A chance encounter with one of the world's most potent naturally-occurring psychedelic substances helped Mike Tyson beat addiction.
Iron Mike's battle with substance abuse has been no secret. The boxing champ and pop culture icon has been very vocal about his struggles with drugs and alcohol over the years, and now he's opening up about how he overcame addiction. Tyson credits his recovery to a potent psychedelic called 5-MeO-DMT, which is produced in large amounts by a rare species of toad commonly called Colorado river toad or the Sonoran desert toad, and formally known as Bufo alvarius. By milking the toad's venom, drying it and then smoking it, you can experience a very intense psychedelic experience. One that Tyson said was absolutely horrifying in the moment.
"I was just freaking out," Tyson told GQ. "I don't wanna do this no more. I want it to stop. Too late. Couldn't stop. I thought, I fucked up. Oh, shit. I fucked up. What was I trying to prove? I'm dead. I'm dead. It's over. My whole life. Boom. My life is gone. I took these fucking drugs and it killed me. There's no way I'm gonna survive this."
Once the fear settled down, Tyson had a profound experience, watched his life as it was played back to him and met with the dead. And when he came down he was changed and felt like he had finally beaten his addictions.
"It's almost like you die and you're reborn," Tyson said.
And Tyson didn't seek out the psychedelic toad for the purpose of healing either. He was introduced to it by Gerardo Sandoval, a gynecologist and advocate for 5-MeO-DMT. After Sandoval explained to Tyson that taking the drug was "like freebase jumping into the heart of God and coming back, in just 20 minutes," there was no way that Iron Mike wasn't going to try it.
"You have to look at it from my perspective," Tyson said of his toad venom experience. "I'm going into this situation thinking I've seen everything. I had done some heavy drugs. I'd done acid before. So I'm thinking, Give me that stuff. Let me check this out."
These days, Tyson doesn't mess with anything aside from cannabis, which also shows promise as a way to help people fight addictions. And it's much less traumatic than DMT.