Friday, June 9, 2017
Personal Story: Ayahuasca, Addiction and Awakening
Ayahuasca may not be for everyone, but it was for me. As an addict I had no fear of death, I subconsciously committed suicide daily with every shot of whiskey. Not having a fear of leaving this world behind is what brought me to the Amazon Jungle. “You’ll get kidnapped, raped or murdered!” they all said. Lions, tigers and bears, Oh My! I told them that if I died some tragic death, at least I tried… at least I lived.
You see, addicts don’t fear death; we live it everyday. What we’re afraid of is actually living, facing our fears, not feeling good enough, rejection, abandonment, reliving past traumas and abuse. But death, there is peace in that.
Up until a year ago I had been an alcoholic for almost a decade. I grew up in a very physically and verbally abusive household with both parental figures being severe alcoholics. It didn’t help that my mother and stepfather both worked in law enforcement. This made it difficult for anyone from the outside to step in.
At the age of sixteen I was kicked out of my home and left to live on the streets. To cope with the fear of survival and my hunger pains I would turn to alcohol, heroin or cocaine. Whatever I could get my hands on. By the age of seventeen I was pregnant and in yet another abusive relationship.
Thankfully, this beautiful child of mine grounded me. He brought me peace and stability. More importantly he brought me purpose. At nineteen I was a young single mother. I began dancing at a strip club, as it was the most convenient way to make a living. I could stay at home during the day, raise my child and have an alter-ego party girl lifestyle by night. It was a buffet of cash, booze and attention that temporarily filled my feelings of emptiness. This continued for the next twelve years.
Sometimes it was easy, living on autopilot, but most of the time it wasn’t. As most of us know, addiction is a progressive disease that will eventually kill you. At my worst I could easily down a bottle of 101 proof whiskey and chase it with a handful of Xanax. I was at the point where I knew I didn’t have much time left on this earth.
We’ve all see that show Intervention, yeah… it was like that. What these shows, the media and doctors don’t tell you is that there are cures out there that are in the form of plant medicines. One is Ayahuasca, a South American tea made from the vine of the banisteriopsis caapi (which naturally contains an MAOI) and the chacruna leaf (which naturally contains DMT). Another form is iboga, the root of an African jungle shrub so powerful that is said to cure heroine addiction in one dose.
(In this video Luke Rudkowski talks to Dennis McKenna psychedelics drugs, their role in society, the recent upsurge in knowledge of them and how use of them can transform society. Dennis is an American ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer and author. He is the brother of well-known psychedelics proponent Terence McKenna and is a founding board member and the director of ethnopharmacology at the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization concerned with the investigation of the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines.)
At the time I was looking into iboga treatments in Costa Rica. The average cost at the centers I was looking at was over ten grand and I didn’t have that type of money. Therefore I decided that my focus would stay on Ayahuasca. Also known as the vine of death, the vine of souls and yage.
Through my investigations it became evident that these medicines provided more hope for addicts than that of western methods. It was curious to me why these plant medicines weren’t legal in the U.S. My research continued over the next few years, meanwhile my addiction spiraled out of control. I was a bartender with full access to my fix and the cash to enable my self-destructive lifestyle. When I wasn’t working in a bar I was drinking in one. Always on one side of the bar or the other.
In May of 2013 I finally got the job I always wanted working for a big name in the industry. I thought that this was finally going to make me happy but it didn’t. My drinking and depression worsened to the point where I only left my bed to go to the bar to numb myself enough to go to work. Then do it all over again. I was at my bottom and found myself looking into every western recovery program I could find. Some I had already tried and the thought of a Twelve Step meeting, sitting in a circle talking about my problems, didn’t resonate with me.
Don’t get me wrong, it may work for some but I didn’t feel it was for me. I knew many people who had tried this method and failed. The success rate of “rehab” is shockingly low and I wanted a cure. I didn’t want to struggle with addiction every day for the rest of my life. In my mind I would have rather of kept drinking. Same struggle, same thought pattern. Like an addictive obsession my mind kept bringing me back to Ayahuasca. I now know this wasn’t my mind but the sacred vine calling out to me. I made up my decision, I was either going to go down to South America and explore this option or I was ultimately going to die. This was it, no looking back.
After carefully researching and making connections I got in touch with a family in Ecuador. I booked a flight for November 11th, scrambled to get my passport, quit my job and learned a few phrases in Spanish. A month later I found myself in the Amazon Jungle about to drink one of the most powerful hallucinogens known to man. I was terrified, my life as I knew it was about to change.
Before my first ceremony I sat in the darkness of the jungle amongst seven strangers who all looked just as terrified as I felt. I thought about my journey to this place, to this very moment. How I had traveled for the first time internationally as a woman who didn’t speak the native tongue.
I drank my cup of Ayahuasca and gave it thanks. Those first two ceremonies I didn’t feel much. They say that the medicine is gentle with you and likes you to get to know her first. I could feel her moving through my body like an anaconda “diagnosing me.” I didn’t have many visions but there were a few letting me know that I was safe and had nothing to fear.
On the third day we hiked further into the jungle and prepared to go deeper into our consciousness. We didn’t drink Ayahuasca that night; instead we had a tobacco ceremony. We drank a whole bowl full of tea made of mapacho or sacred tobacco. It was to further purify and cleanse our bodies to prepare us to accept the medicine of Ayahuasca.
We had to drink this as fast as possible and wait 45 minutes and then we would purge. After this ceremony the Shaman, more commonly referred to in the Amazon as Maestro or Curandero, turned to me and said, “You have not bled for a long time.” This was true but how did he know this? I didn’t tell anyone. I had a thirteen year old son but had been trying for years to get pregnant and couldn’t. I felt as if another child would heal my sorrow.
I had been to different doctors and referred to specialists but couldn’t get any answers. He said he wanted to give me a healing. He cleansed negative energy from what I now know was my sacral chakra (below the belly button, just above the pubic bone). I went to bed that night confused. What was this? What was going on? What am I doing here? I didn’t feel any different. Maybe this isn’t working.
The following night we all gathered in the Maloka, or ceremony house. I will start by saying that what happened in that ceremony was the most incredible experience of my life. As the medicine started to take effect I began to notice a veil was lifting. I was entering another place or dimension. I was being raised out of my body by beings made of colorful light. These beings did not look like hallucinations. It felt as if my physical eyes were closed but my third eye was completely opened. This made me nervous but also felt assuring and safe, like a child protected by an unseen force. These entities or beings, later known to me as my “healing team” surrounded me and opened up my chest filling it with a bright white light.
About fifteen of them took turns blowing and sending more light into my heart. I was filled with the most tremendous feeling of love words cannot even begin to describe. It was a warm, infinite unconditional love. Tears were streaming out of my eyes and for the first time. I felt pure joy. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
When they were finished with my heart they started at my feet and went through every cell in my body cleansing out toxins. They got to my stomach showing me that the processed food I had been eating was poisoning me. They came to my lungs and showed me all the damage that years of smoking had caused. My stomach started bubbling with all of this sickness they had cleansed from my organs. They brought me back into my body so I could purge but I struggled to make it to the bathroom.
It violently came out from both ends for what seemed like hours. Vomiting and defecating simultaneously while having visions that I was releasing pain, fear, years of alcohol and drugs, toxins from food, childhood trauma, rape, abandonment, rejection, self doubt and self hate. All of which were venomously pouring out of my body at the same time. I was shown that in order to make room for love I would have to purge all of the negativity in my life. I wanted it all out. I was done with all of it and ready to let it go.
After the visions stopped and the purging subsided I started to clean my self up. I noticed blood. I had started my period. I hadn’t bled in over five years. This was a miracle. This was real. Everything that I had just experienced was real. The last thing these spirits said to me before they left that night was the only thing that mattered was love. That we were all connected. We were one and in that moment I felt a part of it all, every tree in the jungle, every animal and bug, the water, the wind and the ground I walked on. We were all made up of the same thing, energy and love.
I spent the next six months traveling Peru and Ecuador learning the secrets of different plant medicines. Ayahuasca cured me of infertility, hypothyroidism, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and most importantly it freed me from addiction. It cleansed my body of toxins, reset my brain to a pre-addictive state and expelled my negative thought patterns. I was able to step outside my world –– as an ego, as a victim, and as an addict –– to see who I truly was, what I truly was, a being created of love. I understood that this body was a gift for me to use to explore this beautiful garden of a planet. Liberated from fear, limits and restrictions, if I choose to walk the path of love, I would remain free, but it was a choice.
Over the next few months my weight stabilized and I felt more alive than ever. I started eating only raw natural living foods. I made sure to drink clean water free of fluoride and other chemicals. I had been initiated by the plants, spirits and Mother Earth herself. The secrets of these plant medicines have been kept hidden in the Amazon jungle for thousands of years, and have seemingly been waiting for the moment that we needed them most. That time is now.
Our beautiful home and planet is dying and we are being called to save her. The only way to do this is to wake up and start loving ourselves and every living thing on the earth.
We must start with the food we eat. This is most important. After this everything else will start to fall into place. Ask yourself: “Am I loving myself by putting this in my body? Does it nourish and heal?” Like the cells in our body, we make up this earth, just like the planets make up our solar system and the universe. If we are not feeding and hydrating our cells properly they cannot do their job and this will cause DIS-EASE. “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
The reality of our outer worlds is simply a reflection of our inner worlds. We need our Mother to live, so do your part and start loving yourself. It’s not easy, I know. I’ve spent the last year cleansing my body and mind, dealing with my past and fear of the future. As I write this today I can say that I have no desire to harm my body with any substance or toxic chemical from food or otherwise. If it didn’t grow from the Earth with love I don’t want to put it in my body. I am now a messenger of the Mother with only this heart full of love and a story to tell. I love you all.