Crack cocaine is the most psychologically dependent drug; users experience euphoric highs, but the effects can last as little as five minutes, leaving the individual with intense cravings for more. People develop crack cocaine addiction on their first use of this powerful drug, often leading to a tragic conclusion. For one Californian woman, crack became the focus of her life, but she has shared the story of how she turned her life around.
Beverly A Black was born in San Francisco, moving to Palo Alto when she was six-years-old. She described her childhood as ‘pretty normal’; she and her three siblings always had positive role models, both male and female. The four children did ‘normal things’, attending school, going to summer camp and playing sports, just like most other kids of their age.
Introduction to Drugs
When Beverley was in eighth grade at school (aged thirteen to fourteen), new neighbours appeared, and with them they brought weed. The young Beverley didn’t consider marijuana to be a drug, but her mother was wiser and had told her children that ‘one drug leads to another’. Nonetheless, she and her siblings started experimenting with marijuana but did not experience any ‘harder’ drugs.
A Black Cloud Descends
In January 1977, when Beverley was in her senior year of high school (aged eighteen), tragedy struck when her brother committed suicide. Beverly was devastated and suffered from depression. She lost all interest in school, and despite being allowed to graduate with the grades she had achieved up to that point, her life lost all semblance of normality.
After graduation, she attempted college, and then, in her early twenties, started working for an electronics company. It was then, after pressure from friends, that she first tried cocaine. She was initially unsure, aware that cocaine was addictive and dangerous, but tried it anyway.
The Slide into Addiction
Initially, she and her friends were able to carry on as usual, working, socialising and having a normal life at home. But crack cocaine now had her firmly in its grasp – she lost her job, was kicked out of her home, and turned to theft to fund her addiction, following a friend who stole clothes from shops to help her get away with them.
Before her addiction to crack cocaine had taken hold, Beverley had given birth to a son. He was the first boy born into the family since her brother’s death, and his birth was hugely anticipated by the rest of the family. He was much loved, and Beverley thought she was happy in her life, but then her addiction took hold.
She became pregnant again while addicted to crack cocaine, continuing to smoke the drug while pregnant. Her second son was born in the ambulance on the way to Stanford Hospital, severely underweight and with a crack cocaine addiction inherited from his mother.
Despite her two children, Beverley fell into a cycle of rehab followed by relapse, again and again, never able to stay away from the crack for very long. Her family stepped in to care for the children, removing them from Beverley’s care and placing them in a foster care home run by friends – allowing them to still spend time with the two boys and be part of their early childhood.
Hitting Rock Bottom
In the eight years following the birth of her second child, Beverley’s addiction to crack cocaine brought her to, in her own words, ‘rock bottom’. She was ‘running the streets’ (controlling gang activities) in Oakland, and frequently spent time incarcerated, with sentences ranging from two weeks to six months. While in prison, she was free from the drug, which allowed her to regain some sense of normality, but then she moved back to Palo Alto, where her drug addiction had begun, and the cycle of rehab and relapse returned.
She became pregnant again, working on the streets, and realised she couldn’t cope with this any longer. She managed to stay clean for two weeks, but at the end of those two weeks her resolve broke, and she went back to smoking crack. The cocaine-induced labour meant she ended up arriving at Stanford Hospital with a baby addicted to crack for the second time. The hospital wouldn’t allow her to take the baby home, but at that point, she didn’t care and returned home to go back to getting high.
Petty Arrest Breaks the Cycle
Two weeks after she left the hospital, Beverley was arrested for petty theft. During the four months she spent in prison, she managed to get herself clean. She worked, she studied, and her husband managed to arrange visits to her in prison for her baby. When she was freed, she went to a recovery centre and continued to study and see her child. From that time, she never looked back, staying clean and getting back not only her baby but her two older sons as well. She has now written two memoirs about her experiences, hoping that these can help others.
Beverley’s story is both tragic and encouraging. Despite the path her addiction took her on, she broke free – once she had the right help. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Addiction Helper can help. If you need any information or advice, then please call us today.
Source: Crack Addict to Change Agent: Beverly Black’s Redemption Story (The Fix)
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