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


Gledwoods deutscher Blog

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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!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Part 10: Beggars Cannot Be Choosers

WHEN I ENDURED MY WEEK'S "TURKEY" at my family's place, there had been several motivating factors. Although I'd still (except on odd occasions) yet to exceed £10 a day even on heroin (which is very low compared to the "average" of £30 a day. Though having been in rehab and having had extra meds I suspect that £30 a day includes crack as well as heroin.) Anyway, even this £10 was causing financial problems. Bills were going unpaid. The rent shortfall that I'd always had to make up ~ this totted up week after week. My mobile (an early pay-&-go) went un-topped-up for ages. The landline phone I'd had specially installed years before ~ as my solitary luxury item ~ piled up with bills and eventualy had to be sacrificed all together. We still had a payphone in the hallway that took 10p pieces (10p to call a mobile!?! Those were the days!) so I was reduced once again to using that. Me who'd been the first in the house to get my own phone line put in. But ho-hum: there we go ... I was too scared of debt collectors and bad credit references and suchlike at this stage to risk defaulting in any spectacular fashion. I still had dreams of returning to a "regular" life with a car and a cred it rating. Etc. So I treid to behave financially. Eventually, though, the proverbial muck hit the fan. Psychologically I was in crisis. And my family refused to help me out at all. Except for getting some sort of treatment. They searched. I searched. Private doctors who prescribe methadone do not advertise (in Britain I don't even think they're allowed to) so without the luxury of word of mouth (and I still was pretty much keeping myself to myself, apart from the local crusties I didn't know any addicts. And crusties do not use private clinics. So we were all stumped there. Anyway: financially, straights were dire. Reluctantly I realized the time had come to start grafting for a living: to earn my own gear.

To this day I look back to that particular corssroads and wonder, whether they had bailed me out, if I'd finally have accepted that this addiction simply could not go on... not in conjunction with living any ostensibly "normal" life any more and whether I really would have learned my lesson and turned my back on the stuff for good back then. Addiction is such a slippery, deceptive state to be in that I long ago learned to distrust my own so-called motives. Time has a habit of turning these on their head or shining light from hitherto unforseen angles and nasty truths are illuminated. So I don't know. But I still believe it I had a genuine chance of reforming at that point. And I was refused help. Being in debt was my worst nightmare. I'd spent years scrimping to restore my finances to "respectability" folowing my student days fiasco. All I was asking was, in effect, one last chance. But to my family, I was asking for money to fund my habit. These two viewpoints would never meet and I was too tired to argue. No help wsa forthcoming: so cardboard sign in one hand: "HUNGRY: PLEASE HELP. Thank you. & God Bless xx" and a torn-off McDonald's cup in the other, I hit the mean streets of London to beg the general public.

Within a week my "gear" usage had trebled. To achieve "Dutch courage" I took to hitting the White Cyder before "going to work" ~ as I put it. A drinking habit that has remained with me to this day...

Soon, of course, I'd met a variety of new friends, dealers and connexions. Having used almost at times in my own "bubble" I was now literally on the streets. Which always makes me laugh when the so-called "urban" musical fraternity and various assorted trendies talk about "coming up from the streets" and "the sound of the streets" I know the sound of London's streets only too well and believe me there's no two-step to it and no breakbeat either. The true sound of The Streets is roadworks, pedestrians and the relentless passing of traffic to a background of wind, rain, sunshine, moonshine and the silence of 4am streetlights. That's the original sound of the streets, believe! The pavements are hard and scuttle with empty food wrappings, rin-tin-tinning tin-cans, losing lottery tickets and occasionally something beautiful. A rose dropped from a bunch. A photograph of somewhere gorgeous. A lost £20 note ... Londoners are inverterate litterbugs.

On the other hand I was provided with a constant supply of smokes ~ both in the form of bus-stop dogends and donation from the public. Drink kept me in enough haze not to be upset. When I did cry I only got more money: so that was a win-win situation. Sometimes I formally "begged" people: "Excuse me, sir, can you please spare me any loose change at all?" Other times I kept my mouth shut. The money still came. Sometimes I played the cheery cheekie chappie. Others, I was a picture of misery. I lost sight of when I was and was not acting. Feelings come in layers like the skins of an onion, and all actors do is delve beneath to a deeper truth. So when I was acting, I wasn't really lying. I was indeed destitute. Why else would anybody choose to sit on the streets asking for loose change??

Bad weather was a problem. People literally don't want to take theri hands out of their pockets. But come rain or shine, I was out there. I made my pitch my own. I never was impatient or resentful: the time would pass by anyhow, so why not spend it begging? And what else was I to do with it? As slow as my sluggishest days were, I always, but always made my money. More than once I remember waking cross-legged on the cold street, in a downpour, being nudged: opening my eyes to encounter a £10 or £20 note fluttering under my nose. The kindness of the general public ~ many of whom I'm sure had a good idea what had put me out on the streets ~ I will never forget. The kindness of so many strangers actually restored my confidence in human nature. It boosted my self-esteem. To be able to sit there ~ just to be there ~ selling nothing, doing nothing except saying to all intents and purposes "help me; I'm desperate" and to know that I could indeed rely on the kindness of strangers, however long it took in coming. Somehow this seemed to justify my existence as nothing else could. Life didn't feel so bad when I was getting money just for being myself. I can't explain it any other way ....

Begging was hardly an ambition fulfilled, yet for years it was my vocation in the most literal sense. Every day I heeded the calling to go back out and scrape another few notes together ...

While, as I say, my drug use trebled in a week; I also altered the way I took my drug of choice. My one drug was heroin. Heroin was the only thing I touched. I woke up, used whatever I had, felt poor and hungry; went out and begged. Scored, used, probably slept a bit more. Was always ready by four or five o'clock to go out for the evening rush-hour, which was by far the most lucrative time of day.

If you weren't there early enough you'd oftten have to fight for a good pitch.

One late afternoon, when I had "only" £5, I threw in my money with a Portuguese fellow at the local tube stateion . He was one of the last of the old-skool of travelcarders ~ folks who made their living begging used one-day Travelcards off homeward-bound shoppers and commuters and selling 'em on at half price to people who ahd somewhere to go in the evening time. Juan returned with a great chunk of white-rock "brown". I got a ghood deal for my £5. Took it home, cooked up a light-brown solution. This would not be anywhere near strong enough, I told myself, to bother subcutting or skinpopping. the pale and meagre hit would creep over me so gradually... I may as well not be bothering .... what was I thinking? ... glancing to the crook of my left arm where the veins were fresh and bulging .... I saw another bridge to cross right before my eyes ... why not? I'd degraded myself in every other way! I'd hurt my family more than I ever expected to in a lifetime. I'd flirted with deadly drugs and viruses already. Why not inject straight into that ready vein? What was to stop me? I'd get absolute maximum value from my £5.

I knew hte procedure. This wasn't to be the first intravenous "hit" but it was the first I'd self-administered. Clumsily, I fastened a belt round my upper biceps (later I learned that belts are only used on television. A shoelace makes a far better "tournie" ~ if one is needed at all...) ~ all sweating and a-trembling I slid the needle in. Pulled back the plunger. Dark blood rushed into the pale brown heroin. Then no blood. I'd lost the vein. I steadied up, found it again, loosened the awkward clip-jangling leather belt and resolutely pushed in the entire "hit". It was not weak. My first sensation was one I'd never experienced from injecting before: that of running naked through stinging nettles. Prickling all over. Thugh the prickles were rapidly dulled by the same drug that had initiated them... A warmth broke out all over me, gliding into a haze. My face felt hot and flushed. My eyes ~ when Iturned to the mirror ~ were "pinning" down, the pupils contracting to needle-points of nothing. I ensured that the belt was properly off and the needle safe as the heroin overtook me in a slumber. This we call gauwching here in London, though I'm sure junkies the world over have their own expressions for the desired effect of their drug... Gauwching rhymes with crouching. And it's a bizarre state of affairs where the lights stay blazing on all over the building ~ but quite patently nobody at all is home.

Unlike the blackout of true sleep where you tend to need to lie down, in this white-out state, the heroin gauwcher can often remain crouching ~ or standing ~ or bending ~ or kneeling would-be statue-like for long periods, rocking sometimes or twitching in gormless, teddy-bear eye-rolling Muppet-like poses. This is often comical ~ or sordid, depending on your viewpoint ~ to behold. Sometimes you can even hold conversations with the gauwcher, but these are never remembered afterwards. Other times normal sleep ~ so often missed, forsaken or mercilessly broken to bits at night ~ is replaced by this life-consuming gauwching ...

But as a doctor once tol dme ~ whether or not you remain nominally conscious after a dose, heroin is sending to much of the brain to sleep, you fail to realize while you're on it. Just as the eyes adapt to dark glasses, so the mind adapts to the brain's being drugged 24-7 with something even as powerful as heroin. However much of the drug you take, you somehow never feel as stoned as you appear on the outside. "Normality" to the brain, is of course whatever state of being it becomes most accustomed to. So if "stoned" becomes normal, the brain adapts automatically. This is part of the "never enough" syndrome at the heart of all severe addictions. When the drug state replaces normality and "stoned" becomes "normal" ~ how can you ever have more and more normality? It's just not possible.

You get used to drowsing whenever life's hectic rushing between one money-making scheme and another or a dealer or a place to use. Just like an old pensioner, I found msyefls napping on teh bus ...

My body so swiftly adapted to the particular effects of IV heroin that no other "route" of administration would do it for now on ...

Morning, noon, night and in between, I was hitting up ever-increasing doses. So that I soon found msyelf on a gram of the stuff a day. My habit had entered its most raging phase. Heroin heroin heroin heroin. Heroin with everything. Before. After. During. Life was inconceivable ~ basically not doable ~ without this heroin. I needed heroin to eat ~ the flush of warmth, the distancing from bodily sensation ~ somehow gave me bon appetit. I needed heroin to sleep. If I didn't have it, I slept fitfully until I did get it. Even if that meant waiting till late into the next morning (by which time I'd met the dealer and scored) for any proper rest .... And then I could not get up without heroin either. At my habit's raging worst I awoke evey single morning feeling sick and tired and chilled to the bone and nauseated and bellyacheing. And could not function at all (although I had to drag myself against this deathliness to walk or bus or otherwise do what had to be done to get money into dealer's hand and heroin into mine and very rapidly afterwards into my bloodstream... That morning hit was my equivalent to the "normal" person's cup of tea and cigarette ...

Raging. Raging. And so my habit raged mercilessly on ...

More tomorrow....


rebekah fox said...

The way you can talk about your situation and analyse things with such insight and rational clarity is real good you know. I doubt most people would be prepared to do that. I've been reading your story since you visited my site and it seems that you genuinely want to move on and beat your addiction, which counts for a lot. I really hope that you do. If it means anything, i pray you do too. Take care, becky

RUTH said...

I feel wrong clicking on "Answers" because I have no answers. In fact I haven't a clue what to say. I just wish you were out of it all....you can't read this through my eyes...but it's powerful and wonderfully written. I wish I could publish it and leave a copy in every school, pub, anywhere, everywhere!!! Really wish I could do something to help you out of this situation.

gledwood said...

Rebekah~~ That's what I find odd actually. That there are quite a lot of addict-bloggers out there. But they make no effort WHATSOEVER to explain their predicament to nonaddicts. Why bother blogging in that case? I just don't get it... thanxx for the support... glad u like the blog as well... wherever I move on I will blog or write about it I promise you ...

Ruth~~ seriously i might actually write my memoirs now... before i was kind of averse to the idea... then i realized we live in an age of self-revelation so i'm only playing along the current vibe by doing that ... then every school, pub, etc really MIGHT get a copy ... who knows ... halfway across the world!!!

Audrey said...

Each new chapter brings new light, this is so moving Gledwood the harsh realities its difficult to find words.

Im reminded of the time I went to see The Last Tempation of Christ and the cinema emptied in utter silence it was almost as if people were leaving a church, all my friends felt the same way.

Your writing, your experience has that same powerful effect I believe.

Beating this addiction sounds like the battle of all battles. I wish you strength and courage and many many supportive allies to get you through so you can grab those dreams and fullfil those desires that still live in you..XX Auds

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

just keep writing gled and don't pick up. just don't. not today, okay?

smiles, bee

sadgirl said...

Hi Gleds

I continue to be gobsmacked by your jaw dropping story. You really must write it for a publisher because you explain everything very well. I can't beleive anyone wouldn't be interested in what you have to say. I hope writing it down will help to bring you to the point of stopping. Its a funny coincidence but right now I am listening to a Depeche Mode song and its going "Nothings impossible". You know since you found my blog and I came to yours every day I have wondered how you are and what you are doing. Me hoping you are not sad or in pain or just hurting. I am ashamed to admit that before I got to your blog I believed all the stereotypes about drug addicts. What makes your story special is you come across as a very normal person but in a world of drugs. I don't think you belong there. Like other readers, I too wish I could get you out of there. Anyway all the best Gleds. Wishing you better days. Keep writing whatever.

sad x

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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