They say addicts are always trying to experience the same feelings they did the first time they got high. I know it was true for me. But soon, I realized I was trying so hard to relive that same, original high that I eventually stopped caring about anything else.
My First Time
The very first time I got high on cocaine, I was in college. My friend took me to a party with lots of people I didn’t know. I wanted to fit in, and when someone offered me a line, I told myself it was okay. It wasn’t like it was heroin, and it would wear off in a couple of hours. Soon it kicked in.
I had never experienced anything like it, and never will again. But that wasn’t something I could accept at the time. I felt good, strong, excited. I felt comfortable in my own skin, like I had energy for days. And the minute the drug wore off, I wanted more.Take Back Your Life. Call The 24Hr Addiction Hotline 800-654-0987
I decided to be smart, though, or so I thought. I tried not to use the drug again immediately afterward. But when I tried cocaine again a week later, it wasn’t the same. I felt the rush of euphoria I expected, but it didn’t seem as strong. And after I’d been high for a few hours, I started to feel bad. I got angry and paranoid, and once the drug wore off, I felt really tired and sad. As it turns out, this isn’t uncommon (Center for Substance Abuse Research).
Chasing the Dragon
There’s a phrase that describes what it’s like to be a drug user constantly trying to re-experience that first high: chasing the dragon. While it usually refers to heroin addicts, I feel connected to the phrase because it completely fits my experience. I started using drugs more and more, usually cocaine but sometimes other types too. I did it because I was always trying to get back that same feeling, that feeling of my first high. It’s like chasing something mythical you’re never going to catch. Unfortunately, I spent years of my life doing just that.
A Wake Up Call
One day, I finally realized this was what I was doing: trying to recreate a feeling I was never going to have again. And what did I have to show for it? I had dropped out of college, I wasn’t speaking to my family, and my health was getting worse and worse. At first, I told myself I needed to stop and that I could do it on my own. But again, I was wrong.
Once I finally went looking for help, I was in bad shape. I was dangerously thin and had a weak immune system. I was also starting to experience strange psychological effects like frightening hallucinations and memory loss. I kept telling myself I could stop on my own, but then, the promise of maybe experiencing that first high again kept me going back. But all I was really doing was just avoiding my own withdrawal symptoms.Family is Forever.Get Help for Your Loved One. Call The 24Hr Addiction Hotline 800-654-0987
Treatment Helped Me Make the Change
The doctors, nurses, and volunteers who took care of me in rehab saved my life. When I started going to therapy, I learned most people who use drugs are still trying to experience the same high they first did.
“It was never as good as the first time,” I told my therapist. I was nervous to be this honest, but I really wanted to make a change.
“If you know that, then why keep hoping it will be? Why not focus on yourself instead?”
When my therapist said this, I knew it was time to start chasing something real, something I knew I could achieve. Everyone told me I could start over, get healthy, and have a better life if I stuck to my treatment regimen and practiced what I learned. And they were right. Even though fighting the temptation to use can still sometimes be difficult, I know I’m going in the right direction now. I know I’m chasing the right dream.