Cutting out cocaine? Start at the bar.

addiction alcohol cocaine Aug 30, 2016

Alcohol and Cocaine. A Match Made in Heaven? How to Break the Cycle. 

Your cocaine use has become a problem, maybe you are a weekend binge user with your alcohol, an occasional party user, or maybe it has got out of control and you are using a lot and often.

It might be that you only use cocaine when you have been drinking and you would really rather not.  It adds to your disinhibited feeling when you are drunk, adds a confident edge to you that actually you don’t really like even though it may feel good at the time; or compounds the feeling of “oh no what did I say and do last night?”. Who did I talk at? Who did I offend?

Alcohol is a gateway to so many things and drug use can be one of those things.  If you are someone that only takes cocaine (or other drugs) when you have been drinking and your intention is not to take any drugs, then the simple answer is take some time off the booze.  It will help in those early few months.  You will be surprised how easy it is to say no to things you don’t want when you are sober.

When we drink and then use cocaine it creates a highly toxic chemical called cocaethelyne.  Alcohol is a depressant and cocaine is a stimulant, so when you use cocaine when drinking it fools you into thinking you can drink more and most people do, as it masks the drunk effects of alcohol.  Obviously anything that helps us to drink more is a problem as alcohol is a highly toxic substance as well.  (hey and we do this for fun?) Given that people can drink more when using cocaine there are risks around alcohol poisoning as well.  The health risks for using both significantly increase when mixed together than if you just used them on their own. So.....

First things first, stop using cocaine and alcohol together.

In fact let’s be real about this. If you are serious about stopping cocaine use, then stop drinking for a few months to help yourself (trust me it’s a good to take some time off the booze).

When you first stop, just accept that things will feel different for a while.  Just while your body and brain recover.  This will be different for everyone, some people will feel ok and others can feel quite depressed. If you feel so depressed you are struggling, please go and see your GP, there has been some evidence that being prescribed anti-depressants for a few months can help in the early days when stopping cocaine use for heavy users.

Cocaine hydrochloride which is mostly snorted, reaches the brain quickly creating a faster rush, a bigger high and bigger crash as the brain tries to readjust.

The brains reaction to big increases in dopamine is often to reduce the number of functioning dopamine receptors, leading to a reduced sense of reward from other activities and greater dependence on cocaine.

Check out this clip for a closer look at how cocaine works in the brain:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OS2C4NemJI

So basically you get your hits when you use cocaine, it feels good, and in ways maybe you can’t explain.  When you stop, normal activities that would normally give you these hits, dancing, listening to music, being with people, sex, sport, may not give you the endorphin rush you would normally get.

However and here is the good news, sit with it, it won’t take long for things to re-adjust.  And when they do its worth it.  What can be better than getting a high from something that is natural and good for you? (Oh and no one got harmed in the process of getting it to you, an added bonus).

Cocaine users can become egotistical and self-interested. When you stop, if you still hang out with your friends that like to participate you will notice that actually it’s not a 2 way street.  If you are straight and someone has just had a few drinks and a line, even though they think they are having a good time.  They are no fun to be around.

I would normally advise to stay away from the action for a while.  Don’t spend time with friends that are using, if the people you live with use at home, find somewhere else to live, if people use at work, can you get another job? It can also be really useful to see what it’s like being around people when they are like this.  It can help you to remind yourself why you don’t want to do it.

Find a reason to stop, what’s your motivation? Health? Relationship? Financial? It’s whatever is important to you.

 A few ideas here if you aren’t that motivated by your own life, there is also the harm it causes to  the environment, huge profits made by criminal gangs and corrupt governments.

Your coke isn’t fair trade, you might like your organic veg box, your Fairtrade coffee and sugar, but then on the weekend you are pushing cocaine up your nose.  Educate yourself about the damage to the environment, what happens to the people that get caught up in the trade, women and children etc.

It doesn’t matter what it is, find the thing that motivates you that you can remember in weak moments, this will help you keep making changes.

If your cocaine use is a problem check out these 4 free videos How to stop using cocaine free videos I do talk about alcohol in there as well.

Or an ebook if you prefer How to get started with stopping.

Stephanie Chivers is a recognised behaviour change and addictions specialist, for more information contact www.ichange21.com   

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