I ACTUALLY FOUND MYSELF entertaining the idea of taking heroin earlier on. With a longish history of heroin addiction this is hardly a surprise, it just hasn't happened so far (this time). On previous attempts at coming off, it's just about ALL that happened. Apart from wanting to die.
My deepest fear as a heroin addict wasn't dying, it was living. Something I had little-to-no idea of how to do.
I had been all day at a friend's house where we were drinking. First just me and him. Then a knock at the door. Someone I haven't seen in maybe 8 years. He remembers me when heroin addiction was all new and still felt (to be honest) like Xmas every day. Xmas with a lot of desperation and despair and puking on the doorstep waiting for our terminally slow dealer to show up, it has to be said. But the good atill far outweighed the bad...
Nobody drank very much. There was a lot of talking. It was boys' talk. After 3 drinks (I know how much I had, only three!) I started feeling sick from lack of food. So I bought a cheese and red peppers bread in Morrisons (79p). That made me feel better. I tried to go to NA. I went right there, but the meeting that used to be there wasn't on so that was annoying. But I felt let off the hook. Really I wanted to get home.
On the way back I felt empty without heroin to come home to. Very empty and desolate. Even though I was tired and knew what heroin would do: just make me sleep, I still wanted it. In days gone by I would have wasted no time in scoring. Despite being tired and cold and pissed off, I would have ensured lovely heroin was in my hand, then in my veins, making everything all right.
Which is annoying as I was saying only an hour before how much I loathed everything to do with drugs. Mostly the people. I told a story of where I used to live. I would get up at 2 or 3am to buy drink (24-hour shopping, doncha love it!) very often I'd get accosted by a crackhead I knew. There were two in particular, who I knew pretty well, who begged money off passers-by. If I had £4, £4.50 or so, I'd sometimes go in halves on a £10 rock, which we smoked on the mid-level bathroom in my house. One particular night we found ourselves a few streets away, in a downstairs room full of black men who I didn't know. Both of these addicts were black, I suppose I point this out to say it made me feel the odd one out. Being White Boy in this room full of crack smokers where the atmosphere was like something from a lower circle of Crack Hell.
There was a white girl on the couch by the window. Long blonde hair. Sour expression. The archetypal "crack whore". And one on whom the tables have been turned, as they often are. One of the men said to her will you stay here and watch the door/my phone. Something like that. She said yeah yeah. they left, after telling us they had no drugs. One had at least 3x£10 clingfilm crack wraps in his hand. The girl rolled her eyes and said in a quieter voice "As if I have any choice."
I think we left before any more crack returned. Outside I said, "Don't you think there was a bad atmosphere in there?" and he just stared at me, blankly. He was far more interested in his pipe. This is just one event that convinced me I was no true crackhead. Heroin I would have been more than happy to bang up, if only there's been a decent light somewhere in that gloom. Heroin insulates from sensation, like being wrapped in furry blankets inside a bulletproof bubble. I never cared very much what went on elsewhere, as long as I was stoked up on gear. Of course most of the time I never had enough gear and that seemed to be the problem.
When I did have "enough" it got to the point of heroin just not "working" on not much more than 2g a day (speedballed*, with coke extra). In my one proper crack binge, my body said NO NO NO to coke, quite early on. Maybe within a week or so of 24-7 snowballing and piping. (When I slept I don't know. I think I just conked out at various points round the clock. woke up and carried on hitting up, drinking and piping.) Heroin my drug-saturated body said MORE MORE MORE to. But just could not feel it. Yes I was blowing way way too much money on drugs. And of course I'm not proud of it. A friend of mine smoked a house. He inherited a bundle of money and put £100,000 or more on the pipe in a single year. This stuff didn't make me happy (certainly not impressed) then. Now it makes me feel sick.
I know I need to drink less. Thanks for all the comments. Caeser I'm sorry I seem to have missed answering you. I'm answering every point in a second. I want to say to everybody I do read all comments. Not necessarily precisely when they come. The only reason I wouldn't specifically answer one is when I'm upset about something or when lots of people are saying lots of things and I feel deluged but in a good way. I would rather be deluged than left alone, I think any blogger who says they don't want comments must truly live in la-la land.
When I got home, by the way, I slept for five hours, till 1am. Without heroin. See what I mean..?
Re my drug history, so it doesn't sound contradictory the timings are this. All drugs: about 20 years (started age 19). In the 1st 10 years there were long spaces when I just did not use them. I did experiment with everything that came my way so the list is long. I also took acid and other drugs (especially speed) when I really shouldn't have. I was clinically depressed, on high dose antidepressants, seeing a psychiatrist. Me on acid then was not pretty, and I probably caused damage. Full-on heroin (+ heroin/methadone) addiction dates back almost exactly 10 years, though even it is hard to pin down a precise start date. Heroin experimentation began in any "meaningful" way about 2-3 years before that. So that's why I mention 20 years and 10 years. It's not a typo and it's not lies.
Methadone is the only drug I'm on now. The dose is far too high for my liking. I want to cut down and come off as soon as I can. Me detoxing is not a beautiful sight at all. I have had a "nervous breakdown" to some degree every single time I tried and it would be really foolish to try and achieve detox too quickly. Some of these "breakdowns" (I use the word losely) involved symptoms of bipolar** and more serious conditions than ordinary anxiety/depression. This is not to say I think it is bipolar or anything else. I'm trying not to think too much about that particular issue. Probably any inpatient detox would be too fast for me. The standard would go from around 60mg to zero in about 2 weeks. The longest I know of goes from about 120mg to zero in 6. Staying off drugs and cutting down slowly in the outside world, if I can do it, is probably the most sensible route FOR ME. Perhaps for many other people the opposite would be true.
Drink is still an issue. I know I drink too much. I drink about 3 x half litres of 7.5% ABV cheap cyder. Yesterday I managed one litre, by buying it in a bottle not cans, and drinking three smaller drinks. I think I'm going to try the 1-litre bottle from now on, cut down from there to one can. There's no great hurry and this isn't me making excuses. Bear in mind this addiction is 10 years old. To break it overnight may well put me in a Fool's Paradise. The progress may not be real. I need reality now.
I am supposed to be "taking care" of myself. So I'm trying to be responsible. I have to be consistent on the one hand (not breaking resolutions) and not get over-enthusiastic go too quick on the other. Bearing in mind I lost my marbles just transferring to methadone, I cannot see that rapidly cutting out anything would (in my own situation) be wise.
To anyone in a similar condition, my best advice is find yourself a good doctor (not easy). Or a good drugs worker. Or a good drugs/mental health professional. Drugs come under mental health anyway. I say this because what's good for me and what works for me may not be best for you. If you've had specific problems detoxing/switching meds/taking any psychiatric or other meds you need to explain this clearly. The problem could be mental or physical or both. Here in the UK if you need special treaetment due to a co-existing condition, you should get a programme tailored to you. I have tried to explain how a methadone detox would be tailored to me. In a way it's good the dr saw me as I was. Now they know I'm not just exaggerating or fantasizing when I talk about going cuckoo. I was bouncing off the walls in that there office!
Better leave it there. I hope I will look back one day and be able to stand by this when I say: CONGRATULATIONS DRUG DEALERS, THANKS FOR THAT DROUGHT. YOU'VE LOST YOURSELF A LONGSTANDING CUSTOMER.
*speedballing or snowballing means mixing heroin and crack (or cocaine) in the same IV shot. It's v strong and v dangerous
**bipolar disorder is what used to be called manic depression; it differs from ordinary depression in that bipolar involves swings from feeling slow, sleeping a lot, eating a lot and pretty down to going very fast, being irritable and angry and/or euphoric and high and barely sleeping at all. The moods can become mixed up and don't necessarily come in clear-cut "episodes".
Anna's description of bipolar depression (yesterday) is here
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