October 21, 2017
Hi, my name is Vivien:
Let me first start with the story of how I got all the way to the Bahamas for my ibogaine treatment.
I was born in the Czech Republic where I lived with my mom, dad, and my brother. My family was absolutely wonderful but I wanted to expand my life and I left home for the USA at age 20. Without any money and not knowing how to speak the English language I managed to get a job and enroll in college in New York. Eventually, I opened my own home décor and construction company and became a successful businesswoman. Although life wasn’t always easy, I managed my success with a social business life that included years of social drinking. Excessive drinking and alcoholism run a long history within my family and by the age of 35, while married with two beautiful children I had developed a daily chronic compulsion to drink. After finally achieving seemingly everything I had ever worked to accomplish I noticed alcohol playing a more prominent role in my life, to the point I was drinking in order to eliminate anxiety, depression, and insomnia. My original two glasses of wine with my evening meal had now escalated to a full blown addiction to alcohol.
Over the next 6 years, my family and I would experience a life of torment as I struggled with alcoholism. I lost my will to live, didn’t enjoy my beautiful home, lovely children or doting husband. Our financial success was uninteresting to me and no vacation, creature comfort or material object provided any happiness. As my depression grew stronger and my health began to deteriorate I experienced many trips to the emergency room, mental health facilities, detox units and rehabs. Alcohol had become the basis of my life ill-lived and as my friends and family grew further and further away, I realized I was estranged from my even those I loved most dearly in my life. I felt as though I would never again find happiness, that my life had no meaning and the bottle became the only thing of importance to me. As regret continued to mount, I would go through a daily exercise of reviewing the damage and heartbreak that my drinking had caused and drinking seemed to be the only way to numb my pain and physical discomfort.
During what I was sure would be my final trip to a rehab, I overheard someone talking about “ibogaine”. Although it seemed far too good to be true, I was intrigued and wondered that if something like ibogaine was out there, why in the world were we all sitting around a rehab facility going through the pain and suffering of traditional detoxification? It couldn’t be true; it must be a scam.
After returning home only to relapse yet again, I was sure that I was days away from death. This was certainly my rock bottom, I had lost all hope and was willing to do anything that needed to be done to avoid dying. I began researching ibogaine on the internet and although I didn’t believe what I was reading, I decided to give it a try as everything else had failed me and I felt it was important to again eliminate another broken promise of hope.
The slew of ibogaine centers in Mexico read like a list of cheap scams. Proclaiming extraordinary results with virtually no effort I called two of them to see who I would get on the other end of the telephone line. As I suspected, I spoke with two men who each sounded like uneducated, used car type salespeople who were primarily interested in my money and had very little interest in my emotional well-being or health status. I was so skeptical after these calls that I almost left it at that, certain that I did not want to go to Mexico to receive the treatment anyway. But my desperate state and hope for some miracle encouraged me to continue looking on the internet and I eventually came upon an ibogaine center located in the Bahamas called The Avante Institute. The website looked different than the others. The tropical environment looked therapeutic and when I dialed the number I spoke with a very kind and wholesome man who was interested in my state of well-being and did not even discuss finances or costs for the treatment. Although he had no knowledge of my financial situation, he invited me to submit an application to the center, which I reluctantly did. Once approved for treatment and explained of the process I packed my bags for the Bahamas and headed to The Avante Institute where I realized I was putting my life in the hands of strangers. As I booked my airline ticket I remember thinking, “what life, I am no longer living”, I will go to this place and when it does not work I will know that I had tried everything before finally giving up and dying my slow, pathetic death from alcoholism.
When I arrived in the Bahamas I was greeted by Nick from Avante. His smile and gentle approach put my mind at ease a little and I was transported from the airport to a beautiful oceanfront compound in overlooking Paradise island. They settled me into my room which was beautiful, absolutely warm, and clean. Right away they made sure that I was comfortable. Since I wasn’t able to stop drinking before arriving, I was required to go through a detox protocol prior to my ibogaine treatment. Avante’s Clinical Director “Ava” was always there making sure that I was comfortable during my detox. When I woke up the first morning and opened the curtains I saw this beautiful beach, aqua blue ocean, swaying palm trees and colorful flowers. I began to cry as I realized that none of this was for me to enjoy; I was sick and dying and this beauty was certainly not to be wasted on my misery. I felt guilty for not being with my children, I felt fear that this would not work. I was overwhelmed with negativity and the fear of failing again. I closed the curtains and stayed in my room, crying throughout the entire first day, depressed, alone and scared. This was my first day at The Avante Institute Bahamas.
I opened my door to a gentle tapping to find Ava and Nick on the other side. They brought me a cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juice and sat with me for what seemed like hours to calm my nerves. As my detox began to set in, Ava placed an intravenous line in my arm and provided mineral and vitamin hydration which made me feel much better. The brought meals to my room and sat with me to assure me that I was a courageous woman who had taken the first painful step toward sobriety and that I should feel encouraged and proud. Their reassurance was helpful, but deep down I felt like a failure, a coward that could never fix the damage that I had done. Over the course of the next days I went through a battery of blood tests, EKG and drug screens until I was finally cleared for the ibogaine treatment. The doctor on the Avante staff was wonderful and he took the time to very carefully explain what I should expect from the treatment.
On Tuesday morning I was prepared for my ibogaine treatment. My bed was prepared for the most comfortable experience and after watching a beautiful sunrise over the beach I was placed on the heart monitoring equipment and began my first “test-dose” of ibogaine. As I waited to see what would happen I began to feel a light buzzing in my ears. Slowly my dose was increased while I was continually monitored and watched by the compassionate medical staff. After about two hours I began to experience visions. Originally quite scary, it began with a man in a black mask who removed the mask and I realized was the person who had hurt me when I was a child. After removing his mask, he slowly walked away and faded off and was followed by three more men who had represented bad experiences in my life, all donning the same black masks. One by one they each removed their masks and walked off, out of sight and out of my life forever.
The visions kept coming like a storm. More and more intense, some were quite scary but I managed to push them away. I revisited my childhood and relived my first daughter’s birth. It felt like a 3D movie and I was in it. I reconnected with my mother who had died a little over a year ago. I saw the most beautiful images of my family as well as some very scary moments. I managed to push away the scary moments and focus on the happiness and beautiful visions. I saw the most amazing colors, green grass, blue water, flowers, closed and opened doors and lots of bright light. My visions included people that I didn’t recognize as well as people that I haven’t seen for a very long time.
At some point I became so tired I did not want to see the visions any longer. I was completely drained, but the visions didn’t stop. Eventually they slowed down and I continued to have more visions but mostly happy and very positive. I could hear the soft sound of drums and music from my childhood was clearly playing in my ears. Just unbelievable. During my peak I had a vision of an absolutely gorgeous Asian woman with pale skin, long black hair and the most amazing blue eyes. She appeared in my visions a few times and I continue to try and determine who she was.
As I felt the ibogaine was exiting my system I was told to try and rest but I could not stop thinking about what has just happened. I didn’t expect anything like that! The following morning, I was told that I would most likely be very emotional and maybe even cry, I was again reassured that this was normal. Although I didn’t have any of those feelings, I opened the curtains to my room to overlook the beautiful blue ocean. The light felt a little uncomfortable at first, but soon it washed over me like new life seeping into my body. I was overcome with the most amazing feeling of peace and freedom. Everything looked so beautiful and I felt the rush of energy entering my body, simply I felt happy. What an amazing feeling! I was hungry and didn’t feel tired anymore. That night, after not sleeping for about 40 hours I fell asleep so peacefully and slept all night through. I actually slept peacefully every night thereafter until I left The Avante Institute three days later.
I was immediately open to trying yoga, meditation and even a gym workout at The Atlantis Resort and Spa. I enjoyed the spa massage that was offered as part of my package and I took long walks on the beach and enjoyed every moment of it. I couldn’t stop smiling. Life was so beautiful; and ibogaine gave me my life back. As far as the visions, they all began to make perfect sense. They were trying to show me how my life will end if I do not stop drinking (I even saw myself in a coffin) or how beautiful it will be if I stop drinking now and fight to stay sober. It showed me that it was completely my choice on which way I choose to go. I was no longer held hostage by the forces of addiction. I have the choice of free will! It showed me the power of my mind, that I can change situations and let bad things go.
I spent a few more days at Avante. They all became like my short-term family and very caring and supportive. We spent good quality time together, talking, laughing, sitting at the beach by the bonfire and I enjoyed every moment of it. My cravings right now are non-existent, and I have so many plans for the future. The Avante Institute Bahamas felt like a home away from home and I will forever be grateful and thankful to Ava and Nick. You saved my life and I will not let you down.
With immense gratitude,
If anyone would like to speak with me regarding my experience at The Avante Institute with Nick and Ava you can email me @ email@example.com.