Citation: Tacitus. "A Functional Addict: An Experience with Cocaine (exp114493)". Erowid.org. Jul 2, 2020. erowid.org/exp/114493
||(powder / crystals)
Warning: this is a long report. I am a functional coke addict and thought I'd share my story.
I'll spare you the dull biographical details save from mentioning that I'm a successful, Ivy-educated urban gay professional. I've been using/abusing coke regularly for about 10 years, from straight out of college until now in my early 30s.
I had always loved the idea of coke...I knew kids in high school who used but I was never cool enough to get invited to join in. It seemed glamorous, dangerous, cosmopolitan, sexy and adult. Right out of college I started exploring my sexuality. Back then you could get pretty much anything and anyone you wanted on Craigslist. Living alone in a big city for the first time, money in my pocket, lots of unsupervised free time...it was pretty exciting. My first coke experience was a very drunken hookup with an older guy in a seedy part of town. I did 4 lines (he didn't have much on him) and enjoyed the high. It was fun but didn't live up to the image of coke I had in my head.
A few months later (may actually have been Valentines Day) I went drinking with friends and came home to my by then usual trolling of Craigslist. I hooked up with a guy who lived not far from me and had coke. And MAN did I get high. We didn't even have sex...we just blew lines for hours and talked. I remember walking home at 5 or 6 AM on a bitterly cold February morning thinking "man this is how I want to feel every minute for the rest of my life."
What's the experience like? ...an enormous rush of energy, a surge of confidence, loss of inhibitions, euphoria. None of these come close to what a good coke high does for me. When I snort coke, for an all too brief moment, I become the man I dreamed I'd grow up to be in high school: sexy, confident, effortlessly cool, all powerful and totally untouchable. Its like all the cobwebs in my head...all the anxiety, the hangups, the doubts and fears and worries just vanish miraculously. I do things I'd never do sober, I wear clothes I love but don't have the confidence to wear when clean. For an anxiety ridden 20 something navigating the complexities and disappointments of young adult life it was an irresistible, heady experience. It still is.
Valentines Day Dude hooked me up with a dealer. I still remember how nervous I was when I called him the next weekend to score. I had smoked pot in high school and college but had never actually bought drugs before on my own. I was terrified! I soon got past that and the Friday night calls to the coke dealer after my office happy hour started to become more routine. I started getting off on the entire ritual. Calling my guy from a cab so I wouldn't have to wait long when I got home. The sweaty palmed anticipation waiting for him to show up...chopping the coke into the finest powder I could manage. Making the lines as straight and uniform as I could. Oh yeah and the sex. Scrolling Craigslist for hours, the back and forth emails and finally the coked up walk/cab ride in the middle of the night to some strange man's apartment (the seedier the better) for hours of sex. I loved every minute of it.
My tolerance increased quickly...when I started I'd buy a gram and have some left over Saturday morning. Soon I was re-upping halfway through the night and before long I'd progressed to buying 8-balls. I've partied with guys who can do a couple of lines and be satisfied. Not me. I keep going and going, line after line till I'm out. Then I buy more. Meeting a dealer on some deserted street corner at 4AM became routine for me. I soon realized that for some folks coke is an adjunct to another activity...something to improve your night out, make the concert more fun, etc. For me coke WAS the activity. Everything else was just something that happened while I was high.
For me coke WAS the activity. Everything else was just something that happened while I was high.
Am I addicted? I think so. I remember once taking one of those silly online Narcotics Anonymous quizzes. Do I arrange my social plans around coke use? Yes. Do I do more than I planned? Always. Do I spend more than I planned? Hell yeah. Do I think about it all the time? Do I buy more immediately after running out? Do I find it impossible to stop once I started a session? Yes, yes and yes.
But here's the think. I've kept it all compartmentalized. I always make it to the office Monday morning. Never called in sick because I was too coked out to work. I continue to work hard, I've moved up in my industry, made more money, moved to nicer apartments, all the while maintaining my dirty little weekend habit. I can even cut down, sometimes even go several months without using. But it's always in the back of my mind. Every time I have a few drinks that little itch starts. I can cut down from time to time but I just can't imagine ever really quitting. I've deleted my dealer's numbers in fits of guilt at my ever deepening habit...but I've always either remembered them or found some way of getting in touch again.
Here's the thing about coke...it just creeps up on you. Its insidious. First its just a party drug...great with friends or (for me) as part of a sexual ritual. But before long I realized that everything in life is just better with coke...doing the laundry, cleaning the house. That awful conference call I'm dreading? I do a bump or two in the office bathroom before hand and its so much easier!
I grew up thinking drug addicts had a distinct image...think the loser stoner living in his mom's basement at 35, the strung out junkie in ratty clothes, the business man loosing everything to feed his habit. Against that cultural background its been all too easy for me to dismiss my addiction as a harmless naughty habit...a little dabbling in the dark side to distract me from the banalities of my affluent upper middle class life. When I'm sitting in the front seat of my dealer's BMW wearing an $800 parka its tough to recognize just how deep coke has burrowed itself into my psyche. Even when I repeat the ritual several hours later, strung out and jonesing for a few more bags I still rationalize it as my dirty little Friday (...and Saturday and Tuesday and Thursday...) night treat. A thrilling walk on the wild side I can safely store away when the alarm goes off Monday morning.
But I know I do have a problem. Sometimes I wish I'd never answered that Craigslist ad, never snorted those first little lines. I know I can's stop. What's more I know that I don't really want to stop. I've seen a common narrative in drug sites that coke isn't really "addictive" because it lacks the physical withdrawals of heroin or meth. I can't disagree more. Many people can use coke safely, do a few lines and call it a night. I know a lot of these folks. A smaller subset of users like me can't just walk away. Be careful.
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