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Crack and the Brain

Who’s That “Girl”?

Who would ever believe that a chemical disguised as a rock could take over a person’s common sense? That little (or big, depending) piece of “white girl with a kick” is deceptively powerful.

Crack takes hold of a person right from the start, with no intention of loosening its grip. The first hit envelops the entire body, giving an instant sensation of happiness and contentment. Unfortunately, this lasts only a few minutes, leaving the user with the intense need and desire to repeat that feeling. Common sense is screaming, “Don’t do it!” Ah, but the ego whispers ever-so-quietly, “C’mon, baby, hit me again; you love me…”

…And so begins the tempestuous, all-encompassing relationship with crack and the brain. As usage increases, the brain begins to crave the “insta-fix” crack offers. On the surface, the body is satisfied momentarily, but the damage to the inner workings of the brain has begun. Self-worth goes down the tubes; personal hygiene soon becomes a thing of the past, a nuisance. The only thing Brain wants is crack. Hopes, dreams, and aspirations are replaced with the overwhelming need to “score” some more of the drug.

Deep into the addiction, you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and wonder, “What happened to my teeth?” “Why does my skin look gray?” “How could I have lost my job, family and friends because of crack?” “Who is this person looking back at me in the mirror?” The sad, hollow eyes stare back blankly, wordlessly. Sighing at the shambles that is your life at the moment, tears run silently down your face. Self-pity sets in, followed by despair and a sense of futility. “Will I ever get over this?” Searching for something to ease the emotional (and perhaps physical) pain, almost as an afterthought your hand reaches for the glass pipe. You inhale deeply, allowing the crack to course through your bloodstream, lungs, and liver, with its final destination your Brain. As you exhale, you fail to notice that your self-respect is disappearing just as quickly as that remaining bit of white smoke.

Finally, mercifully, your brain realizes the futility of this “existence”. Through the fogginess of your addiction, the Real You is franctically trying to get your attention by giving your body warning signals. The deep circles under your eyes. Your weight loss that can no longer be explained away; the “I’m-On-A-Diet” shtick is wearing thin. Drawing on your long-dormant innder strength, the Real You slowly, painfully, climbs its way out of the seemingly bottomless pit of addiction, reaching up towards the faint but ever-present “light” that is Hope, and Freedom.

Later, looking back (hindsight is 20/20, after all) you and your brain marvel at how you finally shook that monkey off your back, once and for all. However, you are always cognizant, and respectful of, the immense power that crack once held over you. As your new life slowly but surely takes shape, you silently give thanks that you survived this “down-time”; although you’re grateful for the lessons learned, you are certain that the “whack crack” experience need not repeat itself.