What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is known as the “Addiction Interrupter.” It is the primary active alkaloid in the IBOGA tree, which is native to West Central Africa. It is a potent psychotropic substance with a long history of medicinal and ceremonial use. More recently it has gained popularity for its success in treating addiction, particularly opioid addiction. Ibogaine is effective in interrupting addictions to a number of substances including heroin, opioid or narcotic pain medications, amphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine
How does Ibogaine Treat Addiction?
Ibogaine is known for its ability to interrupt the biochemical feedback loop found in an addicted individual’s brain. That loop is formed when the addictive substance hijacks the brain’s most important regulatory systems: the dopamine, serotonin, NMDA, and opioid pathways. Through a combination of stimulating, regulating, or resetting those systems, ibogaine interrupts the individual’s addiction on a neurological level.
For opioid-addicted individuals, the neurological effect of ibogaine results in a significant reduction in acute withdrawal symptoms and post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Research on ibogaine demonstrates that it is 90% effective at eliminating post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Post-treatment cravings are also dramatically reduced after ibogaine treatment, often for a period of up to three months, which gives people a window of opportunity to make significant progress in their recovery.
How Does Ibogaine Differ from Other Addiction Treatments?
Ibogaine does not lead to physical depend-ency or withdrawal effects like opioid replacement therapies. Ibogaine treatment is not a conventional replacement therapy (ie. Suboxone, Methadone) that switches from one addictive substance to another.
Ibogaine Helps Heal the Trauma Underlying Addiction
Psychedelics like ibogaine help access long-stored beliefs, memories, and emotions into conscious awareness so they can be faced, understood, and healed. Patients are able to process insights on their addiction and past trauma patterns.
How Do Mystical Experiences Occasioned by ibogaine Help Reverse Addiction?
Ibogaine and other psychedelic plant medicines reliably induce mystical experiences that are often described as some of the peak spiritual experiences in a person’s life. Patients often report experiencing mystical states of oneness and transcendence of the self, a feeling of ego-death and rebirth, and feeling connected to the universe. The depth of these mystical and spiritual experiences are directly related to ibogaine’s efficacy as an addiction interrupter. There are no pharmaceutical treatments for addiction that have this effect, therefore the Western medical approach is incapable of providing one of the most important elements required for helping individuals recover from addiction.
A Typical Weeklong Addiction Treatment Program Consists of Three Phases
It’s essential to prepare for this powerful experience both physically and mentally.
1. Physical preparation includes:
A thorough screening conducted prior to arrival and a one-on-one medical evaluation by a physician upon arrival.
Comprehensive onsite medical testing including drug screen, urinalysis, bloodwork, and EKG.
Stabilization medications provided for opioid-dependent individuals to prevent withdrawal in the days before the ibogaine detox.
2. Mental preparation includes
Coaching or therapy sessions with trained integration specialists.
One-on-one sessions onsite with addiction counselors who specialize in psychedelic psychotherapy.
Educational sessions on recovery, nutrition, the medicines used, and other valuable teachings.
Intention setting, group discussions, meditation, breathing/calming exercises, and more.
Treatment should be conducted in a licensed medical facility and supervised by therapeutic staff who provide the support needed for a safe, comfortable, and effective experience.
Assimilating and internalizing the experience is a crucial step to reaping the psychological benefits of this experience.After the ibogaine experience, the patient engages in individual and group counseling sessions, recovery planning, and action planning–all intended to help sustain the benefits of treatment. Patients may engage in activities that get them “back in their body,” such as massage, horseback riding, and walks. In some programs, a second psychoactive session is scheduled with another entheogenic substance which supplements and reinforces the effects of Ibogaine with addictions to various substances, including opioids, alcohol, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, and amphetamine.
Tips for Preparing for an Iboga/Ibogaine Journey
Welcome to the Start of a new chapter on your journey of recovery, self-discovery, and life purpose.
Through this process you are the authority in the experiences you create and how impactful and lasting this experience becomes in your larger life. To enhance your treatment experience, learn and implement the tips presented here.
Whether you get a small push or a huge jumpstart at a new life is determined not by ibogaine but rather by your ability to make the most out of your experience.
You must understand that:
Attitude largely differentiates the quality of experience you’ll have with ibogaine; for instance, to the degree that you are grateful is to the degree that you will notice opportunities.
Working in partnership with the medicine is another essential practice; this means setting intentions, facing the truth, having the tough conversations, speaking outside what is happening inside, showing vulnerability, and refocusing energies and efforts.
The preparation phase starts two weeks to two months before you take ibogaine. Preparation equips you with tools, skills, and strategies to navigate psychedelic or transpersonal experiences to get the most out of your journey. Preparation comforts, inspires, supports, and deepens your experience in ceremony and maximizes lasting benefits. Truth be told, no amount of preparation can completely prepare you for the medicine. Every experience is unique, but you’ll have the things you learn to take with you.
Understanding the Medicines
The medicines provide opportunities for deep introspection and deep work, open your awareness to higher truths, take you into an expanded state of consciousness, help you release blocks and create healthier connections, and provide a reset and rite of passage to your next level. The medicines work best when you trust that you will get the experience you need to create the life experiences you want. It’s helpful to embrace resistance at any stage as an opportunity to learn and grow. Do your best to avoid expectations. Plant medicines will not save you or solve your problems; they open up opportunities and give you a running start.
Understanding Your Role
Your role with the medicines is to take 100% ownership over your experience and outcome, set intentions, prepare your mind and body, and commit to an aftercare integration plan. Your role is to embrace moments of challenge, whether it comes before, during, or after your experience. Your role is to fall into your flow, allow blocks to surface, sit with them, make peace with who you are, let go of who you’re not, breathe into your experiences, let go of the control or tension, see the truth beyond the stress, and discover the perfection of now. The long journey of Ibogaine offers great practice to this work in the default reality. You will need to take a very active role psychologically, behaviorally, and spiritually.
Clarity of Intentions
Get crystal clear with yourself on why you are embarking on this journey. What do you want and why? And why do you want those things? What is it that you really want? What is it that you really need? It is clear that knowing what you want to learn, discover, release, achieve, create, or attract is easier when you know what you’re looking for. This way you’ll recognize the signs, feedback, and real-time work as it is presented. Intentions focus your mind on what you want, which helps bring your affect, choices and behavior into alignment. Intentions give purpose and direction as you venture through this profound journey. Intentions keep you going strong.
Prepping Your Mind and Body
You can prep your mind through intentions, goal-setting, action planning, education on ibogaine, meditation, and breathwork to practice getting out of your head and into your heart, brain training exercises, and so on. You can prep your body through highly nourishing foods like lots of leafy greens, purified liquids like water and tea, cardio exercise (at least 20 minutes a day for 5 days beforehand), good sleep, knowing what medications and supplements you cannot be on five days prior, and yoga or another mind-body-spiritual cultivation. You can also prep your environments, such as your home before you leave so you’re set up for success when you come home with the new changes.
Aftercare Integration Plan
Your success after ibogaine or following any medicine correlates with your aftercare and long-term recovery plan. Medicines like ibogaine initiate and make change much easier, but to actually create long-term changes you have to make consistent commitments to change. Integration of your experience is where most of the insights, aha! moments, and transformational experiences exist. For those who return to their life without an integration plan, the medicinal experiences fade into dreams that never get a chance to manifest in their lives. For those who learn how to integrate, there is no limit to how vastly profound and transformational these experiences can continue to be in your life.
Recovery Starts Now
Your “work” in recovery begins the moment you choose to take action. Scheduling an ibogaine treatment is massive action in motion. There is a lot of power and momentum built up when you begin preparing for recovery even before your treatment with Ibogaine has started.
Also, it is observed that once you decide to take a psychedelic medicine the inner work often begins to surface. You might start feeling more anxious or ambitious. You may feel new or old things stirring up inside of you. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel what comes up. Look to each moment as an opportunity to do your work in real time. Observe your patterns to escape, numb, or ignore these moments; set the intention to be with them, to be open and to learn. You can practice this work now to help you surrender with more ease during your experience.
What Doing the “Work” Means
You are learning about yourself and improving as a person. In order to see change in your life you will have to make changes in yourself. This work requires you to observe your thought, emotional, behavioral, relational, and lifestyle patterns; see how they are limited by your past, social conditioning, and false beliefs; and take action in the areas of self-improvement and true-self alignment that you can. Starting your recovery work pre-medicine requires mindfulness to embrace daily challenges as opportunities to let go, accept, go within, find the blessing, and act morally.
Recovery from addiction is possible for anyone, including you, if you follow a daily practice of self-mastery along with your ibogaine experience. From preparation, to training, to integration, allow yourself to naturally mature out of your addiction by cultivating the steps as you go.