I’m going to talk about something no one will admit to doing in this fentanyl-laced society, but a lot of people still do: cocaine.
If you do a quick google search you’ll see loads of articles about all the fentanyl deaths due to drug use these days. It’s horrifying, to say the least.
What you don’t know is that these headlines aren’t stopping people from doing it. There are loads of folks who still use it on a regular basis.
These are people with nice cars, good jobs, mortgages, vacation funds. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.
It sounds weird, right? Why would people who seemingly have their lives together, and have so much going for them risk losing it all for cocaine?
And it’s hard not to judge them, right? I mean on the surface it appears to be the dumbest thing you could do: risk your life for a temporary high. And it’s not like they’re all using it daily either. For some, its one-offs a few times a year. Why bother?
I’m going to explain why a person would risk everything for cocaine.
I used to use cocaine – a lot. I was a severely depressed person who spent years self-medicating with alcohol. Cocaine worked in conjunction with booze. It boosted my dopamine levels more than any anti-depressant ever could or did. It made me feel better. It allowed for a temporary reprieve from my intense depression.
Here’s how it would go: I’d feel depressed and start drinking. Shortly thereafter my inhibitions would go out the window and I’d make the call. By “make the call” I mean call a drug dealer. There was always some guy to pick it up from. Some of them would even deliver.
I could have killed myself. But I made it out the other end of what research and psychologists acknowledge as being the hardest cycle of self-medicating to get out of.
That’s right: the cycle of a depressed person using cocaine and alcohol to self-medicate is the hardest addiction to recover from.
Why? Because for every high you experience from a line of coke the lows are devastating. You end up even more depressed than you were before. So you drink to feel better. And a couple of glasses of wine in you think, “gee, I know what would make me feel even better.”
Then you are depressed for days afterwards. And if you just can’t take it anymore you decide to pick up another bottle of wine and the cycle continues.
At my worst, I used cocaine most weekends and sometimes during the week. I know people who have the same schedule today. And I also know people who use it less frequently.
What I want everyone to understand about people who use cocaine is that they aren’t pieces of shit. They aren’t terrible human beings who should be given up on.
They are people who are suffering. And I know they are suffering because they wouldn’t feel the need to escape from their lives to such a degree if they weren’t.
They wouldn’t feel the need to risk their lives whenever they make the call to that drug dealer who is “cool and would never sell coke with fentanyl in it.”
They try to justify using coke with statements like, “I just want to have a good time.” or, “it’s just once in a while.”
But let’s deconstruct these troubling statements. How much self-hatred exists in a person if they attribute staying up all night, risking their lives to do cocaine and binge drink with having fun?
How much pain must be hiding behind that surface-level success we see from the outside?
Therein lies the problem: Too many people don’t like themselves. Too many people are hurting. Too many people are living in survival mode with zero self-worth or sense of self, doing their damnedest to justify their high-risk behaviour by labelling it as a good time.
Here’s what isn’t a good time:
- The pain loved ones feel when they find out their parent/sibling/wife/husband/child risked his or her life for a good time.
- The devastation someone feels when they realize they can’t have said person in their lives anymore.
- The betrayal a person feels when the drug use get’s minimized like it’s not a big deal.
I don’t know how to fix this issue. I don’t know how to make people love themselves enough to stop doing drugs like this.
All I can say is that I see you, I hear you, I care about you, and that you are loved. Because I’ve been there. And I know it’s not easy to change.
But please do whatever it takes to find a spark of self-worth big enough to motivate change. I’m begging you, no matter what your usage levels are, do whatever it takes to consider a life without this deadly crutch.
Because you deserve so much more than throwing your life away over a night of coke.
Truth: People who love themselves don’t risk their lives for drugs. People who hurt do.
If you want to understand the cycle of addiction and what leads to it I recommend reading Dr. Gabor Mate’s book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, and watching the documentary, In Utero.