ECSTASY (MDMA) - THE FIRST TIME
My life changing experience on Ecstasy was different from any other I have heard of. Books such as Adamson's Through the Gateway of the Heart and Eisner's Ecstasy, the MDMA Story have beautiful stories of how people's lives have been changed by this entheogen, but none of them have accounts that cover a three-day period.
My brother Ed had haunted me all my life. Something about him troubled me. I knew he was born prematurely when Mother fell down the stairs and that when the doctor arrived, he told the family, "This baby can't live more than a year of two." One of his physical defects was his rib cage couldn't expand, so he would eventually suffocate. His legs were underdeveloped; it was doubtful he could ever learn to walk. Mother made me responsible for him in the yard while she worked in the house. I clearly remember chasing after him when he got away to go to the neighbor's chickens. Although his legs never allowed him to walk, he developed strong arm muscles. Vivid in my memory is the hot summer day of his funeral in 1926 when my cousin babysat my sister and me. I was four and Ed was two. As I grew up, I wondered how our lives would have been affected if Ed had lived, confined to a wheelchair.
I associated my confusion with Ed's death, but that didn't make sense. I didn't understand why he should influence my thinking after six decades. I am realistic enough to recognize that I have been unbearably neurotic all my life about anything left on stairs. Our children grew up in houses with lots of stairs and the kids knew they dare no leave anything on the steps.
In 1987, I visited my daughter, Julie, a college student. On a Saturday afternoon I drove forty miles to stay overnight with a counselor friend. He made Ecstasy available to my friend June and me. That afternoon, as she and I were coming on, we walked up in the Hollywood hills, enjoying the beautiful day and the flowers at the many lovely homes. Returning to my friend's apartment, June and I sat on the steps, enjoying the scenery while experiencing our own inner journey. In most other later trips with friends, I needed to express feelings, but this time I went within, mainly to discover the many personae I have been during my life. I found different personae: husband, lover, care giver to an invalid father, an army sergeant, a father, a teacher, a priest. June was on her own journey. We shared our insights, but the trip was an astounding individual journey for each of us.
The next morning I attended church, still high. I didn't use the prayer book because I flowed so perfectly with the liturgy; nor did I experience any insights. I felt it was just an intimate oneness with the service. That afternoon I returned to my daughter's college.
Monday morning I awoke feeling tearful, which surprised my because the previous two days had been so beautiful. I got up immediately and busied myself in order to work off the feelings of sadness, depression and confusion. After breakfast, Julie asked me to driver her to downtown, only a mile away. We were almost downtown when I commented to her that I had started out the day feeling tearful and wondered what that meant.
Suddenly I found myself sobbing, out of control. I was screaming "God damn it" because I couldn't control myself. The profanity, which surprised me, is not my style. Still sobbing, I quickly parked the car. Suddenly I experienced physically being the little two-year-old boy standing in the corner by myself. I didn't know Ed was being born nor why everyone was so excited and rushing about. I only knew I was terrified and no one was paying any attention to me.
On that eventful morning my sobbing finally subsided enough that could get out of the car. Julie walked the few blocks to her places of business while I walked around the neighborhood to get control of myself. After a while I regained my composure and we drove back to her home.
Since that morning Ed has been ancient family history. My neuroticism over stairs, something about Ed gnawing at me, and my wondering at my confusion have all disappeared. I found a peace I would never have thought possible. My older brother, who was sixteen at the time of Mother's fall, later corroborated the story of that tragic day.
I sincerely believe that another hundred hours of therapy couldn't have reached so deeply into my psyche to bring this life changing incident into my consciousness. The Ecstasy experience can be painful as well as pleasurable. My life is richer and more enjoyable because of it.
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