HAMSTERS & HEROIN: Not all junkies are purse-snatching grandmother-killing psychos. I'm keeping this blog to bear witness to that fact.

LIVE FROM LONDON

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DIARY OF A SLOWLY RECOVERING HEROIN ADDICT

I used to take heroin at every opportunity, for over 10 years, now I just take methadone which supposedly "stabilizes" me though I feel more destabilized than ever before despite having been relatively well behaved since late November/early December 2010... and VERY ANGRY about this when I let it get to me so I try not to.

I was told by a mental health nurse that my heroin addiction was "self medication" for a mood disorder that has recently become severe enough to cause psychotic episodes. As well as methadone I take antipsychotics daily. Despite my problems I consider myself a very sane person. My priority is to attain stability. I go to Narcotics Anonymous because I "want what they have" ~ Serenity.

My old blog used to say "candid confessions of a heroin and crack cocaine addict" how come that one comes up when I google "heroin blog" and not this one. THIS IS MY BLOG. I don't flatter myself that every reader knows everything about me and follows closely every single word every day which is why I repeat myself. Most of that is for your benefit not mine.

This is my own private diary, my journal. It is aimed at impressing no-one. It is kept for my own benefit to show where I have been and hopefully to put off somebody somewhere from ever getting into the awful mess I did and still cannot crawl out of. Despite no drugs. I still drink, I'm currently working on reducing my alcohol intake to zero.

If you have something to say you are welcome to comment. Frankness I can handle. Timewasters should try their own suggestions on themselves before wasting time thinking of ME.

PS After years of waxing and waning "mental" symptoms that made me think I had depression and possibly mild bipolar I now have found out I'm schizoaffective. My mood has been constantly "cycling" since December 2010. Mostly towards mania (an excited non-druggy "high"). For me, schizoaffective means bipolar with (sometimes severe)
mania and flashes of depression (occasionally severe) with bits of schizophrenia chucked on top. You could see it as bipolar manic-depression with sparkly knobs on ... I'm on antipsychotic pills but currently no mood stabilizer. I quite enjoy being a bit manic it gives the feelings of confidence and excitement people say they use cocaine for. But this is natural and it's free, so I don't see my "illness" as a downer. It does, however, make life exceedingly hard to engage with...

PPS The "elevated mood" is long gone. Now I'm depressed. Forget any ideas of "happiness" I have given up heroin and want OFF methadone as quick as humanly possible. I'm fed up of being a drug addict. Sick to death of it. I wanna be CLEAN!!!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Part 3

LONDON. CITY OF POSSIBILITIES. Arguably it is the Capital of Europe. When I came it was thee place to be in the entire world. London, to turn a phrase dropped by the Americans, was "swinging". Here they called it Cool Britannia.

Only I could play barely any part in this because I was ill. So badly run down I ahd to go to bed after a simple trip to the shops. And I could only buy one bag of shopping at a time, this I had to split in two, half in each hand, for the journey home.

I had a dull routine. As I say, of seemingly daily food shopping ... and that was about it. I did hit the West End a few times. But often, by the time I'd got there (it only took 20 minutes by tube!) I was too knackered out for any adventures or fun.

I battled on nonetheless and didn't even tell a lot of people I had "M.E." as they tehn iked to call it in this country. The M means myalgic ~ muscle pain; the E is encephalomyelitis ~ ie an inflamation ("itis") of the brain and nervous system. Basically it is exhaustion, (mental as well as physical), depression and constant low-grade flu-like symptoms; ie aching muscles, etc. At the worst times the "brain fog" as they call it, was so bad I felt like an old-style television when the aerial lead falls out the back. My brain was hissing with snow and all I could do was lie down, eyes closed, and let it ease up a bit.

Even when people did know (and they didn't really know how I felt. Actually nobody really asked) I rarely made an issue of it. Which caused problems with friendships. I remember someone having a go at me for cancelling a party (the party went on, only without my personal appearance. As if that was so important!) I felt more rough than usual ~ but as I say I was used to feeling rough. Only when I happened to take my temperature and saw it was 102F did I realize not only that I had the real flu but that somehow, on this occasion, my sickness was more justified. Because it was objectively real. Long ago I got my head round the fact that things that happen to me are not real when others fail to understand them. I think that is partially what is meant by the trippers' phrase "concensus reality"...

Anyway I had the flu and was very upset that I was ment to soldier on as I normally did. But when I chose not to a massive issue was made of it. Most people do not have to explain away not doing anything because they have flu. Being ill is enough. But not in my case. I'd handled the situation that badly that somehow my facts would not justify other people's matters.

Over the months I did go on a few big nights out. As I said: I soldiered on, did all I could to appear "normal" (I always thought it a bit sick to get a buzz from identifying oneself "sick" as some sick people seem to do. But that's another issue entirely. I remember being on the dancefloor, standing there as the party kicked off around me. Looking round at my generation ~ young, fit popel having the time of their lives. And yet, as I did so, I could actually feel the life and all my energy draining out of me.

One compliment I do recall receiving (if you want to call it that) was that I had never been seen drunk. Haha!! I always had the will, once I'd started drinking and felt the effects coming on, to check myself: "thus far; no further" and to keep to such self-appraisals. I hated being drunk. Associated it with the Toilet-Duck and crap smells of lavatory bowls as I puked my guts out. No way. Ukk. Drugs, when I took them, were always timed, dosed, planned. I took ecstasy maybe once over my entire first two years in London. Magic mushrooms a few times. Cannabis I vary rarely dabbled in ~ it just did not suit me any more.

This all changed one morning in spring 1998 when I opened the mail to find a free ticket to Escape From Samsara! Samsara means the Buddhist wheel of constant rebirth. But in this case it meant Friday night's trippy trancefest at the massive Fridge nightclub in Brixton, South London. My Australian cousin said she'd come with, couldn't make it; packed me off with a group of her friends anyhow. They were all cool people, my cousin's friends. They say a man (or woman) is known by his or her friends and I must say hers are a true credit to her. Nicest bunch of people I've met anywhere in my life and that's the honest truth ... Anyhow ... We went to this massive noisy cigarette smoke-filled club. I ddi take ecstasy again. Spent nearly the entire night in teh chill-out room feeling fantastic. met a girl called Lola from Melbourne who was about five years younger than me. Lola na dI went out for only ten weeks; but when the crux came ~ did I give up this sparkly new life of joy and celebration and go backwards or did I press on alone. I just resolutely went on. Queueing for massive parties on my own, yet knowing once I got inside there would be five, ten ... eventually twenty or more friends. A whole new life, as I say, but it came at a price. I was pretending to be OK when really I wasn't. When the pills wore off, when the wekend eneded, I'd have to spend days in bed, alone, recouperating. And often depressed and crying. These tears were a big part of the reality of the party life for a lot of people. Somehow they rarely got talked about.

AT EARLY EVENINGS MY LOCAL TUBE STATION became a gathering point for an entire alternative netherworld of crusties, drinkers and the misfits who roamed (and all too often lived on) the streets. Many appeared scruffy and rough yet somehow seemed free of some of society's constraints. They paid for this in poverty and pain. Gradually I got to known them because a prime source of nightly income came from sitting on the station steps and begging used one-day travelcards from the returning rush-hour, then selling these back to evening and night travellers for £1.50 to £2 each, depending on the time (there was an unofficial 9pm "watershed" when the price reduced. After 11pm it went down to £1.)

For one thing, the people I met on the station steps were far more personable than initially expected. Many were artists or "failed" musicians. Some were shockingly intelligent. (One guy in particular had messed up mid-PhD to become a homeless junkie. Drugs can affect anyone. Just don't take them!) I felt I fitted in with this crowd in a way I never had done anywhere else. For one thing I never pretended to be more knowledgeable or experienced in their way of life than I actually was, so they respected, I suppose that at least what they saw with me was what they got. Also it was OK among these people not to be feeling all right and not to be hapy. And yet to be accepted for how you did feel This, somehow, seemed a massive liberation.

I took up drinking on the station steps. At first it was nearly a joke: "I got drunk with the homeless 'crew'" (though I remained averse to actually being so intoxicated I was out of control). I began to dabble in their drugs. Valium, temazepam, the occasional Rohypnol; Dexedrine; crack and heroin. Gradually my useage increased in frequency from once a month or so, totally unplanned, to a couple of times a week. But never every day. And I thought I was being clever by avoiding drugs that were cross-tolerant on consecutive days ~ ie if I had heroin on Monday, Tuesday would be a Valium day ~ and so on. Heroin I was very scared of getting hooked on. Vivid proof of the worst kind was all around me of what the drug could do. One guy had lost one leg and was determinedly injecting right into the enormous rotting open sore on the other. When I first met him I thought he'd had an accident, unable to get to the loo on time because he was on cruches. No. This stench was the putrefaction of his own living flesh. It was disgusting. But once one leg had gone, so did his self-respect. Recently, after an absence of several years, he showed up again in my "manor". His remaining leg is still rotting, though it did used to get cleaned up periodically by doctors. I've not seen him for several months now and I've a nasty feeling he's dead.

As I say, I had reason to fear heroin addiction.

I did take a lot of Valium one long, hot summer. I enjoyed the muscle-relaxing effects they gave me. I was often in low-grade pain from the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Anyway ~

Heroin.

That's what people want to hear about, I guess.

I was daydreaming just now, before I put pen to paper, that if a poll could be gathered of users' private thoughts on first experimenting with heroin, ideas along the lies of "is that it?!?" and "is this what all the fuss is about?!?..." would top the list of reactions.

I felt peaceful, warm and sickly-sweet to the point of nausea. But I managed not to be sick, which was a small triumph. My first time with crack I did have my head down the toilet. You have to persist with these substances. They're not always user-friendly to start off with ...

Heroin is best compared to a big fluffy blanket. At first, because you don't actually need it, you might feel too hot and slightly uncomfortable. But as time goes on and you become inexorably acclimatized to the stuff, you eventually find, on throwing off the blanket, that the freezing cold world is unbearable. You hurry to wrap up warm again. Sometimes, perhaps if you got badly chilled, you might promise never to do without your blanket ever again~ which is what I have done. I'm far better at keeping promises to use than the ones I've made to clean up.

The process of addiction takes time and persistance. No way can anyone get addicted to any drug from one try. Admittedly, to the easily-impresed, the image of the junkie as a kind of anarchist or rebel with a cause (the cause is always to score more gear so you don't get sick!) can be just as intoxicating as the drug.

I am exhausted from scribbling pages and pages of this. It's dark outside and I've all this still to type in ... I do apologize but this will have to continue tomorrow when I can hopefully give at least some meaningful account of precisely what led on to what and how this heroin achieved the iron grip it has over me still to this day ...

Till tomorrow ...

15 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

gled can i ask how much clean time you have? our family has similar stories. will talk more about it when i know you better. good luck my friend, i will be back tomorrow to see if you posted more.

smiles, bee

Gledwood said...

Very little I'm afraid... Maybe a couple of months in the last seven years ... I'm looking into going into rehab, but the funding must all be sorted out first. Also I have some issues with the methods they use to detox people. So I'm going to lobby them for one of those anasethetic detoxes rich people have ...

Anthony said...

Thank you for your continuing posts. As usual I fail to find the correct words to describe what Im thinking. It does not seem 'right' to say I am enjoying reading and look forward to the next chapter. It makes me sound like I am taking pleasure hearing about your descent into heroin use.

Hope you can read between the lines and know what I am failing to say here. I just wanted to at the very least acknowledge all what you are writing.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Good postings. You've certainly come too close to the edge, and have described the physiology of drug usage right on the money.

I've seen the effects of the White Horse, on people who mattered to me, and it's best you tether that Hoss ASAP, as there are no 'happy endings' when that stuff gets you. I managed to avoid, while playing games with much other stuff, any exposure to Heroin (well, except for that stuff they called 'Yellow Tick', which was made with Heroin, PCP, and Cocaine...made you think you were superman, got a lot of people killed in the '70's...)

I'm completely clean, now, of any substance. Not even tobacco. But the trips I took~! Music was the element that tied it all together. Bands, concerts, all necessary elements to drug usage...until the drugs take even the music away.

Jeez, get cleaned up, dude. You will be better for it. Or you will wake up dead one morning...

Old Hippy Type Who Acutally Remembers Quaaludes (the Original Spreaders!)

Kao said...

man, there's something with this story of your that makas me think you're not actually calmed down while writting it... I swear I don't mean you're high, I mean you're angry with something (some bad spelling and lack of consistency) and I say that because it happens to me while writting in anger... :S

well, I have to say that your experience is quite differet from that of a friend of mine... he has tried a lot of drugs but he has been able to deal with the detox...

and I think that detoxicating will NOT be as bad as you reached to be in your, I guess, worst times...

not very deep inside I know you can cope with it and finally quit from your addiction, as I reaaly hope to ger rid of mine: anger...

damn I'm so fucked up now that I can't think clearly... your story made some clarifiying effect on me that helped me to think of something different... that people can really have something to say to help other with experience...

so, if you can gety something of all this incoherent stuff, you'll realize that I support your decision of rehab... and that I need a cigarrete to calm down... xD

I'll be expecting your next posting...

best wishes, Kao

slaghammer said...

I have a point to this story, so bear with me.
My earliest childhood memories are of ruthless beatings and family violence that ended after I left home at sixteen. At thirteen, I vowed to do every drug known to humankind, except heroin. I had been stealing beer and liquor since eight or nine years old so moving on to weed was no big deal. On to meth, acid, shrooms, coke, x, jimson weed, etc. I did huge amounts of everything I could get my hands on. It was all for the party and with the exception of a few nasty addictions here and there, that’s all it ever was. I totally lucked out where brain chemistry and addiction are concerned. Over the years, friends and family were packed off to jail or prison, others faded into the woodwork and some died young. I spent a lot of time in jail but ultimately, I drew the line and never crossed it.
Short of evil intent, I never judge other people for how they choose to live their lives. When depression and/or drugs take that choice away, I am sympathetic but I tend to see it as an inevitable byproduct of life on planet earth. These days, I live with kidney failure, liver disease, gout, joint and bone degeneration, heart arrhythmias that inflict a very particular kind of misery and I’ve long forgotten what a day without pain even feels like. Because of my various medical conditions, I do not take pain killers of any kind, except under the most dire circumstances, in order to extend the life of my liver and kidneys as long as possible. Even after all of this, I feel absolutely terrible about your predicament. I never allow myself to even think about the question “why me.” Instead, I often pose another question in a purely rhetorical sense, “why not me.” On occasion, I find myself wondering how I could have been so lucky to have lived the life I’ve had, and still have. The bottom line is, whatever it is about the circuitry in my brain that allows me to think this way, I feel guilty to have it while other people such as you have to struggle so hard to find happiness. I don’t pretend to have the slightest idea about how to make your life any better than it is. I understand that taking up a hobby or doing leg exercises or some other such comically lame shit is not going to do the trick. I am currently watching a very close friend kill himself in increments much as you are doing. His addiction will be the death of him in a few years. After twenty five years of trying, I, his wife and his children have decided to stop making his life miserable by trying to save him. After decades of interventions, we have all, at different times and under different circumstances, decided to just be there until he dies. I think you might be heading in that direction also. I hope you find your way out of it before your prospects for survival and happiness are taken completely out of your hands.

sadgirl said...

Hi Gledwood

Your journey into drugs etc is fascinating and sad. I realise it is all too easy just to say to you "do a detox" but I very much hope you are soon at a point where making this choice seems possible. Life has things to offer. If nothing else your mental and physical well being would improve massively. And no one wants you dead Gledwood. I wish I had the answers but there has to be a better place than drugs. Your account is so honest it makes me ashamed to constantly moan about depression. Anyway sending positive vibes and hoping you escape the drugs soon.

cheerio
sad x

Gledwood said...

Anthony: the saga should be continuing this evening. It is just knackering gathering it all together, scribbling it all down & then typing it all in! It's OK I knnow what u mean

Anon: I used to have daydreams of being rich and being able to do coke from morning to beddybyes. Glad I found out while I'm still poor that that is not actually the case!!

Kao: it's exceptionally hard to get all the bloody stuff down. Anger: you're right. My counsellor used to tell me I was angry. "What are you doing with your anger?" she used to say .... Also that is a v slanted story. I'm just telling the drugs angle. Otherwise I'd be here all day, all night and through to tomorrow morning!!

The spelling mistakes are due to my poor touch typing whilst reading out from a scrawly notebook. Usually I post reading the screen as I type. Because I was not reading the screen all manner of errors crept in and of course there doesn't seem to be any spellcheck on this blogger thing.

Slaghammer: " I hope you find your way out of it before your prospects for survival and happiness are taken completely out of your hands." V good point... some people are ill because of other people's doings, others are ill because of fate. Others still make themselves ill and those have the opportunity to cure themselves. I'm very fortunate to be in that position I guess ... The only thing about the illness of addiction is that most of the time the addict doesn't feel ill. He is merely living his life as best as he thinks he can. It's other people, those far enough distanced from him, who see the pathologies in his behaviour ... that's the way I see it, (when I look from this angle....)

Sadgirl: I have this horror that when I detox I will feel worse. Heroin is a psychic insulator to quite a large degree in a lot of people. It can have mood-stabilizing and antipsychotic effects (you can google this - I did and got some fascinating stories back) ... methadone has a similar effect. Getting clean... I know one person who went down into depressive psychosis... heard another tale of a bloke who got schizophrenia... I'm not saying I think these things will happen to me, but I'm afraid of going back to being as depressed as I've been in the past ...

Akelamalu said...

I am finding your blog compelling reading, and finding myself willing you to give up the drugs.

You write

No way can anyone get addicted to any drug from one try.

I cannot agree - you tried it once and that led to your addiction - true?

garfer said...

I never touched H because I knew I'd like it to much.

gledwood said...

Akelamalu: well of course everyone who gets addicted tried it once... then again and then again. But I'm saying it is possible to try it once without those agains. See what I mean... I'm about to explain today what factors interfered with my natural reticence to get more deeply involved ...

Garfer: I wish I'd been that sensible!

Naomi Joy said...

it is amazing what depression can do to a person eh?

meeyauw said...

You are a brave man. I read a commenter on this series in one of the other posts say you should publish this. I agree.

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I WANT OFF METHADONE AS QUICK AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!

METHADONE ~ A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH







Heroin Shortage: News

If you are looking for the British Heroin Drought post, click here; the latest word is in the comments.







Christiane F

"Wir, Kinder vom Bahnhoff Zoo" by "Christiane F", memoir of a teenage heroin addict and prostitute, was a massive bestseller in Europe and is now a set text in German schools. Bahnhoff Zoo was, until recently, Berlin's central railway station. A kind of equivalent (in more ways than one) to London's King's Cross... Of course my local library doesn't have it. So I'm going to have to order it through a bookshop and plough through the text in German. I asked my druggieworker Maple Syrup, who is Italiana how she learned English and she said reading books is the best way. CHRISTIANE F: TRAILER You can watch the entire 120-min movie in 12 parts at my Random blog. Every section EXCEPT part one is subtitled in English (sorry: but if you skip past you still get the gist) ~ to watch it all click HERE.

To See Gledwood's Entire Blog...

DID you find my blog via a Google or other search? Are you stuck on a post dated some time ago? Do you want to read Gledwood Volume 2 right from "the top" ~ ie from today?
If so click here and you'll get to the most recent post immediately!

Drugs Videos

Most of these come from my Random blog, which is an electronic scrapbook of stuff I thought I might like to view at some time or other. For those who want to view stuff on drugs I've collected the very best links here. Unless otherwise stated these are full-length features, usually an hour or more.

If you have a slow connexion and are unused to viewing multiscreen films on Youtube here's what to do: click the first one and play on mute, stopping and starting as it does. Then, when it's done, click on Repeat Play and you get the full entertainment without interruption. While you watch screen one, do the same to screens 2, 3 and so on. So as each bit finishes, the next part's ready and waiting.

Mexican Black Tar Heroin: "Dark End"

Khun Sa, whose name meant Prince Prosperous, had been, before his death in the mid 2000s, the world's biggest dealer in China White Heroin: "Lord of the Golden Triangle"

In-depth portrait of the Afghan heroin trade at its very height. Includes heroin-lab bust. "Afghanistan's Fateful Harvest"

Classic miniseries whose title became a catchphrase for the misery of life in East Asian prison. Nicole Kidman plays a privileged middle-class girl set up to mule heroin through Thai customs with the inevitable consequences. This is so long it had to be posted in two parts. "Bangkok Hilton 1" (first 2 hours or so); "Bangkok Hilton 2" (last couple of hours).

Short film: from tapwater-clear H4 in the USA to murky black Afghan brown in Norway: "Heroin Addicts Speak"

Before his untimely death this guy kept a video diary. Here's the hour-long highlights as broadcast on BBC TV: "Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict". Thanks to Noah for the original link.

Some of the most entertaining scenes from Britain's top soap (as much for the poor research as anything else). Not even Phil Mitchell would go from nought to multi-hundred pound binges this fast: "Phil Mitchell on Crack" (just over 5 minutes).

Scientist lady shows us how to cook up gear: "How Much Citric?" Lucky cow: her brown is 70% purity! Oddly we never see her actually do her hit... maybe she got camera shy...

And lastly:

German documentary following a life from teenage addiction to untimely death before the age of 30. The decline in this girl's appearance is truly shocking. "Süchtig: Protokoll einer Hilflosigkeit". Sorry no subtitles; this is here for anyone learning German who's after practice material a little more gripping than Lindenstraße!































Nosey Quiz! Have you ever heard voices when you weren't high on drugs?

Manic Magic

Manic Magic

Gledwood Volume 2: A Heroin Addict's Blog

Copyright 2011 by Gledwood