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An Army Ranger’s Healing Journey Through Ayahuasca: Devin’s Story

Heroic Hearts Psychedelic Retreat Helps Heal PTSD

Seven years ago, Devin, a veteran of 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, found himself at a crossroads. After six deployments and a return to civilian life that left him grappling with depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts, he was introduced to Heroic Hearts Project, a nonprofit founded by former fellow Ranger Jesse Gould to help veterans access psychedelic retreats and heal from PTSD. This encounter marked the beginning of a profound journey of self-discovery and healing through the use of ayahuasca, a psychedelic known for its therapeutic potential.

As HHP celebrates its seventh anniversary in April 2024, Devin’s experience offers a glimpse into what integration looks like long-term, the way psychedelic programs can profoundly impact the trajectory of someone’s life. 

When Devin first heard about the opportunity to participate in an ayahuasca retreat, he was intrigued but hesitant. He acknowledges now that he actually had a fear of losing his mind and never getting it back. This was a fear that stemmed from a history of seeing how poorly his uncle, who suffered from mental illness, had been treated, and that was exacerbated by his own negative experiences recreationally using psychedelics such as LSD. Ultimately, Devin decided he had nothing to lose. 

Psychedelics a catalyst for Integration, self-discovery and healing

The ayahuasca sessions were challenging, confronting Devin with his deepest fears and traumas. Yet, it was through this confrontation that he began to uncover layers of himself that had been lost or hidden. The experience was far from easy; it was filled with intense emotional upheaval, moments of darkness, and profound introspection. Devin’s journey with ayahuasca didn’t provide him with direct answers or immediate healing. Instead, it acted as a catalyst for a more extended process of self-discovery and healing, one that required patience, reflection, and a commitment to integrating the insights gained during the retreats into his daily life. “Ayahuasca just opened the door. I had to walk through it,” he notes. 

The concept of integration became a central theme in Devin’s journey. It wasn’t about a single moment of transformation but a continuous process of weaving the insights from his ayahuasca experiences into the fabric of his life. This process was not linear; it involved setbacks and moments of doubt. However, these challenges were integral to his growth, pushing him to study and explore various modalities of healing and self-improvement, including psychology and Ayurvedic medicine.

One of the most significant impacts of Devin’s journey was on his perspective towards himself and others. He learned to approach his fears directly, reducing the control they had over his life. This shift in perspective also altered his relationships, allowing him to engage with others more authentically and compassionately. Devin realized that healing is not just about dealing with one’s own pain but also about understanding and empathizing with the suffering of others.

Healing is a Still unfolding process

As he reflects on the past seven years, Devin acknowledges that healing is an ongoing process. The lessons from ayahuasca continue to unfold, offering new insights and perspectives. The journey has taught him the importance of being open to change, embracing the uncertainties of life, and the power of facing one’s fears. Devin’s story highlights the importance of support, patience, and a willingness to engage with the challenging aspects of oneself as a constant practice. As HHP moves forward, Devin’s experience serves as a reminder of the profound impact that psychedelic approaches can have on individuals struggling with PTSD and other mental health issues.

In sharing his story, Devin hopes to offer insight and encouragement to others who may be navigating their own paths of healing. His journey underscores the message that while healing is indeed a personal and internal process, it’s also enriched and supported by the communities and resources available to those who seek them.

Ayahuasca just opened the door. I had to walk through it.

Devin, Ranger


1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment

Written By: Hannah Kimyon
HHP Director of Marketing & Coach