Last Updated on July 10, 2016 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Group Support after Ibogaine Treatment

by Jul 7, 2016

Group Support after Ibogaine Treatment

Ibogaine treatment is an extremely significant and life changing event for most people whose journey to recovery has brought them to ibogaine. While ibogaine is very consistent in terms of providing an effective detoxification from most drugs, and provides an extended window of opportunity wherein ibogaine’s metabolite noribogaine is present in your body for a period of roughly 2-4 months, it’s extremely important to make use of this window of opportunity to make significant changes in your lifestyle and habits.

Continuing care post ibogaine detox is critical for anyone whose goal is to remain clear of addictive drugs. If you return to the same environment you were in prior to ibogaine treatment and make no changes in your lifestyle and habits, then it’s extremely likely that you’re going to be right back where you started in a relatively short period of time.


One of the most important aspects of ibogaine aftercare is participating in some sort of group support that works for you. At the present time the fellowship of the 12 steps and all it’s more focused variants such as AA, NA, etc, is the system most commonly used in rehabs throughout the United States.

For many people the 12 step programs are not too terribly effective. It doesn’t help that what you learn in the rooms is that there is no other alternative possible, the only options presented are working the steps and attending 12 step meetings forever, or “jails, institutions, and death.”

While the above statement is designed to shock people into making some sort of commitment to participating in the 12 step process, it isn’t actually true. There are as many options available as you can imagine into existence, so long as they contain a basic foundation comprised of reasonable plans, which amount to taking care of yourself, removing stressors from your life, and participating in some form of individual and group support. 12 steps optional, if it works for you, then by all means keep coming back. If it doesn’t work for you, then take what you find useful, and find something else to do.

It’s important to realize that “failing” at finding resonance with the beliefs and practices of the 12 steps, has absolutely nothing to do with “failing” at sobriety.

SMART / Rational Recovery

SMART is an acronym that stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, instead of the 12 steps, it focuses on 4 central concepts:

1: How to maintain and enhance your motivation to abstain from addictive drugs.

2: How to cope with urges to use drugs, when they inevitably arise.

3: How to manage your thoughts, behaviors and feelings.


4: How to understand and balance the difference between temporary and enduring satisfaction.

Many people who are dissatisfied with the 12 steps programs, find a support system more compatible with their needs when evaluating the SMART recovery programs. Unlike the 12 steps, which are essentially faith based and often include signs with the word “think” turned upside down, along with a near-endless list of cliches applicable to almost any situation imaginable, “don’t think, your mind is a dangerous neighborhood,” SMART encourages rational thought and self-awareness.

The SMART programs are not based on ideology, the overall focus is on logical analysis and rational action. While the 12 step programs teach that all addicts are essentially the same, SMART takes a different approach and acknowledges that drug dependence and physical tolerance are medical conditions which have similar physical components but everybody is different. Painting all drug dependent individuals with broad brush strokes and saying that a person who has been IV’ing heroin for 20 years, whose entire life revolves around nothing but heroin, who has no social support, no marketable skills, no reasonable expectation of ever obtaining anything but a minimum-wage job, and no coping mechanisms for dealing with life sober, is the same as someone who has been doing heroin for a year, but is a high-functioning addict with a good educational background, career, and family, is more than a little unrealistic. While both people are drug-dependent heroin addicts, that’s about the only thing they have in common with one another.

SMART takes more of a self-help approach to group meetings, focusing on receiving feedback from other participants with regards to choices and actions that could be improved moving forward. There is a lack of telling war stories, which many 12-step meetings seem to focus on. Spiritual and religious beliefs are individual choices and preferences, they are not necessarily required components of your recovery. SMART tends to revolve around making personal choices and deciding what is suitable for yourself after consistently examining your patterns of action and reaction, it’s an approach similar to the one employed by cognitive behavioral therapy. You are an individual making choices, you are not the victim of an incurable disease who is perpetually flawed and powerless. SMART teaches empowerment through self-awareness, controlling your responses and choosing what actions to take.

While no single aftercare component is suitable for all individuals, if you’ve tried and failed to find resonance with the 12-steps, then SMART is a reasonable alternative to explore and see if it’s a fit for who you are.