Twenty-seven days ago I reached rock bottom and my five-month-long cocaine binge came to a sudden end. It was on the morning of May 19th. I can’t even say how many hours, maybe even days, I had been awake by the time morning rolled around. What I do know is I was home alone in my underwear, drenched in sweat, heart beating at least 200 bpms, hunched over on my couch wondering if I’d die before finishing off the last couple lines of what used to be an 8-ball just a day prior. This was about twice as much as my typical daily dose of 1.5-2 grams but the circumstances were about twice as bad as well. All of the things I had watched deteriorate at various rates over the previous five months–my body, my mind, my relationship, my job, my finances, the last sliver of hope of ever being happy again– they had either been destroyed or were about to be. My relationship was about to end. I got fired from my job five days prior. I weighed about 130 lbs and looked like I was already dead. My mind was completely gone. I had been paranoid for months, and by this point, completely delusional. I paid my rent for June, but with no income, it was looking like I would officially be a homeless drug addict on the street by July. It was too heavy for me to bear, so I leaned in to finish the coke in front of me.
I should warn you that the next part is a bit graphic. If you would rather skip the graphic content, scroll past the italicized gray text.
I leaned in and took a whiff… nothing. I tried the left nostril… nothing. My nose was completely blocked. This wasn’t unusual after a long day of snorting dirty street cocaine. I’m not even sure how much of that shit is cocaine. Every bag was distinctly different in taste and strength. Some didn’t resemble cocaine at all other than the fact that it was white. It got me high, though.
Anyway, I began blowing my nose to try to make room for more. The problem is, it wasn’t just blocked from the cocaine I had been snorting all day and night. Cocaine increases your blood pressure. Some of the blockage I was experiencing was due to inflammation. This meant I needed to blow really fucking hard to try to get anything through the passageway. It was extremely painful but that didn’t matter much, knowing that after the next line it would be numb again. And that’s another problem. Not only does cocaine block your nose and cause inflammation, it numbs the skin. Do enough cocaine and you’ll damage the nerves and blood vessels. The body will then stop supplying blood to the lining of your nose, causing it to die and become infected. That’s exactly what I was experiencing.
The tissue behaved like valves, peeling over and blocking the airway. I needed to blow hard enough that the tissue would tear away completely and come out. This wasn’t new to me at this point. I started losing tissue two months earlier. What was different this time is that it was harder to get out, causing me to blow harder, and then…
I vividly remember my eyes opening wide. I was frightened to find out what happened. I stuck my finger in one of my nostrils, which I had become very familiar with, and noticed it felt completely different than usual. It was smaller. I stuck my finger in the other nostril and noticed it too felt different; this one, significantly bigger. With one finger in each nostril, I started wiggling my nose side to side. My stomach sank. I had torn my fucking septum. Where exactly, I didn’t know, but that shit was moving back and forth. It was thin and malleable beforehand. Now it was officially fucked.
I paused for a moment, shocked. In a panic, I took advantage of my torn septum by pushing it aside to clear a path, and one nostril at a time, began blowing chunks of infected flesh and cartilage from my nose before quickly throwing back the last half gram of coke.
With no more cocaine left, and a freshly damaged septum, I was left thinking about death. By this time, I had spent months convincing myself I wanted to die. Now I was realizing I didn’t. It was becoming all too real. I needed to figure a way out.
I once heard a saying about getting handed a rope when you’re in a tough situation. It’s up to you whether you use the rope to make a ladder and climb out or tie a noose. Well, in my case, metaphorically speaking, I had spent months tying a noose. On the morning of May 19th I realized I wanted a ladder all along. I had been too scared to get help for all that time. I was scared of facing the consequences.
Now, facing my own mortality, I decided to surrender regardless of what the consequences would be. I had been hiding my drug use from literally everyone. They knew something was up with me but I had never said anything about it. I needed to come clean. The guilt was going to kill me.
I spent hours drafting an email to a friend, trying to figure out how to word it all, before realizing I was closer than I had ever been to opening up about my addiction. How it was worded didn’t matter. I needed to let it out. So I did in a text message.
That is an actual screenshot of the second text I sent. I was laying in my bed crying my eyes out. I was scared, sad, happy, you name it. I was in shock, a shock that wouldn’t wear off for about 16 hours. The weight of the world, which I’d carried in secrecy for 5 months, was off my shoulders.
I had untied the noose. I still didn’t know how to tie the rope ladder but that didn’t matter. I was alive. I was free. And I was ready to face the problems I caused and begin my recovery to becoming a person I can be proud of.
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