I crouched anxiously down towards the stool at the Blackjack table and slowly turned my head to my brother next to me. “Did you… put something in my drink?”. I already knew the answer before he responded.
It had been a long time since the boys had had a get-together. To be precise, probably at least a year.
It was a Sunday night. My brother* had invited me to the casino with his flatmate followed by a roam around Liverpool city centre to check out a couple of clubs. The ambience is renowned on a Sunday for being a little less heavy than Saturday’s, but still high in energy and good vibes. Since I was going back to live in Thailand in 3 days, I duly obliged. I had only been home for two weeks, but my girlfriend at the time was already beckoning me to come back.
“Let’s get some drinks in”, he said to me as we pulled up to the store on his way back to the apartment for pre-game shenanigans. “Vodka?”, he turned to ask me. Never a bad choice, I thought.
“Jack*, how are you, mate?”, I greeted his flatmate. We instantly started to tear each others’ personal lives to shreds, as is common with our humour.
“Brother, where are your glasses?”. It was time to get the drinks flowing.
I poured out 3 rough vodka’s, enough to make a Russian wince. Splashed with a drop of Coke Zero on top, of course, to keep the calories low. The conversation picked up.
Before long it was 10:30AM; pretty late for a Sunday night to head out. “Brother, hurry up and let’s fucking go – the taxi’s outside”, I said, necking my 2nd quadruple shot of vodka as we rushed to the door. It was a warm Spring night in England, but I instantly felt the cold ravage my body as soon as we opened the door.
“Fuckkkkkkking hell, it’s freezing!” I said to Jack, noticing the look of bewilderment on his face. For England, this was one WARM evening, by normal standards. I instantly jumped back inside to seek refuge from the cold until my bro was ready.
Eventually, he was. He locked the door behind me and immediately I was blasted by another overwhelmingly cold gale. Bizarre, I thought, trying to recall the hundreds of times I’ve been drunk where alcohol consumption seemingly made you oblivious to it.
We jumped into our taxi. I immediately felt the urge to sink my body into the back seats foamy interior. I sank into the material effortlessly and couldn’t resist the urge to grip the polyester as though it was luxury leather.
I fell into a trance. My brother and Jack’s utterings to our Polish taxi driver had become so rapid I struggled to keep up with the topics. An Eastern European, speaking my own language more fluently than I could. I tried feebly to interject but a growing warmth in the pit of my stomach kept turning my attention back to the texture of the seats… those soft, blissful polyester seats.
Something wasn’t right. I could hardly speak. Had I forgotten what it was like to be drunk? I mean, it was probably about 4 weeks ago that I had last been tipsy, and my alcohol consumption was way down on my peak years. But a growing anxiety at the state of mind was beginning to bring the onset of a panic attack. I needed to tell my brother – but not now.
“Pavel, thanks mate. Take this money! Keep the change – you’re a really nice guy, mate!” My brother shoved a £20 note into his palms as we arrived at the casino. Over twice the normal fare.
“Thanks… Pavel. Thank you, my friend. Thank you so much, Pavel”, I mumbled continuously. I was struck by a sense of connectedness to this man that had travelled from his native land to work as a taxi driver in my home city in order to provide for his family back home. I admired his courage and felt we were the same, having followed his path when I went to Hong Kong as a young man some years earlier.
I pushed the door open to the casino and stumbled to the reception.
Immediately I was greeted by a Lithuanian woman and plump Italian lady. Their exoticness was contagious.
“It’s so sad that you’ve had to leave Italy to come here to find work. So sad. Florence is such a beautiful, historical city. That’s so tragic. So sad.” I began to feel like the second coming of Donald Trump.
“And Lithuania, wow. My best friend from Hong Kong was from Lithuania. Actually, he’s not my best friend anymore. But he was in the beginning. I’d love to visit Vilnius. I’ve been to the Baltics before, but only to Lativa. I’d love to visit Lithuania. Wow, Lithuania and Italy – that’s amazing!”
I better get going. Even by my own standards, my nonchalant demeanour must have been perplexing to these two lovely ladies, who happily soaked up my nonsensical ramblings for 15 minutes.
The casino stairs are those long, winding carpet types, that look like they’re designed specifically for celebrities. I feebly tried to climb them, but each step upwards I took felt like I was transcending into another age.
Then it hit me. The vivid, blistering lights. It was incredible. A pulsating casino floor that permeated every cell in my body – on a Sunday night. Something was OFF. I scampered to the toilet.
I could not stop touching the urinal. This beautiful, elegant urinal, hand-crafted for my shrivelled up penis to piss into. Such a picturesque structure that begged me to touch its exterior. I stood back, washed my hands, and stared into the mirror. I knew this wasn’t right. I needed my brother.
I hastily made my way towards the Blackjack table where he and Jack were sitting. I climbed tentatively into the stool next to him to sit at the table.
“How are ya?”, my brother said, eyes focused on the hand that was being dealt. It was time to ask.
“Bro… did you… put something in my drink?” I asked with a degree of trepidation.
His eyes instantly switched attention to a bewildered frown. “What? No, not at all. I put something in my drink”, he replied. And then it hit us both. I’d drank his drugged up potion.
“For fuck sake bro… for fuck sake, is it MDMA? This feels similar to last time I was on it. For fuck sake bro, I didn’t want to trip tonight. For fuck sake, I don’t know what to do.” I was a nervous wreck. The euphoria that engulfed my body was now apparent – I was tripping my tits off on a massive dose of MDMA.
I turned back to my brother. His face sank. “Fuck… I was wondering why it was taking so long to kick in.”
My heart sank into a million loosely tied knots. MDMA doesn’t allow them to be restrictive.
“Adam, relax. I’m sorry, it was an accident, honestly. You must have drunk my drink when I went to the shower to get ready. I’m sorry, Ad. Honestly, it was an accident. I had a suspicion you drank it because my glass had moved position when I came back from the shower. But I didn’t say anything because I know what you’re like and how nervous you get. I’m sorry, Ad, honestly. But you might as well enjoy it now. It’s in your system. Here, wait at the table. I’ll go and take some now in the toilets so we can trip together.”
A powerful wave of acceptance swept across every hair folicle in my body. There was no choice now but to enjoy the experience. But to be honest, the MDMA wasn’t allowing me to think of any other alternative. It’s just that type of drug.
My brother returned to the blackjack table. I turned and said to him, “Brother, I love you, you know? I really love you.”
“Me too”, he replied, as he placed his hand on my back. “Sometimes I feel as though we’re the same person, you and me.” At that moment his warm hand felt as though it had morphed through my back and into my soul. For the rest of the evening, this powerful moment had transcended us into one being. I still remember this exact moment intensely today.
Tom, the dealer, kept flicking my cards to my hefty £2 bets that floated onto the box in front of me. I was starting to enjoy things.
“Dealer’s handdddd”, he unenthusiastically mumbled out. He’d hit blackjack.
“For fuck sake, Tom, how do you sleep at night?”, my brother asked as he swept the winnings under the table.
“I don’t”, said Tom. “I sleep during the day.”
I fell into a fit of laughter. I don’t know what it was about this one-liner, but I could not stop laughing hysterically, giggling like a little girl for the next 30 minutes until the drugs firmly seeped into my brothers system. “You’re funny, you, Tom” I kept repeating. Tom looked at me like an annoying weirdo. It was clear he resented being at the table.
“Brother, I need to dance. I really need to dance, let’s go.”
It was time to let these waves of euphoria smash into the dancefloor. We grabbed Jack from the roulette table and jumped into a taxi. I remember the crispness of the Spring air that night every time I went outside; I had never felt so alive when breathing before or an appreciation for the gift of oxygen.
We waited in the queue for 5 minutes outside as we were frisked by security. Upon entering, the power of the bass pummelled by ears. It sent shockwaves that reverberated across my body, causing me to feel the wildest sensations. Every cell in my body felt invigorated, and my brain flooded serotonin at an astronomical rate. My smile lit up the room – at least in my own mind.
We went downstairs and took a bottle. I don’t remember drinking much because my jaw was too busy grinding together. The curtain of pretentiousness in the club gave way to reveal everybody’s true personalities that night. Posers became lost children; aggression became misplaced anger. These souls were lost, and I was there to guide them and redirect them on the right path.
About 2 1/2 hours in I was still enthused by my trip. But it was starting to mellow out. My brother opened up the packet of MDMA and slapped a fingers worth onto my gums – a booster dosage. The waves of euphoria were quickly back to full power.
My brother consistently let off screams of “Woooooh!” that sounded sweeter than Pavarotti in a concert hall. Every being we came into contact with that light, I could not stop hugging, embracing, and sharing my love for this connectedness to my surroundings and their souls.
Eventually, I ended up sat next to a fat older girl, telling her for around 2 hours what a “lovely human being” she was, and how proud of her I was.
Empathy, love, connectedness to your immediate surroundings – only MDMA is capable of bringing these raw emotions to their most fervent light.
Those 5 hours will remain etched in my heart and soul as one of the most powerful experiences in my life. I’ll have to get spiked with MDMA more often.
*Brother & Jack are alias names used to protect the identity of the original people
NOTE FROM ADAM: I strongly recommend anybody looking to explore psychedelics first buys James Fadiman’s Explorer’s Guide here. Yes, I get a small commission from this link, but if you’re like me and very nervous about these compounds, this will allow you to experience a safe, therapeutic journey without the unnecessary stress.