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Erowid Families and Psychoactives Interview Series
Dialog with Pat & Tom
Interview by Erowid
Dec 2003
Pat and Tom live in a suburban neighborhood. Erowid first spoke with them when their son had left for college and their daughter was a senior in high school. At that time, they had been participating for many years in guided psychedelic sessions, referred to in conversation as "medicine work" or simply "the work" or "medicine." They had never spoken of this interest with their children. Over a year later, both children have flown the nest, and Tom has talked to their son, Derek.

In their explorations of consciousness, self, and spirituality, Tom and Pat have used cannabis and the psychedelics ayahuasca, MDMA, mushrooms, ibogaine, San Pedro cactus, LSD, Jaguar (5-MeO-DMT), and peyote.

Erowid: A lot has happened in the year and a half since I spoke with you. At that time, your son had left for his first year of college, and your daughter was in her final year of high school. At that time you both had been participating in ayahuasca circles and other psychedelic experiences since before your kids were born. That was never a part of your lives that your kids knew about. It was interesting to hear how that was for you. It was very respectful to your kids. One of the things that really struck me is how you described what the day was like after you would return from a retreat, around the house. You said you were in a more open-hearted, compassionate place, where you could be doing more patient parenting.

Pat: We would be more open-hearted with each other as well. We would tell the kids we were doing a meditation workshop. For the whole time they were growing up, Tom would do a lot more of the work than I would. I was pretty much doing it once a year. It was always great, I always felt like, "Why resist this state of mind?" It alters every relationship. With the kids, it gave us a greater capacity to allow them to be who they are, and appreciate who they are, because we were appreciating our own essence, who we are.

Tom: I really appreciate you thanking us for giving the kids a choice in the matter. Because sometimes that feels like it's withholding and wrong, like "How could you not include these young people fully into your life." It's a pretty complex matter, in the context of the whole structure of our society.

Erowid: It seems that, because of the conservative community where you live, it's not exactly part of the culture to raise your kids with the knowledge and the experience of psychedelics. A couple miles down the road in another (less conservative) part of this county, it might have been a different matter. But your neighbors are probably not having transformative psychedelic experiences, although they may be and you don't know…

Tom: I know they're not. [laughter]

Pat: I know some of them have certainly smoked pot.

Tom: Sure, they found it along the railway in 1940. [laughter]

Tom: We really do have to consider the society we live in. I've gone through this so many times in my mind and in my heart. It's really an opportunity for the kids to choose, when they get to a place where they *can* choose. It's kind of like the middle of the road, it's an interesting place.

Pat: Our kids are pretty straight in a lot of ways. I'm sure maybe they would be less so if we had raised them in a different (less conservative) part of the county, although they've done their experimenting. Psychedelics are something yet to be discovered for them, and I do think it will be discovered by them. Our daughter just had an astrology reading, she just turned 18. One of the things the astrologer said to her was, "There's a part of you that wants to be conventional, and it's because your parents aren't." That was an interesting thing to see.

Tom: She's quite conventional, especially around medicine. I was telling our friend, "Oh, I feel like I've lost one for humanity." Because when she gets a headache, it's like "Give me Advil," or when she gets a cold it's like, "Give me Contac." I'm like, "Take some Echinacea!" It drives me crazy. I always think, "When will you just wise up and get that this other mode of healing is better for you." That's my position.

It's been a very interesting year of having the relationships in the family change. The kids are still on "the program", in that mode of "I still have more education to do." They're still in a place where there's an institutional aspect to life that isn't about work; it's about acquiring knowledge from an institution. Some of it is applicable, some of it is it's just a great place to hang out, between 18 and whenever, because they don't have to really work. It's a good gig to go to school, it's kinda fun. They're further along on that whole transition of finding their spiritual center, and at the same time, they're in a different place [than us] about this work.

Erowid: When we had talked last, your daughter was 17, and you knew that she had tried cannabis.

Pat: I remember she was at a cookie-making exchange party, around Christmas time. It was supposed to be a slumber party afterwards. She called me and said she didn't feel good, would I come pick her up, which I did. She just sort of crashed out on the floor in front of the fire. It wasn't really about a stomachache; I think she'd just gotten a little too high or something. The next day, I was walking by her room and I overheard a conversation she was having with a friend, talking about having smoked pot. I guess it was that night, I brought up the subject - not that I had overheard that she had done it or anything - I don't remember exactly what I said, but somehow we started talking about it. I don't even remember that she ever copped to that's what happened that night. I let her know that we had smoked pot; she had, and we just sat up there on her bed and talked about it.

Erowid: How old was she?

Pat: Probably 16?

Tom: 15 or 16.

Pat: After that, every once in a while, we would check in with her. "Have you been getting high?" and "How was that?" Just sort of checking in with her. We talked about set and setting. I don't think it's something she really did a whole heck of a lot,with certain friends, high buddies. But some of her friends weren't into it. It's something that's been a thread in her life, but I don't think it's been of huge importance. I don't think she has a negative concept about it.

Erowid: Your son was an athlete in high school. You said he was pretty straight.

Tom: He went to Catholic High School, he was really straight. He was into being a student and a good person. I've talked to him about if he's smoked pot before. I don't think it really does it for him. Drinking is more social, so when they party they drink, I think. Lindsay's current boyfriend doesn't like to smoke pot, so they don't really smoke pot. Lindsay likes it, she would rather smoke pot than drink. Or at least did, at one point. It's just easier, doesn't leave you with all the nasties.

Erowid: And cigarettes?

Tom: We probably did more intensive lobbying against smoking cigarettes than any activity. Lindsay did smoke, and now she's not. She's been making some really awesome choices, as an individual; her eating, taking care of her body. Really it blows my mind that she's so responsible about that.

Erowid: When she was in high school you were lobbying heavily against cigarette smoking?

Tom: Yeah, she would spray this wild cologne that high school girls get; apple or strawberry or something. It would just ruin the whole house. "I'm not either!" she'd protest. You'd go in her car and think, "Whoa this car is owned by Philip Morris.".

Pat: First she would deny it. "It's Claire's! If her parents found it, she'd really get in trouble." "I don't smoke so I can have them."

Tom: We don't even know how long that went on.

Pat: And one day she's sitting over in that chair and she pulls her shirt up and covers her head, and tells us the truth.

Tom: She always smoked in her car. I'd go in there and break a few of them up. My mom died of lung cancer and emphysema; it kind of hit home, for sure. It's not some distant statistic for me.

Pat: But she's done with that now.

Tom: She seems to be pretty much, "OK, this doesn't really cut it." It's kind of nice, moving out of the intensity of adolescence. Still intense, but, a there's a little maturity, a little context. Nice for those around her.

Erowid: You've mentioned how you hoped that your kids would take an interest in psychedelics. You would leave your books out and see if they might take the bait, but they never really caught on to your interests. Those experiences had such value in your own lives, you wanted to share it with them. What happened after your son left for college?

Tom: I was waiting for the transition out of the house, and also for him to be cool with his new roommates. I went to pick him up for Thanksgiving holiday, and brought him back up here. We were talking in the car, and I told him I had something to tell him. The energy was like "I've been waiting to do this for fifteen years!" [laughter] I know I wasn't as patient in the moment as I could have been. But I said "You know, I have something really important that I want to talk to you about. It's something I've been wanting to tell you for a really long time." I let him know who the people in our lives are that are part of this family. All these connections that Derek's had his entire life, I wanted him to know this is a wonderful group of people. Derek was pretty taken aback, you know, he didn't really have any questions. I thought, "Oh he doesn't have any questions, I must not have communicated it in a good way: I want questions." Later during the car ride he said, "Yeah, when you started to first talk about it I thought maybe you had done some really bad crime when you were younger. I was really glad to find out that it wasn't like you'd murdered someone." And I replied "Well, maybe parts of myself, but no, no one."

My office is now in Derek's room, so there's a pretty good amount of books in there, when he comes home. There's conversations about it here and there, but it's not where he's going, "Hey, I really want to talk to you about that." If we're working with someone, or if there are people over or if we go away, he'll always inquire, "So how was that, what's going on." He's still in a different place, and I don't know what will bring him around. My prayers are for it to not be a crisis. So many people - me! - get turned on to deep spirituality when there's a crisis a lot of times, and that foundation that they've been standing on their whole life just doesn't have any value anymore. I monitor that, see if his soul is around. Because he is a person who wants to do well.

My plan was to do the same thing with Lindsay, which would have been a year later, this Thanksgiving. But it didn't happen. She's leaving college at the end of this semester to come back down here and go to community college. There's just too much else going on for her right now, in my judgment. It's really contrary, because with all that's going on, psychedelics would be a really good benefit. She could probably embrace it, a lot more than Derek even. I think now it's more like, "My little logical plan didn't really work out." Now it's more like looking for the opening - when will be the appropriate time to take a walk and talk about this?

Pat: What I would add is I remember you wondering after you told Derek, "How is he thinking of me." The concerns were there for a while. Were there any regrets for having told him, or how it changed your relationship, if it did?

Tom: I think traces of concern are still there. There definitely became another definition of who his father is. Especially since the illegal aspect of this is something of concern to Derek. He's smart enough to know just because it's illegal doesn't mean it's bad. But he doesn't have any experiential knowledge behind it, and I'm sure the riskiness of his father's behavior goes right to the root of a concern that I'm possible endangering our family. That Thanksgiving I could tell he was looking at me through new eyes. I thought "Well I'd better be attentive." I don't have to be different, I just have to show up and be who I am. He's sorting out who *he* is as a young man, coming into how is he going to take care of his self-preservation and his life. I think telling him had a big impact, for sure, and it's had a subtle impact that has more to do with how we're just being with one another.

It's another game of patience for me. To have it be really something that isn't disruptive for him, so that he can elegantly use this knowledge to benefit the world.

Pat: It's really a different culture than we were 18. It was psychedelics, everywhere, prevalent, in the music, everywhere, which it isn't for these guys. It's interesting.

Erowid: If we look at family of origin issues… Was there any kind of substance abuse in your family? Was there some kind of charge around using substances in your house?

Tom: I would say yes there was definitely alcohol abuse in my family. Functional, completely, but as far as what was really going on… Alcohol got to a poison level, I think, in my immediate family. Smoking pot… my parents were pretty open, they smoked pot a couple of times, probably at some rare partying situation, but they were not like pot smoking, we wouldn't sit around the dinner table and smoke a joint or anything, no way. I don't know, I think that for my dad, he was hip to set and setting. If it was done in a responsible manner, I think he could have gotten behind it even then.

Erowid [to Pat]: And your family, your parents were friends with a well-respected psychedelic therapist.

Pat: Yes, my parents went to him as a psychologist, for some counseling, and then they became really good friends with him and his wife at the time. His daughter and I were good friends. Our families grew up together. It's a big span of time [laughter]. They knew what he was doing. I'm sure my mom has not done psychedelics. I bet my dad has, I haven't really asked him. Have you?

Tom: Your dad? I know he's done this work before. Only because of other people, unless other people were doing it and your dad wasn't. It's kind of interesting - your mom is clamped down, not into this.

Pat: No, Mom is not into this. Part of it is my brother had a bad acid trip at least once and had some difficulties. So she wasn't into it. But they were open about pot smoking. We would smoke joints at the dinner table, though my parents wouldn't partake. This summer, my parents and brother - our extended family - went to the beach, and Lindsay and I did get stoned together, with my sister in law. That was kind of fun. She was quite at ease with it. We were out on the beach, in public. But other times, when her father and I talked about it and said, "Oh, do you want to get high with us?" She said, "No way!" [laughs]. Another time we - just the two of us -- went on a day excursion with my brother and his wife, and the kids stayed here. Around that time, I remember saying to Lindsay -- during a "checking-in" time -- "When was the last time you smoked pot?" And she said, "Well, when was the last time you smoked pot?" [laughter] I said "Oh, this weekend." She said "I knew it! I told Derek I knew you would!" So, it's pretty light topic, in that way.

Tom: There's not too much of a charge either way.

Pat: I would say the whole arena of it has lightened up since they've moved out, too. I feel that right now I wouldn't have trouble telling Lindsay about our use of psychedelics. I'd have more trouble telling Derek; I haven't had my conversation with Derek. I would think that would be more difficult than telling Lindsay.

Tom: One thing I know is that Derek hasn't told Lindsay. When I told him I said, "Hey this is a confidential thing. Lindsay's in high school, there's no way." I asked him at the end of summer or so, "Did you ever mention that to Lindsay?" And he said, "No way. I didn't do that."

Pat: She just knows that we're a couple of old hippies, and pretty alternative people, anyway. So I don't think it would really come as a surprise.

Tom: She doesn't really know what that means…[laughter]

Pat: Yeah, true. It's sort of an experiential thing, isn't it.

Erowid: So when you talked to Derek, you asked him to keep it confidential, and to not talk to other people, not just your daughter.

Tom: And I told him why. I said that we consider the work to be sacred work. In this climate, unfortunately, we have restrictions put on us. I went down the line with him, like I do anyone. And the energy just got tighter and tighter, "You've never really done any kind of behavior like this before, why are you really asking me for this confidentiality." It was really a good exchange, just truth to truth. It was really quite a delight.

Erowid [to Pat]: Are you planning on talking to Derek about it?

Pat: I know that I will. But I don't feel any urgency about it, at all. With Lindsay I know I will too. [to Tom] It's like you said before, it will present itself. I feel that with telling Derek, I want him to know that it's a great thing, and it isn't just Tom who's done this work. Just to kind of balance it out a little bit, too. The right time hasn't presented itself to me yet, but I don't feel an urgency with either of them. I think with Lindsay it's something shes more likely to come across in her life. Much more likely than Derek.

Tom: At this stage, yeah.

Erowid: When we talked last, had Lindsay done Ecstasy?

Pat: No.

Tom: Both of them have said that no, they hadn't. One of the things that was going on about a year and a half ago was that report about MDMA and how it "totally screws up your brain." Since then, the study's been totally debunked, of course. Derek knew about that report, it was all over the papers. [He commented on it.] That was another heavy thing for him to think about. We haven't talked about the updates on that research since the first reports came out.

Erowid: You mean that you were talking about this with him at a time when there was a huge media hit on MDMA…

Tom: Absolutely. So I don't think they have done MDMA. I think both of them are really comfortable in telling us that kind of stuff, especially now. It doesn't mean they want to tell us everything, but there's not really any big need to withhold. I think they get that.

There's so much floating around college campuses. One of the reasons Lindsay wants to leave state college is that she's really bummed out that everybody is just partying the whole time. She says, "I thought that would be OK, but it's just gross. I'm out of here, I'm not like that. I don't like to see people drinking every day."

Erowid: That's interesting. So she's really serious about school.

Tom: She's not really serious about school; she hates formal education, really. She doesn't like the structure.

Pat: Her boyfriend's down here, that's probably part of the reason…

Tom: That's a huge reason…

Pat:…why she hasn't partied as much. Because she's not out trolling, looking for anybody. She wants to come nest with him. Those are the two real factors, I think. She didn't really feel like she fit in there, within the circle she was in.

Erowid: What about Derek?

Tom: He and his friends party on the weekends. They work hard and play hard. He's cut a large work load, and he really stays on top of it. They don't just drink to just get drunk. They'll have like two beers. They socialize.

Pat: He had a New Year's Eve party. We stayed upstairs. There were a bunch of kids drinking and making margaritas. A couple of them were pretty wasted, but not obnoxiously so. They can hold a lot of liquor [laughter]. But that's their drug of choice.

Tom: Definitely some kids were smoking pot in the back yard. That's fine. I think the choice of Derek's group is still alcohol. Although he's going to all these parties on campus, I just think he's kind of conservative.

Pat: He thinks pot makes him too lethargic, too demotivated. Not that he's a "go go go" type of person, because he isn't.

Tom: It fogs him up. He likes to be clear.

Pat: He's probably seen people he knows lose it, from smoking pot. I guess that's having a drug problem…

Erowid: Yeah, if it's interfering with what you want to be doing, or with your ability to decide what you want to do…

Erowid: I wonder if either of them will ever be interested in doing this kind of work [with psychedelics].

Pat: Well, from Lindsay's astrology reading, I could see how she would be. The inroad may be traditional medicine, but she may begin to see some of the pitfalls, and open up to other kinds of healing and counseling. She has strong intuition. And with Derek, I really don't know but we're going to give him a reading [laughter].

Tom: I think with both of them, it would be such a gift. It's a matter of if any of these substances find their way into these kids. Like with Derek, I think it would be super beneficial, because it would enable him to have his relationships be more full. I know he wants that. He's playing out this whole rational thing, that's his training. He's getting his ability to reason and think. He'll get to a place of "OK, I've got this stuff nailed, I've totally got it mastered, I can really place things and create realities with words. And you know what? It doesn't really give me any more juice. So what's the alternative." That's how I see it arriving for Derek. And it may be really later.

Pat: Because right now he's just so happy, he's got so much going on...

Tom: He's really doing great, he's doing great work…

Pat: He's not seeking, in that way.

Pat: Lindsay's more of a trying-different-things kind of person.

Tom: She's a creative spark person. But also, Derek is a person who when he begins something, he pretty much stays with it. For him to let something into his life, he's going to really have to go "Whoa, this is a really big letting in." Whereas with Lindsay, she will maybe be more likely to let it in as an avoidance to something else. She might do it as a way to not have to be totally committed to something thinking, "Oh this will just be another fun adventure that will delay this other stuff over here." And then she'll really get that this whole duality thing, getting rid of that is really the key.

Pat: I think you're right, but she would really integrate it. With Derek it would be more of a separate compartment altogether. Whereas Lindsay would have an experience and then keep moving right along. For him it might just really throw him for a loop, because it's such a different…

Erowid: So she could integrate it more into her life?

Pat: I think so.

Tom: I think so. I think part of her intuitive brilliance of not wanting to get a psychology education, is that she already grasps that it's a lie. Again it's that conventional thinking.

Erowid: So she's decided not to go that route?

Pat: She's decided to look and see what she wants to do.

Tom: I don't know. I think that she's decided to see what else is around. I think that she is somebody who wouldn't let reason get in the way nearly as much as Derek would. Derek would think it out, Derek would rather read the music in order to play the music, whereas Lindsay can hear it, make the mistakes, adjust, and have it. She's very experiential that way. It could also be that this is as close as it ever gets.

Erowid: I'm going to switch back for a minute. Did you smoke cannabis when they were kids?

Pat: We never smoked it in front of them. If we smoked it when we were home we'd go out on the deck or be very discreet. And we'd also go through periods of time for six months or a year where we didn't smoke. But we never did it in front of them. I probably would now.

Tom: It was another one of those choices. One time we went to a counselor, and she asked us this question. But the way she asked it, I felt that "Ooh, it's a good thing I'm saying no." It seemed like her question implied it's not a good thing to do. It's almost like she was saying, "You're not smoking in front of your children, are you?" She's a…

Pat: tribe member…

Tom: She's been around the block here a few times…

Erowid: Do you remember what time span that was?

Pat: Lindsay was a freshman in high school. So that was in the 90s. She was probably 14.

Tom: It might have even been earlier. No earlier than 11. I think it was because of the age of the children at the time. That was more her concern at that point.

Erowid: So it was more out of a concern for the children.

Tom: Yes.

Pat: They didn't know that we were smoking and we didn't really want them to know.

Tom: One of the things that we lucked out about with pretty much all of the programs that the kids got put through, is that there was never a really big charge on any of them. They were like neat exercises. A week would go by, and the influence would be gone.

Erowid: You mean like the DARE program would have been a neat exercise?

Tom: Yeah like DARE. Some parents would be freaking out and some parents would be thankful for it. Our family was OK with it, no big deal either way.

Pat: It was also around the same time as the medicinal marijuana issues, which provided a balance. They knew that we were ok with *that*. And I think that we never made any big deal out of it.

Tom: Take our doctor. They would go to his office and the whole treatment room was like a giant altar. There was a lot going on, there was a lot they were picking up on the whole time.

Pat: Derek preferred him. And of course Lindsay wanted to go to a regular doctor. She'd say "I want to go back to my pediatrician." [laughter]

Erowid: So she's resistant to alternative therapies?

Tom: She was.

Pat: We've always been into herbs, vitamins, and supplements. She's always been a willing participant. She's doing it on her own now. So she's not resistant to that.

Erowid: When they were sick growing up, you would give them herbal remedies?

Pat: It would be a daily thing, and then if they got sick, we would up the amounts. It's not like we wouldn't take them to the doctor or give them antibiotics if they needed it. If they got a cold, we'd give them Elderberry and Echinacea.

Tom: It worked.

Pat: It worked, and they were fine with that.

Tom: Derek would get pretty bad allergies. Our doctor would just do an adjustment on his chest, and it would balance him out, his allergies would be gone. So Derek would think, "Whoa that stuff works. I get an adjustment and I can breathe."

Erowid: So he never really took medicine for allergies.

Tom: He took herbs, always took herbs for allergies.

Pat: Or homeopathic remedies. Cough medicine if necessary, but we were always trying other stuff.

Erowid: It's such a pleasure to talk to you about all this. You have such a normal family, a normal house, with little in the way of weird accoutrements.

Pat: We have a good cover, nobody would know. That's what our friend who was the psychedelic therapist used to say, "Oh I've got the greatest cover. Who would think, looking at me, that I'm doing all this."

Erowid: I think it's interesting to tell those stories, because it hopefully somewhere somehow helps to bring balance to people's preconceived notions, the pictures that people paint, the understandings or misunderstandings that people have about psychedelics.

Tom: I think that middle America needs a really big healing. This is it… our bridge-building… we are it. If we can heal that in ourselves, our own connection with our own middle America, it can really make an impact.

Pat: That's part of why we think we ended up here in this neighborhood.

Tom: So you mean doing this sort of deep work with psychedelics, and living here, rather than moving to Costa Rica or something?

Pat: At least so far.

Tom: It's been an opportunity to navigate the middle way. It really is. This thing of being in the middle is really the calling, like experiencing that blandness in ourselves, it's not exceptional or anything. It's the stuff we don't want to examine a lot of times. A lot of it has to do with growing up in this wild dynamic called America. It's a real luxury in so many ways. And it's just totally wasted on all of us. And in a way it's like it's the easiest thing to transcend. [laughs] I don't know. Having had some really cathartic moments with people when they are really in touch with that part of their own life, which is typically so disconnected. The middle is really important, a place that you can lend yourself to a lot of places from. My experience is if you're not in the middle, sometimes you can go further, but...

Pat: It's also interesting to hear you say we don't have a bunch of weird stuff around, because Lindsay sure thinks we do. Crystals, and the blessing over the door. We used to have the flags up there, it just drove her nuts.

Tom: It did. Prayer flags used to drive her crazy. [chuckles]

Erowid: Did you find that any of the psychedelics you've worked with led to an experience in particular that gave you insight on parenting, or your kids?

Pat: All of them did, since we've had kids, I would say.

Tom: I'd say that of all the different medicines I think that the most profound impact on my life has come directly from ayahuasca, especially some of the first experiences I had with it, which was back in 1989. Without question. although igobaine is an equal compadre in some ways. How it relates to the kids is that I really got how this medicine works on prior generations and the next generations. The first time I did ayahuasca, within five days my father quit smoking. He was 60-something then and had been smoking since he was 12. And just out of nowhere, he called and said, "I'm quitting." I thought then, "It's ayahuasca 100%." I knew it in my heart of hearts. Thank you so very much. It was like "Woo, this is working on generations." I had numerous journeys around that.

Pat: It's a great aid for learning how to parent.

Erowid: Ayahuasca?

Pat: Medicine. It really is. Because you visit from such a different perspective. You have access to knowledge that you don't have in the day-to-day. I know that it's helped us a lot.

Tom: Oh yeah. Unbelievable. I meditate a couple of hours a day minimum. It's just infantile, compared to my experience with ayahuasca. I would just be so much denser - I'm dense enough as it is [laughs] I would be so much denser if it weren't for that lightening of my path, my load, getting out of misery and into moving energy. And I can't say it's the greatest gift - I look at peyote and ibogaine, they're just remarkable treasures. And to do this work with some humor, that's what I want [laughs] a little "ha ha ha" at the end, for sure.

Pat: For me, seeing the changes in Tom, and in his fathering, through all those experiences… enormous changes. Enormous. It's really a huge blessing that not only has he encouraged me to continue with the work, but that we're both open to it. When it's one person of the couple who is into it and the other person isn't at all, then that's kind of unfortunate, for both of them. And there have certainly been times where I've been like, "No. I don't want to do it now. It's not time yet." But I certainly am so thankful that Tom did as much as he did, and it's always lent every-forward motion of our relationship, and our family, and his relationship with the kids. It's evident.

Erowid: Do you remember anything about your decisionmaking around substances when you were pregnant or your kids were very young?

Pat: I stopped everything. Had dark beer after they were born.

Tom: Took a lot of herbs.

Pat: But afterwards I smoked pot and drank beer or wine. Except for when we'd go through times when we stopped. And as far as doing the medicine, well I remember we did it when the kids were pretty little. But again, I didn't do it that frequently. Maybe once a year. Tom went through times when he didn't do it very often, sometimes when he did it a lot. Erowid: I'm wondering about the whole constellation of alternative therapies, alternative healing that's part of your lives. Is medicine the only one that's been in secret, that you're not talking to your kids about, or is there anything else, like meditation, or movement therapies, Is there something else where you don't think they'd be really into it, so you don't talk to them about it?

Tom: They know all the other stuff that we do. We just did a Qi Gong workshop a couple of weeks ago. I told Derek about it, and his attitude was "OK, that's great." But Lindsay was asking, "What did he say to you?" Lindsay got into it. They know most of the workshops that we do…

Erowid: What about friends? Is it something where you just mention casually in conversation, or when people ask you about what you've been doing or where you've been? With friends do you tell them that you went to a meditation retreat?

Pat: Some of them. And others who have done some of the work, I still might say "A women's retreat" or something, and they would just know what that meant.

Tom: In mixed company, it's kind of interesting. I think it's best to just not talk about it. That's where I come down on that. Just for the perpetuation of the work. Some people freak out.

Pat: The people around here, we don't get stoned with them or anything. But we certainly have friends we do that with. We know they do, they know we do. [laughs] Sometimes we've made that new discovery about people, but really nobody around here.

Tom: I think about this transition for our family. Twenty years… it's not like that is chapter over, but the time commitment, the day-to-day involvement; it's just a completely different book. So community becomes more important. Coming out in the community, doing more work with people, seems like the natural direction. I think that our friends who don't really do this work, that over time they will. We haven't spent a lot of time with a lot of these people, because so much of our time has been spent with the kids. We've had 12 different activities… all that stuff going on… Now there's a whole other reinventing of ourselves, and coming into the world, it's like coming out of a cave, in a way. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.