I have been clean from cocaine for almost 8 months now. I do not ever want to use again, it cost me nearly everything and I am so grateful to have left what I do. But still. There are some days where it is just HARD losing what I did. I lost my entire social circle. Recently my partner’s sister passed me on the sidewalk, we brushed elbows and she pretended not to see me even as I greeted her as neutrally as possible. My partner I know has my back, I’ve asked him not to get in the middle of things but even that was enough to make him shake his head. I wonder if I will ever be seen as anything other than a crazy bitch who just didn’t know her limits. I am also having a hard time finding another job I can work, I have some health issues now too and working enough hours to pay the bills makes those flare up. So I am very poor with very few friends. I am so grateful for my partner and my dog, though my partner is in recovery too and having a LOT of shit thrown his way right now outside of even what just recovery can bring.
I feel like I’m afraid to trust myself sometimes. Like if I do have a better life, I feel like I’ll fuck it all up again. I don’t want anything too flashy. A house of my own, a kid or two to raise with my darling, and I’d be thrilled. But I struggle so much feeling like I am undeserving of even that. I am just so afraid. I have bipolar as well, which is why the cocaine use extra screwed up my life because it set off a massive episode. I’m on the right meds now, but what if I still have another episode? What if I go off the rails and out of my mind again? I never want to be in that place again, but I don’t want to stay in this pit forever. I’m just scared that I won’t be able to handle anything more than what I’ve got right now.
Has anyone had a similar journey? Was there anything that helped you feel brave and self-confident again without straying into grandiosity or mania? Just a reasonable amount of self-esteem is all I need.
I can speak on losing friends and family, having them give up on you. In recovery I learned I can only control myself. Also other peoples opinions of me are none of my business. So I carry the flame where it is needed. My wife and kids are all I have, and my mother, so those are the only relationships I tend to.
When we shed our skin of addiction, it comes with loss, we are losing who we once were, the part of us that no longer serves us. It feels very visceral and raw, but we continue, just for today.
Welcome buttercup!! And congratulations on your 8 months!!
It is a lot…giving up this version of ourselves…our social circle…our way of moving thru the world…no matter how unhealthy it all is. It is still a big transition and a lot to grieve (yes, we can grieve even those things that harm us). Be gentle with yourself. Healing takes time, as does building self esteem and self love. We spent so long beating our selves up, letting our selves down, hating our selves and choices…it takes time to move past that and forgive our selves for our past and choices. It is okay to forgive yourself. It is healing to let go of that old version.
Are there new ways of moving thru life, new hobbies or passions that make you feel whole or happy? I like warm baths and a good book, knitting, gardening, yoga, journaling, baking, meditation, being in nature. They heal me.
Yes, we wonder about our future. But really all we have is right now, today. What can you do to nuture yourself today? Sometimes these little steps can help us move thru these transitions to more self confidence and self esteem.
You are brave and strong for making a change! Keep up the great work and find ways to fill your cup. You so deserve some peace.
Im actually 9 months off cocaine myself. Ive told the tale here before but i can always do it again. It was about 2 months and around $2500 for my own personal use. I had burned through pretty much all of my money and was beginning to dig into credit cards. I was also drinking heavily at the same time, my active alcoholism far pre-dated the cocaine and outlived it all the way up to 24 days ago. Stopping was difficult, and staying away from it was 50x harder for about 6 months when the absolutely brutal cravings finally chilled out. In fact i would have relapsed around 4 or 5 months in if my dude hadnt quit selling. Sent him the message and everything and he said no can do. Im really, REALLY fortunate that was the case. He hit me up in october saying he was back on again and i was able to just ignore the message, and i have no temptation to take him up on it.
My game plan worked. About 2 months after i quit, i alerted the people around me to what happened because they never even noticed. The constant runny nose for 2 months straight was just some weird sickness or maybe something in the air to them. My cravings were getting violently powerful and i was very afraid i was going to relapse. I told them because it was like setting traps for myself. Cocaine in the house is a terrible no-no. If i felt like i could get away with it, then there were very low stakes to relapsing in my addicts mind. With them knowing, they would see the signs if i did it again and id be on my ass in no time flat. I made it situationally dangerous. If i hadnt been shitfaced the night i asked my dude to hook me up again, i would never have sent the message. But if he had said yes i would have followed through even when i sobered up. I also consciously CHOOSE to block out any recollection of the sensation it causes or how i felt or what i did with it. Doing this long enough makes it hard or impossible for your mind to just casually throw the memories in your face to tempt you. I have to try very hard now to dig up the memories, but of course i dont do that. This helps a lot if you can manage it. Its hard at first but it comes with less and less effort the longer you do it.
The damage cocaine did to my life was mostly physical, but i should have lost my job. I slept 4 hours into multiple shifts when i was in my 90 days at a job i had just returned to. The only thing that saved me was administrative favoritism and their willingess to cook the books and look the other way from my very recent 4 years there. Other than that my teeth were loose in my gums and i was doing 36 hour binges (drinking heavily at the same time) with maybe 48 hour breaks in between. Like, its 1145am, and im doing a line and am able to fall asleep within 20 mins because my body is so wasted. It was bad.
As for feeling undeserving and afraid of ruining things in your life, i find motivation in these matters purely by wanting to keep my ship on the right side of the water. Truthfully, i am probably the most miserable person i know. Zero self esteem, virtually zero friends, and a mind that bashes me with a million different reasons why im worthless and its all not even worth the trouble to stay alive. But somehow despite that, theres just a hard limit in me that refuses to allow hard failure like homelessness, unemployment, or grand loss like my vehicle. Its the only thing in me that kills addictions on the level of cocaine or, in the past, adderall. Im miserable either way. But at least my ship keeps sailing in sobriety. I do what i must, my feelings have always been irrelevant to that. Thats not much of advice, its more just a sketch of how that shit plays out for me. But it is most definitely a factor for me as well. Thanks for coming to my ted talk.
First of all conratulations at having turned a corner and being firmly on the sober path. I’m happy for you.
That’s a great question. I have struggled with self confidence and self esteem and worth all my life (as so many do) and still do. I’m 3 1/3 years sober and been in psychotherapy this entire time as well. The only thing I can tell you is: it’s a process. Don’t stop learning about yourself. But stay receptive and inquisitive. Your journey has only just begun and youll get the chance to really know yourself, the person you already are, if you stay sober. That’ll give you the chance to learn to accept yourself. That takes time. And with that ofc also comes the chances to work on yourself and chance things about you you want to grow out of. None of this happens over night or without the quiet companionship of your own reflection and self-observation. Start a journal. Start therapy if you can.
Do not fall into the traps and pressures of toxic positivity with messages like: love yourself! Be proud! Translate: be what you desire to be now and immediately. That’s not how it works and don’t let anyone tell you it is. (except me ofc haha )
Take your time friend. And be on this journey with yourself. You have come far from a dark place and you have much further to go. That’s good news.