Cocaine Addiction Stories: “How Did You Find Yourself on the Path to Cocaine Recovery?”

Stories of cocaine use and addiction are difficult to read. But if you or someone you love is struggling and unable to stop using this drug, hearing the experiences of others can make all the difference. Share these personal stories with your loved one and help convince them that getting diagnosed and treated will help them get their lives back.

Cocaine is a highly addictive, illicit substance. A stimulant, it triggers euphoria, energy, and alertness, but also paranoia, irritability, and sensitivity to noises and light. People who use cocaine recreationally are at high risk of developing a substance use disorder, which can cause serious side effects and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Consequences can also include damaged relationships, trouble with the law, and difficulties at work or school.

Addiction to cocaine is difficult to overcome, especially since many people using this drug are high-functioning. Over time, though, function will decrease and cocaine use will cause serious health problems and other consequences.

It’s important to hear what others have gone through and how they recovered from cocaine use disorder. Recognizing a need for help is the first step, and getting treatment from experienced professionals is essential.

Cocaine addiction treatment is possible and effective and includes therapy, medical care, group support, family therapy, and lifestyle changes. But to get treatment you need to realize that you need help. Often it is family and others who care about you who see the truth first. Listen to those around you and to these stories of people who have been there before and are now living drug-free.

Cocaine Addiction Broke up my Relationship

I first started using drugs in college, but it never seemed like a big deal. I had a friend dealing in Adderall and other uppers, and they helped me stay awake to study and write papers the day before they were due. I drank too, like most college students, but it never seemed like a big problem. I did well in school and even went to law school.

It was when I started my career at a big law firm that drug use started to be a problem. The expectations as a new lawyer were really high, and I had to work 60 to 80 hours a week to get noticed. I have always been ambitious, and doing well in my career meant a lot to me.

The problem came when I went from using caffeine and over the counter meds to stay awake at work to relying on something stronger. I found out that a lot of people at the firm were actually using cocaine. And it seemed normal, so I tried it. For months, I got more work done than ever before and was actually recognized by the senior partners. Suddenly it seemed like I couldn’t get by without that high to give me energy. I was so afraid of letting people down and failing at work.

My girlfriend was good about it at first. She supported my career and goals, even though it meant I couldn’t spend a lot of time with her. But then she found out I was using drugs and she drew the line. I promised to stop and then lied about continuing to use cocaine.

I’ll never forget the day she left. I had a bad reaction and came home to let it wear off. I started getting really anxious and then inexplicably angry. I screamed at her and started smashing dishes. I accidentally hit the dog with a piece of plate, and I broke down. My girlfriend stayed with me until I calmed down and she felt I was safe. But then she packed a bag, took the dog and left. I don’t blame her, and it finally convinced me I needed professional treatment.

—Ryan C.

How My Family Finally Got Me Into Treatment for Cocaine Use

Although I tried all kinds of drugs, cocaine became my favorite because it made me feel powerful and like I could do anything. In spite of a lot of experimentation in high school, I was actually a good student. I graduated and got into a college that was close to home. To save money, I stayed at home, and that may have saved my life.

I kept using cocaine after never really getting hooked on other drugs, and I especially liked using it to party. Because I lived at home, I spent a lot of time with friends on campus on the weekends, and using cocaine got me high and energized enough to stay up late and have a great time. Eventually I realized it could help me study too.

The truth is that I thought I was doing really well. My classes were going great, and my social life was fun. But my parents noticed some troubling signs I didn’t see at first. I developed a tremor and almost couldn’t hold my fork at the dinner table. I slept only a few hours a night and started falling asleep in the middle of the day when I wasn’t using.

They confronted me and, of course, I told them I was fine, just look at my grades. They said that if I was fine, just stop using for a few days and get some sleep. I thought that seemed reasonable so I agreed. I was shocked and disturbed when I realized I couldn’t do it. I was so tired but also restless. I felt really depressed and just uncomfortable. When it finally hit me that I was going through withdrawal and that I needed cocaine to feel better, I let my parents take me to treatment.

—Tim M.

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I Chose Residential Treatment, and It Changed My Life

Overcoming my addiction to cocaine was essential, but even more importantly I needed residential care because I never realized I also suffered from depression. I definitely now feel like if I had gone to 12-step meetings or just some outpatient addiction counseling, I would still be going through depression and would still be struggling to stop using drugs.

I went to a cocaine rehab center because I knew my drug use had gotten out of control when my daughter caught me snorting cocaine in the bathroom. I had gotten home from work and picking her up from dance class after school. I was exhausted, and I was trying to stop using drugs, but facing making dinner, cleaning up, and helping my daughter with her homework seemed impossible. So I just went to the bathroom quickly but forgot to lock the door.

It was devastating to know my 10-year-old saw me using drugs. It sent me into a depression for days, and I knew I needed help. My parents took my daughter and encouraged me to go to a residential facility. It was the best thing I could have done for myself and my daughter.

When I arrived I was terrified, but the intake doctor was so nice. She evaluated me and diagnosed me, not just with a substance use disorder but also major depression. I was both surprised and not to get that diagnosis. She assured me that they could treat both there at cocaine rehab and that doing so was necessary.

I did a lot of individual therapy, which helped me uncover some of my motives for drug use and find ways to manage episodes of depression. I also really benefited from the group time. Sharing with and learning from other people, especially the other parents, was life-changing. I’m now back at home with my daughter. My parents step in to help more often since I’m a single mom. I haven’t used drugs or had a drink in months, and my depression is under control. I know I can go back to treatment or continue therapy if I need to, and there is no shame in that.

—Allison T.


If you or someone you care about is living with a cocaine use disorder, reach out and ask for or offer help. This is not an addiction you can overcome without treatment. Get a diagnosis and long-term treatment, and rely on support from loved ones to heal and recover and once again enjoy a healthy, satisfying life without drugs.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.