I WENT TO A THING CALLED NUTTER CLUB EARLIER. Well that's what I call it. You go to the building opposite where people are punished for shoplifting by having to attend group therapy each morning. Instead of court-imposed group therapy for tea leaves, we had voluntary group therapy for the mentally deranged and confused. I fitted right in!
I'm not mad any more by the way. Just my normal self, so if that's crazy I'm still barking. I'm not into excessive self-analysis, which is why I hated counselling so much last time I tried it. I did OK at the sessions; what I couldn't do was link what I said to the real world and effect changes. Counselling is about changing yourself, otherwise it's hot air. Well that was my approach. Whatever it was I said stayed in the room, I barely considered any of it. I think I was meant to practise Positive Navel Gazing.
Interestingly the counselling style that worked best for me was Psychodynamic, the deepest and least problem-centric type. I thought I needed one that finds a solution to a problem, not one that turned over stones to see what psychological woodlice went scurrying back to the shadows. But this psychodynamic psychotherapy actually worked. I learned to think outside the tiny little box that is my head. What I didn't like was that my counsellor and my GP independently both suggested repeatedly that I see a psychiatrist because in the counsellor's words "you need more help than I can give you".
This was just before I launched full-tilt down into that decade-long morass of heroin adddiction. In this period, just before addiction sucked me into the Poppy Void, I was miserable and lost. Physically sick: that was called post-viral fatigue. What the virus actually was, I never found out. It cannot be HIV or Hep C. I tried to put a life together as I wanted to live it, but could never be well enough to both put it together and do all that lovely living!
I had ideas. Things got started. But nothing got seen through. I even got myself on a part-time uni course. I forced myself into this. Originally I really wanted to do it, but a chill wind was howling. I had found something that would help me. so I forced myself to go through with it. Forced myself into a breakdown. Still forced myself on and signed in and did the first year. I did lots of forcing. But very quickly I was too addicted to heroin to go on.
I thought this was what Grown Ups did: push themselves through situations that are supposed to be to their benefit no matter how much they don't like it at the time.
I query why this never worked for me. "Feel the fear and do it anyway" only pushed me to despair. Maybe it's because it wasn't fear as such I was facing. Fear is easy. This was a sense of hopelessness, impossibility. The only fear I couldn't face was that of living without drugs. But we have despair behind that one again. Life without drugs (specifically heroin) is utterly meaningless, empty, bleak beyond imagination. I'd like to say "was" not "is" but I'm a methadone addict. I'm still on a drug. Still a drug addict.
The Nutter Club invigilator says I've done really well. Maybe I'm meant to give attention to that, but I can't. She picked up on my use of past tenses. Heroin does feel past. I always had a sense that if I gave up I would never go back. I would feel too stupid to do that. Conventional wisdom claims getting off is easy; staying off's the hard work. I've found getting off impossible. I'm not surprised giving up heroin coincided with a kind of mental breakdown. My sanity depended on heroin, literally. And you have to be crazy to quit a drug as good as heroin, the only thing that made me feel together. So far I've not had any of the difficulty I might have expected steering myself to stay away.
There's no point wondering about the future, something I have a huge hand in. (I wouldn't say I alone can make my own future; I do not live in a bubble.) But I can make a very large contribution. I can steer my ship. I can alter my attitude. In my experience turning a corner can get you to wondrous places you never dreamed possible... I just cannot see anything wondrous yet...
I'm coming back to Nutter Club next week. I'll let you know how I get on.
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