Citation: C.S.. "Powerful But Gentle: An Experience with Ibogaine (exp39692)". Erowid.org. Feb 16, 2005. erowid.org/exp/39692
I'm recalling this Ibogaine experience after 14 moons. In this time I've remained opiate-free and now I feel it's the right time to tell my little story.
Prior to my experience with Ibogaine I was a heroin/methadone junkie for over 9 years and had tried countless times and many different ways to quite. I had sought Ibogaine for 5 years out of those 9 years of addiction, starting with street rumors about a miracle african root that cures heroin addiction. Eventually I was directed to a couple of clinics but the cost was just not realistic enough for a simple street junkie like myself. I did however run into someone on the internet that invited me to sit in on an Ibogaine treatment session. I'll recount this because it ends up being a major factor of my Ibogaine experience. My girlfriend and I visited, apparently unbeknownst to the guy receiving the treatment. The whole experience was nightmarish. The guy giving the treatment had fresh track marks, the guy receiving the treatment didn't look happy, he looked sick and tripping fierce at the same time. I saw him 4 days later back on the street hunting down the dope. I left with the impression that it was a scam, that this guy was doing treatments with alleged Ibogaine to get his dope fix. I doubted the potential of Ibogaine concerning my own addiction, and thus gave up my search for this amazing stuff that would one day 'save' my life.
And then one morning, a couple of years later and quite out of the blue, a friend called me and said that he had a friend who was in town and that he gave Ibogaine treatments. The timing was good because I was due to go to Mexico in a couple of weeks and wasn't looking forward to being sick down there (two weeks prior I had attempted a cold turkey kick in the woods because of my up and coming departure to Mexico but only lasted 2 days). I guess despite what I had seen and felt from my past search on Ibogaine I was still suspicious that it might work, not to mention desperate.
I got a call a few days later and arranged a meeting at a nearby bar with a guy i'll refer to henceforth as Chris. This guy was right out of a b-grade mad max-type flick, mohawked, bones in his ears, dirty clothes, someone who had definitely walked the path more than a few times. He was homeless, living out of his van. I was slightly skeptical considering his attire and nomadic ways, but he talked good, good in the way when someone really believes what they're saying. We met many times over the next week, talking over coffee, about Ibogaine, about my past, how big a habit I had, medical history, etc.. I was told a reasonable sum of money for the treatment, though in my current financial situation it still seemed somewhat improbable. But we continued to meet and he continued to encourage me to work up some money.
Four days before my departure date to Mexico we talked heavily about the money situation. I didn't have it, I could barely hustle my little 3/4 gram a day habit. I called several people, more or less begging to loan me some money for a miracle root from the african continent. First off, I didn't have the best credit history and then on top of it a junkie trying to get a loan for a magic african root, a mildly comical situation to most people. I went to bed that night, bummed, sick in Mexico with the family wouldn't be a pretty story to say the least. But then early the next morning, 3 am or so, my father left $300 dollars on my table.
The next morning I got a call, 'Look dude, I know you don't have any money...', but I interjected, 'I do have money'. I got the feeling from that call that he would have done the treatment regardless of my lack of money at the time, it greatly impressed me.
Chris came over to my apartment at 4 pm. Strangely, everyone in the apartment had to leave and wouldn't be back until the next evening. He had me write an IOU for the remaining cost. We were ready to go. I had my last fix at 2 pm, we decided at 6 pm that I was sober enough to go ahead. At 6:30 I took a test dose of 250 mg, at 7:30 I took another 270 mg, and at 8:00 I took the big gulp at 1000 mg. After that I was somewhat physically and mentally impaired but I managed to take another bitter dose of 300 mg down the hatch at 9:30. I then laid down into a kind of unrestful sleep/stupor. (Let me note that I stretched the truth and told Chris I weighed in at 68 kg when I actually weighed 60 kg. Also let me add that it was after many discussions concerning my past use of hallucinogens and physical and mental health that he decided to go with these doses. I mention the dosage amounts purely for informational purposes, they are by no means a framework to follow for other treatments.)
I awoke sometime around 11pm, not feeling all that good, slightly sick, psychedelically disoriented. I started to imagine that I was involved in a scam. My mind created elaborate scenarios of a scam taking place, the people involved, the reasons why, etc.. I walked out of my room and confronted Chris, asking if he was a scam. He replied no, and said it in such a way that I felt he believed in what he was doing, I felt his sincerity and started questioning my own creative imagination. He said I should take more Ibogaine, I didn't like that idea at all, I already felt like I was tripping hardcore, so I decided in my delirium to give it a little more time. I went to the bathroom and puked out the most vile orange stuff I had ever seen in my life. I felt there was a connection to my puke and my addiction, like something was being exorcised from my system. It was uncanny, something was happening, my mind went back and forth from the idea of a scam going down to the idea of a demon being exorcised from my being with a magic african root.
I went to my bedroom and laid down. I realized that something was working, I was starting to feel better, things got clearer and more lucid. I saw how a part of me that was scared to let go of the addiction was creating elaborate storyboards and acting out amazing plays in an attempt to remain addicted. I was amazed at how my mind could be trying to sabotage itself. I found it slightly humorous and saw the attempt as utterly futile. I encouraged that part of my mind to relax and let go. I had some other interesting visions during this time, but mostly I recall being inside my mind, seeing trillions of neurons, my whole neural network, the universe that I am. And then I saw that a part of that neural network was highlighted, it was signifying my addiction, but not just heroin, much more. And then something in my head said watch this, and slowly the pattern was being extracted, slowly pulled out until it finally disappeared in the distance. I was utterly amazed.
I must have awoke shortly after that. In my kitchen was this punk-looking dude, watching over me, making sure everything was going smooth, some dude that I had only met a week earlier. He was frying up some greasy potatoes. I was amazed. I saw a guy who was helping others by helping himself, an urban shaman of sorts, helping those who want help on the same path that he once walked. And then, like looking in a mirror, in him I saw myself. I saw that I was helping myself to heal myself. I said to him/me aloud, 'thank you for what your doing, I think it's great'. It was truly profound to me, so beautiful. I felt like I had just come back from a long lost vacation, I felt proud unto myself, like I was bringing back a treasured gift to the totality of life. I laid there awhile longer, amazed that I wasn't sick, that I felt sooo good to be alive, I cried softly with much joy in my heart. The words 'gentle but powerful' resonated through my mind.
I stumbled out of my room and into the livingroom to the amazement of Chris. 'What are you doing!', he exclaimed, 'you shouldn't be up!'. 'But I feel sooo goood', I replied, 'I feel alive again, I feel the magic, it's been so long...'. We talked. I saw an old brother, like me, from the very beginning of time and space. I was amazed, right here in front of me, my forgotten brother, who was as ancient as I was. I loaded my bong with some fine herb and puffed. I looked about the room, I saw everything as ancient, just as ancient as me, every atom, every subatomic particle of it all, it was just that some parts had forgotten where they came from, what they were. I ate an apple, it tasted beautiful. It felt so good not to be alone anymore. I felt connected, connected to every little bit of this cosmos.
And then I felt it, shit, I SAW it. It took me by surprise. An ancient wave of consciousness percolating through and from everything, moving through our beautiful planet, our gaia. It spoke to me, but not in words, beyond words, it spoke from the very core of my being. It said that I have taken a long hard path, precious beyond imagination, but that I was done with that path and it was time to unite upon another path. This consciousness was a multi-consciousness, a uniting of consciousness. It said the time is NOW and that I was a part of this unity, this wave of consciousness, and that I had always been. It was healing/uniting, they were one and the same. I had always struggled with this idea of a super consciousness, but now it was undeniable, I felt it through every bone in my body. I felt synchronized, I understood it to be an idea that I would not only entertain, but nourish and propagate.
By this time I noticed that Chris had fallen asleep, surely assuming that by my super-ecstatic state that I was alright and there were no worries of me shedding my clothes and raving mad through the streets. I sat for hours, amazed at the marvel we call life, and then soon came dawn. I retired to bed for awhile but didn't get much rest, still so intrigued by the wondrous beauty of it all.
I relaxed most of the next day. Chris left around 4pm and the other denizens of the house returned around 6pm. The next evening I boarded a plane for Mexico. It all seemed so superbly synchronistic.
Looking back, Mexico was one of the best things I could have done on top of the Ibogaine. It provided a place away from my normal space and routine, my old patterns. It helped to build new patterns and gave them some time to set in. I'm sure that if I had stayed in my old familiar place that it would have been much more difficult and challenging.
So now, 14 moons later, it feels good to write this story. It makes me smile at how truly magical life is with all it's ironic synchronicity's. Writing my story is also in part a completion of sorts and I hope an inspiration to others who feel they're at the end of the road and ready for a new journey. Mucho Amor!
Additional Notes on Ibogaine:
Extreme auditory enhancement - I could hear the minutest of sounds over a very large range and perceive them all simultaneously. This lasted approximately 10-12 hours.
Mild visual enhancement - Vivid colors, more colors, edge detection, a classic tryptamine-induced visual perception of things lasting approximately 10-12 hours.
Ataxia - I definitely had coordination issues, walking took some effort and anything beyond that would've been difficult. This lasted approximately 36 hours.
Insomnia - For the following 2 weeks I slept little, a few hours at most in one stretch, but I felt good despite this, waking up feeling motivated and refreshed.
To Noah, Chris, and my Pop. To all the others who've let me kick cold turkey in their apartments, houses, treehouses, basements, and backyards. To all the girls and guys who still love me even though I was a selfish junkie who was in love with his dope. And most importantly, but not always so obvious, thank you Great Mystery, for it is You/Us that made this all possible, I am eternally grateful.
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