Antonio Hernandez / The Roundup
I squandered two weeks of my life. Two weeks that could have turned into years, spiraling down a hole that would have no end. But unlike other countless youths, I climbed out of that pit and dragged with me a perspective that may have saved my life.
I lost two weeks to cocaine.
It was in my junior year of high school, during a time when I was dabbling with marijuana and ignoring a majority of my school work. I had never touched a “hard drug” yet and, as of then, had only heard of the various opiates and their effects.
I tried my best to stay away from the substances, but it was impossible due to my choice of friends.
It was not until one weekend that I finally took a nosedive into that world. A friend of mine had obtained an “eight-ball” of cocaine and invited me to his house. I practically lived there already, so I simply told my mother I was going over to his house and she didn’t think much of it.
A quick walk, a pack of cigarettes, and I was at his door. Things opened like they normally did and he invited me inside to sit down. It wasn’t until I walked inside that I realized this wasn’t a normal “visit.”
The bag sat on the table, its white content in plain view — a disturbing contrast against the wood table it rested on. To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
Everything in me told me to walk away. But there was one piece of myself that logic couldn’t touch: my curiosity.
So instead of walking out of the house, I watched him methodically cut the lines.
Seconds later there were two white lines on the table, perfect in their construction. A dollar bill rested in my hand, rolled tight to ensure no powder would escape. Something tugged at the back of mind, screaming at me to put it down.
But I leaned in, took a hard snort and muffled that scream with euphoria.
There is no word to explain the feeling of a substance taking control of you. The cocaine felt like it yanked me from the driver’s seat and I was suddenly placed outside to watch myself pass by in a blur.
One line turned into two and quickly progressed to a number I didn’t even care about.
I don’t remember how long I sat in his room. I wrote for hours, talked for even more and finally fell asleep when the sun found its way through the windows.
The next morning I woke up on the couch, my mind numb, and I was up before even realizing it. We cut another line, I didn’t even have to ask. Each sliver brought me farther away from my own problems.
I was addicted within three days.
We traveled to Los Angeles to score more of the drug, coming back quickly to snort it through a curled George Washington.
This is the way it happened for a week. I never looked in the mirror, never took a good look at myself. I didn’t care about food, I didn’t care about sleep and all I looked forward to was another cut.
That changed the week after. I like to think there is a point in every addict’s life when they finally look at themselves. As strange as it sounds, I like to call this the “Hollywood moment.”
Just like the cliché scenes in drug films, the addict washes over his face with water and stares into the mirror. The epiphany comes then, a small timeframe where reason finally overtakes the drug.
I didn’t have a mirror. I had my friend and I watched him slowly deteriorate into something that only vaguely resembled humanity. Day after day I watched as he pumped more into his brain and day after day, I saw myself becoming that.
I quit cold turkey.
I realized that numb feeling it gave me did nothing but mask the problems in my life. The drug only enabled me to forget them for a period of time, but I would come back for more when they resurfaced.
I couldn’t live like that. I had to face my life and not run from it. I stopped hanging out with my friend and ignored the itch to wash away my thoughts with a quick inhale.
I’m grateful for those two weeks. Joyful that it only took two weeks to realize these things, when for most it takes a lifetime.