For more than 25 years I have had this constant companion, a deeply negative voice inside my head continuously reasserting that I’m not good enough in any aspect of my life. Inevitably my self-worth became non-existent and my life was full of constant negative self-judgement, self-loathing and always feeling ‘less than’. This way of thinking led to anxiety and panic attacks and maintaining some level of mental balance was a daily struggle with occasional moments of respite…
Unfortunately, this usually took the form of drink and drugs. I became a big binge drinker, where every few weeks/months I’d go on a drinking bender which invariably ended in drug abuse. Inevitably I’d emerge from each episode not only financially damaged, but incredibly remorseful, embarrassed and disgusted with myself, all of which added more fuel to my ever-growing pernicious internal chatter. I’d then repeat the cycle, first with the usual ‘white knuckling’ period of self-hating and disciplined sober existence, only to seek release from the constant mental pressure by drinking, which eventually ended in another binge, and so on for the last 12-13 years…
Before I went to Harambe, I had tried to shift my destructive patterns through a variety of modalities, including (but not limited to) strict dieting/various forms of intense physical training / many meditation techniques / Yoga / Self-Help Books / Counsellors / Psychiatrists / Psychologists / NLP Therapists / numerous types of group therapy / Rehab Clinics / AA-NA-CA Meetings / EFT Therapy / Mediums / Psychics / Hypnotherapists / Crystal Healing / Magnet Therapy / Ayahuasca / Psilocybin / Reiki / DNA Reprogramming / Psych-K therapy / Holographic Kinetics / Scientology / Islam / Buddhism etc but, whilst all helped with various aspects of my perspective, none were effective at removing the destructive side of my persona.
I had heard of Ibogaine 3 years before actually going to Harambe in July 2016 but was terrified of what I had read and watched regarding the extreme physical/mental experience others had gone through (and having had traumatic experiences on other ‘apparently’ less intense psychotropic drugs like Ayahuasca and Psilocybin, this only delayed my decision to try Iboga).
Eventually I had exhausted all patience with how my life was going and decided that I really had nothing to lose by trying Ibogaine. After researching the internet, I found Harambe and everything about the place appealed to me. After speaking with Cathy on the phone a number of times she showed a level of understanding that made me feel this was the right place for me to take Ibogaine.
Upon arriving at Valencia on Sunday July 3rd, Cathy picked me up from the airport and drove the 30 minutes to their lovely house which is in a secluded part of the mountains. On arriving I met Bilal and immediately felt the need to tell him everything about my life as I thought this was required to better the healing experience. He (correctly) told me that using Iboga was a practice of introspection, and I was to work primarily with myself.
Given my perspective on what was the ‘right way’ for me to heal, I felt that not talking wouldn’t be beneficial and sharing my problems was key to moving forward! But I soon realised Bilal was right and it would have been an unnecessary distraction for me, and so began my week-long journey into myself. The first thing is you can’t eat the day before taking Iboga and on top of this Bilal gives you a magnesium flush to really clear your system out to fully prepare for the journey ahead.
That first day was spent either reading more material on Iboga or going to the toilet – not my idea of a gentle intro! Upon reflection, this experience was absolutely necessary as you are stripped (literally) of your crap and have to really give serious thought and respect to your upcoming experience. Given some of the places I had ended up on my binges, having to go to the toilet regularly and stay with my own fearful thoughts was luxury living in comparison!
The next morning, I took my test dose and it was the most scared I’ve ever been, as I was expecting a much more horrendous experience than I had on Ayahuasca and Psilocybin. An hour later, after no adverse reaction to the initial dose, I was given the rest of my prescribed amount of Iboga and went to bed to wait for the effects to set in. After another hour my experience fully kicked in – and went on for 19 hours! In that time, I couldn’t move without my head spinning – Iboga makes sure you stay in one place thus not allowing you to distract yourself easily! But what became apparent (thankfully) was that I was to remain fully conscious throughout the whole experience, very unlike my other psychedelic journeys. I could now understand what was meant by the ‘waking dream state’ people refer to when taking about Iboga. During the journey I was engaged in a full conscious dialogue with what I can only describe as my inner ‘higher’ self, or my subconscious.
I went through all the issues in my life and was at the receiving end of an incredibly stern ‘telling off’ – which was tough but surprisingly tolerable (I guess because it was me giving me a royal b*llocking!). I came to feel how I had been wasting my life pointlessly, how my inner self craved to live life outside of my current experience, how I was responsible for changing my perception, and all the help I had needed was within me all this time. This is different to rationally realising I was messed up – I always logically knew this but Iboga helped me to actually FEEL this – which was different to what any of the other modalities I had tried in the past had managed.
It’s difficult to fully describe in words the whole experience, but it was definitely something I couldn’t have prepared for – and something that has definitely shifted my base outlook on life. One of the advantages of doing the Iboga experience with Bilal and Cathy is that you get to have a second dose (whereas a lot of other places don’t offer this service) which I had a few days later. The second time proved to be a very different experience for me – I felt a lot of my old negative feelings come to the surface and felt emotionally awful for the duration of the journey and for a good 18 hours after it ended. It’s here that I must mention Bilal and the importance of having someone like him guiding you on the journey.
Throughout the whole experience Bilal proved to be the stable ‘go to’ influence I needed, and was able to read what I was going through perfectly, giving the right amount of support when I needed it. It was by the 3rd day that I fully realised how lucky I was to have come to Harambe – Bilal really knows how to engage with people and help them using his own Iboga experiences – lending an ear when needed and leaving you alone at other times. I came to realise a lot of the initial judgements I had about how the treatment should have been was just another facet of my negative perspective on life – and by the end of the second journey I realised just how clouded I was as an individual when it came to engaging with other people. The experience won’t allow you to hide behind your ego – as Bilal said ‘Iboga brings your ego to the forefront and beats it up’. Given my experience truer words haven’t been spoken!
I’m writing this about a month after my experience at Harambe and can say so far that the negative voice has been turned down significantly. The energy I used to expend on beating myself up is now being used for positive pursuits and opportunities, which would have been (literally) unthinkable 6 weeks ago. I’m also managing to sleep better, which I believe is a direct result of my thought processes being ‘rewired’ by Iboga.
Iboga isn’t the magic pill that I desperately was hoping it would be and didn’t remove all my problems in an instant. But it has been the most important thing that I’ve done in the past 25 years to really help me start existing at a much more connected level within, which is proving to be the key to finally re-start living my life with abundance and love (to which I believe everyone is entitled).
I’ll be going back to stay with Bilal and Cathy in 6 months for a top-up Iboga dose and I would advise anyone thinking of taking Iboga to consider Harambe. If you want pampering, swimming pools, dancing around fires and singing with others then this isn’t the place to go – but if you really, REALLY want to address your inner demons and give yourself the best chance at change (with both a quality Iboga product and support) than I wholeheartedly recommend Harambe.
A quick note to Bilal and Cathy – you guys were great; I loved the family atmosphere and how you made me feel welcome in your home. Looking forward to seeing you guys again in 6 months! Jonathon