During my fourth year of high school, one of my friends introduced me to a guy who was a year older than me. I found him very mature, his family owned a business and he would work to earn his own living. Already from our first encounter, I noticed that he smoked a lot, both cigarettes and weed. He would insist that I try as well, since I had never tried smoking before. The third time we met I smoked my first joint. I was 17 and it was considered normal at that age. Soon after we got into a relationship and I started smoking regularly. When he tried cocaine for the first time with one of his friends, he immediately told me. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know much about drugs and I believed him when he said that it was very common to try it out and that everyone did at some point in their life. 

This only happened one time, and after a few months I thought it would never happen again, that it had been a one-time occurrence. But I started to notice that constantly smoking was starting to affect him. At the time I didn’t think much about it, I thought his mood swings were because of some problems he was having with his family. Towards the end of that year, he tried out cocaine again. He would insist that I’d be there when he was doing it because being on drugs made him horny. I kept on saying that I didn’t agree with what he was doing, that I was worried for him and that I wanted him to stop, but he wouldn’t listen to me. So, that New Years, we spent it alone with his friend, so that they could both take cocaine without being disturbed. During the evening he would constantly go to the bathroom with me, because he wanted to have sex. I was confused, but I let him do what he wanted. On the same night, I tried cocaine for the first time. He didn’t force me to do it in any way. For six months after that nothing happened, but our relationship was starting to change. He would constantly get angry at me and I wanted to have sex with him less and less. At the time I thought it was normal after a year of relationship and I didn’t give much importance. 

With the beginning of summer, he started taking cocaine more often although still not regularly. Sometimes I would join him. He would tell me that it was a soft drug, that it didn’t cause physical addiction and that a lot more people than we think do it. He introduced me to a lot of his friends who did drugs and they seemed like very normal people. I didn’t know anything about cocaine before meeting him and I started to think that it wasn’t that bad after all, that it was very different from what people tell you and that hat at the end it wasn’t very different from smoking weed. In the meantime, he started having bursts of anger: he would scream, tell me horrible things, throw punches at the wall, tell me to shut up and go away and then call me minutes after begging me to come back. He would tell me off for leaving him, for not being able to calm him down. Afterwards he would say he was sorry.

After two years he became friends with another guy, who also did cocaine and crack. They started meeting up quite frequently and often I would go with them. After a while, my ex boyfriend started doing crack as well. At the beginning it just happened once in a while, but as time passed he started doing it more often, even multiple times a week. He would disappear for the whole night and I wouldn’t know where he was, or when he was coming back home. He would also lie to me about it. When I went out with them, I would do cocaine, but I would always feel guilty, not even knowing why. 

After three years of relationship we broke up. He accused me of ruining his life, of been a burden and of having created stupid problems around our sex life. I stopped doing cocaine before breaking up with him, now I’ve also stopped smoking. For some time, I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. I thought I couldn’t tell anyone, that I had done something unforgivable and that I couldn’t go back. After a few months I managed to tell my mother and sister. They both told me that they were really sorry that they had not been more supportive and that they hadn’t understood what was happening sooner. I started telling my friends and they all helped me in different ways, none of them judged or attacked me. For a long time, I was mad at him for not apologizing, for making me feel isolated, to the point in which I thought I would go crazy. But now, after a more than a year, I can say that I feel very lucky. I managed to get over it and speak about it without feeling ashamed, which I didn’t think would be possible. After what had happened, I thought I would never be able to be with another person both romantically and sexually and feel safe. On the contrary, I have been together with my current boyfriend for almost a year now. He makes me feel at ease and he always listens to even the most insignificant of my problems. During this time, I have learned a lot about myself, more than I had ever done. I am sure that I am not the only one who has lived through a situation like this and that many have similar or worse stories to tell, especially because it is not easy to talk about these topics.