Thursday, June 25, 2009

Confessions of a Former Coked-up Hipster

(I originally published this on Open Salon.  I've completely neglected this blog, but am hoping to get started again. I'll probably have to change the name. Well, here's my start.) 

I tried cocaine for the first time when I was 23. At the time, I was living in New York City, working in public relations and reveling in my pre-9/11 Sex and the City lifestyle. I was single, young, and though relatively broke (PR may be an alluring field for a young twentysomething, but it certainly does not pay the big bucks), lived a whirlwind lifestyle of far too many expensive dinners, opening parties, late nights and hungover mornings. I was surounded by a large circle of equally priveleged, fancy friends, most of us recent graduates of prestigious east coast colleges, and all beguiled by our new, adult lives. Clutching my life-giving cup of coffee as I traversed the subway, even my hangovers felt glamorous - a badge of honor after a successful night out in the city.

I grew up in the "Say No to Drugs" '80s, and while I was fully aware of the dangers of using drugs, I have to admit that I barely considered the consequences. In fact, I thought it was all very hip and thrilling, as I sat around a glass table with some of my work colleagues listening to Madonna and snorting small lines of the fine, (and I later learned) very stepped-on powder. I was instantly smitten - cocaine kept me awake so that I could enjoy those late New York nights, gave me that extra boost of confidence, made conversation flow from my tongue like water. It made the edges of everything shimmer.

I never thought that it would become a problem. How's that for a cliche?

But the years passed, and I continued to use cocaine. Initially, I could do only a few lines a night and be good to go, but as anyone who's ever tried the drug knows, soon the desire for it grows, creating a seemingly bottomless need for more and more. I began to use it alone. I moved to Los Angeles from New York, reunited with an old boyfriend, moved in with him, and got a much less glamorous job in education. I soon found a dealer, and then two (in case I couldn't get a hold of the first), and graduated from grams to 8 balls. It crept up on me, the addiction, until one morning I found myself shivering and crying after an all night bender when my boyfriend was out town, my heart feeling as if it would burst out of my chest.

But still I could not stop. I kept my drug use a secret from my boyfriend, and even the friends that I used cocaine with had no idea of the true extent of my use. On the surface, I was a pulled together, successful, responsible adult, but inside I was an obsessive addict, constantly scheming of how I was going to get my next bag. I used cocaine at work and at my parents' house during holidays. I cried in my car, even as my shaking fingers dialed my dealer. I looked up Cocaine Anonymous meetings in my area, joined an online support group for addicts and several times, flushed a bag of coke down the toilet in what would later turn out to be an empty gesture of closure. But still I did not stop.

When I was 30, my boyfriend and I got married. The day of my wedding, as I was getting my hair done and my mother and bridesmaids fluttered around me, I was texting my dealer. Because I had used up all my stash the night before at the rehearsal dinner. I thank God that for whatever reason, he was unavailable that day. I shudder to think of what my memories of my wedding would have been if I had allowed myself to experience it in a drugged-up haze.

On my 31st birthday I was supposed to meet my husband after he got off work for dinner, but I had been home all day snorting coke (even today I get an icky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of those long, fitful, wasted days) and couldn't even contemplate the notion of eating, let alone getting in the car and actually driving somewhere. I knew that I was a person wasting away inside - here I was, no longer in my twenties, no longer single and able to rationalize my drug use away with the idea that I was just "young and experimenting." I couldn't bring myself to confess my problem to my husband or my friends, and the weight of keeping this horrible secret and maintaining my pulled together outward appearance began to make me feel as if I was slowly losing my sanity. What the hell had my life become?

And then I got pregnant. I had always wanted to be a mother, but had put it off for several years because I valued my freedom so much. But the night those two little lines showed up on the pregnancy test everything changed. I knew I could no longer use cocaine, and with that knowledge came the most soul-cleansing, overwhelming sense of relief I had ever experienced. Soon after, the morning sickness hit me like a mack truck and I became intimately acquainted with my toilet bowl. Even as I retched, I marveled at the fact that I was sober - that my body was somehow supposed to be doing this; I was not throwing up because my poor, abused body was relieving itself of toxins. And I found strength in that, even as those around me marveled at how I could continue to work and go about my life while throwing up upwards of 10 tims a day. And then there was the crib to buy, strollers to test drive, the doctor's appointments and the baby shower and the gender predictions and the insomnia and the hormone induced crying fits. Never once did I miss cocaine.

When my daughter was born I fell in love in a way that makes my teeth ache. I would die for my daughter. I squeeze her so tightly and kiss her warm head and love her so much that I want to cry and laugh and sing all at the same time. She deserves a mother who is whole in body and soul. I do not ever want to use cocaine again. I will not ever use it again. I know this with the same certainty that I know that the sky is blue and the earth is round.

I am sure some people would say that I am just practicing "white knuckle sobriety" (in the parlance of recovery) and that in order to truly recover I need to admit to my addiction, seek therapy, and/or attend 12 step meetings. But they cannot see inside my heart. I believe my daughter saved my life, and I will spend the rest of that life taking care of her and loving her with every part of my being. No drug could ever be as powerful as that love. Never.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hiatus - Explanation Part 2

And the second reason I haven't written... well the title of this blog is "Confessions of a Coked Up Hipster." And I haven't done cocaine now in over 6 months. So there's that. More to come.

Hiatus - Explanation Part 1

So it's been a long time (over a year and a half!) since I've last posted here. I'm assuming the small readership I may have amassed has long since abandoned this site for more prolific pastures. I suppose there are a few reasons why I have not written. First and foremost, there is the fact that I have about 10 unfinished "drafts" languishing in my dashboard that I have never posted. Anyone who has enjoyed the "joy" of writing + cocaine must be familiar with this phenomenon - the rush of inspiration, the burst of creative writing energy... for the first hour at least. As the cocaine takes hold and you become higher and tweakier, this initial burst of unencumbered writing is followed by incessant, compulsive editing... obsession over the minutae of single words and phrases, until suddenly your hands are shaking, you look at the clock and you realize you've been trying to "perfect" the same sentence for over an hour. So, for that reason alone, I have not actually published anything here for over a year. I just plain couldn't finish anything to my satisfaction while high, and then as the next morning dawned, and I gazed at my computer, bleary eyed and headachey, beginning to face the horrid road of coming down, I would not have it in me anymore to even look at my posts... they seemed insipid, stupid, and embarassing. So there you have it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another Saturday night...

I know it's somewhat against blog etiquette to post on Saturdays. Most people are out and about, far away from their computers. Prime blogging time, as I understand it, is during work hours... unfortunately, I don't have the kind of job where I am able to blog (that "coked-up" part of my user name in bold letters across the top of the screen being a big part of it!) so I am stuck writing at home. The so-called "off-hours" I suppose, after work and on weekends.

Well anyway, it's Saturday night and I'm staying in. I feel as if this need to be in front of my TV with a bottle of champagne on weekends is a symptom of getting older. And I mean getting older in the good sense... (yes, I've chosen to look at it as a positive!) In the sense that I've become more discerning about my time. I much prefer to go out on weeknights when the bars and shows are less crowded and the LA equivalent of the bridge and tunnel brigade (would that be Orange or Riverside counties?) are not out in full force. I actually luxuriate in my Saturday nights at home... everyone else is out, in the pursuit of that proverbial "good time Saturday night," waiting in line for clubs that blare bad music, or paying $15 dollars for a tiny martini, surrounded by girls with back tattoos and guys who wave their keys for their leased BMW at you in hopes of drawing you in... and here I am, with 3 (! I saved them) Netflix movies, Thai takeout, and a bottle of champagne. What sounds better to you?

(And I DO have plans for brunch tomorrow... just in case you were wondering if I actually have friends at all...)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can I be friends with my drug dealer?

I think my dealer wants to be my friend (or maybe he just wants to sleep with me.) Is this a conflict of interest, or should I cultivate this relationship?

To give a bit of history, I've been "dealing" with him for over 2 years now, and we've always been friendly; I make it a point to chat for at least a few minutes before I hightail it out of his place (and "hightail" is the right word - relief doesn't come much sweeter than the relief of a successfully negotiated coke exchange.) But lately, he's been more and more chatty, and just the other night, I got a rambling 2am "what's up" message from him that made me just a tad apprehensive. Is my interest in his coke translating in his mind to an interest in him? I've always paid full price... is there some etiquette here I'm missing? Come on... I'm just a naive white girl from the suburbs. Any help?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

missing the mix tape

When I was 15, I made my first mix tape. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and wanted to while away a few hours, and I thought it might be fun to consolidate my favorite songs onto one casette tape. So I dumped my entire collection of tapes onto the floor of my parents' den, armed myself with pen and paper, and began to write out my tracklist.

I soon realized that making the perfect tracklist would not be quite as simple as I had initially thought. As I examined my collection, I found myself considering overall cohesiveness, male/female singer equanimity, variety of genre, and ratio of popular to obscure song choice. At that moment, I embraced my inner music snob. and I have never looked back. This mix was going to be no mere dumping of songs; it would be a work of art.

Anyone who has ever made a "mix-on-tape" (for whatever reason, I feel as if the "phrase deserves quotations marks) knows what I'm talking about. Nowadays, we just load a bunch of songs onto a computer program, hit a key, and 5 minutes later our mix is done. But back then, mixmaking was a labor of love - a multi-hour process of rewinding and fast-forwarding, reworking song order, and pausing at just the right moment. Most importantly, it was a lessson in timing. As any afficiando will tell you, the mark of a superior cassette mix is that thelast song on each side ends mere seconds before the tape runs out.

I still have that first mix, and excepting a fewunfortunate song choices (ie, Aerosmith's "What it Takes," and more than a reasonable amount of selections from the 'Pretty Woman' Soundtrack (Go West, anyone?)) I am actually quite impressed with my fifteen-year-old mixmaking prowess. Come on, how many sophomore girls' high school mixes include ""Oceans" (Pearl Jam), "Black Metallic" (Catherine Wheel) and Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecila" all encapsulated onto one 90 minute piece of Sony plastic??

Here's a bit of a test. If anyone emails me in response to this post I will send them, free of charge, a casettte AND CD copy of the mix in question... come on, 1993 was a really GOOD year for music...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Los Angeles has been gripped by a heat wave. This is not news.

I must amend that statement. It's not "news" in that this is obviously not new information to anyone who's been paying attention to the actual "news" (ie, the media.) Yes, temperatures are soaring into the triple digits and rolling blackouts may be imminent and my GOD what to do without central air, but COME ON. This is Southern California. We live in a desert.

I actually find myself enjoying the heat. I can put on my little boy "tightie whities" (sp?) and my wifebeater tank and drink white wine and pat myself down with a towel ala "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Doesn't the heat just scream dirty sex and martinis and going without underwear?

Just think of all the sweat glistening off tan, pert thighs... Is it just me?