My Ibogaine Experience – Non-Chemical Dependence
“As I knew Ibogaine was a powerful addiction interrupter, I knew too that my attachment to smoking pot might be affected…”
Not too long ago I had occasion to undergo my first Ibogaine experience. I was introduced to the material by a dedicated individual named Eric who has now become a good friend. About a month ahead of the experience Eric suggested I begin working on an intent. Such an intent, it was suggested, would help guide the experience. My initial primary intent was simply to successfully survive the experience. As such, I meditated on and prayed for courage and to remember to be grateful, to surrender, to forgive myself and others, to smile and to breathe.
Also, as I knew Ibogaine was a powerful addiction interrupter, I knew too that my attachment to smoking pot might be affected – an unlikely outcome, given my long-standing love affair with cannabis. Even so, I figured there was nothing to lose. My reasoning was this: for something to interrupt my desire to connect with the very enjoyable state of mind that pot afforded me, that something would itself have to create a physiological state that was as least as satisfying. Interestingly, as the day of the Ibogaine journey approached, my desire to get high started tapering off.
Having had some shamanic training I invoked the assistance and protection of my power animals and other beings to assist me in what I knew would possibly be a difficult journey. Eric would be my sitter and his calm demeanor gave me a level of comfort that I was glad for.
At 8:30 AM he suggested I take 2 dramamine to help quell the nausea that often accompanies the Ibogaine experience. At 9:00 AM I ingested 860 milligrams of 99.8% pure, organically derived Ibogaine hydrochloride (taken in capsule form) and laid down quietly in bed. Eric advised me to lay as still as possible and that if I did have to move, to do so very slowly and deliberately – to move as though the room was filled with honey. I soon found the wisdom of this advice. About half an hour into the experience I reached forward to adjust my covers – a little too fast. A small wave of nausea hit, then gradually receded. At about the 45 minute mark I had to pee. Eric escorted me to the bathroom. I found my coordination definitely off as my feet inched toward the apparently receding bathroom door. I got back to bed, laid down and concentrated on being as still as possible. I kept reminding myself of Thich Nhat Hanh’s breathing meditation: “Breathing in, I relax my body. Breathing out, I smile…”
I became aware of a slight buzzing in my head and tingling in my fingertips. As the journey progressed the buzzing and tingling persisted and increased a little but not to the point of discomfort or annoyance. As I lay quietly I saw a clean white dog inside a car and a dirty white dog outside it wanting to get in. The image slipped inside my visual field so smoothly that it only dawned on me a few moments later that this was my first vision.
Over the course of the next 7-8 hours an enormous amount of material was presented – most of it visual imagery of scenes involving myself, other people and events. Other material was presented in auditory form. Looking back, it seems that the Ibogaine triggered in my psyche a process of intensive introspective psychoanalytic renewal – all the images and impressions working to deconstruct stagnant or debilitating ego formations through shedding light on the circumstances around which they initially congealed; this then ultimately creating new awareness, new insight and an underlying feeling of my psyche being deeply and luxuriously nourished.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the impressions were lost in the cyclonic wake of the experience. I tried hard to recollect but mostly just couldn’t. Those memories that did come back were fragmented and non-sequential but documented as follows nonetheless:
I saw the 3 capsules I had ingested going down my throat, into my stomach, dissolving, allowing the Ibogaine to be released into my system. I saw that the Ibogaine had intention -intention to check everything out in this new environment and to begin its work on my psyche without delay by moving straight to the appropriate neuronal receptors. As the level of the experience grew increasingly intense I remembered repeating over and over: “I surrender my old self. I am born again continuously with each breath.” I saw a series of cataclysmic events – buildings being blown to pieces by the force of wind or shock waves (reminiscent of Department of Defense nuclear blast footage); continents and coastlines altered. I remember thinking that the only thing that could cause such destruction would be a massive space-borne object slamming into the earth. I was traveling contentedly and fearlessly through twisting curving tubes – like the tubes at water parks. Later on in the journey I was still traveling through the tubes but now the tubes were incompletely formed with portions missing. Through the gaps and openings the underlying gridlike structure of the tube was revealed. Toward the end of the journey it felt like I was still traveling but by now the tubes were no longer in evidence. Instead, I was traveling along on curvy, winding train tracks. I reflected on a UFO abduction story I had once heard on TV. The man in question reported that the space being appeared quite human and extraordinarily loving. I remembered the deeply moved, quaking quality of the man’s voice in describing the experience. He said that for as long as he lived, he’d never forget the unfathomable intensity of the love and compassion he felt coming from this being. I remember seeing a frisbee made of concrete. I wondered what this was. Then I chuckled as I understood the pun: ‘disk’ + ‘crete’. Discrete. Then I was made to understand the importance of discretion. That the faculty of discretion is an important tool in handling tricky/sticky situations that come up in life. That it’s so very important to learn the art of knowing when to keep my mouth shut. That blabbing is not skillful. That discretion requires skill and vigilance.
I went back to my birth. I saw myself pressed tightly in my mother’s womb in the final stage of expulsion. There didn’t seem to be much of a charge with this material, maybe because of prior work I’d done in this area through the modality of holotropic breathwork, maybe simply because most of what I recalled viewing under the influence of the Ibogaine was through a filter of emotional detachment.
One more recollection: about an hour into the experience (or so it seemed to me) I heard Eric exclaim: “Wow! Did you feel that wave?!” I was pretty well immobilized by then but made a mental note to ask him about it later. When I did, he was surprised because the exclamation was made at a session following mine in another room.
By 5 PM the majority of the rush was over and my coordination was starting to come back. I drank some juice and rested until about 2 AM when I was finally able to fall asleep. I woke up at about 5 AM filled with a transformative mixture of profound inner peace, spiritual rebirth, and intense aliveness.
It’s now been twelve days since my experience. All my interest in and appetite for pot has vanished. It’s not a question of will power. I just feel so full, so satiated, and alive, that any notion of getting high or higher is just totally irrelevant. There’s also a sense, a feeling, of wanting to protect and nurture this pristine state.
Where it will lead to from here, there’s no way of knowing. What can be said is that the resultant deep, quiet clarity is daily opening new levels of centeredness and creative expression. All in all, I’m very grateful for having had this opportunity.