Here is the story of how I used iboga and ayahuasca to save myself.
I can say with complete conviction that ibogaine and ayahuasca saved my life. After 5 years of destruction and a living what could hardly be called a life, I found out about ibogaine. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it living; existing is a much more appropriate term because I wasn’t living, I was slowly killing myself. Heroin addiction felt like a prison, one I never thought I could be free from, so when I received a phone call from my sister telling my about a hallucinogen from Africa that could cure my addition, my whole world changed.
I set off to Costa Rica for ibogaine treatment. Getting off the plane I was nervous and hopeful but not entirely sure I was ready to leave drugs behind. I had tried everything up to this point; rehabs, Methadone, Suboxone, cold turkey detoxes, a Naltrexone implant in my stomach, halfway homes and none of it worked. It made me feel like I was destined to be an addict forever. My depression also made it difficult for me to believe I deserved a better life. There was something inside of me that constantly reinforced the notion that I just wasn’t fit for life, that there was something inherently wrong with me.
Ibogaine changed all of that. It’s difficult to describe. I went into treatment not knowing much about the ceremonial or spiritual aspect of it. Being atheist, I was quite skeptical of anything ‘spiritual’. Just that word turned me off, yet I had always been fascinated by ancient religions and ceremonial practices. I didn’t necessarily believe in them, but there was always something that pulled me toward them. I desperately wanted to feel connected to something; I just couldn’t bring myself to buy into the idea of God presented by most organized religions.
Ibogaine changed something in me. It wasn’t an all at once; I had no epiphanies or revelations. It was gradual, but I could feel it, and it gave me the insight that going home was a bad idea. I skipped out on my return flight and found a family to live with in Costa Rica while I did some more soul searching. I felt like ibogaine had opened this door of opportunity but it was up to me to do the work to get to where I wanted to be, and there was a lot of work to do.
Less than a week after completing my ibogaine treatment, I went to an ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew used by people of the Amazonian region of South America for general healing of the mind, body and spirit. There are no words to describe the peace, empowerment, wholeness and connections I felt during my ayahuasca experience. For the first time in my life, I understood gratitude. I understood love. I understood nature. I understood people. I understood life. I understood God. From that night forward, my entire idea of spirituality had changed and I knew I could never go back to the life I used to know.
Ibogaine and ayahuasca gave me the opportunity to reclaim my freedom and find something I could really believe in. They changed the chemistry of my brain, the way I think, the way I process things, the way I respond to situations, the way I feel about life and, most importantly, the way I feel about myself. I finally, for the first time I can ever remember, feel that life is worth living. I feel proud of whom I am, I feel happy and confident with myself inside and out. My depression is gone. I see each new day as a beautiful opportunity, rather than a burden I have to suffer through.
Ibogaine allowed me to detox painlessly without suffering through withdrawal. It introduced me to the African spiritual tradition Bwiti, which uses iboga as a sacrament and focuses on becoming the best possible version of yourself. Ayahuasca opened my eyes to spirituality, the beauty of life and how to feel gratitude. Together, they allowed me to heal both physically and emotionally and start a new life I could be proud of.
Through a lot of determination and hard work, I’ve made it to where I am today; an ibogaine provider at IbogaLife and Director of New Life Ayahuasca. Myself and my partner, Matt (who was treated for opiate addiction on HBO’s VICE episode on ibogaine), have spent the last few months developing a two week program with IbogaLife that incorporates ibogaine and ayahuasca so that others can experience the incredible healing and benefits that both plant medicines offer. Ibogaine treatment and ayahuasca retreats are also both offered individually at our shared facility in Costa Rica. My story is a true testament to the power of both ibogaine and ayahuasca.
If you want to visit me and my partner at our treatment center in Costa Rica, you can get details on our website by clicking here: ‘New Life Ayahuasca‘.
Below is a short article we published on this website last year titled “5 Mindblowing Facts about Ayahuasca”, which is a well referenced short article on the benefits of this plant brew.
This sacred South American medicinal tea contains the potent psychedelic chemical N,N-dimethlytryptaime (DMT) induces intense visions, introspection, and mystical experiences.
The entire ayahuasca experience lasts for approximately 8 hours, often accompanied by vomiting and occasionally diarrhea, which the natives call ‘la purga’ (the purge). This purging process is medically beneficial, as it clears the body of built up emotional trauma, worms and other parasites.
Check out these five mind-blowing facts about ayahausca:
1. Research indicates ayahuasca has antidepressant qualities.
Blood tests of long-term ayahuasca users have shown an increased density of serotonin receptors compared to those who do not use ayahuasca. It should be mentioned that the SSRI class of antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) actually reduce the density of serotonin receptors in users over time, which can lead to chronic depression. Ayahuasca is non-addictive and is not neurotoxic, or poisonous to nerve tissue such as the brain or spinal cord, in any way.
2. Out of nearly 40,000 plant species in the Amazon, the Indians somehow knew to mix two very specific plants to make the medicine: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and leaves from the shrub Psychotria viridis.
The ayahuasca vine contains chemicals known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) that allow the body to absorb the DMT from the leaves. Without the MAOI, the DMT would be destroyed by monoamine oxidase in the gut and no effects from the DMT would be felt. Natives, who’ve been using the brew for hundreds of years, say the plants showed them how to make ayahuasca.
3. Ayahuasca tourism is growing as seekers from all over the world are traveling to the Amazon for healing.
In Central and South America, ayahuasca is legal and there are many retreat centers and eco-lodges dedicated to ayahuasca tourism and healing.
4. More and more veterans are trying ayahuasca and it’s healing PTSD.
Ayahuasca is known for sending users into a dream-like state where traumatic memories trapped in the subconscious are unlocked. The memories are reprocessed, detaching the fear and negative emotion, making ayahuasca a viable treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.
5. Two major religions use ayahuasca on a regular basis as a sacrament they say connects them with God: the Santo Daime and Uniao De Vegetal (UdV).