addiction

I Am a Father

When I heard that the Clinton family had added a baby girl as a new addition to their family, I remembered when I first became a father.

Those were the days of anticipation and what the future would bring when starting a new family. Our first child brought pleasure and excitement to our families. I was the first of three to deliver a grandchild to our parents. Those were the days. The sleepless nights, diaper changes, and the most fun initially was the daily bath. My wife was not fond of water so playtime with my infant was bath time. After the bath it was bedtime and I would sing a few repetitive songs as my little sweetheart faded into sleep.

Eventually, we moved into solid baby food and feeding was a messy challenge that continued until she could feed herself. 

Since we both worked, we were able to hire a nanny to take responsibility for the child while we were away. Those were the days. When our first daughter was almost four, we had our second daughter. By this time my wife got used to bathing the new baby and we were sharing the tasks of raising two lovely daughters.

As they grew older we put them into daycare. When they were of school age they started at daycare and were delivered and picked up from school by the daycare. When we finished work, we picked up the girls from the daycare.  Both girls developed good social and communication skills at an early age. I commend the daycare and elementary school for this development.

In 1992 with a 7 year old and a 4 year old my marriage collapsed. As a divorced father, I now only saw my girls weekly.

If you read my earlier blogs you would see that I became a terrible father.  I would miss my day with the girls regularly. The tears in their eyes would leave a lasting impression of the lousy father they had.

I regret those days, but fortunately they had a strong mother and the girls made it through middle school, and then completed high school at the University of Winnipeg. My oldest girl graduated from the U of W’s Public Relations and Management program. She has since moved to British Columbia.  My youngest just completed her Masters in Social Work at U of T and calls Toronto home.

I’ve tried to patch my wrongs with the girls and maybe I have…..or maybe I haven’t. I’m still there for them after all these years, and the communication is positive. They do know who their father is.

If I would have to do it all over again, divorce would be out of the question. After all, I am a father.

I don’t know who wrote the IF CHILDREN (written below) however, I wish I had the chance to read it 30 years ago. In closing, I will share it with you:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.

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Me playing with my oldest daughter at my parent’s house. Those were the days!

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The Trip of Trips

So, here we are in February of 2010, and I completed my final trip on crack cocaine. After over 20 years of tripping with drugs, finally the time came to plan a real trip.

Now that I deleted the daily cost of cocaine, I figured that I could save $2000 in 3 months. I planned a trip foe late June, with about $3000 of drug savings. I would be going to Vancouver to visit with my daughter Blair, my brother, Alan, and other family.

I always wanted to drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, but I didn’t own a car. In discussions with my employer it was decided that I would be able to rent a newer Toyota Prius. Yes, a hybrid car to drive through the mountains- to Vancouver and back. The plan was to leave in the middle of June and return on or about July 2.

It was about midnight in the middle of June that I tossed a few bags into the car, and pulled out of Winnipeg for the Trip of Trips. I started to drive with the intended 1st stop in the mountains at Banff, Alberta.

So, I drove non stop to Banff. Snuggled in the mountains, I took a 3 hour nap and then it was back on the road. Or so I thought. Just up the highway the traffic was stopped. Turns out that the closure was due to controlled landslides via dynamite. After a couple hours of blasting we were off to Vancouver.

The next stop would be Golden, BC. After that we would include stretch stops in the Okanogan valley. After 30 hours of highway #1, the end was near. I was entering Vancouver, exhausted and happy.

I did have one issue. During the drive , my back broke into what seemed like chickenpox. Open itchy sores were driving me crazy. I figured I would find a hotel room to rest and have a look at my back. I stopped at a police roadblock and got directions to a hotel on the way downtown. I found a nice $80 room on the east side of Vancouver. The key deposit was only $200. Wow! This was Vancouver.

Turns out that I had picked up “Shingles”, an adult form of chicken pox. I had a good sleep after a hot shower and it was time to find my daughter, Blair.

The fun and adventure was only beginning……

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The Enabler

Warning! Don’t even consider smoking free base cocaine. That is the most pure form of cocaine that exists. One inhaled puff……as soon as it vaporizes and hits your brain you will cross into a hell that has no return.

We used to call that “crossing over to the other side” since you no longer feel that you are in the same room you were seconds ago. Everything around you looks the same but the feeling is very different. You will have trouble communicating. You will freeze into a position of someone listening for the slightest noise. You will posture for an invasion of strangers from every corner of the room and this paranoid feeling will continue for about 15 minutes.

As you crash back into reality you crave another puff and repeat the process again and again. New crackheads can’t stop and the paranoid feelings are not intense. You can still be social to a limit but that quickly disappears and you are suddenly alone in your own world.

Free base crack cocaine is used more by adults in the 35 to 70 year range. Many users would never go from sober to crack. They need an enabler.

The enabler is usually alcohol. After a few drinks the urge for crack increases. Usually, the user who is enabled by alcohol is in a Drunken Stupor before he will smoke crack. The feeling is different and unfortunately more crack smokers are alcoholics that become enabled. They will always deny that they have a drug problem and call themselves alcoholics. 
This is your neighbor. Maybe they are a plumber, accountant or a blue or white collar worker with a family in the suburbs. Rehabilitation is the only cure for this type of user. Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto fits into this demographic. He needs to be in a drunken stupor because he wants crack. Alcohol is the enabler. Rehab doesn’t always work for this case. Especially if you need alcohol before crack.

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Next week I’ll tell you about what enabled me to free base smoke crack and how I was finally able to quit in 2010. See you next Monday!

What? Crack this!

So, here it is 2001 and the terrorists just flew a fleet of jets into the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. What was the USA coming to? A friend had just purchased a taxi cab and suggested I drive it part time. So, being a good friend I said, “Sure”. The owner of the cab company needed a dispatcher for 3 days a week so being a nice guy I said, “Sure, I can dispatch.”

I now had jobs galore to replace my former jewelry appraisal business. I was: a dispatcher, taxi driver, property manager, caretaker, and supervised at Convergys. Those 5 jobs put enough pressure on me to search for relief.

Someone asked me if I ever smoked crack. “What? Crack this!” was my response. Seriously, I had heard the term used in the American project’s, but I needed to know what this crack thing was all about.

This is what I learned:

Cocaine is a hydrochloride. Crack or “Free Base” (as it’s really called) is a chloride. In simple terms, if you remove the hydrogen from cocaine, you now have crack. Cocaine Hydrochloride or Cocaine Chloride. Simple chemistry. Home cooked and a very simple process. Not only are you removing the Hydrogen from the coke but also anything else that may be mixed into the powder will be left behind. The end product is cocaine in it’s purest form, which is why we call it Free Base.

There is a slow cook process that was developed to allow the free base to keep the various cuts present in the cocaine and that I will call “rock”. Unless the crack is mostly cut, when smoked it will have a crackling sound as it vaporizes. If it’s rock the crackling noise will be faded or missing.

To process cocaine into Free Base is simple and being a Gemologist I understand chemistry.  I’ll use a 1 gram formula as an example (and to help you understand).

  • Pour 1 gram of powder cocaine into a tablespoon.
  • Add 1/3 gram of baking soda and add water to just below the top of the tablespoon.
  • The powder cocaine will dissolve in the water and the baking soda will remain at the bottom of the spoon.
  • With a lighter heat the bottom of the spoon to just before a boil and keep the temperature steady for a couple minutes. You will hear the chemical reaction as a snap crackle and pop as the hydrogen is removed.
  • When the popping sound stops your left with an oil floating on the top of the water. As you cool the water the oil will solidify.  So, you will need to use a pin to gather the solidifying oil together.
  • The end result will be your rock of pure free base cocaine. If you weigh the rock you should have about .85 of a gram. This you can break into 8 smokeable pieces.

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This is what I was taught and rarely did I use a gram. I did not want to kill myself and I almost always smoked alone. I have never condoned the use of any drug and feel the same to this day. Don’t even try this because next week I will describe what happened to me after only 1 puff of a small piece of pure cocaine.

Next week it will be a wild ride to the other side.

 

In a Drunken Stupor

Since my business was demonstrating monthly growth, so grew my workday….past 14 hours a day.

The ensuing exhaustion weakened my stamina to the point that I needed a way to get through the day. A customer of mine who noticed this challenge offered me a little vial of cocaine powder, and instructed on its use. That vial sat in my desk for a couple week’s.

One night I finally drew a couple lines of the cocaine and snorted away. After about 15 minutes I was energized and continued to work until 5 am. A couple days later I repeated the process with the same results. It wasn’t long before I was looking for a refill.

Eventually, unable to wake up in the morning,my day began with a couple lines of cocaine which continued throughout the day. Exhaustion was now the enabler to use of cocaine. By the middle of 1986, I had burnt my nose linings and could no longer snort the drug.

I then began to inject the coke and continued to do so until 1990. I was finally admitted to the hospital for treatment, where I remained for about 1 week.

Until the hospital stay my addiction was a secret. I was able to hide this sickness for 4 years but now it was game over. I was becoming financially strapped, and could no longer carry the load of work. My world was crumbling.

I was reminded of my story when Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, finally admitted his addiction to alcohol and left office for rehabilitation in the USA. Mayor Ford liked his crack cocaine. The hard working mayor enjoyed a drink after a long day and when the alcohol buzz kicked in that was the enabler that led the mayor to crack use. Exhaustion first would motivate and enable the hidden desire for crack that required an initial alcohol buzz. He called it “a drunken stupor.” His demons caught up to him just as mine did.

Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Every Monday I will post a new blog post (the continuation of my story/the above post). Feel free to follow my blog and comment below.