coming out

The use of psychedelics may still be a taboo topic in mainstream society, but coming out of the psychedelic closet gives others an opportunity to reconcile their preconceived notions about psychedelics with a fellow human being sharing their personal story. When it comes to improving the public opinion of psychedelics, the psychedelic community will benefit from having more responsible and educated members of society come forward to share how psychedelics have positively impacted their lives. Many parents have a difficult time continuing to consider a taboo topic unacceptable when their own children—whom they know and love—admit to partaking. However, it’s important to spend some time thinking about whether it’s the right time to have a “coming out” discussion, because if it is handled poorly or brought up prematurely, it may not go over so well.

Identify Why You Developed a Psychedelic Practice

Before coming out to your parents, it’s a good idea to reflect on what prompted you to embark on your psychedelic practice in the first place and what you have gotten out of it. Think back to when you first considered experimenting with psychedelics and what the reasons for your decision were. For some people, the initial psychedelic experience may not have been inspired by the purest of reasons—if that is true for you as well, then maybe you can ask yourself why you decided to continue working with psychedelics in the long run. Having a list of solid reasons why you choose to work with psychedelics will not only strengthen your own practice, but will also help convey to your parents why psychedelics are important to you.

Consider The Timing

After you have decided to break the news to your parents, make sure to choose the right moment. It’s best to avoid bringing up a controversial topic when your parents are dealing with something challenging like the death of a close friend or family member, financial struggles, or the loss of a job. If you’re planning to tell them at a family dinner, perhaps it’s best to wait until everyone has finished the meal before bringing it up—after all, someone likely spent a lot of time and energy making the meal and they want to be able to enjoy it! If you still live under your parents’ roof or rely on them financially, it may be better to wait until you’re no longer dependent to come out to them. Otherwise they may hold it against you by restricting who you associate with or cutting you off financially.

Be In A Good Place in Your Life

It is best to be comfortable and confident with your decision to use psychedelics before admitting your use to your parents. Deciding to break the news to them after a challenging psychedelic experience or during troubles with the law may not be a good time because your negative emotions could reinforce their fears about psychedelics. Ask yourself why you have made the decision to come out at this point in your life. It is helpful to be motivated by a desire to share this news with them out of love instead of breaking the news while angry or during an argument, because it is more likely to yield the best possible results and avoid harming your relationship.

Be Realistic About How They Will React

You know your parents better than I do, so take some time to consider how they may take the news. Sometimes parents will not have any issues at all and appreciate your forthcoming honesty, whereas other times they may react with anger, fear, or confusion. If you are concerned that your parents may react so negatively that they might report you to authorities, it is probably best to avoid coming out to them. Instead, you could try educating them about the possibility of responsible psychedelic use without admitting that you have a personal psychedelic practice. Ultimately, not everyone should come out to their parents. This is truly an individual decision, so don’t feel pressured into doing it if you’re not confident that you’ll both be in a better place by coming out to them—regardless of what your parents’ response may be.

Image by Prabhu B Doss, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Prepare For Potential Objections

Your parents have had their entire lifetimes to develop their views about psychedelics, and often their sole influence has been misinformation from the mainstream media and government. Try to anticipate what they may say and plan your responses to their reactions, especially if you end up needing to overcome any objections. It is highly unlikely that they will bring up a concern that hasn’t already been discussed in books, podcasts, and videos, so make sure to do your research. By preparing ahead of time, you can assemble well-crafted answers to their questions that will impress your parents and assuage their fears.

Stay Calm, Even If They Don’t

If you’re one of the lucky ones who has open-minded parents, then you may not need to worry about this one. However, if your parents are a bit more rigid, you should prepare yourself to remain patient even if they become upset or angry. If that happens, don’t react in a negative way—keep your cool and try to be the rational adult in the conversation. In fact, some parents may need a lot of time to process the information that you are sharing with them, especially if they hadn’t considered the responsible use of psychedelics or been privy to it prior to your coming out session.

Their Approval Is Not Required

If their initial response is not what you had hoped for, don’t get too discouraged. Give them the proper space and time but not the impression that you are asking for permission. Your psychedelic practice is about your own relationship with psychedelics and coming out is an opportunity for them to see a piece of who you truly are.

Remember That They Love You

In the end, most parents hope that their children are happy and many will respect your decision to come out about your psychedelic practice. Yours may as well, so just give them time to come around. Even if they never see eye-to-eye with you on this topic, you can rejoice in the fact that you made the decision to be completely honest with them.

Coming out of the psychedelic closet to your parents is an excellent way to include them in your psychedelic practice, to convey your truth about using psychedelics, and to champion an important cause. I encourage you to decide for yourself whether you think disclosing this part of your life with your parents will be beneficial for your family, and to review the tips listed above to increase your chances of having a positive outcome.

If you have a coming-out story you’d like to share, please email us at [email protected].