From cocaine addict to therapist: “I consumed 6 grams a day and even had sex to get high”

He got his first line when he was 17 years old. Luis Pérez did not realize that this “childish thing” to be noticed in the group, gain popularity and get the girl he liked It would soon become a hell from which years later he managed to escape. It was not easy. The flames burned her body and the white dust not only destroyed her mind but everything around her. «I felt that he didn't fit well in the groups and a little rejected by the girls because he was slightly chubby. The one I liked was always with someone who used cocaine and I thought that if I got into that he would listen to me too.», he tells this newspaper.

Consumption was growing rapidly. From doing it punctually, it became his routine every weekend and so on until cocaine was present in his life from Monday to Sunday. At 19 he was already an addict. «I left school after finishing ESO and set up a business in Tarragona that was going like a shot, it was a very popular company and made a lot of money, outrageous»recognize.

His family context was not simple either, which aggravated his situation. His father disappeared when he was little, his sister died in an accident at age 13, and his mother didn't stop working. «I began to cross all the limits, I did cocaine without restraint and I also drank. To all this we must add the exorbitant consumption of prostitution. “It had no limits.”Luis details.

And everything he earned was squandered on drug and sex parties, spending around 9,000 euros monthly on cocaine and another 10,000 on prostitution. «A day he could consume six grams of coca, that is, about 35 grams a week at ease. This is a lot. Even the people I hung out with, most of whom were also consumers, told me that I had to stop because something was going to happen to me. My day to day revolved around drugs since the company ran itself and I didn't have to keep an eye on it. “It continued to bill very well.”

Of course, his friends disappeared, his girlfriend left him, even addicts like him left because they couldn't keep up with him. He was left alone trapped in a self-destructive cycle. At that time he experienced terrible situations that he prefers not to remember. But there is one thing she still can't erase from his mind. «On one occasion, my family and friends could not reach me for several days. They were desperate, they thought he was dead. I had been locked up at home for several days, using cocaine and prostitution without rest. They had been ringing the doorbell for days, but I didn't even hear it. A friend decided to break down the door and found me in a sorry state. I still think about the damage I did to all of them and especially to my mother,” he laments even though more than a decade has passed since all that.

But the time has come to say enough is enough after an overdose that almost buried him. «I had a nervous system attack, I swallowed my tongue and almost drowned. When I woke up in the hospital and saw all that, I recognized that I needed help. “It was the trigger for me to realize that I wanted to get out of that situation, to rehabilitate myself.”

And so began his second Way of the Cross. At the age of 22 he began psychological therapies that did not work and a year later he entered a detoxification clinic. He spent approximately four years in and out of clinics. He had several relapses: “Then I didn't have that much money anymore, I had sold the company, I couldn't afford cocaine like before, so I started selling things, I even had sexual relations with people just to get my act together.”

And, as Luis now explainsconverted into a successful therapist for people with addictions, There are three types of addicts, those who do not recognize that they have a problem, those who do, but want to do detoxification in their own way, and those who admit it and put themselves in the hands of professionals to guide them and thus comply with their goals. slow down the process. «At first I was one of the second type, it was not until I recognized that that did not work that I managed to free myself from the addiction with help and following the guidelines of the specialists. Relapses are very hard because even though I had the will to recover, I didn't understand why I couldn't do it.

He invested more than 200,000 euros to free himself from his addiction. Therapies are not cheap. His family and people close to him helped him afford it.

It was precisely during his admissions to the clinic that he began to become interested in the physical functioning of addictions. He studied and trained in those five years and when he left it, at the age of 26, he was clear that he had to dedicate himself to helping other people who were going through the same hell from which he had escaped.

First he began working in the last clinic in which he was admitted and shortly after, In 2021, he founded the Zeus Detoxification Clinic in Catalonia, which now has three centers aimed at different profiles.. “It is a state-of-the-art detoxification center, the three clinics are in Catalonia and we treat all types of patients on an inpatient basis,” comments the CEO of Zeus, where in addition to hundreds of anonymous people, well-known celebrities have also passed through.

((H2:The price of “salvation”))

Treatment there costs between 4,000 and 30,000 euros, depending on the category of treatment, where privacy or personalization of treatment varies. Among the most striking data that Luis tells us is the high number of young adolescents who come (prompted by their families) to the clinic where he is the therapeutic director. «From when I was treated until now the number of adolescents has increased a lot. Before, the average of people who entered treatment was approximately 24 years old and now it is 18 years old,” he points out.

Regarding the addictive power of cocaine, this therapist and former addict says that «the release of dopamine that occurs in the brain when consuming is much higher than that produced when eating or having sex. Every time we take a line of cocaine, a kind of bright sign lights up in our brain that tells us that this behavior is necessary to survive. The brain remembers what that substance was that makes me feel good and how it was achieved, so the addict repeats that behavior because he understands that it is necessary to survive. Additionally, this substance affects the amygdala, which is responsible for managing emotions. To value what is good and what is bad. “All thinking and all emotional management is subject to consumption, which is why an addict lives by and for the ingestion of the substance in question,” he adds.

Furthermore, there are studies that show that Addicts have a third fewer dopamine receptors than anyone else. “That's why, sometimes, we have the inability to feel pleasure in certain things that other people do.”

Although the detoxification process is very hard, cases like Luis's show that it is possible to get out of it: «Guilt and shame follow you because it is a disease that is highly stigmatized. But There comes a time when you have to decide if you want to get out of this or die.”sentence.