During the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, cocaine was a drug that was widely available and used by many. It was considered a miracle drug and used to treat and cure many ailments and diseases. It could be found in drug stores being sold alone or in combinations with other drugs. One well known item that contained cocaine as a main ingredient is the first formula for Coca Cola. This is a fact that remained true from 1886 to 1903. The Harrison Act of 1914 put restrictions on how the drug could be used. Physicians were no longer allowed to prescribe cocaine or any drug containing cocaine. It was the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act of 1922 that officially made the use of cocaine illegal.
There was a surge of increased use of the drug in the 1970’s. Cocaine was often used in it’s powder form despite it being illegal. The cheaper version of cocaine that is smoked is called crack cocaine, or simply crack. It became widely available and abused in the 1980’s. The use of crack cocaine peaked during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Since 2000, it’s use has declined, but it is still the second most popular illicit recreational drug being used today. Number 1 is marijuana.
Cocaine is a Class or Schedule II drug according to the guidelines of the United States Controlled Substance Act. Drugs in this category include Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone. Drugs in this classification have a high potential for abuse. Abuse of these drugs may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Many of the drugs do have acceptable treatment uses, but they also have strict restrictions on their use. Using the drugs without being under a doctor’s supervision means putting your health and life in danger.
Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant drug. Signs of use include increased energy, exaggerated behavior, reduced fatigue, mental alertness, as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. Paranoia, restlessness, irritability, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, nausea, tremors, muscle twitches, and increased sweating are short term effects of cocaine use. Long term effects will differ due to the user’s method of use. Nose bleeds, lose of the sense of smell, and frequent a frequent runny nose are associated with snorting cocaine. Severe bowel decay may occur when drug is taken by mouth. Injecting the drug by needle has an increased amount of long term side effects and possible consequences including an increased risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood borne diseases. Cocaine effects the body’s nervous, circulatory, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems.
Cocaine works fast, by increasing dopamine levels, and it’s effects can be felt quickly. These effects do not last long,though, and unfortunately, users often build up tolerance towards the drug. As a result, the user may require an increased amount of the drug to feel the effect that they desire.
Cocaine addiction affects men and women, young and old. It can ultimately lead to one’s death.
The first time I tried to get sober, the biggest obstacle to my recovery was the fact that I would get so overwhelmed thinking about how I’d never be able to drink again. I’d never be able to enjoy a beer with my friends. I’d never be able to enjoy a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve or at a wedding. I’d never be able to have a cocktail at a work event. Every time I thought about sobriety like this–focusing on everything I’d be giving up–my sobriety did not last long.
I have been sober for almost five years now. Going to rehab was definitely the thing that changed my life and made recovery possible for me. But one of the things I learned at rehab that has really made sobriety possible for me is to take things one day at a time. I started thinking about my sobriety in terms of today. “All I have to do is get through the day without drinking.” When I began each day that way, it became a lot more manageable.
For the first year or so of sobriety, I did have to think about life one day at a time like this. Going 24 hours without drinking felt like a huge accomplishment for me. When I made that the goal, I could easily achieve it. And then soon, enough days had gone by where I didn’t have to think about it anymore. I just didn’t ever drink. It was that simple.
As I focused more on my health and spirituality, it got to the point where I no longer even had the urge to drink. When you substitute unhealthy activities like drinking and using drugs for healthy activities like going for a run, learning to play an instrument, or being in positive relationships, miracles will occur.
I am 35 years old. I have been sober for almost 5 years. The first time I tried to get sober was when I was 27 years old. Between the ages of 27 and 30 years old, I must have relapsed at least 20 times. I picked up enough white chips at AA meetings to tile my bathroom. I was a chronic relapser. Why wasn’t I able to get sober?
It wasn’t until I completed a rehabilitation program that I understood why I kept relapsing. I had never sought treatment or help outside of myself. I had never really committed to recovery. Sure, I went to a few meetings here and there. But I never got a sponsor. I never tried to do the twelve steps. I never went to a rehabilitation program. I never got counseling or therapy. I tried to get sober on my own each time, and each time, I failed.
It wasn’t until I got into a rehab program that I was able to really even do the first step: admit that I was powerless over alcohol. I always had the idea that I was in control of my drinking. It was okay because I was choosing to drink. I didn’t realize how wrong I had been until about the second week of rehabilitation when I finally stopped trying to resist sobriety and surrendered to the path my life had to take for me to get better.
And I can tell you, since that shift, my life has gotten 800 times better. I have a great job now. I live in an amazing house. I have a beautiful wife who is pregnant with our first child. I have great friends, and I have a much closer relationship with my family. My life is so much better than it ever was when I was drinking.
So if you are a chronic relapser, I encourage you to get involved and commit to your sobriety. Do a rehabilitation program. Get a sponsor. Work the steps. Put some work into your sobriety, and I promise you, you will see results.