We get a lot of people visiting our retreat center looking for healing and relief from some sort of ailment – depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and other physical/mental diseases, and while we have seen a lot of success, we have also seen people return home without having made much, if any, progress. Ayahuasca does have incredible potential for healing but it is NOT a cure – for anything! We want to see people come here and grow from the experience, integrate it into their lives and be healthier and happier as a result, so I am writing this article with the intention to help inform those interested in ayahuasca as a treatment method so they may be better prepared coming into the experience for healing.
Ayahuasca is NOT a Cure –
First things first, Ayahuasca is not a cure for anything. Ayahuasca does not cure depression, or PTSD, or anxiety, or addiction, or anything. It is not a miracle drug. Of course the first step is to recognize whatever it is that is causing negative effects in your life and to want healing and relief from those things, but you have to be willing to put in the work to get it and oftentimes, that means A LOT of work. It does not mean that you are going to go to another country for a week or so, drink ayahuasca a handful of times, go back to your life exactly the way it was and be cured of whatever your ailment was. It is not quite that simple, as life rarely is. It is so important to realize that ayahuasca, on its own, does not fix anything. What ayahuasca can do, is allow for a shift in your perception, allow you a different way of looking at the things that contributed to your depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction or whatever it is, and find a different way of responding to your current situation and to life in general.
Make Changes –
Perceptions create our reality. Since ayahuasca can alter our perceptions, it can thus completely change the reality of our lives. This, in my opinion, has the biggest impact on the ability to heal through ayahuasca. But in order to experience lasting results, each individual needs to find a way to use and integrate those new perceptions to make changes in their lives as well as implementing new ways to maintain and advance positive mental health. For some, the ayahuasca experience is so impactful and full of such huge revelations that the changes to life that follow come easily and naturally, but I would say that this is not typically the case, especially when facing extreme forms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and addiction. For me, ayahausca did not cure me of my depression or addiction, it opened a door that let me glimpse the world through the eyes of a future self that was not inhibited by depression or addiction to see that life could be beautiful. I had to make drastic changes to get to where ayahuasca showed me I could be and it certainly wasn’t easy.
The point is, ayahuasca offers you an opportunity – not a cure. It is up to each individual what they do with that opportunity. Too often we see people at the end of a retreat feeling great and optimistic – feeling ‘cured’ – but when we check in a few weeks later, the symptoms have started creeping back in, and they’re finding it harder to connect to the things they learned in their experience because they got caught up with life. This is why it is so incredibly important to make immediate changes when you get home – ayahuasca can not do the work for you. She can give you a lot of tools, but its up to each individual to take responsibility for their own life and happiness once they arrive home. My suggestion would be to implement some kind of routine that keeps you grounded and will advance your health both physically and mentally such as exercising (known to do incredible things from depression) yoga, meditation, reading (Elkhart Tole – The Power of Now did wonderful things for me). Check our our recent blog about 15 easy healthy habits to adopt in 2016 for ideas. We are happy to help give suggestions. Talk to whoever is running your retreat if you need help.
Take Responsibility –
Ultimately, only you are responsible for your own health and happiness and making the necessary changes to your life after an ayahuasca retreat. The emphasis of this article is to help people realize that taking a week from their lives and drinking ayahuasca will not, of its own, cure them of anything. If you are considering a retreat for healing, please be aware and prepare yourself for long and difficult journey that lies after ayahuasca. The many articles you read, you’ll see that personal stories of success came with some serious life changes. While ayahuasca is an incredible, amazing, powerful, healing medicine that can change lives, it is not a cure.