An Eight Ball at a Time: My Descent into Addiction
My cocaine addiction began at an early age and continued well into my adult life. I’ve tried every form of cocaine there is, and there are many ways to ingest it. I’ve smoked crack cocaine, I’ve snorted it, I’ve even injected it on many occasions. My addiction was out of control and the only thing that got me straight was a stay at South Shores Detox and Recovery.
My cocaine addiction was all-consuming and destroyed a lot of my relationships. In the beginning, it was me and a friend or two getting an 8 ball of coke for the weekend. A lot of times cocaine is more of a social drug, but it can quickly become a solitary drug the more you engage in cocaine abuse.
Cocaine addiction affects every part of your body. You feel physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, and erratic emotions. This is true for many different types of substance abuse, but cocaine addictions take all of that to a whole different level.
To learn more about cocaine abuse and how to tell if your loved one has a problem, read more to find out!
A General Guide To Cocaine
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that acts as a central nervous system stimulant. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug (according to the DEA) derived from the coca plant, and is commonly produced in South America.
Also according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, most of the cocaine that reaches the United States is from countries like Peru and Bolivia. Drug dealers will often cut cocaine with other substances in order to maximize profit.
Cocaine costs a lot of money to acquire, but various forms of cocaine such as crack cocaine can be obtained for a cheaper price. The crack epidemic in the 1980s brought the drug into the national spotlight, with countless individuals suffering from addiction. Cocaine is so addicting that it can quickly lead to a life of crime, homelessness, and an overall sense of hopelessness.
How Much Does an 8 Ball of Coke Cost?
An 8-ball of cocaine cost can be anywhere from $100 to $300 or more, depending on a lot of different things. Sure, I’ve got a ‘bargain’ on cocaine powder that was passable enough quality for an average price of less than $30 a gram (an eight-ball of cocaine refers to 3.5 grams of cocaine) when I paid $100 for an 8-ball but this was the exception rather than my daily experience.
Most often, an 8-ball of cocaine goes for $200 or more, and the quality can vary widely, as can cocaine prices. In most cases, going to a drug deal is like rolling the dice, with cocaine dealers playing the role of the ‘House.’ They set the prices for how much cocaine costs, and also for the purity of the drug and its safety when cutting it with other drugs and adulterants.
If you think the price of cocaine seems reasonable, consider that the ‘house always wins,’ and that drug addiction brings you back to the dealer again and again, or at least it did for me. Only when the well was dry (and I’d ripped off everyone I loved or even knew casually) did addiction treatment become a part of my plan.
Riding the Roller Coaster of Cocaine Withdrawal
I never felt worse than when I was coming down from cocaine. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are intense and can lead to overdose or death. Common withdrawal symptoms include depression, agitation, and intense cravings for more cocaine.
Cocaine will make you feel amazing, then it will make you feel absolutely horrible. The ups and downs associated with a cocaine addiction will send you on a mental rollercoaster. Even though cocaine will make you feel close to death, you will ignore all of the warning signs and continue using until you either die or have a moment of clarity.
An Overview of Cocaine Slang and Measurements
An 8-ball of cocaine is one of the most common ways that the drug is sold. Cocaine is also often sold in grams. An 8-ball of coke is an eighth of an ounce (28 grams) of cocaine. When you begin engaging in cocaine use, an 8 ball of cocaine seems like enough. The more you use, however, an 8-ball of coke isn’t much. Cocaine usage typically leads to a higher tolerance, which requires you to need more cocaine to feel its effects.
The 8 ball of cocaine is a profitable way for drug dealers to distribute the drug. When you enter the world of drug abuse, you quickly become familiar with the different ways of acquiring the drug. You also become familiar with all of the different cocaine slang terms. The most common slang terms for cocaine include blow, snow, nose candy, and many others.
Downhill the Snowball Rolls: Getting Started with a Gram
When I began using ‘snow,’ I would start with a gram. If I was with friends, then we would go in on an 8-ball of coke. It didn’t take long before I needed a full 8-ball of cocaine for myself. Eventually, even one 8 ball of coke wasn’t enough for me. I would go through an 8 ball and need to get more just to keep the high going. A cocaine high doesn’t usually last very long, especially if you are cooking and smoking your coke.
Because the cocaine high is so brief, you will go through a lot of different emotions just in one day. There is always a constant fear of being without the drugs. You are living between fixes, and always worrying about when the drugs will run out, and they always do.
When an 8-ball of cocaine begins to seem like an amount that won’t even last the day, rest assured that many drug dealers will become more familiar to you than your own family members.
A gram was what I snorted or cooked and smoked just to get out of bed, and an 8 ball didn’t hold me for much longer once I was really hooked and living a life centered around the drug.
From Cocaine Abuse To Cocaine Addiction
Once I went from doing grams of coke to 8 balls of coke, I suspected that I had a problem. These little moments of clarity were few and far between, and never led me to actually make an effort to slow down. It was all fun and games at first. I would party all night, drinking and snorting cocaine. Even after my first cocaine overdose, I continued down the dark path of cocaine abuse.
My cocaine use slowly turned into an addiction that I had no control over. I couldn’t get enough cocaine. I would go through one 8-ball of coke after the other, and it was sinking me financially. The cost of cocaine varies, but it is an expensive habit regardless. I had a decent sales job after college but quickly lost it because of my cocaine addiction.
Becoming Involved in Unsuccesful Cocaine Dealing
I dabbled in drug dealing as a way to make some money, but I ended up snorting all of my profit. There is an art to being a drug dealer. You often hear the term ‘don’t get high on your own supply.’ Many dealers avoid using the drug themselves to maximize profit. Most drug users wouldn’t be able to deal drugs because they would make almost no money due to their addiction.
Even had I been a better illegal drug dealer, the ability to have that much cocaine around at all times would have eventually killed me. In a very real way, the law enforcement agencies that were monitoring the connection I had for cocaine and arrested me, several years ago now, ended up saving my life.
How Drug Abuse Changes You
Drug abuse changes you in many ways. Because all you care about is getting high, there is a gradual shift in your personality. Cocaine psychosis alters your perception of the world. It makes you prone to irritability, anxiety, and paranoia. I accused people all the time of stealing from me. When I had roommates, I would often accuse them of stealing my money and/or cocaine. This led to many fractured relationships.
I would go into another world after an 8 ball of coke. I could be sitting next to a dumpster on the street and having a great time as long as I had enough cocaine to get me by. As you can imagine, my mental health was in a very strange place. As long as I had cocaine, everything was okay. If I ran out and didn’t have money to get it, I would become the ugliest person in the world.
The Underlying Cause of My Struggles With Cocaine
People fall victim to substance abuse because there is often something they are trying to run away from. Whether it’s mental health issues, personal problems, or overall insecurity about yourself, there is always a reason people become drug addicts.
In my case, I was escaping all of the failures of my past. My failure in college and my career is what kept my cocaine use going. It took time in treatment at South Shores and the wonderful programs of behavioral therapy there for me to realize that it wasn’t just an illicit drug that kept calling me, it was the ability to escape from my own feelings of inferiority and feel better, even if only an 8-ball of coke at a time.
When Substance Abuse Goes Too Far
My cocaine addiction led me to do things that I never imagined I would do. I stole from people. I shoplifted. I scammed people. One of the common tricks that drug addicts will do is scam other drug addicts. I would call somebody up and ask if they wanted to go in on an 8 ball of cocaine.
I would meet them, get their money, go get the drugs, and then turn my phone off and avoid them. This often led to physical confrontations and threats against my life. I still have plenty of scars on my body from being jumped. I still have flashbacks of some of the beatings that I took as a result of my drug-induced behavior.
Crime and Cocaine: Surviving Against the Odds
I was playing a lot of very dangerous games during my cocaine addiction. One time, I broke into someone’s home looking for valuables that I could pawn. The homeowner pulled a gun on me and allowed me to leave. If I had run into the wrong person, there’s no question that I’d be dead. Even after things like this would happen, I would go right back to the drawing board and try to figure out how else I could steal to support my habit.
My dealings with drug dealers were always very unpleasant and sketchy. I would often steal things that I would trade with drug dealers in exchange for cocaine. One time I stole a coffee pot and tried to trade that for drugs. The drug dealer just shook his head and said ‘You really think I want a coffee pot?’ It was humiliating.
The Ways I Found To Work Toward Recovery
Throughout my cocaine addiction, there were users who I knew who became sober. I would always get jealous when this would happen, and there was a small part of me that hoped they would relapse. This was my own insecurity coming out and manifesting in a very selfish and ugly way. After a while, I started to feel good for these people and realized that my earlier reactions were childish.
Once I began to change my attitude in this way, it opened the door for my attitude to change in other ways as well. I started to question my cocaine usage and whether or not sobriety was a possibility for me. I knew that it would take a huge effort for me to get clean, as my cocaine addiction was long-lasting and the only thing that kept me going.
Beginning to See the Light at the End of Very Dark Tunnel
My hopelessness slowly began to fade away and I started to imagine my life if I were sober. I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to do in life, and if it were possible to attain these things should I get clean. There was no way I was going to do anything I wanted to do if my addiction continued.
I began to research addiction recovery and talked to others who had gotten clean. I went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings occasionally and listened to people talk about how they had changed their lives and fought back against addiction. Even though I was still actively using, I learned that so many people with equally severe addictions were able to get sober. This is what it took for me to take that first step.
Recovery From A Long Term Addiction is Possible
Going into drug rehab was scary, but I was determined to give it my best shot. I went into South Shores Detox and Recovery with a lot of baggage and a severe cocaine addiction, but the people there helped me every step of the way. I had been consuming cocaine for years and had a lot of unacknowledged mental health problems. I had high blood pressure, nearly constant chest pain, and other adverse health effects, but it was the fear of even worse that kept me committed to staying sober.
Going through detox for cocaine was tough. But to treat a real cocaine addiction properly, detox is vital.
My detox was uncomfortable, but I stuck to it and just kept one foot in front of the other. Cocaine affects so much more than your body. The mental hurdles I had to overcome through detox were intense. My drug habit was so severe that I needed an extra day or two just to get through the withdrawal symptoms.
Medication-assisted treatment helped me through the withdrawal symptoms as well, and Dr. Turner was able to help me begin to see hope again with Wellbutrin to get past my deep depression and nearly constant cravings.
Embracing a Treatment Plan for Lasting Recovery
I knew that I was at an increased risk of relapse if I left treatment too early, so I stayed as long as I possibly could. The folks at South Shores came up with a great recovery plan for me, which helped a lot when I was newly sober. I had increased energy and a much more positive outlook on life once I became sober.
I still had the urge to use it, but I worked with my therapist on it and continued to go to meetings as much as possible. Dealing with health complications as a result of my addiction was another reason that pushed me into getting clean. Once I finally started to feel better, I wanted to hang onto that feeling as long as possible.
Struggling With Sobriety
When you become sober, the urge to use doesn’t just disappear. I was well aware of this because I was prepared for it in recovery. I’ve talked to enough people in recovery to know that the urges don’t go away, but there are ways to silence them and string together periods of time where you don’t have those feelings. You have to find different ways to get high that don’t include drugs or alcohol.
I try to exercise several times a week and engage in activities that I enjoy. When I was using drugs, the idea of being sober was extremely foreign to me. I didn’t know how regular people went through their daily lives without being high. Even after being sober for a while, it was still hard for me to imagine a life without drugs. Drug use can warp your perception and make it hard to connect with people who don’t have that in their history.
Establishing a Support Network and Finding Fellowship
I suffered from a cocaine overdose a couple of times, and even the fear of death isn’t enough for me not to miss the drug sometimes. I know I’m not too far away from throwing away all the progress that I’ve made. I try to be honest about how I feel when I go to meetings.
If I feel like using or picking up a gram or an 8-ball of cocaine (the thoughts pop into my head less these days) I will say it, and my peers in recovery will help talk me through it. I always feel better after these meetings, which is the power of a strong support system and people that really care standing by your side.
Living In The Moment
I try very hard not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. That is always a trigger for those in recovery. Your past is always in the rearview mirror, and sometimes your demons can get the best of you. I spend a lot of time wondering what I could have done with my life had I never had a cocaine addiction. I also spend a lot of time reminding myself that my past doesn’t have to always be on my mind.
My past has shaped who I am today, but it’s not something I need to go back to. The consequences of my addiction were drastic, and I don’t want to put myself in a position to go back there. I work very hard on my mental health as well as my physical health. Making your body and mind a priority will lead to future success.
A lot of people out there are suffering from addiction right now, but it doesn’t have to be their entire story. If I could get clean and sober, pretty much anyone can do it.
Get the Support of South Shores to Overcome Cocaine Today
I’ve met so many awesome people in recovery who have gone on to do great things with their lives. I like to think that I have also helped people through their own struggles. Support groups do a lot of good, and there are so many great people that you will come across by being a part of them.
Because of South Shores Detox and Recovery, I have my life back, better than I ever could have dreamed while I was out there, ‘ripping and running.’
If my story sounds familiar to you or seems like something a loved one may be going through, reach out to Eric and the team at South Shores. Make the call, and see what options they can provide to support recovery from coke. It can’t hurt, and it just might be a conversation that changes everything!