4 signs my cocaine use was a problem, and how I broke the cycle

Cocaine use is rife. If we don’t do it ourselves, we probably know people who do. According to the Office of National Statistics, it is the second most commonly used drug in adults aged 16 – 59 (after cannabis). The strange thing is, no one really talks about it, and the avenues to go down for help seem limited. This can lead to feelings of isolation and that you have nowhere to turn when you need help to stop using cocaine.


No doubt it was fun when you first started using cocaine but at some point, the lows may have started to outweigh the highs, and coke may have started to get a grip on you. Cocaine may be in control of you, rather than the other way around. That was the case for me.

Four signs cocaine use might be a problem

1. You are using cocaine more often

Are you using it every time you go out? Have you started to use cocaine during the week? Do you always have some on you in case you want to use it? Do you think, “I’m not going to use any tonight” and then end up getting some anyway?

2. Once you start you can’t stop

You have no off button, you always want to carry on the party, you always want to get some more. Other people around you have stopped using cocaine altogether or can use it in moderation, but you can’t seem to.

3. You keep some or all aspects of your cocaine use hidden

Do people know you do it, but not how much, or how often? Are there people in your life who don’t know you do it at all? Do you feel ashamed or guilty about your cocaine use so keep it quiet? Has your cocaine use escalated and you don’t want to tell anyone? Being secretive can be a sign that things may have gotten out of control.

4. The comedowns are getting worse

Is a lot of your time spent using, thinking about using, or recovering from using? Do you struggle through the days that follow using cocaine, are you battling with your mental health? Do you want to stop feeling so rubbish all the time, but don’t know how to?

Cocaine use and the problems that come with it can creep up on you, and one day you find yourself down a path you didn’t intend to go down. I had no off button once I started. One line was never enough, I had never had enough. Looking back I was different to most of my friends who seemed to be able to pick it up and put it down, or grew out of it altogether. It wasn’t like that for me. It took me years to realise that I was different, that I had a problem and that I needed help to stop.

I spent a long time trapped in the cycle of knowing that cocaine wasn’t doing me any favours, and not being able to stop, despite how many times I said: “never again”.

As much as you want to stop using cocaine, you probably can’t and don’t want to imagine how your life will be without it. 

You might think nothing makes you feel like cocaine does, and are worried about what will replace it if you did stop. 

I can give you some hope…I could not imagine my life without cocaine before I stopped, but one of the magical things about stopping is that when we are not using cocaine as our source of reward, pleasure, motivation, and fun, we are able to find those things in everyday life again.

One reason that we only really find pleasure and enjoyment from using cocaine, is down to the receptors in our brains responsible for the absorption of dopamine (the chemical which enables you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation) D1 and D2.

D1 is activated when we use cocaine, which delivers a huge, rapid increase in dopamine, it is what makes us feel good. It also helps us to become hooked on taking the drug.

D2 is activated by everyday life events, it's what makes us feel pleasure in our day-to-day lives, and is delivered more gradually from things like exercise or spending time outside in nature.

When D1 is activated, it inhibits D2, which means we are far less likely to find pleasure in everyday life and only really find it in taking cocaine. This adds to the cycle of dependency and addiction.

We become less and less interested in things that used to bring us pleasure, as cocaine takes over as the main instigator of pleasure in our lives.

The good news is that, once we break the cycle of using cocaine, our D2 receptors will start to function again. We find pleasure in everyday life, in things that we used to enjoy, and in new things we didn’t know would bring us pleasure which begin to emerge and replace cocaine in our lives.

At some point, the desire for me to use cocaine was replaced by the desire to never have to live through a comedown again. I can happily say I don’t think I will ever use cocaine again now, this is a place I never thought I would get to.

Things I found helped me stop using cocaine:

  • Speaking to someone who understood was my first step to stopping.
  • Swapping old habits for new healthier ones.
  • Rewarding myself by buying something with the money I would usually spend on coke.
  • I identified what my triggers are, people places, and emotions! Recognising triggers helps me to be prepared for them when they appear or to avoid them all together.
  • I stuck to a routine, especially in the evenings as this was a difficult time of day for me.
  • I looked at what I enjoyed about using cocaine which gave me clues as to what I needed to replace it with.
  • I exercised to get a boost of natural dopamine.
  • I also used hypnotherapy which helps to change the ingrained habit of using cocaine, to new healthier, happier ones.

Life after cocaine

I didn’t know when I was trapped in the cycle of bingeing on cocaine and alcohol, that it was stopping me from reaching my full potential. I say to my clients now that I feel like cocaine keeps a lid on our lives. We’re OK. We might be functioning with the lid on, but removing it means we can grow, expand and flourish into the people we were meant to be without cocaine holding us down, and begin to enjoy life again, without it.

It’s not easy to remove cocaine from your life when it has become ingrained in so many aspects of everything you do, but it is possible and so worth it.

It is often shame, guilt and not knowing who to speak to for help that can keep us locked in the cycle of using cocaine. Often, opening up to someone is the first step to freeing yourself from that cycle.

I want to help as many people as I can who are trapped like I was to remove cocaine from their lives, to fulfil their full potential, and become the people they are meant to be. If you'd like to learn more about hypnotherapy for drug addiction, feel free to get in touch

It might not feel like it now but there is so much more to life than cocaine.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Manchester, Greater Manchester, M14 6SU
Written by Holly McDonald
Manchester, Greater Manchester, M14 6SU

Holly is a qualified Hypnotherapist who specialises in working with people who want to stop bingeing on Cocaine. Having broken the cycle herself, she has a unique understanding and perspective of what her clients are going through. Often, talking to Holly is the first time her clients feel able to be completely honest about there situation.

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