The reason I believed EXPERT-EXCHANGE would be beneficial for veterans came from my lawful use of MDMA for Post Traumatic Stress. While it is still in research phase, you can find my experience at boston.com. I then tried to devise a way to replicate the life changing experience I’d had (minus the medication of course).
I traveled to SE Asia by myself last year for 3 months and that is when it came to me. The MDMA experience was all about the set and setting and somehow a Buddhist culture enabled the requisite letting-go and trusting that everything will be ok. I learned that we don’t need to micromanage and control everything. I also now believe that a new peaceful experience in a foreign land will break the shackles of bad habits and open you up to a new life. Traveling to a developing country is a trip in itself, but then on top of that, going solo with no plans was the best part of the experience for me. It made me receptive and helped me adjust to a new friendlier form of human interaction, which is why Cambodia and its beautiful people are a perfect fit. Considering the history of Cambodia, there is also a profound lesson in healing and forgiveness for me as a veteran - what they went through has really put things into perspective for me and I now feel the same call to give back to this country as I do to advocate for veterans in the states.
In the United States I was an advocate for medical marijuana too. I continue to believe it’s unjust that in some states veterans are allowed access and others are not. Instead, what veterans are allowed is a cocktail of harmful pharmaceuticals which no doubt contributes to the disgustingly high suicide rate of almost 22 each day: I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true to say that marijuana has probably never killed anyone directly and certainly not driven anyone to self harm! I wish that when I got out of the army there had been advocates (like there are today) pushing the VA to consider less harmful, less addictive alternatives such as marijuana - instead, I was pushed onto highly addictive pain-killers and narcotics. I advocate for both MDMA and marijuana due to personal experience and my recovery thru these medicines.
This on the other hand is NOT what EXPERT-EXCHANGE is about. EXPERT-EXCHANGE is an opportunity to help Cambodia and other countries via microfinance and lasting sustainable development. It is about bringing people with skills to help empower underprivileged families and communities. There are NO politics in EXPERT-EXCHANGE, its sole focus is to enable the disenfranchised via enhanced financial inclusion. I understand - from some meetings I’ve had with NGO’s and other people - that my background can be controversial and they are not on board with that. While discouraging, at the end of the day it is up to them and I would not hide nor change my past to suit them.
Military service imposes a different perspective on life, there’s no way around that. It changes you irrevocably and it’s hard for those who haven’t served to fully comprehend. Civilians trying to associate with veterans is like men saying they know what it’s like to go through child birth. We just don’t, so we must allow women to take the reins in their control of that experience - how many male politicians throughout history have come to grief on assuming they know better? Similarly, how millions of veterans choose to manage their post-service life is their right, hence my shameless advocacy of MDMA back stateside and among my demographic. Progress is made in baby steps by the sweat and blood of a tireless few and it’s my honor to join that noble fight. Having said that, I do feel MDMA is only a parachute to a better mental state and EXPERT-EXCHANGE is reaching solid ground.
Depression and drug dependency are a serious concern among vets back home, so my goal with EXPERT-EXCHANGE is to provide a humanitarian opportunity and an empowering conduit to healing for my brothers and sisters and qualified civilians. Transparency, honesty, hard work, good intentions and street smarts will get me by and enable others to find the catharsis I’ve discovered in this intriguing yet needy corner of the world.
The link to the first mention of Expert-Exchange in the news is below. More to come as stories and projects unfold. Thank you.
Executive Director's Blog
Follow Macie through SE Asia as he embarks on a humanitarian adventure and assists inspirational individuals to improve their life quality.