From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Trip sitter, or sometimes a sober sitter is a term used by recreational or spiritual drug users to describe a person who remains sober to ensure the safety of the drug user while he or she is under the influence of a drug; they are especially common with first-time experiences or when using psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants. This practice can be qualified as a means of harm reduction.
A trip sitter is sometimes called a psychedelic guide or guide, although this term is more often used to describe someone who takes an active role in guiding a drug user's experiences, while a sitter merely stands by to discourage bad trips and handle emergencies, but otherwise does not take on an active role. Guides are more common among spiritual users of entheogens. Psychedelic guides were strongly encouraged by Timothy Leary and the other authors of The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Trip sitters are also mentioned in the Responsible Drug User's Oath.
Some sources recommend a sitter be present when certain drugs are used, regardless of the user's experience or comfort with the substance. A sitter may be necessary for users of Salvia divinorum for example because the drug can sometimes cause both disorientation and a desire to move about.
While the presence of a responsible, knowledgeable trip sitter or guide will reduce the risks of drug use, it is of course no guarantee that a bad trip will not occur, or that the drug user will remain free of physical or mental harm.
- Designated driver
- Altered state of consciousness
- Recreational drug use
- Psychedelic therapy
- Sensory deprivation
- Responsible drug use
- Drug harmfulness
- Drug overdose