Friday, April 23, 2010

The road to recovery: Cocaine

For most men and women it is hard to admit that they are addicted to a certain object. It maybe something small like addicted to washing hands or eating a lot of sugar but then there big addictions like cocaine. To me addiction plays mind tricks on you. You can be so dependent on a certain object that the mind tells you that you are not addicted at all. Women love shopping. They want to keep shopping until, not trying to be mean, they drop dead. However for some it is an addiction. They HAVE to go shopping. It is the same scenario with men. One example is a gambler. Some men abuse gambling but they keep on blowing money. The mind tells them it is just a game and they are not addicted. Just as it is hard for a shopaholic or a gambler to admit they are addicted, it is also hard for a cocaine user to admit they are hooked. Knowing where cocaine came from, who can help, and where you can get help from are important steps to admitting you are addicted and the road to recovery.

Cocaine was introduced into mainstream Western society in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, in various tonics, patent medicines, and remedies. In 1886, a Georgia pharmacist introduced what was to become the most famous drink of all time, Coca-Cola, which had extract of coca leaves. Cocaine's most famous proponent was Freud, who wrote extensively of its supposed virtues. He believed it could cure morphine and alcohol addiction. Not surprisingly, Freud struggled with a severe addiction to cocaine.

Back in the day if you were addicted to any drugs you had to deal with it yourself or with the help of your family. But usually drug addicted people pushed their family away from them so most people were on their own. Society is more fortunate now. In the 1950s Narcotics Anonymous was originated by Jimmy Kinnon. This group helps you fight the addiction with a 12 step program. I wanted to see how a NA meeting worked and I knew that I would find more facts there than the internet so last weekend, one hour before work, I went to a NA meeting hoping to make the best out of my time.

The meeting was held near my house about 10 minutes away at Christ the king Episcopal Church in Taylor, Mi. I had talked to the program director before going to see if I could check out the meeting. Having gotten a yes from the director, I entered the church and followed the signs to the room where the meeting was held in. At first when I entered there were not a lot of people present but after about 5 minutes a handful came in and the room was half full with about 20 people. I was a little nervous since this was my first time at a NA meeting so I stayed towards the back of the room listening quietly. The person running the program saw me in the back and nicely asked why I was in the back. I explained that I was doing a paper for my English class and was just here to learn some facts about being addicted to cocaine. After introducing myself, I got a warm welcome from everybody in the room. I went to the front so I could hear better and from the fact that everybody was nice to me which eased my nerves a little. Someone behind me got up and suggested we share some stories about how they are recovering from the addictions for me since I was new to all of it.

Many people at the NA meeting were addicted at a young age. Some were introduced to the drug by friends and some even by their parents. Many are still recovering after many years in the 12 step program. There are many ways a person can get addicted. According to the Cleveland clinic foundation “Cocaine causes chemical changes in the brain that control happiness and trigger an intense craving for the drug. These chemical changes stay in the brain even after the person stops using cocaine. They account for the extreme pleasure the user feels, as well as the depression that occurs when the user stops taking the drug.” (Cleveland clinic foundation, 2006).

The effects of cocaine are severe both short term and long term. As I observed at the NA meeting, all of the people were edgy and looked distant. They were obviously not use to being in public which is an effect of cocaine, withdrawal. Some short term effects of cocaine are increased blood pressure, Constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, mental alertness, increased energy, increased heart rate, Decreased appetite, and increased temperature. Some long term effects are Addiction, Paranoia, irritability, restlessness, auditory hallucinations, and mood disturbances (cocaine-effects).

According to Dr. Flynn Gawin, cocaine affects the body in many ways.

Cocaine induces profound changes in behavior and psychological state as well as alterations in bodily physiology. It is administered in a variety of ways, but most commonly it is injected intravenously, snorted intranasally, or smoked in its free-base form (crack cocaine). Cocaine activates the sympathetic nervous system. It is a potent vasoconstrictor and increases heart rate and blood pressure. Cocaine also induces changes in mood and emotional state. In general cocaine produces feelings of stimulation, well-being, vigor and euphoria. Enhanced alertness, increased sexuality, heightened energy, and deepening of emotions may accompany the cocaine high. In contrast to some drugs, cocaine does not appear to alter perceptual processes or distort reality.

To me, the drug is one of the most dangerous. It can get you addicted and get you killed. Knowing the facts about the drug can help a lot.

Many people want to try the drug but if they know the facts, they will think twice before touching the white powder. Everybody that I surveyed said that they have not used cocaine which is fantastic but who says that they will not try it in the future? 50% of them said they are curious to try the drug. I have no doubt in my mind they will try it in when they mature a little more. This is why knowing the facts about cocaine and how to deal with the drug are important. The feeling you get at that moment is not going to last your whole life time but the addiction may be with you until you die.

One of the last stories at the NA meeting made me realize that you can recovery if you are strong. A man was addicted to cocaine when his brother tricked him into trying it. He got hooked on it after that. He was hooked at the age of 25. After he got hooked on it, he put all his money towards the drug and soon lost his job. Right after he lost his job he got divorced from his wife taking the kids with her. After a few months of misery, he lost his best friend to cocaine which made him realize he had to get help. He has been coming to NA meetings ever since. There is help if you need it. The first step is to admit that you are addicted and get help.

Work cited

Gawin F. (1991) Cocaine addiction: psychology and neurophysiology. Science 251: 1580–1585.

“The effects of cocaine use” Psychology 2002.

“Cocaine effects and withdrawal” Cocaine effects 2005.

“Cocaine and Crack” Cleveland clinic 2009.

“Information about NA” Narcotics Anonymous 2010.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Surveys are easy to take and can get you quick, easy results on the topic you want to know about. My survey was taken by different age groups so I got a good idea about what people thought about cocaine usage. The results were a little different than I thought.

Cocaine can kill you if you get addicted. Your friends can make you use the drug and you can get addicted which can result in a drug overdose. I thought that at least one person that took my survey would have tried the drug but the survey showed that none of them tried the drug. To me that was interesting but also it is not a huge drug like marijuana so i was not that surprised.

I think I had good open ended questions in the survey so I would not change anything. Their was one little error though which was that instead of 10 people taking the survey, 11 did. My uncle came from Ohio to visit and he wanted to take the survey even though I had already gotten 10 people to take it but i couldn't say no. I don't think this is an error, just some extra information.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview Photos

This is the police officer's house whom I interviewed. I did not take this on the day of my interview but a couple days before it. This is the only picture I could take dealing with the police officer because he did not want to be photographed. Inside the house is where most of the interview took place. Even though it looks small from the outside, the inside is spacious and beautiful. The officer's mother lives here but he comes to visit occasionally.

During my interview I got a rare chance to go watch my officer do a drug raid. This is the house that they raided. It was in Detroit and this was taken before any of the other police officers got there. My interviewee and I watched the house for a bit before the raid.

My last picture is a police officer who is looking through some drawers to find the drugs. This man in the photo is my interviewees' partner. Even though it was not a big raid, they did find some drugs and some drug money.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reading Response #2

Chapter 5: "And Yet"

Exercise #1

The following italic phrases were written by the author to portray the views of others:

  1. Marx and Engels wrote: "Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other-the bourgeoisie and the proletariat" (10).
  2. Oh, it's not the middle class that's disappearing, he said, but the working class.
  3. His definition: If you earn thirty thousand dollars a year working in an assembly plant, come home from work, open a beer and watch the game, you are working class;
  4. The average American will tell you...
The following italic phrases were written by the author to portray her views:

  1. I found myself not knowing what class I'm from.
  2. In my days as a newspaper reporter, i once asked a sociology professor what he thought about the reported shrinking of the middle class.
  3. I'm sure that's what my father would tell you.
  4. But i always felt that we were in some no man's land, suspended between classes, sharing similarities with some and recognizing sharp, exclusionary differences from others.
  5. What class do i...?
  6. What class am i...?
  7. As a historian, i...
Exercise #2

A) In an essay I wrote on legalized marijuana and how it should not be legal, I engaged in one perspective only, which was mine

B) I could have put the perspectives of others who think marijuana should be legal to make my essay better.

C) I really did not distinguish my views from other views. I think that's one of the reasons why i bombed the essay...

D) Yes I did use voice-signaling phrases in the essay because my readers were able to distinguish who's views were being shared.

E) The options that are available for clarifying who is saying what are quotation marks and voice-signaling phrases. For instance, If I want to say my view I would use "I say" and If I would like to clarify other views I would use "They say".

F) I think the option suited best for this particular text is quotation marks.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reading Response #1

Chapter 1 "They Say"

Exercise 1
a) Many people consider groundwater safe to drink. However scientists suggest that there are dangerous levels of chemical X in the Ohio groundwater.

b) Religious folks would believe God drives history. In contrast, Atheists would believe material forces drive history.

c) Some psychologists say proponents of Freudian psychology question standard notions of "rationality".

d) Observing a classroom, one would notice that male students often dominate class discussions.

e) A handful of critics have stated that the film is about the problems of romantic relationships.

f) A few teachers suggest reading a template to arouse creativity but I'm afraid that templates like the ones in this book will stifle my creativity.

Exercise 2
If ever there was an idea custom-made for a Jay Leno monologue, this was it: crazy people who think they can see the future. Isn't that like saying you can trust a hobo? Whatever happened honesty and integrity.
I happen to sympathize with the people who do not believe in these loony psychics, though perhaps because i am also one of them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Screenshot

Look at that screenshot! Is it not beautiful!? Well i think it is. This is a screenshot of a paper i was writing for history class. Now that i look at it, it looks so thought out but i think it has to be in order for me to get a good grade. Most of the time i just like to write freely like what ever comes to mind. When i look at this screenshot and i read over it again, it didnt seem hard at the moment but when i was writing it was alot more diffcult. My grandpa always says "whatever i do, i put blood, sweat and tears into it and that is how you get the job done". I didnt exactly put blood, sweat and tears in writing this paper but i think i got the job done well. Also, when i look at this screenshot i noticed that i had alot of pages on a small topic of propaganda. In my opinion i do not think i can write many things about this topic but looking back at the screenshot i wrote alot. Many students struggle with writing papers for thier classes but they have to if they want to pass. Writing a course paper or any kind of class paper is a nightmare for many students. I think that professors should just do exams and not papers. It would be easier on the professors and the students. They would put more effort into studying rather than writing papers or as my grandpa would say "put blood, sweat and tears into studying rather than write papers". When you digitally compose something it becomes easier on your part. If you manually write something out you understand the effort you put into it. When you compose digitally it becomes more neat and effortless. Perfect example is facebook. When you facebook a friend, you dont put alot of effort into it rather than back in the days when you had to manually write a friend a letter and put some effort into it. I think the easiest way to better understand digital composing processes is reading. You can learn alot when you read books and manuals. Just try it, it will not hurt you in any way. On the contrary you will be learning something new.