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1) It Wasn't Always Like This

One day I became a cocaine addict. I can't tell you when this line was crossed--this mysterious, mystical line, between casual user, weekend warrior to binge user, using almost daily, multiple times a week. It's a line I never planned on crossing. None of us do, obviously. No one chooses to become an addict. It just sneaks up on you. It's stealthy and relentless. At one point you're just a casual user, doing lines at parties with your friends. Perhaps once every few months, then perhaps once a month, and then it slowly crept into every weekend. I stayed a weekend warrior for a very long time. It was just one of my rules I'd never, ever cross. But you see, I became obsessed with the weekend. I would count the days until the weekend, until I could use cocaine again. I was using larger quantities on the weekends, as time went by and really, all went to shit, when I got the dealer's number for myself. I could now call when I wanted. I didn't have to wait to party with friends. But yet, for a very long time, it was something I did exclusively as a social activity, with friends. It would always turn an ordinary night into a magical occasion. The buzz in the air, the drinks knocked back, the buzz inside of me, just growing stronger and stronger. The laughter among friends, the dancing and "connecting," somehow I felt larger than life, the euphoria coursing through my veins. When people spoke it felt like glitter was spilling from their mouths. Glitter and sparkles flowed from my mouth too. These nights were irresistible. In those days, I would go home, floaty and high and still be able to crawl into bed and fall asleep. I wasn't doing enough to keep me up until the birds started chirping--a sound I came to loath and fear as my addiction deepened. But more on the chirping birds, later. I was drinking quite heavily at this time and any hangover I felt was due to the excess alcohol, rather than cocaine. But generally life was good. On weekends, I would sleep off my hangovers, still go running in the park, spend time with friends, usually drinking at rooftop bars or at small gatherings in friends' apartments. Inevitably, I would get an itching for cocaine during a night out and I'd talk to a couple friends and it would be arranged quickly and efficiently. Our guy was never more than 20 minutes away, wherever we were in Manhattan. He didn't deliver to Brooklyn, where I live, which meant getting my cocaine later on became a significant undertaking. But I didn't care. Little did I know that I would come to depend on this man with my life. "Davie" we'll call him. He had strict business hours, he worked from 3:00pm until 9:00pm, Monday through Saturday. There were absolutely no exceptions to these rules, which made getting through Sundays in the future difficult. Back in those days though, we would all agree fairly early in the evening to call Davie. Sometimes it was planned a day in advance, that we would be getting Davie on Saturday. Of course, I couldn't wait. Cocaine just added an extra pop and sizzle to my life. I didn't think much about my use in the early days. It all seemed so innocent and carefree. Why not make a fun night exceptional? I remember feeling disappointed though, early on, when other friends said they weren't in the mood or perhaps we had missed Davies' business hours. I would take another swig of wine or what ever cocktail I was drinking, and smile, knowing deep inside that I was crushed. It was beyond disappointment--it was actually feeling crushed. And as my use continued, those crushed feelings turned to sheer panic and despair. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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