If you haven’t read the first part of this post, you should probably start there: My first experience with ibogaine
It’s 6am, 2-3 years ago, when I wake up, not realizing my life will never be the same again. I start packing my things, (clothes, GoPro camera, Onewheel, and a few other things). My friend was picking me up shortly, for the journey south.
My old friend morphine..
I had been taking morphine 30mg multiple times per day for about a month by now (to replace the Suboxone I’ve been on for last several years). I had to do this so I could do the ibogaine treatment. I took my last dose that morning, and got in the truck and off we went to Rosarita, Mexico.
Fast food breakfast
After crossing the Tijuana border, we finally arrive in Rosarita, and we were told we would be meeting the doctor (for the first time) around 9am at a McDonald’s. So we order a coffee I think, and wait for the doctor to show up a few minutes later. He finally comes, and we were talking for a little bit, discussing what the procedure was, and what was going to happen next. The doctor is about half my age.
This is odd
But then something curious happens. There’s another American guy in this McDonalds, walking up to our table. He starts talking to the doctor. Apparently he was a client of his, that did the ibogaine a few months prior and he had a negative experience and was wondering when he could get another treatment (for free now). When he walked away, the doctor explained that he had been on meth amphetamines during the treatment and it doesn’t work well and is actually very dangerous to do. You are risking heart complications, attacks, and worse. This was when I started losing confidence in this working.
Too late to turn back…
Of course, I just realized I had made a major error in judgement. I had read about the dangers of being on speed and using ibogaine at the same time, but I shrugged them off. I was invincible. Surely, if I made it this far, this long, after everything I’ve done to my body, all the risks I took with my life on a daily basis… this wouldn’t be my undoing.. But when we met the doctor and that previous patient ends up being there at the same exact time in a foreign country, warning me about using meth and ibogaine at the same time… That freaked me out a bit but by this point… I was all in. I had made the decision to get off opiates for good and wasn’t turning back. Besides… I was in Mexico already. Too late to turn back now.
My chest was shaved for no reason
I chose not to mention my poly substance abuse problem to the doctor or my friend at the time (they thought I had stopped using the meth amphetamines awhile ago), so we proceeded to the next step which was to meet the assistant at some hospital clinic nearby. They wanted to check my heart, so they shaved a square patch on my chest to attach those probes so they can see the readings on the printout.. Only problem was, the machine wasn’t outputting anything. It broke while they tried to use it on me, and apparently that was the only one and it breaks all the time. So they took the probes off and told me that I was fine. Despite there being no data coming out of the machine.
They said I was fine…
My heart could’ve stopped beating right there, and they wouldn’t have noticed. People complain about our health system… Shit, I complain about it all the time.. But I’ve never experienced that level of fuckery in an American hospital. That reminds me, I have a great story about the hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Best hospital I’ve ever been in, seen, or heard of. Hands down….
Anyhow, that was my second confidence booster.. I would say the third warning sign was when the tech stole my camera right in front of me, later that night. But we’ll get into that in a moment.
So the doctor was going to rejoin us in the evening. I guess, due to the long duration of this medicine, it’s best to start it at night, because you’ll be incapacitated for a dozen hours or so and it doesn’t stop there. After that phase, expect to be hallucinating for quite some more time.
We checked into the airbnb we reserved, which was a trailer home on the beach. Decent enough, gorgeous view. Kinda sketchy, but not too bad. I’ve stayed in way more messed up places in my time.
No more veins…
The assistant and his tech met us there and started getting ready. There was one bedroom, which was where I would be spending all my time. The tech did some cursory exam on me, looked at my arms to check for IV points he can use. I don’t really have any anymore. I’ve abused my veins so bad for so many years, its extremely difficult and painful to get bloodwork done, or anything like that. Nonetheless, he eventually figured it out.
The doctor finally arrives after it got dark. He then starts getting the medicine all measured out, and puts some of the raw bark material on a spoon and had me swallow it. It tastes awful and is difficult to swallow. In its raw form, you have to actually ingest a lot of it to get enough in you to have a therapeutic effect. So a spoonful is just enough to see if I’m going to have an adverse reaction to the medicine before they give me the flood dose. The spoonful amount starts making you light headed and goofy feeling.. Like the start of a LSD or mushroom trip.
Hangers and light fixtures
At this point – I was told to goto my bed, and lay down. The tech sets up an IV line with a bag of fluids, and the bag was attached to a bent hanger, that was hanging on a light fixture (on the wall). Like what you might see in a prison camp (or make shift) hospital or something. The doctor now is giving me one of three (huge) capsules filled with ibogaine powder. This is called the flood dose. You take one capsule, let it come rolling on, and you take another capsule a couple hours later, and a third a couple hours after that. Other doctors or shamans may do it differently, however.
So I took the first capsule and laid down. They put on some meditation music, turned the lights down and let the process begin.
Tired and getting sick…
By now, it’s night time (9pm or so) and I haven’t had any morphine since my early morning dose. So I was tired, and starting to feel withdrawal but the medicine was starting to take effect. I remember it feeling like I was kinda floating through dark space with faint stars in the distance. But then something I can only explain as miraculous happened.
It was a real life miracle
I felt a warm ball of energy forming in the center of my chest. It was getting stronger and hotter and then I felt this warmth shoot from my chest. It was like the batman signal spotlight bursting from my chest and shooting off like a shooting star, and then I felt no more pain. No more sickness. In an instant, it was as if my physical dependence to opiates was completely wiped out. And I literally felt it leave my body. Like I was getting exorcised and a demon spirit left my body. And then I felt pure bliss and relief. For the first time in 25 years, I felt what it was like to be rid of this monkey on my back. This soul crushing burden that the rest of the normal folk don’t even know exists. The weight that was lifted off my shoulders was so immense, it felt like I would float away. That’s when I truly understood the power of nature, and the universe.
Hard to put into words…
I wish I could describe that part of the experience with more rich… depth or something, but words can’t even begin to make sense of what was happening.
A much stronger sensation of the medicine was beginning to take hold. I lost most motor function. Couldn’t walk or get out of bed without falling down. And I didn’t want to anyhow. I was getting nauseous. So I keep laying in bed staring at the ceiling, which by now turned into the dark of space, with galaxies and stars splashed all over, as if the ceiling wasn’t there anymore. It wan’t like the ceiling was painted with a space background. The ceiling was just not in my view any longer.
And then things switched.
Everything was black – but I could see, what looked like neon line drawings, being drawn out right in front of me, making shapes of … like a silhouette of people walking by.. or words sometimes.. Or depending if someone walked into the room, the room would change color and each person had their own color.. The tech’s color was black and dark purple, warning me he was a bad person. He proceeded to go through my bag while I was laying on this bed. But I couldn’t move. And by this point, I was hallucinating so bad I was starting to get scared and I told him this. He said I was fine. And proceeded to steal my GoPro camera I brought with me. At the time, I couldn’t make out what he was doing, because his aura was so dark. But when I came to, and saw my camera was gone, I knew what happened.
The doctor came in – it was a more peaceful aura. He gave me another capsule to swallow and I proceeded to go into a deep internal dialog, concerned about what I was doing, trying to figure out where I was. I didn’t know or remember what country I was in, or if there was anyone there, for hours at a time.
The doctor tried to come in and give me the third capsule, but I actually refused the third capsule. I was too messed up and thought I wouldn’t handle any more of this. The doctor insisted I need to take it, but I still refused. I told him to fucking take it (lol).
All I remember after this point, was that it was a very long night and (the following) day. I was in bed the rest of the next day as well I think. I finally needed to get up, so I could go to the bathroom, but the assistant had to help me get there. I couldn’t walk myself.
Then there was light…
On the 3rd day I believe, I got out of bed and could finally walk around. I sat on a chair on the porch, looking out into the ocean and I remember this moment vividly. It felt like when I was tossed from a detox unit into a treatment facility, and it was the first morning. I would be smoking a cigarette outside, and realizing I could smell for the first time in years. That’s usually what it felt like, when I first got into rehabs. Very out of place, jumping out of my skin, cold, and everything sharp, and loud, and the smells.. I can finally smell….
The daylight was so bright, almost making the entire background of my view white. I remember sitting on the porch, a little in shock still. It kind of felt like when I woke up after my first 5-MeO-DMT trip. Being marooned, and trying to catch my bearings. Everything seemed so fresh, everything looked so detailed and crisp. I noticed every little detail, of everything in front of me, like a curious cat finding an odd bug to play with, but staring at it intensely first. Trying to learn everything it can about it, before interacting..
And then I thought about my girls. And an emotion I can’t really describe, completely overtook my entire being. Such strong feelings just kept hitting me with such waves, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I fell over.
Joy, pain, sadness, and such a strong feeling of longing – something so strong, it would’ve trumped any feeling of withdrawal I’ve ever felt. And some of those moments were so fierce, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. I immediately wanted to get home. I needed to see my daughters, as quickly as possible. I needed to be with them.
I told this to my friend, and he saw in my eyes I meant business and needed to leave. We would be leaving 2 days before I was supposed to, but I didn’t care. I had been tripping for days, I’m not sick anymore, and I need to see my daughters. That’s all I knew. So we packed up and left. The assistant gave me two “booster” capsules to take with me.
What happened next was even more interesting (to me) as the initial experience.
Read the third part of this post here: My first experience with ibogaine (part 3)