Crack, Cocaine & One Night Stands

Snorting cocaine is sexy. Beautiful people buy 8 balls. The anticipation of doing it is intense. They feel like a total bad ass. They’re people who live on the edge and have an evening of exciting things planned.

That is, unless you know better. When you factor in that a lot of what’s out there tends to be overly stepped on with baby laxative, it loses a lot of it’s sexiness. You’re spending the night with diarrhea while you head is an 80mph hamster wheel and your heart is beating like a jack hammer.

It’s ok. You can fabricate stories about all the cool things you were doing. The truth is you were stuck alone in the men’s room of the local strip club. How glamorous!

Crack cocaine is ugly. No one brags about doing it. Igniting rock and breathing it in is exhilarating. The high is intense but brief and the desire for more is overwhelming. When it’s gone and you’re broke; you’re irritable, depressed and ashamed. There’s an emptiness that follows because it’s gone.

It’s a one night stand with no afterglow. He didn’t leave his number and the bastard crept out quietly while you were cleaning up. It’s a punch in the gut.

There’s a nasty looking burn on her right thumb. She’s been trying to hide it since she sat down, which is tough because she doesn’t quite know what to do with her hands. She’s a beautiful mess, but to me she looks for all the world like a little girl who’s eaten too much cotton candy and is overtired.

She’s five days clean. She’s anxious. If she could, she’d be climbing the walls of my office.

She’s lives with legit ADHD and chronic PTSD. Her mind is a vivid horror show in which the reels never stop turning and the sound track plays too fast.

What most people don’t understand about stimulants is that they’re calming to people who legitimately live with ADHD. It’s not just the meds that work in reverse (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta & Vyvance are all forms of speed); it’s any stimulant, even crack cocaine.

All it takes for her to feel safe is to inhale that toxic shit through a glass pipe at $100 a gram. Then there’s respite. Then there’s peace.

The seduction is overwhelming. It’s the proverbial moth drawn to the flame but the burn is slow. The crescent shaped scorches on her thumbs are a sure sign. Her teeth will go next. Her lungs are already feeling the sting of repeated use.

She’s ashamed and shame is an addict’s worst enemy. It’ll keep you from reaching out to the people who love you. It’ll leave you too embarrassed to even talk about what it takes to overcome the urges. The worst part is, shame tells you that you’re hopeless. It tells you that going back for more is inevitable. Back to the run down houses. Back to the soulless money grabbers. Back.

Going forward means having a life but it also means remembering, feeling, and the desire to crawl out of her skin. Everything the drug took away temporarily comes back in full force. There’s no physical withdrawal in store for her but the emotional journey is a special form of hell.

The temptation to use crack is damn near irresistible.

Strange as it may seem; I like her chances. Her resilience is high and she has a lot of guts. Her hell was something she was born into. It wasn’t created by the drugs, it was compounded.

The road out is long and steep and scary. She’s going to need a ton of support. Thank God for the men and women of local Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Every Recovering Addict & Alcoholic knows the way out of hell.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in assisting people in recovery (whether from drugs, alcohol, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.