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Ecstasy (MDMA): Choosing healthy relationships over isolation

Do you want to escape conflict?

I know I am not the only one who has spent time wishing to escape the world. In my mind, adult life seemed full of issues and conflict; I wanted to go back to the euphoric moments of my childhood, the times when I felt peace and abounding love.

Life can be a slippery slope, and avoidance can be the pull so gentle that we don’t even know we’re sliding. In my mind’s eye, I was pulling the covers over my head and wanted rest. But it seemed like the more I hid, the more life slipped from my hands. I began to seek refuge in unhealthy places and unhealthy people who encouraged me in a more negative direction with each interaction. But what was I really doing?

The creation of a fantasy world

From the early to mid 1900’s, people began using amphetamines as an appetite suppressant. MDMA came about as the result of technological innovations in chemistry. The suppressant was supposed to take the desire for overeating and hold it at bay. It should have been an easy weight control method, but by the 1980’s, the drug had become more popular for its hidden side effects. These side effects included hallucinations and euphoria, sometimes lasting for over five hours.

It dawned on me that ecstasy itself began to take the place of true and honest human connections. Why do people take MDMA? It becomes possible to move away from the potential issues with people. People at times can be controlling, petty and downright mean, and my heart broke for those who would rather stay in the ecstasy fantasy world. Ecstasy created euphoria, but instead of connecting healthy people to life, it connected unhealthy people to each other.

When the drugs no longer work

Isolation seems to be the root cause for many of us who escaped into the fantasy world. Running away was easier than becoming who I needed to be. The fairy tale seemed better, but the euphoria was always short-lived and rarely rooted in high-quality relationships. So I had to ask the following questions:

  • How do I keep from running away from my problems?
  • How can I feel comfortable in my skin?
  • How do I choose quality friends and influences to empower my growth and the growth around me?
  • How could I enjoy  life in the present and avoid the life of fantasy?

Three (3) steps to getting back to the real world

So, if isolation and chemical connectedness are no longer working for you, what can you do? And when MDMA effects on your body begin to take a toll, what steps can you take to quit using?

Experience has taught many of us that we must first start by watching our potential influences. It seems that character, integrity and resilience matter a great deal in choosing our influences. Here are three steps you can take to avoid isolation when you decide to stop using MDMA to do it for you:

1.  Find good role models and then do what they do. Run to safety by mirroring the lives of your mentors. I find many of these lives in the Bible, Ruth, David, Joseph, Jacob, Abraham, Paul, and Peter, etc- Their lives counted for something and meant something, and we can use them as teaching tools to deal with life.

2. Get around others, but safeguard your intimacy. What I mean is that we are created as relational beings. We seek relationship, crave it, and deep down desire it. Often, it takes a while to heal from past wounds to be ready for honest and influential interactions. So safety could be grabbing a good book, journal or computer and go to your favorite coffee shop. It allows us to have safe interactions while avoiding isolation behind closed doors.

3.  Ask yourself hard questions. Look back over your life and look for key turning points where you went left or right. Why was that choice made? Who did it affect? Where did you learn to make choices like that?

Most importantly, you have to ask yourself who you want to be and what legacy you want to create. Connecting with others is the key to helping us discover the answers and putting our goals into practice. At the end of the day, true euphoria can only come from the real relationships we create with the people around us.

In your service,
Stephen Scoggins

Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons

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2 Responses to “Ecstasy (MDMA): Choosing healthy relationships over isolation
Healing with the Arts
6:26 am September 27th, 2015

This article is very insightful in listing ways for recovering addicts to focus on “getting back to reality”. One option that the article did not mention is the use of art as a recovery technique. I would like to explore this option because it would help to achieve many of the objectives listed in this paper: including giving the recovering addict sense of connection, both with others and themselves. The article also mentions safeguarding your intimacy. Creative expression would be a wonderful avenue for someone to explore their emotions in a safe way, and also address those “hard questions” mentioned in this article.

11:37 am September 28th, 2015

You are right Healing with the Arts. Thank you for your useful and creative insight.

About Stephen Scoggins

Stephen travels throughout the country teaching faith and self-understanding. His goal is to empower others to use the bricks of past failures to build a new foundation for success, reigniting a passion for life and purpose to make large steps toward a bright future. Find out more about Stephen and the Journey Principles Institute here.