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Confessions of a middle-aged Ecstasy eater
February 15, 2012 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Confessions of a middle-aged Ecstasy eater. I believe that my coming to Ecstasy goes further than mere thrill-seeking. I believe it goes to the centre of my life at the time. It was a period of personal devastation. It began with my only child, a son - he was then my best friend, from time to time still is - and I did not see it coming and it culminated in Ecstasy, and to that I see no end. He was beautiful and sensitive and extraordinarily talented, talented enough that at 13 his poetry had won the notice of university professors and New York book editors alike. So when he undertook to destroy himself, he took his mother and father with him. That was not, nor is it, his fault.
posted by gottabefunky (60 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
From 2001...
posted by Catblack at 12:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great. Next they'll be mixing it with their Viagra.
posted by jonmc at 12:44 PM on February 15, 2012


Piece reads like it was written by someone who is high. Really strange.
posted by maryr at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


So... his son becomes a horrible out of control chav and his solution is to just ditch the family? Eventually he buys drugs from his son and then writes about having great sex with his girlfriend? His kid ends up maturing, completely without his presence apparently, and he says it's because of E? Maybe, or maybe he just grew out of it on his own.

Anyway, this article seems mostly prurient james-frey style "drugs are bad, here's my horrible yet exotic and titillating story about how they fucked me up" story.
posted by delmoi at 12:51 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Piece reads like it was written by someone who is high. Really strange.

It's literary.
posted by delmoi at 12:51 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I didn't know the Guardian published cries for help.
posted by phaedon at 12:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


From 2001...
posted by Catblack at 3:39 PM



Wonder what his life's like now.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


And then the unthinkable happened, or rather, two things happened. I met someone, a woman, and while I in my recalcitrant fashion followed up on that meeting so that she might eventually save me (as she eventually did),

Yes, yes of course you did. Yes, yes of course she did. It's interesting to note that this man seems actually to have brought every cliche of the 'literary' white straight dude novelist alive in his own life. It would be best, of course, if the woman were a student of his and extraordinarily beautiful except for the scar from a tragic accident which mars half of her face. In this story, she should have long hair which she wears Veronica Lake style, barring the scar only in gestures "half aggressive, half seductive". She should also wear tank tops and the writer should pretend that she is unaware of her looks or appeal.
posted by Frowner at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2012 [26 favorites]


"baring the scar"
posted by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 15, 2012


One of the most overwritten things I've ever seen. Off the top of my head, only James Frey is worse. Than this. Only James Frey is worse than this. Than this. Worse.
posted by rusty at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


I didn't know the Guardian published cries for help.
I had a small bet with myself it would be the Guardian before mousing over the link, and was duly smug (perhaps I could get a column?)
posted by Abiezer at 1:01 PM on February 15, 2012


I've actually been curious about Ecstasy, but if it causes one to write maundering bullshit like this, forget it!

Also, 2001? Everyone Involved In Article's Writing, Publishing, Posting On Metafilter Extremely High.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I remember when this was published in Granta Magazine 74.
posted by djseafood at 1:12 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was in Granta 11 years ago.
posted by timsteil at 1:23 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I remember this being widely-circulated at the time, and thought it was pretty great myself. Just re-read it, and man....its garbage. It's the sort of piece that makes a lot of sense if you happen to be in the honeymoon period of ecstasy use; not so much six months later. The most interesting thing for me would be reading a follow-up to see what he thinks about it now.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:27 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've actually been curious about Ecstasy, but if it causes one to write maundering bullshit like this, forget it!

I am a big supporter of the pure MDMA experience, and I can authoritatively say that this guy sounds like a tremendous prat. Definitely do get some, and enjoy an evening with a close friend or two and some good music (no vaporub unless you want to attempt to be the biggest e-tard raver douchebag stereotype ever). Definitely don't let any of this 'author's logorrhoea color the experience.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:28 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


And so, if eating Ecstasy be chiefly a sensual, and so a mindless pleasure, and if I have indulged in it to excess, no less true is that I have struggled to understand my habit, if not yet with the religious zeal required properly to get shed of it. But then, perhaps I do not wish to get shed of it.

Good. God. What was the author on?

Oh. Right.
posted by kdar at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2012


I will never try X, mainly because it spawned techno, which I can't forgive.
posted by jonmc at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am not unaware of how redolent this is of Timothy Leary's often loopy proselytising for LSD, and its "quasi-religious" associations, but this has nothing to do with that.

Yeah, it does; the only difference is that for all his messianic self-delusions, Tim was kind of charming and at least occasionally exhibited self-deprecating humor.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was wondering why the warnings about serotonin in there were so dire: that research has now largely been discredited. Most notoriously, one of the most famous studies actually involved the researchers accidentally using methamphetamine rather than MDMA to produce the "damage," resulting in a retraction and a question mark over a whole body of literature since the authors were the leading people in the field. But it was from 2001, before that stuff came out.
posted by Maias at 1:37 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I used to go to raves all the time in 2001 with my best friend and his sister and his 50 year old mom, who bought ecstasy from her daughter. This regularly led to sentences like the following "Oh, Dave, I'm glad you made it to the party, Mom ate a bunch of mushrooms and she's passed out in the tub, here are some pot brownies." And also my friend making a pink heart out of cherry flavored K that she cooked after we came back from an all-night field party we went to.

It seems kind of crazy in retrospect, but didn't really at the time... yay drugs..
posted by empath at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kinda credit e for making me somewhat of a more understanding person. It probably wasn't the drugs that did it, but I give them the credit anyway. I was sitting in a bar I normally hated, full of people dancing and having fun and shit. I had been there dozens of times, I mostly just cursed under my breath, smoked, and drank. One time I took Exstacy before I went. I didn't dance, but I was definitely much less annoyed! I realized they were just doing their thing, as I was. Ever since then I have been able to at least ignore people who were having fun. As long as they leave me alone, I will leave them alone.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


High praise indeed!
posted by hal9k at 1:55 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Raises hand sheepishly) Okay... can somebody 'splain the Vicks VapoRub references?
posted by hal9k at 1:56 PM on February 15, 2012


I gave up Ecstasy at 33, myself, but I know plenty of people in their 40s and 50s who still use the stuff on special occasions. I'm half-compelled to ask them to write something up, because I'm 100% certain it would be better than this.
posted by mykescipark at 1:57 PM on February 15, 2012


(Raises hand sheepishly) Okay... can somebody 'splain the Vicks VapoRub references?

I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It makes you super sensitive to physical sensations, so things like tickling or breathing on your neck (and vicks) gives you like an all over body rush.
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on February 15, 2012


I gave up Ecstasy at 33, myself,

So did I, mostly because I couldn't find it any more.
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ecstasy does carry the risk of Sudden Unwarented Emotional Attachment to whomever happens to be in the room at the time.

That and finally understanding house music.
posted by The Whelk at 2:14 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I only did it once. I figured, when it came out, if I haven't gotten whatever enlightenment psychedelics can give you, adding one more in to the mix won't help
posted by thelonius at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2012


As the mother of someone whose father could have written this piece, I need to say: I hate drugs
posted by mumimor at 2:31 PM on February 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


That and finally understanding house music.
It's interesting how drugs affect the appreciation of different kinds of music. Someone should study it, or something.

We know Alcohol makes you like shitty pop music played too loud at crappy bars, for example.
posted by delmoi at 2:32 PM on February 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's interesting how drugs affect the appreciation of different kinds of music. Someone should study it, or something.

I've been meaning to post an askme about 'psychedelic' music and art and whether anyone has done any real studies of it.
posted by empath at 2:33 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's easiest to appreciate this article when you stop reading it halfway through.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:35 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


As the mother of someone whose father could have written this piece, I need to say: I hate drugs
Eh, I hate it when people attribute personality problems to 'drugs'. If Whitney Huston had been smoking weed to deal with her anxiety instead of taking Xanax, she'd still be alive. Sure, this guy is an asshole but he abandoned his family before he started taking E.
It's easiest to appreciate this article when you stop reading it halfway through.
I mostly just looked at the start of each paragraph to see if it was just effusive bullshit, and skipped it if it was.
posted by delmoi at 2:37 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Whitney Huston had been smoking weed to deal with her anxiety instead of taking Xanax, she'd still be alive

Orrrrrrr she'd have died a lot earlier by overdosing on Xanax after weed send her anxiety through the roof, as it does for a lot of people.
posted by artemisia at 2:40 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


*sent
posted by artemisia at 2:41 PM on February 15, 2012


It is your self-anointing, and I envy you that first time. So relish it, savour it, languish it, treasure it, that sacred four hours. You have just swallowed wonder, ambrosia and mead, you have partaken of lustre and grace. Just make certain that before you swallow you know that the pill is authentic, and not some rip-off. Do that, and the rest is a piece of cake, a piece of cake that is like no other you have ever tasted. Think of the best day of your life, or recall the sweetest, purest, most special thing along the way - person, place, moment, experience, accomplishment. Now multiply that tenfold. That does not begin to describe how impossibly delicious E is.

This is pretty accurate, IMO. It may be effusive, but it's not bullshit. That's what it's like. Especially the first dozen or so times you take it.
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had to chuckle at this. Ecstasy is good, but it's not that good. It's the writing in the article that's not that good either. Oh he can turn a phrase every now and then, but this is a pretty good example of a good writer trying too hard.

As far as ecstacy goes, it's a very good experience. If you choose to do it, you really should get very high quality product. There is a lot of poor product out there, and I imagine that a lot of people have never actually had decent X.
posted by Xoebe at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2012


>This is pretty accurate, IMO. It may be effusive, but it's not bullshit. That's what it's like. Especially the first dozen or so times you take it.

Well, yeah. Stating the obvious, it's that highly predictable, prepackaged quality which would make it ideal as a therapeutic tool. In fact, it's too bad the military doesn't mandate a program incorporating it, while slapping it with a label like Post-Combat Peak Mental Fitness Super Hard Conditioning Power Toughness Regimen.

And by the same token, the fact that it is so predictable is what makes it seem... ah.... "cute" more than anything else in retrospect.

Which is why the second-half of this article (and this thread, and this post) should come with a note: "Hey, remember this? You probably already wrote the following in an email to a friend sometime in the last N years, and then avoided raising the topic ever again."
posted by darth_tedious at 2:55 PM on February 15, 2012


And by the same token, the fact that it is so predictable is what makes it seem... ah.... "cute" more than anything else in retrospect.

To me, it just makes it a terrible tragedy that it's illegal.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


E is by far my favorite illegal drug. None of the others live up to the hype - E is better than advertised.
posted by Veritron at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2012


If I end up getting real sick -- like lingering, waiting-for-death sick -- I hope my friends (including you fine internet people here) make sure I have a steady supply of the stuff.

I've only tried it once, as it started to appear on the scene around the time that I was getting done with illicit drugs, but I think it would help a lot with death and dying (and I vaguely recall that it has been used in trials for that very purpose).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suggest booking a couple of days off work subsequent to trying it out. Some of us need a little time to get back to normal energy levels, whether serotonin is implicated, or something else. Entirely worthwhile though.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 3:31 PM on February 15, 2012


None of the others live up to the hype - E is better than advertised.

So's alcohol.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, good old sickeningly lurid prose as a common side effect of e, the attempt to somehow transmit the experience doomed to helplessly thrashing about in a futile manner, causing only bewilderment.

He referenced De Quincey and still couldn't help himself.
posted by yoHighness at 5:28 PM on February 15, 2012


Ooh, the first time I did ecstasy I climbed up on the roof of my friend's house and sang "everybody's got something to hide, 'cept for me and my monkey" really loud, something I was not normally prone to doing. Then I fell off the roof, lept up from the pile of leaves I landed in, and spent the rest of the evening jumping off the roof into the pile of leaves. The last time I did it, maybe five years and five trips later, I was walking around my residential neighborhood in the middle of the day, droolingly chugging OJ out of the bottle, and thought "Gee, it sure is hot out here!" Whereupon I took my shirt off and flounced happily down the street in my bra, grinning and waving at the postman, lady with the stroller, etc. It's been 20 years since I've done any drugs and don't plan to do any ever again, but if a pile of ecstasy landed in my lap right now, on a Wednesday night, I'd eat all of it.
posted by staggering termagant at 6:26 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


He shouldn't knock acid when he hasn't taken it. You'd think he'd have learned as much from taking X.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:31 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've heard of studies treating PTSD with MDMA. Any anecdotes on MDMA as a treatment for depression - apart from the author's story, mind you? I suppose serotonin depletion would be a risk.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 7:59 PM on February 15, 2012


Back in the late 90s/early 2000s, when I was young enough to run around with cool people, I had several opportunities to try E. The conversations would go like this:

Me: How much?
Connection: 40 bucks.
Me: How many pills is that?
Connection: One.
Me: One what?
Connection: One pill.
Me: Forty bucks for one pill?
Connection: Yes.
Me: ....

Repeat about a half dozen times. I have a bit more of a disposable income these days and might plop down that much for a good few hours, but back then 40 bucks was pretty steep for me. (Is it still so expensive? Or do I just have a target on my forehead?) It's weird: I've always been a big fan of cannabis, mushrooms, acid, and a handful of other, even more obscure toys/tools. But E has always been the one that circumstance and fate, I guess, keeps away.

Of course, I'm no longer cool so I never have the opportunities anymore. Not to mention the whole 24/7 "on call" aspect of being a parent. Murphy's Law dictates that as soon as I started tripping on E, my kid would break her leg or something.
posted by zardoz at 8:54 PM on February 15, 2012


I will never try X, mainly because it spawned techno, which I can't forgive.

Yes, but ecstasy allows one to forgive, grasshopper.
posted by mrhappy at 8:57 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


E is by far my favorite illegal drug. None of the others live up to the hype - E is better than advertised.

YMMV. Not all brains handle serotonin the same way -- MDMA just gives me a mild content feeling, I never really get rolling, and then I'm depressed and irritable for about two weeks afterward.

Any anecdotes on MDMA as a treatment for depression - apart from the author's story, mind you? I suppose serotonin depletion yt would be a risk.

My anecdote coincides with the risk you're concerned about.
posted by girih knot at 9:03 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Connection: 40 bucks.

It was $25 each if you bought them at a rave or like $180 or $200 for ten if you bought them ahead of time in my city. And if you bought enough, you could get it down to $10 or $12.

$40 would have been absolutely ridiculous for one.
posted by empath at 9:34 PM on February 15, 2012


Present is gone. Fantasy is a part of reality and we take the brakes off. We are thinking clearly and not thinking at all. And this feels right. We stop trying to control things. Warm rush of chemicals through us. We are fluctuating. Is this brain damage? We forget all the pain and the hurt in life. We want to go somewhere else. We are not threatened by people anymore. All our insecurities have evaporated. We are in the clouds now, wide open. We are spacemen, orbiting the Earth. Yeah, the world looks beautiful from here, man. We are nympholeptics, desiring for the unobtainable. We risk sanity for moments of temporary enlightenment. So many ideas, so little memory. The last thought killed by anticipation of the next. We embrace an overwhelming feeling of love. We flow in unison, we are together. I wish this was real. We want a universal level of togetherness, where we are comfortable with everyone. We are in rhythm, part of a movement. A movement to escape. We wave goodbye. Ultimately, we just want to be happy. Heh, yeah. (Laughs.) Hang on... what the fuck was I just talking about?
posted by empath at 9:42 PM on February 15, 2012


then I'm depressed and irritable for about two weeks afterward

There are ways to minimize the effects of serotonin depletion (I'll leave that to Google for anyone that needs the info).
posted by melt away at 12:41 AM on February 16, 2012


All I learned from this essay is that X clearly doesn't cure narcissism.
posted by stockpuppet at 4:50 AM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Orrrrrrr she'd have died a lot earlier by overdosing on Xanax after weed send her anxiety through the roof, as it does for a lot of people.

I'd wager that most people who find that weed sends their anxiety through the roof simply don't smoke weed. They're plenty of other drugs in the drug stable, and most sensible people move on (or ask their dealer/compassion center to suggest an Indica strain).
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:50 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd wager that most people who find that weed sends their anxiety through the roof simply don't smoke weed.

A large percentage of the potheads I've known were super anxious, they were just super chill about it.
posted by gjc at 6:48 AM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]




I'd wager that most people who find that weed sends their anxiety through the roof simply don't smoke weed. They're plenty of other drugs in the drug stable, and most sensible people move on (or ask their dealer/compassion center to suggest an Indica strain).



No, we develop an appreciation for what a fine whiskey can do. I've drank myself into some wonderful and strange states with a decent scotch. The nice stuff doesn't hurt the next morning, either.
posted by deathpanels at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2012


Confessions of an eBay opium addict (good read)
posted by jcruelty at 3:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every drug affects different people differently.

All drugs have a different effect on you depending on how much of them you take in a given dose and how frequently you've taken them recently, what your health is like, what your mental state is like, your mood, your age, who you're with, what music is playing, and about a million other factors.

Generalizations are for stupid people. Try stuff, carefully, and whatever is good for you at the moment, however long that moment may be, enjoy, sensibly.

If that sounds at all complicated, try religion instead, dumb-dumb.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:15 AM on February 17, 2012


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