Leaf of Life: the Britt Black story
Britt Black escaped a nine-year addiction, crediting a plant called kratom for saving her life. Now she grows it from her home in Denver, CO.
A piece of the miracle
"When I first heard about kratom, I was battling a heroin addiction," says Britt Black, a fresh faced dark-eyed beauty with a dimpled smile and serenely present gaze. "It started with pills when I was 16, and after seven years or so progressed to heroin, which I used for about two years."
Although you'd never believe it to look at her now, a little over four years ago Britt was living the life of a full-blown drug addict, doing anything and everything to keep opiates in her bloodstream.
"I was stealing things from stores and people, then pawning them to maintain my addiction and keep myself from getting sick," says Britt. "I was writing bad checks to stores for money. I wouldn't go to my court dates because I'd be waiting around all day for my dealer to show up. I couldn't go to court sick so I was getting failure to appear charges."
Britt was at that horrible stage in her addiction where she wasn't even enjoying the drugs anymore, but if she didn't take them she would fall deathly ill. She knew things had to change, but didn't see a way out until she began hearing about kratom from people on facebook. This natural southeast Asian leaf seemed to be transforming people all over America from hopeless and hurting to happy and healthy. Testimonial after testimonial scrolled across her newsfeed, painting pictures of lives reclaimed. Britt wanted a piece of the miracle.
"I was living in Indiana where they had banned kratom when I was at the worst point in my addiction," she recalls. "I was desperate to change my life, but I wasn't able to buy kratom where I lived and was terrified of detoxing, so my husband and I made the decision to pack up and drive to Colorado."
The drive tested their limits as all-out sickness set in ---- violent shaking, bones aching, sweating and vomiting, torturous misery ---- but the couple didn't turn back. "Friends were dying all around us, and every day was basically a Russian Roulette game with our lives," says Britt. "We knew we had to leave. We detoxed the entire drive to Colorado, but we did it anyway because we were done."
When the couple made it to Colorado, they struggled with severe cravings, and Britt quickly began searching head shops for kratom and its promise of hope. "The first time I tried it, I appreciated it more than anything in the world," says Britt. "It helped us get our lives back together and allowed us to function normally."
Adding to the intensity of these times, Britt and her husband were in a bad car accident shortly after arriving in Colorado, which led to severe pain and then later to double hip surgery for Britt. "At that point I realized just how versatile kratom is in its capacity to help people, not only with addiction but daily pain and so much more," she explains. "I started to get depression from not being able to do things I was once able to do, and I'd already battled anxiety since I was a child. Kratom helped with all these things for me."
Eventually Britt began buying her kratom from vendors online instead of head shops, and started to hear about people growing their own trees.
"I was researching and learning as much as I could," says Britt. "The trees, origin, structure, literally any and every thing I possibly could wrap my mind around." After almost three years of research, consumption, and working in a kratom store, she met David Winkler and bought her first tree, a Borneo Rainforest seed-sown specimen from the Kalimantan region of Indonesia's 140 million year old rainforest, available from magickpowerspotions.com.
"The day I received my tree was one of the most enlightening days of my life," says Britt. "To hold what saved my life in my own hands was amazing. I almost cried."
She began learning as much as she could about growing kratom, setting up an indoor grow tent and grow lights in her Denver, Colorado home. And it didn't take long before another beautiful tree joined her first one, this one genetically sourced from a Costa Rican kratom plantation by Cornelia Llama, resident hedgewitch for Magick Powers Potions. From this specimen, Britt would learn to clone a small forest of first generation kratom cuttings.
"The majority of the plants I've had over the course of my life never really turned out too well," she says with a laugh. "I've never had much of a green thumb and I had no idea what I was doing when I started, but I dove in head first and saw just how easy it was to keep it going and growing. And it does grow fast!"
Watching her kratom trees grow and flourish is like a spiritual mirror for Britt, reflecting the way she is now growing and flourishing in her own life. "I think back to who I used to be before kratom and how much things have changed," says Britt. "The things I did back then to keep myself from getting sick, I have never done while utilizing kratom. The thoughts have never even crossed my mind. I did horrible things to people that I truly regret when I used heroin, but I am thankful that is not my life anymore. I don't have to wait hours a day before I can do anything because I'm dope sick. I'm not shooting up in a parking lot because I can't make the drive home. I'm not thinking about what illegal thing I have to do while I'm still high so I can prepare for tomorrow. I just chew these leaves or make some tea, and live an upright life."
As Britt rebuilds trust and heals relationships she damaged in her past, she is grateful to kratom for the role it plays in giving her a sense of rebirth, as well as the joy and gratitude that comes with being free from opiate addition. Now instead of a needle full of poison that drags her down to her lowest depths, she is lifted up by a natural green leaf that has brought profound renewal to every element of her life. She encourages anyone who feels the calling to try growing their own tree.
"Chewing on a fresh leaf is a lot different than using already processed kratom," says Britt. "For me, it depends on how long you chew on it for what effects you get. If I chew on a leaf for awhile, it tends to have a more relaxing effect for me. When I chew on it for just a few minutes, it gives me more energy. I try and pick off leaves that have been on the tree the longest, the bigger ones. The smaller ones tend to not have such prominent effects to me."
Britt also says curing her own kratom is different from buying already processed kratom powder. "When growing yourself you truly have control over every factor," says Britt. "I have been following the Magick Powers Potions blogs on curing for my education in the curing area. I've done a lot of research on both sides of consuming and growing, but there's still so much more to learn. And being open to learning and absorbing information I have learned is so important when growing."
How Britt pampers her kratom trees
"My favorite way to pamper my trees is taking them outside and misting them," says Britt. "I grow in a tent so four times a week they come outside for about five hours. They love it. If there are any drooping leaves, they perk right up. Every hour they get a good mist. Honestly, just being in my tent, messing with things and inspecting all the leaves is a version of pampering for myself and my trees. I spend a lot of time in my tent seeing what else I can do for them."
When asked what advice she would give someone thinking of growing their own kratom, Britt says to have confidence and have fun with the experience. "They are a pretty resilient species and it's ok to make mistakes with them," says Britt. "More often than not, they recover from even significant mistakes. And always ask questions. If you don't know just ask!"
Britt's thoughts on life after drugs
Britt has been clean for four years, and hasn't had any relapses, crediting kratom for helping her abolish any drug seeking behaviors. After losing family and friends due to her addiction, she is proud to be regaining some of that family back. "I got some family members to try kratom and experience the benefits themselves," says Britt. "Theres still so much I have to work on daily and so many wrongs I have to right in my life, but at least now I'm able to truly work on those things."
When asked what advice she would give someone going through the same challenges she used to face, here's what Britt says:
"If you are looking to try kratom to stay clean, listen to your body but don't abuse it. Respect the plant. Addicts tend to have a more, more, more mentality and that's not how it works with kratom. Be safe about using it. We still don't have a lot of information or studies on all the medications that kratom has negative interactions with. We only know of a few side effects through so many people taking it and sharing their experiences in discussion forums. Don't mix it with other substances and be smart about where you buy it. Facebook and Google are wonderful things for information, and if you look for it, it's there."
For Britt, introducing kratom into her life was a paradigm changer. "I detoxed from heroin without kratom," says Britt, "so when I finally obtained it, it didn't help me with the initial withdrawal, but it made the transition to sobriety bearable, and blessed my life in so many ways."
Britt says she wasn't her normal self immediately however. "Even after I got kratom it took several months for me to get back to normal," says Britt. "But it helped me with those urges, it helped me to not seek anything out. And then after my car accident, surgery, and all the other medical problems, it helped me live through the pain. I learned how helpful it truly is with things other than withdrawal."
Britt was also able to handle going back to work as a caregiver two months after her surgery. "I've been working every day since," says Britt proudly. "I wouldn't be able to do that without kratom. I am able to go on long walks with my huskies, I'm able to sit in a car for more than 30 minutes, I'm able to do fun things without being in so much pain that I can't move. Does it get rid of all of the pain? No. But does it keep it manageable? Absolutely."
Grow kratom trees like Britt's
If you would like to grow your own kratom trees like Britt, you can learn more at magickpowerspotions.com.
Disclaimer: the contents of this document are the opinion of Britt Black based on her true life story and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician and do your own due diligence before beginning any kind of healthcare regimen. Kratom is not FDA approved.