Aaron Rodgers says doing psychedelic drug ayahuasca helped him overcome his ‘fear of death’

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive plant-based hallucinogen usually brewed into a tea or liquid

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 14 December 2022 22:51 GMT

Related: Aaron Rodgers takes full responsibility for his comments on Covid

Aaron Rodgers has opened up about how doing ayahuasca, a psychedelic drug, has helped him overcome his “fear of death”.

On 13 December, the Green Bay Packers quarterback appeared on The Pat McAfee Show, where he spoke about his use of ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant-based brew, and psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic substance found in certain types of mushrooms.

After co-host AJ Hawk asked the 39-year-old NFL star if he was “scared of dying,” Rodgers explained how he was first exposed to mortality at a young age due to the events of the “Y2K problem” – a computer glitch in some software systems that could have disrupted the transition from the year 1999 to 2000.

"I had a major fear of death,” Rodgers said. “I think there was this weird, ingrained fear of 2000, the fear of the world ending. I think we all struggle with mortality.”

However, the football star said that taking psychedelic drugs has helped him see death as “more of a passage” and lift the “veil between the seen world and the unseen world”.

Rodgers continued: “So yeah, I definitely had a fear of death, and ayahuasca and psilocybin actually really helped me with that and relieved a lot of the stress around needing to accomplish things before I die.

“I think when you’ve seen the other side, it makes the idea of death more of a passage and less of an ending. More of just the next chapter of life.”

Rodgers has often defended the use of ayahuasca, which he previously admitted to using during the 2020 and 2022 NFL offseasons. “I did ayahuasca in 2020 and I won two MVPs,” Rodgers told Fox Sports in September.

“I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence,” he continued. “I don’t really believe in coincidences. I believe in science and synchronicities, and I really feel like that what that allowed me to do is to have a greater love for the game that I play, greater love for my teammates and I had maybe my best season of my career in 2020 and then followed up last year with an even greater integration of a lot of those lessons.”

The quarterback first went on an ayahuasca retreat to Peru in 2020 with his then-girlfriend, Danica Patrick. Speaking about the experience to NBC Sports Peter King in August, Rodgers said the hallucinogen allowed him to become a more “compassionate and forgiving person” while helping him tune out “negative voices” and “fully give my heart to my teammates, my loved ones, relationships because I can fully embrace, unconditionally, myself.”

Later on, Rodgers said on The Aubrey Marcus Podcast how the retreat gave him "a deep and meaningful appreciation for life,” adding that he “came back and knew I was never going to be the same.”

The primary psychoactive ingredient in ayahuasca, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), is a Schedule I drug under federal law, which are defined as drugs “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. However, Rodger’s use of the psychoactive brew is not in violation with the NFL, after league spokesman Brian McCarthy said that any trace of the substance in Rodgers’ system would not trigger a positive result under the substance abuse or performance-enhancing drug policies.

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