ďin and outĒ pace. There has been no unintentional holding of my breath, no shallow then compensating deep breaths. I have been in a peaceful rhythm since the moment I laid down.
I am thinking to myself that I really donít want this session to end. I am stirred from my calm by a slow crawling itch that has developed over my left eye. I almost instinctively itch it but catch myself before I get the salt solution all over my face or in my eye. I exert some mental will to not scratch my face and instead find myself itching my forearms and stomach lightly. This instantly sets off a spreading itching sensation that moves around my torso and upper legs as I chase it around with my fingers. The itch is pleasant, not intense enough to be annoying but certainly satisfying to scratch away, as itches tend to be.
I am now slightly more alert than I was for the past . . . five minutes? One minute? Twenty minutes? I really am not sure how long I have been in the session. Iím estimating perhaps thirty minutes in total but I would believe anything from fifteen to forty-five.
There are now some sections of my visual field that are not as black as the rest. In fact, there are a few notably lighter grey areas. As I draw my focus onto one of these spots, which appears to be perhaps a few feet away from my face (past where the tank lid is in reality), it forms itself into a simplistic silhouette of a profiled male face. I stare on and my focus settles on the line that is formed where the grey and black meet, forming the grey face. Without provocation I am suddenly seeing another face made of the black whose profile is facing the other way, almost interlocking into the grey face. This is a fantastic illusion similar in nature to ďRubinís vaseĒ that brings a smile to my face before it fades and melts back into inky blackness.
With my eyes closed, I try to conjure some images via visualization and concentration. I am able to bring about faint photo-like closed eyed visuals that sit as a square of color on the expected black background of closed eyes. The subjects are mostly houses and some mountain landscapes. I try to control the images, postulating different styles, color schemes, and layouts for the houses. The rectangular piece of my visual field that is the ďphotosĒ drifts from left to right gently. As I shift these items in my mind, the pictures change but not in exact relation to my directions. These images linger for a few seconds and then either change or fade to total darkness.
Like a switch has been flipped, the euphoric glow in my arms and shoulders all but disappears. I am suddenly able to keep my eyes open with minimal effort. I hope this is just the low point between waves of effects but I know in my heart and mind this is only a hope. I have dropped off the plateau of effects and begun the march back towards baseline.
While the euphoria has lessened, I feel a calmer sedative state take hold. Although I can have my eyes open easily, I donít care to move them around much. I stare peacefully off into the nothingness. I wish I had some way to administer more oxycodone right this instant, to bring back the sensations that are waning away. If I had not been in the tank with obvious limitations, I likely would have done so at this point. Inevitably this thought of being outside of the tank leads me to wonder how much longer remains in the session.
I am sure now the session must almost be over. I start to actively desire the music to begin playing that signals the end. These thoughts are not nearly strong enough to make me seriously think about exiting early but they are the most I have experienced such thoughts besides my first ever float. The darkness and quiet are not uncomfortable or frightening but rather a bit boring. I know I am past the peak effects of the experience and feel ready to move on. Besides, how much longer could this possibly last? I feel like I have been in the tank for at least an hour and fifteen minutes at this point. I try to put aside the thoughts about how long remains and replace them with concentration on my breathing and some absent-minded scratching of my arms and chest.
I get into a peaceful state where I am monitoring my breath as it travels in and out of my body. It remains at a steady tempo without any effort on my part. I suddenly jump; both my legs and arms jolt as the classical piano enters on a strong note. As much as I had been anticipating the end, now that it has arrived I decide to rest and enjoy the last few minutes (my session ends with a five minute grace period of music).
Not wanting to be in the tank when the cleaning / circulating process begins I turn on the light and begin to exit by turning on the tanks interior light. The green light shatters my mind with its seeming infinite brightness and power. My eyelids squeeze shut in automatic reaction. I am treated to a fantastic moment of closed eyed visuals: A brilliant lime green completely fills my vision. Incredibly complex circular designs sear my mindís eye as their yellows, greens, and white colors rotate clockwise and inward forming a spherical shape. Lines of microscopic circles form larger circles all of which are spinning and dancing. The vibrancy and presence of this visual effect startles me and as a reflex I open my eyes quickly. BAM! Bright light once again hurts my eyes. I try to squint and allow my eyes time to adjust. The light has changed to a blue hue now that seems softer and less invasive than the green. I shut my eyes again and am once again transported to an immensely intricate circular array of patterns. The background is of course now a beautiful azure that fades into a navy blue in the center. More angular, linear lines in a dazzling pure white zoom around the circle, overlapping each other with perfection like a geometric Spirograph. I am able to sit and enjoy this longer than the first surprise iteration. I know my time is just about up so I open the lid of the tank.
T + 01:45 [6:58 PM]
The light of the room blinds me even more as I exit the tank. I canít recall ever having so much trouble adjusting to the light after a float session.
I canít recall ever having so much trouble adjusting to the light after a float session.
With squinted eyes, I make my way into the shower where I turn the water temp nearly all the way up.
The salt solution washes off without too much trouble. I am standing without thinking much. The soothing warmth and pressure of the shower stills an already still mind. As I finally force myself to turn off the water, I notice the water droplets on the chrome handle are glistening and more defined than normal. I search for any other visual effects as I dry off but find none.
T + 2:01 [7:14 PM]
I meet up with Kai outside the float center and we head for home.
T + 2:23 [7:36 PM]
Following previous sensory deprivation experiences I have experience a tranquil, positive mood accompanied by a light physical buzz. I have come to refer to these after-effects as ďpost float glowĒ. Today the afterglow is difficult to distinguish from the opioids lingering effects. My forearms still possess a light flow of warmth. The strength of the pulsing is greatly diminished. Iím mentally relaxed, but I donít feel as articulate as I normally am following sensory deprivation time. I am quiet on the way home, reflecting a bit but without any particularly interesting thoughts.
Shortly after we arrive home Lucy, a mutual friend of Kai and Iís comes over. She and Kai immediately spark up an animated conversation. Iím having some trouble connecting to the conversation. I feel like Iím existing at a different pace than they are, mine being much slower. I begin to do a bit of mundane tasks on my computer while listening but not joining into the conversation.
T + 02:29 [7:42 PM]
I open a light beer [4.2% ABV] and continue with some editing and writing while Kai and Lucy continue a flowing and upbeat conversation on the couch beside me. I feel re-energized, less sleepy than I was before ingesting the oxycodone.
T + 02:51 [8:04 PM]
My physical and mental states feel nearly exactly the same as they did when I arrived home. The initial departure from peak effects was shockingly drastic in comparison to this long slow taper I am experiencing now. I have a barely perceptible upbeat attitude that I believe is a result of the float, rather than the oxycodone. Trying to discern which feelings come from the float and which come from the opioid is as difficult as determining subtle palate changes between wines. Overall I pace myself at a + on the Shulgin rating scale.
T + 03:04 [8:17 PM]
The extended retreat towards baseline marches on slowly but surely. I start drinking my second light beer [4.2% ABV]. The taste is neither improved nor degraded from when I consume it sober. I try and integrate into the conversation going on in the room. I can relate easier than earlier and there seems to be less awkward pauses in my interactions. I am debating re-dosing with additional oxycodone or perhaps ingesting a benzodiazepine to finish off my evening. At this point, I donít anticipate much productivity or growth from the experience Ė Iím just in it for the pleasure and relaxation.
T + 03:22 [20:35 PM]
I open my third beer [4.2% ABV] and retrieve the remaining half of the oxycodone pill, which I wash down with the first sip [15 mg].
T + 03:33 [20:46 PM]
I forget about the beer I had opened and retrieve another from the refrigerator. It is not until I sit down once again that I realize what I have done. Iím clearly still high but itís mostly a mental experience at this point. I feel extremely content and am not thinking about anything of consequence. We have put on Netflix and are chatting lightly as we watch an episode we have all seen before.
T + 03:41 [20:54 PM]
Ahhh, I am starting to feel the second ingestion of the oxycodone. The buzz of pleasure is slowly returning to my forearms. I can already feel myself starting to alienate myself from Kai and Lucy. My thought process is impaired and I find it difficult to create responses as we all talk. I canít put my finger on what is off, but itís as though my social interpretation is off kilter. Iím sensing sarcasm when there is none and vice versa; things are just awkward.
T + 03:49 [9:02 PM]
As I make my way to the bathroom, I note slight balance issues that cause me to stumble twice on the short walk. There is no difficulty peeing. I can feel warmth swelling inside me, particularly my chest and arms. Stress and worry have long since been banished from my mind, but I now feel a new layer of happiness. I finish off the second accidentally opened beer.
T + 04:04 [9:17 PM]
The tingling inside my forearms has not gotten any stronger and Iím disappointed in the re-dose. I am feeling a little bummed out that I might have wasted the second 15 mg. I know I have more that I could take to achieve the intensity I desire but I donít want to start chasing a high through the night. I elect to ride out whatever effects are left without adding any other opioids.
I donít want to start chasing a high through the night. I elect to ride out whatever effects are left without adding any other opioids.
With this decision made, I turn my attention back to the comedy show we are watching.
T + 04:20 [9:33 PM]
Iím laughing about the show a bit more than I would be sober, but by no means is this effect as strong as the hysterical giggle fits I have experienced under the influence of other substances such as cannabis.
My ears feel like they need to pop from changing altitude. Voices sound tinny and lowered half an octave. Volume is unaffected but there is a small amount of tinnitus present. This sensation happened earlier as I was approaching the peak of the initial dosage. This is equally as noticeable as it was then, but the euphoria is not proportional. I estimate that at this point my re-dose has achieved 65% of the intensity of the first dose.
T + 04:27 [9:40 PM]
I pour a healthy glass of pinot noir [10 ounces of 13% ABV]. This is not a fine wine tasting type consumption. I throw back about half the wine in the first sip. The rest of the glass is polished off quickly. I do not feel any immediate effects from the wine, which normally would have produced some blushing and intoxication. The oxycodone soaks up the alcohols effects but its own physical sensations are not increased from the alcohol consumption.
T +04:38 [9:51 PM]
Kai is heading to bed, leaving Lucy and I to our own devices for the rest of the evening. Unfortunately for Lucy, I am nearing the peak of the second dosage. The awkwardness and feeling of being removed is back in full force. I sink into a bit of a trance as we watch another episode.
T + 04:59 [10:12 PM]
Another 11 ounces of wine refill my glass [13% ABV]. I quickly empty it into my belly. With all the bottles of wine empty we debate running out to purchase more. I really want to. Lucy tries to convince me it is a good idea. Iím a little concerned about mixing too much alcohol with the opioid and I am indecisive about the decision. I remember we have a few beers still in the refrigerator and we decide to finish these before making a final choice on whether or not to leave the house.
T + 05:26 [10:39 PM]
As I open a beer [4.2% ABV], my hearing begins to fade back to normal. Iím not too upset about the oxycodone fading. The re-dose really didnít achieve the true euphoria I wanted. The effects I felt the most have been the auditory shift and the social awkwardness that seemed to derive from unusual hyper-awareness and over thinking of responses within conversation. I finally crack a witty joke without analyzing my response before saying it. The thought pops into my mind and I register it as clever and relay it to my mouth without a second, third, and fourth thought. As Lucy and I laugh out loud I feel much better.
T + 05:44 [10:57 PM]
A simple ďnothing to worry aboutĒ attitude has returned. Iím in a pleasant flow of conversation now. Iím less conscious of myself in general, my intoxication specifically. Lucy agrees with me when I state ďSheesh sorry Iíve been a little out of it for a while nowĒ. I open my last beer [4.2% ABV] and cheers with Lucy. Although I have the temptation for deeper inebriation I already know it is wiser not too. I will feel better in the morning as well as less physical risk. While I know my dosages are well within the realm of reasonable, my mind rests easier knowing I have minimized my risk by keeping my dosages moderate.
While I know my dosages are well within the realm of reasonable, my mind rests easier knowing I have minimized my risk by keeping my dosages moderate.
With this decision made, I relax even more. Decisions stress me out in general, and given my poor social performance this evening I am proud to have made a decision, an unpopular one at that.
T + 06:16 [11:29 PM]
Iím slowly fading towards sleep. Conversation has naturally faded as we pay increased attention to the Netflix show. I occasionally blurt out a quip to Lucy and vice versa. Iím very relaxed mentally, a pleasant buzz, but nothing intense. Iíve arranged some pillows behind me on the couch to allow myself to lie back and kick my legs up. The internal glowing and radiating euphoria that never really revitalized to the extent I wished are really fading now. I feel pleasant enough to stay awake, but I canít imagine it last much longer.
T + 06:44 [11:57 PM]
The show we are watching seems to be less entertaining now. Iím getting heavy eyelids but no nodding. I actively decide to brush my teeth and climb into bed.
T + 06:56 [12:09 AM + 1]
I jot a final timestamp into my notebook before climbing into bed with Kai. My body feels very at ease. Euphoria is of course long gone but there is a detectable buzz from the opioid. Iím below a + but above a Ī. Iím not feeling the alcohol beyond a bit of drowsiness. Any other effects seem to have been swallowed up by the oxycodone.
I notice I am actively enjoying lying in bed. Iím not concerned with falling asleep and Iím not thinking about anything particular or structured. I only last between fifteen and twenty minutes before effortless sleep overtakes me. These fifteen minutes are pleasant both mentally and physically; I live only in the moment, feeling my high without a worry in my mind.
T + [8:19 AM + 1]
Holy shit I slept like a rock. I have no recollection of tossing and turning or waking up even once throughout the night. Iím not groggy at all, in fact I feel pretty darn good as I fetch myself some water from the kitchen. I have a normal appetite and canít detect any lingering effects from the float or the oxycodone.
Overall, I enjoyed the combination of sensory deprivation and oxycodone. That being said, I generally enjoy oxycodone just about anywhere and I had the expectation that this float would be low stress and pleasurable. I found it noteworthy how distinct the peak, or more specifically the departure from the peak, was while in the tank. I also was greatly surprised by the presence of visual effects. This was the first time I have ever encountered that while using an opioid or opiate. On the flip side, the plainness of the darkness in the float tank was perhaps the most absolute I have ever seen in any of my sessions, no matter if I was sober or using a substance. There were almost no occurrences of phosphene activity in the entire hour session.
It was good to re-learn my re-dosing lesson with this class of substances again. I knew from previous experience that I either needed the second dosage to be larger than the first to achieve an equal or greater intensity of effects given my timeline. I still allowed my desire for more of the high to cloud my logical thought process to an extent, but was able to reign in the fiend as the night progressed.
I cannot say with certainty if the float potentiated the social awkwardness I experienced. Generally, after a session in the tank, I am slightly removed socially but feel comfortable around people. I am more of a listener than a conversation leader after floats, but I am not uncomfortable in the least. It has been nearly a decade since I have ingested similar substances in the presence of anyone besides Kai or other very close friends so I donít know if the social awkwardness is ďnormalĒ for me during the comedown stage of an opioid experience.
In the end, this combination was more fun than it was productive. I definitely enjoyed the ability offered by the tank to really monitor and appreciate the sensations brought on from the substance. There was a nice reset/step back from day to day worries that was partially brought on from the oxycodone but I know was more significant as a result of combining the substance with the floatation experience. I likely will repeat this composite of setting and substance in the future but I admit this substance is just as fun on the couch. It did not feel significantly more therapeutic or enjoyable in a tank than it is for me outside of one.
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