One More Time Journeying the Left Hand Path with Ibogaine
“Two or three grams should be sufficient,” my good friend and provider told me when I mentioned how desperate I was to get unshackled from the hell of my methadone clinic handcuffs. “It won’t even be that expensive, and I’m willing to act as your sitter as well,” he said, meaning he’d spend however much time watching over me in my apartment that it might take for the Ibogaine I was scoring to kick the methadone took to affect me.
I managed to scrape together the few hundred bucks it was going to cost to obtain the Ibogaine extract, different from the Ibogaine HCL I preferred in the past, in that rather than just the one active molecule, precisely like cocaine hydrochloride, contains all the various molecules contained in the Ibogaine plant’s root. This is believed by many providers to be more effective than pure Ibogaine HCL due to the combination of molecules all acting in concert, in precisely the same way the root bark is ingested by people in the native Gabon and the Cameroon in Africa, the source countries for Ibogaine. (Personally I prefer the HCL, the active Ibogaine molecule, to the whole plant extracts and always have, but broke, strung out people can’t be choosy.)
The addiction interruption properties and effects of Ibogaine were discovered by Howard Lotsof in the mid-1960s. A member of a loose group of friends interested in psychedelics, Lotsof had eaten a dose one evening and tripped extremely hard. While that in and of itself was special, and impressive, it wasn’t until he was walking about the next morning that he realized he, a long-time heroin addict, was not only not sick or in withdrawals, but more importantly and impressively, felt no urge nor desire to score or get straight. This lead him on his new, life long mission to bring attention of this amazing plant to the world. Having passed away on January 31, 2010, he never gave up hope for the chance to bring this very effective tool for breaking heroin, and other addictions to the addicts of the world, working tirelessly, if unsuccessfully to get this magical root legalized.
It isn’t easy for someone strung out and broke to be overly trusting about making out a money order and mailing it off to a stranger, waiting for an illegal drug to magically turn up in the mail a few days later, but desperation and determination are incredible motivators both. So I did it, and amazingly, in very few days I was the happy recipient of some incredibly dark greenish-brown, powdered Ibogaine extract. It arrived just in the nick of time, as I was running out of my drugs, and did not want to return to the clinic for any reason.
On January, Friday the 13, I lay down in my bed, put on a number of Bwiti harp music tracks, the traditional instrument of the Africans who first began using Ibogaine shamanically, then began eating the capsules my provider and I had very carefully filled up when he’d arrived at my home. I believe, but am not quite sure, that I ended eating only approximately two grams of the extract, which left me nearly another gram or two of extract to eat as boosters. After about one hour, the Ibogaine had taken hold and I was off into inner spaces, dreaming, tripping, examining life, while simultaneously mentally and physically feeling the Ibogaine healing and resetting my brain and body.
Once I was able to walk again, within a couple o days (Ibogaine causes severe ataxia, a nearly complete loss of motor control over ones body), I felt great, simply amazing, totally new and fresh. Life looked good, enticing again, and I had to get out into it immediately. I subsequently spent a week or so heading into Manhattan as often as possible, usually carrying my guitar, eating as much as possible, full of verve and energy. I managed to answer an interview and turn it in that was subsequently published on CannaPress, a Russian website that same week, (my first words, that I know of, published in a foreign language), and to write and turn in a short piece to High Times magazine. I was also playing guitar again every single day.
Yet, after that first week passed, and I awoke nine days later on Monday morning, I felt like hell. I felt as though I was in total withdrawals, despite my provider assuring me that “no, that’s impossible, you are simply feeling your body and all its sensations and pains again.” Therefore I spent that week eating all three boosters I had left for just this purpose. Unfortunately, while temporarily helping, methadone is a fucking bitch to kick, with a half life that just lingers and lingers, on and on, causing all sorts of torturous problems. Fatigue, burning, razor-scraped feeling skin, utter lack of any energy whatsoever, an inability to find either inspiration or desire for even attempting to get up and walk, much less go anywhere. So I’d eat a booster, feel fine for a night, but by next morning or at latest the next night would be feeling in completely withdrawals yet again. Finally, after discussing my symptoms with a young lady friend in South America, she said, “Preston, you are in residual withdrawals from the methadone, without question. Can’t you score a booster from someone?” Like I could just get up and walk to the deli- “Hey, I’d like to buy an extremely illegal Ibogaine booster please,” or even find it on some street corner. Of course, she meant rather that perhaps I knew a provider or source I could go to, but at that point, I didn’t think I could.
Turns out, speaking on the phone later than same morning with my provider, I mentioned what my friend had suggested. “Well, if you can come into the city today, I can probably give you a booster,” was his reply. I was in shock, not knowing he had more, but it turned out he was doing another treatment for someone else that weekend (this was Saturday, following nearly two weeks of intense withdrawals of such severity I plan on never subjecting myself to such horror again, ever). So he had more Ibogaine, more than enough than what was needed for the treatment he was doing, and was willing to give me a bit to help me out. “You know what you are feeling. No one can assess you like you can, only you really know for sure,” he told me, admitting finally that perhaps I was right after all, and still in acute withdrawals.
Despite my overwhelming lack of energy, I managed to make it down my hill on Staten Island and onto the ferry, then onto a bus to the Lower East Side, where he was conducting the treatment in a nice apartment in a travelers’ hostel. While I felt a bit awkward walking in on someone else’s treatment, I just happened to know the person being treated, coincidentally from the same apartment and people we’d both been scoring our extraneous drugs from, those I’d supplement my methadone intake with. So she was unfazed by my arrival, taking to a darkened back room very soon anyway due to having already begun eating her own Ibogaine. My provider handed me a booster, which I immediately ate then and there due to having felt so horrific for so long.
After a half hour or so, listening all the while to yet more Bwiti harp music, I suddenly began to feel great, losing all notion of withdrawals, and to trip extremely hard. What was supposed to be a fairly minor booster turned out to be a bit more generously loaded than either I or my provider expected. The by now to me familiar high pitch keening sound began growing steadily louder in my ears, I began to see incredible trails and closed eyed visions, and when trying to participate in the conversation my provider was having with the current patient’s friend (along to give moral support if needed), I began having trouble remembering what I would be saying, not only half way through a sentence but even occasionally half way through a single word. I spent nearly six hours lying there on the sofa in the main room of the hostel’s apartment nearly incapable of standing, much less making my way back to Staten Island.
I felt glorious, wonderful, relieved to be out of withdrawals again. Then the boyfriend of the person being treated showed up, and I immediately felt extremely hostile, crazy, insane vibes off him as soon as he stepped in the door and through the room where I was, then out of sight without a word to me into his girlfriend’s room where she lay tripping out of her gourd. Wanting nothing to do with such energy while in the state I was then in, I, in my usual reckless fashion, decided that enough time had passed, that I could now make the journey home. Once on my feet, I admit to feeling some hesitation about this abrupt decision, but I was not about to remain there with those extremely negative vibes flooding the entire apartment. So treating the unsteadiness I felt as though I were just walking the deck of a pitching ship, I made my way to a bus, then to the ferry terminal to return to Staten Island. As acclimated to Ibogaine as I’ve become over the years, this was my first experience with being out in public under the serious influence of the magical, powerful molecule. I had a great time, simply sitting and watching the other travelers waiting for the ferry, despite my initial hesitations.
I even managed to pass right out once home, due to being worn out from traveling after being laid up in bed for two weeks as sick as I’ve ever felt. The next morning though, the withdrawals were back yet again, much to my chagrin. Back on the phone instantly to my provider, “Dude, the booster worked great yesterday, but now I’m right back into the worst shape imaginable.”
“If you come to my place in Queens, I can give you another couple boosters and a bit of herb too.” As sick as I felt, a two hour journey each direction, which included walking down the hill to the ferry terminal, then riding one subway train, then another, climbing stairs at each station and being out in the cold waiting for my provider to meet me once in Queens did not appeal to my incredibly ill body and mind. Yet the very same feelings of illness, and more, the desire to end them, got me to my feet and on the path to obtain yet more boosters.
This time I waited until I got home before taking the booster, and again, once it kicked in I felt amazingly better, all signs of withdrawals yet again receding and disappearing from my system. When I awoke the next morning, I still felt great. This continued for a few more days and suddenly I began to hope that indeed, this time, finally, I’d gotten the worst of the Post Acute Withdrawals Symptoms (or PAWS as it’s referred to by addicts and providers and doctors alike). Sure enough, though initially still weak and having a bit of trouble concentrating , and worse, sleeping a mere two or three hours a night, I have only grown steadily stronger, creative, and determined to not throw away what I’ve managed to accomplish this time ‘round.
I have been through this before, kicking drugs, both with and without Ibogaine, and have every single time returned my old patterns of living and abusing drugs. This time, I will cautiously note, I feel as though I’ve finally done this for the right reasons- because I want to be healthy, I want to look and feel good, I want my creativity to flow again, and simply want to feel alive instead of a numbed out zombie as has been the case for the past few years. I did not do it this time to try and save a relationship, or a job or apartment, or for anything or anyone but for myself and my own well being. I am not attempting to prove anything to anyone, but to myself, that I can and shall do this, succeed, and move on to the next chapter of my life, writing, playing music, and whatever other interesting possibilities come my way. While I’ve spent a number of years since my last Ibogaine treatment feeling fairly anti-Ibogaine, blaming it for my lack of success in staying away from old patterns, this time I’ve remembered my old, often voiced statement about Ibogaine not being a cure, a magic bullet, but rather a tool that can and will assist me if I am willing to make the effort myself to stay on the path I feel I need be on, sending out positive light and love to the universe and having it be returned rather than sending out the hate and depression and been getting back for way too long. “Just keep in mind, would you return again and again to a rehab or detox that repeatedly failed you?” asked my provider. “People continue to return to Ibogaine, trying again and again, so it obvious works for many, many who try it, even if it takes numerous attempts for the changes enabled by taking to finally stick. Ibogaine most certainly works, there is no question.”
I at this point in time thank Gaia for Ibogaine being on this planet. Ibogaine, yet another, in this case one of the most powerful and potent and genuinely effective plant teachers (the others being ayahuasca, peyote, and of course psilocybin, among a few others) the prohibitionist maniacs have made illegal and have desperately attempted to cut us off from. Yet Gaia is stronger than any insane prohibitionist, and will provide when and where needed, if patience is sometimes required to receive that help. To all those still out there hurting, hating, feeling hated, and abusing themselves, I wish to send peace, love and bright white light, to let them know that despite the worst efforts of those waging their stupid, evil, corrupting War on Some Drugs and Users, there really truly is a tool available, if one make the serious effort to find it. Ibogaine is out there, even if occasionally too expensive or difficult to locate. With patience, it will come, so long as that is what the Universe wants for you, and you really honestly want from it.