The potent psychedelic ibogaine has gained a legendary reputation for being able to help many people recover from addiction, but it’s no magic pill. Those who seek ibogaine treatment need to do so abroad in places like Mexico and Costa Rica where it is legal, and the time immediately after an ibogaine session can be as important or even more important than the psychedelic experience itself to prevent falling back into old patterns. Recognizing the critical need for proper aftercare, a new kind of ibogaine detox facility is emerging in the U.S.
Justin Hoffman and his partner, Tishara Lee Cousino, are the founders of Holistic House Vegas, an ibogaine aftercare facility that provides an “alternative to the traditional sober living transition model” for people recovering from addiction. While Holistic House Vegas does not offer ibogaine itself, instead it provides a landing pad for those who just underwent ibogaine therapy to integrate their experience and form new, healthy habits.We caught up with Justin and Tishara and spoke about the importance of pairing ibogaine addiction treatment with good aftercare and the role that other traditional healing modalities—such as yoga, kambo, and rapé—play in their program.
Thank you for speaking with us, Justin and Tishara. Can you explain why is aftercare so important following ibogaine treatment?
JH: After an intense ibogaine experience, it’s overwhelming for most people to just go back home to their old environment. It’s often a setup for failure. We find that for recovering addicts in particular, they really benefit from spending time to integrate and explore different modalities…like yoga and meditation and outdoor activities. It’s a game changer when it comes to getting the most out of ibogaine treatment.
TLC: In our experience, a person needs a good 30-90 days of positive programming through things like yoga, nourishing foods, creative exploration, and grounding healthy habits. If you don’t do that and you go back home surrounded by the same people in the same environment and eating the same foods, the chances of you using again is pretty high, even after the ibogaine. It’s the daily activities that will help keep a person clean, along with the integration. Imagine doing such a powerful psychedelic and then going back to your old environment and not having an in-between place to process your experience. That in itself can be very traumatic. You need the time, space, and tools to integrate your experience and program new behaviors.
JH: Honestly, I think that ibogaine is about 20% of the picture and aftercare is 80%.
TLC: To give you an idea, there’s about a 3% success rate with the AA and NA programs, and roughly a 10% success rate for traditional rehab centers. We’re finding that for people who couple ibogaine treatment with a good aftercare program, we are seeing a 60-80% success rate. Ibogaine works wonders for people who are ready to be done with their addiction and willing to put in the work.
What role does the tree frog extract kambo play in your healing process?
JH: I think it’s as powerful as ibogaine in terms of helping people to release toxicity. We get people from all different ibogaine clinics, and some leave people feeling amazing and happy and ready to get on with life, while others leave them incredibly sick and in full withdrawals. That’s where Tishara’s work with kambo comes into place. She can reduce withdrawals in about half an hour and can help someone who is absolutely miserable want to go on a hike later that day.
TLC: Kambo brings the body back into alignment. We call it the great revealer, bringing things to the surface for people to face them and then giving them the tools to go out into the world and fix them. On a chemical level, it resets the body and can help with anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and so on. By using kambo ceremonies along with working with their doctor to taper down their dosage, it has the potential to get people clean all by itself. That’s how powerful it is. It’s a warrior medicine, a very physical one, and works through a process of purging.
How about the tobacco snuff rapé?
TLC: I like to use it if a person is stuck in a mental or emotional loop. I have different blends of rapé to help break through that stuck energy. I like to tell people that in-between the comfortable and uncomfortable place is where the healing happens. We use it throughout the week to help ground and center, to take away mental chatter.
JH: I still DJ in Las Vegas clubs sometimes, and it’s a good way to get that club energy off me. For clients, if they get some bad news or have a particularly rough day, I can use rapé, gong therapy, and so forth to get them back in alignment.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience running Holistic House Vegas?
TLC: It’s some of the hardest work we’ve done but by far the most fulfilling.
JH: We’re seeing incredible before and afters with these people. When people leave here, they look and feel like a completely different person. The letters we get from people and their families after treatment keep me going and never fail to bring tears to my eyes.
We are very grateful to to Justin and Tishara for dedicating their lives to helping those who choose ibogaine therapy as a path for addiction recovery. To learn more about Holistic House Vegas, you can visit them on the web and Twitter.