Carlos was like any other young man. He studied during the week and loved to play sport. At weekends, he used to go out with his friends and drink alcohol. Now, aged 50, this teacher from Malaga, married and a father, tells how later, when he went to university and began to mix with different types of people, “I wanted the party to go on longer than before, till six or seven in the morning.” And that is how he came into contact with cocaine.
“At first I only went out at weekends, but then it became more often. I’d go out one day and rest the next. Bit by bit you take more cocaine to keep yourself going, because at first you take it to feel good but in the end you do it to stop feeling bad,” he says.
Over time he abandoned his friends and his family, “because when you are addicted you don’t want any commitment, only the one you have to your substance,” he says. “Everything starts to revolve around it. Nothing else matters. It’s quite terrifying, your mind creates 1,000 reasons to justify taking it.”
Carlos continued to work, but could only think about going out and taking cocaine. “You only mix with other people who take it, and if you invite them to a drink and a line, they think you’re the best thing ever. They tell you they understand all your problems, and you end up blaming something else for your addiction,” he says.
He promised his new girlfriend that he would give up cocaine and did so for just over a year, but then relapsed at a difficult point in his life. There came a time when he just wanted to give in, “but I realised I would be totally alone and so I did something about it. I asked for help from my wife, as she is now, and she came with me to Proyecto Hombre in Malaga. They have really helped me to recover from my addiction,” he says.
It is over 20 years since Carlos began to take cocaine and he now realises what the drug had done to his life. “I’m in contact with my family again, after many years. My children are proud of me, and I enjoy every moment I’m with them now. Before, I was with them but it wasn’t the same. Life was a nightmare before,” he says.