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, December 31, 2008

Self-Deception and Excuses, Excuses...

OF ALL THE AILMENTS which with I've been "afflicted" ~ mental, physical, whatever, including OCD, depression and paranoid "episodes", the one whose "diagnostic criteria" I've "fulfilled" most fully and directly without question is OPIATE ADDICTION....

Click here for DSM (American doctors') diagnostic criteria for opiate addiction.

"unable to control intake despite numerous attempts to stop"... etc etc. There is no question, no matter from what angle you choose to view it, or what slant you put on it or what spin you put on my past that a heroin addict is what I am and a full-blown one at that. I don't go along with many I've heard in groups who declare they've been a lifelong addict even before they found drugs. That is not me. It took heroin, which is arguably the most potently addictive substance of all, to make me an addict. But I am an addict now ~ no question.

I have not troubled to research my condition too thoroughly because I know all about it from the inside. What reading I have done, however has left me with a few choice nuggets that stuck with me. One such pearl (mixed metaphors ahoy!) is that opiate addicts have an exaggerated concept and experience of suffering". This wording is typical of one viewing the condition from the outside, who is forgetting one basic fact ~ that all suffering is relative. It has as much to do with background and expectations as experience. Plus it is apt to bear in mind that opiate addiction, far from being a chase for some long-lost "ultimate high", has more to do with escaping pain and suffering than anything else. In this respect the heroin junkie has perhaps more in common with the outright alcoholic than addicts to other drugs which tend to be uppers like crystal meth, other sorts of speed, cocaine or crack that do provide some experience of "excitement"... empty as that might turn out to be in the end.

This is an aspect of life (I was going to say "addiction", but once you get far-gone addiction and life become interchangeable because addiction is your life... but I was discussing the following with my old friend Lee, who gave up heroin after a 30+ year habit and stayed stopped despite liver cancer (had a chunk of that chopped out), nasty interferon combination treatment for hepatitis C and the death of one of our closest friends who I called Lucky (she and he went back a long long way)... through all this he may of wavered, but he did not use. But when he WAS still using I described the experience of going out penniless it felt like I would never make the money. But I sat down and stayed resolutely there no matter how inclement the conditions and made my money. Then I hit the phone box (never had a mobile in those days), got the best dealer I could (there was always a shopping list of descending preference...) waiting there, often in the dark, the cold, the rain, feeling like he was never going to come. When he did I was still not happy. I'd wait what seemed an age for the bus back, stewing: "it had better not be small, or crap..." and the bus seemed to take a lifetime, stopping every hundred yards, to drive me the two miles or so home. All this time I was telling myself the experience was intolerable. Even the couple of hundred yards between bus stop and front door seemed too much and I'd half walk half run to get there. Keys already sorted for when I hit the door. In twist bang. I wasn't meant to slam the door but never had patience to do anything gracefully by this time. I'd barge into my friend's flat: this was a friend who I'd literally met, who'd picked me up off the street... I'd barge in already stripping off clothes to get body and needle together ss rapidly as possible. Shoving into the bathroom I'd answer queries about how I was how the day had gone in a yeah-yeah way, rapidly breaking fresh works from the packet, cursing the water for not filling it up quick enough, pouring on citric acid. The lighter flame was never fierce enough (but I hated cooking up with those alcohol swabs). I'd watch the dried-mud-looking gear alchemizing under water into mahogany-coloured solution, not happy, not relaxed but telling myself again how intolerable it was to have to wait. As far as I was concerned, it even took too long to draw up into the spike. And then damp, sweating and desperate I'd plug the needle in (at least that in those days didn't usually take very long)... blood rushes back: BINGO. Push in. Half a minute later I felt it: like life itself running into my veins. It was never a strong feeling, even when I took enough to overdose. Heroin just does not feel strong. But it did feel beautiful. And though I told myself the drug didn't work for me any more it reduced every evening to a haze of food, lost hours of television and falling asleep on the couch. I had long forgotten how to sleep like a normal person. And no matter how much heroin I had bought ~ unless it was several grams it was all too often gone by morning.

What was that rant about?... "Intolerable!" Even life's pettiest annoyances took on that description. Intolerable! The fairytale of The Princess and the Pea could have been written about a junkie.

It was only today that I realized, mental excrement passing through my brain and a plethora of reasons (focusing around the fact that it was cold) WHY it was a totally unreasonable idea that I should go without heroin today.

I'm afraid I did ring the dealer around 10am. By the time I'd walked the length of my road he was calling back to say he was there. So I did use and today should be totally tolerable. Except I've all this to say...

People have applauded my blog (sometimes) for being so "frank" and "honest". I do try to be these things. Yet I'm a full-blown junkie who's still using... I do try to be straightforward and truthful.

Yet it follows that if I fulfill every other diagnostic criterion of junkiehood then I must be deceiving myself in some way ~ if not in every way.

This much stands to reason: those who are deceived cannot know it.

... So what is my blind spot? I've no idea...

And there I had better leave it before I do start muddying the waters...


Akelamalu said...

Isn't the first step admitting that you are an addict? Move on from there. x

Gledwood said...

but I admitted that years ago! it's impossible to be addicted to heroin for very long without realizing it. the physical pull of it is too magnetic NOT to know...

Lucinda said...

You seem pretty aware of how you are acting. I don't think you have a very obvious blind spot, or at least, nothing I've seen.

BTW, I love your blog. Even though, I think I've already said that before. = )

Happy New Year's Eve, Gledwood!

molson said...

A new year. The same old addiction. It would seem this is weighing heavily on you at the moment. Is it normally worse for you at the new year or is this new year particularly difficult? I know for myself, nothing I did in 2008 worked. It's not looking any better for the new year either. At least I am not fighting addiction. Here's hoping we all catch a break and soon, but I am not going to dwell on the bad. Instead, I am going to wish you a Happy New Year Gledwood. Same goes to all who visit this blog. Happy New Year!

David Tellez said...

Wow, Gledwood. That's some powerful posting right there. I just came by way of a comment you left me and...honestly, I did not expect to read what I just read.

I would say that the first step to resolving your problem is to admit you have a problem. But you've done that already. And the problem still exists.

I wonder...do you even want to get off the drug? Because I think, admitting is very much different than wanting to actually stop. When you admit something and put it out there in the universe, it's just a form of recognizing the metaphorical pink suede elephant in the room. But it doesn't necessarily mean you want to quit.

You talked about the harsh reality of scoring heroin; waiting out in the bitter cold, the mental anguish, the need to get it any way you could, the infectious sickness and even the loss of a liver.

But not once did you say, I want to stop. I want to stop waiting in the cold. I want to stop meeting people off the street and stop relying on the kindness of strangers. I want to stop feeling life in my veins and want to start feeling adrenaline and live life.

So, I'm just curious, do you even want to stop?

BTW...LOVE the blog! Very James Frey.

Deb said...

I do believe that awareness is the foundation for building any kind of change or moving forward.

One day the pieces will fall into place for you...I really feel that each bit of investigating you do is part of the process. Like you're open to looking at it all and that those doors are open for you. Time and patience love. Keep plodding along/trying. I have lifelong "things" that I continually try and conquer and feel defeated when I'm unsuccessful. We're not perfect, but as long as we understand that and are willing to at least look at things that might help us, we're still moving in the right direction.

It must be frustrating to read books when YOU KNOW, firsthand, what the deal is. You should write a book ;)

Keep trudging Gled. We're with you and praying that one day this demon lets go of you and you can, once again, live life the way you really want to. Feel that "beauty" without any additional "help". xo

Baino said...

David has put things very succinctly Gleds. You write with such eloquence, such intelligence, it's so sad to see you in Emergency housing, scrimping and scraping and slave to this awful addiction. There's been a more 'positive' side to you over the past couple of weeks, in thought if not in action, even though you've remained using . . .the only way to beat this is to remove yourself from your current situation, ask for help and make the decision and that takes an enormous amount of resourcefulness and courage . . .I wish you both for the new year.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You are so honest, Gleds. As I've said before, I'm sure this blog is helping many.

Happy New Year to you. You can be all the things you want to be.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Heroin addict you may be, junkie you may be, talented writer you are without a doubt. That was an incredibly powerful post, Gleds, and I literally felt what you were feeling. If one can write like that, it's a gift and I really really hope you use that gift to give the world your writings.

All the very best for 2009, my friend, and may the addictions gremlins die a horrible death and leave you alone.

Queenneenee said...

admitting is fine and dandy, how about accepting it now?

Jeannie said...

I think the feeling of "life itself running into my veins" would be next to impossible to want to give up on my own. If I weren't such a chickenshit (prudent as it may be) you might have halfway talked me into trying it myself.

You know the pros. You know the cons. You know your weaknesses. But you are in love with a very dangerous mistress. Having OCD and suffering depression compound the issue (although perhaps you are self-medicating).

You already know that you must one day beat this or you will die from it. You want to escape. Escape what? It is more than just withdrawal you don't wish to face. I think you could handle withdrawal fine. You are strong willed or you wouldn't go through what it takes to get what you want. It's that demon that chased and cornered you into taking it the first time you need to exorcise.

Because whatever it was before, you did not want to live like that any more. And maybe now you don't have to. Maybe you are only in the habit of running from something that stopped chasing you a long time ago.

I could be full of shit too.

But I think you need some real world support. Hope you get it.

Gledwood said...

thanks people. i think the CRUX is I don't want it enough as (again an NA phrase) would I cut off my arm to go clean? no. have I tolerated mild withdrawal to go clean? never when drugs were on hand which says it all

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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