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Taking the Left Hand Path…

Preston Peet

posted at
April 19, 2005
Remember Waco!)

"Madness is not enlightenment, but the search for enlightenment is often mistaken for madness"- Richard Davenport-Hines, The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics

"Ugh, hey man," I gasp into the cell phone between the pounding throbbing of my head and the retching of my guts, "you have to come over right now, right away. I am so sick right now, we cannot wait any longer. Come right now." I hang up the cell phone and lean back over the side of the bed, throwing up yet more dinner from the night before into the small green bucket V has put next to the bed. She's not doing a good job at even pretending to be very sympathetic either. "I told you you shouldn't have done that last one," she points out as I heave miserably into the bucket, my long hair dragging through the sick.

The Reason and Rhyme This Time

The night before was Wednesday, April 13, 2005. V and I had gone out with her mom to eat at Red Bamboo, my favorite restaurant in NYC, a vegan place that makes the best food ever. Afterwards, we'd gone to Madison Square Garden to see Duran Duran play an excellent show, taking all three of us right back to 1982, where I for one hoped to be leaving a lot of very heavy luggage behind.

Having taken ibogaine, a very strange, amazingly beautiful and awesomely hallucinogenic African root with extremely beneficial anti-addictive qualities twice in two weeks back in August of 2004, the use of my pain killers had gotten out of control yet again within scant months, with me going back to dissolving and banging much of my meds, once more-and very quickly this time too I noticed right away-running out of cooperative veins into which to fix, losing any sense of pain relief from the use of the opiates, shooting right past pain relief into nodded out dolphin headedness, to the point where I often find myself waking up with my forehead lying on the beeping keyboard of my computer and my back and leg still killing me even at that overloaded level. I was trying to edit my current book project each day, all day, with just one eye open because I was having trouble keeping both my eyes open simultaneously, much less focused. I take the pain meds so I can sit and work at my desk without wanting to leap out the window in pain, but it's no good if I can't stay awake to work because I'm doing too many meds at a time. So I've decided to do another ibogaine session, to do a re-set basically, to start my body and mind over at square one again, cutting my tolerance and giving myself a clean slate upon which to again try to maintain a semblance of normalcy and control.

The Terror!

But even though I've made the plans, set everything up perfectly timing it out so that when I get the sufficient and surprisingly hefty amount of money needed to obtain the ibogaine in hand, the ibogaine is weighed, ready and waiting, and although I have already taken ibogaine twice before already, I'm terrified, both of the actual ibogaine session itself, and of the thought of giving up the needles again. There's almost no feeling in the world like that nearly instantaneous gratification I get when ill and in pain, and finally register that vein-"just seven seconds from Hell to Heaven," as a friend once put it. "Is there even any point to going through with this?" I wonder to myself quietly in my mind all week. So all day Wednesday I'm asking V to dole out my pills to me, more than usual, much more than usual, using the excuse that the next day I'm taking the ibogaine so it's ok to have one last blowout basically. By the time we go eat and see the concert I'm already so stoned V is making cracks about my half-lidded eyes and acting aggravated with me, but I carry on, knowing I've only a few more hours before I have no choice but to stop if I'm to go through with taking the ibogaine-because I must wait twelve hours between taking my final shot/dose of opiates and actually taking the ibogaine.

We get home from the show, and V passes out in bed almost immediately, after I convince her to give me nineteen more pills, "to hold on to hon, I'm not going to do them all right at once," I say. It's true too-because I don't do them all at once, I do two shots of six pills one after the other then pass out in rapid order, and then climax with yet another shot, this one of seven pills-but only doing this, the last and biggest shot of them all, after V wakes to my beeping computer and already much more than sufficiently nodded head. I do the last shot at 2AM almost exactly, then gather together all my needles and toss them into the trash. Good riddance, I think groggily as I stumble to the bed and pass out.

Waking at 8AM, right when I would normally do my next shot, I realize I still have six more hours to go, that I'm only halfway to the point where my ibo provider will feel safe that all the opiates have left my body, after much research and comparing of notes with other researchers and providers around the world. Ibogaine not only allows me to step away from my habit without the worst of those troublesome withdrawal problems, but it also has the effect of increasing any opiates' effectiveness in my body were the two combined. This could lead to overdose, or some other medical complication none of us wants, so I try to go back to sleep as best I can, but I already feel weak, and sick and know this is going to be bad. I still have no idea though just how bad.

Two hours later though, I'm picking up the cell phone and giving my friend the aforementioned call. "Get over here, I'm sicker than I've ever been in my entire life," I groan into the phone. I never have had issue with nausea from withdrawals up to this point in my life, but at that moment, all I could do was lay there puking my guts into this disgusting bucket, growing more miserable and sorry for myself by the second. "I'll be there in about an hour," my friend says, "just hold on bro, I'm coming."

The Rescue Ain't Pretty, But It Sure Is Sweet

Whoever thought up the idea of putting anti-nausea medication into a capsule to swallow is a friggin' idiot, because the first thing my friend did when he arrived was take out a little brown capsule and tell me to eat it, saying we had to do it immediately so the medicine could take effect before taking the ibogaine, to avoid my puking what would be the most expensive puke of my life were I unable to hold in the ibogaine-which itself causes severe ataxia and nausea both. I eat the cap, feel it hit my stomach and sit there for a few seconds, then next I know, I see it floating around in the bottom of that awful bucket. "Am I going to have to fish that out of there and retake that?" I think to myself, completely out of my head in agonizing dope sickness and accompanying hangover pain too.

"Bro, there's only one other way to get it in you if you can't swallow it," my friend says when I tell him I honestly do not think I am going to be able to eat any capsules full of ibogaine. I know I'm not going to be able to hold anything down, it's too late and I'm way too sick. I tell him I know, so he runs to the drug store around the corner from our apartment to buy a baby syringe, into which he mixes each dose of ibogaine I subsequently end up taking, wiping it liberally with Vaseline before handing it to me to shove up my bum. I'm so sick I'm at the point where I was willing to undergo anything to relieve myself of that agony, that any degrading indignity was bearable compared to what I was suffering.

When the ibogaine suddenly began to take hold of me, bracing me and wrapping me in warmth, I was nearly simultaneously hit by the chewable Dramamine I'd remembered having, so the nausea all fled, and my itchy, crawling, aching skin and muscles all suddenly unclenched, like a cramp suddenly letting go, and I lay back in the bed and began to drift into PEACE and LIGHT.

Liquid metal began to make its twinkling, shimmering appearance around the edges of the heavy curtains V had hung over the windows for me that morning to keep out as much sunlight as possible, as the keening pitch began to grow in my ears, breaking through a barrier inside the deepest part of my ears it seemed, massaging my skull with its clear buzzing drone. Flashes of light began to shoot about the room, almost as what I'd imagine photons to look like were I able to focus that tightly, though all lights were extinguished to the fullest we could manage. Then I was gone, to the Holodeck again and again and again, entering a waking vision state that took me places and showed me things I can only attempt to adequately describe, for nearly 40 hours.

There was a lot of scenes of the US military, with my continuing to come back to these situations involving the US occupation in Iraq. I watched the spreading around the globe of various peoples that once lived close to the Earth in peace, in those places such as Australia with the aborigines and their Dream Time, North and South America, the places where the wheel was never invented and the Catholic Church hadn't subverted everything to its will yet-but then watched as a dark blot spread from the "Old World" into those peaceful, glowing places of peace to decimate those peoples and their entire histories from the face of the Earth. I traveled far into space, out amongst the stars, over huge cities and towering structures right out of an Ian M. Banks sci-fi novel.

According to those who stood guard over me and protected me while I was away under the influence of the ibogaine (having taken what turned out to be 21 milligrams of ibogaine per kilogram of body weight), I seemed remarkably peaceful for most of the time, lying mainly motionless on the bed for hours at a time, telling my friend to "let me sleep," each time he'd come in to check on me. I don't know how deeply or even if I really was ever asleep during that time, but I was in bed out of my head on ibogaine from Thursday afternoon, at around 2PM, until Saturday mid-morning, when I came to my senses without an opiate habit and with almost no withdrawals and first began to try and get out of bed, which I could only manage for the briefest of moments for most of the day.

Is There A Meaning To This At All?

I need time now, to think about what I experienced and what it means to me, and to decide what I'm going to do with whatever it is I decide I've gotten out of subjecting myself to this somewhat trying and definitely dangerous but incredibly special and beautiful process yet again. I'm considering taking up yoga and perhaps some other forms of pain control that will not only entail driving up narcotic prescription drug habits to increasingly frustrating and crippling levels. I have again successfully managed to utterly reset my habit, currently taking just two of each of my prescribed meds, orally, per day and managing so far to maintain an optimistic outlook on the situation and a grip on my pain issues. I'm busy editing my latest book project for the Disinformation Company, which is a great thing to focus on right now, due to my being unable to sleep very well and having an almost manic, up-ness to my mood from having so recently taken ibogaine, again. Will I manage to stay away from using rigs this time? Will my tolerance go through the roof or will I find a new path? Who's to say at this point? All I can do is take things slowly, make no rash decisions or undue haste about much at all right now. I've seen the optimistic enthusiasm after ever single treatment I've ever been through where I spent any time clean and was able to experience life in safety away from all triggers and possibilities to score-but then I've experienced that glee, that assuredness myself, that feeling that I could conquer the world only to find myself right back at rock bottom more than a few times now in my life. So no promises beyond simply trying this time.

"Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible-he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are." -Frank Goble

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