Cameras were rolling as Lamar Odom, former NBA star and the ex-husband of socialite Khloé Kardashian, sat up in bed with an IV of ketamine in his arm, repeating: I’m reborn; I’m reborn. This personal moment might have otherwise remained part of the hidden, messy journey of recovery if it weren’t for a couple of reasons: he made the brave decision to be forthright about his struggles and he trusted Zappy Zapolin to publicly tell his story.
The Reborn documentary follows Lamar’s life from his highly-publicized overdose and near-death experience in 2015 to his use of meditation, ibogaine, and the administration of medical ketamine to process trauma and break patterns of addictive behaviour.
What Was It Like Inside Lamar’s Brain Pre-Ketamine Versus Post-Ketamine?
“Pre-ketamine, Lamar was looking to get high. Post-ketamine, Lamar saw how effective he would be if he wasn’t high,” he tells The Dales Report’s, Nicolle Hodges over Zoom. “It’s like the light went off…there is more to life than being high.”
“Not only was ketamine a great way to introduce Lamar to going inside,” says Zappy, psychedelic concierge and the film’s director, “but that major reset allowed Lamar to feel that he was really strong.”
Athletes are often put on a pedestal and praised as heroes. This can be a double-edged sword, leading many to suffer in silence rather than risk letting down their fans or showing perceived signs of “weakness.”
Although outspoken about his addictions, the cause of Lamar’s deep-rooted suffering was less documented. Reborn delves into the trauma he endured with the loss of his mother as a child and then the untimely loss of his own son, Jaden, at just six months old. He admitted that he self-medicated rather than seeking professional intervention due to the stigma surrounding struggles with mental health, both as an athlete and a man.
Why Did He Decide To Finally Share His Story?
“I think God guides my decision-making. I was so open with people about my addictions and downfalls, why not be that open and honest when it comes to what it takes for me to stay mentally healthy?” he says. “I survived twelve strokes and six heart attacks. I’ve got to be here for a reason.”
Fans often feel they know the athletes they idolize, and this is no truer than for Lamar. Due to the success of his reality show, Khloé & Lamar, people had access to his life both on and off the basketball court. It is for this reason, says Zappy, that people who might otherwise be apprehensive about the use of ketamine to heal their depression, anxiety, alcoholism, or other addictive behaviors, might consider it because Lamar is discussing it. There is already a sense of trust and connection from years of publicity.
“I lost the best woman I ever had in my life because I was lying all the time,” says Lamar, reflecting on his divorce from Kardashian in 2016 following infidelity and substance abuse. “At 42-years-old, I tell myself: I’m not going to lie anymore. I can’t. I don’t win when I lie. I try to stand in my truth. Ketamine has been part of that for me.”
Why Did Lamar Trust Zappy To Film The Process?
“Look at his face!” jokes Lamar over Zoom. “I realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get better. If someone wants to help me be my best self, then why not?
Lamar, who has been to rehab on numerous occasions, recalled that he could hardly wait to get out so he could get back to doing drugs and numbing himself. “It was back to my old ways,” he says.
“When I met Lamar, I think he had tried everything else [to heal],” adds Zappy. Lamar continues to support his mental health with at-home ketamine treatments through a company called KetaMD, founded by television producer, Warren Gumpel, and Zappy.
Zappy, who spoke on the ‘Ketamine Goes Mainstream’ panel at the Wonderland conference in Miami, says the psychic connection that can happen between practitioner and patient over Zoom is real. “We don’t all live in New York and LA. There are people around the country in small towns who are really hurting and we have to make it [ketamine-assisted psychotherapy] affordable and approachable…it’s a beautiful experience to lay in your own bed and have this incredible experience.”
What Would Zappy And Lamar Say To Their Former Selves About Ketamine, Knowing What They Do Now About How It Has Changed Their Lives For The Better?
“I would say the same thing that Kobe Bryant told me the year I won an individual award in the NBA and was shooting a reality show at the same time: ‘don’t be afraid to be great,’’ says Lamar. “Being great is a lonely place. But it’s a journey that we all deserve to walk. It might be uncomfortable, but you’ll get through it.”
Zappy adds: I would tell myself that [psychedelics] are really going to be a revolution. It took all this time and the pandemic for people to be ready to face mental health in a new way. Stay the path because there is no other thing that is going to help society in a suicide, addiction, depression epidemic coming out of a pandemic quite like psychedelics. People are going to hear the message, take action, and get the benefits.