Yeah, you read that right. Many of you that read this might think that I've always been this healthy guy. Sure, I have been taking care of my exercise and nutrition regimen for a long ass time. But for quite some time, I lived kind of a double life.
Drinking occasionally on weekends is something most people do, nothing weird with that. Especially after we surpass that age limit and we are allowed to pour down that alcohol into our throats. That buzz, that courageous feeling we get after a couple of drinks, the joy it brings, the laughter, the love we tend to feel for the ones we are with. At bars and nightclubs, meeting women and men, that thrilling feeling.
In my case, I started to go out much more after my first divorce back in 2007. Being single again, looking for women, but also to escape the pain I had from the divorce. It was always just alcohol involved.
Moving from Stockholm to Barcelona
Then in 2009, I decided to move to Barcelona, Spain. It was a form of escape, but even more in pursuit of finding myself and what I wanted to do with my life. I felt misplaced in Sweden and needed to get out of there.
The first day I arrived in Barcelona, which was April 25th, a Saturday, I went out to celebrate the move. At the very end of that night, when I was just about to call it a day, a line of that damned white powder got presented to me. Already drunk AF, and we all know how poor and horrible our decision-making becomes when we drink, I decided to snort up that line.
My first line of cocaine in the books
For you that don't know, when cocaine enters your body, you feel like the fucking king of the world! You suddenly become unstoppable. Self-confidence is through the roof! Energy level 16 out of 10.
And for all of you that don't know me or haven't met me, I have natural energy that is beyond anything else. I always joke that I would be able to light up an entire city if I could convert my energy into electricity. So with that said, I'm probably the last person that should do coke.
It's usually a 30-45 min rush before you start to come down. Then your body wants more, another line, another bump, the cravings for more become unbearable. Suddenly the place you're at, the people you're with, doesn't matter so much. The thing that truly matters is where the coke is. You are now cocaine's bitch.
And that is how it goes on until you realize that you also have to sleep sooner or later. Laying there in bed: all coked-up, twisting, turning, mind and heart rushing in 250 mph, impossible to stop thinking on literally anything. That's when the stress starts sneaking up on you, especially if you know that you need some hours of sleep because you might have obligations the day after.
It became the new norm
Barcelona's nightlife is famous worldwide, and you can have a pretty epic night out, any day of the week, and when one bar or nightclub close, another one opens. You decide when to stop the partying.
Almost every time I went out in Barcelona, which was probably around 3-4 days per week on average, I did coke. Some call it: The Devil's Dandruff, and I would say it's a pretty good description.
I never got into a daily abuse of it (thankfully). I wasn't directly keen to do it in a natural state of being. But, when alcohol entered my body, I was fucked. My mind got into a mission to find coke. The more I looked for it, the easier it was to get a hold of it. Getting to know which people carried it, which people sold it, which bars and nightclubs those people were at.
It was almost impossible for me to go out for a chill night and have just a beer or two. I knew deep down that I was fucked if I went out for just a "beer or two." It was either all in or nothing, a mentality I have in many things I do in life. The conversation I had with myself: Yeah, right, who do you think you're fooling? No, but tonight is different! It's going to be a chill night! It's just blah, blah...
My favorite escape buttons
Alcohol and cocaine became my "best buddies" when I went out to party. More importantly, they became my favorite escape buttons—the escape from reality, my demons, undealt emotions, anxiety, and depression.
I was also always on a hunt for women, sleeping around constantly with different women searching for some fake and false dignity.
Alcohol 👉🏽 Cocaine 👉🏽 Chasing Women: My formula for dealing with my suppressed emotions. Result: Even more depressed, more confused, more of a distorted mind, more lost of who I am.
These so-called escape buttons would aggravate my mental health even more. I didn't realize back then that I was fucking up for myself even more. The anxiety and depression I was fleeing would come back in double, triple, quadruple effects days after.
It turned into a snowball effect of very unpleasant emotions: Laying there in bed after a night out with my "best buddies," trying to sleep, and the stress started rolling down. Anxiety got picked up along the way one or two days after and constantly grew over the upcoming days. And when you thought the snowball couldn't get any bigger, depression got picked up as well.
Sometimes I sat out the necessary days, weeks, to let that snowball melt to the ground by itself. Sometimes I jumped on the party train of alcohol and cocaine again to escape the unbearable feelings I had. I was in an evil hamster wheel without knowing it.
Leaving Barcelona for Miami
I left Barcelona at the end of 2013 for Miami, USA. The intention was to leave the party life behind and focus even more on exercise, nutrition, and my overall health. Who was I fooling…
Little did I know that Miami would be as crazy as Barcelona, if not even more. Miami had something Barcelona didn't have that much of—the day parties by the pool on all the fancy hotels on South Beach. Day parties turned into night parties, and it was non-stop. I unintentionally got into the party and drug scene again.
Thankfully it only lasted for about three months.
Leaving Miami for California
After I met Vevian, my now wife, at the beginning of April of 2014, I decided to move to Huntington Beach, CA. This little beach town was the complete opposite of Barcelona and Miami's party life. It just had a couple of tacky bars in their tiny downtown area.
I barely drank alcohol during the year and a half that Vevian and I lived in Huntington Beach. Being in a steady relationship, having a wife that was not into partying, that loved to cook healthy food, I was set to finally leave the old me, the Party-Ben!
Once again, I got fooled…
We moved to Los Angeles at the end of 2015. After a couple of months in LA, I got into the party scene again. Going out in LA and NOT being presented to coke is like going into Toys "R" Us and not being presented to toys. You get what I mean. I was once again cocaine's bitch.
During the five years we spent living there, the partying went from often to less often. It was a slow, steady decline from the start to end, and going out only happened when a great DJ was playing or if it was a special event. I started getting better at avoiding cocaine when I went out as well, and it was towards the last couple of years where I got to the point of enough is enough: I need to divorce cocaine, forever and ever. It's so destructive, and it fucks up so much with both my physical and mental health.
And that included stopping seeing people I liked hanging with because I knew that most often, some party was always around the corner if I would meet them, and they were always carrying "the devil's dandruff."
But why, you might ask?
Why would a person who already suffers from anxiety and depression do something that triggers that anxiety and depression almost every time, you would ask?
My ego, that inner voice, dominated me back then. My ego tricked me so many times. That this time it would be different, even though somehow deep inside myself, I knew damn well that I was going to fall into that dark hole again.
That short fake high was more important to me than my mental health. But the biggest reason why I kept on doing it was that I didn't want to realize that I suffered from these mental health issues. I was in complete denial mode. It took me a very long time to accept that it was, and is, a part of me.
Where I am today
In terms of alcohol, I rarely drink nowadays. I do enjoy a beer, a glass of wine, a drink from time to time. I'm ok with the tiny initial buzz you get, but I have started to dislike when that buzz gets more prominent.
In terms of cocaine, I haven't touched that stuff since more than three years ago. Even the few times I've gotten drunk during this time, I have been strong and determined enough not to do it, despite it being offered to me on several of those occasions. It has become just a big NO.
I think we all have our escape buttons. Whether it is alcohol, illegal substances, constant chasing women/men, anti-depressants/anxiety and other pharmaceutical stuff, food, social media, constantly trying to avoid alone time by distracting ourselves with things to do, and the list goes on…
That's why so many never deal with their most challenging emotions in life. Let's sweep it under the rug (a.k.a. insert your favorite drug/distraction) instead. They are hoping, thinking, praying that they will magically disappear.
The more self-awareness I practiced, the more I realized how important it is to sit with these emotions, to let yourself feel them fully out. Not only do you start to get a better understanding of them, but that's how you deal with them.
And isn't that beautiful itself, to have and experience emotions of all kinds, both positive and negative? That is LIFE!
No matter how painful emotions are, start by accepting that they are there with you. Welcome them, embrace them, and you will learn from them. 🙏🏽❤️💫
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