Metaphor For Crack
BY Cliff Seaward
I was taught the toilet flush metaphor for dopamine depletion metaphor, but have always struggled with it a
it doesn't cover dopamine re-uptake suppression. After spending a
couple of months reading up on current theories of crack/cocaine
brain chemistry I have come up with a new metaphor for what happens in the brain when we use crack and the initial crash after use.
Crack Crash Metaphor
Imagine your brain is a gigantic house in the country, a mansion
or chateau, with a lake out
front and thousands of windows. Now you are living inside your brain
and there is a firework display outside on the front lawn – it’s
is a millennium eve on Sydney harbor bridge; a great firework display. (This is
You are amazed as you watch the colors light up all the rooms, with
reds, greens, blues and oranges throwing dramatic patterns of light
and shadow across the walls, gradually your many servants stop what
they are doing and watch the display from all over the House, until
the Head butler realizes just how close the fireworks are and that
there is a danger the house might catch fire.
He barks to the servants to run around and close all the shutters on
the windows and word spreads until all the servants are
furiously slamming shutters closing out the light and protecting the
Now if you only ever did crack once the next day the servants would
go around as time permitted with their other chores and open up the
shutters, gradually letting back in the light and beautiful views of
your gardens, lakes, trees, the maze, the vegetable garden, the rose
garden, the streams and waterfalls.
If however you have another firework display the next night or later
in the week, the servants now aware of the dangers would
automatically run to shut all the shutters closing them faster and
faster as they got better at this particular job.
As the fireworks display become more and more frequent, the
servants decide to leave some of the windows shut, perhaps in distant
dusty wings of the house as you don't go there very often, over time
more and more of the windows are left shut, cutting out the beautiful
views. And if these window shutters are left shut long enough they
get painted over or even bricked up.
You are now living in a very dark house with little light and no view,
so the temptation to brighten things up with a firework display is
even greater, but each time you have a display there are less and
less windows to see them through until all the windows are shut,
though some people might still try displays hoping for a peep of
color through the shutters.
Cocaine works similarly; its just the fireworks are a little
Now the good news is that when you stop using crack, the servants
will gradually begin to open the shutters, they will make sure there
are no more displays then go around running a knife down the painted
up windows once again giving you the beautiful views you deserve from
your splendid mansion, but this sort of major work takes time - some
windows have been bricked up remember. As the months pass and you
stay away from fireworks(!), more and more windows open and you have more
beauty back in your life though if you let off even one
firework the servants now so well trained will slam the shutters like
Getting all your window open again takes time; the
more firework shows you have had the longer it will take, but some
windows will open and the more you walk around enjoying the view the
quicker this will happen but it may take six months, or even nine but
as long as you stay away from fireworks one day all the windows will
be open and your house will be full of sunshine.