Crack Cocaine – Chemical Dependence

“My cocaine usage is a ten year old habit, and before that I was drinking alcoholically for ten years…”

A few days before I met with Iboga, I lost my cool in a parking lot because a warehouse forklift was blocking my way. After a lot of angry hollering, all I got was: “Hey buddy, life’s too short, lighten up!” I remained pissed. I have always had a temper, an angry edge.

And I have a crack cocaine problem. My cocaine usage is a ten year old habit, and before that I was drinking alcoholically for ten years. I have been to several treatment programs, and have actively participated in a twelve step program off and on for the past ten years. Several times I was the secretary for the group. I have had several sponsors, and have tried “working the steps,” but relapsed every three to six months and went on a twenty-four to seventy-two hour binge, during which I used large amounts of crack. Sometimes I binged several times over the course of weeks. People had given up on me ever recovering.

On the morning of December 14, 1999, I took ibogaine. My sitter asked if I was terrified. “No.” I really wanted to get to the root of my addiction and heal.

To get an idea of how potent this drug is, consider that an hour after I took the pill, the ataxia was overwhelming and I was unable to walk on my own. And that was the 75 mg test dose! I took 900 mg on top of that! It was then that I felt a tinge of terror.

I was told not to move, and I didn’t want to. I heard a humming sound, much like a fan in a window. I heard everything, and sounds had echoes around their edges, as though I were in a tunnel.

It was then that I began to feel a bit afraid, and then the word “menace” came into my consciousness. I felt a menace, but there was something wrong with the spelling, for I could see the letter drifting in the darkness: M-E-N-I-C-E. Then I understood, it wasn’t menace, it was me-nice. I hadn’t “heard” it right the first time. I had the distinct impression that an intelligence was speaking to me, reassuring me. I felt safe for the entire trip after that.

Unlike other psychedelics, there wasn’t much in the way of open eye hallucinatory effects. I did see zebra pin stripes in my peripheral vision, but mostly I wanted to keep me eyes closed. The visuals were all internal, very much like dreaming. I felt as though I was actually there. The visions had a repetitive, thematic quality to them. I remained in this state of reverie for many hours.

I saw my parents, and I saw them as ordinary people, devoid of all the emotional charge of “my father,” or “my mother.” They were just people, ordinary people, with faults just like everybody else. I felt that I had been taught something extremely important that was very liberating: my parents’ job of raising me was finally complete, I saw them for who they were. And I connected with the wise, self confident adult within, my own inner parent.

At one point, I heard a soft but distinct “pop,” like what a soggy paper balloon might sound like if it were popped. Then, light shone upon my face, intensely bright. It was a pleasant but exciting tactile sensation, and then something was pulled from my face, and my face seemed to be exposed, invigorated, tingling, and alive with a joyous feeling of light shining on it. Behind me, in my memory, a thick, black squiggle, the birth canal. I was a pure, innocent glowing newborn babe, so pure, I had a distinct impression of death and rebirth, and this became a major theme in the rest of my reverie.

I went back to my childhood and relived many painful events, particularly the sixth grade where I was severely teased and jeered at by the other boys while playing baseball. I couldn’t hit the ball, nor was I good at catching it. Never had any practice with that. I was the new kid in town and it was the most miserable time of my life. I would stand out in left field and write names in an imaginary notebook, vowing through gritted teeth that one day I would have revenge. The number one name on the list was of the kid that had just hurt me the worst, and that top slot was in a state of continual updating. I suffered this day after day, for an entire year. And with Iboga, I did it again, over and over. It seemed as though it went on for five or six hours.

Finally I grew angry. I paid $2000 for this experience, and all I get is a tormenting replay of the most painful experience of my life? I was very upset. I received an answer: “You needed to learn to accept your limitations.” Limitations! It seemed I was being told that I was limited as a person because of that childhood experience. I felt cheated!

I later experienced massive grieving over what I lost in that tenth year of my life. A huge part of me had died. My self-confidence, brightness, spontaneity, and trust were all gone. Out of self-defense, I had closed my heart when I was ten years old. That wounded child remained trapped inside me and has controlled my entire life, seeking revenge, as well as relief in drinking and using drugs. Now, with Iboga, I realized the extent of my injury and I sobbed deeply off and on for a few hours.

After several hours of crying, I realized there was no one to blame for that traumatic experience in my childhood. Kids tease, and kids will be kids. For some reason I never told my folks, never asked for help. The kids who teased me would probably not have done so had they known the damage they were inflicting. The limitation is that there is no revenge to be had. There is no one to whom I can deliver it. It is over. I experienced freedom and the wounded child within, and was reborn as a wise and competent adult.

I recalled several painful occurrences of using crack, and I was appalled and disgusted by it. This happened repeatedly. Then I thought of cigarettes, nicotine, with the same disgust, and I gave up smoking five years ago. Then caffeine, also not an issue. I drink just one cup in the morning. Then milk! Of which I drink too much and should give up.

I remembered events and places from my childhood that were long forgotten, such as the layout of the buildings of my grade school, in detail. It was as though a “proof” was being offered by Iboga that would verify all the insights I was receiving.

I remembered how alive, bright, and happy I was in my earlier childhood before my tenth year, and I now reconnected with and reclaimed that innocent, loving, playful self. I was told by Iboga how short and precious this life is, and that I should cherish and revere it.

I got a lot from this experience. I regained my self-confidence and matured. I don’t seem to be a ten year old kid anymore. I am an adult, a forty-five year old man. I don’t need to prove myself, and I am not a target of other’s ridicule.

My craving for cocaine is gone, what an amazing sensation! When I think of cocaine, I conjure up the image of white rocks or powder, it is like contemplating golf balls or egg cartons- no emotional charge. No repulsion, no attraction. I have for the time being given up coffee and milk.

I can do the unthinkable, leave my wife. My desire to stay for my daughter’s sake has diminished, because I can see that much like my own parents were not the primary cause of my traumatic childhood, I am not the omnipotent influence I thought I was in my daughter’s life. It is more important for me to take good care of myself, and in doing so, I can offer more to my daughter and others I love. I have always known this intellectually, but to realize it with all my being is very different, it is an empowerment.