Love Is The Drug
In the now classic 'Chapelle Show' skit, Rick James says a number of times, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug..."
And he's right.
It's one of those drugs that is strangely functional, and productive. Until it's not. It's one of those drugs that makes you believe in yourself, and your aspirations, and dreams. Until it's not. It's one of those drugs that boosts your ego, and gives you confidence, allows you to talk to people you otherwise never would. Until it's not.
I was 19 the first time I tried it. My dad gave it to me. I remember not feeling anything especially significant, but also wanted to call all of my friends and see what they were up to that night. It made me more socially vibrant. It got me out of my insecure shell.
My dad tried to temper my intake. He'd get us a $20 worth to split, and we'd work on our old cars. Clean the garage. Think of projects we should invest our time and money into. We would get spun up, and he'd teach me how to weld. How to look at mechanical problems in a different light- "Bubba, have you ever seen the morons that put these cars together? If they can put them together, we take take them apart; and make them better...."
It was like putting on Superman's cape for a night. And it was amazing. Until it's not.
I remember my 21st birthday- my dad and I went to Boulder Station to shoot pool. He was so excited that I could go somewhere with him and buy a drink. I had two Rum & Cokes, and he kicked my ass for two games. And then we decided to call, "The Dude". That's what we called him. He was an armed security guard at a Mexican market on Eastern and Bonanza. He was THE ARMED SECURITY GUARD, and that was our coke connect. We'd pull in, my dad would buy a pack of smokes, and I'd tell "The Dude" how many we wanted. How many means "twenties". 1, 2, 3; he had prepackaged $20 bags. Who's gonna cause trouble? This guy is THE LAW in this parking lot.
But my dad was always carful to temper my usage. Like, that's where he drew the line. "We'll do SOME coke, but not A LOT of it." Junkie logic. But he was right.
And then I moved out. I did what all 20-year-old guys do, and moved into a house with 3-5 other guys, fresh outta high school. And one of the old roommates "Knew a guy..." and off I went running. We would go 5 ways on an 8-Ball, and rediscover life. We would delve into the deepest recesses of our dysfunction into the wee hours of the morn. Some of the best conversations I've ever had were with me and my new “family”- hashing out 'Life' until the sun came up. It was amazing, until it wasn't.
When it became not so fun was when it became a need. We COULDN'T work on cars without blow. My roommates and I COULDN'T write without it. And then I got my own place. And that downward spiral got tight and fast. What used to be something that would facilitate communication, became my reason for seclusion.
I would order bags on 'off days', and just hole up on my apartment, pacing, my mind so spun I couldn't hold a thought for more than a minute. I would stay up for days on end. For YEARS I did this. From the age of 20-27, I had almost no contact with anyone that wasn't work, or my dad. All of those, "I'm gonna get this out in my 20's-" years, I squandered. Fruitless.
And then She came along.
And much to, well, basically everyone's chagrin; she changed my life. We had had our summer dalliance. She was my first love. Which is saying a lot, because I was nearing 30. But I was still lost. She went on and got married, and I moved forward as well. I started seeing a great girl, and it worked for a while. I was clean for a good 6 months when I chipped. I remember looking in the mirror, powder spread out, and crying. Then I did a line, and it all went away. I was off and running once again.
My girlfriend at the time had no idea. I was still using on days that I didn't see her. She'd call, and I'd blame 'poor reception' for dropped calls. It was a totally unfair relationship, and she didn't know why it was failing. It of course did though. And then She came back into the picture. We hadn't spoken in years, and out of no where, there she was again. We picked up where we left off, but I was different, and she knew it. She asked me where my head was at, and I was open and honest. I had developed a $1,200 a month habit. I had credit card debt well over $10k. I was killing myself. She said one simple sentence to me: "If you ever touch that stuff, we'll never be together." And she meant it. I KNEW she did.
Long story short; and that's another chapter, her words stuck with me. And even though she and I aren't together, that power of love was enough to knock the sense in me that I needed. It's been over 6 years now, and I'm still clean. But even though She's no longer in the picture, she opened my eyes to love… the kind of love that I still enjoy this day, from many people. What was something that I once felt undeserving of, now exists in many forms. I have learned to surround myself with people whom I love, and love me in ways I would've never believed 10 years ago. People who have become closer to me than family. Hell, I've been a bridesmaid in three weddings. You read that right. That's not to say I'm not tempted from time to time; "Cocaine is a hell of a drug..."
But you know what the most powerful drug is? Love. Believe me, I've done them all...