Ibogaine is an extract from the African Iboga plant that has become popularized for its ability to interrupt addiction. It produces a number of effects, the most notable being the elimination or drastic reduction of withdrawal symptoms and cravings when getting off of addictive substances. Ibogaine is predominantly used to treat heroin and opiate addictions, but people are undergoing ibogaine treatment for many other types of addictions and various states of suffering. The use of Ibogaine is banned in the U.S., but it is seeing increased use in many other countries including Mexico and Canada. While this post aims to be informative, it cannot give you a full understanding of Ibogaine. This is a powerful and potentially dangerous plant medicine that requires much due diligence on your behalf, and proper long-term support such as addiction recovery coaching.
The Advent of Ibogaine
The growing rates of substance and behavioral addictions in the US and around the world are staggering. Traditional methods to treat addiction are struggling to keep people’s trust, and largely failing to maintain long-term results. The problem is escalating at exponential rates. As a result, people are looking for alternative ways to save their self, their loved ones, and their family from the grasp of substance addiction.
Ever since being discovered in the West in 1962, ibogaine has gained popularity as a powerful detox method. Its sparkle in the news media and attractive benefits are calling families everywhere to send their addicted love one to treatment. This is happening so fast that the great opportunity with Ibogaine is largely being missed because most people are not fully informed on how Ibogaine addiction recovery actually works.
Ibogaine requires both preparation and integration support to bookend the treatment and give it the best chance of success. It is imperative that you do your due diligence to understand the nature of the medicine and what to look for in its providers. With preparation you want to consider mental prep, physical prep, and life prep. Mental prep might include setting clear intentions, releasing expectations about the experience, getting honest with yourself in areas of denial, acknowledging fears, limiting beliefs, and negativity that blocks growth, and practicing mindfulness. Physical prep speaks to hydration and nutrition, movement and exercise, pre-cleansing your body, good sleep, and all around self-care.
Life prep can include a lot of things depending on how much time you have, and it is best to take your time to prepare rather than rushing into the experience. One of the most important aspects is taking the time to develop a seamless aftercare plan. You cannot wing an experience like this, or loosely plan your steps afterwards. Where will you go after that is safe, comfortable, therapeutic, and stimulating? Do not return to an unsafe, unmanaged, stressful or addictive environment. Who will support you? What do you need to tell them before you go to ensure the right support? You’ll need family and friends, a recovery community, and a one-on-one trusted relationship outside of your personal relationships. Life prep also includes a complete upgrade of your lifestyle, with new stimulus and positive activities, strong accountability, and lasting improvements to self care.
There are 12 alkaloids found within the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga. Ibogaine is one of these alkaloids that is known for causing visions and interrupting addiction. Some providers offer the isolated ibogaine alkaloid, while some prefer to give the complete root bark, which is a more traditional method. Ibogaine and iboga are sacred healing medicines that have been categorized as entheogens for their psychoactive properties. While often called psychedelics, a more accurate description would be “oneirogens” because they produce a waking or lucid dream experience.
Ibogaine for addiction treatment almost always happens in a medical setting with licensed medical staff. Individuals are pre-screened through a complete medical workup, exam, lab work, and an EKG. Treatments are administered via capsules and medically monitored throughout treatment. During the experience a person undergoing the treatment will lay on their backs for 12-18 hours often, in a awakened dream-state where all senses may experience dream-like hallucinations. Often people will see visions when their eyes are closed, and have blurred vision when eyes are open. One usually feels ataxic or dizzy like they can’t move, hears buzzing, feels temperature changes, gets nauseous, and feels many changing sensations from extreme comfort to discomfort. This is a long experience that requires patience, surrender, and endurance. The first phase commonly referred to as the “visionary phase” is most intense. The experience is a mystery until you step into it, there is no telling what you’ll experience, and every experience is unique.
As the visionary phase calms after 4-6 hours, a meditative space opens up for reflection, contemplation, and introspection. One is still in the experience and won’t want to move or open their eyes much. But the intensity of the mind’s elaborate visits to the past, present, and future are slowing, so here a person can relax and think about what they just experienced. Regardless of how eventful the first phase was, the second phase keeps a person in meditation for an extended time. As the medicine continues to work and restores neuropathways to a pre-addiction states, the mind too works to release stored pain, trauma, resentments, and tension. This could be more of a pleasant time of appreciation and revelation, or there could still be a lot of stuff coming up for a person to work through.
Through the journey of Ibogaine, individuals come to see some truth behind their addiction and more of who they really are. Ibogaine reveals one’s psychology and personality to see how in alignment with their truth they actually are. This helps a person see where their work in recovery will be. Things like fears, traumas, blocks, and problems are shown to illustrate what needs to happen after treatment if a person wants to turn their life around. Ibogaine releases a lot of the pain and toxicity in the brain and body so a person can regain their mental clarity, body awareness, and physical energy. All kinds of insights are realized during and after the experience. Ibogaine shows higher truths about the human experience, and often grants optimism for a better future. This leaves a person with new motivation, providing a window of opportunity to create lasting changes in one’s life.
The integration phase following an ibogaine journey is what this medicine is all about. This is the most important aspect of ibogaine addiction treatment, as the majority of the benefits come after the experience through changes in one’s life, environment, and sense of self. The medicine relieves a person of the withdrawal symptoms and physical dependency, but mentally, emotionally, and socially there is still a lot of work to do to use this short window of opportunity to permanently dismantle addictive tendencies. The process of recognizing the insights and opportunity from the experience and turning those insights into positive action in life-affirming and transformative ways, is the essence of integration. Since the addictive mindset still plays a role fighting for a position, a person has to work hard to take what they’ve been shown and run with it. This is why having a plan a place is essential because in this raw sobered state, the addictive mind will try to get you to flop.
The Importance of Coaching
It is true that some people get lucky and go through ibogaine treatment without aftercare and see long-term success. But working in this field for over 7 years now, we have seen so many people fail because they didn’t believe they needed additional help, and were looking for a “magic bullet” cure. The truth is, ibogaine does not save people from addiction, people save themselves when they are ready, informed, supported, and held accountable. Ibogaine addiction treatment is there to interrupt addictions and create a window of opportunity, but the hard work of permanently changing one’s life for the better involves much more than the treatment itself. This is why we developed our program of transformational recovery coaching, to fill in the gap between ibogaine treatment and long-term sobriety success. Contact us today or read our FAQ if you would like to learn more.