Keeping Clean

Thoughts on Improving your Life after Ibogaine

Edited by: Steven Anker

[Version: 0.5] / [06/19/05]

The tough part isn’t getting clean, it’s staying clean.


Take two minutes and meditate on where you want your life to be in 2 years, five years, and ten years.


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I learned this acronym from an excellent doctor who had worked at the Haight-Ashbury free clinic. Go through these steps whenever you are:


(HALT = the precursors to wanting to use)
[T]alking (give someone a call)
[M]editation or Massage
[S]afe sex and showers

(TEMPS = the solutions)

Re: AA and NA, remember you don’t have to “do it all” in spite of what they might say in meetings. The most important aspect of 12 steps is the community or fellowship. If you hear something that bugs you, try to practice patience and just let it go. Two aphorisms from 12 steps I’ve taken to heart are “take what you need, leave the rest” and “look for the similarities, not the differences.”


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Cherry pick what’s right for you. We are all individuals:

  • Go camping or a take little vacation, get away from your scene and away from the drugs.
  • Exercise and build endorphins back up in the brain. Regain your health, Yoga, swimming, mountain climbing, soccer, baseball, what ever!
  • Eat right, proper nutrition. All that money saved on dope can go to good
  • food. Avoid sugar.
  • Avoid triggers and people taking drugs. Forget your dealer’s number.
  • Have a plan in place if you feel the craving coming on, go to a movie, hang with good friends, or go for a walk in the park.
  • Go to a shopping mall, bookstore or a coffee house. Get out.
  • One on one therapy to address personal issues, the root of addiction.
  • Good sleep is important.
  • AA/NA, & SMART recovery help many. Try them out. The SMART recovery book is very helpful. It’s good to have the support of others who have been through the pain of addiction.
  • Help other addicts.
  • Build a support network of friends and family, people you can call for help.
  • Rebuild relations.
  • Sweating all that shit out of your system in a sauna can help.
  • Do some fun things. Find a new hobby. Stamp collecting, butterflies, or psychedellics.
  • Be glad your not a hatian refugee. And if you are a hatian refugee there are always Iragi’s.
  • Live a life of love. At least as much as hate.
  • Quit smoking (is it too much to do all at once?)
  • Be busy, get a job, work.
  • Learn self-compassion.
  • If you must, smoke weed, hey it’s better than crack. Remember stoners can be very dull.
  • Try and have a mind/body/spirit balance.
  • Masturbate instead of using drugs. Watch TV.
  • Make a better life for yourself.
  • Get a puppy.
  • Reconnect with lost friends. Rebuild relations.
  • Be good (as opposed to an asshole).
  • Do something nice for someone else. Build better karma.
  • Have fun. Be skeptical Never do anything by the book If you do relapse, Big fucking deal, don’t do it again.
  • Go to Mexico and watch a bullfight. On acid.
  • Have a pot-luck dinner with friends. Eat escargo.
  • Get out of your head. Less ego.
  • Be more cool.


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I would add breathwork, holotropic or rebirthing. Its a really powerful tool for releasing deep seated emotional issues and conflicts. For those that don’t do so well on talking therapy it is particularly helpful.

Deep tissue bodywork is also an excellent way of releasing those psychospiritual issues that have become lodged in the physical realm. Something like rolfing, hellerwork or feldenkrais for example.

The Bwiti recommend getting physical post iboga experience. Indeed with a community an anthropologist/ethnobotanist friend of mine stayed, they strongly recommended sex straight after the experience, indeed even offering him a woman. This makes sense when you think about the metaphysical impact of an experience such as ibogaine. One of the best ways to ground it and integrate it into the body is by getting physical afterwards. So this could be done through breathwork, bodywork, sex, exercise, movement therapy, dance etc.

But this is the direction I would go. I have written more about this in the article I wrote that I think is in the appendix of the manual. There is a paragraph on the post ibogaine experience.

Hope this helps a little.


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Chatting with Patrick:

Are you in recovery?

Yes. I’ve been recovering from being born for 35 years now.

Do you have cravings?

Cravings … Do I enter a headspace where “I’m gonna bang dope!@#!@#!@#” spins ’round and ’round in little circles and refuses to go away? No. Do I remember how much heroin utterly fucking rocks…? You bet!

Some people create a paradigm where they fill up their mind with all the negative consequences of bangin’ dope; and then play pretend, or hide and seek … “I never really liked heroin, it was awful, degrading and terrible!”

I don’t do that. I love heroin. Period. Not past-tense.

Do you have to do anything to stay clean off heroin?


What do you do?

I don’t cop it, dump it into a cooker, and bang it up. Not sticking a syringe in my arm has a 100% success rate.

I read many answers here but I don’t know the background of the people giving them. How do you go from being a ‘spectacular failure at every treatment modality’ to being who you are now?

A lot of work, luck, karma … shit happens. Were I to say, “It was all me, and I did everything.” It would technically be correct, but … not really. As much as possible I get the fuck out of the way, and let whatever process is unfolding, take place.

If ibogaine works some miracle turning a addict into something different, then I see some of it here, but I get the idea there is a lot of work and struggle behind all of it.

There is.

You don’t give that impression.

You don’t know me. I don’t dump my shit all over the list. I am fucked up n’ shit, I have IssueS; my iSSUEs have iSsUeS. <Shrug> Were I perfect it’s unlikely I would have felt the need to incarnate and work all this out.

No, my problems no longer revolve around doing — or not doing — drugZ.

[…] People on this list who are coming from mindvox or your friends, what all of them have in common, besides a general lack of any couth 😉 is you’re all very smart and weird. Very smart isn’t supposed to help in addiction.

Like anything else, being smart, is always a double-edged blade. It means you can engage intellect, apply force of will, and make choices. It also means, more than enough rope.

But … just being realistic. People ARE NOT the summation of their symptomology. I have two friends, whom I’ve hung out with since we were all in our teens. One of them turned into a junkie like I did, the other became an alcoholic pillhead.

We were all … complete fucking disasters.

Ten years after … all of us are clean. Statistically speaking … this doesn’t happen. But, it did.

Neither one of my friends has done ibogaine. Not for a lack of cash or access, but simply because they don’t want to. Neither one likes entheogens. Neither one actually believes in the concept of God — however you choose to define God, or what it means to you.

Both of them cleaned up through the 12-steps. And the dude who was a junkie actually detoxed using UROD; followed by naltrexone implants, in Yet Another Super-Exciting STUDY.

Out of a group of 82 people in that study, there was exactly ONE who managed to stay clean. Him.

One of the 81 people who fucked it up, in that same study, was me.

What does it all mean?

It means: people make CHOICES. People are human beings, NOT the summation of their symptomology <– repeat as often as necessary.

[…] Yet your final quotes in your addiction miniseries are–

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

–Albert Einstein

“I have not failed; I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

–Thomas Edison

Yeah … both quotes have tremendous resonance with my life’s experience and belief systems.

What did you find the 10,001st time? 🙂


Could you do heroin right now and not become addicted again?

Yeah. The fear of physical dependence is pretty much gone at this point; ‘cuz if I ever did snap the clicks back on … well, I have a new magic trick that I never had before: I can unspring myself any time I need to. A better question might be, could I do narcotic analgesics right now and not become habituated … because, that’s a question I ask myself sometimes.

And the honest answer is: I don’t know.

As much as I can do pretty much anything and everything that people say is impossible in “recovery,” I drew a very black and white boundary around narcotic analgesics. Drugs are just molecules. Dope … that’s magic.

But anyway, could I go cop a bag of dope, bang up, enjoy it, and then get back to my life … Sadly, the answer is: probably not.

I have a tremendous amount of strength right now. It grows. Much of it is laid upon the foundation of beating something that has kicked my ass in, for every single day of my life … I never caught an imaginary disease; I’m not sober one day at a time; I am not stuck in some endless battle.

I went to war, and I won. What’re the fucking odds … Pretty low, ‘cuz it surprised the shit out of me!

I do a bag … the world is not rearranged. I do 45 bags, turn it into a problem, and what’ll happen. Pretty much … nothing EXTERNAL. Nobody around me who actually cares about me, is gonna paint a bullseye on me, and run an announcement, “Patrick fucked it all up!!!”

It’ll be more like, “Okay, you walked on water for 4 years, fell down, well, lemme give you a hand, just get back up. You know what to do.”

Except … the problem is … none of this is about what anyone else sees or knows.

I do one bag, and I just traded all my strength for the shit in the bag. Because *I* will know.

I just lost. And no matter what anybody else sees; my ego structure is going to disintegrate and go down the toilet. Which will make the 1 bag, or 45 bags, turn into 450 bags … alla which leads to one LONG fucking detour of doing something to reset my head Yet Again … and it’s a very time consuming process.

Could I do a bag of dope and not become addicted again? Sure.

Do I have any fear of physical dependence? Fuck no. Oddly enough, I now have the power to make all of that fade out like a mirage.

If I ever *needed* to, could I do narcotic analgesics and use them as directed? <Giggle> … I don’t know. Since everything IS just belief,saying, “I don’t know,” is nearly the same as saying, “No…” But not quite. I simply do not know. And don’t have the time to CONDUCT RESEARCH in this area.

Could I do a bag of dope and just get back to being myself the next day? The answer is: no.

And … I just can’t work up the self-hate anymore. Been there, done that, for most of my life.

Onwards to BRanD NeW M1stak3s!@#!@#!@#!@#

What do you do?

I communicate with the God of my understanding.

As often as I can manage to do so; I go home for a while.

It’s the difference between intellectually understanding that everything is just an endlessly-interlocking series of illusions, and games within games … and KNOWING it.

Everything IS no more, nor less, than a play of consciousness. The universe is not holding its breath anxiously waiting to be saved. Everything is all-good. Everything just IS.

And … when I go home, I become nothing — shades of heroin — and in the process, become everything.

Addiction is just energy. Ride the lightning.

Godhead rocks the fuck out. It’s one killer rush.

Is there any way to repeat it with someone else?

Sure … different versions of the same answers appear on this very list, with alarming regularity.

The only catch is: YOU have to do SOMETHING. “No, but wait, you obviously just don’t understand! I want to be clean … I just, don’t wanna have to do anything… Ever. At all…”

Bummer, but it doesn’t work like that.

There are many different roads to follow. Some are brightly-lit superhighways, others are offbeat paths in the woods, and once inna while when you’ve left the superhighway, wandered around through the woods, gotten lost somewhere, and find yourself walking around in circles in the middle of a swamp … a piece from a passing UFO falls out of the sky, and slams into your head <ClunK!> AhA!!@#!@#!@#!@#!@# THAT’S IT!!!!!! Pret+y col0rZ, l1ghtS, eyes, CyCloneS!@#!@# Woooo HoooooO!!!


Different things have resonance for different people, in different ways; but oddly enough, all of them lead to the same place.

On [Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 12:12:23PM -0500], [] wrote:




p.s., Please don’t single me out and dump it into the list. I know my response-time to email sucks, but I do not have 5 secretaries, and I cannot answer all of it. There are many of you, and only one of me. If you have a question in general, just ask it. Someone with something worthwhile to say, always arrives.

<Flipping through Manners 101 …>

How dare you say none of my friends have any couth you fuckhead. Your problem is that an inordinately high percentage of British males are castrated at birth, and live their whole entire existence dealing with chronically deficient testosterone levels.

Whoopsie; I meant to say: thank you!

Dave … say something sensitive and enlightened.


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If you “relapse/slip/use/stumble/get loaded/fuckup/freakout/fall” -pick yourself back up ASAP, dust yourself off and move on. Avoid getting mired down in guilt, shame, remorse or pity. These are fear-based stumbling blocks and will keep you down.

In staying clean, fear is the enemy.

Avoid letting other peoples/groups opinions/dogmas/judgements weigh you down.

Remember, when you get clean, that monkey on your back (or 900 pound gorilla, or whatever) doesn’t go away. It climbs up into your head.

One of the keys to staying clean is not allowing that monkey in your head to get louder than the music in your heart.


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Quitting smoking during “recovery”, is like most things, it will be good for some (kiddies in particular as a group) and not for others. Some people get that one “white chip” and from what I have seen, that is a minority, even with ibo most people deep in addiction with multiple substances/behaviors do not give up all at once. Absolutely quitting smoking is a good thing, elevating, one less drug (addiction) and the further you go, the further you are. So, yeah, great thing to do and I like the idea surviving drug addiction and not dying/having health issues from smoking. Nicotine is the only “drug” that I sometimes still get a craving for, it is far harder in many ways than quitting drugs and not a priority. I think it also helped me deal with taking pain meds, if I can quit smoking cigarettes I can quit anything. There was a particular moment after I stopped smoking, the silence, for the first time in my adult life I wasn’t stuffing something in my body (or someone elses) to get rid of the discomfort of living in my skin.

So initially maybe or maybe not, IMO, for most, no (cept the kiddies), it depends on the person.. Long term sure quitting smoking going to help most people.


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Staying clean after a successful enlightening ibogaine session

Ibogaine can be a very successful tool to interrupt addiction. For me the experience was much more than an interruption of my heroin/methadone habit; it was pure enlightment, with immense transformations in every single aspect in my physical-spiritual life. Having experienced the symbolic rebirth, having witnessed the revolving universe emanating pure light and love, confirming the fact that beginning and end are just one continuous waves of existence, I came to the realization that life is like a game in which we hold the building blocks. We are the architects of our life yet as we grow older, our sense of imagination, our sense of creativity become stagnant and disappear. We replace them with insecurities and worry and slowly go astray. We are lead astray by banal religious ideologies and incompetent politicians who create a false sense of what is important and valid. And as we grow older we cease to remember we were the ones who choose to play this game, to be in this life, with this ethnicity, with these exact features. And as we forget, we loose that part which made us who we are, who we were, and who we are going to be. If we realize that this life is just a small piece of a big puzzle we might get a better grip on life’s problems.

After ibogaine I realized life is about evolution, energy and balance. A balance between physical spiritual, and mental energies. If we put to much energy into one aspect the other will suffer. If we don’t put any effort into evolution we’ll be stuck forever in indecision and gloom, we’ll be constantly repeating our previous mistakes. To stop the process of rebirth on this planet we must first become one with ourselves and with the whole universe. The universe offers so many possibilities that limiting it to a use of a substance is not only self-destructive but also very limiting in human potential. The pleasures of drugs are infinite; no body can deny that irrefutable fact. Yet with those pleasures come consequences that will unfold sooner or later. Illness, vice, penury, deceit, etc are all prices, which addicts frequently pay. When we become addicted to a substance we stop growing, we stop feeling, we cease to exist and evolve. And since the goal of life should be to reach for the stars, to reach the manifold planes of existence, we have to start our work right here, right now. Every thousand-mile journey begins with a first step and since ibogaine has given you that first step its up to you to take the second one.

Ibogaine is a great gift to reach the eternal infinite Love. It has also been shown to interrupt addiction, which I can personally confirm. But ibogaine it self wont cure you of years of debauchery and loss of ego. After a few weeks/months the cravings return and the disgust to chemicals which so many experience after ibogaine fades away. What do you do then? What do you do when you thought you were cured forever and then gradually the old demon starts to whine and plead? First you have to know why you should stay clean, know the pros and cons of going back to using. Its tough, I know, but no body said it was going to be easy. For people who had an enlightening life changing experience they should build on that. If everything else fails i.e. therapy, exercise, diets etc look back to your first week of being clean and try to remember what you were thinking, what you were feeling. Do you remember the insight you got about the reasons you were using, all the gritty details why you couldn’t stop? Can’t you still see yourself the first week of being clean with a big grin on your face knowing you didn’t have to put anything in your body to be happy? Don’t you remember how you repeated the wickedness of drugs and how you truly believed it? That wasn’t just a trip. That was all real, that was the true you speaking.

If you know ibogaine has changed you through the visions not through the boost to seretonin/dopamine, go and expand those therioes/possiblites. If you are really convinced this was a rebirth, don’t stop there because in time the rebirth will become just an experience lumped in with day-to-day experiences. Yet the truth is crystal clear, that rebirth was the most important moment in your life.

The concept of symbolic rebirth goes back thousands of years. From Isis/Osiris to Sumerians to former Freemasons, our civilization has realized that we have to break off with the old life, with our foggy beliefs/lifestyles and start fresh. Begin on the path of evolution slowly and gradually. Take it step by step. When you are clean you realize that the only thing you have is time. Take that time and use it wisely. Start by reading about spirituality. Whatever works for you? Shamanism, sacred substances, astral projection, Buddhism, Hinduism, occult etc. The process of learning may be slow and frustrating at times but know what you are aiming for. What are your priorities? To be a dirty junky in constant dolor or a person who knows exactly where he is and where he’s going. If that process is really arduous, try using psychedelics to expand your mind further. By opening our subconscious to other perceptions it will be easier for us to comprehend many esoteric beliefs. Whatever works for you is the key to happiness and remember you are the master of your destiny. We create our own reality according to our expectations and beliefs so make sure you analyze them carefully. And remember no book no teacher will teach you the truth, they will put you on the right path but the rest is up to you. Start asking questions and you will receive answers.

Look to the heavens

Not to your prayers

When you feel depleted of life

And the stars will then guide you

And rest assured they will bind you

To find the right path to take

The reason I’m staying clean even though I’m experiencing major cravings is only through the visions I experienced. I m aware that through spiritual enlightment there is much more gaiety and ecstasy than in sticking a needle full of poisonous chemicals in my collapsed tracked marked veins. Through my visions I also realized why I could never stop using. Rather than looking for reasons to stop I was always looking for reasons to start. I was constantly blaming outside factors for my addiction. I didn’t get some interview—ah fuck all why not—-my girlfriend dumped me because I was a lowlife—ah fuck all—I’m really down right—my dog died—-ah that’s just confirms how fucked up the world is –fuck all—-the fact is we will face many challenges and adversaries through out our life but its part of that learning process and it is very beneficial for our evolution. Why is it beneficial? Simple— because what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Respect and Love

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“Addiction is such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine life without it.”

I can’t imagine my life with it.

“I wonder what I would do if I was successful after Ibogaine treatment.”

Be free to do something else.

“What would fill HUGE void that would be left if addiction was removed from my life?!!”

You will have to figure that one out. What do you like? Do you know what you like? The thing is to DO STUFF. I can tell you things I do/did and in general a basket of things to start doing. Addiction is body, mind and spirit, to recover you gotta get rid of the old/bad shit and do new shit, hopefully good stuff but not always. You could have a nice sexual addiction, it is quite popular once the drugs are gone, we still have no self control, few coping skills. Anyway, that is a fun addiction to do while. There is work-a-holicism, once I went fishing… thing is to eventually grow past that and become rounder/broader.Yoga was one, now starting some Pilates (good for injuries), Orchids, reloading and shooting (a different form of playing with fire), gardening, a bunch of spiritual, self-help and some “recovery” stuff. I take on projects like painting the house, car repair, built a new countertop for the kitchen, laid tiles, I love to cook, learned how to bake bread… DO STUFF, get out, learn how to have fun without sticking something in your body to do so.

“Would I use from sheer boredom?”

If you sit there waiting for life to happen it is EXTREMELY likely that is exactly what you will do (“use”). You have to go out and “get a life” that does not include the use of drugs as your primary recreation (go smoke something if you need to…). Even if you do use SO WHAT? That is the nature of addiction, so long as you get that “I JUST USED, I AM A WORTHLESS POS, I CAN’T , I RELAPSED, IT IS OVER, so may as well be an addict…” out of your head, brush yourself off and have continue on, maybe a lesson learned. The thing with ibogaine is it changes the rules a bit. Generally “as a rule” for the peope try to recover, time and time again, once they go out, they are “off to the races”, with ibogaine it isn’t like that so much, less so with additional treatments. If I did”relapse” a dose of ibo will toss me back across the river if needed, I know that, Patrick knows that, Dave knows that… In the worst relapse imaginable, I will always know that my choice, one dose and I can stop it at any time – 100% certain, 100% of the time, no doubts. Try imaging that power over yourself instead of the multiple choices of “what if” this, that or the other thing negative.

Ibogaine also does this born again thing, like smelling the flowers for the first time, colors are brighter the air is fresher, life is more interesting. I don’t know if it will hit you all at once or as is more typical, a couple tries. The “what if” awfulizing is far from reality. “What if?” you were clean, what if you were happy, what if you had all this extra time and money to do other things, think of the possibilities in a positive sense – you are getting your life back vs life as you know it is going to end. It is a rough thing to give up your friend, your lover, your enemy, the one that is always there for you, that which defines you…

“Would life be dull and uninteresting without opiates?”

Absolutely NOT! Maybe not at first, maybe in fits and starts, maybe after a couple doses… in time.

Are you saying you are leading an exciting life going to the methadone clinic? I mean yeah, I guess drugs were fun once, I guess you could say it is even exciting (like when I wanted to get high and had to find the money) but you don’t sound like you are having a good time of it.

I just had an argument with my pain management doctor, he wants me on more drugs (ie I cancelled a signed script for 120 oxy’s and just told him no on another 120 I suppose). I want the clarity, the crispness, the fullest sensations and experiences that life has to offer. This means what use to swim around in my head ((sometimes kicking and screaming), does not any longer. I just not interested, it is backwards from the way it use to be.

“Fear of the unknown is a huge obstacle I would have to overcome before I would even attempt Ibogaine treatment.”

I understand, fear keeps people from many unknowns. Eventually, you will let go, I can tell cause you wouldn’t be here otherwise. It is just a matter of sooner or later, it is up to you when Sometime when the pain of the pain gets more than the fear of the pain, then you take another step. Maybe it has to get older for you, a few more years on the meth, maybe you are not ready to, I don’t know. I know that I look back and wish I did ibo 20-30 years ago. The nutshell version is the Golden Chalis is being handed to you and you are afraid to drink of it, yes I understand.

“Do those of you that have been treated with Ibogaine understand what I am trying to say?”

Yes, been there, done that I think for most of us.

“Are these thoughts and questions legitimate?”

Yes and it part of the process for you to come to an understanding, and of course get through it. At some point you actually have to do something (that is the trick). The fact that you SEE it, you are here, you are asking the questions (questioning yourself) is great, you are a lot further along than a lot of folks (clean or not) – you see you need change, you see you have fear, you are working through it – most don’t.

“Could I or would I have a chance to stay drug free?”

You have more than a chance, you have a choice. The “choice” part is a lot clearer after some ibo, after seeing the other side of the river./having most if not all the physical addiction and compulsion lifted… Know you can, cause you can. Ibogaine does change the rules a bit, call it cheating, an easier softer way, call it replacing one drug for another – call it what you will I call it divine intervention by choice. All you have to do is make that choice, you will when you are ready.

–Callie and Brett

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Two books I’ve found very useful for aftercare suggestions:

Mindful Recovery: a spiritual path to healing from addiction by Thomas Bien and Beverly Bien published by Wiley books

-for those with a spiritual outlook, a buddhist approach

Recovery Options: The complete guide by Joseph Volpicelli MD, PH.D and Maia Slavavitz also published by Wiley books

-it even includes a small chapter on Ibo, though it doesn’t say much, perhaps a better description could be sent to the authors?

more later…cheers.


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Got your list of helpful hints. My suggestions/questions which are really extensions of your own thoughts are:

As far as staying away from “using” friends, this is vital. You have to leave the old way of life completely and create a new “family”. Not doing that just puts you into a slippery situation that makes it too easy to go back to the old way of doing things. As you suggest, AA/NA meetings are good for working one’s way through the often tortuous beginnings of sober life. They can also offer new sober friends and new sober connections. As an addendum to leaving old friends behind — get rid of ANYTHING that’s in your house that has any specific connections or connotations with the “old” life. For instance, an alcoholic should get rid of the glasses used when he or she drank. Obviously works go, pipes go, bongs that might have a place in one’s heart (“I really just like the way it looks”) go. The chair one used to slip into when using goes. Whatever it takes.

Therapy is a great idea — got to work through the stuff that helped get you into this mess in the first place. My caution: make sure you find a therapist who is fully conversant with addiction. It won’t help that much talking to someone who hasn’t got a clue.

Quitting smoking on top of quitting drugs is a bad idea! At least in the beginning. The plate is already full to overflowing and trying to take on yet another addiction is just setting yourself up for failure. Slipping back into one often triggers a slide backwards with the other.

As to exercise, I might add something terrifically strenuous — chopping wood, lifting weights, dueling with a heavy bag. Not only takes your mind off things but it can also help channel the frustration and anger that can accompany new sobriety.

Learn about addiction — the nuances, the reason the brain finds its answers in drugs or alcohol. It can help with the self awareness that can lead to the self forgiveness you spoke of that is so necessary to success.

Remember that slips are often an almost inevitable occurrence before success. This is not to say that the addict should say “Oh, I have permission to use because I am expected to fall off the wagon.” My point is that close to 3/4 of all addicts (no matter what the substance) fail the first time around and the self-loathing that can accompany that can get in the way of trying again. This is where a sponsor from AA/NA or a person thoroughly familiar with addiction can intercept the one struggling and give encouragement and explanations for what’s going on and the help to regain focus to try again.

Stay away from slippery places. Not only drop the old friends, drop any place even remotely close to where the dealer might live; where the old friends live; where one might have gone to hang when high. That goes too. New apartment needed? Do that too.

Simply doing a “geographic” and moving to a new town/state won’t do it. The problems follow you there too. If a move is necessary, fine. But search out the meetings available there. Find a new sponsor. find a new, non-using group of friends there. A new therapist. You can’t do it without the support network being rebuilt.

If I think of anything else, I’ll get in touch. Hope all is well and that the newly free friends find you there as a resource. If they happen to run into a snag, get in touch again with anyone who might have a fresh perspective but I think you are on the right track and they are terribly lucky to have you in their lives.


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If for an instant God were to forget that I am a rag doll and gifted me with a piece of life, possibly I wouldn’t say all that I think, but rather I would think of all that I say. I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean. I would sleep little, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.

I would walk when others hold back, I would wake when others sleep. I would listen when others talk, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream! If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but my soul. My God if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show. Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream a Benedetti poem and a Serrat song would be the serenade I’d offer to the moon. With my tears I would water roses, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the red kiss of their petals…….

My god, if I had a piece of life……I wouldn’t let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them. I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love. I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to be in love! To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own. I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting. So much have I learned from you, oh men…..

I have learned that everyone wants to live on the peak of the mountain, without knowing that the real happiness is in how it is scaled. I have learned that when a newborn child squeezes for the first time with his tiny fist his fathers finger, he has him trapped forever. I have learned that a man has a right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet. From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won’t be of much use, for when I keep them in this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying.

–Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Must I Wait All My Life; or, The Misery Song
(Uncouth-and-not Anthem of the Particular and General Unconscious)

Must I wait all my life for a certain thing to happen?
Must I spend all my days just in dozin’, just in nappin’?
Isn’t there to be a fire? Won’t some color come?
Am I blind? have I no luck? am I just plain dumb?
Must I wait all my life for a certain person’s comin’?
Will I die, my life gone, and still a love tune hummin’?
Is my life to be empty? Won’t some real love come in it?
Is my life just to be one grey minute after minute?
God, I could scream. God, I could tear myself to pieces-
I’m the boredest human of the whole damn human species.
I could bite, I could cry, I am hell tired of waitin’-
When the Lord made me he did some bum creatin’.
I listen for a sound but all I do is listen;
What other people get it always seems I’m missin’.
I’m in a deep unhappy ditch, I’m as miserable as sin.
Must I wait all my life for life just to begin?

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