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!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Poets' Corner

HERE FOR HOLIDAY MONDAY is my own little dead poets' society ~ reading their own work. If you don't like the words, you might like some of the visuals. Not everything I looked for I could find a decent version of. So I'm sorry about the "modern art" sound effects over Thomas Sterns Eliot.

Starting with the best:
T S Eliot: Little Gidding

with the immortal line:

ash on an old man's sleeve
is all the ash burnt roses leave ...

Jeremy Paxman is like a rude, British, male version of Barbara Walters. This is why he sees fit to have his own say first:

Sylvia Plath: Lady Lazarus
I didn't expect American-born, highly neurotic Plath to sound so authoritative... or so English. Not all poets are expert at reading their own work.
Sylvia Plath lived for many years (and died) married to Ted Hughes (poet laureate 1984-1998) in the UK.
She is boasting here about surviving her own suicide attempts.
She died with her head in the oven in 1963
This verse was published posthumously:

OK this isn't read by the poet but it's good.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No drugs for dinner


Not for that...
I've food on the brains.

These Fox's Viennese chocolate melts...

...were very nice dunked in tea the other morning.

Flapper usually isn't far from his cherry tree or the neighbours' luxury TV aerial 10 houses down. When he sees me he takes off... Flapper by name, Flapper by nature...

Chinese chicken curry is calling my name!
But at £6.20 with egg fry rice it's too expensive, and it's too late in the day for a combination box...

So I'm going Southern Fried instead!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flapper is back!


It started with a faint coo at 05:18 hours, when I thought I was dreaming. But he's definitely back. Yes! Flapper's back up the cherry-tree and has been advertising his presence with loud coo-cooing all morning!

Whatever he's been up to (and he really did disappear yesterday) I have no idea of knowing. But he's cooing away so much I'm sure he's trying to tell me...

Forget German... French... Double-Dutch. Perhaps I should be learning to speak Pigeon!

Friday, May 28, 2010

History of Heroin....

I HAVE BEEN conducting research into the tale of opium and heroin production and use... what a convoluted tale it is! The following post is simply a digest of what I found out... I hope someone manages to follow it to the end!

One pattern I heard about and we can all see repeated time and time over: when America goes into drug source-countries, rather than seeing these drugs destroyed ~ what happens, but a gigantic INCREASE in the amount of narcotics sheipped west.

But not just west. Wherever these drugs touch ground, addiction follows. Cocaine addiction is rife in South America. Heroin (plus opium) addiction is now endemic on all six continents, though in descending order, the largest markets are now Asia, Europe and North America...

The oldest evidence of opium poppy cultivation goes back to Mesopotamia in about 3500BC. For centuries an opium trade flourished in Babylonia, Assyria and ancient Egypt. In later centuries trade spread throughout the Mediterranean ~ Greece, Rome and far beyond.

The first recorded narcotic prohibition dates to the Dark Ages, the era of the crusades when anything Eastern, opium included, was branded Unholy. European references to opium disappeared for two hundred years.

By the age of the Enlightenment poppy was back. Shakespeare references opium in Othello, when the noxious character Iago declares

Not poppy nor mandragora
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep.


The Romantic poets were famously into opium. Colerage claimed to have jotted down Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea...

Analysis of the text reveals he was poetically running out of steam as the verse runs on (lines are getting shorter and shorter) but he blames an acquaintance hammering at the door on the premature end of his reverie.

Keats claimed his Ode to a Nightingale was opium-inspired:

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk...

Alex Hayter's Opium and the Romantic Imagination explores the relationship between the drug and literature in depth. Hayter frequently references Thomas de Quincy's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, a tome that tells far more about De Quincy than it ever reveals about opium. Apart from this, Hayter's solidly researched tome is a core text for anyone interested in the topic.

By the Victorian era, opium use was rife throughout the West. Many patent medicines (no ingredients on the bottles!) ~ including those for teething babies ~ contained opium amongst many other things. The Opium Eater became a popular figure of revilement at the time. Opium generally wasn't "eaten" but consumed as laundanum drops. Laudanum was a tincture of opium in brandy or sherry.

In 1810 morphine was first isolated from opium. (Opium is typically 10% morphine.)
In 1843 the hypodermic needle and syringe came along ~ the junkie's "works"
In 1874 diamorphine was first created by heating morphine for some hours in acetic anhydride, (interestingly, this mirrors the production process for aspirin, which had been invented some years earlier)
In 1893 Bayer Pharmeceuticals in Germany began production of diamorphine. They trademarked their product Heroin. Like laudanum and morphine it was sold openly in chemists' shops throughout the world.

Because morphine was refined "essence" of opium, and because diamorphine was further refined from morphine (1g of morphine converts to 1g diamorphine, but diamorphine is at least twice as potent) ~ proponents of these products naively believed each one offered a cure for addiction to the one before!

The British Government became involved in the opium trade in the early 1800s, growing vast amounts of the drug in North-Westerly India and shipping it to China, upon which they had imperial ambitions. Hundreds of thousands of the South Chinese quickly became opium addicts. The Chinese empire was not best pleased. A full-scale opium war kicked off. The Brits won and took Hong Kong in triumph.

Hong Kong would later form an important trading post for China White heroin from the infamous Golden Triangle in Thailand-Burma-Laos more than a century later.

Chinese immigrants, addicted due to the actions of the British, flooded to the United States, bringing their addiction with them. This, among other factors, was a starting point for the heroin addiction now widespread in the west.

By the early 20th century heroin and cocaine addiction were rife throughout the west. America was the first country to take action in 1905, 1906 and 1914, eventually banning all narcotics sales in 1923.

From then there was a very small, underground market in illicit heroin in the United States. In Britain, meanwhile, heroin was illegal but, like morphine, available on prescription to anyone with clinical need (severe pain). It could also be prescribed by any doctor to treat heroin addiction, as it was (to a tiny number, perhaps 200) for many years. Heroin still is prescribed to a tiny number (around 400) heroin addicts in the UK, but doctors require a special licence to do so.

World War II effectively blocked supply routes for opium and heroin to the west.

After the war European gangs set up a network whereby Turkish opium was shipped to the South of France where it was turned into high grade heroin by expert chemists. From there some travelled north. Paris became a centre for illegal narcotics. But most was shipped across the Atlantic, where it hit the streets of New York. New York City was the first western town to develop a serious heroin problem.

With the advent of 1960s' drug experimentation, heroin became fashionable for those bored of cocaine, LSD, speed and the rest. In London, a couple of notorious "junkie doctors" took advantage of the liberal British law to prescribe enormous doses of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to anyone who had money to pay them. According to Tony Sanchez in Up and Down with the Rolling Stones much of the heroin availble to London-based experimentors at the time was in the form of 10mg "jacks", which resembled saccharine pills. These were easily obtained either via "junkie doctors" or via groups who specialized in robbing the woefully under-secured pharmacies of the time.

Cocaine, incidentally, was often diverted from legitimate dentists' supplies. Being a controlled drug any use of cocaine had to be written up in the book. Novacaine and the alternatives were not controlled, so nobody compared drugs ordered with those seemingly used. Bent dentists simply expressed a clinical preference for treating ALL their patients with cocaine, but actually gave them Novacaine or something else. The cocaine was sold on at extraordinary profit ~ it cost several hundred pounds per gram in today's money. Hence its cachet as the "rock star's drug".

With the tightening up of heroin prescription in the late 60s and early 70s, illicit Chinese heroin made its first appearance on London's streets, specifically Gerard Street in Soho, which was centre of the action. My friend Lucky always said she was involved in heroin supply at this time. She was the right age and did indeed have a mysterious, faded Chinese tattoo on her right hand. She said the heroin of the time was called Elephant, Rice or Three Crowns. The brands denoted varying grades of drug. It was imported via Liverpool and cost something like £100 or £150 an ounce, which sounds cheap but translates to more than £1500 in today's money ~ more than double what today's dealers pay.

Chinese heroin dominated the tiny British market until the end of the 1970s. Meanwhile in New York the French Connection fed the East Coast's growing habit.

Opium had been grown in Mexico since the 1800s. In the 1950s local drug gangs, whose main trade was in cannabis, began experiemnting with heroin production. Unable to obtain the proper chemicals they improvised their own production process, coming up with the notorious Mexican Black Tar, a low-grade mixture of diamorphine, and 3- and 6- monoacetylmorphine. Tar heroin has a low purity at manufacture (in the 80s, when tar heroin first made an impact, purity was less than 30%, it is now 40-50% diamorphine, though levels of 3MAM and 6MAM can be extremely high. This type of "heroin" still has the latexy consistency of opium and unlike ordinary heroin, a hard block, tar is often soft and putty-like. It is extremely bad for the veins and can cause terrible problems when skin-popped. Anyway, this stuff took off in Los Angeles and the Western United States in the 1980s. It is still the dominant form of heroin there today.

By the early 1970s, a 120-kilo seizure and raids on Marseilles-based laboratories, the French Connexion came tumbling down. America's war in Vietnam fuelled a new trade in "China white", to which by the war's end an estimated 15% of GIs were addicted. They returned home, bringing their taste for narcotics with them. As has happened so many times, American invasion and involvement in an area rapidly produced a burgeoning drug business. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s the Golden Triangle region of Burma, Laos and Thailand led the way in heroin and opium production.

Meanwhile, revolution and overthrow was happening in Iran ~ which just so happened to be a another major source and transit country for heroin (in the so-called Golden Crescent of Turkey-Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan). Wealthy Iranian nationals fled to the west, taking with them (so it is claimed) their wealth in the form of heroin bricks.

The 1973 Afghan Revolution, where the King was deposed, marked another new chapter in the story of heroin. Opium, previously unheard of as a cash crop, began to be grown in vast amounts all over the country.

In the mid to late 1970s a new base form of heroin, known as "brown sugar" and "number three" ~ as opposed to the high-grade China white, which is heroin hydrochloride, also known as "number four" began to make appearances across Europe. It was distributed by Turkish gangs, who were far better organized than the Chinese and used land routes, rather than individual couriers (who can only carry a few kilos) ~ to deliver multi hundred kilo shipments to western Europe.

Heroin is produced in four basic stages.
Stage 1: raw opium is processed, removing surplus plant matter, reducing the mass to 80%
Stage 2: more easily-smuggled morphine base at 50% purity reduces weight and mass to 20%
Morphine base can, if desired, be refined into morphine sulphate ~ the drug used in hospitals across the world
Stage 3: morphine base is converted to heroin base ~ aka #3 heroin, which can be very easily smoked from tinfoil, making a more versatile and attractive product for those who do not wish to inject
Stage 4: injection-quality heroin hydrochloride ~ aka #4

Brown heroin first hit Germany (with its huge Turkish immigrant population) in increasing amounts from the mid-1970s. Overdose deaths quickly multiplied. Though lower grade than Golden Triangle "China white", the Golden Crescent heroin was often stronger at street level (ie less adulterated). It was also cheaper. A new habit started up, starting in continental Europe, but spreading to Britain by the early 80s "golden brown" was the mystical intoxicant of the Stranglers' chart hit. 1980s "brown" was the first true heroin epidemic in Britain. Inner cities and housing estates were flooded with a constant supply. Purity remained constant at an average 40%.

In the 1990s, the Colombian Cali cartel, seeing that America was awash with cocaine and crack, began producing their own #4 heroin. By undercutting the Chinese considerably on price, they soon forced China White out of the market. New York Street heroin, which had sunk to less than 10% purity in the 80s, now soared past 60% and higher. Colombian heroin is now the dominant type in the Eastern United States. Purity, of course fell as Colombian market share strengthened. Latest figures put retail purity at just under 40%.

Political upheaval and extended drought saw Burma, once the world's largest opium producer, lose this dubious honour by the early 2000s. War in Afghanistan saw poppy cultivation there boom. In 2007 world production of heroin exceeded that of cocaine for the first time. Afghanistan was producing 96% of this heroin, against Burma's 3% and 1% each for Mexico and Colombia.

Central and South American heroin supplies an estimated 95% of the American market ~ ie 2% of the world's total. With the heroin problem there as bad as it is, some pause for thought is required: where is that other 98% going?

Contrary to popular assumption, most heroin isn't used in "the West" at all, but at home in Asia. Addiction rates are astronomical in Pakistan, Iran, India, China and the "Stans" along the former Soviet Union's southern border: Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan and so on.

As new supply routes target Africa as a transit point, addiction in that continent has boomed in the past decade.

Australia, famously in "heroin drought" for much of the early 2000s, once again has a constant supply of China White heroin from Burma and bordering states.

In 2003 a North Korean liner, the Pong Su, ran aground on Southern Australia's trecherous coast. But not before 125kg or more of China White were offloaded. China White heroin bearing Burma's famous Double UOGlobe stamp... yet chemical analysis determined the high grade heroin not to be Burmese at all...

And so we come to the newest chapter in World Heroin ~ North Korea, has quietly and constantly been producing an estimated 6 metric tonnes of high grade heroin annually (as well as 15 tonnes or more of methamphetamine). Perhaps because these drugs go to Taiwan, Japan and other places, but never the vociferous United States ~ North Korea's involvement in world narcotics distribution has someohow gone barely remarked-upon... Though the climate is said not to be ideally suited to poppy cultivation, farmers have the state on their side to assist, and to refine the opium professionally in factories that otherwise make legitimate products.

There is no end to the story of heroin because it goes on and on. Here, wherever you are and in the poppy fields, where farmers, already in debt to opium dealers, say they cannot afford to farm anything else.

If the our governments wanted to stamp out opium production they would have ensured the poppy disappeared long ago from Afghanistan. Instead it has flourished. And it will continue to flourish wherever the winds of instability blow next. And the finished product ~ white, brown or a dirty tar will wend its way to a town near you, where someone like me will pick it up... and the whole nasty cycle of this history continues to roll on ...


Note (about 2 mins into this) the cleaned-up addict keeps a loft of cooing pigeons who go for a flutter in Kabul's evening air ~ just like Flapper, who loves my local cherry tree!

To see this film: Fateful Harvest Afghanistan's Opium And Heroin Trade in its entirety (about half an hour) click here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where's Flapper?

FLAPPER, my personal Pie-Pigeon, who hangs out round the cherry tree on the corner, was nowhere to be seen this morning. I hope he's OK and not been made into a pie by somebody else. Maybe he has decided to do a spot of homing and flapped off somewhere wood pigeons like to congregate on their days off. Bankholiday Monday's coming up. Maybe Flapper is ensconced up some Parisian tree, in a five-star nest with some exotic bird... preening each other's plumage; ordering the choicest seeds on nest-service and feeding them bill-to-bill... all the while cooing sweet nothings...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5am Heroine.

IT IS 05:48 HOURS as I start writing, though I have been musing on what I might say since long back. Outside, on my Turkish Chocolate Biscuit Trip, Flapper, my Giant Tubby Pie Pigeon (who I now know for sure is a wood pigeon, as opposed to the feral town bird, which is a species of rock dove ~ rock doves have iridescent scarves thrown over their shoulders; wood pigeons are clad in matte pastel tones and, as I said before, wear a tiny white cravat. Unlike the plucky rock dove, who we've all seen eating from the hands of French tourists he doesn't even know, I know Flapper, my Pie Dove will never become hand tame. Temperamentally they are the roborovskis of the pigeon world. Untrusting and flighty. Talking of roborovskis, I remember spotting my late three furry pingpong balls asleep in their toothpaste box nest at the time, all looking cute in a row. Unlike other hamsters, who curl into a ball sideways, like a dog or a cat might, robos nearly always sleep on their feet. So that if they are startled they can ping without delay! Anyway I saw the furry swines sleeping peacefully and thought I might surprise them with a tasty nibble for their rodent monoteeth (apparently they only have ONE tooth, top and bottom) so in I poked a "lady's finger" ~ that is a piece of okra or gumbo. O man ~ the commotion! Three tiny balls of fur pinged out the other end of that tube in a furry explosion. You'd think I'd pushed a needle-toothed baby crocodile in after them, snapping at their tubby bums. If they could have done, they'd have waved their hands in the air in horror and cheered, three little drama queens that they were. The reason I've not got any new hammies (apart from that roborovski hamsters are so very hard to find when you want them) is that I'm so terrified of them escaping again. The door to the hallway has a half-inch gap under it. To a little robbie this is as High as the Fourth Road Bridge. In my old house they would go missing for two and three days at a time. Only when I had given up hope of ever seeing each escapee alive again would I suddenly, usually far after midnight, see a furry hallucination silently whizzing across the floor. The ONLY way I ever successfully caught them was by 1. coaxing them into a box or something I could then pick up and deposit back into the robo-tank or 2. throwing a teeshirt or something over them. Even then, if I got my aim spot-on, the tiny terror would be half-over the edge, bulgy-eyed and frozen with fear. Of course, in a situation like that they think a predator has them. Another unique behaviour of robo-hamsters as opposed to "normal" ones was frequent playing dead at times of high stress. Which did look funny sometimes. So from a constantly moving, pinging jamboree of furriness, suddenly the hamster-tank turned into a Madame Tussauds of frozen furry astonishment. Hamsters are exceptionally good at looking surprised.

Now enough about furries. Except to say I actually saw a Norwich terrier yesterday! For the first time in my life. The tiny doggie trotted past me, then away. It was almost like being in the presence of The Queen...

Well it is now a good seventeen hours later. Should I have taken that hit, dripping with syrupy-golden poppy-juice? All it did was make me sleep. And sleep again... My feelings towards this drug ~ heroin ~ and my addiction are split and mixed.

On the one hand I hear my own voice, blithely prattling out the name of the hardest drug known to man. HEROIN. Without saviour of a final softening respectable letter e it's a dirty word, evoking misery, gloom, grunge and despair. Wasted days, wasted years, wasted lives.

And yet Heroin, as trademarked by the German pharmaceuticals firm Bayer in 1898, means strong and brave and heroisch and noble. The fine white lady. My saviour.

My reasons for taking heroin ~ and I mean, for ever wanting to try it, for keeping on trying it. For being attracted to it in the first place. The reasons I was drawn to its narcotic black hole that radiates the glamour of transgression ~ these are all so complicated, I only recently realized I have told myself a Received Version of my own Truth. A convenient Edited Highlights Version, snipped free of inconvenient contradictions and inconsistencies.

It's not so much that Truth Hurts; my truth is very, very complicated.

Heroin saved me. Or I certainly thought it had, for a long time. When I was on heroin I at last had confidence and joy and the love of a relationship with the drug and a human soul-mate.

Years of inadequacy and misery. Years of being someone who never quite fit anywhere, never fitted with himself ~ these dissolved like drops of bright rain streaming down my window. Nothing in the past ever seemed to matter any more. As a druggie high on drugs I was actually able to live in the moment. Past and future were confined to the trash. Little did I realize my life was heading for the garbage can, too.

The most striking difference between me On Heroin and me Before Heroin was, that on heroin I no longer daydreamed at all. The drug was enough of a living daydream. Heroin enlivens and dulls at the same time. It cured all my pain ~ mental, physical ~ everything, for a while. Having endured years of what doctors called Chronic Fatigue and Depression I now felt free.

The last psychiatrist I saw said I was... still AM self-medicating.

He implied that, unlike many other users who use to escape boredom or many other things I wasn't using to escape. I was using as someone incomplete, who with heroin suddenly felt whole. These are my words for his expressions. I think he was right.

From the beginning my interest never was in getting "out of it", being wiped out, unconscious. Heroin gave me an accelerated, brighter better version of me, full of confidence that felt real. Not a jittery turbo-charge like cocaine's counterfeit security. The heroin-state felt totally and utterly real to me. And of course I only wished I could be like that all the time.

In the beginning I WAS like that all the time.

I have been musing deeper and deeper on ... what am I doing? Where shall I go? How did I ever get like this? And how will I ever get out? Do I want to get out?

One thing I've come to accept: methadone treatment is NOT working for me. It is not making me feel OK. Physically (mostly) perhaps, but not mentally. On methadone the depression is so intense sometimes it is unbearable. Methadone is supposed to give addicts a shot at normality. theoretically a well-functioning addict could even hold down a job on methadone. I have never, EVER willingly done ANYTHING on methadone. I sit and sit. i look around at the mess that desperately needs fixing and have no energy for any of it. Nothing changes. Nothing gets done. Since methadone, nothing has improved, except that I have stopped going out making money to pay for gear. But my non-life has slipped into a black hole. Anything I need to do: a dentist appointment, a trip to see my mum, a trip into town ~ I have tried doing these things on methadone, they are heavy, burdensome chores. No matter how much I might "want" to get them done. I very much want to see my Mum, but the process of getting there entails extreme stress. I have tried living on methadone and it just does not work for me.

Now I am realizing there ARE other treatments out there, ones that work. Yet they always seem to be for someone else.

I think I told the story of when someone gave me a bottle of morphine syrup which I drank instead of methadone. I was amazed at how good I felt. I felt absolutely OK and fine. The life-defying dolour of methadone was gone. I am now researching whether my addiction could not be treated perhaps with direct heroin or morphine therapy. The heroin would be injectable or smokeable, morphine would probably come in long-release pills. The deeper I dig, the more disappointed I am, that therapy I know would at least give me a chance has so far been denied me.

I have been on various methadone scripts for over TEN years, I have gone to two detox units but couldn't handle even medication-assisted detox. I have tried Subutex. I have gone cold turkey. The ONLY improvements over ten years have been: 1. I no longer go out "grafting" ~ begging money to get my hit and 2. I now pay bills on time and get in weekly shopping. Not every single penny goes on drugs as it used to. But every spare one still DOES and that's the point.

I used to think and it has been levelled at me, both expressly and in many snidey ways, that I was somehow weak for not being able to go through with, for example a detox where every care was taken to make clients as comfortable as possible. You'll hear the whining junkies in there state "we're all in the same boat"...

But I look back and realize we were NOT all in the same boat. I was the ONLY person awake ALL NIGHT at that place. Nobody else lost half their days a gibbering emotional wreck in the 1-2-1 counselling room. No we weren't in the same boat, not at all. Nobody else I know seems literally to have gone crazy doing cold turkey detox. I was horrified years later to see I had met diagnostic criteria for "mixed bipolar episode" when I tried to come off heroin. Only when I heard repeated stories of people lying in bed for a week, sick, did I realize my experience was totally different. Far from lying down, I couldn't keep still for more than 2 seconds. In both detoxes I got extra meds, which is about as commonplace as a Norwich terrier with wings. I could go on and on. I'm not saying my problems are insurmountable. I'm just saying I feel that STILL ~ after all this time, they have not been properly addressed.

If I felt I could deal with this situation myself, trust me I would just go away and sick it out. but all that is likely to do, in all honesty is put me in a mental hospital if not a morgue. Because I will kill myself. If life is hopeless on drugs, imagine how bleak it feels with no drugs at all?

I can't believe I ever got so dependent. I hate it.

I feel desperate and angry. With myself. With the "system" I've got wrapped up in. With methadone, which I absolutely loathe ~ no question about that. I wish I could actually envision life clean, like those smiling characters who adorn American websites offering high-priced clinic facilities. But I honestly do not see it.

I could talk on and on but I'll only talk round more circles. I have just had enough. But WHAT NOW?


Famous Thai vomiting and bitter herbs detox among monks...

NEW FULL-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY at my Random Video Blog: Afghanistan's Fateful Harvest... CLICK TO SEE.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Soldier

THIS, one of the best-loved of all World War I poems, is often contrasted mockingly with Wilfred Owen's darker work (see yesterday and day before) ~ it certainly was at my school.
But I still like it:

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.



Whoever put this video together did a spectacular job...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cool Down With Perrier

NOW HERE'S A BLAST FROM THE PAST... or ought that to be a splish-splosh-SPLASSHHH!! PERRIER WATER! Today has been roasting hot.
When it's hot in Britain everybody roasts because nothing in this country is designed for anything other than a mediocre range of temperature from about 3 degrees C to about 20. Any day outside that range feels unbearable. Unbearably hot or wutheringly cold ~ because there is no insulation against cold and worst of all no ventilation to dissipate heat.
Buses are sweat-boxes with barely-opening windows.
The Underground is unbearable. It feels well over 100 degrees F down there.
The chemists shop was boiling. I have the slightest mildest hint of a cold and like just about any sickness (apart from drug withdrawal) it is making me sleep. And sleep. And sleep and sleep and sleep all day. So I wake up cold, put my coat on.
First thing I notice on the high street is how everybody else is wearing school PE kit. (That was The Face magazine's estimation of 1980s British summer fashion ~ lurve it!) And I'm in my junkie's long coat with lots of pockets.
I get to the chemist without sweating. Bring the methadone home. In my old area, which was far more junkie-ridden I would never walk down the street with methadone bottle in hand, even shrouded in pharmacy bag, because everyone who would know knew what was in that bag and I was once violently accosted by a crazed woman (who I knew) DEMANDING that I GIVE.
Thing was, (I wasn't just saying telling her this; it was true) it was not my chemist, not my dose.
I had just undergone the third degree to prove yes I WAS supposed to be collecting this prescription, gone through all this stress just to help out a sick friend. (Heroin addicts very rarely get ill, but when they do it lingers on and on...)
And methadone clinics don't really seem to be oriented around the fact that their "clients" might not be in optimum health, which can make organizing methadone collection when you're too sick to go in an absolute nightmare. Anyway this silly hag harangues me and in the end I just walked off.
She threatened all sorts of stuff and I told her to do her worst.
This particular crazywitch is an Irish traveller and she's always threatening her brothers on people. What she does not realize is, I know her mother from times of old. Her Mum used to give me 50p every time she saw me in my begging years. I was told she liked me because I was so unlike her scummy daughter...
All day I have been craving... Water! Fizzy water!! I could have bought fizzed up tap water at 10p for 2 litres from Morrisons (packaging says something like "value sparkling water": no mention of minerals or springs which means it's just tap water, filtered and CO2'd! Consumer tellyprogs like to make out this would be a "con". To me it's a lesson not to make assumptions!
Anyhow, in the end I purchased 75 "centilitres" as they like to call them ~ a centilitre being 10mls of Perrier. Good old yummy perrier volcanic water that if it weren't treated would taste of rotten eggs ~ so we all heard in the benzene PR disaster of yesteryear... "fortified with gas from the spring"... there's something yummy in that gas, for Perrier tastes nothing like any other water I know... Plus it's a real blast back to the 1970s and 80s, when, in Britain at least, Perrier was the only mineral water widely available and the idea of actually paying for bottled water, when our own taps ran freely with eaux potables was sheer anathema to the frugal Brits... Anyway. Further to yesterday's FUTILITY, here is Wilfred Owen's most famous work. The title Dulce et Decorum est refers to a Latin phrase of the time: "it is a sweet and noble thing to die for one's country"...

Dulce et Decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen 1893-1918

Greatest war poet of his generation. Died aged 25... what a loss...

Reminds me of the old song: Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Truth hurts

In Wisconsin, Anna Grace, who tried Naloxone SUBoxone ~ get it right, is back on methadone and riding the great Bipolar Cycle to... who knows where? In New Mexico Melody Lee is lacerated to pieces. Everybody dies. She says

...please don't turn your good intentions my way, misguided sympathy I can do without! I don't feel sorry for myself, I damn well don't expect anyone else to. If you are stupid enough to extend a sympathetic hand, don't be surprised if I lop it off and sell it for dope, **** your pity and the horse it rode in on bitch!
I refuse to be that person, the one who pens a pretty tale of coercion, addiction, destruction and eventual redemption.I'll leave that to all the whiny ****s who get off on waxing about how high were their highs and how low their lows. Pfffft! Enough whiny ****s, I won't add myself to their number.

I am reminded of the song by Sinead O'Connor that says

He won't ask for your pity or your sympathy
But surely you should care...


In Oklahoma, Noah says he wants methadone (why?!) Methadone is more addictive than heroin (simple fact: if you don't believe me, phone a detox centre claiming to be on heroin and methadone and see if they don't tell you to stop the methadone before you come in (not the heroin ~ the methadone! What does that tell you? Which is worse? And how did this farcical situation ever arise?))

If you don't want heroin OR methadone, here is a lullaby to lull you to sleep.
I don't know WHY she called it "rebel song" ~ it is a traditional Irish ballad!

Talking of whiny ****s moaning about high highs and low lows and redemption, she just put her finga on why I couldn't write a misery memoir. It's not like I didn't have the material. For one thing there was no redemption, so I thought that might make a good surprise ending I AM STILL ON IT TODAY! Other thing was, I had a thing about changing names to protect the guilty. How much was my own story, how much theirs? In the end, I decided the TRUTH could be far better told fictionally, where you have full range to say anything you like about anyone. Because they are not real. If I actually finished this, if it was actually any good. If it actually came out and I actually got cash, I would put myself through rehabilitation. But not some summer camp for the broken. I mean quick anaesthetic detox and away to Timbuktu type rehab. I would rather sit on an African beach crying alone than talk this crap out "in group".

When junkies get clean and the mutual interest of the sheen of drugs is dulled, they are incredibly boring people to be with. Addiction bends unique individuals the same same way. That is one reason rehab is so intolerable. The talk talk talk. All the same. And the untruths about "chasing some first-time high"... that they probably heard on television and didn't think about long enough to see it's NOT TRUE. Are you chasing breast feeding or the bottle every time you eat a meal? Heroin (but not so much crack/cocaine or speed ~ which I don't bother with now) is like food. It is taken to feel OK, maybe better than OK, but not much. There is so much hypocrisy and bullensheisse around drug addiction. Someone someday should tell the truth as it actually is. Until then, hope lies with the dealer, not the government (certainly not with the self, who lets us down time after time) ~ at least for most of us, in most situations.

Until then: heroin ~ TILL DEATH DO US PART.


Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds, -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

Wilfred Owen 1893-1918

Saturday, May 22, 2010

IT WAS 5AM when I first thought of writing this... somehow an hour has flown by. I am dipping Turkish chockie biccies (Ülker Biskrem Duo ~ they have chocolate creme inside) in hot tea while the birds tweetle and chirp like crazy in the trees outside. On my road just now I saw a giant tubby pigeon. It flapped away the second it saw me. I don't know much about pigeons but there seem to be three types round here: gutter street pigeons (equivalent to me, a gutter street junkie); posh loft pigeons (equivalent to The Queen) these are kept by owners with whistles who race them or do whatever pigeon fanciers do... and finally, the type I just saw, which appears to be a different type, with white sash round the neck. These are wild birds of exquisite rareness. The supermodels of the pigeon world ~ Linda Evangelista or Naomi Campbell. And all I could think as I trotted down the street, chocolate biscuits in hand and spotted it was "that would make a nice pie!" (I must've been hungry.)

I have found the German equivalent to Coronation Street! (A lower-class soap opera. British soap is always working class. I wanted to make a new soap, a kind of modern Dallas-Dynasty combined set in London-Paris-New York (well you'd only need to shoot a few minutes of exteriors per season, most could be improvised in a studio garden anywhere). It would star an ageing Larry Hagman as evil patriarchal billionaire with Joan Collins as his bitchy matriarchal billionaire wife. Roger Moore would come in as Joan Collins's luurve interest. I would do all I could to get Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, Lauren Baccal and the Hollywood old guard to put in guest appearances. The younger generations are all classless so I'd get some dogsbody to cast them. I would ensure that an international cast of actors with followings across the most important television markets of the world got parts, to boost foreign sales and ratings.

The German soap is called Lindenstraße, "Lime Street". Launched in 1985, it was the first ever German soap opera and was modelled on Coronation Street. I would say it is more similar in spirit to the British daytime soaps about doctors surgeries, or Australian soap, than British prime time TV (and this goes out 18:50 hours Sunday on Das Erste ~ which would put it up pretty much against the dreadful Larkrise to Candleford ~ a truly awful piece of British costume drama. I also had an idea for a costume drama soap, but trust me, it would be nothing like Larkrise! More Anna Karenina ~ all aristocrats and ballgowns, laudanum parties and duels. Not chatteringly dullard middle classes. Anyway, the episode I chose to watch on Flashplayer was called Schnee ~ "Snow". I thought "how lovely, a German winter wonderland on TV"... little did I realize the "snow" in question comes in little white lines for application straight up the nose! Of course when I realized it was drugs I was riveted. A butch lesbian dealer had an argument with her femme girl who has a motorbike helmet haircut. If I were her I'd worry about my hairstyle first and sort out the druggie girlfriend later, but that's TV for you.

My Mum has cancer. It came back. I saw her Thursday. I could see she was ill. I went out and bought a gram of heroin after that. My counsellor says I have to talk to my mother. She also says I see heroin as my Saviour. (How did the counsellor know that?!) But now the heroin has less appeal. I can't say why, but it does, and I say that sober. Usually junkies only want to be clean when they are high. Bring them down to earth and all they want is more drugs to get back up to la-la land, where they can look down and convince themselves they want to clean up yet again (but not now: "tomorrow") and on and on the cycle rolls. Eventually they give up on giving up and accept "I am an addict. I am powerless over my addiction, so I will simply go on using". Then they realize addicts DO have a choice and the choice is to STOP. (Using isn't a choice, using drugs is automatic to a drug-addict) ... eventually they might come to a place like NA where they say "I am powerless over my addiction, so I surrendered to a power greater than myself"... This is the mysterious "higher power" these 12-step groups talk about which "restores us to sanity"... I believe only God can save me now. But God would not be interested in someone who loves heroin more than him. (What a Catch 22!) My higher power is God Almighty. For me, no other power is high enough or powerful enough!

As things are, I have left it with the clinic that I'm not interested in reducing my methadone dose any more. That I would rather go on as I am and use several times each week and let nothing change.

I didn't tell the druggieworker this, but I thought, having such a great track record at breaking every resolution and promise I've ever made since Heroin Addiction, perhaps if I promise mediocrity and inaction ~ I might break THAT one too, and all for the best!!

... And you wonder why a mere AVERAGE length of heroin addiction is 14 years..?!

View Lindenstraße

PS I THINK the pigeons I keep seeing are WOOD PIGEONS ... they make the famous coo-coo you hear on hot summer days that is not a cuckoo... (they are musical cuckoos)

ILLUSTRATED: "DOUBLE UOGLOBE" is heroin from Burma's Northern Shan State; other pictures refer to Heroin Assisted Treatment, a scheme which might well have got me off drugs long ago ~ and would certainly have severed my connexions with dealers... but as it is ~ miserable methadone or street heroin. Or go through hell trying to stop (probably to use again at the first opportunity ~ let's be frank). What fine choices!

Results of Dutch supervised trial
of injectable heroin hydrochloride or smokeable heroin base (for "chasing the dragon" though I have never heard ANYBODY except a journalist use that expression ~ most people either say chasing, or when they get old and can't be bothered to sound cool just call it smoking. Smoking or injecting.


Friday, May 21, 2010


MY MUM IS ILL. I think it is serious. I can't go too far into it as she doesn't know I'm posting and it's not fair.
I am very unhappy. I don't want her to die.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

After the eye hospital...

I SLEPT FOR ABOUT 18 of the last 24 hours. Maybe I had sleep deprivation before, who knows? (I don't know and don't care.) My eye seems OK now. I still have to put drops in. I don't want to, but I have to. It is surrounded by scabs that I'm not vain enough to pick out (well I'm a drug addict, I don't care do I?)

If I hadn't been a contact lens wearer in years past (not vain enough to bother now: I'm old and clapped out so I might as well wear glasses too) ... if I hadn't been a contact lens wearer I don't think I could have kept my eye open through all the poking, prodding, dropping, shining and inspection it had to endure. Contact lenses harden you to this and break down barriers to unnatural acts (like drug injecting ~ not that much more repellent than contact lens insertion, surely?)

It is 7:25 hours. I have been up since about 3. I am not very happy.

I hope y'all like the picture of the dog. I found it by googling "bluey-green eyes"...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Motes get in your eye

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
Luke 6:42

I HAVE JUST GOT OUT OF MOORFIELDS EYE HOSPITAL, where a kindly Filipino nurse removed a dot that has been bugging me since last night.

Bugging is hardly the word. Out on the street, around midnight, something blew into my eye. I looked and looked and could not see it. No amount of washing seemed to get it out. So I closed my eyes and slept with it in... woke up crying. Cried all morning. It was a bright sunshiny day. I nearly got run over as I could not see in the bright light.

The situation was so bad I could barely keep my eyes open.

At midday I took a bus to Old Street. You cannot get there by tube so a bus it had to be. Because I had to close my eyes, I slept most of the journey.

At Accident & Emergency I was told it was a two-to-three hour wait but I was seen in under an hour.

I was hoping they would use some sort of contraption rather than get you to tilt the head back, and they did. The Asian lady put in three types of drops ~ the best were the anaesthetic ones because they made me feel cured. She looked at my eye under various coloured lights. Got out the speck, which was the tiniest thing ever ~ a dot of dust. Checked my eye again and said it was scratched. So now I'm taking antibiotic drops and my eye looks like the incredible hulk's.

I have to go as it still hurts to keep it open, but at least it's no longer crying. It doesn't feel that much better than this morning, but the "smote" or whatever it's called hss barely been out for a couple of hours.

Got to go and close my eyes...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I keep having dreams. Vivid dreams.

I dream of girls I knew from college.

The first dream was of a girl I had a thing about. She looked like Darryl Hannah.

In the dream she was horribly disabled and paralysed.

But her eyes had the same smile.

The second was a true friend who genuinely cared.

Yet I still fell into deep water...

Last time I saw Darryl Hannah was in this clip.
In case you come from Mars (or America!) and don't know it, it's a top tune.
This is the least-intrusively subtitled one I could find. And every one was subtitled in one Mediterranean language or other!

...with a ball that's bigger than he is!!



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