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Erowid Families and Psychoactives Interview Series
Dialog with Ann, Michelle, & Mark
Interview by Erowid
Spring 2002
The following interview was conducted in Spring 2002 with Ann and her two grown children, Michelle and Mark, ages 23 and 19. Ann refers to herself as having been a "Volvo-driving soccer mom" when her children were younger, i.e. "normal, everyday." Michelle is graduating from college, and Mark is in college.



Erowid: We don't typically have a lot of voices that we can go to to read about or hear from members of families who value psychedelics; it's really rare. The Prohibitionist or "Just Say No" approach is well-documented, but the one of people who have more nuanced approaches to the topic of drugs is not really there. So people who want to hear what other people have gone through have trouble finding resources. We're really looking forward to hearing a little bit about what your family has gone through, because it sounds like it's very grounded and very nurturing for the three of you.

How was the topic of drugs approached when you -- Michelle and Mark -- were growing up… Let's just start with cannabis, for instance, because for a lot of people, that comes first.

Ann: Right.

Michelle: I think alcohol came first, at least in my life, and that was definitely not acceptable. Drinking wasn't really approved of…

Erowid: You mean, that was what you experienced first?

Michelle: Yes, I had the experience that the whole energy around alcohol was not really cool. That that's not really our family's style. I very much integrated that at an early age, which I felt set me apart from my peers. That was not my thing, that was not what I would do to have a good time.

Mark: Cannabis came first for me. My first experience was with you [his sister], when my friend and I smoked pot in your room. It was right after Mom and our stepdad had decided they were going to split up. He was upstairs, and mom, you were out of town. We were smoking pot in Michelle's room, and I remember, we had just watched Dazed and Confused a couple weeks ahead of time, and my friend was acting like the guy Slader, from the movie. I wasn't high, because I think it takes a couple of times, and he wasn't either.

Erowid: How old were you?

Michelle: It was for his 13th birthday.

Mark: 13, it was the winter after I turned 13 in October. A couple of months later I got quote-unquote caught, busted, smoking pot. That was 7th grade. We had had the house painted, and I couldn't open the windows, because they were all painted shut. Mom comes home, and my friends and I are all downstairs taking bong hits, no windows open. Mom comes home way early -- I don't even know what I was thinking, I could have just gone outside… And you said, "Hm, it smells like something's burning," I ran upstairs and said, "It's Michelle's incense!" I right off the bat lied, because I didn't know… "Is this bad?" I remember you came downstairs, and asked, "What are you guys doing?" and we all started laughing. And we had that talk upstairs in your room, and I was really stoned. It was a good memory. You told me, "Wow, you're a little young." I had no idea you were smoking pot.

Erowid [to Ann]: : How did you experience that?

Ann: Cannabis had always been a strong ally for me. I smoked most of my life, until I started a family. And then I smoked in the early years, but I started to feel like it wasn't a very smart thing anymore. I was making a lot of decisions where I was spending a lot of money, and having to make certain decisions around relationship issues, and parenting. I decided to give it up, because I started to want to see how it would be for me to not have that ally anymore. What would my feeling and thought process be? The kids were getting older and I guess I had some judgment around the frequency in which I smoked. I was wanting them to not smoke as much as I was smoking -- and at the time I thought I might have been smoking too much to be smart -- so I gave it up for years. I wasn't ingesting anything, right at the time when I felt they were really impressionable. I didn't think I could be coming on to them about moderation and all those things you're supposed to say, if I was walking around feeling like I had a little bit of a burden on me.

Mark [to his mom]: Where did you smoke pot when we were younger? outside?

Ann: Mm-hmm.

Erowid: So they didn't know about it?

Ann: Well, I suspect that they knew…

Mark: I had no idea about it… Ann knew, and I remember when Ann told me…I was surprised. You [to Ann] were always so cool about stuff, "What do you mean it's a big deal mom smoked pot, get over it." And I thought, "Grown-ups smoke pot, too?" It was groundbreaking. "Wow, mom smoked pot; this whole time." I had no idea. But you seem to have known.

Ann: Well because she was older…

Michelle: I remember the first time I was around pot -- I wasn't even smoking it -- I had this overwhelming olfactory recollection of being a toddler. I could feel what it felt like to be a toddler just from the aroma. It was so overwhelming, and I was really triggered. "Wow, this reminds me of being a kid, it reminds me of my mom's top drawer, it reminds me of my mom's breath." It reminded me of all these things that I knew only in my body. It was so cool, I actually really liked it. I was around people who smoked it for a while before I actually chose to. And that was only after a drug counselor at my school asked me, "Are you smoking pot?" I had never tried it. And I thought, "Fuck you!" Because he said, "If you look like a duck and you talk like a duck, and you hang out with other ducks, chances are, you're a duck." And I thought, "Well, might as well become a duck!" And I remember the day after, going out and smoking pot. That was my chain of thought. I was 14.

Erowid [to Ann]: Did she tell you about that experience?

Ann: No…

Michelle: No, it was my freshman year of high school, it was really my main year of self-hatred and rebellion, where that all kind of got born, and lying, deception… I was experimenting, with acid… I also got raped that year. It was kind of like a ton of bricks. And my best friend growing up moved away. A lot changed. But, it was only two years later that I started smoking pot with my mom. I had introduced my brother by that time, I had come out of that cycle of total destruction of reality. It was actually through smoking pot together with my mom, I think, that worlds came together, there was a certain bonding that happened.

Erowid: How did that come about?

Ann: That is really funny, because I was feeling like I wanted to reintroduce cannabis into my life. We had taken a hike, and during the hike, I said to Michelle, "I'm wondering if it's time for me to bring cannabis into my life." And we hiked down near a mountain near where we lived at the time, and on the hike, we went down to a little riverbed, and on a stump, there was small pipe.

Michelle: And it was full.

Mark: No way, did you guys smoke it?

Michelle: Not then…

Ann: After we got home…

Ann: And I couldn't imagine any clearer signal. I had just said to her, "I'm wondering, you know I haven't smoked cannabis in a long time, and it's feeling like it could be an ally again." I was feeling her out, having an adult conversation with my daughter, and then there was the pipe, and we looked at each other and it was obvious I was going to start smoking cannabis again. We had come to a point in the family where they were old enough to be reasonable about their ingestion and I was at a place in my life where I didn't have the same need to not be, and so it all came together at the same time. They had grown up some… we were having real conversations…

Mark: I remember the first couple of times you smoked pot together, I didn't smoke with you…

Ann: Right.

Mark: I don't know why. Now it seems stupid. But then I thought, "Whoa, kinda weird." I was a few years younger than Michelle…

Ann: From time to time Michelle would invite me into her room, not all that frequently, but from time to time. We would both be home in the evening, on a weekend, and she would invite me in her room, and we would smoke cannabis together and…

Michelle: …talk…

Ann: …and it would inspire dialogue, and that's always valuable.

Mark: And that happened for me I think more in my senior year of high school.

Ann: And you were mostly disinterested… at that time…

Mark: With what? Smoking pot with you? yeah.

Michelle: One of the major things I remember, I told my best friend at the time, "This is something that I'm doing with my mom, and it's really powerful for me," it was like weaving worlds together. Her response was, "I would love to smoke pot with my parents!" And I said, "Well you can, I'm sure your parents have smoked pot before. I can almost guarantee it, they love Joni Mitchell, they smoke pot." They read Tarot cards for god's sake. I said, "Perhaps I could ask my mom if you could sit in with us."

I remember asking you [to Ann], "Is it cool if you smoke pot with Mary and I?" And she replied yes. And I remember that experience then catalyzed Mary into asking her parents if they would be interested in smoking pot with her, this was after having had the experience smoking pot at our house. And they did. I remember feeling really good about that.

Erowid [to Ann]: How did you feel about that? Taking on the responsibility of smoking with someone else's kid?

Ann: Those girls were experiencing a lot more than I was even hip to. A little cannabis between my daughter and her friend was hardly going to be a problem, because I knew they were out there in the world, and I knew she was probably only sharing half of what her adventures were. I saw it as very harmless and potentially a way to have a relationship with Mary, too, she was in our house all the time… It felt very natural, that's all. I had no problem with it at all. And I would have had no problem if her parents called me up and confronted me. I would have said, "Well if you would do it with your daughter then I wouldn't have to." That was really how I felt.

Erowid [to Michelle]: You said that you were taking acid in your teens, was that something that you talked about with your mom beforehand, or is it something you started doing on your own? Did the topic ever come up?

Michelle: For the last few years, I feel I talk about those experiences with my mom, but at the time, that particular year, I was in a very interesting space. And that same year I decided I wouldn't do it again. I didn't do acid after that year, until I was 20, basically. I did it once when I was 16 and I hated it. It was not positive. At a certain point when mom and I started doing shared journeying together, it became a shared reality.

Erowid: Tell me a little bit about how that started, sharing something other than cannabis.

Ann: It became obvious to me that they were doing psychedelics. And I wasn't. I gave up psychedelics when I decided to have a child. I did a major cleanse and gave up all substances. I didn't ingest any psychedelics at all, and then I became aware that my kids were eating…mushrooms and LSD, were the two that I was aware of. I had the opportunity to take them to a week at a ranch where two shamans from Peru would be coming and doing plant medicine. I wanted to reintroduce that into my life. And I knew I wanted to do it with them. I said, they were doing it anyway, and I thought if they were doing it anyway, then let's do it together, and let's do it in a way that I can stand behind. So this way, when they're back out in the world on their own, maybe they can be discerning, because they'll get a taste of it as medicine. With these journeys we took, we were drinking medicine, it was all about that. I thought, if they could see the sacred side, in a non-recreational context, then maybe that will imprint them, and at the same time, be a really good introduction for me, into the psychedelic life.

Erowid: So you learned about this opportunity, and you talked with them about it?

Ann: Yes. They always had free will, the only requirement was that if you sat in the circle, you needed to stay, but you didn't have to ingest.

Erowid [to Michelle]: How old were you?

Michelle: I was 19.

Ann: And Mark was 16.

Erowid: Would you tell me a little bit about the setting of that experience?

Michelle: Ideal.

Mark: Yeah.

Ann: It was ideal, we were on a beautiful ranch, a western state, lots of privacy, water on the property, an intimate group of people, many whom had known each other before, some had traveled together before. We went there knowing somebody who lived at the ranch really well. It was like coming together with family.

Erowid: How many people were there?

Ann: Maybe 25 people sat in the circle, and there were three people leading it.

Erowid: So it was a ritual setting, would you describe a little about it? Meditation or music? Spiritual tradition?

Michelle: It was a week long, and there were two journeys. The first half of the week was spent talking about Peruvian shamanism, about the three worlds, about the Quechua Indians, about Egyptian shamanism… We did group meditation together, it was totally amazing. We were introduced to the whole idea of altar and mesa, where people were putting their personal altars in front of them. It was educational. Then only after several days of introduction, after we had acclimated to the place, did we do the first journey, with San Pedro. Then we did ayahuasca.

Mark: I remember the smells, the agua florida…

Michelle: The copal… And the icaros. The Peruvian shamans came with the sacred songs, the songs the medicine had taught them.

Erowid: And what about when you went home? Did that live on in some way?

Ann: Each one of us was so deeply impacted by that week. Mark was 16. I guess his choices at that time… he could have dropped out of high school…

[Mark laughs]

Ann: What I mean when I say that is we went through powerful changes… I mean, he didn't drop out of high school but, I'll let your speak for yourself… I remember the day we came home we all went downstairs and we were clinging to each other in his room…

Michelle: I dropped out of college…

Mark: I broke up with my girlfriend…

Ann: I ended a marriage…

[laughter]

Mark: I ended getting back together with her…

Michelle: I went back to college… And you got remarried…

Ann: I didn't get remarried…

Michelle: Well you got recommitted… [points to Ann's partner, who is napping in the room during the interview]

Mark: I started playing football…

Michelle: I went to Egypt…

Mark: But I was going to play football before…

Ann: I became a single woman in my house again. That was big for me.

Mark: And for me.

Michelle: And then that initiated a closeness since then…

Ann: And then let the ruckus begin. I remember thinking, "Oh my god, here we are, we're back in the saddle!"

[laughing]

Mark: We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that. Because that got you guys into a whole entheogen community.

Ann: And then I heard about a related conference. I heard Terence speak at a fair somewhere, and I got brochures in my hot little hand, and came traipsing home, and wrote my check out. And I went to this conference by myself. I remember Terence saying to me, "I don't remember seeing you before," and I replied, "That's because I'm fresh out of the gate."

[laughter]

Ann: Once I got to see that expanded state of consciousness again, I got to see it in a sacred setting, then I just knew that there was no denying that part of myself again.

Michelle: And you had been in a meditation practice, you had done a lot of work on yourself. I remember backing all that was my exposure to all these practices you had cultivated. We had built up to doing medicine together, we had done a yoga retreat together as a family. There were several places before the medicine circle where we had been the only family participating in such a thing.

Ann: We were on the path together. We shared a lot of life together. This felt like the next natural thing to explore.

Erowid: What were some of the things that were informing your decision-making, how you were approaching your children about these things? Teachers, or spiritual traditions, books, friends or family?

Ann: I was pretty much a lone ranger in my community of friends. I didn't have other friends who were doing this exploration with their children. I just knew it deep inside in my gut, and in my heart, that this was really good thing to share with my kids. I trusted this relationship with them so profoundly that even if we had to keep it a secret the rest of our lives until we connected with other people, then we would just have to do that. And I didn't care. I can't say that I had a revelation, or that there was a particular practice. It was just knowing that the commitment was to the magic. To the magic of this life, and this was just one more tool in the bag, psychedelics were just another way that we could access that. Because the tool bag were getting filled up with all the other explorations that we did, and this was the missing piece.

So yes, yoga is a great tool, and meditation, and insightful dialogue, and all these things that we were sharing, but psychedelics couldn't be ignored.

Erowid: You've mentioned that possibility of having to keep it secret, because of the legal challenges around a lot of these plants and substances. Were there rules or guidelines that you set?

Ann: No, it was pretty informal.

Michelle [to Ann]: You had made the statement, you preferred that we smoke pot home, you made that very clear, because you'd rather I not be driving, smoking somewhere else and driving home. I feel that's noteworthy.

Erowid: Were there recommendations and suggestions?

After the ranch experience, I had already been out of the house for a year. In that year I found out that even just smoking pot with my mom… there was no context to share that. I didn't tell people that to begin with, because I felt it was really none of their business. I felt that it was enough to communicate about other issues, basic things, and it never came up. Eventually over time I've slowly met people that have… that there is even a conversational context for such experiences, but it's pretty rare. Other than other people who are really into tripping, it's not common. In certain cases I feel like it's important, when I'm around people of my parents' generation, to discuss how it's ok to talk about people's experience with people my age. That it's actually rather nice. [to Mark] I'm curious as to what you think about it? How did you deal with your friends? Or the fact that you did DMT with your mom? Did you tell people?

Mark: No, not a lot of people. If it came up in the right situation... There were a couple of friends I felt like I could trust.

Ann: When you came back from the medicine circle week you told a couple of people that you had done plant medicines…

Mark: Yes. As far as all my friends and my relationships… I had one experience where my friends and I had done acid at my mom's house. We'd been tripping really hard, and we came back from a hike and mom cooked us really "grounding" food -- she said -- farina, and bread… My friends were thinking, "Holy shit, I'd never want to be around my parents, tripping." They couldn't even imagine being around their parents tripping, let alone their being accepting of it. And I couldn't imagine coming home and saying, "Er, no, we're not tripping." Of course I didn't care, I wanted her to know, and she came through with total TLC for us. I think more than anything, friends can be envious of that. If you're into that, experimenting, of course you want your mom to be like that, you know, "Ooh, here's some good grounding food after a long acid trip."

Erowid: Did you ever have any concerns that the word would get around to someone who would…

Ann: No, let them come to me, and let's have a talk. My attitude was always, "Thank god, there's a mother who's asking these kids questions, who gives them care when they're coming off a trip."

Mark: It also comes down to how we were impacting our friends. For me, I think a couple of the friends that I told, I think they told their parents.

Ann: Oh?

Mark: They knew, and they looked at me and my relationship with my mom, and how I was in the community, as far as a student and an athlete. The things that people knew me as, you couldn't ever really label me as a fuck-up.

Ann: The proof was in the pudding.

Mark: Exactly. It was one thing if I was screwing up, or bringing my friends down… But I think for a lot of the parents around, they always respected me as being a good influence on their sons. A lot of parents thanked me for being there, thought I was a good influence. They couldn't go too far judging.

Michelle: My experience was different than that. I did feel judged a little bit by people. The way I presented myself physically, was not met by parents with thanks for being in their kids' lives. I contributed to the delinquency, or to the experimentation…

Mark: …to the liberation of daughters, that's always a little overwhelming for certain fathers…

Ann: They had a different experience. I could say that's true.

Mark: I think a lot of that comes down to gender. As far as dads and parents thinking, "Whoa, free-spirited woman influencing my daughter." That can kind of be intimidating for a parent.

Erowid [to Ann]: Did their father know?

Ann: Not from me.

Michelle: I told my dad. I've tried to explain to my dad in the most clear language that I can, about plant medicine and what this is about. I went to Peru and did a plant cleanse, a dieta in the jungle. I tried to tell him everything I could about that. It kind of goes over his head or something.

Ann: He doesn't want to know about it.

Michelle: It's not like he doesn't listen, he just sort of blocks it out.

Mark: It's just so far from his reality. He can't relate, and maybe he's afraid that that would be disappointing to us, so he chooses to not even touch on the subject, I think.

Michelle: That's an interesting outlook.

Ann: It would be curious to ask him one day.

Michelle: I've offered to trip him in several different ways and he's just not interested.

Mark: I've still never smoked pot with dad.

Michelle: Neither have I. I have with his wife, though.

Erowid: Would you have done anything differently?

Michelle: I would. I mean I don't regret anything, but I would have wished that my first acid trip, or my earlier acid experiences, could have been under her supervision. I think that would have been really helpful. Not that it was wrong the way it was. I feel like as the older child, my experiences were a little bit harsher, a little bit more raw. In this context, it's reminding me that I was kind of out there, banging on stuff, finding a sound that was pleasing. I feel that as the older kid I initiated a lot of that in my family. It wasn't easy, being that person.

Mark: Of course. I never had that year you had freshman year of high school. That kind of slowly came on for me, following in your footsteps, and smoking pot, and drinking.

Ann: I don't know that anything needed to be different. I feel good about the years that I didn't ingest anything, because I obviously just needed to do that, for whatever reason. And then I delighted about its reintroduction into my life and how it's expanded us as a family unit and as just humans on the planet. I think it was just perfect. Sometimes when I hear them relay to me experiences with psychedelics that they had that were hard, independently, outside of our family -- even just tonight, Mark shared an acid experience he had that was really difficult -- of course it brings up maternal instincts. "I wish it didn't have to be so hard, I wish I could have been there, I wish I had the water and known you were dehydrating, that was not the set and setting."

Mark: Something was touched on that was really cool. The idea that we got from being in that circle with the shamans, was that these substances, these plant medicines, are medicinal. We were given that perspective, that there's this respect you have to give for these things that heighten your consciousness. And that respect opens you up to being sensitive to native people… to all kinds of things. That's a gateway. Not just something to trip at a concert.

Erowid: It sounds like the experience you had on the ranch was a peak experience for all three of you. Are there any other experiences that stand out, in the content, or the challenges, or the communication they inspired?

Ann: Anytime we've come together, there's a particular circle of people that have become like journey family members. Anytime we have been in circle together with those people, it has been very healing, individually and collectively. Those experiences stand out in my mind. Those deliberate, planned - prayer, we call them -- circles, have been an extraordinary thing to share with them. So that peak experience on the ranch did lay the foundation to want to have that be the context of the sharing of these psychedelics. I think we've done pretty well with creating those opportunities.

Michelle: I did MDMA for the first time with my mom in a prayer circle.

Ann: It was for your birthday!

Michelle: It was for my 20th birthday. It was really beautiful, to also have the context of a first experience, with the ayahuasca, with the San Pedro, with MDMA, the combination of mushrooms and MDMA… There are several things I have done for the first time now in the context of a medicine circle, and it has set the tone for the way that my journeys have evolved.

Mark: I always feel like the Fair [yearly week-long event the family attends] is one of those experiences. The Fair is psychedelic, period, even if you're not ingesting anything.

Ann: It's accessing that frequency.

Mark: You're walking around, and if you all happen to show up at the same spot at the same time, or if I see Momma at the camp or something, it's always good to see each other, and to also know we can go off and do our own thing, and still feel…

Ann: …connected…

Mark: …Connected. And that's what I feel was partially established on the ranch, that connection. At the ranch, when everyone was in their psychedelic place, part of the beauty of that place is being able to recognize being vulnerable. I can't speak for everybody, but taking psychoactive plants takes you to your edge, medicines take you to your edge and show you areas where you're vulnerable, where you can grow. And when you're in that place, everybody's equally vulnerable, and everybody's equal. We're equals. It took us a step further into being equals and friends. Here we are, ingesting the plants together, and age… nothing really matters. We're the same little people, with this huge plant medicine that's so much bigger than all of us.

Ann: That's exactly right.

Michelle: In this huge world.

Mark: And whether it's a lot of experiences -- Mom's obviously had more experiences -- or not as many experiences, just because I'm younger, it doesn't really matter. You still have things to process, you still are vulnerable to whatever you have to process. I think that's really cool, how that works.

Michelle: I just can't even tell you how powerful it was to have had psychic surgery [in the medicine circle on the ranch] and to have experienced the suffering of all humankind, and then puke out plaque from my intestines out of my mouth [after ingesting ayahuasca], then be able to be held in the arms of my mother. I think it was only because of being able to be held in the arms of my mother that I was able to go to that place, to have that experience.

Ann: When we went to the ranch, and we were all going to be ingesting these psychoactive plants together, and I hadn't journeyed on psychoactives for 20 years, I did say to them, "If you think you're going to need me to be present for you during this journey, if you don't feel comfortable enough with the shamans as being the ones that come, then you should not drink the medicine. Because I don't know what's going to happen to me. I'm not claiming to be a shaman, where I'm going to drink the medicine and be there for you. I don't know where I'll go, so don't ingest if you can't turn to them." And they also didn't want me hovering over my children during this experience. It was about as Mark said, all of sitting as equals, in the circle, having out own experience.

Erowid [to Ann]: Can you give me a synopsis of how psychoactives were viewed in your family of origin?

Ann: There was no alcoholism in my family. I never knew of anybody with any addictions, really, in my family. Nobody taking Valium that I knew of. My father was a doctor. I grew up with, I guess, some narcotics in the medicine cabinet. When I menstruated every month, he would say, "Go take a Fiorinal and go to sleep." Because the cramps were excrutiating. I could take a Fiorinal once a month, sleep off those first crushing hours of menstrual cramps that would send me home from school. And I'd go on my merry way and the bottle would be there for a year. Nobody smoked cigarettes. And nothing was ever talked about. It wasn't present, and it wasn't even a suggestion. It was a non-existent thing. And the first time I took acid, I was upstairs in my bedroom and my parents were downstairs. Came down to breakfast the next day, pupils huge, and nothing was ever said. And that was it. And then they died.

Erowid: It's challenging to think about the idea of advice or ideas for other families because each family is unique, but if there were any idea or concept or suggestion that comes to mind for you as something you would share with a person who has children the ages they were when all this was starting?

Mark: I would say it was the perfect age for us to start. Me 16 going on 17. I've seen it where kids are younger...

Michelle: Younger is a little too young…

Mark: I don't know if this kid…

Ann: ...could take care of himself at all!

Mark: When we did the San Pedro on the ranch, the group kind of broke up, and I was on my own for a while, I kind of had to go to the shamans and seek their help out on my own, because I was having a reoccuring feeling in my stomach from a previous trip that I'd label being a bad trip. So I had to go to them and be able to communicate how I was feeling, and they knew exactly what to do with me then. But if I had been any younger… At 16 years old, maybe, depending on the maturity of the kid…

Michelle: Maturity is key…

Mark: A lot of 16-year-olds I've met would never be able to handle it… a lot of 20-year-olds, even. To a certain extent, they're too young no matter how mature they are. And at another point, maybe a person is never ready, or stable enough. No matter if their parents are involved or not.

Ann: I would say as a parent that, you have to trust that if your child needs help, that they're going to be able to get the help they need. If you're in the middle of your own experience, you may not be able to be there for your child at the time that they need you. If you're in a place of need, or have to retreat…

Mark: Or that you might even need your kid to help you!

Ann: Right, and that has come up, too! I can't put an age on it, it's just when do you both feel comfortable. You create a setting where there's a sitter, or enough other people who are in synch with what's going on, that your child could feel comfortable going to if you're unavailable because of your own process. And that's very likely to happen.

Michelle: One of the most important things that I've learned in this experience is that, through the process of my mom evolving her perspective, and also growing and changing as a person, she's always been really open about sharing what she is thinking about or exploring, what's interesting to her, in life, philosophically, conceptually. I've shared the breakthroughs she's had, therefore teaching me.

Also, I feel that as a sibling it's really amazing -- if people have siblings -- to initiate that openness and dialogue, because I always craved an older person that wasn't necessarily a parent, but who's in a family context. Where I could cross-reference some of these experiences I was having.

Ann: You said you can't give advice, necessarily, but what I was thinking as they were talking was that this is a really natural part of life. This -- exploring psychedelics -- is a natural thing. I guess I'm just thinking that if I had peers, contemporaries, friends of mine come to me, because they know I do this exploration with my children, and they ask me, what do I think? How would I advise them? Well the mere fact that you have the curiosity, you should do it. And it may or may not be your cup of tea.

Be fairly certain that your children are going to explore. Why would you want to miss those dimensions, that energetic dimension, why would you not want to share that, with the people you probably claim to love the most on the planet. I just couldn't even imagine not navigating that terrain, which is such a heart-centered terrain, I couldn't imagine not exploring it with the people I love the most on the planet. If a parent came to me with gripping fear, then maybe not. But if they came with, "I wonder if I should," then I'd say, "You should."

Michelle: One of the things that's cracked me up about my mother when I've told her this interview was coming and I was prepping her on the subject, she looked at me this one day, and said, "But Michelle, we're just a normal everyday family."

Ann: Why would Erowid want to interview us? We're just a really normal everyday family.

Michelle: For some reason that's really amusing to me. I do feel that it feels very normal, inside of my heart, inside of my being, to share these spaces with my family. And the people that I trip with, I call my family anyway. So it's kind of ironic. I don't doubt my experience, even more so when I'm around them, because I can see how they're impacted by the same thing.

Ann: It's like ultimate trust. It's the ultimate trusting time.

Erowid: Thank you so much for sharing this!

Michelle: I've never talked about this… Some people can talk about it loudly, because it's in the past for them. For us, it's very much in the present, in our case, last night [Mark, Michelle, and Ann did 4-ACO-DiPT the previous night].