For those of you who may or may not have tried the drug MDMA or Ecstasy, you know what it may or may not feel like to have your system flooded with serotonin. Yes, it is drug-induced flooding, but the effects you feel are your own serotonin reserves being released.
In June of 2023, I went with a friend to see the artist Monolink play in Stockholm. To be clear, I was not on MDMA, Ecstasy, or any other drug. But it was one of those magical nights when everything just hits you exactly right. The music was amazing, the weather was perfect, and there was a blood-red post-sunset sky behind the stage.
As the concert went on, I felt this amazing feeling building and building in my body and mind. I looked down at my arms, and the hairs were just standing straight up. It kept building and kept getting stronger. I was hugging my friend who was standing in front of me. She had not had any alcohol for the past five years either, and I could tell that she was also in the zone. “Are you feeling this?” I asked her, showing her my goosebumps. She just nodded her head and kept swaying with the music. Suddenly, I feel an arm grabbing mine, snuggling up close to my side. I turn my head and look straight into the eyes of a gorgeous dark-haired model in a colorful dress and sparkling makeup. “Do you mind if I hang out with you?”, she said, “you look like you’re having the best time here”. So it was not just in my head, I thought. It was not even just in my goosebumps. It was real – a real feeling of self-induced ecstasy radiating out from us.
I’ve been to amazing concerts before in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been completely sober at a concert. Sadly. Because alcohol, I now know, caps the experience to a certain ceiling, dulls it down, and makes you feel less. I’m not sure if it’s enough just to attend an amazing concert sober or if you have to abstain from alcohol for longer to regain your ability to self-induce ecstasy, but this experience transpired about a year after I quit alcohol, and I haven’t experienced anything similar in the year preceding it. So, for anyone wanting to experience ecstasy without taking ecstasy, you may want to put that drink down.