Brad Wells: Plant Medicine Helped Me Accept My Identity

Brad Wells built multiple successful companies over his career attempting to prove his self-worth and sacrificing much in the pursuit of achievement. Somewhat unexpectedly, he had the opportunity to experience Ayahuasca igniting a fundamental shift in his view of his life, business, and most profoundly–within himself.

Brad Wells, Founder & Steward, Reunion Costa Rica

Thanks to plant medicine, Brad was able to accept his identity as a gay man, and his life has changed dramatically since. He sold his successful company, concluded his 25-year marriage, and established Reunion, a not-for-profit plant medicine center in Costa Rica offering retreats designed to facilitate life transformation, including the Cultivating Pride & Authenticity program – a one-of-a-kind program Reunion created for the LGBTQ+ community.

Q: How did Ayahuasca help you own your identity as a gay man?

A: Being gay was a secret I had buried really deep. I’m 58 now, but at the time I was 53. I was married to my wife for 25 years and had lived as a straight man for most of my life. I remember knowing as a kid that I was gay but simply chose not to be – it was so engrained in me that being gay was shameful and wrong. I decided I didn’t want to continue hiding, the medicine didn’t ‘out’ me, it helped me to be free.  

Q: Let’s talk a little bit about where Reunion is located. It looks incredible.

A: Reunion sits on a beautiful, almost 40-acre oceanfront property right on Sugar Beach in Guanacaste, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We are right in the middle of a tropical forest full of many different species of animals; it’s truly a spectacular part of the world.

Q: Tell me a bit more about Reunion’s Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat.

A: The Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat is very near to my heart, for obvious reasons. We had our first retreat for gay men, led by gay men in October 2023, and it was incredible. There were 30 of us sitting with Ayahuasca and it was the most inclusive, safe, and heard that I’ve ever felt in my life. A lot of the feedback from the guys was that it was truly a profound week of healing, self-realization, and transformation. One of the participants told me: “I’ve been looking for 55 years and now I’ve finally found it”. This year we’re happy to be offering two more experiences in July and October 2024.

Q: Why is it so important for the LGBTQ+ community to have access to these types of experiences?

 A: From deeply entrenched stigmas to the mental health crisis and high levels of addiction–the community needs to be supported more than ever. We want to come together to build a network of connection and utilize the power of plant medicine using ayahuasca or psilocybin to help heal our wounds and assist individuals into becoming all that they can. With the proper set and setting, plant medicine ceremonies help to transform our self and allow for increased community and connection.

Q: What does the Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat week look like?

A: At Reunion, we offer ‘all-inclusive wellness’. We’re situated on an amazing ocean front property that was purpose-built for personal exploration and self-development. In addition to four Ayahuasca ceremonies throughout the week, there are workshops on topics such as releasing shame, discovering self-love, and how to sustain personal change. We provide healthy farm-to-table meals – plus incorporate embodiment modalities like yoga, breathwork, and meditation into the program. There is personal time and time to connect with each other in community on the secluded beach, the saltwater pool, enjoying a massage, or using the fitness center.

Cultivating Pride & Authenticity Guests and Facilitators, October 2023

Q: Looking at the week, integration is also a big component. What does integration mean?

A: Integration is imperative with any plant medicine experience. We need to take the incredible insights from the week and incorporate them into our lives. That’s integration – it’s the sustained facilitation of change. Community and support are a big part of the integration process. Reunion provides all guests with a well-developed and guided post-retreat integration. The program blends self-reflection activities and resource materials and culminates in a group call with your cohort. We also host monthly Community Calls for all past guests.

Q: What would you say to someone who’s interested in an experience like this?

A: Do your research. Make sure that wherever you go, they are transparent, experienced, have thorough processes in place to support you, and keep their group sizes small. Ask questions and ensure they ask some questions about you too! Lastly, be open and willing to surrender to the experience – it’s natural to have some trepidation – guests report this to be one of the most transformative, profound, and life-enhancing weeks of their life. Plus, our Cultivating Pride program is designed by the community for the community, and it’s one-of-a-kind.

Reunion Costa Rica facilities. Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Q: Sounds like people are in good hands at Reunion.

A: They really are in safe hands with us. At Reunion, safety is our number one priority. Not just physical safety, like location and security, but also the medical, psychological, and emotional safety of our guests. We have a licensed medical clinic on site. Our team of trained medicine servers, facilitators, and psychologists have years of experience and an unwavering commitment to providing the most profound experience. We keep our retreats around 25-30 participants and ensure we serve with the highest quality medicine. Guests complete a thorough intake to ensure there no pre-existing complications, plus there is an on-site medical check.

Q: If people are interested in learning more, how can they do that?

A: Reach out and chat with us! You can book a Discovery Call with me directly through email at brad.wells@reunionexperience.org or visit Reunion’s website, www.ReunionExperience.org, for more information.

Reunion Costa Rica (aerial view). Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

ABOUT REUNION

Reunion is a leading not-for-profit plant medicine center, combining Indigenous wisdom teachers from diverse lineages blending the best of ancient modalities and modern science. Located in Costa Rica, Reunion is an eco-luxe, medically licensed campus with a beach-front location providing a safe setting for personal growth, healing, and transformation. Rooted in reciprocity, 100% of proceeds support impact initiatives, including Indigenous medicine stewards, the replenishment of sacred plants for future generations, and scholarship programs to expand access. To learn more, visit our website www.ReunionExperience.org.

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