(from Heroin Times magazine, Feb 2001)
After many years of heavy opiate addiction, I had tried pretty much every available detox on the planet, ranging from UROD (Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox), Dr. Richard Resnick’s “black box” (electronic acupuncture), methadone, buprinex, tapering down to clonidine and valium, the home version of UROD (naltrexone with a handful of Xanax and clonidine), and of course the various unplanned detox’s in hotel rooms with Bacardi 151 and whatever I could get my hands on at the time.
Any or all of these methods “work.” In the final analysis all you really need in order to get off of opiates is an empty room and some time. In the end you wind up feeling the same anyway. Which is to say, physically unwell – to put it mildly. Personally, this is also right around the time I always remember that heroin addiction isn’t really my problem, it’s my solution. My problem is that I have come undone psychically, spiritually and mentally.
Even after heroin has stopped “working” (you’re taking it just to get normal and function,) it still provides emotional anesthetic, kills off my feelings, and stops the noise in my head. When all this gets stripped away — no matter the method of physical detox — I always wound up feeling like I needed quadruple bypass surgery, and someone handed me a Band-Aid.
Prior to detoxing with Ibogaine, my self-medicating had risen to a daily intake of heroin, methadone, and Xanax; with an occasional drink thrown into the mix. Upon actual administration of Ibogaine, the entire process of withdrawal is over within about an hour. “Withdrawal” itself, is something of a misnomer – there is nothing except a sensation of heat in your solar plexus, which dissipates rapidly. It is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. On a physical level what occurs amounts to a miracle – as far as opiate addiction is concerned – your habit is simply non-existed and you are reset to a pre-addiction modality. The only physical symptoms afterwards are a lack of energy, occasional insomnia and mild diarrhea.
This sets the stage for the “visionary” phase of the experience. What you experience while in this state is highly dependent on the individual. The points of commonality that other participants have shared include: being in a space where you are confronted with yourself – all of yourself – whether you want to call this the subconscious, superego, whatever; what it amounts to is a few decades worth of therapy with a really good therapist.
You are forced to deal with what’s inside, and come to terms with who and what you are, and process why you have taken the actions that led you here in the first place. You also come in contact with basic, underlying principles that govern your existence. In short, you re-establish a connection to your own spirituality – whatever this might mean to you. This tends to have a profound impact, since you are experiencing and living it, not reading about someone else’s conception of what it should be.
Opiates do not provide pleasure. Heroin doesn’t feel “good,” it feels like nothing – it numbs you out. When you’re in agony, numbness is like the hand of God passing over you. If you process the pain, and actually experience what it’s like to feel good again – at least some of the time – then desensitization isn’t an improvement, and for the first time in a very long time, heroin doesn’t seem all that seductive anymore.
I can honestly say that without Ibogaine it is extremely unlikely I would have ever gotten clean and stayed that way. Instead of being drug-free longer than any period of time since roughly the age of 13, I would be stuck in the endless cycle of detoxing, re-realizing “ya know, this really hurts a lot, and talking about it in groups or with shrinks just doesn’t cut it. F*ck this, where’s the dope,” and getting strung-out again.
After deciding to try ibogaine the main problem you’re going to be faced with is actually obtaining some. While landing in a variety of third-world countries and finding it, makes for an interesting excursion in an un-sprung state; it really didn’t hold a whole lotta appeal for me when I’m trying to detox from a heavy habit.
The last thing I want to do is get off a plane in nowhere, planet earth, and after discovering ibogaine is not as immediately available as I would need it to be, figuring out where to obtain narcotic analgesics to stay straight until I can detox.
Prior to detoxing with Dr. Deborah Mash I made contact with a variety of individuals offering ibogaine treatment in Panama, Italy and various “less-official” sources; all of which culminated in the same scenario: hurry up and wait … then wait some more. Healing Visions was the only detox offering ibogaine that actually managed to deliver on their claims.