Health

Confessions from a Cocaine Past

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It’s 4am on a Saturday night in New York City and I’m still looking for a place to go. I’m texting friends, having difficulty focusing, and have become extremely limited in my communication abilities. My mind is functioning, but carries on in a mode of selfishness, uncaring, and anger. Why? Because I’ve been doing key bumps since I walked in my door to celebrate that big sale I just made.

Confessions from a Cocaine Past

It’s strange when I look back and realize that I was ‘celebrating’ using an illegal substance that made me an unhealthy and different person—a person who didn’t act their age (late 30’s), a person who lied, a person who cheated, and a business owner who was suddenly canceling big meetings to sleep for a few extra hours after waking up with a nose bleed.

I moved to New York City about eight years ago and had only tried cocaine once in college. Until then, I had typically stuck with alcohol and an occasional hit of a joint. I told an occasional white lie, never cheated, watched a porn from time to time, and always treated my girlfriends with the utmost respect—just like mom taught me.

My life took a turn when a group of us began going out more than one night each week for dinners, clubs or lounges to socialize. One key bump turned into two, which turned into five, which turned into a line, which turned into several lines, which turned into a 4am zombie walk back home with a racing heart.

These events took place probably once every couple of weeks but were interwoven with typical shorter evenings out with the same partying parameters at stake. Nights weren’t fun any longer unless we knew somebody had the bag, which connection could meet us for refills, and who would share party favors with us.

Confessions from a Cocaine Past

“Whether it was sitting around in somebody’s living room for hours, having dinner with friends, watching a concert, or just dealing with everyday life, somebody had it, if it wasn’t in my own pocket.”

Confessions from a Cocaine Past

As a business owner with over forty employees, I had always taken my work seriously, but suddenly I was suddenly caring less about it. Please understand that I wasn’t addicted to the point where I needed several lines each day to hit lofty peak plasma levels, but I did need my fix, whether it was a key bump, half line, or just a sniff of remaining crumbs on the countertop from a previous night. I knew I had an issue and knew there would be a day I would either fix it or continue this downward spiral.

It’s a tough addiction because even when you face the facts you still want to use it. Suddenly it’s everywhere you look, regardless of the establishment — everybody seemed to be doing it. I found myself enjoying participating in the partying spontaneity. I justified it because everybody else did it too. I justified it because I knew I could eventually stop. I justified it because I was having a fun time and didn’t want that fun to end.

“Whether it was family events or even business meetings, I would sneak a bump from time to time.”

Confessions from a Cocaine PastI remember working a very long day at the office and, still having some work to finish, I decided to do a quick bump after eating a chocolate bar and drinking a coffee. During my drive home I remember singing out loud to music and knowing that my left arm and side felt like it was going numb. I sang louder to drown this feeling out of my system, but it continued to persist. Suddenly a full numbing sensation ran through my entire left side from upper arm to feet, which forced me to pull to the side of the highway. I thought to myself, ‘Fuck, I’m having a heart attack!’ and then tried to relax by taking some deep breaths to limit my anxiety, but that seemed to just make the numb sensations worse. I can clearly remember smacking my chest with my hand and saying, “Don’t die, don’t die like this.” Just writing this makes me want to kick myself because — amazingly — even that didn’t stop me.

I got home, parked my car, hopped in a taxi and went to the ER. My blood pressure was off the charts. The ER physician asked me what I had eaten, done, etc. and I withheld the information about the cocaine. When he told me a blood test would be taken, I shared my secret with him. He then told me how this was caused by the cocaine and, about 2 hours later, I was released and went home to think about my life and get some sleep.

Confessions from a Cocaine PastIt was only a few days later when I decided to partake in yet another evening of white powder. Whether it was sitting around in somebody’s living room for hours, having dinner with friends, watching a concert, or just dealing with everyday life, somebody had it, if it wasn’t in my own pocket. As I look back, I realize that ‘if it was on me, it would soon be in me’ — regardless of the activity, location, etc.

“I was a person who didn’t act their age (late 30’s), a person who lied, a person who cheated…”

Those consistent parties were followed by two more hospital episodes while out of town visiting clients. I remember sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Chicago and watching five paramedics from the fire department come in, take my blood pressure, and wheel me out on a stretcher.

I didn’t travel with the cocaine, yet it traveled with me, remnants floating around in my system. When the aftershock was mixed with business travel, exhaustion and/or relational issues, the numbness would appear more frequently and the fear of another episode was always on my mind.

Confessions from a Cocaine PastUnsurprisingly, my relationship ended after several years because I lost emotional and physical interest with an absolutely wonderful person. I would make up excuses about not wanting sex, I would lie about where I was and who I had been with, I would sleep on the other side of the bed almost wishing she would disappear. And this was a good person.

I was the bad person. My friends became people who wanted to stay out until 6am, although, I still typically went home around 2am because the cocaine started doing the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to suppress the appetite and give you energy, but I was immediately feeling lethargic and hungry — another sign to stop.

I would often wake in the middle of the night in need of an Ambien just to fall asleep, as sweat dripped down my forehead and I felt tingles in my feet. That, and a few more nosebleeds.

Whether it was family events or even business meetings, I would sneak a bump from time to time. It helped me focus for a short period of time and business continued to grow. It just seemed to put me at ease, as if I couldn’t deal with reality any longer.

I’m sure somebody was looking out for me because I really could have lost everything that meant anything to me. Everything.

I stopped working out because I was fearful I would drop dead on the treadmill, I stopped talking with nice people because I didn’t have time to hear them out and communicate the way one should. I spent less time with my family and hid my secret from them—still to this day–never a word.

“I would make up excuses about not wanting sex, I would lie about where I was and who I had been with, I would sleep on the other side of the bed almost wishing they would disappear. This was a good person.”

Confessions from a Cocaine PastOk, you get the hint. It’s bad stuff. So, how did I quit? I met somebody who spoke some sense into me. Somebody with values and ethics like nobody I have met before. Her name? Hilary Rowland.

Hilary got me to take a deeper look into myself. All of this time, all I needed was a verbal bitch-slap from somebody I cared about who knew exactly what I was doing. Her verbal fearlessness mixed with my sudden honesty basically transitioned my life. She knew me. I stopped.

It’s amazing that nobody else ever intervened and told me how stupid it was. Nobody before her ever said that I was being selfish. Nobody explained to me that I was being a toxic person and spending too much time with other toxic individuals. Well, finally, somebody spoke up and I stopped.

I will thank her forever because my life should be longer, happier, and healthier now. My mind is clear, activities have increased, work is stronger than ever, sex drive is back on track, and I search for opportunities where I can help others and give back.

When we die, all we take with us is that which we’ve given to others. Those little acts of kindness mean more than anything else. While using cocaine, these little things are completely forgotten. You just don’t care about them — at all. I encourage anybody reading this article to speak up to your friends, loved ones, and acquaintances and bring those little things back to life. If they hear you, there’s a good chance they’ll listen and leave their demons in the trash.

And to Hilary: I just want to make sure I say it loud and clear, “Thank you for caring—you mean more to me than words can possibly express.

Want more? Read this: Drugs: The Brain Killer

12 Comments

  1. Erica

    I hope my best-friend will be able to overcome like you have.

    One night I followed her into the bathroom, just to find her in the stall w/ another girl doing lines.

    I knew I had to follow her to find out for myself. I know that shes done coke before. And with her knowing how I feel , doing it anyways around me was drawing the line. Literally!!

    it is such a shame.

    Shes only 22 AND BEAUTIFUL!!

    I have no clue how to go about helping or letting her go as a friend.

  2. John

    Wish you could print what Ms. Rowland said to you that penetrated the arrogance that cocaine creates – unless the health problems had already done that and she took that opportunity to challenge you. I’ve had several people I was fond of that turned into people I hate because of that drug. If there are some arguments that would get through to them I would like to know them rather than walking away, as I’ve always had to do.

  3. Ryan

    I abused cocaine for 3 years (that I’ll never get back)
    I lost my wife and children, and my home of 9 years to this demon drug. I didn’t even recognise my own reflection.you don’t care anymore about even the ones closest to you, my wife was an amazing woman we where very happy and I destroyed our love with my habit.
    At the time I felt numb to it all because I was using the coke but now it’s hit me. She was my world and I lost her.
    My children don’t look at me the same, I hated who I became during those 3 years. Your either high or crashing it’s then just to feel normal you need a line.
    I lied about my use and spent money that could of payed to take my family away it really breaks my heart knowing how I hurt them. I just wish I had another chance but I think I pushed her to a point that she will never trust me again. This drug hijacks your mind and you don’t care about anything or anyone you feel flat it’s like you can’t even love you just feel blank. I was crazy in love before this took over everything. I will never go back there again I just want my old life back with my family, I hate cocaine I know why it’s called the Devils drug. It’s a destroyer
    A soul destroyer and rips Families apart. Thank you for your story I’m sorry you lost a partner to this and I wish you a healthy life.

  4. Indeed, it’s hard to admit a dark past. Life really puts us in situations which will test our patience and positive disposition. Sometimes, we fail to be strong. But what is important is learning to stand up after a crippling fall. I always believe that life is better if we are able to overcome trials that darken our lives.

  5. Randie Cadiogan

    Made me think… Who are we to judge a person who once in life chose a different path? What matters is learning to accept the mistakes of your past and learning from them 🙂

  6. Hannah Mayers

    I admire the courage of this person who admitted and accepted a dark past. Each one of us, in one way or another, makes a wrong decision because of the different trials we face. I think what is important is being able to face the consequences of our decision, learning from them and be motivated to start a new and better tomorrow.

  7. Jen Spillane

    Cocaine is a terrible addiction to overcome. I have seen the effects firsthand in the lives of a few close to me. I'm glad this writer was able to come out on the other end and improve his/her life.

  8. Overcomingany addiction is hard. In college I see many people abuse various amounts of drugs. In their heads they're just being young, free and having fun. But why start now? Our generation is very well aware of what can come from addiction. We're not in the blind. So it confuses me. It may be fun now but in the long run when you run into health problems such it won't be so much fun then.

  9. Anonymous

    Getting past that point of denial is the hardest part. I've known so many friends struggling with substance abuse who have refused to admit that they have a problem in the first place. But once you admit that and accept help, it can only get easier.

  10. helena

    Trials make us stronger. Im sure whoever wrote this has earned wisdom after this.

  11. Great article! 

  12. Mia

    Inspirational! 
    The things we do in the past shouldn’t dictate the way we live our future. Im sure this person has learned many things and this experienced help her have a stronger sense of self.

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