MDMA

This 71-Year-Old 'Love Doc' Says MDMA Is 'Emotional Superglue'

"It's like taking a chemical helicopter ride above my life," says psychotherapist Charles Wininger. "Then I can come back down and rededicate myself to the way I want to be living."

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"Better living through chemistry," was the official slogan of DuPont chemicals for decades. It became the ironic cri de coeur of hippies in the 1960s, who started to experiment with psychedelic drugs ranging from LSD to mescaline to magic mushrooms.

One of those old hippies is Charles Wininger, a 71-year-old Brooklyn-based psychotherapist and relationship specialist who Newsday once dubbed "the Love Doctor." Wininger has recently come out of what he calls "the chemical closet" with his new book  Listening to Ecstasy: The Transformative Power of MDMA, which is both a how-to guide and memoir of how this drug impacted his relationship with his wife Shelley, a retired nurse.

Variously known as ecstasy or molly, MDMA was banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1985 but is now in Phase 3 trials for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is likely to be legal again for medical use within a couple of years. Wininger isn't waiting. While he doesn't use the substance in a professional setting, he tells Reason that it has benefited him enormously on a personal level. "It's like taking a chemical helicopter ride above my life," he says, "I can look out at where I've been, where I am in my life, and perhaps to the horizon where I want to go. It gives me this sense of perspective that is priceless. Then I can come back down and rededicate myself to the way I want to be living."

Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Edited by John Osterhoudt. Camera by Jim Epstein.

Photo: Scott Houston/Polaris/Newscom; Yuko Saito-Miller/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; World History Archive/Newscom

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  1. I think this guy is on drugs or something.

    1. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing Super glue.

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      1. Doesn’t really compare to the high you get licking banana peels or huffing shrooms.

      2. “It’s like taking a chemical helicopter ride above my life,” he says, “I can look out at where I’ve been, where I am in my life, and perhaps to the horizon where I want to go. It gives me this sense of perspective that is priceless. Then I can come back down and rededicate myself to the way I want to be living.” Sounds horrifying.

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    3. Everyone who resides in the rest home gets their regimen of drugs.

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  2. I’d just rather have a beer or bourbon and a steak dinner myself.

    Maybe not up to Anderson Cooper’s level of sophistication.

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    2. If you think that you have obviously never had a great hit of E.

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      2. Gentlemen! Gentlemen. I think we can all agree that neither one compares to steak and buorbon while rolling.

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  3. Looking around the streets, I’m not sure that taking mind altering drugs is a good idea for everyone.
    Also, most of the people I have met that chose psychology as a major in college self-selected as being in need of help.

  4. When do they kick down Drug Doc’s door and shoot his dog?

    1. It’s a complicated assessment based on how wealthy he is and which political side he’s on.

    2. They have a backlog of innocent families/wrong addresses to raid before they get around to raiding an actual drug user.

  5. Great. When pro-Trump thugs start assembling at the national and state capitols in the days leading up to the inauguration, maybe they can be sprayed with a could of MDMA.

    This guy didn’t need any drugs. He obviously had a huge stash of his own:

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  7. Will MDMA hold your helmet on a steel girder while you hang on?

    1. No, but it will give you the power of flight.

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….Thud. Oops, sorry about that.

      1. Don’t feel bad, just plop down there next to all the practitioners of The Secret and The Natural Law Party’s Yogic Flying Air Force.

    2. It will if you take enough. 😀 😀 😀 😀

  8. I think that MDMA is extremely therapeutic physically and mentally. I have not had the same results with molly, I think it is much better ingested than snorted. Physically it heals you because almost everyone ends up stretching and adopting healing poses, it’s like self-directed yoga on crack, you are touched, kissed, caressed, massaged, bathed which is wonderful for our health and we get way too little of as adults.

    Mentally it allows you to see the world without fear or anger. I have heard people having discussions that they would never be able to have without the other person listening defensively, getting angry etc. It allows people to be truthful and their partner to actually listen and be in a happy place where they want to make the other person happy.

    For those of you in unhappy relationships, get a sitter every Saturday for a month, take some E and spend time with your partner and good music. I guarantee you will be in a better place in a month, or have a much better break-up if that is where you’re headed.

    1. “See the world without fear or anger?” Isn’t this what they called The Pax in the movie Serenity? Wasn’t that just The Alliance’s experiment to take all the fight out of human beings? Is that an entirely a healthy thing, especially when there is much to both fear and be angry about? Wouldn’t something that focuses that fear and anger constructively be better?

      While it is your life and you can do you if you wish, I still want to “aim to misbehave.”

      1. As I said below, it’s naively optimistic. I probably haven’t interacted with as many people as the good “doctor” on the subject but I’ve met/have known at least a couple of people for whom the fear/anger doesn’t go away when high and/or who come down hours to days later in the same fearful or angry situation.

  9. For those of you in unhappy relationships, get a sitter every Saturday for a month, take some E and spend time with your partner and good music. I guarantee you will be in a better place in a month, or have a much better break-up if that is where you’re headed.

    IMO, this is running a bit into the “hemp for fitness” B.S.

    But, to be sure, I’ll try it with my wife and we’ll let you know. Once I can figure out which women’s shelter she’s hiding out in. /sarc

  10. There can be some merit in drug use. At age 32, I discovered (in Vipassana meditation) that since a family break-up at age two fear or rejection had been a major factor in my life. I sought love and affection by “being good.” Honesty and integrity were core to my life, yet I kept getting into trouble. I used cannabis for the first time in Istanbul in 1967, aged 25. I found then that there were thousands of ways of looking at the world, and that the way I had been shown by the elders of my (UK) society was wrong – either the elders were ignorant or they were lying. Either way, I had to find out truth for myself.
    This search led me to LSD – a drug which might have been made for me. Besides finding it a great experience, I did get genuine insight from it. But the insight would be real for about three weeks, afterwards it was only a memory.
    I was twice close to suicide: in 1965, which ended when I was run down by a car with near-fatal injuries, and I gained strength from how I dealt with it; and in 1972, when I was pulled back from the brink by a girl who had learned much of value in five years in India, leading me to go there.
    I was fortunate to meet and learn Vipassana meditation from a great teacher, S N Goenka. My first course changed my life, and probably saved it; LSD became irrelevant. I’ve sat and served in this tradition ever since – at one stage, I was both an economic policy adviser to the Australian Prime Minister and Chairman of the first purpose-built Vipassana Centre outside India, 4.5 hours drive away.
    So drugs are not an answer; there are better ways.

  11. The last time I spilt some superglue it was a huge problem cleaning it up, since I ended up glued to what I was cleaning up at the time. Super glue is best deployed in tiny, tiny amounts with the utmost care and attention to detail.

    Probably the same with this stuff, and I suspect people who are in need of emotional superglue are not the ideal people to count on supplying utmost care and attention to detail.

    1. Well, I learned that you don’t twist a stuck super glue cap with your teeth the hard way.

      1. It’s really good at sticking wet tissue together, because it was originally invented for surgical use.

  12. I could care less about adults finding their bliss. If you have teenagers quoting this type of “it makes me an enlightened person” crap to you and watch them trashing their lives out as they take more and then take other stuff to manage the aftereffects, it seems less of a glorious enterprise for humanity. It seems to me there is good reason to keep it “underground” or maybe with a really good psychedelic therapist if that’s your aim.

    1. I think these drugs are kind of like alcohol; You introduce alcohol to a population that’s never encountered it, the results are horrible.

      Generations later, they can handle it, because everybody who couldn’t died off.

      There’d be a big die off if we just legalized all drugs. But, hey, we’re in the middle of a big die off anyway, so might as well at least destroy the mobs making money off them.

    2. Perhaps there would be a different story if pharmaceutical scientists were free of the “War On (Some) Drugs.” They could findnew ways to chemically modify or genetically modify drugs and drug plants so they can kill pain without killing people.
      Until that day comes, I’m good without them.

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