Lisa, a recovering MDMA addict, describes her experience of using ecstasy and how she became addicted. In this blog, she explains her reasons for first taking ecstasy, how addictive MDMA was for her – and finally, how she recovered from ecstasy addiction.
Don’t wait until ecstasy destroys your life. If you’re an MDMA addict (or you’re questioning the way you use), please call Addiction Helper for a confidential assessment and guidance on specialist addiction treatment.
Lisa’s Experience of Ecstasy Addiction – “I was an MDMA Addict from My First Use”
“I’m a recovering MDMA addict, now with 12 years of freedom from ecstasy addiction. Looking back, I can see I was always going to get addicted to MDMA – it had such an overpowering effect on me.
“Not everyone is affected by ecstasy like I was. There were friends of mine who took a few pills here and there, but they didn’t get hooked. But I also wasn’t an extreme case. Many of my friends took so much more ecstasy than me. Some of them mixed MDMA with drugs I never touched like ketamine and cannabis. I saw how much they took and I told myself I wasn’t as bad as them.
“In recovery from ecstasy addiction, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how much you take. It’s why you take ecstasy and how MDMA affects your mind and body, no-one else’s. Addiction is more about how you’re feeling when you’re not taking drugs – that’s the real difference between addicts and non-addicts, the craving to change the way you feel when you wake up each day. I had that all of the time growing up and while I was using ecstasy – I’m thankful to say, I’m free of it now.”
I first took ecstasy because I wanted to belong
“My friends were taking it and I wanted to fit in with them. Ecstasy seemed to give me a deeper level of connection to them. It also seemed to be a way to get to know people I thought were cool or to talk to boys I fancied.
“Of course, I was still as awkward as ever when I came down from ecstasy – but while I was high, MDMA seemed to silence my worries about being accepted.”
I was an MDMA addict from my first use
“There’s conflicting information that goes around about whether ecstasy is addictive or not. For me, it was an incredibly addictive drug, right from the start. I thought about it when I wasn’t using. I anticipated using more. I didn’t want to stop once I’d started.
“Pretty soon, I was chasing a feeling all the time. I wanted to recapture a very specific effect that I associated with my first use of MDMA – but it was just an illusion. I could never regain that sense of satisfaction I thought I’d found. The high always wore off. My discomfort came back, greater than ever. I wanted ecstasy to take away all of my unease and self-doubt, to rub it out forever and give me confidence and strength instead. I craved more, trying to grasp on to fleeting happiness that wasn’t actually real.”
My ecstasy use progressed very quickly
“Initially, I took ecstasy at big events to dance all night but this soon escalated to using ecstasy and MDMA powder in very ordinary circumstances.
“At the end of my addiction, I was using ecstasy several times a week, at friends’ houses, often at home, sometimes alone. It didn’t matter if I had work the next day or family plans. Ecstasy became my top priority.”
Under the influence of MDMA, I did things I wouldn’t ordinarily do
“At the start of a drug-taking session, the first dose of ecstasy I took would be relatively small, compared to my peers – I took half a pill, sometimes one, but I never double-dropped or mixed drugs to begin with. Initially, I was careful about drinking alcohol with pills or drinking too little or too much water.
“But once the MDMA hit my system, it was easy to lose track of time and become reckless. I thought no harm could come to me. Once, I took too much ecstasy and temporarily lost my vision – my eyes were flickering so much that I couldn’t see. I also took some really stupid risks on ecstasy, including driving my car after clubbing all night and going into work high.
“Increasingly, I justified behaviour that was unsafe, unhealthy or illegal – I know now that this is just what happens when you get addicted.”
I avoided health warnings about ecstasy
“As an MDMA addict, I would screen out the information I didn’t want to hear about ecstasy – or I’d look for a reason why it didn’t apply to me. For example, when I heard about people dying after taking ecstasy, I would tell myself it was because they drank too much water or they took massive doses.
“Looking back, I can see that’s just how my mind warped the truth about my addiction. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of me using ecstasy.”
The consequences of MDMA addiction soon mounted up
“MDMA was supposed to be all about feeling good – but so many aspects of my life suffered as a result of my addiction.
“I lost good friends who didn’t use drugs because I became an unreliable friend. I lost good jobs because I kept missing work. I got into credit card debt. I damaged my health – ecstasy use increased attacks of depression and anxiety. I was admitted to hospital a couple of times with tachycardia, having taken far too much.”
My family always knew when I was lying to them
“My family lost trust in me because I told a lot of lies. I would deny most things they accused me of – especially using ecstasy – because I didn’t want to face the truth myself. At the time, I really believed I was getting away with it.
“Today I know how obvious my ecstasy addiction was to the people who loved me. They could see the changes in my behaviour and appearance. They were well aware of the big shifts in my moods. I didn’t want to be around ‘normal’ people because it made me so uncomfortable – they knew something was very wrong.”
In the end, MDMA was completely in charge
“Ecstasy addiction was like an express train that I wanted to get off – but it was moving too fast for me to jump. At the end of my addiction, there were only a couple of people I used MDMA with. I didn’t want to go out or meet new people or dance anymore – it was all about getting the drug, taking it, taking more.
“It was such a repetitive and small existence and the drugs didn’t give me the feeling I craved. That’s when the truth became impossible to deny – I was an MDMA addict and I needed professional help to stop.”
Rehab treatment cut through the lies I was telling myself
“Before going to rehab, I tried so many things in desperate moments. I tried going to the GP and talking about depression. I tried talking to regular counsellors about difficult relationships. I tried going on holiday to unwind from work. I tried moving town, to make a fresh start. I tried getting new jobs, to throw myself into a new challenge. I tried switching drugs, drinking more alcohol instead. I tried fitness programmes, to boost my self-esteem.
“That’s how powerful the denial was for me. I kept avoiding the real problem. When I finally faced up to ecstasy addiction, getting the help I needed was very quick. I called a helpline. They explained the choices for treatment. I was admitted to rehab within two days. I worked with excellent addictions therapists and recovering peers. There was nowhere to hide anymore. Yes, it was scary arriving in a residential treatment facility – but within hours, I knew I was in the right place. 12 years on, I can honestly say that rehab was the best four weeks of my life.”
Love, connection and belonging don’t come in a pill
“In recovery, I have grown and changed so much. I know now that ecstasy and MDMA never actually gave me the connection I craved. In fact, the drugs made me feel worse and worse about myself. When I was coming down, I felt so much disappointment and fear. As a regular ecstasy user, it became so hard to feel content in day-to-day life. As an MDMA addict, I believed I couldn’t feel good at all without ecstasy. This isn’t belonging or love or connection – this is being enslaved.
“After coming out of rehab, I found a genuine connection, belonging and love in so many places. First, I made some great friends in recovery communities, which taught me I could be myself with people and that was enough. We’d go to recovery meetings together and go for coffee and nice meals. I learned so much from people who had a lot more experience than me of living without drugs. It was inspiring to see how happy people were and the great things they were doing in their recovery.
“It’s amazing to be free from ecstasy addiction today. I don’t take that for granted, as not everyone gets the help they need. In recovery, I’ve travelled extensively, earned great money, fallen in love and started a family – these are things that would never be possible for me without rehab and ongoing recovery meetings.”
Are you ready to get help with ecstasy addiction? The team at Addiction Helper will listen to your circumstances, then recommend the best addiction treatment for you. Why wait any longer?