Citation: Larissa. "One Year of Use: An Experience with Cocaine & Alcohol (exp57762)". Erowid.org. Jun 27, 2009. erowid.org/exp/57762
||(powder / crystals)
This is my attempt to describe my relationship with cocaine. This drug has really complicated my life in a lot of ways, and I have been struggling with it for almost a year now.
I am 29 years old, female. I've tried all manner of drugs over the years, but never had anything close to an addiction - except I worried that I used alcohol a lot, but then again so did everyone in my laid-back Southern city. I have had a good steady job for several years, and with the exception of alcohol, only used drugs recreationally on weekends, and considered myself to be a 'responsible' user. Cocaine changed everything. It was the first drug that I really felt 'connected' to, and I came upon it at a vulnerable time in my life, when I was bored, lonely and in a transition period. I immediately started using it a lot, because it made me feel great!
Here's how it happened: in August 2005, I lived in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina. I lost a lot of my property, my friends moved away, and my job was up in the air. I had initially evacuated to be with some family in the Northeast, but found myself back home in late 2005, and my life as I had known it had been pulled out from under me like a rug. I ended up adjusting my social circles a lot, there weren't many people back in town, those who were back stuck together to fight the loneliness. One friend who I will call F, had been a passing acquaintance of mine, but I knew her roommate and he was a coworker of mine, so I ended up hanging out at their house a lot just for something to do, to pass the time. F was unemployed due to the hurricane and somehow ended up hustling coke. She didn't deal in very large quantities, and at first wasn't profiting in cash. She would sell X amount of gram bags and in return, keep a few for herself. I knew about this but for whatever reason, didn't have the curiousity to try coke. It was the one drug (except for heroin) that I had not tried up until that point, mostly because I just hadn't come into contact with it.
I had been hanging out with another guy, who I will call K, who had actually moved in with me temporarily as a roommate - he was in town working for an insurance company dealing with Katrina claims. Well one day K asked in a casual conversation if I knew where to get blow. I immediately thought of my friend F the dealer, and it clicked together, I decided to get some and try it with K for the first time. We went over to F's house and within 15 minutes of the initial conversation with K, did my first lines. Instantly, I fell in love with the drug - all the despair, and desolation, and emptiness I had felt about all the awful things that had happened to so many of my friends, and my beloved city, simply melted away. I didn't have to deal with anything anymore, I was on top of the world! I started out with very small lines but soon graduated to monster sized ones.
For the next 6 months or so, I did coke constantly. A bunch of us would drink and do lines many nights, including weeknights. We would sit around and talk and play cards and board games and watch tv and the time seemed to just fly by. I loved all aspects of doing coke, especially the ritual of it all - I loved cutting it all up and moving it around and organizing it into lines with a razor blade. I loved the feelings, both mental and physical. I would look forward every day to the next time I would feel that telltale acidic drip in my throat, the numbing of my teeth, and the absolute bliss. I felt much less socially awkward when I was on this drug: I could talk to anyone about anything.
Now, the bad side of all this for me: it didn't take me long to realize that there were negative effects, too. First of all, I craved it like an animal and it was very hard to resist doing all the coke I had. It got harder and harder to save some, and I was spending a lot of money. I make a decent salary, but soon I was 'budgeting' for coke, making sure I had enough money to buy a bag or 2 a week. It became an 'essential' item to the point where I would forego buying things I normally would have, just to make sure I had the money set aside for the blow. It sucked to feel constantly worried about money, when I hadn't been before.
Also, coke really fueled my alcohol use and kicked it into high gear. I found out that I had a way better time on coke, and averted a bad crash, if I got pretty drunk before and during the time I was doing lines. When I was high on coke it didn't matter how many drinks I had, I never felt drunk! Until later, that is. I started getting pretty bad hangovers and having to go to work green in the face and tired as hell. Overall, I found the coke high to be much more pleasurable when I was also drinking and that led to me feeling toxic all the time, and even putting on weight, because after a night of drinking and lines I would binge-eat the next day, I was so hungry from not being able to eat at all while on coke.
Next was the sleeplessness. I found it impossible to sleep for about a few hours after my last line. That was really frustratng because I was physically exhausted! I would take nighttime cold medicine and combined with the alcohol that would help me sleep. I would get really stuffed-up in my nose, too. I always had to sleep on one side just to have one side of my nose even remotely clear and if I turned over, I would have to sniffle for about 10 minutes before the other side could breathe. This also led to some sinus problems. At one point I got a sinus infection so bad that I had a toothache from the sinus pressure! I was always sniffling around my office and blamed it on 'allergies.' I actually did have minor allergies anyway, and the post-Katrina levels of mold and dust in the air provided a perfect excuse. I never had an all-out nosebleed, but would blow my nose and it would have little bits of blood and other nasty crap in it. Once or twice, I had some unpleasant anxiety episodes after using coke, and that really scared me. But not enough to stop doing coke.
I found myself mostly just wanting to hang out with other people that did coke, and a night of just drinking seemed somehow incomplete. I then realized I was lying to my boyfriend about how much I used, without even meaning to. My boyfriend is a very occasional user, he has a bad allergy to coke, and didn't like how much I used it. That's when I began to use it by myself. I could go days or weeks without a bag, and once went a whole month just to prove to myself that I could, but when I didn't have coke I thought about it a lot. On weekends, my friends and I would bring it everywhere, we would go out drinking sometimes and pass around a bag that we'd take into bathrooms at bars, movie theaters and even at work!
Another phenomenon I experienced was irritability and just general nervousness when coming down off coke, especially if I hadn't had any or much alcohol. I remember seeing the film 'A Scanner Darkly' and Winona Ryder's character didn't want to be touched, she said something like 'I'm frigid because I do too much cocaine!' - and sadly, I related to that. I retreated into myself and didn't like being touched even by my boyfriend.
Over time, my motivation went down a lot. I definitely started to feel sort of like a loser. I had fallen into a sort of holding pattern with my life and all I had to look forward to was getting fucked up. I found it hard to control my cravings for coke and then a more or less 'fortunate' thing happened out of the blue: my dealer got busted. That effectively cut off my source and I had to go back to life as I had known it before cocaine. That's when I realized how unhealthy I had been living. I felt bad about it and resolved to try not to use anymore. The problem is, I quickly found other sources, or they found me. As long as I had the money it was so difficult to say 'no' to coke.
Looking back on it, I can't even begin to guess how much money I have spent on coke. I still use it on the weekends and I still wish I didn't. Nothing in my life has ever come close to having such a grip on me. Part of me wishes I had never tried it at all. And yet, I have learned a lot about myself in this experience. I feel like all that time that I was using heavily, I was living an illusion - living in a bubble. Not having to deal with my problems head-on, in a responsible way. Now I am trying to do that and I've become rather depressed, as I am processing a lot of the feelings, sober, that I should have gotten out of my system months ago, with regards to Katrina and my life changing so much. So essentially coke is, and was, an escape for me. My long term goal is to stop using it all together, but maybe I need to get myself into a more stable place in life so I won't be so vulnerable to abusing coke.
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