Ask the (former) crackhead

“Cocaine is just nature’s way of telling you you have too much money.”

– Richard Pryor

Did you snort, smoke, or shoot up?

Also, are you doing the Body for Life Diet? That regimen looks like it’s from that book. :slight_smile:

And congrats on getting better!

I’d like to thank you, too, for sharing your experiences. I, for one, was very touched when you said we were worth it!

And congratulations on your continued sobriety. It’s hard for me to imagine the strength it must have taken. Best wishes to you.

I’ve snorted it a couple of times, but crack is, by definition, smokable cocaine. I’ve never shot anything into my veins.

I’ve taken lots of information from the Body for Life program, although it is based on a typical bodybuilding diet and training program. I’m a big fan of Bill Phillips, the creator of Body for Life, and, in fact, got in my best shape of my life at 20 by entering one of his contests. His biggest contribution, in my opinion, was bringing the bodybuilding lifestyle to the masses.

And I’d like to thank everyone here, and in private emails, who has been so supportive. This has really been a cathartic experience for me. IRL, I tend to whitewash much of my experiences; at work, I explain my winding trek through school as “I left school because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a lawyer, then changed my mind and came back.” Even in support groups, I tend to be vague about my past behavior, which sometimes leads to lots of accusatory questions, like, “so how long have you been sober?” I’ve endeavored to be brutally honest here.

Thanks for letting me share.

Congratulations to you on getting out of some really deep yogurt, Atomicktom. As I’m sure you know, many people don’t manage to get out and stay out. Your self knowledge is awesome too, and no doubt accounts for your success.

Now, a question: what is the difference between freebasing and smoking crack? Or is there a difference? In my somewhat limited experience, freebasing involves “cooking” the cocaine first to remove the non-cocaine ingredients (mostly cut); is this the same for crack, or is it already pretty refined?

Perhaps an odd question: do you think currently illegal drugs (such as crack cocaine) should be legalised? And a follow-up: if they had been legal, do you think you’d have got off them sooner?

Like freekalette, I’ve seen too many completely ruin their lives and the lives of those around them. Some of what you are posting I could add to just by being so close to one of the situations.

Yes, some of them hold down jobs, for a while.

Yes, some symptoms exhibit before they even smoke. I knew one that would get explosive diarrhea in anticipation. You might think it is funny, but it was my cue to find either pajamas with pockets to keep the cards and cash in (before I stopped having any sort of cash around altogether) or to find a scissor to cut the cards up.

Yes, some of them make it to rehab, but the relapse rate is high, something like 50-70 percent. I’m glad you got out, because not many do.

My questions relate to how your insurance paid for the (inpatient) rehab. Mine paid for the dependent once per lifetime after pre-approval, and then sent letters every three days approving payment for the three days just passed. It pissed me off because we didn’t need the extra stress of not knowing what the insurance company was going to decide. How did your insurance handle the inpatient part? If you didn’t have insurance how was it paid for?

I was going to come in to nitpick you and say that Robin Williams said it, but a quick search on Google shows that it’s attributed to both comedians, which means that Richard probably said it first.

It is my understanding that freebasing is the same thing as smoking crack. When you “cook” cocaine (I never knew how, but I’ve seen it done), you do what you’ve described (basically, you mix it with water, then heat it).

The remainder is a brittle, solid substance (off white) that is then smoked. Crack “rocks” are those brittle solid substances. As I said upthread, they kind of look like little pieces of wax (which is why sometimes dealers will sell you wax as a ripoff substitute - really gross when you try and smoke it). But they crumble in your fingers, and you can tell they are real because they will numb your tongue if you lick it.

I’m pretty libertarian in my view of things you put in your body. I think the government has a role in educating you about the consequences, but I think it’s generally a waste of resources to try and protect people against themselves.

Having said that, I can’t make the leap to think that hard drugs, like cocaine, should be made legal. The consequences of using something so compulsive are almost always dire; I don’t think I’ve ever met a responsible cocaine user. Time and time again, they up the ante until it controls their lives. Miamouse is right: There are people who have jobs who use, but they certainly aren’t thriving in their life, and eventually their pursuit of a high will sabotage anything they hold dear.

It’s my ultimate opinion that the pursuit of such a destructive end is ultimately an issue of emotional or psychological trauma. So, while I would not make hard drugs legal, I would address the problem of drug use as a medical issue, and I would not attempt to eradicate the scourge of drug problems by putting adicts behind bars for long periods of their life, which is likely to only exacerbate the issues that led them to self-medicate in the first place.

I also think, when you consider the desperation attendant with drug use and misuse, that the issue of legality doesn’t really factor into one’s personal behavior (and it wouldn’t have effected my trek towards sobriety). Sure, if cocaine was legal, I wouldn’t have put myself at risk of robbery, assault, or even death by trying to procure it. But I would still have pursued an unhealthy, risky behavior that was destructive to my personal well-being. If you make cocaine legal, you would likely reduce the criminal element associated with it, but you wouldn’t eliminate the destroyed lives it produces.

My mom paid for my rehab. I think it cost about $7K for 30 days of in-patient living, the another 3 months of weekly counseling sessions.

I wasn’t staying somewhere posh; far from it. I was living in an old house with a bug problem in Tavares, Florida, a relatively poor town in the middle of nowhere. For a time, I was the only patient who lived there, but there were lots of people who came by everyday for group therapy. Some were out of work, and spent all day with me.

The counseling was the best part of it. I also enjoyed the comraderie of lots of new friends, and eating dinner each night with a large “family” after many years of isolation. Unfortunately, though, beset by boredom, I picked up a pack-a-day smoking habit (long since abandoned. Cigarettes, like gambling, are vices that I never really “took” to.)

God bless your mom for doing this. I know it is hideously expensive. My dad had to work around Medicare because Mom was just young enough not to qualify for the stuff that Medicare will pay for. It is painful to even remember this.

Cocaine is actually cocaine HCl. The HCL radical converts the cocaine from a water-insoluble nonpolar molecule into a water-soluble polar one. What you do is you mix the cocaine HCl with a small amount of baking soda and dissolve it in water. Heating it speeds the reaction which combines the HCl and baking soda to produce water, CO2 and calcium chloride plus the free cocaine base. This “free base” precipitates out where it is collected, dried and smoked.

Do you find any lawyers use cocaine regularly? (I have heard from my lawyer friends that it’s not uncommon.) If so, are they able to manage it, or does it inevitably affect their careers?

How would you describe the difference between the highs from snorting blow to smoking crack? Is it just more intense?

How difficult do you think it would be for you to walk away from the previously mentioned hypothetical situation of being in a room with some lines laid out? As in, do you think you would be able to do it happily, secure in the fact that you want no part of it? Or would there be some sort of argument with yourself over it?

I ask because I am familiar with craving cocaine, but at the same time, absolutely not wanting to do it mentally. I’ve been clean (from that, anyway, and what I do like to do has been decriminalized in many places) for 3 years, and the cravings are rare these days, but do happen. I’ve been in a situation where it’s been available, but not shown, and I asked the people in question to go in another room to do it. I’d like to think I’d react in the same way if I could see the stuff, but my body definitely reacts when I see it on TV/hear too much about people using it (this has lessened greatly over time)/see a white powder, so I won’t really know unless I encounter that situation.

FTR, I have never stolen or otherwise compromised my morals in pursuit of drugs, either. Unfortunately, I know others who cannot say the same.

The lawyers who I know who have experience with cocaine are those I know in recovery. They all have sordid tales to tell. Some of them “functioned” as attorneys while using (that is to say, they handled clients and cases), but the complications of a drug lifestyle eventually led them to seek sobriety.

Sometimes, we will speculate about somebody who appeared at our meetings, then seemed to fade away. One such guy has recently been suspended from the practice of law for failure to fulfill his continuing education requirement; I, naturally, suspect that more is going on.

I think “more intense” is a good way to describe smoking, versus snorting, cocaine. The high is more concentrated, so your heart pounds harder, the feeling of the high is more pronounced, and it doesn’t last as long. You wouldn’t smoke it and then go out to a club, for example, feeling high. Almost as soon as you’ve finished the high, you’re done, which is why the desire for the next hit is so compelling.

If I was in a room with cocaine, I’ve said I’d leave. I know doing so would not be easy. I would definitely argue with myself, and be very tempted to go back. I could certainly not do what you’ve done, by merely asking people to do it in another room. The temptation would be too great.

Having said that, I don’t experience cocaine cravings anymore (pot, as I’ve said, is another matter). When I first got sober, I would dream about it, and even wake up thinking I had used. But now that I’m in an environment that doesn’t involve cocaine, it’s generally out of sight and out of mind.

Discussions about cocaine do make me slightly uncomfortable (even in rehab meetings, I really don’t like it when people bring up the subject of past use. I get much more out of meetings where people talk about dealing with the daily challenges of a clean lifestyle instead of reminiscing about past behavior), but in the right context, thinking about cocaine can be constructive, so I’m willing to venture into uncomfortable territory in the interest of self-improvement, as with this thread.

Chiming in here to thank you, Atomicktom, for doing this. I know enough about addiction to appreciate a little of how much respect you must have for this place to do this thread. Really – thank you, very much.

Seconded! I remember his pic from one of the Doper Pic threads.

Atomicktom, have you ever taken ecstasy? I’ve heard that it is similar in many ways to cocaine, and that users of E are more likely to turn to cocaine when the tolerance level builds up.

And what kind of car did you buy? :slight_smile:

I’ve taken ecstasy a handful of times. I’d say the high isn’t really the same, but the feelings of high energy and well-being are similar, which seems to be why both are popular among people looking to spend all night partying.

Meanwhile, I bought this car.

YAY, love the car!

Bumping this thread that I started years ago because I fucked up. I apologize if this is disjointed but I am using talk to text in part because it’s not easy to focus on the screen right now. But also because I am in the midst of a relapse.

It’s not the first time. I’ve been doing this sporadically for the last few months. I have a very bad habit of calling people when I am using. I’ve managed to freak out a girl I knew in high school and annoy several friends. I have endured and solicited several lectures as well.

I keep saying it’s my last time. The risks are obvious. To my health and my well-being and my career. But I keep indulging this craving to for lack of a better term ride this roller coaster. It’s weird because the first time I used A couple of months ago I actually freaked out by the high and called a friend to calm down. And I felt like shit the next day. Yeah I craved it when I was out. And there’s this gremlin inside of me that keeps suggesting that I indulge this really stupid and dangerous thing that I’m doing right now.

anyway, I do apologize and hope this does not violate board rules. I am certainly not trying to endorse the behavior that I am engaging in. But I seem to be looking for some sort of significance or meaning to my activities so feel free to ask questions or I guess give your opinion. I realize that I am actingIn a crazy way and I realize that I am literally jeopardizing my life.

Oh also I suppose that zombies smoke brains.

So sorry to hear of your struggle. Do you have a therapist you can see? Are you willing to go back to rehab again?