Is it possible to overcome Heroin addiction? Treatment Coordinator at Ibogaine University Charles Johnston shares his incredible personal journey to recovery.
We often put important life decisions aside for tomorrow. Whether it’s going on a diet, making a career change, or maybe just focusing more on improving our overall lifestyle. The unfortunate part is that with addiction sometimes tomorrow never comes.
The second time I came back from a Heroin overdose, lying on the floor of my apartment being resuscitated back to life, it finally hit me that I probably wouldn’t get another chance to quit. The next overdose would probably be my last.
But it wasn’t like I hadn’t tried. I tried meetings, Suboxone, weaning off slowly, leaving town, and even some more unconventional methods. But none of these really worked for me for any significant period. And I was running out of time.
I had heard about a drug called Ibogaine. Supposedly it could “cure” Heroin addiction. I was extremely skeptical but kept the thought of it stored away somewhere in my memory for years.
But it got to the point where I didn’t really feel like I had a choice, it was over, I had lost the battle and I finally accepted that I could not beat this on my own. I had run out of chances.
Ibogaine started looking like my only option. So, in order to afford this Ibogaine Treatment I sold everything I could, including my car, and then I took the loan money that was supposed to pay for what would have been my final semester’s college tuition, since I was flunking out. With all that I finally had enough for the treatment. Not a moment too soon either because my criminal activity was catching up to me as well and I was not cut out for jail or prison.
I felt like I was putting all my money on 00 at a roulette table, hoping for a miracle. I kept asking myself, “Did you really just spend every last dime you had on some radical treatment that could be a scam?” I really hoped not, but, as I said, I was out of options.
Fast forward four days later, I was completely clean from Heroin and felt like I hadn’t felt in years. I had no withdrawals, zero cravings, and an enthusiasm for life that felt as if I had drunk from the fountain of youth. I was mentally and physically free from the dependency that could have and almost did kill me a number of times.
For the first time in my life I felt like I had a second chance at life.
That’s just my story. I have heard hundreds more like it since then.
In 2012 there were 41,502 deaths related to drug overdose in the USA. Yet what are we doing to treat drug addiction? As a nation we are still offering the same treatments that have been used for decades. These offer very little hope for most addicts and come with success rates you can count with your fingers. We continue to do the same thing over and over. And the results speak for themselves.
Sure. There are many treatment options out there, and everyone’s addiction is unique, but if you or a family member is an addict, then you need to find a treatment that works for you immediately. Some of us don’t have the time to try out methods here and there hoping something works. That may take too much time, time you may not have.
This is why it is imperative that we offer multiple solutions with strong success rates to those with these strong and dangerous addictions.
Many people are not familiar with what Ibogaine treatment is and how it works. This is the treatment that saved my life and I have since devoted my life to addiction treatment helped over 200 patients find treatment with Ibogaine.
Because this is my expertise, I want to talk a little about how Ibogaine works. Let’s start with the brain itself.
The Brain’s Pleasure Center
Our brains work on almost every level to experience pleasure and at the basis of this is our survival instinct. Our bodies telling us things are pleasurable like eating food, staying warm, and basically anything that keeps us alive.
That’s how our brains keep us motivated, by making us feel pleasure. And the brain does this by using tiny amounts of chemicals that induce this slight euphoria. The body naturally produces these chemicals and you have probably heard of the major ones such as Dopamine and Serotonin.
Naturally, when we go from natural and steady chemical diet to unnaturally forcing truckloads of chemicals into our pleasure system, we become quickly addicted.
And although we can blame ourselves for making the wrong decisions, we can’t blame ourselves for becoming addicted. That was a huge step in my recovery. I can’t control that I am addicted, but I can make the effort to unravel the addiction.
Modern Day Drugs
The drugs we have today were synthesized and invented by scientific ingenuity. Heroin comes from a small poppy plant, Crack from the coca plant that is similar to caffeine, and Amphetamines are not found in nature. All of these street drugs are synthetically derived to be as potent and powerful as possible.
And we take as much as we possibly can, up to the threshold of death, so we can experience the most euphoric high possible.
Then, on the other side of the coin, our brains stop producing enough chemicals to make up for the surges we are putting into our own bodies. So they slow down the production.
Now we are in a position where we are maxed out on chemicals for a few hours, and then we are not taking the drugs so we are completely depressed. Our brain is dried up and provides none of the chemicals that make it feel happiness naturally.
And we feel like we have to use again as fast as we possibly can just to get back to our new ‘normal’.
Where Does Ibogaine Treatment fit in?
We have to have this understanding of how the brain works to really understand Ibogaine treatment and what Iboga, the plant Ibogaine is derived from, is doing to the brain.
Ibogaine works in the brain’s pleasure center to effectively reset the brains physical dependency. This means that, after Ibogaine treatment, the subject feels completely free of their drug cravings and physical dependence to that drug.
The Ibogaine actually stimulates natural brain growth (Google: GDNF) and so the brain begins to naturally produce the necessary chemicals for everyday life again. This prevents post acute withdrawal, depression, and many of the other negative side effects of addiction in almost every person treated with Ibogaine.
For an addict who has tried extensively to quit in many different ways this is nothing short of a miracle.
For me, personally, I consider it a miracle. I do not believe I would be here today without Ibogaine.
The road out of addiction is hard; it requires a tremendous amount of work and commitment no matter what treatment someone does. I just hope that everyone who needs treatment can start looking for it. It’s never easy to talk to the people you love about the issues you have. But it is necessary.
It is also necessary for an addict to quickly find the best treatment for themselves. There are many treatments. All that matters is that they find the treatment that works and they find it fast.
And if you know someone who is an addict, do all you can to love and help him or her. There may not be another day.
Charles Johnston is the current Treatment Coordinator at Ibogaine University. He continues to help many people on a daily basis find addiction treatments that work for them specifically. He continues to speak on behalf of Ibogaine because of its strong power to cure addiction.