by Luis G.
Well, i decided to wait a month before writing to you about my ibogaine experience. I did this just to make sure everything is in working order all up in here (my head).
A bit about myself: I’m an artist (painter/photographer). I earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art and art history, I’ve held a steady job for about 6 years, and i’ve been shooting heroin for the past 12 years, everyday, several times a day. i’d been addicted to heroin since the age of 17. had fun for about 5 years, then at the age of 23 i decided to try and quit. soon i became addicted to methadone, not really knowing how much more addictive it was and how much harder it is to kick than heroin. the past 6 years have been spent in utter misery trying to get off opiates. i juggled heroin, methadone, and cocaine all at once. i tired several detox programs, kicked cold turkey several times, spent a year in jail, lost a few friends, and i’ve overdosed, landing myself in the intensive care unit more than once. i took i ibogaine once before as part of a drug study at the university of miami. the dosage used back then (1996) was much lower than they use today and my experience then was nothing at all like my last experience with it. the first time in 1996 i slept through it; this time i did not sleep for days. even though the ibogaine did its job at getting me off the methadone with minimal withdrawals, i was really not ready to quit my habit. i was back on heroin in a couple weeks. i just wasn’t ready.
one month ago i was 28, and very ready to quit my habit. my body and mind have not been dealing too well with this crazy-rollercoaster-life i have chosen for myself. within the last 3 years i have probably kicked heroin/methadone about 8 or 9 times. but never fully detoxed, and always feeling quite uncomfortable. every time i kicked, i seemed to pick up right when the withdrawals were about to end. i just couldn’t bare the last few days of it. all i needed was the right tools, but i couldn’t think of anything.
my girlfriend at the time had been seeing what i was going through, and started doing research to see if there was anything she or i could do. she found out about ibogaine and told me about it. at the time she mentioned it, i had totally forgotten about it, but when i remembered, i immediately decided that this was it. this is exactly what i needed.
in a week i was in san diego with dr. polanco. and having cut down my use considerably i was pretty damn sick. dr. polanco showed concern for me in seeing how i was feeling, and dosed me by 5pm, on a monday, 4 days before my birthday (march 24). i was looking at this as a second chance at regaining my life. and i took this very seriously.
once i ingested the ibogaine, in about 30 minutes it was beginning to work. first my skin went numb, then i felt warmth in my spine and the back of my head. at this point my withdrawals were of no concern anymore, but i had no time to reflect on that because that’s when the spinning started. i had this incredible spinning sensation, and i covered my eyes and my ears to try and ease that sensation. but this effort was futile. the spinning only increased in speed. the spinning was so fast that i was very scared all of a sudden. i felt like i was on the brink of losing my mind…whatever that was. then i realized that i was fighting the trip; anyhow, i could hold it off no longer, so i just “let go”. as soon as i “let go” the spinning seemed to stop completely and i seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. i had no sense of self, meaning i had no idea where i was, who i was, or what i was doing here…wherever ‘here’ is. nothing was of importance. i was conscious, but i was not ‘thinking’ per se, i was simply observing. i wasn’t even aware of the visual hallucinations i was having, which were quite considerable in substance and quantity. i remembered them afterwards. there were lots of plant and animal images, and many indecipherable sounds. i experienced a flying sensation which was quite blissful. time and space where nowhere to be found and i have never been so “in the moment” as i was at that point, not a second forward or a second backwards…i was here and now. my consciousness of it was a bit shocking. i had not really thought of it (or anything for that matter) until a certain point during the trip; which seemed like forever but at the same time, kind of timeless. visual hallucinations kept coming and were very present but at a certain point i seemed to interact with someone else in the trip. there was no physical body to this individual. and my interactions with him where vague. he showed me things, something like pictures, but pictures i’ve seen before. this “person”, or whatever you want to call it, seemed to do something to me. somehow he took something out of me and replaced it with something else. it was very weird. this replacement seemed to take place in my head/brain. that’s just the way i perceived it. and whatever he put in seemed to fit like a puzzle piece. it felt ancient and more powerful than my own self. then i had this image/feeling of reconnection to the earth where my head seemed to be planted in the ground. i had a pretty good look at myself with my head in the dark soil and my feet sticking straight up. then all of a sudden i was thrust back into my body. i felt the spinning again, and i felt the room around me. it was already morning. and i began to attempt to move. i got up and sat in the couch which was in my room with great effort. i was quite fatigued, and i felt as if in awe of how powerful this stuff was. i immediately began to process the experience i just went through. and even though i was pretty tired, very edgy and stimulated, uncoordinated, and feeling heavy, i felt quite ok…i felt very human once again and not to mention very happy. if i could have jumped up and down in joy i would have, but that was impossible because i could hardly move. i did not sleep for the next three days. i felt better everyday. and by friday (my birthday) i had slept, and was feeling 110 per cent better.
the best way to describe what i went though i guess, would be to say that it was like hitting CONTROL+ALT+DELETE on a computer. total restart.
this past wednesday has been one month since i used heroin. and i have no interest in using ever again. i feel i can really move on now. the ibogaine glow is gone; i can no longer feel it. but i can actually “feel” again. 12 years medicated and desensitized is all behind me now. i can move forward freely, nothing holding me back.
some significant side notes: i quit smoking cigarettes. meditation is easy, not difficult like it was before; my mind seemed to always race. my depression is gone. and i’m running again. i haven’t felt this fucking good since i was 16.
so yeah…i’m good now.
thanks for reading this far.
p.s. – i would do it again. i feel that anyone, drug addiction or not, could benefit from this. my mind is much healthier today and ibogaine was a very important catalyst in regaining this health.