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Question for any ex-cocaine user, or ex-crack addict... NEED HELP!
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Question for any ex-cocaine user, or ex-crack addict... NEED HELP!

Hi I'm trying to reach out to any fellow crack or cocaine users.  Well everyone knows, and especially the users... that cocaine is a hell of a drug.  Wherever cocaine goes, hell follows.  

I had previously smoked crack... over the course of about 3 years I had smoked crack on about 20 occasions.  They are all very far apart in time... Like 2 weeks, then 2 weeks, then 1 month... then 5 months later.  One time I think I had too much and my heart was sore for weeks, and my brain felt like glass was inside of it.  My guess is that the total amount of crack that I ingested into my body in my entire lifetime is somewhere around 3 or 4 grams. ( I know some people reading this might think that's not that much)  And financial cost of around maybe 1000 dollars total.  See... I had been kind and gave away lots of my crack to others, thank goodness... actually i should have taken it all.  No neither, my greatest regret is ever even touching the stuff.  This drug is extremely destructive... this is all the crack I used in my entire life... and I am noticing serious serious mental defects in my mind.  My guesstimate that the damage that crack does on society, is something like 25 grams is the equivalent of murder... and of course it's all distributed out to many people.  Anyone that does this even once can potentially fry there mind for life.  They shouldn't even call it crack, they should call it 'brainfry' because that's what it is.  "Hey man 100 bucks and I can sell you a little white rock that will fry your brain for the rest of your life".  Seriously that's what the drug dealers should tell there customers.

Okay... so I will definitely never go near the stuff EVER again, it's the hardest thing for me to live with, and I feel like I killed myself in using this.  Not so sure my life is worth living now, and it makes it hard to go on... and yet I know this drug has ruined so many other peoples lives way worse than my own.  Looking back at it... I can only relate the experience to death.  I think that's just the way it felt... like dieing.   This drug cocaine actually has a spiritual essence of the devil... I had never experienced so much evil in my entire life... and I had been a good person... never harmed anyone but myself.  It's a kind of tragedy that hurts me so much... I feel I died.  Walking living breathing dead person.

My clean time from crack is 1 year now.  But the consequences of it's use are really hit me... actually, just hit me 4 days ago.  I was wondering why my memory doesn't work like it should, both long term and short term, why my vision is slightly fuzzy.  Why I lost the pleasures I had once taken for granted... whether that be from food, sex, or another persons smile?  My pleasure centers in my mind are burned out... and my drive to do things just isn't there anymore.

Okay... so I'd like to get anyone's feedback... especially all fellow ex cocaine users or crack users. (of course both drugs are extremely destructive to the mind, but I think the crack is more so because it hits the mind like a tonne of bricks)

The drug definitely scars for life... just trying to heal as much as possible.  I want to discuss ways to heal....  I have some things to share too, but I'll wait to hear from some other people to share.

My biggest focus and goal is to work through this... and do what I can to help other people work through this recovery too. Cocaine and crack recovery is very similar.

Oh and another thing I wanted to mention... I am completely drug and alcohol free now!!!  That's one good thing but the harsh sobering reality is that I'm just not the same anymore.  I want to do everything I can learn and find out about how to make myself at least a little bit better.

So the thing is this... what now?  What's next now that the drugs are gone? What are you doing with yourself?  How are you feeling?  How do you take care of yourself?  What was the extent of your use... how long about how much.  Just really curious to know... and what you're doing to heal yourself from the extensive damage.  Please help people... and just wanted to say to any other drug users... please stop now!  You will thank yourself when you're sober, but it's possible it can be too late.

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Avatar_m_tn
First of all, congrats on being drug free now. I have only smoked crack a couple times, but snorted so much coke in the past, day in and day out nonstop and was completely out of it during that time and for a good month after I quit.

Are you craving right now? I know when I crave this drug, my mind changes and it's so tough, the cravings are different from pills, well for me anyway. Although you haven't used crack that much, 20 times is more than enough to grab you with this drug.

To answer your last part of your paragraph, we have to find a new way to live and cope without drugs. What do you like to do for fun? It's a life change for us addicts, but also a rebirth. Have you ever tried any recovery care? After talking to a friend here, I am seriously debating on working the 12 steps for the first time in my life, I think it can help us.

Just remember, it's never too late and you have come so far. Once again, are you craving right now? I just saw your friend invite and gonna accept. Keep posting.
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271792_tn?1334983257
Hi Patrick,

While it is totally possible that you could have damage from your crack use, only tests could prove that. No one here could possibly know. Have you considered seeing a Neurologist? If so, it would be a good idea to get honest so they know what to look for.

I have another thought and please do not misunderstand me. I am by no means discounting your feelings, your symptoms, or anything else, but have you considered that it may be psychological? Guilt, despair, and many more emotions can cause physical ailments. Again, you will need to get tested to find out for sure. And if it is psychological, then count yourself lucky. So many people do not get out in time.

Congrats on getting clean and I wish you the best. I hope you get to the route of the problem.
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948349_tn?1294383837
Hey thanks Gizzy... I'm really glad you're out there.  

No I'm not craving at all whatsoever.  Well in the past 4 days I got some extreme anxiety, I haven't been able to sleep and I lost my appetite... I'm not sure if that's because I had used but such a long time ago?  I realized that much of the damage done was because of this use.  

I have been absolutely clean and sober.  I decided the drinking had to be eliminated because it takes me to places and situations where I shouldn't be, and I lose all control.

I had a few drinking nights in the past year... But now it's not happening ever again.

No I haven't tried any recovery care or got any drug counseling.  I told my mom I was using cocaine and stopped a year ago.  And she got me set up with an addictions counselor.  I'm also going to be speaking with my family doctor about this... I feel guilty and ashamed about it, and he's such a good caring Doctor and so pleasant to me... I feel like if I tell him I will disappoint him, but I know this is a disease that has afflicted me and I'm going to talk to him about seeing a psychiatrist... maybe getting a brain scan as well.

Hey gizzy please stop man.  Cocaine use is very serious business.  

My goal for recovery is going to be very strict... including daily exercise, supplementation, regular bed times, learning a musical instrument(guitar),  reading, regularly engaging in reaching out to people and my friends.  

I am not drinking ever again because I know I can't. ( I had about 10 drinking occasions since my stint  I need to treat every cell in my body with the most respect because my body is my temple and life.  

Just wondering if you had any other advice.

Also how does your heart feel?  How is your short term memory?  Long term memory?   How about your pleasure centers in your mind? Vision?

For me all of these seem damaged.
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948349_tn?1294383837
Hey thanks so much for the suggestion.  Yes, I have decided to talk to my family Doctor and I will suggest the neurologist as well...

Just curious who would issue the brain scan? A neurologist or a psychiatrist.  

I have recently read a book called "Change your brain, Change your life" by Dr. Daniel Amen. He is a psychiatrist.  Excellent book and he has so many things you can do to help recover damage done, but in some cases you might need some drugs to help the brain.

You know what... guilt and despair may actually be a small part of it.  

I had a bad nightmare Tuesday night... and I haven't been able to sleep since.  It was based on a metaphor of my past drug use.  I haven't had a good nights sleep since.

The reason why I freaked out... is because I had been researching the nature of cocaine damage on the mind... a bit influenced by Dr. Daniel Amen's book.  Cocaine damage may be permanent.  It affects the dopaminergic neurons in the brain... some will die out, others will become 'disturbed' in which they change genetic expression in order to protect themselves... they increase genetic expression of the dopeamine transporter at the post synaptic neuron, and decrease genetic expression of the dopeamine transporter at the pre-synaptic neuron.

In addition to that, it can cause scar tissue in the heart leading to heart attacks later in life... and may also cause 'mini-strokes' throughout the mind leading to damage in those areas.

I had a realization that the reason why I have been so forgetful lately and have problems with my short-term memory, forming new memories, and have pleasure center issues, loss of smell etc, a bit fuzzy vision... is because of the damage done.  

We are talking about a year later now... and it just hit me like a tonne of bricks.  

You are right though... my damage may just be mild... whereas some people who didn't get out of this may have become literally zombies.  

I had just finished my schooling in April... and still did well... I just made honors... But I had troubles paying attention in class and learning, I had to re-learn everything at home.

And I just started my first professional job... and I feel like I'm having a hard time.  The other workers don't think anything is wrong with me on the outside, but on the inside I'm struggling.  Sometimes when someone is telling me a bunch of things stuff just slips my mind and won't sit in my long-term memory... then again I just noticed this the past few days like on Friday and I hadn't had much sleep because of all the worrying.  

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  The psychological aspect is likely a part of it.  And I will talk to my family Doctor about a neurologist and psychiatrist.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so happy for you to finally be free of it.  You should be very proud of yourself.  I was a heavy cocaine user for 8 years straight.  I started using when I had a great job with the government.  My husband brought it home to me and said "try a hit, and it will calm you down", because I was very stressed out at the time from work, raising my daughter and cooking, cleaning, etc.  I had a busy life back then.  My husband was never really addicted to it.  I instantly became addicted to it and seeked it out and found it myself. I have been totally 100% clean for 2 years, although about a years before that I was down to using every other month.  When I started I was using 2 times a week.  I went though a 8 ball in around 4 hours on each occasion.  I consider myself to be a smart person up until I started using.  It totally changed my personality.  I was the nicest person in the world before I started using and after that I was totally angry, even more stressed and hated myself for what I became and not having the strength to quit.  I quit one of the best jobs I ever had because I could not function anymore after starting to use cocaine.  I felt like the world knew and thought I was some low life person.  I was not a party or bar person at all. One night before I quit I passed out and hit the floor, my husband woke me and then passed out a second time in his arms. After waking up I felt horrible but survived.  although from then on my heart started beating so hard and fast,  even between uses.  That was the wake up call for me plus I have a great family who was worried sick about me. Money was the never the problem, my husband owns his own business and I had saved a large amount from my own job.  

After all of this is said and done, my muscles ache so bad and I was told I have fibromyalia (fibromyalgia).  My heart turned out to be fine, I went to a cardiologist for tests. The thing now is I suffer from extreme anxiety, can't sleep through the night ever, and feel depressed all the time. I use to be such an outgoing person.  No more.  Well after being in so much pain my doc put me on Ultram.  Big mistake, needless to say I became dependent on it and was taking 10 per day to forget my problems for 2 years.  I am now starting to wean off and hear it is so so horrible that I am scared to death but know I have to do it or that too will hurt my body and mind.  Also I have major concentration problems and forget things constantly.  I also worry all the time. Do you think a neurologist can determine if I have permanent damage?  I have no feelings for happiness or any other feelings.  Do you think insurance would cover seeing a neurologist?  My short term memory is worse then long term although both are bad.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks
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948349_tn?1294383837
Yes, I"m looking for answers right now.

I can't give you many answers... I'm trying to find the answers myself.

If you want to think about it another way... I think the cocaine isn't nearly as bad as crack is.  And when I say that I think the damage done is multiplied many many times.  

I suppose I too will also have to see a cardiologist.  

I can't sleep either!  It's been the 5th night in a row for me now.  I'm up right now because I have been laying in my bed very irritable and can not sleep at all.  But I feel very very very tired!!

I don't know what to do :( .....

I'm ruined, destroyed, alive but dead.  I never thought this could happen to me, and I don't know who to talk to.  All my friends and family know that crack is so destructive and no one thinks I would be the one to have done this.  And I was introduced to it by some woman I met.

I told my Mom it was cocaine... I know if I told her it was crack that just makes it worse.  I'm getting some shakiness and twitching tonight

I will never use again without a doubt, I would rather just kill myself.  I know I set myself up for a life long lost... suicide seems like the only way out for me :(.  My parents love me so much, and I have friends that do too.  I just don't know what to do.... It's hard for me to get interested in anything.

I don't like telling friends or family at all... because they all know that crack is a very serious line to cross.  I think it's the worst one of any drug.  When I had used, I though that meth was the worst drug because I had seen peoples before and after pictures etc.  And none of the crack smoking people I met looked like that.  But the destruction is very deep rooted, and cocaine and crack are white, and extremely deceptive.  

Okay for my advice.  Well I don't really know what to do myself, I'm worried suicide might be my only way out :(.

But I will be strong as I can be, and I plan on life long exercise, eating well, exercise, supplementation, etc.  I also plan on talking to my family doctor about this, a psychiatrist, a neurologist, and a cardiologist.  

I'm not that optimistic though.  You are lucky in the sense that you have something to live for... your daughter, and your husband.  

I'm only 25 years old, totally single, just finishing up school and going into the professional world... and this is the way I'm starting my career.  I'm both of my parents ONLY child... and my parents split up.  I know my family of course wants grand children... and I want to have children too.  But I don't think this is me now... I think that dream is taken right away because of this problem... I don't want to be a problem for another person.

I'm trying to help anyone with the same problem, but I'm hurting so much right now.  I know my problems are directly linked with this, and it hurts so much right now.  The past 5 days have been my sobering reality wake up call.

What do people think?
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948349_tn?1294383837
Okay the information I have for previous cocaine users is the following... please everyone let me know what you think:

Cocaine use causes PERMANENT damage the brain.  We have to accept that from this day forward, we cannot change what we have done and have to live with the terms of our new life.  

A few things on this.
1. Cocaine itself apparently isn't that factor directly related to the death of neurons and is in fact not a neurotoxin.
2. However what happens... is that based on overtime, the extent of your use, how much hit your mind at a time, etc... you get a permanent change in the expression of some of these genes... more dopeamine transporter proteins... more sweeping proteins to remove dopeamine at the synapse.  
3. Because there is more dopeamine sitting inside the neuron now, instead of outside the neuron... it can cause damage inside the cell.
4. Sex needs to be greatly limited as to avoid that high release of dopeamine... This is why some ex-cocaine addicts are uninterested in sex completely.   I'm guessing maybe even not at all.
5. You need to limit your fee radicals in the brain as much as possible.  These can turn dopeamine into a free radical at the synapse as well.  Smoking cigarettes is the big one.  
6. We are at a much much higher risk of parkinsons disease just from the drug alone.
I am typing right now and I am holding my hand up, and I already have a shakiness in my hand.
7.  We need an antioxidant rich diet permanently.  I'm talking about pomegrante, blueberries, red grapes, anything really dark in color really.  Resveratrol is one antioxidant in particular that needs to be taken for certain.  This is because it is very protective to the neuron.
8.  There is a drug coming out I read about... it has been tested on mice and has proven to change the genetic expression of the dopaminergic cells in the brains of them, to help restore there minds back to the way they were before the use of cocaine.
Sad thing is... they just found out it works... now to push this for human trials... I can only hope... but one thing I will be doing is seeing if there's a way I can help promote this.

That's about it... This has to be one of the harshest realities of my life now.  

As for everyone's information... the one thing that really triggered this problem for me was actually masturbation over the weekend, I had been home alone bored on the weekend and must have done it 8 times.  I masturbated too many times and boom, it hit me like this for the past 6 days!  Again I could not sleep last night!

But this is what brought my health problem to a complete realization though.  Now if my sexual drive comes back, that will be a good thing, but I have to use it very sparingly if at all now.  Sex is actually more destruction to the cocaine user and ex-cocaine users mind.

Okay... that's all I have for now, what does everyone think?
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948349_tn?1294383837
Sorry everyone... i had previously mentioned I wanted to commit suicide.  That isn't something I should have posted or at least keep to myself.  It's just the way I am right now, I don't like it at all and want to change and suicide just popped into my mind as one of my options.  I know there are other options available too that I will look into first and foremost.

I noticed the other ex-cocaine users on here have kids, and or a wife or husband.  See there's something to live for.
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Avatar_f_tn
This is difficult for me to write, and it very well may be inappropriate, but here go's. I know tons of people both ex coke/crack addicts and recreational users who are just fine. You have to take recovery seriously, and of course take care of your health, but all this doom and gloom is alittle weird. If you are not using and its permenent, just address your sleep issues, mental health issues and get on with it. You very well may have other health issues and or mental issues, but to hang EVERY issue or short coming you experience on past drug use is unrealistic in my opinion. Please accept that this is not ment to be a harsh and critical slap, but if it is something you haven't thought about it would be good for you to. Another thing is what if your memory is bad and you have depression? All the problems you are so upset about ARE treatable. If you are not sleeping your memory will be awful, once that starts you are more likly to get depressed, but if you look at each issue and treat it instead making a sweeping statement that you are ruined from your drug use you can get back what you have lost. Sounds like you are smart enough that you will do well even if you have messed up part of your brain. If stroke victims can relearn and rebuild new nural pathways certainly a 25 year old smart person can. I know its hard to take when you know you have done it to your self, but its going to be ok if you just look forward and deal with it. I hope you can find peace and happyness in the future, but this dwelling on what may have been lost instead of pride in your sobriety is unlikly to help you.
Best wishs and appologys in advance if I have completely missed the mark.
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948349_tn?1294383837
Actually thank you very much for that post.  No, that helps out quite a bit.  You are very right in every way.  No need for apologys at all.

Actually I hadn't had a good nights sleep for the past 7 nights, and only fell into a sleep for maybe 1 hour each night.  That's about half the reason right there.  And yes that's about half the reason why I can't focus or concentrate as well.

There are some underlying psychological issues I already have despite this as well.  I may be partially depressed sometimes, but I heard many anti-depressants don't work for people who have used lots of cocaine anyways... and may increase risk of suicide.

I feel better today though after exercise.  I think daily exercise is very crucial for any ex-drug addict... And especially for an ex-coke user who may have many mini-strokes in their brain.  Just today I read that regular exercise for a normal person can reduce parkinson's by 40-60%, and alzheimers by 20-30%.  It helps seed new neurons in the mind by 2.5 times compared to a sedentary person, and improves memory and concentration by about 2 times as well.  

I also have a major problem with alcohol, and have been almost totally sober from that in the past year as well.  So... I guess you're very much right I'm far more sober in the past year than I have been in the previous 9 years.  (mainly alcohol and pot but other drugs too).

I have some obsessive-compulsive tendency's as well.  I have to learn as much as possible about something... and there are some things I learned about cocaine and crack that made me reflect and realize the damage it has caused to me.  But you're right I can move forward now, and I can appreciate my sobriety that much more.
.  

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