“Here try this… But first – let me tell you what it will do to you. How it’ll make you feel” (Little did I know – I would become addicted to snorting cocaine).
These were the words he said to me that night. I had a long drive ahead of me after working for ten hours behind the chair. He told me it would keep me alert and I didn’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel. I trusted him because I knew he loved me, or at least that’s what he said. Skeptical, but I tried it anyway.
I would feel a slight ringing in the ear, then a sense of relaxation and stimulation both at the same time; and oh so keen to my surroundings.
It was hard for me to welcome the fact that I’m addicted to cocaine. When I tried to test the effect of quitting or at least slowing down a bit, I could, but only for a little while. The cravings would then come back, and I was on the “dependency roller coaster” all over again. Then one bump after another turned into a spending frenzy. When I wasn’t getting high, I was thinking about it. And the more I snorted, the more I wanted. I must have known I had a problem because I began to hide how often and how much I spent on doing it. ADDICTED? I guess I am.
The roller coaster of chemical dependency happens when we experience some sort of problem in our life. Hence from the use of mood-altering chemicals but fail to change our using behavior. I did not connect my use of cocaine with the problems that resulted from that use. I denied that any of my issues were the consequence of my drug abuse.
I learned that there is something called the “pleasure connection”. During the time I snorted, I never thought about what activities I used to do, in the past, that had indeed given me a natural pleasure. For me – chemical dependency produced a false sense of joy. And one way of looking at chemical dependency is – as an attempted quick way to feeling pleasure.
Cocaine was my friend for ten years. I never missed a day of work. I made sure my kids were clean, fed, and well dressed. And oh yeah. I never got in trouble with the law. I would say that I didn’t know how to live life on life’s terms, so I self-medicated to numb my feelings. Then one day, as I was getting high, I realized that I was no longer in control. The cocaine had taken over. I was chemically dependent on cocaine. In the beginning, I felt free, excited, happy, and believe it or not. Intelligent.
“Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, creating a quick, intense euphoria, accompanied by a decrease in hunger, indifference to pain and fatigue, and illusions of great physical strength and mental capacity.” What I learned in therapy was that this is how cocaine made me feel. When I began my therapy, I received a pamphlet, which told me how and if my treatment would be successful. All I had to do was to meet several criteria. I was not at all one of the perfect ones meeting all seven bullet points outlined in that pamphlet. However, my therapy was successful.
Reality Therapy was the best part of my therapy. The name, although catchy, can easily be improperly interpreted as having to do with giving someone “a reality check” but, it is not at all like that. There was no “ten steps” process; however, I did do a “Step One” workshop. And in this workshop, I learned that “the pathway to clean and sober living begins with the first step. Until you can accept the first step, contented sobriety is not possible”. That first step is at first admitting you have a chemical dependency or an addiction. Every dependency starts with an underlying problem, and being honest with one’s self is crucial during therapy. After overdosing, I finally admitted, to myself and the ones I loved, that I have a problem. So if you’re fighting with some type of chemical dependency, I encourage you to seek therapy. I did.
This is just a taste of what helped me:
“Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
“All you have to do to change your world is change the way you think about it.” – unknown
“Every morning, you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn’t buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure? Remember, you must use it, as it is given only once. Once wasted you cannot get it back.” -unknown
“Man cannot always control the conditions with which he is confronted, but he can control his responses to them.” – Viktor Frankl, 1969
“When you change the way you look at things… The things you look at will change.” – unknown