Citation: Rubsley. "Introspection and Genuine Long-Term Benefit: An Experience with Tabernanthe iboga (root bark) (exp96249)". Erowid.org. Jan 21, 2013. erowid.org/exp/96249
I first heard about iboga during a radio interview with Bruce Parry, talking about his experience taking it with the Bwiti in Gabon. A number of things struck me about what he said: that it was a really positive experience; that it seemed to be a tool for personal and spiritual growth; that he was able to relive past experiences and gain a greater understanding from them; and that he was able to relive events in which he had affected others from their viewpoint. I think it was this last one that I found most profound: not only did it seem incredibly useful, it also tallied with some of what I believe takes place after death - the so-called 'day of judgment' - when one reviews one's own life and gets to see where we did well, and where we fell short. Of course, there is no judgment in the sense of punishment - just an accounting, and a realisation of where one can do better next time around. It seemed to me that Parry had touched on this experience while still in the body. I thought, well there's something I'd like to do too. I read up on it, I looked into flights to Gabon, and then I more or less put it into the back of my mind for three or four years, the idea of iboga surfacing only intermittently until earlier this year, when I found a few places that sold it in Europe.
My reasons for taking iboga
A lot of people take iboga in an attempt to break free from some sort of chemical addiction - heroin, alcohol, tobacco, etc - and it reportedly has a very high success rate in this regard. In my case I saw it as a means in which to develop my spiritual connection and to try to move beyond certain emotional blockages which I had been aware of for a long time, but which I hadn't been able to overcome. Also, I have felt that lately I had become way too obsessed with the computer, with being online, and in particular in playing internet chess! And I suppose I had hoped it would help me to perhaps be a little less lazy, and to stop procrastinating so much with the multitude of writing projects that I long to do and yet avoid like the plague, for one reason or another.
The main reason, though, was that I felt that I had an issue which stems from very early childhood, and in particular to do with my mother, which has left me with a deep down feeling of being unloved, or maybe even unlovable. Rationally, it makes no sense, and I'm not saying it's a black and white thing, a hundred percent issue one way or the other, but it's there, and I can see how it affects me in such subtle ways. Explicitly, many moons ago when I was living a fairly intense stage of 'the spiritual life' I felt that I had run into a brick wall, that I couldn't deepen my practice any further: a friend who did these pretty awesome angel channeling readings told me that it was because of issues stemming from my childhood, that because I did not get the feeling of being wanted and loved by my birth mother, I could not accept that I was truly wanted and loved by The Divine Mother (ie, God). It made sense, and I strove to overcome it, and yet I could not. This was more than ten years ago. I also saw how it was affecting me in my relationships with women and given that I was getting ready to embark on a new one, I really wanted this sorted. Iboga seemed like a way to maybe get to the root cause of the issue - if you'll pardon the pun.
My spiritual and psychological background
I think it's probably important to mention this, as I believe the experience will of course be different and dependent on where a person is coming from, at what stage they're at in their life. First off, as I say, any aspect of drug dependency was not an issue for me: I haven't taken drugs in over 12 years; gave up alcohol and caffeine at the same time; and have even been off chocolate and sugar for the past three months (was well addicted over the winter, as is my habit - summer off, winter well and truly on). I've never smoked and, not that it makes any difference, I'm a vegetarian.
Spiritually speaking, I had some fairly intense experiences in my mid-twenties, ten or so years ago, which I think do bear some relation to my iboga experience because, it seems to me, they seem to have given results similar to what one might expect from iboga. Namely, I'm thinking of the first vision quest I did - which involved six days alone on a beach in Mexico, free from any sort of distraction whatsoever (including reading, writing, cooking, making fire) - and which was a deeply introspective and emotional experience. After that vision quest - before which I had been a very heavy and frequent drinker of about eight years - I simply lost all desire for alcohol: it was as though it had taken me to the prime reason why I drank - I imagine some sort of emotional disturbance - and simply removed it. Without it, there was no impulse or imperative to drink, and alcohol came to be seen purely as a toxic substance which caused physical and mental imbalance lacking any positive qualities whatsoever. Several times before this I had tried to give up drinking - but without having tackled the cause of my drinking - merely seeking to alleviate the symptoms - it had been a struggle and an effort and I had failed: after my vision quest, all desire was gone.
Also: I did two further vision quests, one of twenty-eight days and another of six; spent several months meditating in a Vipassana centre; followed Ammachi - the hugging saint - around Europe a couple of times; had a few sort of mystical experiences - eg, oneness with everything and what I believe was a meeting with my/the soul; and in general got very heavily into the God thing, which gave me a lot of good (in the way of happiness, peace, meaning, etc) and a fair bit of mad too (delusion, confusion, lack of understanding at how to live well in the material world). Most of that, however, is years ago, and both the ecstasy and the madness have significantly subsided (for example, I reckon I'm at least 99% cured of my Messiah complex!)
But I digress...
I did my research and my sums and I felt pretty good about what I'd found. There are some great resources online - lots of first-hand accounts and tips from 'iboga therapists' - and I found especially useful the writings of Howard Lotsof and an English woman, Hattie Wells. Finding out what I should take took a bit of effort but I learned that iboga root is sort of useless and will make you sick and it's actually the rootbark that's where it's at. This can be bought in various forms - powder, pills, HCl (which I don't really understand) - though I ended up going for the actual rootbark itself. A number of reasons for this: but mainly because that's the base product - ie, what they'd be eating out in Africa - and because it's by far the cheapest! Yep, tight-ass Yorkshireman to the last. I ordered 25 grams of the stuff and paid something like £58, including shipping, plus - bonus of bonuses - they overfilled their bags and I ended up with 30 grams of the stuff. Nice chaps. The iboga smelled like some sort of tea I'd had years ago: I tried a pinch and pretty much immediately felt some noticeable effects in my body. Wow! If that's what a pinch would do, imagine two and half bags of the stuff. I ruminated on it and waited for the right time.
From what I'd read probably the most important thing was to have someone with you who would be able to support you through the experience. Someone who would be able to deal with watching someone puke - and maybe even shit themselves - without freaking out. Someone who could do that for anything up to 30 hours. Preferably someone who was experienced with iboga and knew what to expect. Alas, I didn't have anyone I knew who fulfilled this criteria, though I did have a few people in mind who I thought wouldn't flip out and who would be supportive and caring and present through the whole thing. In the end, though, I didn't bother. Also, the other thing is setting, and I suppose somewhere quiet and away from your home and ideally in nature is the best place for it. But I didn't bother with that either. Instead, I went to bed on Wednesday night and just had this sudden sense that I would wake up the next day and do it then. It was sort of clear to me. And then I wake up and another voice says, no, that's daft, so many people online say you should never, ever do it on your own. I accept that - but then a few minutes later my roommate Tom comes downstairs, tells me that he's got the day off and will be staying at home - his first ever day off while I've been around, as far as I'm aware - and that pretty much clinches it. Today is the day; I'll do it at home and no doubt all will be well. I set up my tent on a rug in the living room, next to the dining room table where Tom will be working, so he can keep an eye on me, and I create a second space up on the top landing, on an air mattress with some blankets where it's quieter, darker, and more secluded. I figure once I know I'm not going to die I'll go up there and do the main part of it out of the way on my own. I put out a couple of bowls for puke. I find some ambient New Age music and some headphones. And I'm ready to go.
Physically, I'm expecting to be pretty messed up. Lots of nausea and puking: maybe even shit myself. I think that I'm going to be incapable of movement for something like 16-30 hours; probably won't even be able to see or hear or speak. I'm expecting visions; to enter into another realm where I'll vividly relive episodes from my earlier life; to meet the spirit of the plant - some black guy - and maybe go on a journey to the jungles of Africa. I'm expecting wisdom, teaching, and the clearing out of my old baggage, answers to my every question. I'm expecting to come out of it with a new fresh mind, born again and free from traumas and blockages (such as they are) accumulated during a time when I was too young to understand what was happening to me, but could feel it anyways. I'm expecting to have my ass kicked, to be shown where I'm lacking, to be chastised for my laziness, my arrogance, all my shortcomings - and to be shown how to move beyond them. And I'm expecting to see again times where I've hurt people - I'm thinking women in relationships - and to gain some realisations about that, to feel bad about it, and to see how I can avoid ever doing that again. And I'm expecting - hoping, really - to crack through that aspect of myself that wrongly believes that I am not loved.
I ate the first iboga rootbark at around 10.40am. The flavour is actually quite nice, a bit like menthol. I take half a mouthful and chew it and swallow it down. It takes, I think, about 20 minutes to eat the whole 30 grams. I don't rush it, I just take my time. Then I lie down in the tent and stick on the headphones.
Pretty quick, I notice that I'm slowing down: my movements, my thinking, my speech. I had to get up a few times to adjust a few things (had to put some music on my phone to take upstairs with me) and it was all pretty comical. I was aware that it was comical - that I must look, to Tom, like the typical tripping druggie - but there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I closed my eyes and settled down and waited for it to kick in.
Now, what I must say here is this: that when it was all done, I realised that it had 'kicked in' pretty much immediately. But because I was waiting for something a bit more dramatic than what actually happened I didn't really recognise it. In fact, I didn't really feel that different to my normal state, which is generally a state of observing my thoughts, of being introspective, of investigating my being and seeking understanding. So maybe I missed a trick or two there - though I don't really think so. In any case, looking back I do see that my thinking had altered and that I received some pretty profound benefits almost straight from the off.
And now I'll just waffle in a general and less linear way...
Quantity and setting
I can't go any further in my writing without saying, first of all, that I don't think I had a large enough quantity of iboga. I started thinking this while I was under the influence, maybe even just a few hours in, and I was even doing sums and trying to work out where I'd gone wrong, how much I should have had. I guess I thought this because I realised I wasn't going anywhere near as deep as I'd expected. But that's the problems with expectations, eh? And I may be totally wrong with my belief that I didn't have enough. But, the funny thing was, I suddenly remembered half-way through that one of my earliest calculations called for something like 45 grams of rootbark - and I of course kicked myself, and immediately made plans to do it again (in amongst everything else that was happening). The equation goes something like this:
recommended dosage x weight = quantity of rootbark x alkaloid content
Hattie Wells recommends a dosage of something like 15mg/kg, which would require me (at the monstrous 84kg I currently am!) to ingest 1.26 grams of ibogaine (the active ingredient). Apparently, the alkaloid content of my rootbark was between 3 and 6 percent, therefore:
30 grams x 3 to 6% = 0.8 to 1.6g ibogaine
Which, now I've typed it out makes me realise that I may have been totally wrong in all of this thinking! Oh well: seems important to mention that, as it was on my mind during the excursion. And while I'm in the mood for digression...
I think being away from one's own home is certainly a good idea, and something I'll definitely do next time. I think, for me, it's generally beneficial in lots of way: for instance, when I try and write, the more I separate myself from things that may have a pull on my mind, the more focussed I can be on the task in hand. Not having the ability to go online, for example - or simply being away from the pulls of a house (cooking, tidying up, bills, chores, etc). Not having anything in your vicinity that can speak to your mind is a great tool for focus: hence the power and reason for retreats. Doing it at home, I definitely thought of things to do with the home, with Tom. But for a first trip it was all good lessons...
And now maybe I can talk about what actually happened.
So I see iboga, primarily, as a tool in powerful and beneficial introspection (Daniel Pinchbeck titled an article in The Guardian 'Ten years of therapy in one night'). Pretty much immediately, almost all my thoughts became focused on myself, on my own being, on things that were important to me. Thoughts arose about my ex, who I've been separated from for four years, yet who I've long imagined I might get back with, who I always thought of as 'the one'. In a nutshell, I've never truly let her go. Yet as the thoughts arose about her - as I began to tell myself my usual story of her, of how things could have been different, of what I could do - a story I could often entertain myself with for hours - pretty much right away another voice cut in with the words 'she's gone'. The first voice perhaps tried to explain, to bring the story back, but it was always cut off with those two words, very direct, very clear, and nothing to argue with. It was as though my mind simply accepted the truth of that statement and instantly, after all those hours and months and years of thinking one way, it started to think another. Throughout the trip I might call her to mind and always it was the same way: as it has been in the days since. The truth of the situation was always that: but I had never been able to see it and accept it before. Instantly, it was done. It's as though there's nothing more to say about that, it's just...gone.
So that was good.
Another thing I remember from the early stages was that I might think something, and I would instantly realise that it was a negative thought, and that it didn't serve me to think that way. Then the thought would either disappear, or I would be shown how I could turn that thought into a positive expression. After a bit of this, I would only need to be a few words into a negative thought when the thought would die and be replaced by something beneficial. I know of late I've given in to lots of negative thinking - hating the world for various reasons, etc - but now there just doesn't seem much point, because ultimately all it does is effect and reflect poorly on me. No need.
I think that's all I remember from 'the first stage'. After that I decided to go upstairs and lie down there. It was apparent that I wasn't going to die. Also, I was disturbed by the noises around me and wanted to be away from them. I got up and walked slowly to the nest I had made earlier. My balance was poor and turning my head at any kind of speed made me feel dizzy and created lightning flashes around various objects. But I made it upstairs fine and lied on my back. Lying on my side created nausea and dizziness, but on my back I was fine. Then, again, I waited for it to really kick in.
I think I vomited after about three hours: vomited three times and instantly felt better, and figured the trip would begin then. All that came out was the rootbark - though I'd had some raisins for breakfast - and the puking was in no ways unpleasant (though I don't ever really mind puking). About ten minutes later, however, I vomited again, this time much stronger, and again a few minutes after that. In all, three sessions of vomiting, probably about 11 or 12 pukes in total. Just chewed up rootbark and not unpleasant, no real nausea once done - or before, to be honest, unless I was walking or moving my head about - and then it was back to lying on my back and being mellow.
I think just after this the visuals may have started, though it could have been before. Started with various little shapes which may just have been eye gunk - couldn't really tell - but then I remember distinctly seeing a lizard scuttle across my screen and realising that it weren't no eye gunk. This was followed by more lizards, some spiders and scorpions, none of which were in any way frightening, they were just there (thought maybe some connection with Africa, although perhaps also the rainforest ambient music I was listening to). After this there were many faces - some of which I recognised, and had some relevance at the time, though I don't recall them now - and also cars. Every now and then I'd get this black guy's face appearing, looking at me as though he were checking me out, coming closer and then turning away. I wondered if this was Mr Iboga, the so-called spirit of the plant that I'd read about. He popped up intermittently but I felt that I hadn't eaten enough rootbark to really get into him.
Mainly, I suppose, that was it. I think I vomited at around 2pm and then the visuals and the introspection may have lasted about four or five hours. It was all good stuff. After that, there was a sense of 'coming down', though I continued to lie still and with my eyes closed (on my side now) until at least midnight, when I fell asleep. I was very calm, very mellow, and very content throughout the whole experience, and had no desire for food or drink and felt nothing in the way of thirst or hunger. Indeed, the next morning, despite having drunk nothing for nearly twenty-four hours, I still had no thirst, nor any sense of dehydration, which I believe is common to the iboga experience. The next day, I watched a movie and relaxed until about 5pm - I was still moving and thinking very slowly - at which time I felt like I had returned 'completely to normal'.
I type all this now and it all seems rather uneventful - which is quite amusing as it's what I felt at the time, and then afterwards, when I realised that certain things had actually happened, I felt that I'd received a lot. All in all, though, despite my feeling that I didn't take enough to go deep enough into a major 'break through' - to meet the spirit, to be shown mind-blowing things, to get reprimanded and have mad visions - I really feel that it was an overwhelmingly positive and beneficial experience, without anything of the negative whatsoever. There were no side effects, no depressing come down, nothing of the madness and weirdness that one might expect from a so-called 'hallucinogen'. Since the trip I have felt incredibly calm and positive, and have noticed some real changes in my being and in my way of thinking.
Obviously, being able to let go of an old relationship is a pretty major step - at least, it is for me, as I really haven't been able until now - and the transmutation of negative thoughts into positive seems to have stayed with me. It's as though that voice that would butt in and show me a better way to think has integrated itself so that it is now the default rather than the correction and that I immediately jump to the positive thought rather than wallow in negativity. I've been on a bit of a downer for a few months now and I literally feel no trace of that.
Also, I haven't played a single game of online chess and have absolutely no desire to do so: that's pretty amazing. Before the iboga, I might be playing for anything between four and twelve hours a day; would play even when I had other things to do; until the early hours (and I'm talking, on occasion, like 5 or even 6am); and would play when my brain was screaming no, when I had promised myself 'last one' several times over, and when I had lost any sense of enjoyment whatsoever. Even thinking about how I hated it and what a waste of life it was would make me play, as though the mere mention of the word 'chess' triggered the desire to have a game. I can't remember the last time I was on a computer, online, and didn't have a game. And yet...here I sit, and over the last few days, when I've contemplated it, and when it's been but a click away, there's nothing in me that wants to play. That's pretty major.
It's almost like...before the iboga, I might think to myself, shall I have a game? and there'd be a voice in my head that would tell me, immediately, 'no'. And yet I'd ignore it. It almost seems like iboga has made that voice - a voice of wisdom and a voice of sensibility - so strong that it has become the dominant voice. It's the voice that doesn't let me dwell on regrets and negative thinking. It's the voice that instantly tells me the truth of a situation and of my thinking - and rather than there being any argument or discussion, and that voice losing, as was so often - pretty much always - the case, that voice now wins. And, indeed, it's almost as though it has become not just the dominant voice but the only voice. Perhaps that's why iboga works in helping people move on, in helping them let go of their addictions: it's like an amazingly strong reinforcement in the battle against the part of us that makes us do the things we know, deep down, are bad for us. Always we have a voice that knows what's good, knows what's bad - and this is a way of redressing the balance. I may not have been addicted to heroin but, wow, you have no idea how lost and how bad I was with the chess. If iboga has removed that urge...then I can't tell you how awesome it is.
It's hard to think of iboga as a drug, so different is it from what most of us think drugs to be. It's not something you'd take to get high, to feel ecstatic, because it doesn't really have that effect. For me, it wasn't even about 'getting out there', because I always knew where I was, who I was, and didn't really feel that different from my normal state of being. It really was like therapy - above and beyond anything, a deep and focused introspective experience entered into for the long term benefits. There were, I feel, and hope, definite long term benefits from this - and, as far as I can tell, absolutely no side effects, nothing of the negative. Even if things have changed, once the trip is over the overwhelming feeling is of a 'return to normal': I feel no different than beforehand, except, as I've said, that I seem to be lacking several things that weren't good for me. How cool is that?
I'd gone into this experience wanting it to be a one time only thing: I don't really want to make a habit of this kind of thing and would rather achieve these results naturally - though I guess we all need a helping hand now and again. Having believed that I'd fallen short, however, and would require a stronger dose, even during the experience I was making plans to do it again. If you're gonna do it, do it right, right? So I do think there's more to learn from this and - well, if not, I at least want to know that I've given it my best shot. This time was great for what I got from it - I really shouldn't underestimate that - and also as a trial run: I think I have a much better idea of how to go into it now.
Number one, I want a larger dose: probably around 50 grams I think. Number two, I want to be away from home, away from anything that can divert my thinking, and away from the noise of cars. Number three, I want someone with me who can be totally focused on the task in hand: although, really, I think I would have been equally fine - and maybe better off - doing it on my own, and perhaps would be also next time. The vomiting and the nausea really weren't anything to put me off and the whole thing was altogether more mellow and gentle than I could have possibly imagined. I must stress, though, that I think this was entirely due to the spiritual practice that I've done in the past, and I don't think it would be the same for people who were coming at it from a markedly different place. I think I will do it again: I want to meet Mr Iboga! He was there, but just a little out of reach. Maybe in a month or two. We'll see...
Bits I've missed
I thought often about the girl I'm currently involved with, and that was all really, really good. And also about my favourite place on earth, the hot springs canyon in Mexico, which we'd talked about going to spend six months in come this autumn, and I really feel like I was getting the go-ahead for that, like it was almost telling me that, more than anywhere, that was my home. And, I forget to mention this, but there really were loads of questions that I had where the answers pretty much instantly came. Not that I remember the specifics but...well, it all adds to the sense of clarity, and the sense of clearing out old debris of thoughts, which is all good. Also...
My short-term memory was atrocious - and laughably so. Many times I'd think something, then think, where did this thought begin? and by the time I'd thought that I'd forgotten what I was thinking about. It really was very difficult to hold on to anything. But then, that's not really the point, it seems to be about letting go, about moving through things rather than getting into them in a conscious, analytical way.
The next day, I kept thinking of things that I did 'the day before' - ie, food I'd bought, some places I'd been - and I then had to keep reminding myself that all this was actually two days before. It was as though Thursday hadn't happened. Very strange: like flying across the international date-line or being asleep for an entire day and night. Time was different: even though I wasn't doing anything there was no real sense of it passing or of boredom.
Oh! Something just came back to me - probably the peak of the whole thing. Don't know how I'd forgotten it: it was very clear at the time and I remember telling Tom about it later. Anyway, it's short but was quite dramatic in the moment: I was lying on my back with my eyes closed and I felt these hands either do this thing, or be about to do it, which sort of involved reaching into my rib cages and basically pulling me apart, so that my body shattered and exploded into quite a lot of pieces. At the time I thought that was when I was really going to get into it: but then probably immediately after that I again got the sense that I hadn't eaten enough rootbark and that it was something I could perhaps look forward to next time.
I also think that there was something pretty much right at the beginning, where I had this thought, 'what makes you think I'm worthless?' (during, I think, some imaginary conversation with somebody). And then I felt like I got stuck on the words, 'I'm worthless' and they kept repeating and coming back intermittently throughout: I felt like I was touching on some deep, hidden part of me, some core belief, a voice or thought that lies beneath a great many other things. I think 'I'm worthless' is a bit dramatic - I certainly don't feel that way - but I thought it was interesting given the whole 'unlovable' thing I'd been thinking of beforehand...
The second time
Not too long after my first experience I took delivery of 100 grams of iboga rootbark; 50 for me and 50 for a friend. Unlike the first time, however, they hadn't overfilled the bags and so I was without the eagerly anticipated 20% freebie. Also, the quality didn't seem as good - much more of the white root in there, and much larger pieces of bark, which took a lot of sorting and sifting before I was ready to eat it. Slightly disappointing.
I'd gone to Germany on Tuesday the 19th of July to see Mother Meera, the reputed Indian Avatar who I've seen on many occasions previously, and who, though mostly a complete mystery to me, I do feel has had a very beneficial effect on my life. She hosts darshans on the Friday to the Monday and I figured the spare days I had beforehand would be an excellent opportunity to take the iboga: Balduinstein, where the darshans are held, is a tiny little nothing village by a river, very quiet and surrounded by hills and trees. I'd wound up putting up my tent in a lovely lady's garden veranda. Everything, I imagined, was perfect.
The first night
On the Wednesday evening - no, what you want to know first is how I got it there...
Getting it there
I was flying out to Germany; and I was a little bit worried that taking iboga through airport security might not be the best idea, though legal in both countries. It's a weird looking bag of twigs and powder; it smells funny; and it's got a dubious story, if you decide to tell the truth about it. Also, I only travel with hand luggage so checking it in wasn't an option. In the event, I decided to take a sample of teas in clear plastic bags - some rooibos, some loose leaf jasmine - and then I stuffed the iboga into the jasmine box, masquerading it as just another tea. And, amazingly enough, when passing my bag through the scanner, what I'm sure was a rather dubious looking image didn't even raise an eyelid.
The first night
On the Wednesday evening I attempted to get stuck in to that monstrous bag of bark: and it wasn't easy. This time, the smell made me want to retch: body-memory of previous pukes which simply hadn't been there before. One mouthful almost impossibly hard to get down. Immediate gipping. Two mouthfuls, three - and then, out of nowhere, I spewed the whole bloody lot out, squirting it through the fingers that had rushed to cover my mouth; some of it went four feet up in the air, splattering the veranda windows in ten-feet wide arc. I felt like shit. I mopped up what I could with a pair of white shorts and then went to bed. I knew it wasn't going to happen this night. Except...
I had this remarkably vivid dream: in it, I was with my mother and we were talking face-to-face and quite intently. I was thinking things - having insights, realisations - and then she would say them out loud, word for word, and I would understand that what I had been thinking wasn't mere musing but the truth. Then I had this image of my birth, of my first glance up to her face, and something hit me about that, and the words 'You were afraid of me' came into my mind. There was something shocking, brutal, incredible about them. And then she said, out loud, 'You were afraid of me.' I said, 'No, you were afraid of me,' and though she tried to argue, to assert it was I who had been afraid, I repeated what had come to me and the force of it - the force of the truth in it - washed away any argument she might have. The image was there: the image of the baby, looking up at its mother's face for the first time, and being overwhelmed with an inexpressible sense that this person - the first person - the care-giver - was actually afraid of the thing she was supposed to love. No doubt it's possible: she was seventeen, her whole life had instantly and dramatically changed. Perhaps she was afraid. A very vivid and non-typical dream.
I think it may have been the same night when another thing came to me: the phrase 'All faces are weird looking' and a whole bunch of associated paraphernalia. It made me think that, yes, they are; and also that I had been too hung up on the female face when looking for a partner, made me think of past girls I had been with, some of whom I had gone from thinking incredibly beautiful in the beginning to eventually just thinking them rather odd looking, and one in particular who I liked and cared for a lot, who I had fun with, felt comfortable with - as well as great sex - but whom I could never quite commit to because I didn't like her face. I've mused on this and I've chastised myself for it: seems such a shallow way to be, when it's what's inside that counts, and when we all get old and wrinkly and weird looking anyways. Love: what's the shape of a person's face got to do with love? And what a stupid thing to base such an important decision on. Makes me think of my current girlfriend: certainly, her face isn't the most beautiful in the world - and yet, personality-wise, I don't think I've ever met anyone more suited. Probably that's the way I need to be thinking. Oh, to be Stevie Wonder, and not be so blinded by such immature ways of being!
The second night
I embarked on my mission with a renewed determination, casting aside any reluctance I had with regard to the nausea, the puking, the sheer impossibility of eating such an enormous bag of such a disgusting product (there still remained, probably, some 45 grams). I took some time - probably a few hours - to break down the larger pieces, sitting in the veranda chopping it up, crushing it down, taking out all the sick-making little sticks of white root and pulling the bark from them with my teeth. I was prepared this time: I had my bucket to puke in and, if necessary, I would eat that puke straight back down. In the even, I don't think I needed to at all. The eating was much easier - the strength of my will-power, no doubt, which had been lacking the night before - and I somehow got through the whole lot of it with the minimum of fuss.
I settled into my tent; I got ready and awaited the visions; and nothing came. Nothing. I can think of nothing from this night except a mild disappointment and my falling asleep. Iboga is supposed to keep you awake but all I did was fall asleep. And I didn't even dream. 45 grams of it and not a single insight or revelation or visual. Very, very strange. Perhaps it was a bum dose, and perhaps I'd gotten everything I needed from iboga the first time. Either way, I was done.
Though I still didn't escape feeling like shit the next day. ;-)
3 months and twenty-eight days later
And so what remains? For, unlike those just-for-kicks drugs, my whole reason for taking iboga is to attain some long-term goal, something tangible and beneficial that will hopefully stay with me and do me good. Which, you'll be pleased to find out, is something I believe I have achieved.
Number one, I'm still off the chess! Woohoo! Seriously, it's still amazing to me that the iboga destroyed that habit in me - a very destructive habit, I've no problem with admitting - and that I could switch, in the space of one day, and one iboga trip, from a daily 4-12 hour addiction to having zero interest in playing online chess. Nor any other online games: nothing has arisen to replace it, which was usually the case in the past (it's also five months since I quit facebook, and six months now I've been chocolate and sugar-free). The word triggers nothing in me; the thinking about it neither. I can type here about my former habit; I can join the Leeds Uni chess society; and I can watch a video on the BBC website where one of their reporters plays UK Grandmaster Nigel Short and think, oh, I'd like to have a game of chess soon, and still nothing in me wants to find a place to play online. I shake my head in wonder: maybe this thing really does destroy addictions.
Next thing I think of is the whole issue of being hung-up on my ex, and about how iboga seemed to instill in me this voice that would cut in, whenever I got to musing about her and us, with the clear and simple wisdom that 'she's gone.' And on this subject I have to report a little less success, in that I have gone back to musing about her a bit, and that the 'wise voice' has died down a little, although I'm certainly nowhere near as bad as I used to be. I do think I was pretty much 'cured' - but, as I've learned with overcoming old habits, spiritual healings, etc, it's almost as though it's possible to regress, and to 'call back' the thing you wanted rid of - especially if it gives you some kind of comfort, some kind of 'crutch'.
So it happened here, perhaps for two reasons: one, being over her I decided to delete the sexy pictures I had of the two of us together, and hide the rest, and that got me reminiscing and, even at the moment I could feel it, calling her back to mind; and two, in being with my new girlfriend, I seem to be comparing, contrasting, and looking at things that were different, and better, and worse - which is probably another habit I ought to try and stop! In any event, a few months of being well and truly over her have passed and I've slipped back a little into wondering, into thinking about her. Although it's nothing like what it was pre-iboga. Moral of the story is: don't keep any pictures! I mean, what's even the point? Why would I want to look at them? I should go back and delete them all.
Other than those two things I'm not sure there's much to say. I certainly don't feel any negative effects: and though it's hard to know whether or not the positivity has stayed with me - I mean, when new ways of thinking integrate and become the norm it's not always easy to appreciate them and the changes they represent - I'd like to think it has: I do feel that it's been a long time that I've given into negative ways of thinking, and certainly the negative ways of others around me seems to have become more pronounced, more strange to observe and irksome. Because isn't everything fine? And, even if it's not, isn't there a bright side to look on, don't we have a lot to be grateful for? So, yes, maybe that positivity has taken root somewhere within. ;-)
Ultimately, I'm very glad I did it and I do think it has done me some long-term good which, with a bit of will-power on my part - for example, not sliding back into old ways - I hope will stay with me forever.
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