Rick James said it best: "Cocaine’s a helluva drug"
Addiction doesn't discriminate. It doesn't only affect those with brown hair. Or Asian descent. Or males. Or only females. It doesn't actively seek out one particular person to destroy. It welcomes all with open arms, a warm smile and a false pretence that it's okay. It's okay to do this one bump, this one pill, one... whatever.
"I'm here for you" it whispers as it’s gripping it's sharp, pointy talons into your back.
Until blood has been drawn and you can no longer walk away.
This is how it felt to me. I had this wonderful, amazing, cool, friend. Who was there for me whenever I needed a pick me up, a dancing partner, a confident, coach... whatever. Whatever I needed, cocaine filled that void. It helped me cope and get through some shitty times, only to make those shitty times even shittier.
It sounds ridiculous. Why would anyone continue to use what is destroying their life, piece by piece? All while thinking "I can't imagine NOT having this drug, this poison, in my life."
Like I said, addiction does not discriminate. It had me. Deep. By the time I realized I had a problem, it was too late. Addiction, at that point, had me feeling like I was nothing but a bag of trash left at the curb. I wanted to stop. Badly. Every weekend, it was the same mantra.
"I'm not going to do it THIS weekend. If I can last one weekend, I just might be able to make it 2... Or 3..."
But that was never the case.
The weekend came and I did it again. To the point where it became all too common to be awake all weekend, using copious amounts of cocaine, MDMA, alcohol, and most definitely not eating for 3 maybe 4 days straight. By Monday or Tuesday morning I was usually jaundice, had deep, dark, baggy eyes and a shit ton of pimples. Normally, I have pretty clear skin so I can really notice when I get a pimple. If I had less than 3, I knew I behaved quite well that weekend. But usually it was 8 or 10. And gross pimples. Ones where you can tell it's the poison trying to exit your body. This never stopped me. I lost jobs.. apartments.. friends... pets... and nothing. Addiction had me. Deep. And before I knew it I was behaving in ways that had never crossed my mind. If someone had told me when I was younger, that by the time I was 22, I would be addicted to cocaine, escorting, living at my parents house in their spare bedroom, pregnant, and considering moving to Toronto to become a stripper and move in with a house full of pimps and strippers? I would have told them they were insane, taken them to the nearest institution, and promptly checked them in. I thought when I was younger that I would own a home, married with children by the time I would be 22... Lol at that one...
I did, however, think weed was the answer at age 14. I believe this is where it stems. Because I used weed to cope with shitty, hormonal, teenage feelings. And so, by the time I was 21/22 I technically had the emotional coping capabilities of a 14 year old. It doesn't seem so shocking now that I would turn to something harder as an adult. Something all the cool, rich, successful people did. And become sucked into its deep dark vortex of despair and self destruction.
Sure I was coerced into it. But it was my choice and only my choice to pick up that rolled up, crisp $100 dollar bill, and put it up my nostril and inhale. Oh, did I ever inhale.
I don't blame people. I blamed myself. But I have come to believe that the people you choose to keep in your life can be great influencers. The company you keep is a reflection of yourself.
There are people who are reading this who may not agree. You may think that "No I'm not like my friends, I can be my own person”. Yes you can still be your own person, but people end up keeping company with others who are like minded. Who enjoy similar things. And in the end, can be great influencers.
The thing I find the hardest right now is cutting one of those ties. We discussed on Sickboy the issue of my last remaining friend and connection to that old, dark world. I have discussed this with countless of my true friends. And the advice is always the same. She needs to go. And I know this. Maybe I hold on because I'm scared. Scared to lose that connection. Scared that after 8 years of "friendship," it’s gone. Wasted. As I've gotten older I've lost quite a few friends and the precious few that I have, I hold onto. My true friends and I grow together and learn how to be better friends to each other. How to communicate better. Respect and appreciate each other more. I keep hoping that this will be the case with her. You think my story is nuts? Fuck, you should listen to hers. But to be honest. She's never quite said "I have a problem, I need help." And because of this, I think, she hasn't quite learned how to cope. How to deal with raw emotion and come to the realization that this is bigger than me, or her, or any one person.
Addiction is so damn powerful that I truly believe one cannot travel the road to recovery alone. It takes support, trust, and openness which comes with talking to someone.I realized through my addiction, and during my early to mid 20s, I was never holding myself accountable. Which to me means sharing with others and being honest. I was never honest with anyone. Let alone myself. I felt like I had a multitude of faces and personalities, constantly having to adjust depending on the person I was with.
It wasn't until I met Mary. That I finally understood the implications of putting on a different face to everyone. I didn't do it to hurt them. I did it to hide myself. I hated myself. But opening up to Mary, my family, and my closest friends (who had no ideaI doing cocaine in whatever bathroom was nearby) helped. I realized that it was these people who would love me unconditionally no matter what I did in my past. And the reason they love me is because I was being honest. I was finally opening myself up to people. And they loved me for who I am.
I like to give credit where credit is due. I thank my closest friends, my family and Mary to the very bottom of my heart. But I also have to thank myself. Thank myself for taking that first step and reaching out. For going through inpatient and outpatient programs. And the countless meetings and appointments with doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, and caseworkers in order to get clean. It takes courage, and patience, and kindness towards yourself to beat this. I don't believe I've completely "beaten it" as I still struggle with keeping bad influencers around and saying no. But I know I am so much more than that. I know there's a wonderful life to live outside of drugs.
I'm living it.
Every time there's a relapse, I learn something new. A strategy for next time. The length of time in between gets longer. I really try to scrutinize why I did it. Look at it from an outside perspective, rather than listening to the Negative Nancy inside me. With each day that goes by and I don't think about cocaine or I don't pick up, her voice gets smaller.
It's a process. But it's all about progress.
Be kind to yourself.
Reach out for help.
Believe in yourself.