Growing up in the west of Scotland, you quickly acclimatise to the local culture of drugs and alcohol. Booze by 14, weed by 16 and MDMA by 18 is the norm. With a society who’s culture is so deeply ingrained in escapism, it’s unlikely you’ll outmanoeuvre the grasp of drugs and alcohol yourself.
At first The Scene is inviting and rosy. The first sip out a 2 litre bottle of Strongbow is possibly the most offensive thing to ever grace your senses but the buzz of being drunk at your first house party is overwhelmingly positive. Girls, underage drinking, uninhibited freedom and rebelling against your parents makes for an intoxicating mix.
After being introduced to the wonders of alcohol and the blasé attitude it induces, you’ll likely, with your “Fuck it” attitude move on to trying weed. Your first time being properly high is like an “ah-ha” moment, and before long you’re sneaking out to blaze joints with a group of equally inquisitive mates. This part’s fun too. Getting the munchies and devouring far too much KFC for your own good is fun. 10-minute laughing fits are fun. Knowing you’re on the wrong side of the law but doing it anyway is fun.
Weed undoubtedly segways you in to harder drugs. People say it’s not a gateway drug but i couldn’t disagree with this more for 2 reasons:
- The crowd you smoke weed with are more likely to try harder drugs and thus, through association, you’re introduced to the likes of ket, MDMA, psychedelics & more.
- The veil shatters. Up until that point you’ve been told that weed and other drugs will ruin your life. Teachers, educators, family members & government representatives constantly reinforce this sentiment. After collecting empirical evidence of your own, the veil shatters; you realise that the so-called common knowledge, that drugs are inherently bad, is untrue.
As you pass through the gateway and enter the realm of MDMA, you experience the most euphoric highs, and the most damning lows.
Your first experience isn’t even remotely comparable to anything you’ve before. I can’t do it any justice through text on a page but i’ll do my best to describe my first experience with the drug.
Firstly, as the drug starts to hit, you’ll feel warm tingles over the entirety of your body. You’ll feel the drug spread from your core to the tips of your fingers and toes in a manner which can only be described as the warmest, cosiest, most enjoyable blanket being wrapped around each individual neuron with the upmost care, attention and love. Secondly, your senses will be enamoured with the greatest feeling of pure, crystalline, euphoria that you’ve ever felt. It’s like having an orgasm, graduating high-school, passing your driving test, winning a million pounds, and celebrating your birthday rolled in to one, with that exact peak moment of euphoria lasting 5 hours. Lastly, you’ll feel and express a deep gratitude and love for those that you’re sharing the experience with. You’ll tell old friends how much you love them, make new friends and tell them how cool they are, and share the love with everyone and anyone. That first time is indescribably special.
In the weeks and months following your first experience, you’re likely to want to try it again; realistically, you’ll find any plausible opportunity to partake. Wether that be a house party or night club, the outcome is the same — you rolling/fleeing. The first few months of going out and taking MDMA with your mates is a special time, you’ll get the maximum enjoyment with a minimal comedown. Time spent fleeing is time well spent.
This is the sweet spot — right where your tolerance isn’t too high and you don’t get much of a comedown. Enjoy this while it lasts because it doesn’t.
After a number of experiences you’ll be introduced to the self-destruct feature that’s baked into MDMA’s software — the dreaded comedown. This is the morning after a heavy night of MDMA use in which your body is literally devoid of Serotonin:
In a comedown these chemicals fall to levels that can make the user feel anxious, depressed, paranoid, tired and experience dizzy spells. These effects typically last around three days, reaching their peak in the last day.
The only way i can possibly describe it is the complete inability to feel happiness. Although welcome, the usual easy fixes for sadness such as food, sex & entertainment, fail to produce one morsel of happiness. This is usually accompanied by an apathetic outlook in which the only thing you care about is not feeling this shit ever again.
Albeit a dreadful experience, i believe great value can be derived from a comedown.
The Only Way Is Up
Some of the worst comedowns of my life have set me on my greatest, most productive trajectories. When you really sit, experience and live with a comedown you’re forced to sit and reconcile with your ego, humanity & reality. Lying in a pit of your own misery forces you to confront the nature of your actions.
I remember staring solemnly at myself in the mirror of some stranger’s bathroom at 6am in the morning as the MDMA wore off and the comedown started. I remember thinking to myself, is this who i want to be? Do i want to spend my Saturday’s spent in a dark room in the name of nursing a comedown? Do i ever want to feel like this again?
It forced me to be introspective; to truly look at myself, who I was, what my actions represented and if i was happy with it. The answer was unequivocally no. In the most depressing of moments, i came to a stark realisation that this wasn’t the life for me.
I find there to be a certain emptiness in the entire experience. Although immeasurably happy for the span of 8 hours, the feeling eventually wears off. That complete euphoria is now just a pipe dream that yesterday’s Liam Lawson had.
For me personally, although i enjoy brief encounters with indulgence and hedonism, i much prefer longer periods of fulfilment. That’s exercising regularly and being proud of my body, that’s pursuing my hobbies with intent and vigour, that’s challenging myself with cold showers, hiking, meditation, and other naturally stimulating experiences. The longevity and continuity of fulfilment is why i value these experiences over the momentary pleasure of MDMA.
All this isn’t to say i won’t try MDMA ever again, rather just to say i’m entirely content with it being a rarity, rather than the norm.
There are vitamins and minerals you can take to reduce the harmful effects and thus, by proxy, the comedown. I’ll cover 5-HTP, NAC, magnesium & more in future articles.
Some people aren’t as introspective or anxious about the comedown experience as i am. I’ve naturally quite a delicate brain and thus i’m always extra careful with drugs.
Some love the lifestyle that MDMA offers and that’s alright.
There’s a great amount of medical research being done in America that highlights MDMA’s positive utilisation in PTSD victims, couples therapy & more.
If all the world leaders took it together, i could guarantee world peace.
Comedowns aren’t the same for everyone. Some don’t get any, some get one and never touch it again, some learn from them. I’m in that last category.
Some of my worst comedowns have forced me to take an honest look at myself and consider my priorities. Comedowns act as fuel that constantly nips me in the arse as a reminder to achieve my dreams. Working out, pursuing education, earning money and implementing positive habits all come easy after a comedown. For the 6–12 months after a bad comedown, i’m hyper productive and focussed on myself, because i know where i’ll be if i slip up.
All this isn’t objective truth, only my personal experience. What matters to me most is my perception of myself. Comedown’s instill a sense of shame and thus i do my best to avoid them. What fills me with pride is achievement, dedication and graft; therefore, i’ll continue to pursue things that fill me with lasting pride rather than momentary pleasure.
What’s your experience with MDMA? Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments down below.