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


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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!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Gledwood's Guide to London

FOR EILEEN and all who require a guide to the Centre of the Universe (TM). This is the best I could do of patt, of course in a lemon-shaped town that's more than 20 miles North to South and 30 miles across, there's enough stuff to fill an encyclopaedia, let alone a blog post but here goes my little attempt. (Tube stations are italicized in brackets.) I made every effort to be accurate but please double-check with guidebooks or journeyplanners before travel... have a great time!

(Illustrated, clockwise from top: Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Harrods.)

Art Galleries
London has two Tate galleries. The Tate Modern (Blackfriars, Southwark) on the south bank, as the name suggests, specializes in such modern art that I was once transfixed by a steel girder set diagonally between two walls: I honestly could not tell whether or not it was a fixture of the building or an exhibit... Tate Britain (Pimlico) houses the pre-Raphaelite and earlier 20th century collections. The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross, Leicester Square) houses older stuff going back to the rennaissance: Raphael, Canaletto etc. Don't miss the smaller but unique National Portrait Gallery on Charing Cross Road next door. Buckingham Palace has a Royal Art Collection open to the public (see below). There's also a Serpentine Gallery in the centre of Hyde Park but I've never seen it. Special exhibitions aside, entry to most galleries is FREE.

The British Museum at Russel Square (Russel Square, Holborn) is the British Louvre: Chinese, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and all manner of ancient relics. The Victoria and Albert (V&A) (South Kensington) specializes in early modern artefacts including clothes. Kiddies adore the Natural History and adjacent Science Museums (South Kensington); the former is especially huge but tends to be a bit of a "zoo of the dead": full of Victorian stuffed animals (but dinosaurs too)... If you're into Egyptology the Tutankhamun exhibition is on at the Millennium Dome (North Greenwich) but costs about £20 entry. Most museums are still FREE.

History and Sights
Get the best view of town from the London Eye (Embankment, Waterloo, Westminster), an outsized ferris wheel on the south bank diagonally opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Tower Bridge (often mistakenly called London Bridge) (Tower Hill) is the one that opens up. Despite the "ancient" seeming gothick stonework it's barely over 100 years old, which is pretty young for London... As well as grisly true-life torture chambers, the nearby Tower of London also houses the Crown Jewels collection, which are on open display and well worth a look if you stump up the entrance fee.

The best walk takes you from Green Park Tube across the park to Buckingham Palace. If this is shut, there's still the Queen's Art Gallery on the corner (lefthand side) which takes in visitors for a modest charge. Stroll down the Mall to Parliament Square (Westminster) where Big Ben marks the top end of the Houses of Parliament (oficially known as the Palace of Westminster) which has a free public viewing gallery (bring full ID and expect to be rigorously sniffed and searched). While you're in the area a poke around Westminster Abbey, venue of numerous royal coronations plus the most important royal burial ground in England (check floor plaques etc for who's where)... St James's Park, the littlest and prettiest of London's major parks is just off Parliament Square.

From Parliament Square go up Whitehall, the heart of British Government. Downing Street (the Prime Minister's official residence is at number 10) is behind gates about half way up on the lefthand side. Keep going and you'll find yourself in Trafalgar Square, the nearest thing London has to an official central point.

For mid-range (often unique) clothes and other boutiques Covent Garden (Covent Garden, Leicester Square) has quite a choice and a central former flower market devoted to street entertainment and overpriced icecreams. Oxford Street is Britain's high street ~ a mile-long strip featuring numerous Pizza Expresses, Burger Kings and McDonalds and every major chainstore as well as the second and third largest department stores in the country: Selfridges and John Lewis . Tottenham Court Road (Tottenham Ct Rd, Goodge Street) is thee place for electronics bargains there are gerzillions of shops. But check the voltage! Ours is 220-240 ~ double the North American 110 volt standard; also British plugs have three pins (and it is not always safe to plug foreign two-pin appliances into bathroom shaver sockets). Charing Cross Road (Tottenahm Ct Rd, Leicester Square) always used to be the centre of the book trade; now more dispersed, though the tatty Foyles (formerly Britain's biggest book shop if not the world's) is still in place. It's also the most disorganized bookshop in the world with no rhyme nor reason as to where anything's to be found...

For luxury shopping Bond Street (Bond Street) intersects Oxford Street north-to-south and has virtually every designer name missing from Sloane Street (Knightsbridge, Sloane Square). Knightsbridge is, of course, best known for Harrods which, with a million square feet of selling space vyes with New York's Macy's as the world's largest shop. The food halls are fantastic and the cosmetics departments can supply virtually any perfume in the entire world, no matter how exclusive. Locals tend to gravitate to Harvey Nichols across the road which has an extensive ground floor full of cosmetics plus about five more floors of high fash and a top floor piano-tinkling restaurant.

Walk down Sloane Street to Sloane Square, home stomping ground of the hideous, braying 1980s pearls-and-twinset-clad Sloane Rangers who all seemed to be named Tilly, Hilly or something similarly ridiculous. The Peter Jones department store is renowned for housewares and home furnishings. The long Kings Road from Chelsea to the more vulgar Fulham (home of people who can't stump up any more than £3.5 million ($7 million) on a house, has loads of small boutiques (including (formerly) the 1960s Beatles' emporium Granny Takes a Trip and the Vivienne Westwood's 1970s Sex (later Seditionaries).

An alternative to Harrods' food halls is London's most grandiloquent grocer, Fortnum & Mason (Piccadilly, Green Park). It's a bit of a theme park in atmosphere (high on tourists; low on locals) but a great place to acquire that 1890s-style China tea caddy.

For toys, Hamleys of Regent Street (Oxford Circus, Picadilly Circus) always was until relatively recently the largest toyshop in the world.

Camden Town (Camden Town) is London's funkier, more alternative homeground... every other shop and stall seems to specialize in leather belts, Doc Martens and handcuffs... there are more extensive markets (specializing in fashion and nicknacks) than anywhere else (despite the recent Stables Market fire)... Camden is thee place to go for streetwear and clubwear...

... And I could go on and on...

But not without mentioning entertainment. The West End theatreland equals Broadway with over 12 million annual admissions to over 40 theatres... just about every major show in the world is here. Book well in advance for popular musicals. If it's not on Broadway it's probably here. And if it's not here, it's doubtless coming soon...

The Aussie-Kiwi-South African-oriented TNT magazine is FREE from little metal boxes outside tube stations. Time Out (magazine) is pricey (well, it is to buy weekly if you live here) but well advisable for any visitor. Also the Time Out Guide to London guidebook is the one most locals would opt for. Time Out also do more specific restaurant, shopping, etc guides...

Most international ATM cards work in most cashpoints across town. Traveller's cheques: pounds sterling, US dollars or Euros are all fine. Other currencies may be a little more inconvenient. There are zillions of bureaux de change, but they can be pricey. Post Offices are said to give the best exchange rate.

And that's about it. Tomorrow I'll put a bit about some more off-the-beaten-track places like funky Brixton and posh Primrose Hill but ciao for now...

One last PS re getting around. Bear in mind that the tube map really does NOT represent geographical reality (it's designed for easy viewing and planning of journies)... so Monument and Bank appear to be connected by a mile-long escalator (they are NOT one station by the way and interchange seems to take ten minutes) it is well worth looking up anywhere you want to go on a proper map, judging the nearest stations and working out which is most convenient. E.g. to get to Hamleys, about a third down Regent Street there is little point changing to the Central Line for Oxford Circus if a Picadilly line train won't get you faster to Picadilly Circus (hang on is this a good example? my brain is going dead...) look it up on a proper map or you might well spend longer changing trains and lines than just walking from somewhere a little further off.


Nessa said...

I would love to come and see all of the old stuff. If the Reinassaunce (sp) weren't such a dirty time, I could go back.

Eileen said...

Thanks man! That was great! Whenever I am travelling I try and make a point of connecting with someone who lives in the area. I just find that you get more of an idea of what the city is about, apart from the regular tourist traps. I think that I will appreciate Camden, it just sounds like the type of place that suits me. I am also going to Brighton which is super exciting for me seeing as one of my favourite movies is Quadrophenia.

The more "refined" part of my personality (ahem, ahem) will have a great time at the galleries and museums. I am also intrigued about being in a place with sooooooo much history; I think it may be a little overwhelming. I love the fact that museums and galleries are free, we simply don't get that here. They are publicly funded but not publicly accessible which I find inexcusable, but that would be a lengthy rant so I will stop here. Sorry for the run on sentences but I am very excited about seeing a bit of England. It is also important to me because of course my better half is English and I want to see where he comes from.

Anyhoo, thanks again. I've taken down notes and all. Much appreciated. Tata. Righto. Blimey. Aye. Ta. Tea. Bangers and Mash!

PS: I know I am ridiculous but that IS part of my charm ;)

zen wizard said...

I will really have to visit there--after a rich uncle dies.

Actually, two rich uncles would have to die.

Or maybe four rich uncles would do that Mexican stand-off with each other and simultaneously shoot each other, like in The Departed.

Or I could get really lucky on those Thai baht derivitives.

That is a lot of luck for just one guy.

Could you maybe do a tour guide of the pharmacies, two-and-a-half star hotels, and beaches of Cancun, Mexico?

Gledwood said...

Nessa: dirty time? o you mean people chucking pots of piss out of windows etc?

Eileen: ;->...

ZenWizz: you'll need a lot of dead rich uncles with the current exchange rate... (which apparently has a lot more to do with a strong Euro than anything special to do with the pound)

Anonymous said...

Seeing you're a Guide of London now or at least live there, is it true the Queen keeps ravens in the Tower of London for superstitious reasons?!?

Gledwood said...

O yeah! I got asked to do this... ravens double yes if they ever leave the nation shall fall to its knees...

Gledwood said...

(ravens or not it's doing a pretty good job of that already...)

Anonymous said...

Hhehheee, superstitious Queenie! Is it true the Ravens are encased in some sort of cage to ENSURE they don't help the nation fall to its knees? You also used to eat Blackbirds in PIES!?! Not YOU personally, but 'speaking as a Londoner' :)

Patti said...

Coming to the UK is one of my life's goals. *sigh* LOVE your guide!

Gattina said...

You make me homesick !! For 10 years I went almost each month to visit my son in London ! of course I know all these places. Unfortunately he works now in Amsterdam and my trips to London finished in 2002. Don't you know a cheap nice Bed and Breakfast ?

Gledwood said...

Anon: sing a song of 6p a pocket full of rye, 4 & 20 blackirds baked in a pie; when the pie was opened the birds began to sing ~ and wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?... hmmmm the most grotesque recipe I ever heard starts with a wren. this you stuff into a sparrow (and you can apparently do this) sparrow goes in budgie (well, something a bit bigger...) budgie in blackbird, blackbird in pigeon, pigeon in chicken, chicken in goose, goose in swan and so on until you've stuffed an ostrich (ok slight exaggeration but it's a real recipe with about 12 birds)... in the end you get a 12-layered roast pate kind of thing... ukh!

Patti: cheers dear

Gattina: don't you like Amsterdam? I always wanted to go 1. clubbing (years ago) and 2. to the rijksmuseum... plus to take the trainride to Rotterdam? somewhere else that goes through 2 hrs of constant bulbfields in spring...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You should get this published, Gleds!

Gledwood said...

Maybe one day I will!


tut-tut said...

Now I just need the dollar to gain some strength; I've been bemoaning the fact that travel is out of reach now. Your list (so lyrical, too) is an enticement, though!

Thanks for putting me in your links!

sally in norfolk said...

what a great guide :-)

Anonymous said...

EWWW that is a grotesque bird recipe! We eat emu which is on our Australian Shield, but don't stuff it with all the common birdlife! Kangaroo is healthier eating. Thanks for the sidebar link ;)

zen wizard said...

If the dollar gets any worse, Russian women will start coming over HERE in search of mail-order HUSBANDS.

Zhu said...

Cool! I keep that bookmarked, I'd love to come back to London. Just the pound that's holding me back... damn, even hostels are expensive!

I used to love Carnaby St. for vintage clothes.

Nicole said...

I'd like to add the Borough Market to this. (I really disliked London, but like I've said before, it may have been a few bad factors that came together which made the experience so crap. It will need to get another go in the future and a more extensive visit to really sum it up.) However, the Borough market, beneath the train track was surprisingly filled with wonderful produce and a lively Saturday crowd. That was enjoyable.

Akelamalu said...

You should get a job as a tour guide Gleds! :)

I have to say I prefer your blog without all the videos and having to scroll down to find your latest post honey. How's you liking your new room?

Whitenoise said...

Wow, great work Gled.

Edyta said...

Been everywhere except Harrods. I AM serious.

I dont even know why.
See st my time being in Lithuania, the stuff at the fancy brands shops would always give u the stinky eye.
I've been intimidated ever since, so i dont even step one foot in there. Is it the same in London? Just wanna make sure.

Strangely, it took me only a few months to feel at home in London.

Edyta said...

BTW, i dont get the point of the Bank-Monument separation, they r damn far from each other anyway.

Jeanette said...

Hi Gleds,You would make a good tourist guide. I visited london. Many years ago, went to a lot of the tourist spots. IE! the Tower. Buck. palace , the wax works,westminster Abbey, etc. oh also went into Harrods for a look refused to pay there prices..such a lot of history there . thoughouly enjoyed London..

ERIC-USA said...

GLEDDY are you trying to induce an acid flashback from when I had to drive coming down off some acid from a Grateful Dead show and had to navigate the New Jersey Turnpike! LOL You induced 3 memories of 3 GOOD trips with the Creque Alley remix as my heart actually started beating faster and I had to snap the darn thing off before I spend the rest of the day thinking of spent memories that were good and as we all know that *everyone* drug induced or not would like to relive a really good period of your youth! But that was some funky shit man! I am Jewish and Mamma Cass's father owned a good Jewish Delicatessen that my pop used to eat at when in Lower Manhatten! I'll never forget the time and place it came over the radio that Jerry Garcia died as I was on my way to "Fungi lab" From a summer/fall only *for good weather* 300 level biology class on fungi lab and lecture. On DAY ONE the professor said right off the bat if you are only here to learn about psychadelic mushrooms I'll tell you right now. He then preceded to tell us that when he was studing fungi in the 60's in BERKELY CALIFORNIA (of all places) he was self-testing many times and unknowingly, as DNA was not very specific in the 60's, ate one of the varieties of psycadellic mushrooms which about 1 to the 100,000 of this RARE mushroom it took him over a year to FIND can have a mutation in the DNA that caused him to spend 6 MONTHS in a psychiatric hospital in Berkely, California (UCLA Berkely) and about half of the class walked out. He then got to know many of his students including myself intimately (not sexually) but he knew there were kids smoking pot and going to concerts, etc.... So when we had to do a household hunt for mold he said he has recieved marijuana mold so many times and please dont do it so they dont stop his class!!! LOL It is hard to identify these microscopic molds and fungi and I am glad that I know (I would need a reference book to jog my memory) cand identify these things! SO THANKS GLEDDY FOR BRINGING BACK SOME PLEASANT MEMORIES FOR ME AND LISTEN TO THE LOVIN' SPOONFULL AS IT WAS A COOL GROUP...PLEASE TELL SOME OF YOUR FOLLOWERS ABOUT HOW THE DRUGS PROGRAM/DRUGS WORKER SYSTEM OPERATES AND HOW YOU GET ON AND HOW YOU MANAGE BECAUSE HERE IN THE U.S.A. THEY JUST LET YA ROT AND DIE AND IF YOU WANT TO SLEEP INDOORS YOU CAN GO TO A HOMELESS SHELTER AND SLEEP IN A ROOM WITH 300 OTHER MEN ON FOLD UP COTS AND YOU HAVE TO BE OUT THE DOOR AT 8 AM TO GO JOB HUNTING! Now how the hell does the USA expect someone to get HIRED if they are unkempt, dirty, and their address is from the Salvation Army (a church denomination that trys to get "bums/junkies" back to functioning again and then into church! There is LITTLE "harm reduction" here unfortunately. Take care of your self bud and don't get into any trouble as all of "us" seem to be magnets for troubled people, places and things! Maybe in the next life I can be from a wealthy family from the 1800's! Late- Eric

Gledwood said...

TutTut: the linxx ~ that's cool I'm just sorry it took so long every time I tried b4 it fckd up on me! Re the sinkin' dollar you have my sympathy... it has nothing to do with a superior pound by the way and everything to do with a rigorously bullish EURO... one day it would not surprise me (perhaps sooner rather than later) if the Euro turns round and bites the pound on the bum too...!

Sally: cheers

Anon: yeah and that recipe is supposedly 100% TRUE! and has been done and EATEN probably with much mediaeval JOY!!

ZenWizz: you're quite right

Gledwood said...

Zhu: can you still get vintage clothes on Carnaby St?... you sure? wow... hang on I have to admit I've never REALLY looked in the shops along there they look touristed to death maybe I ought to take a 2nd look... also when I tend to think I'm on "carnaby st" I tend to be on argyll st which is next door or so... innit..?? do you remember..??

Nicole: Borough Market I have marked down for my Alternative Guide to London: many thanxx for the tip!

Akelamalu: Videos: get the hint. New room fine... Tour Guide yeah I spose I could be in my own town... also I could learn the patter in German or French that would be pretty funky haha!

Whitenoise: cheers!

Gledwood said...

Edyta: I felt at home at once in London but then again I relished the relative anonymity also I've always had a "London" kind of accent no matter how posh or not posh I've talked as it's all on a spectrum ... I just loved living somewhere in the beginning where no-one asked me where I'd been to school... nobody KNEW each other from school and thus I never felt left out... that was such a release from stale old times and ways...

Jan: It's a great place for big sights, isn't it... must be a fantastic place to be rich!!

Eric: Hey man what's up with YOU? Long time no hear...

Acid: I 1st took it 3 days after my 1st joint. Had a monumentally bad trip. Got famous bc of it. Took it again and again and again. Sometimes good trips; sometimes bad. Put some observers off EVER trying LSD... but was so deeply unhappy just wanted to feel "different" whatever that entailed... had heroin come along sooner I'd have JUMPED right on it like a lonely horse and cantered!

Mushrooms: some 60s research claimed tripheads could not distinguish the different drugs by the quality of the trips... mushrooms are CERTAINLY different from acid.... esp. that a low dose of acid can be slightly irritating... not quite there... whereas a low dose of mushies (and I've taken loads of "stoned" not "tripping" doses... after my brainfrying times with acid it was a great relief...) these made me LAUGH MY HEAD OFF! haha! someone once gave me a Mexican or something American mushroom in a club once it was huge and made my mouth go BLUE! with the psilocybin... does that ring any bells..?

Those times in the peace 'n' lurve vids, like I said... times neverending... and yet afterwards you can never quite hang on to them 'cept when you're in a similar state again....

WAT said...

It's all so gorgeous, like a dream this city on the Thames, the capital of the world: LONDON! Though I have never visited my dear Gleds, I feel like I know the place, especially through Beatles recordings, the BBC, and films.

Someday soon I expect to visit this lovely place, the heart of the British Empire.

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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.

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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