The Addiction Series: Part III

Support Groups

The Sentry

The Sentry (Blue Deity)

Copyright © 2002, Patrick K. Kroupa & Dave Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Original Publication: Heroin Times

It’s been nearly a year and half that I’ve been writing a variety of ibogaine articles which have appeared in Heroin Times. Out of all the hate mail I receive, a staggeringly disproportionate amount of it comes from the 12-step people.

These are the same individuals who seem to be responsible for the majority of the fly-bys on the ibogaine list I run as well. Typically the content of any given piece of correspondence appears to be derived from the same Incoherent Ranting Template.

[Insert Name Here] … “I hate you, you suck, ibogaine sucks, go to a meeting or you will die! God bless Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. Fuck you!” [The End].

Wow, like thanks a bunch for sharing, you’ve really opened my eyes to the truth with all that. What step was that? Hope everything works out for you.

While I do not do the 12-steps, I have absolutely no problem with ’em. Or anything else anyone does for that matter. What the 12-steps amount to, are extremely old eastern concepts for dismantling ego, specifically re-written and simplified for drug dependent persons who are acclimated to western culture. A highly abridged and highlighted Cliff’s notes to maintaining a positive headspace.

What I have a problem with are — seemingly — the majority of individuals who are involved with the AA and NA programs, who have somehow turned all of this into the Cult of Eternal Powerlessness, and seem to feel the organization is something that’s way to the right of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and perhaps a few steps left of Southern Baptism. “Do it our way or you will surely die with all the other Godless sinners! I want to share what I have with you, have you gone to a meeting today?”

My personal summation of all this amounts to: Bill Wilson had a variety of spiritual insights while tripping on LSD. Wow, what’re the odds? This seems a popular pastime, since the guy who started Synanon had similar “inspiration.” So did a variety of other individuals. My personal opinion is, that’s all very nice. Why dont’cha have your own spiritual awakening and just skip that whole joining a cult part. It’s really not a necessary component of remaining clean.

Having said all that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the material in the programs, in and of itself. I have a variety of friends who work the steps and are extremely cool people who seem to derive many positive benefits from the groups. Additionally, I have dumped probably half a dozen persons I know into the programs myself, because I had simply run out of advice to give someone who was trying to kick heroin:

“Yeah, okay, you definitely CAN do it your own way. However, eventually, you need to either just do it, or admit it’s not working… What you’re doing doesn’t appear to be helping, and I cannot personally save you from yourself. Here’s an entire room full of people who have been right where you’re at; best of luck, ‘cuz I dunno what to tell ya anymore… Except perhaps, stop sticking needles in your arm, this has a 100% success rate. Calling me 25 times a day and complaining a lot, is really not the solution. So go find a sponsor, and hang out with a buncha people who wanna share your headspace. Good luck with all that.”

Ibogaine & the 12 Steps

Post Ibo for me initially was like: I feel so empowered I think I’ll skip any sort of follow up plan, I just feel IMMORTAL right now.

The sun was very fucking huge, the clouds were extremely fluffy and I had this feeling I could reach out and touch them all. Then all that faded, I felt very depressed because I had just gotten as intimate as one possibly can with God and it all just faded away. Or became less “there” in the forefront of my perception.

Ibogaine probably gave me the tolerance and humility to deal with going back to meetings. I mean, its a spiritual trip and Ibogaine pounded that into my skull rather profoundly. I felt as though I needed to hang out with people dealing with their demons of addiction so I chose to hit some meetings.

Everything said in meetings is purely hearsay. The recovery is in the book, not the spouting coming from someone standing at the podium. I mean, some people have some cool stuff to say but a lot of it has nothing to do with what is going to help me remove the very fucking large gorilla on my back.

Getting clean is easy. Staying clean is a whole nother ball of wax, because you see, that gorilla, it climbs off your back and up into your head. That is what you have to learn to deal with clean. And that can be one fucking loud primate.

The trick is not letting the Gorilla in the head get louder than the music in your heart.

Getting clean is simply making a choice. You wanna live, or die? Wanna Die? Just keep doing what yer doing, fast forward to end of story. Choose life? Great. Here’s some stuff that works, more or less. Make a choice and stick with it. I mean, whatever it takes, cuz chances are you used till the tires fell off? Or maybe you have lots of money and that’s the problem. It doesn’t matter. The point is you could make some changes to make things easier on yourself.

Oh, yeah, the 12 steps.

The 12 steps can be boiled down into two concepts:

Let go of the shit, and, Try not to be an asshole. To Yourself or others. Each step is steeped in eastern practices, and each step is basically about letting go. Generally you try to work the steps with someone you trust and respect and that someone can be hard to find. Keep trying. They are out there.

Oh, it’s the God thing that makes you cringe? What is god? Can you define God? Make up your own. Who cares. Whatever works for you is what matters. I personally got very intimate with the psychedelic entity who accompanied me thru my Ibo experience and that sticks with me to this day.

12 step meetings aren’t all there is to life after dope. There’s hobbies and careers and relationships and all sorts of healthy, legal things to get involved in. Go to the library and read a book. Ride a bike. Swim in the water. Walk in the woods. Eat some chocolate. Have sex. Find something that makes you happy. “Recovery” isn’t only about trudging through the horrors of the past to find some sort of redemption. Have fun with your own damn self. There are these things called dreams and we can live our dreams if we stick around and do the footwork. I think about all my friends who I used to cop with and all the dreams we spoke of while nodding out. All the great things we would do when we got clean. Most of those friends are dead now, and for some reason I am here, and living a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Life shows up in all of its forms, whether we like it or not and sometimes that can really suck. Working the steps and practicing spiritual principles makes those shitty times just a bit easier to cope with.

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