‘A lot of healing went on’: Aaron Rodgers says ayahuasca helped NFL career | Aaron Rodgers | The Guardian

The NFL says Aaron Rodgers will not face any penalties for a series of ayahuasca trips he took in the 2020 and 2022 offseasons.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback took the hallucinogen during two separate retreats in Peru. Many ayahuasca users say the drug helps with personal insight and growth. The drug’s psychoactive component, DMT, is illegal in the US but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Monday that it wouldn’t trigger a positive test result on the league’s substance abuse policy. The same day Packers coach Matt LaFleur was asked if he was concerned that Rodgers could face a suspension. “I really haven’t given it much thought at all,” he replied.

Rodgers told NBC’s Peter King in an article published this week that the drug had changed his life.

“We sat three different nights with the medicine. I came in with an intention of doing a lot of healing of other relationships and bringing in certain people to have conversations with,” Rodgers said.

“Most of the work was around myself and figuring out what unconditional love of myself looks like of myself. In doing that, allowing me to understand how to unconditionally love other people but first realizing it’s gotta start with myself. I’ve got to be a little more gentle with myself and compassionate and forgiving because I’ve had some negative voices, negative self-talk, for a long time. A lot of healing went on.”

Rodgers, often seen as a complex figure off the field, received criticism last season after making misleading comments about his Covid-19 vaccine status. However, the 38-year-old told King that he has become more enthusiastic about his career in recent seasons.

“I think I just fell in love with [football] a little bit deeper,” he said. “Again, I think a lot of that is due to the work that I’ve done on myself. It hasn’t all been just the ayahuasca journey. It’s been therapy. It’s been meditation. It’s been changing habits that weren’t giving me any type of joy. Eating better. Taking care of myself a little bit better. Being more gentle with myself. All those things have allowed me to look at each day with a little more joy.”

While many find ayahuasca use a positive experience, experts say it must be treated with caution.

“People should pursue using ayahuasca with great care and do thorough research to find reputable retreat centres,” Alli Feduccia of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies told the Guardian in 2017. “Counselling and support during and after ayahuasca retreats are necessary to integrate the intense experiences that can emerge,”

Rodgers has been named NFL MVP for the last two seasons. The Packers are among the betting favourites to win this season’s Super Bowl.

This content was originally published here.

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