LIVING A DREAM HALF AWAKE: my favourite sort of day. When I can sit alone and, not having slept so well at night, and having drugged up I drowse and wake and drift between wakefulness and dreaming. It's in these states that I wonder whether dreams or wakefulness are really the more real... Not that I even needed drugs ever to drift out, disengage, dissociate. I do that so easily anyway... I question why heroin ever needed to come into the picture.
But drug-taking doesn't necessarily have the deep, dark roots that people so frequently ascribe to it. ("You must have been dreadfully hurt to be taking such hard, hard drugs")... isn't necessarily true at all. As the one perceptive psychiatrist I have ever met once told me: people take drugs because they make them feel good>> simple as. And I'm inclined to agree-- but only on one level. On another: many addicts do have all manner of pain and darkness and horrific things in their pasts. Some do. But there are as many reasons for using as there are people who use. In fact there are many many MORE reasons. Nobody does anything for just one reason, not in normality. Everything in life is multifaceted. Drug addiction, dull, depressing and overridingly BORING as it is in actuality, is no different.
How I got hooked on heroin is a long, long tale of caution intermittently thrown to the winds, of sadness, U-turns, resolutions broken and bad friendships. I willfully went out looking for heroin. I was very depressed and knowing the stuff might kill me the first time I took it only heightened its glamour. For two or three years I managed to keep my using to a one weekend a month type of basis (my tolerance was so small that in the beginning and when the drugs were good, I could get high four times by smoking £10 worth). Even so, there were times, looking back, having used the stuff every day for over a week that I was putting on layers of clothes, taking them off, never able quite to get the temperature right... I now know, with bitter hindsight that I was suffering very light withdrawal and not even knowing it. I'm glad I didn't know either, for that would have pushed me towards using. Another thing that put me off was the unpleasantness of scoring. Right from the beginning I was getting introductions directly to the dealers themselves, not going through a "middleman" junkie friend the way I subsequently found out (years too late!) that most casual users did. No, I had to do it different. And how I hated dealing with these people. The bad vibes I felt emanating from them like radiant shadows. (Contradiction, but I once saw that in an hallucination. A shadow-man walked towards me when I was alone, at night, in a huge industrial squat. Nobody to hear me scream. A shadow man effulging a light that literally engulfed me crept up to the cupboard where I was sleeping, opened the door, flooded me with light and bzzzz-PING! He vanished again. Leaving me in pitch darkness... In my early heroin days I knew somebody who would sell me small bits of methadone. Now for all the complaints junkies will make about methadone (mostly because it takes so very long to take effect, often two hours or more, when you really need it to). If you are nontolerant, methadone can make you pretty high. Only it takes, as I say, at least two hours to do this. Which I do not advise. For it is even MORE dangerous in overdose (being longer-acting) than heroin. So do not mess with the meth. OK? Anyhow, I gradually got into the habit of recreationally drinking this stuff until I was knocking back a small bottle every other day... Went away to stay with a friend out of town only to be hit by a mystery virus that made me hot and cold and sweaty and restless, gave me diarrhoea and had me waking absolutely drenched in sweat in the middle of the night ... I knew some naughty friends. They told me I was "sick" (ie in withdrawal). I didn't believe them but was more than willing to go along with an excuse to use heroin. Strangely, every dose of heroin I took mysteriously relieved this strange condition. It was only nearly two years later with much contemplation and hindsight that I looked back and realized: yes the seeds of my addiction were sown all the way back then. That was the first time in my life that someone gave me a "chill pill" (chloral betaine -- a kind of tranquillizer or sleeping pill) that I felt the "mellow" effects of, but it singularly failed to hit the right spot. That spot being the opiate spot. Only methadone and heroin hit that.
The sloping down of my addiction was a long and gradual and drawn-out process, so gradual in fact that to this day I cannot isolate a specific time or line I crossed from not being an addict to suddenly becoming one. So many little events occurred. From me willfully going out and scoring, experimenting in secret (I never had a bunch of heroin friends in the beginning. I knew the local junkies, but I used alone. And I kept the heroin part of my life very strictly separate from the rest of it.) I got more and more used to the drug. I tore myself repeatedly away. One afternoon having been in great internal conflict, meandering down the street I picked up what I had at first assumed to be a bag of sweets. This was no sweets. It was several grams of bagged up heroin. Enough to keep me high every afternoon for five weeks. That got me round my dislike of scoring and broke down a hugely important barrier: that of using every day. Of course I got a little habit. Came off it with strictly reducing methadone. That summer, the official version was that I was clean. I was not clean. I was using about once a week. What really did it for me was striking up a relationship with someone who had a ten year habit. She wanted to use at every opportunity that arose. How I loved that ride! ...
And so it went on.
And here I am now. Just remember this: how slowly or how gradually something happens means nothing in the end. Because -- whether you get there slowly or quick -- the destination is exactly the same.
Do not use heroin!
I'm knackered now, it is a quarter to two a.m. and I'm going to have to sign out. Will tell more tomorrow ...
It was Christmas eve in a war zone - I just about managed to rise this morning but shining is still a long way off. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I had my usual stress dream last night....
20 hours ago