But even the drug's fiercest advocates will say that for MDMA to save a marriage, it has to be a marriage worth saving—the substance can unearth buried love, but it can't create love from scratch. It can't implant an empathy chip in a sociopath or strip the egotism from a narcissist. "I don't think MDMA can give you access to an emotional experience that's not already within you," Ot'alora says. "It's not a miracle drug."
"...a team of researchers has conducted one of the largest studies ever undertaken to re-examine the cognitive effects of ecstasy, funded by a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published today in the journal Addiction. The study was specifically designed to minimize the methodological limitations of earlier research.
In contrast to many prior studies, ecstasy users in the new study showed no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use: ecstasy use did not decrease mental ability."
In 2008 Emily did a single session of MDMA with the guidance of an underground therapist. "I took myself through the rape and I felt the trauma deeply, but I also stepped outside of it," she says. "I had what they call the 'God view' in a computer game. I saw it objectively, and with compassion. I wasn't thinking, I shouldn't have been there or I'm a piece of crap or This is all my fault."
After her own MDMA experience, Marcela Ot'alora says, "instead of avoiding triggers—which is impossible, they're everywhere—I asked myself, How should I take care of myself when I get triggered?" An omnipresent tripwire was people behind her, whether at the supermarket checkout or standing on a bus. "I would start sweating, the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up, my legs would shake, and I'd have to sit down," Ot'alora says. "If I went to the movies, a friend would have to stand in line for me, and we'd have to go early to make sure we got seats in the back row.
"I used to think, I'm a broken person. I'll never be able to do this simple thing. But after my first session, I thought, Well, it's okay not to stand in line. It's okay to go early. I stopped judging myself, and I didn't avoid my life anymore. Which was wonderful."
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