[Ibogaine] ruminations on entheogens, addiction, and NA

slowone at hush.ai slowone at hush.ai
Sun Sep 30 20:52:46 EDT 2007

I'm glad I don't have a history of addiction and NA to lead me to 
struggle with my use of ayahuasca. That said, I have recently been 
thinking that my main reason for taking it is to share the ceremony 
with people I love so that I can hang out afterwards and have 
spontaneous conversations. This is because ayahuasca itself has 
been so wearing on me of late, showing me my death in my succumbing 
to fatigue and feelings of failure ('vine of death' is what 
ayahuasca means). So I have a sort of mirror-image problem to 
yours. Looks like both of us are signed up for the immediate future 

Here's a happy day in a church in Brasil:


On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 09:28:35 -0700 Matthew Shriver 
<Matt at ITSupport.net> wrote:
>Some background before you embark on this novel I wrote.  
>Recently, like in
>the last 6 months, I have done some experimentation with 
>substances beyond just ibo.  I have done Syrian Rue which is one 
>of the
>ingredients in ayahuasca on 3 occasions.  I also ordered some 
>salvia and had
>one powerful experience on that.  And last night I finally took 
>the plunge
>and added the second ingredient to the ayahuasca.
>Every time I have had a powerful psychedelic experience since I 
>got off of
>the methadone 4+ years ago now, I get so uncomfortable that I wind 

>up asking
>myself why I am doing it.  I have done ibogaine maybe 4 or 5 times 

>sizable doses in that time.  Nothing as large as the addiction 
>doses of the past but enough to feel it pretty strongly and every 
>time I
>question why I put myself through it.  Same with the one salvia 
>and same with the Syrian Rue experiences.
>So anyway last night I wrote all of this while I was under the 
>influence of
>the aya and thinking about it.  I was dreaming when I wrote this 
>so sue me
>if I go to fast.
><------begin insane ramblings-------->
>I seriously want to get this down while it is fresh and happening. 

> It's
>hard to know where to start this; my thoughts are a little swirly. 

> I go
>back over ground covered and find new answers in the depth.  
>Ok so why do I do this?  Why do I take these substances?  And the 
>answer is
>that I like it.  That's the truth.  I experience it as scary and 
>weird and
>chaotic and anxiety producing and just an all around emotional 
>coaster and guess what?  I like it.  It's not always so crystal 
>clear that I
>like it.  Sometimes all I feel is fear.  But guess what?  I like 
>that too.
>The honesty of aya seems fucking brutally straightforward to me.
>Ok so is it using?  Here is this whole fucking thing I go into 
>with NA.
>Because using is the great EVIL.  The greatest sin is using.  
>There is
>nothing worse than using.  So to answer the question, is this 
>using?  Yes.
>This is in fact using.  But, and of course there had to be a but, 
>BUT, what
>is using?  I mean let's get totally honest about this.  The NA 
>concept of
>what is using and what is not using, is not honest.  It isn't.  
>Straight up.
>Smoking is using.  No doubt about it.  It is using a drug to alter 

>mood.  So wait a second, is that what constitutes using?  Well if 
>it does
>then coffee is using.  Food can sometimes be using, sugar surely 
>changes the
>way I feel when administered at the right time.  So what is using 
>then?  If
>using is taking a substance or action to alter your feelings or 
>then life is using.  We use ALL THE TIME.  
>But (there is always a but it seems like), but this perspective 
>deteriorates the meaning of using.  It does not help define it.  
>So here is
>another realization.  Right or wrong NA does one thing well, it 
>draws a line
>and it very clearly, in no uncertain terms, says which side you 
>want to be
>on.  And the reason for this is very important.  Using turned our 
>upside down.  And that is of course a massive understatement.  
>Using holds
>for us the keys to our destruction.  So what is very useful about 
>the NA
>paradigm is that there is a clear line and you should not cross 
>it.  And it
>makes perfect fucking sense to someone whose entire life was a 
>waste of
>misdirected effort chasing the next high. 
>So why am I doing this in the face of that self knowledge?  I 
>cannot help
>but think this is incredibly foolish behavior for me.  It is 
>What I am doing is making that crystal clear line that NA draws, 
>very, very
>blurry for myself.  There is no crystal clear line, it is all 
>shades of
>grey.  And the danger is that without a clear line, I may be too 
>far past
>the line to return before I even realize I have crossed it.  But 
>it seems to
>me that even knowing this, saying this to myself, voicing this 
>gives me some protection from that fate.  I mean it is about 
>awareness.  If
>I am unconscious in my life, if I am asleep to my own truths, well 

>hell that
>is what leads to using anyway.  Using requires a powerful self 
>And if you cannot hide the truth from yourself then you need drugs 

>enough to do it for you.  This is certainly not what these drugs I 

>use are
>about.  If anything they are about illuminating the truth.
>So now if I answer the question again, is this using?  Hell 
>fucking no this
>isn't using!  This is not about going to sleep, this about waking 
>the fuck
>So a related issue is this.  I feel some shame around this stuff.  

>I don't
>feel like this is wrong as in morally wrong, and yet I feel some 
>shame in
>I realize the value of NA.  I think there is tremendous value in 
>community and values.  But this path is not compatible with NA's 
>goals.  Is it using?  Well the answer is that it is a grey area, 
>and NA does
>not have grey areas.  So by NA's standards it is using.  This puts 

>me at
>odds with a community I value tremendously.  This means I have to 
>hide this
>side of myself from the community I have chosen to be a part of.  
>obvious answer is of course to find a new community.  But the fact 

>is that
>it would have to be one hell of a community to take the place of 
>what NA
>already is for me.
>I don't know.  I have to face the possibility that I am deluding 
>That I am rationalizing all kinds of horse shit to justify getting 

>Maybe that's what is going on here.  I must at least allow that it 

>possible.  If I do not at least allow for the possibility then I 
>claim to be shining the light of awareness and truth fearlessly.  
>But is it
>true?  Is that perspective actually true?  I find it hard to admit 

>that it
>is or may be, but that certainly is not strong evidence for its 
>It can be true despite my being repulsed by it.  Hell it wouldn't 
>be the
>first repulsive truth I have discovered.  
>I guess ultimately these things don't need a solid "yes this is 
>the way it
>is" answer right this minute.  But obviously it is important to 
>face these things if I am to have any hope of personal growth.
>One thing that does seem apparent is that these substances must be 

>sparingly.  Which I find I have a hard time accepting at face 
>value because
>as I said, I like this stuff.  It is clear to me that I like this 
>Well aya more than most.  I find ibo kind of difficult mostly.  
>But I like
>that too, don't get me wrong.  But this stuff definitely has a 
>more pleasant
>feel to it.  In fact it is sort of euphoric, at least at this 
>level.  It has
>the promise of being able to go ass-over-heels deeper which would 
>proportionally more difficult.  But it has a gentleness about it 
>that is way
>more comfortable than other substances.  Salvia for instance was 
>downright abrupt, harsh even.  Perhaps even brutal.  Not aya.  
>Very gentle
>this stuff seems.  Which of course makes it seem even more 
>pleasurable to
>I think, even if I reserve judgment about whether or not this is 
>using and I
>am deluding myself, or I take the fact that I am willing to at 
>least face
>that perspective as evidence that it cannot be entirely true, I 
>must still
>face the fact that it is dangerous behavior for one such as I.  
>For someone
>who sold their very soul to a chemical high in the past, this is 
>business indeed. The line is grey for me and blurry which is not a 

>safe way
>to play it.  Not at all.  Could caution be enough for me?  It 
>seems unlikely
>that caution alone can protect me from addiction.  No I think it 
>will take
>something more than that.  Could awareness be enough?  My 
>tentative answer
>is that I believe it can. True awareness would not tolerate active
>addiction.  The problem of course being can I maintain awareness?  

>It does
>not seem at all unlikely that I could delude myself about this.  
>seems like the obvious answer to counter self-deception.  But my 
>community can not help me with these issues.  They have already 
>weighed in
>with their verdict.
>But then again, do I really need other people to help me justify 
>behavior?  I mean I have always tried to measure my behavior and 
>according to what I truly feel is right for me.  And no amount of 
>people's opinion sways me when I feel I know what I should do.  I 
>ultimately follow whatever path I follow because it feels right to 

>me, not
>because my community supports it.  I am perfectly capable of 
>defying the
>community when I feel that my path leads away from their 
>sensibilities and
>the fact that I am already doing it is evidence enough for that 
>The pisser about all of this is that I was content to play it the 
>NA way and
>keep the crystal clear line and play it safe.  I was, I did it for 

>2 and
>half years.  But then depression crept back in.  Something I had 
>experienced before while using, which is not saying much since my 
>whole life
>prior to this time was using, but still.  Here it was and I was 
>clean.  So I
>was eventually forced into the whole doctor and anti-depressant
>merry-go-round thing.  Which is of course in keeping with the NA 
>of clean but is not actually clean because once again it is taking 

>substance to change a mood.  So the line got just a little fuzzy.  

> And the
>side effects of those drugs made me start wondering if I shouldn't 

>treat this malady with ibo.  And of course if I was going to make 
>"entheogen exception" for ibo, why not aya, and salvia, and who 
>knows what
>else.  And the line blurred out and became a grey smudge which is 
>where I
>find myself today.
><------end insane ramblings-------->
>I guess I am interested more in the discussion that this might 
>generate than
>any validation or refutation of any of my thoughts.  So by all 

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