Citation: Leyla. "Only Distance Allows Me to Stay Off: An Experience with Crack (exp38608)". Erowid.org. Oct 28, 2005. erowid.org/exp/38608
Crack is a deceptively beautiful and terrifying thing. I began using crack in February 2004 (though at the time I was considerably drug-ignorant and deceived into thinking it was merely cocaine) shortly after my eighteenth birthday, and have been trying to stay away from it ever since.
I had been smoking for a few weeks before I finally learned the correct way to smoke and feel the full effect of the drug. When I took that first proper hit I felt as though my head was in a vacuum and my breathe and voice sounded distant and as though I were speaking into a jar (there is almost a sound of rushing ocean water, a 'head ringing' as we called it). The experience is indescribable, pure pleasure surging through the brain then rapidly dissipating. Immediately after a hit I would become overly excited, I would speak incessantly of random facts, subjects and memories, almost to the point of bothering others around me. It was as though the contents of my mind had been churned and forgotten material brought to the surface, a massive surge of ideas unleashed. But besides that lovely rush and decongestion of thought there is an urgent desire for another hit. If sharing a pipe with others I would become agitated at the time it took for others to prepare their hit and take it. We would smoke whatever we had until it was gone, then we would search the floor for crumbs of dope and scrape (push the filter (often burnt copper scrub wire) of the pipe through to the other side) the white residue in the pipe to get more.
Once I started I was never sated, no matter how much I had consumed, and once the dope was gone I was always certain that someone had more and was holding out on me. Usually when smoking I would get a tremendous feeling that I could no longer sit still in a room, that I needed to go out and 'do something,' any activity. Often I would smoke a little marijuana to help take the anxious and jittery edge off (though to the untrained eye we did not look 'high' on anything we were often afraid of our appearance and slight actions giving us away). I also find that while I'm high on crack my driving skills are impaired although I perceive everything as being normal, my sense of timing an my ability to judge how quickly vehicles are approaching are affected.
I would stay awake and away from home for a few days at a time regularly smoking crack, then upon laying down plunge into a 15 hour coma like sleep. One night I had been smoking crack on the floor of my bedroom with a candle lit nearby, I had also taken a couple xanax before and I passed out. I awoke with my mother over me, screaming that I could have burnt the house down, the crack pipe had been miraculously hidden by a blanket. I was in a cycle of staying out until 4AM, forcing myself to sleep by masturbating, and sometimes waking up for school at 6AM. My poor mother was terrified by my erratic, secretive and defensive behavior.
I would spend a lot of time with my addicted lover in cheap motel rooms smoking crack from 'glass roses' (legally sold at gas stations in Florida under the name of 'passion roses': a small glass tube with a tiny synthetic flower inside) or from metal pipes fashioned from tire pressure gauges. First I supported much of our habit, but my funds were rapidly depleted (not like I had much to begin with being an unemployed highschool student), then we would shoplift items that the drug dealers requested from Wal-mart (one a habitual coke snorter asked me to bring toothepaste, bodywash and toilet paper). We eventually began selling dope to support our usage; we'd buy dope in a nearby black neighborhood then double the price when we sold to other motel residents (mostly white people). We would mock the 'fiends' we catered to never suspecting that we often acted as desperate as they did. Addicts would come to us offering VCRs, cell phones, porno magazines, videos, quarters, blow jobs and xanax pills. Some had decent, steady jobs, some addicts would smoke in the same motel room that their children slept in.
Our state of mind was generally one of continual fear and paranoia (mine was also that of a growing mistrust and hatred of my boyfriend for at this point he was constantly lying to me and stealing from me). The fear of being caught by the police became a physical pain. While driving into the local 'hood, notoriously 'hot'with cops, I would be on the edge of my seat in terror. Sometimes we daringly drove around smoking dope on back roads in broad daylight; for the most part, however, we kept our pipes and dope hidden under the hood of my car.
One night at the height of our usage we gave into a collective fear. Strange coincidences took on special meaning to us. On this particular weekday night there were an unusual number of people standing about the outdoor cooridors of our motel; we were terrified that the motel was swamped with officers and undercover agents. A friend and fellow smoker (a stripper/ prostitute) whose room we were staying in convinced me to flush the pipe down the toilet, she had her two children in the room with us and began to exclaim that the cops might bust in at any moment. I began to clean the room of paraphanelia in a frenzy. I then took a walk to 'survey' the situation outside. I noticed that 'positioned' on every foor there was someone talking on a walkie-talkie cellphone, the conversation and accent of these people seemed to change whenever I drew near, as though they were covering up operational instructions. I was certain that my mother had called the police and put out a search for me as I hadn't been home or called in a few days. We felt as though something big and violent was materializing in that motel. Gradually, as the night went on and our highs wore off we calmed down.
Shortly thereafter I broke up with my boyfriend and was planning to get clean and stay clean. I was hanging out with a young friend, who had occassionally smoked dope with us. She stupidly mentioned that she wanted to have a last 'bang,' a final, all out binge of crack to be followed by an absolute abstinence. I tried to resist the offer, but the very thought of crack physically turned me on. I was aroused; I couldn't say no. She hadn't realized the gravity of my addiction and later professed regret of having made such a suggestion. We spent the entire weekend buying and smoking dope, we ended up back at that horrid motel and back in the company of the previously mentioned prostitute.
The next day, the supposed day of new beginnings, found me back at the motel with the prostitute smoking dope. She convinced me to take a job with her working as a secretary. Our new 'boss' asked us to strip for him, and he didn't mind our consumption of crack. She gave me a slutty outfit and he approached me from behind and was touching me; I was revolted, yet I didn't want to leave, the dope wasn't gone. The next day I was mortified by my actions (at this time my health was also being affected, I had lost weight and began coughing up a thick black substance). I changed my cellphone number, rekindled my interest in school (where my credit was in jeopardy due to excessive absences) and vowed to stay off.
I stayed clean for a month (though I 'fantasized about dope on a daily basis), then I began buying dope for a friend's mother. Placing myself in direct contact was a foolish idea, having dope in my hands proved to be too tempting and I couldn't resist. I had promised myself that I would never purchase a crack pipe again, but one day while cleaning my mother's garage I saw a metal tire gauge. It nagged at the back of my mind and I returned for it a few days later. I began smoking alone, which sounds more pathetic, but was actually slightly healthier. In my own room I was safe and comfortable, I listened to music, lit incense (I even smoked the dope with a lit stick of incense adding flavor), smoked some pot. I was calmer, safer and there was no one else rushing me, or bothering me for more. When I was alone I had plenty of money, yet I never went on continual dope runs. I would purchase a small quantity and call it a night. I had by this point been pursued by the police, had my car searched and been through the nightmare of swallowing crack (I spent hours drinking large quantities of water and vomiting up white foam). I had also won the affection of a dealer who would go out of his way to meet me outside of the perilous 'hood and sell to me from there (I always told him it was for someone else). This was in June and July and I would smoke once every two or three weeks.
The negative experiences I have with dope marked by panic, paranoia and anxiety, have always been while smoking with others. I somehow met up with the prostitute again in mid July and we had a night of crack binging. We were sitting in the home of an aging crack smoking couple, who called themselves 'chronics.' Two crack smoking dealers also joined us and began asking whether we would like to have sex with them in exchange for dope. We both declined. We visited a group of her friends who were snorting coke, they wouldn't have allowed crack in the house so we made trips to the car to smoke.
That was my going away party and I left the next day. I've been staying with family overseas for the past five months (I feel that only the distance has allowed me to stay off, my willpower is ineffective). I don't want to smoke dope anymore. I would like to move on with my life; yet my thoughts often return to crack. When I think back it seems that the pleasurable sensation intensified everytime I 'quit' and began using again. Also each time I 'quit' I seemed to have more powerful cravings than before. During the first few months I would feel a dizzy weakness spreading from my lungs, I would imagine the taste of the smoke and the act of lighting the pipe. I would often pity myself and wish for death fearing my whole life would be infected by crack cocaine. I smoked weed once and found that it heightened my craving to an intolerable level, I nearly broke down crying imagining myself as a wildeyed crack-whore. I feel more confident now. I think I can stay clean, yet part of me still longs for one little hit. I sometimes imagine a healthy balance of occasional crack usage and steady work and education, but I fear that it is impossible.
(note I believe that an effective treatment for those more seriously addicted to crack lies in a psychological answer, as crack is a psychologically and not physiologically addicting drug, perhaps treatments of hypnosis?)....since no effective treatment exists perhaps that must be the new direction of focus...
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