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, July 21, 2010

Wasted Talent

A TALENT was originally a weight of silver or gold and hence a sum of money. The word entered our language via the Parable of the Talents in the Bible. (Matthew 24:14-30; Luke 19:12-28.)

Spiritual interpretations aside a Talent is something valuable which it's up to us to use and not take for granted. Talented people have made the world a lot of what it is. Talent can change the world again.

Talent should never be wasted.

I was wondering why I felt increasingly uptight about what I saw as other people's "waste of talent". Michael Jackson who could sing so well hardly ever really showed off his voice. He was also a more than capable actor (see yesterday). But he never starred in a feature-film. MJ was said to have a thing about ET, and he knew Stephen Spielberg. Imagine what could have been achieved if Jacko and Spielberg had got together...

As we all know, Michael Jackson's career was all but ruined by child abuse allegations. He achieved more than any other musical star of his or any other generation. And yet...

He died in a drugged-out haze.

If you want to hear him singing a song named Morphine, click here.

Whitney Houston's voice was one of the wonders of the world. (Far better than Mariah Carey. Screaming an octave over top C is not a talent. That's like having extra long fingers or a third nipple. That ain't music, that's freakery.)

I'm more than amenable to middle of the road music, though it's not always my favourite. The only Whitney song I really like, from the first half of her career is the Dolly Parton cover I Will Always Love You. This morning (for some reason) I had Saving All My Love for You swirling round my head when I was buying Value Thin Bleach (20p) from Morrisons...

In the 1990s, having made her name and fortune, she went R&B and did put down a few tracks that are not only memorable but good. (One Moment in Time is memorable, but just did not do it for me.)

She was recently on tour in Europe. The press coverage was nearly all the same. The voice is gone.

The word is, she lost her voice to crack. Though she famously declared to Dianne Sawyer: "crack? We don't do that. Crack is cheap. I make two much money to ever do crack. Crack is whack."

A phrase that has come back to haunt her...

I could give legions of examples of hugely Talented people who made careers in average films, throw-away music... whatever, whatever.

This is not to mention the endless multitudes who can sing, act, create in various ways (I'm focusing on showbusiness because it's common ground. Y'all know what I'm talking about. "High" art I often find not only pretentious but irrelevant...)

I once lived in a house in a bourgeois suburb of London that wasn't posh but "happening". Television faces drank in the local pub. I passed actors and musicians in the street. At one point I sat opposite Annie Lennox on the top deck of the bus. A car once zoomed past with comic actress Maureen Lipman's head (for some reason) sticking out of the passenger seat window. I dunno who she was looking for. One time Phil Mitchell from EastEnders was at the bar. Certain friends kept ribbing me to go up and point out that Phil ("the hardman of Albert Square and a nasty drunk) was on the waggon. I didn't dare. I subsequently heard stories about this actor, more than once, waving £20 notes at the homeless and snatching them away... Mark Fowler (another EastEnders character ~ EastEnders is, or was, Britain's most popular TV programme, with top episodes attracting Royal Wedding-style 20,000,000 viewing figures)... Yeah Mark Fowler. He gave me £1.67 when I was begging outside Sainsbury's.

My point being that everyone in my house and many people in the area all around it, all wanted to make something of themselves. In a short space of time we had two actors, a singer, a yoga teacher, a maker of luxury furniture (it was just under £1000 a dining chair) and a trainee Alexander teacher were all in this house. I was the writer.

What makes me sad is that the singer, who I think did have beautiful warm, pure voice was a lush. She came in drunk most nights. She hung out with people one of the famous pirate radio stations. This was 1996, when the UK style of garage was all over pirate FM stations, soon to emerge overground. She could have been one of the UK's first "urban" artists. I handed her a Madonna biography hoping she might take inspiration and a few tips, because I could have told her more about the music business than she seemed to know. You need an experienced manager, being an obvious one. Madonna took Michael Jackson's old manager. The singer gave it back complaining Madonna was a tart and then mentioned she couldn't see her manager that morning. He was signing on the dole. Then I despaired. This girl hadn't a clue. She thought talent was a passport to automatic success, it is not. What's that phrase about 1% inspiration 99% perspiration..?

None of the people I knew from that time are now famous. Our actress got into a Spice Girls video. The Spice Girls were the phenomenon of the moment. A week later Oasis phoned wanting her to play violin (that is presumably mime) in a video...

So it was all exciting. But in the end not one of these people made a name for themselves. The person with the most drive had the least talent (a sad mismatch). The actor downstairs did get a speaking part in EastEnders though it was only one or possibly two episodes. As far as I know they all gave up and do normal jobs.

Which leaves me, feeling uptight about the paths other people took when they "could have done so much more"... what's the saying? One finger points forward, three point back?

I've lost an entire decade to heroin. The time before that was an odd-crossover period lasting maybe three years when I dabbled increasingly and at two points got myself tiny habits. But I knew what I was doing was not good. I had seen the utter despair of dead-end addicts. I knew the local beggars, "ticket touts" and homeless.

I was buying used one-day travelcards for £1-2. (I think they were £2 before 8pm or some set time; £1 thereafter.) Even the homeless lived by rules. These ticket touts congregated at tube stations. When a train emptied out it was "Finished with your travelcard?... Finished with your travelcard..?" Then people came in "Do you want a travelcard?...Want a travelcard?" You could go anywhere in London free on bus, train or tube until about 2am. A travelcard then cost £3.50, so to get one for a pound was a bargain. It meant I could go visiting in Hackney, Stepney and West Hampstead, where I sat round drinking red wine, eating middle-class Bulgar wheat veggie type food. I wasn't vegetarian but only knew how to cook veggie. I hated the thought of handling dead flesh...

... Anyway. It was through these ticket touts, who were all junkies, that I got introduced to heroin. I saw the life, I saw the misery. I wanted to try it to see what the fuss was all about (I had tried it once years before but took so many other drugs including acid that night, I had no idea what was doing what...) So I tried it, and still wondered what all the fuss was about. It certainly didn't seem worth going homeless for. And I couldn't understand why they didn't just stop doing it but they were like automatons. Get up, probably feeling a bit sick. Use. Feel OK. Go out. Beg. Score. Beg a bit more. Score again. Go to tube station for early evening rush hour. Sell travel cards. go down West End. Beg up huge amounts of money. Score from late night dealer, heroin and crack. Pipe late into the night. Knock self out with huge hit. Sleep till late morning. And so it starts again.

I was never into West End begging ~ around theatreland and the tourist spots. You got endless hassle from police. Some people begged inside the actual underground stations down there, but again you were liable to get arrested. I begged in the suburbs where you got less money, but hardly any hassle. And the dealers were all nearby.

Someone once pointed out to me that what had started out as a joke "I got drunk with the homeless" had turned into a reality. "I am homeless. Plus I'm a junkie." I did feel strangely accepted by these addicts ~ as I never really was by the shoplifting and prostitution contingent (they were a totally different crowd). Even in rehab shoplifters looked down on beggars. What's that saying now...

Rich man, poor man, beggarman ... THIEF!

Everyone I knew who begged did it for the same reason: they didn't want to steal. Or sell their body. (Though judging by the state of a lot of them, they'd have had a job doing that anyway...)

SO! All this happened. And now I'm here. And I still have some talent. And I got keranged round the head with three ideas in two days.

Because Talent is not to be taken for granted, not to be wasted. A waste of talent is a crying shame. So is a waste of a life.

I will not go on about what I'm doing or want to do because I've done that before and nothing happened. So I'm just doing it.

Gotta go, it's quarter past five in the morning and I need a drink...

My Love Is Your Love 1998 ~ already she's sounding hoarse...
Contains the line: if I'm homeless on the streets, and I'm sleeping in Grand Central station it's ok if you're sleeping with me....
Thank God that never became a reality.

"Crack is whack... to Dianne Sawyer"

To Oprah. The heavy drugs started after The Bodyguard (explains why she followed the biggest hit of her career with... nothing). "I was freebasing cocaine, but only with weed in a joint". Then she mentions heroin and cocaine speedballing. (I used to luuurve doing that. That's why it took me two years from deciding to give up crack to actually doing it 100%.)

Fascinating Link of the Day: Michael Jackson's Unreleased Material


Syd said...

So how about doing something with your talent and quitting the junk? It isn't too late.

Gledwood said...

O Syd that's what I was saying!
I'm not quitting junk though.
You need something to quit FOR.
If I had some semblance of a career, success, projects, I'd have reason. Currently I have no reason.
(And I said I wouldn't go on about giving up.)
If I got a halfway-decent book advance I'd clean myself up and go away. Not necessarily do "rehab" - but just get CLEAN and GO. Go away somewhere. I'm into that a zillion times more than being packed into a house full of whining junkies for 3 months, leaving clean with nothing. No change except nondruggieness. If I ever get the chance, Iäm going awaz. Just up - off - away. I so much wanna do that

Jeannie said...

I think your reason to go clean should simply be your own health. You can't expect anyone to hand a book advance to an unproven writer who also happens to be a junkie.

I wasted ten years of my life running a tanning salon. I may have learned a few things but I still consider it an overall loss. So junk isn't the only time waster out there. It makes for a better story though. Few people would identify with me or feel bad for me.

I think if you want to write, then write. And send your book in to as many publishers as you can dig up and see what happens.

But clean yourself up for yourself and your health and to have hope for the future. Don't hang it on a book deal.

Reeny's Ramblin' said...

Why do u have to wait for something to quit for? Seems to me that is just par of the course of this vicious cycle of drug abuse you are drowning in...

Sound like an excuse to me. Then again, what do I know?

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I am a HUGE Annie Lennox fan. Was she as pretty in real life?

I know, I'm the one who asked the lame question. Laugh.

Love you, Gledds.

Furtheron said...

I just got to the point where I had to give up... booze was and always will be my issue. I avoided drugs as I knew they'd be trouble - funny that didn't stop me being a raging alkie for 25 years.

I did the rehab thing... bizzare but at least it got me turned around although when I came out I had to start all again and learn my way of staying sober.

Hmm on the topic - wasted talents... now that is something no doubt I am guilty of

Gledwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gledwood said...

Jeannie: no I'd only expect a book advance for a finished work not an idea or something half-baked. Publishers always pay something in advance, that's how the industry works. The bigger the advance, the more beholden they are to promote you, so a big advance is good in that way, not just for the sake of screwing money out of them.
So glad you finally got rid of that salon!
I'm not hanging being clean on anything except myself (well I can't!) My plan is to get out get away. Somehow. I would never in a million years consider doing that "dirty" I absolutely have to be clean to go anywhere or it just would not happen. Drug tourism is not me. I will not risk scoring off people/in areas/situations I don't know. It's bad enough being here where I know and an addict.
What I am glad is that I managed to sort out a scheme that will work for me. At last.
I fully intend to use NA when I get to the point that I can. They accept anyone in a meeting, but you cannot work their programme unless clean.

Reeny: I think most things junkies say and do are excuses in some form, bc they just wanna go on using. How ever much they say they hate it.
Like I say I came up with a scheme that I know will work for me. It involves NOT going to counselling NOT thinkng or talking about drugs. Just getting the hell away from them for good.
The only reason I said above I will not give up gear now is that's not the plan. Strangely I am trying to restabilize on methadone so I can feel I don't need to use heroin just bc I've messed up my levels and without it methadone isn't enough. I want away from heroin but it's something I have to do not talk about. i'd rather say I wanna be a junkie for life and I cannot be bothered and go clean than blither on and on about wanting to be clean and doing nothing so I'm saying I wanna go on being dirty, then hopefully I will end up clean!
Hope that makes some sense..(!)

SB: yes. She had short or swept back hair and huge dark glasses and a "keep away from me" aura. I'm sure it was her and I so much wanted to ask, but it's strangely intimidating in an unstructured situation. (Ie not at e.g. a film premier where you're expected to give attention. This was her private life. Even talking to her felt intrusive...)

Furtheron: when I came out I had to start all again and learn my way of staying sober...

Doesn't being in rehab with drinkers and druggies in a weird way focus you ON drink. I would want not to THINK about it. Thinking being the seeds of doing...

How did you learn to stay sober? Don't you learn in rehab? It all feels so artificial, being cooped up for weeks, learning all that stuff. Staying clean. Yet knowing the real test comes when you're out. And I'm not out. And I'll have to do 24 hours clean with no support... how the hell will I do that when I've never done it before? I'd be terrified of leaving rehab.

I have been in a detox/rehab (the place did both) I only did half the detox though. My head wasn't ready. I felt like I was waiting on my dealer the whole time... and he never came. Surounded by addicts not using I found really really difficult, and it transpired a lot of them were in their for reasons other than being totally fed up and wanting out. They were on a prison swerve, fighting to get kids back, etc etc.

Liz said...

Just catching up.

Talent, mm, yes. How is it that the untalented seem to be more successful than the talented?

Gledwood said...

Probably because they're willing to sweat that perspiration, even though they lack the inspiration. That would be it, I'm sure...

Baino said...

Gleds publishing doesn't work like that. Advances are a thing of the past. Write the bloody book junked up or not. You're a chief procrastinator with some talent. Give it a go for your own benefit.

Gledwood said...

You sure? I've not heard of any big advances in the last few years, that's true. I used to keep a keen eye out for news from the world of publishing but now find it distracting. I just hope I have enough of a business brain in my head not to get ripped off. Literature is art; publishing is business. I am in the business of writing. The other stuff is for agents/etc to deal with. I don't want to think about it.
The stuff I'm plotting out ... I wouldn't expect to make hardly anything from in advance.
In a way it's a liberation. There ARE a few examples of people who have written to get themselves out of a financial hole. Jeffrey Archer and Fyodor Dostoyevski being two prominent examples. But thinking about how much (or little, to be honest) I might get paid in advances or royalties, it doesn't matter which... I find seriously offputting. So my head is in an artistic space, not a dosh-oriented one. Which feels nice.

Akelamalu said...

Like others have said it would make more sense if you just got 'clean' for the sake of your health.

Gledwood said...

But I am getting clean for the sake of my health.

Everybody seems at crosspurposes with me. I don't know why.

I've answered some of these points in my post today, Friday...



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