Am I addicted to cocaine?
anonymous Asks ...
I USE COCAINE AND ECSTASY RECREATIONALLY ON THE WEEKENDS. LATELY I HAVE BEEN HAVING VERY STRONG CRAVINGS TO USE COCAINE DURING THE WORK WEEK ALSO AND I HAVE STARTED USING ONCE IN A WHILE.
I DO NOT WANT TO STOP USING ON THE WEEKENDS BUT I DO NOT WANT TO BECOME ADDICTED EITHER. IF I AM CRAVING COCAINE DURING THE WORK WEEK AM I ADDICTED?
Delisted Expert Says ...
Cocaine and Ecstasy Addiction
I used to work on a cocaine/crack rehab units. You are very correct in being concerned about becoming dependent on cocaine. Ecstasy is not known to be addictive per se, but one can form psychological dependency if the drug is meeting a real or imagined need.
Craving, preoccupation, using despite adverse consequences are symptoms of addiction. However, you do not indicate or reveal that you have lost control over the use of cocaine. It’s the "loss of control" which is the line which is crossed from heavy usage to addiction. So you do not appear to be addicted but could still be classified as a moderate to heavy substance abuser if you spent money for cocaine that you can't afford to spend, your performance at work or school has declined, self care is deteriorating, continued use despite the concern of others, and/or any of your major areas of functioning or major relationships have been affected, then it would be very clear that you are seriously progressing towards addiction via your cocaine use. Your desire to use when you aren't planning to use does show signs toward dependency.
Be aware that the main defense of addiction is denial. Denial is a defense mechanism which clearly reports that there is no problem with addictive substances or behavior. I want to share with you that anyone who relies on addictive substances to "feel good" is not a person who is happy and whose life is satisfying or going well (without adjunct chemical coping or pleasure).
You are very wise to be concerned and to be asking questions. In addiction rehab, it is commonly understood that if you have a concern about substance abuse, then there is probably good reason to be concerned. I would ask you what does ecstasy and cocaine provide you with? What is missing from your life which these drugs provide you with?
Whenever a user is concerned about their use or excessive preoccupation, cravings, or use, red flags should go up for everyone. Since you have been very brave to go this far, I would recommend you do several things to help you gain more clarity and to help you make a "wise decision" about your continued cocaine use. They are:
1. Take a cocaine addiction self test for cocaine addiction at http://www.ca.org/literature/selftest.htm provided by Cocaine Anonymous
2. Go to the website: http://www.ca.org/
Look for a Cocaine Anonymous (CA) meeting near you and attend several meetings and listen to how cocaine has affected the members and how their stories could reflect your current experience.
3. You are keenly aware of the positive effects of using Ecstasy and Cocaine, but do you equally know their negative effects? Do your own research by going to the following websites:
4. You could obtain a substance abuse assessment from a substance abuse professional or treatment center. Many centers will provide an assessment with recommendations for free. If it is determined that you need support in decreasing or stopping your use of cocaine, you might want to consider treatment in an outpatient program. The sooner you address this issue, the lower the level of treatment or intervention you would require.
Remember, one of the hallmarks of addiction is using drugs against our will or when we do not plan on using them. I hope this information has been helpful to you, and I hope you know that many people can relate to your struggle. This type of problem is best dealt with in group counseling not individual counseling. Best of luck to you, and if I could of future assistance, please let me know.
John O'Neal, Ed.S, LPC