June 11, 2021

262: Imagine A World Without Veteran Suicide -with Wyly Gray from VeteransofWar.org

262: Imagine A World Without Veteran Suicide -with Wyly Gray from VeteransofWar.org

How can a plant known as the "vine of the dead" help heal instead of simply treating symptoms in the living?

22 veterans commit suicide each day. Veterans of War have made it a point and their mission to create a world without veteran suicide.


Ironically enough, today's guest is using plant medicines nicknamed The Vine of the Dead the help solve the trauma end demons that veterans are dealing with every single day.


Wyly Gray joins the program to show how group psychedelic therapy implant medicine like ayahuasca has been changing the conversations on mental health in military veterans.


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that we got Brian on here who's getting congressman Massey on and our typical lineup includes like homeless people that believe in Bigfoot. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show Your source for common sense politics on the we are libertarians network. The Brian Nichols Show is the fastest growing Liberty podcast that brings together people from all means of political thought, as we seek to have meaningful conversations about the issues you care about. At The Brian Nichols Show. Our goal is to leave the audience educated, enlightened and informed. And now your host Brian Nichols. Well, Happy

Friday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you for joining us. Yes, we made it through this crazy week. And hopefully you had a great week as much as I did. I know I got I got a little tan here. You can tell you a little red at the beach. Under overclass over overclass, overcast clouds. I don't know how that happens, but it did. So Surprise, surprise, but you're in store for of course, a phenomenal episode you don't hear about how I got all my redness here from the beach, you want to hear about today's guest because today's guest, of course, is a phenomenal guests and he has won Wiley grey now Wiley is the head of veterans of war.org, where there's an organization focusing on helping addressing the growing epidemic. That is we're losing 22 soldiers every single day to suicide, veteran suicide and trying to help change the conversation about how veterans are approaching the demons that they have to deal with. And in this case, we discuss how Wiley takes his group of veterans on part of veterans of war.org and brings them out of the street to use plant medicines. In this case I was guided and the value and the benefit that that brings towards helping these veterans deal with the the just countless years of PTSD, TBI, depression anxiety that they've had to deal with no more, are they dealing with it alone, Wiley grey is offering solutions to helping those veterans in need. So a great conversation. Thank you Wiley for offering a great solution to a very, very important problem. So that being said, under the show wildly great from veterans of war.org, here on The Brian Nichols Show. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. Thank you for joining the program number one and thank you for reaching out you got to see me I was hosting the event there from micro dose dot buzz, which is an amazing organization helping raise up different forms of alternative medicine to help a lot of people in the organization or the rather, the event that we were having, that you took part in was the microdoses event, the heroic dose focusing on particularly those folks who have been impacted with PTSD, depression, anxiety, so on and so forth. Those in the armed services as well as first responders and Wiley. That is where you join us today, coming from veterans of war.org. And you guys are out there very much in the same kind of ballpark as what micro does dose was focusing on in the heroic dose and that is offering alternative forms of treatment to people in need. So let's kind of start things off your introduce yourself to the audience and let's maybe dig in do veterans of war.org and a little more specifics.

My name is Wylie gray. I'm the founding director of veterans of war.org. And what we tried to do is connect veterans that are suffering from treatment resistant depression, with group psychedelic therapy. To put it pretty simply, we're in the business of preventing veteran suicide using plant medicine,

group psychedelic therapy, what is group psychedelic therapy?

So what we try to do is create a program or a curriculum that fosters long term positive outcomes in our participants and our medicine of choice is plant medicine. And the way that we attack this problem is by providing a space for guided group therapy bi weekly over the course of a six month fellowship program for participants. And over the course of that six months they're able to work with a team that's sharing the goal of searching for personal healing. in recovery, and I trained facilitator or coach curriculum designed on four very important foundational tenants, which are education, preparation, integration and support. And we have a bit of a better I think mousetrap in that what we're doing is piggybacking off of the kind of tribal nature of the military itself, as well as the tribal lien of the medicine that we choose to work with Iosco in the sense and what we hope to do is create a space for the growth of shared neural pathways for a group identity formation for a return to service if that's the calling of the veterans that are participating, for Moreover, a space where peers can hold peers accountable to a quest for healing. The medicine provides an opportunity to sort of analyze the things in our life that aren't really working for us and to reprogram the traumas that we felt in our in our relationship to them. So we want to provide a safe and clean point of access as well as the book ending work. So that long term we have good results.

Wow notes I was writing down there because you were tossing out a lot of stuff now, for your your average listener of the program, we really don't have many conversations actually, I think I'm happy to play from is a open his name escapes me. I thought it was Gaurav, I'm sorry, Gaurav. dubay. There we go. Um, from from microdots. He's on the show, I think that's the only conversation I've had specifically talking about, like psychedelics or anything in that kind of realm. So I asked them, let me do some educating, let's say my average listener, they're gonna be like, I Oh, wow. So yeah, that's what I was gonna.

So I will ask is one of what the indigenous people would call and by indigenous, I mean, like people that are still living in a tribal sort of setting still in life, typically around the Amazon rainforest. For us, what I'm speaking of specifically now, I Alaska is considered by them to be one of the master plant teachers. And they kind of have a view of life where everything that is alive has its own spirit has its own sense of, of direction in agency. And they believe that through the use or working with specific plant medicines, that we can overcome a lot of the maladies that affect us in the West. That's super interesting. And in an interesting jumping off point to where the science gets started, what some of these substances seem to be able to do is nothing short of magic, in that they can, excuse me, they can actually help you to regrow new neurons and the bonds that form at the end of your neurons that allow them to fire back and forth. And they overall tend to decrease the amount of inflammation across the entire body within the brain and throughout other groups.

Okay, so I know, I know, you're not a scientist, but like, how does this magic work? You say he jokingly say, it's magic, but like, how does this sound like magic? Right?

Yeah, that's a great question. So there, there are a few sort of theories on the mechanisms involved and how they trigger. But ultimately, if we're talking about Iosco, specifically, that's one of the plant medicines of choice I wassa. It comes from a catch well, word it means vine of the dead or vine of souls. And traditionally, it's been used really for two things, which is warfare and healing. And so I wosk itself is pretty interesting. The way it works is, it's basically tea you take you take water, you take a leaf that's very high and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which is sometimes called the spirit molecule, it's a it's a connector molecule found in basically everything alive. And a communicator molecule overall like it seems to break down barriers and allow the passage of information. So what so what DMT does is typically whenever you ingest DMT because like I said, it's an almost everything, your body breaks it down, it has a system in your stomach that automatically starts to break it down so you don't feel any psychoactive effects whatsoever. But when it's boiled with a very specific vine called Bennett, stairs Cappy or Iosco colloquially inhibits the ability for your body to break it down. So suddenly, all of this orally active DMT is now writing and coursing through your body. And what that means in reality is that you take about a four to six hour psychedelic quest. And this is marked by pretty intense, tailored visions that come from not just your subconscious, but some people would say from the consciousness of the plants themselves, but what is it what is it doing in your Brain, like I said, is incredibly fascinating. I don't understand personally, because as you said, I'm not a chemist or a doctor, I'm a Marine, I eat crayons for a living for three years. So this is way above my paygrade. But it seems to have the ability to, well, why don't I put it in the words of one of the fire team members, that's probably the best way I asked him what Iosco was. And he said, it's a chemical portlet portal to a timeless dimension. So take that what you for whatever you will, okay. But what it seems to do is, as I said, it has an anti inflammatory effect over your whole body nervous system, it absolutely promotes the growth of new neurons, and the connections between those neurons. So what that means in reality is you can physically recall, memories that maybe you've suppressed in order to keep moving forward, right in order to keep sometimes in the military, you have a pretty specific trauma. And because you don't have a way to really deal with it effectively, you just suppress it. And that doesn't have to be military. That's a part of the human condition. So what what these masterplan teachers such as Iosco had the ability to do and I watched this specifically, is to retrieve these buried traumatic memories, and then you can reprogram that reprogram them in real time during the course of the ceremony. But the real magic happens, because the way that your brain saves that information now has the updated significance. So for example, if I had a recurring traumatic memory of, say, running from a mortar, right. And every time I remember it, I'm viscerally locked into the fear of that of that moment of the helplessness of the of the sheer banality of not being able to escape something that you can't adequately target in iOS guy might be plugged right back into that memory. But rather than feeling that fear, what I might do instead is a moment of like, you can't control this, there's no sense to be afraid or to be angry, or to beat any of these things. Besides, you've already felt this emotion in real time. So there's no need to like, open that wound to the same level where you have to re experience the trauma to recall the memory. So then later on, when I now for the next time after having medicine, when I recall this traumatic memory, I don't have to feel the trauma of the memory while still having access to it overall, forever moving forward, you get to save over that memory with outdated significance. And for somebody that I had insomnia for years, like for somebody that is struggling with how their brain now works with the altered chemistry that seems to present itself with post traumatic stress, that is a huge change, and nothing short of really flipping the model on its head of what we were sold as kids, you know, being this is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Once the egg is broken, you're done. Well, this would seem to suggest that not only can we put the egg back together, but we might able to be able to put that bag back together better than it was originally. That's

Wow. Like, so? Are you familiar Family Guy? Yeah. There's the old like, original Family Guy. And Peter had a stroke. He had a stroke from Yeah, the burgers and he walks in. Yeah, the 70s. Like, it comes out. He's like, why are we funding this? that's kinda how I feel right now. Now, my libertarian audience is like, Brian, who's funding private sector funding, regardless, but wow. Like, this is incredible. And I guess, is it widely that there is this and this is kind of going back to the conversation on the rug dose? Is it that there's this stigma, that we don't want to have this conversation? Because the it's just, it's almost like a tainted, like Voodoo conversation to have.

I think that that's part of it, I think there are two competing narratives. on the conservative side, typically, one of which is that this is a drug and drugs are evil. Propaganda has been incredibly effective over the last, you know, 50 or 60 years. And that's, that's something that it's gonna be hard to change the narrative on. The way to do that, I think is with data. I think that's what we're trying to do with veterans of war with every cohort, every group of veterans that goes through our programming, they get administered the caps five, which is the gold standard sort of data tracking, or analytical tool to measure the, I guess, the perseverance or the manifestations of PTSD. And so what we do is we give that to our veterans at the beginning, we give it to them after the ceremonies themselves, and then at a six month mark after the programming and the idea there is that using data we can refine our programming so that it meets them the most that it makes the most impact and helps the most amount of people without you know betraying any sort of ethical standards that we've set up. Yeah, it's crazy to look at these things in in in you know, I really got into psychedelic As a whole, after tragedy, right and in 2017. And I think about the landscape of veteran suicide, where it's, you know, at least 20 a day, some estimates are higher. And I'm just sick of burying my friends. It's crazy to me that we've had a solution to this for literally millennia. And and of course, it makes perfect sense that we would as humans, we're very clever. You know, it took us like 2000 3000 years to learn how to fly and then 66 years to get on to the moon. Like we're an incredibly intelligent species, and we use information. Well, the fear right now, and the stigma isn't just so much that it's like something bad. But it's also what it could potentially mean for society. What these entheogens these hallucinogens, these psychedelics, depending on whatever word I like to use the word plant medicine, I think that has the right framework to it. When you use these plant medicines, they tend to dissolve the barriers that make us feel sort of like we're not connected. In fact, they just had a study last week where Israeli and Palestinian people were taking group Iosco This is the first group Iosco study I'm aware of in the world. And veterans awards, the only group therapy or group, psychedelic assisted therapy organization in the world as well.

He was really quick now when you say group therapy with the Iosco does that quite literally mean, as a group. Veterans are sitting and taking Iosco together.

Yeah, so let me let me explain it. So our programming has three phases. And the first phase is two and a half months, and it's bi weekly zoom calls, which are basically group therapy sessions, right. Those last for a couple hours each in the in the first phase of the programming, all we're trying to do is build up for the participant and education on what it is they're getting into, and the ability to prepare for the actual encounter itself. Also, what we're doing during that first two and a half months is getting the group used to the other group members creating a safe place, making sure that that the container that we're trying to have this experience in is one that is sort of sacrosanct one that that you can be vulnerable in and one that's protected. Phase Two is medicine phase. And that's when all the veterans we don't do anything of veterans of war, illegal anywhere we go. But because of the scheduling of Iosco and many other psychedelics that necessitates us having to go out of country. So for fireteam alpha, for example, we're going to Costa Rica, that'll be the first time that the veteran participants, the coach and the Val, staff member who make up fireteam alpha, all meet each other face to face. And then over the course of those 10 days, they'll have four opportunities to have Iosco ceremonially, then all of the participants go back to their homes or record to start phase three. And phase three is really the bulk of the fellowship itself. Phase Three is the integration and support portion, and it lasts an additional four and a half months. So what we've tried to do is create a bookend on either side of the actual experience and that book end is is designed in such a way to hopefully support long term positive outcomes.

Now, the experience and I know I asked Gaurav this when he was in the show when he said it did different various single person and I get that but I mean, your average person they have no, they probably have no frame of reference. Right? So what is this kind of? I remember, I guess what, number one? It's a weird question like, what is it like to do DMT? But number two, what is the sense of connective, like the connection that you refer to what what is that kind of feeling like?

So, um, Terence McKenna said a long time ago, once you kind of start doing this work, it ends up being the secret that divine defies its ability to be shared, what you're dealing with is a sort of encounter that not only is personally tailored, but it's incredibly dependent on what your own brains information set is also to make sense of sort of the noise. I can't speak for every hallucinogen or every psychedelic or every plant medicine and how each of them operates. Though they there tends to be a narrative of sort of release into the experience in flow with the experience. They all kind of have different flavors for lack of a better term they have they have different personalities. The indigenous people will tell you they're different spirits and they have different goals and in and and states that they're seeking. I would say that each of them just simply operates differently within your mind. The experience of, of touching, I don't know how else to put this. So I try not to sound with as much gravity as it certainly was for me. But I searched my whole life all over the planet. I've been to 35 plus countries, five continents, I speak three languages. I don't say any of that to boast, just like everywhere that I've ever been. With what I've tried to do is like, find God, for lack of a better term, I've always tried to find what it is that makes the other side like what happens after death. What is all that? And how does each culture that I've been a part of define it. So whether it was from my Midwest upbringing, trying to figure it out through Lutheranism, or Mormonism, or the Evangelical Church, or Catholicism, you know, to Yemen, looking at it through the lens of Islam or or looking at it through the lens of Buddhism or Hinduism. I've really tried hard to sort of understand and find that moment that that road to Damascus moment for Paul, right where like, everything changed. And I had that in 2019, where I had done enough work on myself that I could sort of approach this entity that was all love, and all light and all accepting, I can't put it into words, because unfortunately, I'm just like a piece of meat, pushing air through other pieces of meat. And so like, at some point, the limit of my ability to like actually give you useful information or a way that you can put it in your own mind is going to be hobbled. But to put it in an experience that you can maybe understand, I, that moment when I sort of interfaced or I touched the light. I remember thinking in my heart and in my in my in my soul, my my being I remember thinking this is what I've looked, under every rock for this is what I entered every church for, like this idea that something is there that loves you unconditionally, 100%, and that you're a part of it, that it's kind of missing you in a way. And you know, I think that a lot of humans, I mean, I guess I'll just speak for myself, I know, I've always felt like I was missing a piece of myself. Like I was always sort of searching for something I was always incomplete. And in that moment, I wasn't, I wasn't incomplete anymore. For a timeless out of time, experience, your moment. I felt what it was like to be reconnected again. And to be able to come back and say to people, man, every Love Song you've ever heard every every song you've ever read every every religious experience or piece of religious art or iconography that's ever moved you there, there's a real tangible piece of reality that's captured in that and, and death isn't real. That's that's the other thing that you know, sort of the breakdown of all of the, like the Internet of the complete understanding of the interconnectivity of everything means that we all sort of just exist as as part of a scale as part of a sliding a wave for lack of a better term, that would be very fine. And ask, we all live for about a moment, you know, we're like waves captured, breaking against, you know, rocks, and even though we're absorbed back into the ocean, the energy that made that wave is still there. It's just changes form. So yeah, I think that some of the things that I found through my experiences, I mean,

I mean, look at COVID, right, you got so many people dying, so much fear, so much outright fear. And if you could say to somebody you love that was really scared and was really battling this with with 100% certainty, just knowing it, you're no matter what happens, you're not going to die, the lights don't just go out, you didn't mean nothing. This was an important part of something, and you're an important piece of machinery in that thing. I think that would take away a lot of it. And I see why, you know, these sort of things have been, I think, covered up for a long time, because they tend they tend to reveal that a lot of the things that, that we use in society to manipulate people are completely baseless. I mean, the color of our skin, whether or not we pronounce or we identify as a specific gender, none of these things matter. Your soul is genderless we're all genders is probably a better way to put it. It's not neutral. It's the inclusiveness of everything. At least that's my belief, right? And I come to that belief through this work kind of behind the veil. I think that what's really interesting to me about medicine work, aside from the amazing potential in your brain, for a real recovery to like really come home. It really presents a really interesting moral quandary. Which is like if you believe that this earth is for us, if we're uniquely made for it, then is an experience that you could have on this earth. Somehow bad weather or somehow forbidden. I don't know. But for me what This this journey has showed me is that we're all connected and that love is incredibly powerful. And, you know, sometimes what you do is enough, you know, whatever it is

love. That seems to be so did you really quickly. I mean, it's not on topic, but maybe I don't know. Did you watch Steven Greer's documentary over on Amazon Prime? Now? You should, I think you would like it. It's it. There's two, there's unacknowledged and then Close Encounters of the fifth time because it was something knowledge. Okay. Yeah. I don't know if there's a connection in all of this, like what you're referring to, from your experiences in DMT. What he refers to in the Close Encounters of the fifth kind, which no spoiler alert, but just as idea of consciousness. And yeah, that just knowing that there is this other thing? Yeah, I know, it definitely makes my wheels turn. And unfortunately, I mean, I want to keep going. But we're getting close to time here, Wiley. So before, I know, we're getting, you know, press harder time, I want to make sure we do talk about operation tree branch, because that is something that you are focusing on. And I want to make sure that we raise that up as well, because we're definitely gonna have you back on By the way, this is a conversation that we're just at the tip of the iceberg. So I think you probably most perfectly painted the picture in terms of trying to understand what it would be like that I've heard anywhere. Um, so that was awesome. And I think that's something that people are going to take away and more better understand and understand better frame of reference for the context of what this is what we're actually referring to here versus the stigma the you know, to your point before, right? This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. So how about this, let's go ahead really quickly focus on operation tree branch widely.

So operation tree branch is something that we're very proud of the veterans of war, it's our initiative to give back to the indigenous wardens of this medicine that have kept it alive over the last couple of millennia. So that our veterans, our first responders, and anybody that could need it would have access to it when the time was right. Through that initiative, we've been able to help the agwa tribes, specifically with more than 2400 pounds of food and supplies during this very, I would say, specifically, incredibly difficult time for them, as they were ravaged both by COVID-19 and Dengue fever.

Wow. Man, why late? Well, thank you for number one for joining the show. Number two, for raising up awareness for I think the future of medicine. This is what we talked about in the rogue dose. This is where the future will be 510 15 years. And I'm I'm ecstatic, because I'm excited to see how many lives you're going to help change because this is at the end of the day, why I do what I do, from a political standpoint, why you're doing what you're doing is because we're trying to help real people. So thank you for that. And thank you for joining us here on today's very fun filled episode, but also very informative episode of The Brian Nichols Show. Thank you, Brian, so much. Appreciate it.

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Already folks, that's gonna wrap up my conversation with Wiley gray, thank you, Wiley for joining the show. And thank you for creating such an amazing solution to the problem that's out there. Now. This is what I was doing over at the heroic dose, which is part of microdose dot buzzes awesome events that they sponsored back here in April, where I was the moderator for a panel where we discussed the offer alternative forms of medicine for military veterans who are in need of help. And this is part of the path forward. And I think it's a great chance especially for the greater Liberty world to be an advocate. We see too often, there is an unnecessary division between those who have served in our armed forces and libertarians. Those who served in our armed forces should be the easiest people to talk to because they have seen firsthand just how horrible government power being used by people with nefarious goals. intentions can be and they know that it needs to change. So let's talk to them. Let's then let's help those who have already served who are dealing with the past the terrorist that they have to tackle every single day because of that. So let's not instead of saying, oh, look what you did joining the military, how dare you? No, no, what are we doing? Stop that. Instead say, we're here to help. We're gonna help solve the problems that you see around right now with the veterans that are needed help. But also we are going to help change the conversation with active military personnel by showing that yes, we aren't just going to be out there you know, calling the negatives all the time but rather offering solutions to help out there. I think that's where we are going to find folks the most success and folks out there like Wiley are leading the charge by offering solutions in the marketplace. Where is so absolutely needed. So thank you for joining us on the episode if you enjoyed the episode today please do me a solid share the episode make sure you go ahead tag Wiley also please go ahead and tag yours truly at a B Nichols Liberty now be Nichols liberty, Twitter, Facebook, mines, calm parlor, calm wherever it is, again, it's all one handle at B Nichols Liberty also if you enjoyed today's episode, and you got particular value, two things I guess number one, I would love to hear about it. Email me Brian at Brian Nichols Show comm let me know what you got from today's episode number two, if you really liked it, right, like you're like, Hey, this is huge. I would also love to hear about it and so and everybody else so head over to Brian Nichols Show comm forward slash reviews. And go ahead and leave us a five star rating and a quick review. tell folks about this episode and how incredibly life changing it is to know that this is out there to help change the conversation to help stop 22 veterans 22 of Wiley's brothers and sisters who are facing a situation that they think there is no turning back from we need to help change the conversation. It starts with us. So I would love for you to please share today's episode. And again over on the the apple podcast link there at Brian Nichols Show comm forward slash reviews please let folks know how important and honestly I'd say how just absolutely game changing a conversation like this kind of episode can be in terms of offering real, substantive, tangible solutions that are out there to the problems that we see in the world. 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Kill two birds with one stone pick the expression that works best for you either way, I appreciate it as does the greater libertarian community. So with that being said, coming up here on Sunday, I have two candidates I'm tentatively getting ready to record with so I'm not going to tell you yet who is going to be but I will be having a conversation coming up here. Sunday with a candy and then coming up on Monday. Yes, we are going to be having a conversation with the one and only Jeremy Todd. We are talking sales of course it's his turn. We talked to Chris Goyzueta back on Monday about marketing and recurring content. I said reoccurring like 14 times in the episode and Chris is just too nice to correct me recurring content that is Brian, you Dodo. But talking with Jeremy Todd about all things sales. What's the topic? I'm gonna have to let you? I don't know. How about this. You have to subscribe to Sunday's episode, make sure you tune in. So with that being said, folks, thank you so much for joining us on today's episode. If you're on the YouTube, make sure you hit the subscribe button hit the little notification bell and the like button though. That being said, it's Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Wiley grain. We'll see you Sunday.

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