I am highly annoyed with Specsavers Opticians for taking ANOTHER TEN DAYS to get one simple pair of psychotic-stalker amber Reactions lenses ready for me. In ten days’ time summer shall be over! I’m getting fed up of walking into buildings sunglassered up and having to decide whether to look like a poser yet see my surroundings in crystal clarity. Or to take off the shades and see a glaring montage of blurs. WHICH IS WHY I ORDERED PHOTOCHROMIC GLASSES TO START WITH BLOODY IDIOT COMPANY. How can it possibly take three weeks to slam a pair of specs together? I have to hand it to them they ARE WAY cheaper than Vision Express, Boots or Dolland and Aitcheson. These other companies have somehow got by charging £300 for one pair of glasses. Specsavers do two for £69 all-in. You can get both pairs tinted if you like. Which is how I ended up with black prescription sunglasses. I’m now bored bored bored of my tiny collection of eyewear. I want my old sunglasses collection back. I had five pairs alone with lenses in varying shades of blue. I specially went in for that semi-mirrored look that opticians don’t do. Do you understand why I need to be a multimillionaire now? I want to get my eyes lasered for one thing. And I’d like a few homes. One in London, one in Switzerland, where I’ll live if I don’t live in Monaco. One in Manhattan (but of course). Though I’m enough of an antisnob to live in Brooklyn just to perplex my Manhattanite friends. Where else would I like to live? O yeah Tokyo. And everywhere else I might consider renting. The whole point of having lots of money in my opinion is to make pots and pots more, so all my houses would be up for rent when I was out of residence. At $10-20,000 per week. That kind of figure. I would also make pots of cash bagging finder’s fees for people seeking the discreet disposal of private jets, yachts, fine jewellery, paintings and other trinkets. You have to do what you love and I love paintings, jewellery, aeroplanes and boats with more cabin room than a small apartment building. I was surprised nobody went for Saddam Hussein’s former yacht. For a mere $15 million you got a boat with submarine docking station and every facility down to an operating theatre. I couldn’t help wondering whether that operating theatre was fully stocked… y’know. Just out of professional interest and all.
When I was growing up I considered rich people to be normal and poor people to be weird. It was only life’s tapestry of bitterness that taught me any different. Ever since I was little I have wanted to be rich. I certainly never envisaged a life of idleness and I fully intended to work for my money, not to marry it, inherit it (no chance of that anyhow) or win it. My ideal job (apart from bestselling writer with aggregate sales in excess of one billion) would be media tycoon in the mould of Rupert Murdoch. I always thought Murdoch was eminently superior to that scabies-infested mongoose Robert Maxwell he seemed permanently to be feuding with in the 1980s. Murdoch owned (and still does down) Britain’s brightest daily tabloid, the right-leaning Sun newspaper. Maxwell owned the left-of-centre Daily Mirror. I’ve never understood champagne socialism. I’m a capitalist. I believe in low taxes for the rich, so I can pay low taxes when I’m rich. High taxation kills aspiration and moves enterprise across borders. Did you know British writers have to pay Value Added Tax ~ that is, the supposedly “luxury” sales tax imposed on just about everything that’s bought and sold in this country except food (and books, as it goes). So on top of agent’s fees reaching 20% for foreign markets I’m going to have to pay VAT at 20% and that New Labour government’s ridiculous 50% top rate of income tax. And y’all wonder why I want to live abroad. I once got a comment accusing me of ungratefulness to the country that had brought me up and nurtured me. Well I’m also a victim of Britain’s regressive prescribing to addicts. If they’d only issued me with diamorphine on prescription many years ago, I might be off all drugs by now. Instead it was ineffectual methadone and sort yourself out. As Shane in France says, the street dealer is the addict’s friend far more than a druggie clinic will ever be. Those clinic staff don’t give a rat’s arse about your welfare or my welfare. Everything is streamlined, categorized, prioritized. Which is where ridiculous exclamations: “and he even injects!” come from. If you can convince your worker you’ve ceased injecting they get a tick against their name. It’s all about coercing patients into treatments they do not want. The main reason I’m not into rehab is that most of the people there don’t truly want to be there. They want a life on drugs without the problems drugs have brought them. Fuck “consequences”. Consequences are society’s way of heaping persecution upon the misery of its most vulnerable members. Most of the “consequences” of heroin addiction are the direct result of prohibition. Just as people were blinded and killed by bootleg alcohol in 1920s America, so addicts overdose and die on clandestinely manufactured heroin of unknown purity. Even the British Government admit that the main risk posed by heroin to a healthy person is the risk of dependency! Dependency is slavery. Which is why I want out. Only when you see your addiction as chemical slavery will you have a chance of escape.
They say you should only give up heroin for yourself. That no other reason is good enough. No partner. Not even your own dear child is enough of a reason to quit taking the drug that makes you feel better than anything else.
10PM JUST GOT BACK FROM NA. I told them I used today and yesterday. They of all people won’t judge me for using. I know they probably judged me as being a bit all over the place because I’d used. In reality I feel my energy coming back; I feel an interlacing of moods. A good mood taking over from the bad one, and I hope it stays. I still have to fight to wade through the mud now and then, but the mud seems thinner, shallower. I hope this is a real change and not just something heroin has brought on. Heroin can be extremely deceptive. It had me fooled for years. A lot of you probably think I’m still conned by it now, the way I talk about it.
Many years ago I made a decision that I was going near no prison cell. Reason: I could not bear for me and my beloved gear to be parted. I know heroin is available in prisons ~ especially British prisons. (Britain, with its population less than a quarter of the size of the United States by official estimates uses nearly TWICE as much heroin as America! I’m not sure that figure is true, but it does say what a bunch of smackheads us British are.) So yes there’s ample supply of gear in prison for those willing to pay for it. I hate being beholden to dealers at the best of times. I just cannot bear even the thought of the indignity of having to pay ten pounds for less than one pound worth of gear. When something’s really tiny people say “it was like a prison bag”. No way man. No way. So I made this decision that me and my beloved gear would never be separated, even if this meant having to settle for using a lot less I was happy to be using a lot more constantly. I’ve seen how much crack some of the more successful shoplifters get through. I spent three hours in a flat one night watching this man pipe constantly, then phone up for more! Crack has all the allure to me of dogshit, so I wasn’t tempted. I made it clear I was only into the brown. There was a drought on the “B” at the time. Hence my presence at this flat. I got a very good deal for my £10 because I also found a vein on the back of this shoplifter’s left leg. I might have found it; he injected there. I’d never inject another with class A’s. That would be illegal!
So I made my money by milder means (begging) and stuck to gear in preference to crack. I call myself an ex crack addict because I did have a compulsion to use coke ~ specifically to add what I would call “a little sparkle” to my spoon. Coke in heroin is like sugar in tea. Once you get habituated it’s very hard to go without. It took me over two years from really trying to give up crack, which, as I say, I was mostly speedballing, to actually achieving my aim. For maybe a year I was using exclusively on Mondays. One single £10 rock one day a week. I knew I’d crossed a bridge when money came my way unexpectedly on a Thursday and I still didn’t score. Then, at New Year’s Eve 2008 going into 2009 I finally kissed crack goodbye and I didn’t use it one last time. Yes on a handful of occasions I have touched coke since then. Tiny bits. Not even full pipes most of them. Contrary to the received wisdom no craving was reignited. On the contrary I felt that by usingI’d got the desire to use out of my system. Reminded myself why I wasn’t into that crap any more. It might make you high but crack also makes you feel jagged and wiry. In bipolar terms ~ because crack cocaine with its mad highs, paranoia and crashes is the nearest drug I know to bipolar disorder ~ crack doesn’t usually induce a true high but a mixed state. A high with far too much anxiety, agitation ~ and often paranoia ~ thrown in. I knew I was in trouble earlier this year when my natural high surpassed the high of crack in intensity, euphoria and sheer craziness. Me and crack are well and truly over. Finito. I do not miss coke.
When you take cocaine, you’re paying for something any healthy person can experience without drug-enhancement or inducement. You don’t need excitement or wellbeing in the form of white rocks or powder. Coke wears off so quickly it was easy to reason around it: “in an hour’s time I’ll feel the same as I do now, if not worse and the £10 will be gone”. Heroin was very much more seductive. I knew that £10 of decent gear would make me feel better not just all afternoon but all day. It always seemed worth buying heroin. Even with methadone, heroin was the only thing that made life tolerable. I feel let down by a system that did not address some pretty blatant mental health issues of mine. I told the doctor “unless I address this mood problem I’m not going to get the drugs under control” this was said to a doctor and more than once. Still they did nothing. Not until I was manic, depressed, paranoid, grandiose and suicidal and hallucinating vividly was I ever taken seriously. To this day I don’t think my mental state is being addressed because methadone patently does not give mental stability. Whether this is a case of heroin stabilizing and methadone doing nothing or methadone actively destabilizing, I have no idea. But if I were a doctor I’d consider it malpractice to prescribe methadone to a person like me. I want MSTs*, DFs**, anything else but methadone and tomorrow I’m asking for it. I am considering putting my request in writing with a reasoned argument. I’ve had enough of methadone. I don’t care too much about the whats whys or wherefores of detoxifying just as long as I get off methadone and off all drugs as quickly as possible because I’ve had enough of them. The slower the detox the more depressing it’s going to be, because I’m not going to feel I’m getting anywhere fast enough. What I really would like is a reduction of 1mg per day, every single day. My last request for this was turned down flat. Because “we don’t do that”. And I thought they had a client-centred approach, tailoring psychosocial and pharmacological interventions to the need of each service-user! Yeah, I can speak Bullshit, too.
Well it’s now a quarter to eleven and my local broadband provider has yet to switch on. I’ve found a link that’s only usually strong enough after dark when radio waves flow better, but I think they’re on to the fact that somebody else is piggybacking on their broadband. If I had a car I’d drive the streets until I found free access. You’re sure to find it somewhere… know what I mean. This might have to wait till tomorrow morning for posting. I’m trying not to sleep too long at night. They say that cutting down the number of hours slept can snap one out of depression… It’s worth trying. When I want to wind down I’ve taken to putting on dark glasses and I really do think they tell the body to shut down and sleep. It’s interesting that firelight and most electric light is heavy on yellow and red; sunshine appears starker because it’s bluer and of course it contains ultra-violet which we cannot see. But that doesn’t mean it’s not affecting us. Hamsters cannot see by red light, so under a fireglow bulb they’ll ping about like nobody’s business. A side-effect of this bulb was that I felt drowsy. My housemate Laundrette who, ironically enough had worked for years in the red light district, said red light did the same to her. A long time later I discovered the science behind this: as far as they know it’s the lack of blue in a fireglow light. Blue wavelengths perk us up, yet make hammies want to sleep! So they say if you suffer from insomnia, amber-brown shades are the best to go for. They also believe that sunglasses might actually cause sunburn, tricking your brain into believing conditions are subdued and dark and switching off some hitherto unknown protective mechanism…
By the same token, they believe that artificial sweeteners may actually cause the body to put ON weight by tricking it into thinking calories are being consumed, scrambling the metabolism and defeating the object of these nasty artificial chemicals.
Does anybody know the specific health benefits of live yogurt and probiotic drinks by the way? I’ve found a shop stocking Polish ones that are very much cheaper than the British brands. I found out the Polish for “live bacterial culture”; it’s “zywe kultury bakterii”. Only problem is, I love yogurt so much I can easily eat an entire 500g tub, then drink 300mls of strawberry flavoured lactobacillus casei. I do believe lactobacillus casei shirota is the active ingredient in Yakult, which comes in tiny bottles. This stuff is huge. If it’s equipotent on a millilitre per millilitre basis I’m getting about five times the dose of Yakult for a tiny fraction of the price. For 29p a bottle they do 250ml “lassi” which comes in the original salt flavour. Because I don’t actually like this taste at all, I might stock up on the lassi because £2.90 will give me 10 days’ guaranteed supply. I drank lassi every day for over a month in India and the black shadows that have been under my eyes since childhood (they’re there whether or not I’m on drugs; drugs just make them very much worse)… these shadows vanished. The live yogurt in Indian (banana) lassi is the only lifestyle difference I can put the change down to. Other differences were swimming in the sea (daily). Catching giardia, a type of stomach bug midway between typhoid and dysentery in severity (I was so dehydrated I was hallucinating on this giardia. I started behaving very strangely. When I eventually got hold of oral rehydration salts, the sudden restoration in electrolyte balance made me so high that one of our friends was convinced I’d taken E, speed or coke. I might add that throughout this trip I was sleeping less and experiencing constant mood swings that got so bad I seriously considered buying 500 sleeping pills, climbing across the rocks at the end of the bay after midnight and drowning myself where there was no coastguard, no ambulance service. We didn’t even know where to find a doctor (you just went down the pharmacy, told them what you wanted: antibiotics, sleeping pills, anything up to and including ketamine and they’d just hand it over; the girl I was with was using grams and grams of ketamine. I indulged but rapidly got bored of it. It’s not really a horse tranquillizer by the way, it’s a general anaesthetic used in roadside situations and on battlefields. As you slip under, part of your mind stays very much wide awake and a vivid waking dream state occurs. To me it was tripping without the horror of having to deal with keys, money and friendship, all of which become very bizarre in the paisley-patterned cartoon world of LSD. Ketamine actually does what I’d imagined LSD would do before I took it. Produces a true immersive fantasy “trip” where you literally feel you’ve left your body and visited other places, possibly other dimensions even in space and time. Nobody I knew ever had a “bad trip” after the fashion of a negative LSD experience, but in the words of one nightclubber I knew, on a big blast of ketamine (which is usually snorted up the nose) you literally do sometimes feel like you’re hanging off the very edge of the universe into the Realness of Unreality (very Buddhist!) Or to put it another way, you’re fully conscious as you hover over the precipice of full clinical anaesthesia.
I took ketamine perhaps a hundred times. I very much liked the dissociative effect it produced and the dream-state, totally divorced from the here-now world. Ketamine is so powerful you lose all sense of ego and self. Re-emerging back into the world is like gathering, bit by bit, an identity of a person you used to be, with a life you suddenly remember although you’re millions of miles away. You turn from nothing and nobody back into who you Are. What I really couldn’t handle about acid tripping was the fact that you’re totally off your head, everything feels utterly unreal and yet you know, you absolutely must not follow any urge to set fire to anything, to jump from a hight, to stand in the middle of a road gazing at the amazing crystalline rainbow prisming of birdsong. All this beauty and all this potency was mixed together with a reality I could no longer handle. Keys, money, people. People are thinking about me. What are they thinking. I remember laughing and laughing watching somebody smoking a spliff. The spliff, held at a 45 degree angle kept turning into a miniature escalator, moving up. And this was the milder part of the trip. The peaks were so mindblowingly intense they defy description. Eventually I just took the spliff out of his hand and started smoking away nonchalantly. This person, who was (to put it kindly) an egotistical wanker, was so gobsmacked he just let me do it. I felt a bristling go around the room very acutely and said oh sorry and went into such paroxisms of laughter I had to go in the back garden to cool down.
I fried my brains on acid, I’m afraid. Although I probably only had three trips that were of truly mindblowing potency, they probably did blow my mind. To give an example, in one trip I was in seven dimensions of reality at once. If you can imagine different films projected on to screens and being able to switch between screens and yet experiencing every reality at once… I was flying on a magic carpet in my friend’s room (his rug). Looking down through the rug I clearly saw clouds and snowy mountain tops. An entire universe of civilizations throughout all ages was nestled in the palm of my hand. I was in the past, present and future all at once. I had 360 degree vision. I could see Stonehendge through the back of my head. When I was really tripping I could see birdsong as rainbows. It was truly spectacular. These are the mere bits I remember. Strong acid is so intense you might not understand a word anybody is saying. You might not know who you are or where you are, what is happening or why. And yet you are walking about in the real world knowing there are real consequences to your actions. And that’s what I couldn’t think out of. Knowing something bad could happen in a trip that wasn’t just a bad trip but a real Bad Thing. That’s what I couldn’t get my head round. I remember walking across the footbridge over the main road feeling my brains smeared out on the path behind me, like a snail’s trail. Then we found ourselves in a multi-storey carpark in the rain, which was like the sound of pixies singing. I hugged a tree in the pitch blackness of a wet park and a giant caterpillar devoured my brain. This is what acid did to me. I haven’t tripped like that for about 20 years and yet I recall it as if it all happened yesterday.
And this is why I get offended at the implication that I will abuse any drug that can be abused: for years afterwards I’d stop myself periodically throughout the day and think, “I’m glad I’m not tripping”. And I seriously was genuinely glad to be sober and straight and in my right mind. I appreciated my sanity. Y’all wonder why I got so upset at being told I had schizoaffective disorder? The more impressionable among you might have suspected that all the talk of acid and ecstasy during my manic episode meant I was using those substances again. Mania is well known to induce “enhanced perception of sound, colour and texture” ~ just as LSD and Ecstasy do. Mania induces an elevated Ecstatic mood, just like E does. Mania makes the mind race with spectacular velocity ~ just as LSD induces a constantly renewing kaleidoscope of form and colour, so mania turns the action of simple thought into something resembling a firework display. LSD can cause illusions (faces in the floor) ~ so does mania. LSD can make you hear voices (though it’s rare) mania does so very commonly. You can have full-blown hallucinatory visions in mania, just as you can on LSD. That’s why my sudden revival of 1991 and 1992 hardcore rave music. I experienced feelings I never thought I would feel again except this time I was in a far more positive frame of mind. There are accounts of mania published 90 years ago that bear out everything I say if you don’t believe me. Of course I used the vocabulary of raving, clubbing, Ecstasy and psychedelia because it was the only vocabulary I had. I haven’t touched E in 10 years. I took a tiny dose of acid 10 years ago but I hadn’t used it for a full 10 years before that. When I did take magic mushrooms I took little more than a threshold dose ~ enough to bring on the psilocybin euphoria, to make the world surreal. But not to be tripping on anything like the same magnitude as I tripped on LSD.
To anyone who will insist on trying psychedelic drugs, which I do not recommend, you would at least have some idea of the strength of a mushroom trip simply by weighing or counting the mushroom material. British liberty caps have a very distinctive appearance. There are about six signs that distinguish true magic mushrooms from their nearest clones and every single one must match. The red and white fly agaric mushrooms apparently cause a weird type of trip but they’re very different to true “magic” mushrooms.
By the way it is not unknown for common household mushrooms to be cut up, dried up and dropped with LSD. So make sure you know the person you’re getting these from. And if you’re picking your own make sure you check PROPERLY. True psilocybin mushrooms bruise a dark blue colour when fresh. They lose something like a third of their potency on drying. 25 dry liberty caps are enough to induce laughter and surrealness. I very rarely took more than this. On 50 (British) mushrooms you’ll be getting the full effects of a trip. Bright colours, intricate animated designs viewed with eyes closed (on a higher dose you might well see these eyes OPEN!) 200 liberty caps will produce a full-blown trip. Having already experienced this from acid I felt no need to go here with mushrooms, even though I found the mushroom spirit far kinder than the acid goblin. Sometimes we did have a strange feeling of angels inside our heads. My best friend got this too. I wonder how his mental health is today…?
Most people who experiment with psychedelic drugs are fine afterwards. By far the most common adverse effect is anxiety. Doctors have never believed psychedelics to cause psychosis. The theory has always been that people who go mad after tripping probably would have gone mad anyhow. What they have done is pulled the trigger on an already loaded gun.
There was a ten-year gap between my taking psychedelic substances of any kind and going mad. Though I don’t doubt the psychedelics helped bend and blend my mind I don’t think what I had was “drug psychosis”. Naomi, the dual diagnosis lady, who I had spoken to a lot BEFORE I went mad (because I had been hearing voices, having mood swings in a more minor way for years) once said to me “I know and you know this wasn’t brought on by the drugs…” which stuck with me, because at the time I wasn’t at all sure that it wasn’t the drugs. Now I think back and think WHAT drugs? The mania went on and on and on for weeks on end. Having seen me three times in a row with a markedly elevated mood on each occasion my shrink eventually diagnosed me with manic depression and schizophrenia. I was very upset about this. It’s the only time I’ve ever come back from a doctor and cried. Even though I was “high” I cried the tears of a crazyman. They mingled with the dirt on my bathroom floor.
By the way I’m having serious trouble remembering how long I have or haven’t gone between doses of heroin. This is because I don’t WANT to remember. Don’t want to do it again. Don’t want to know. If it’s “just for today” then surely what happened yesterday doesn’t count. So I’m focused on today and tomorrow and not using. Ever again. I want the nightmare of heroin over with because that’s all it was. A nightmare. What good memories am I left with.
I remember meeting a couple I knew at three o’clock in the morning. He was stomping solidly ahead. Probably eager to get to some crackhouse or other. She was bent double in the street, like a person trying to impersonate a capital A. I remember her saying “Aww I’ve ‘ad a fifteen pound ‘it. I’m ‘avin’ so much fun.” And even then, junkie that I was, I clearly recall thinking ARE YOU? Didn’t look like fun to me. Wouldn’t have felt like fun to me. I’ve often wondered whether I was lacking some heroin pleasure receptor gene, because I know if I was in a state like that I’d just feel like I was fighting for consciousness through something very heavy and gloopy. Like a man drowning in methadone! Yes heroin gave me some sort of high but it’s so very subtle it took me literally years to appreciate that it was there. In the years before I finally twigged what was what: what was opiated, what was “real”, I was constantly complaining that heroin didn’t work for me. That’s because no matter how much you take (or I take) heroin has never ever felt more than a 4 out of 10 strength-wise. Not in niceness. In niceness it scores at least 9. (Ecstasy would be 10). In strength, heroin never feels strong. I nearly killed myself with an overdose once and that was only a 4 out of 10. Laundretta pointed out that the junkie who feels “not stoned” is like the alcoholic who slurs “I’m not drunk”… Laundretta WAS an alcoholic, as well as a heroin and crack addict, only her drugs took exactly reverse order of preference to mine (I was heroin first, alcohol second, crack third). She was the type of person who would smoke one £10 rock, then instantly be talking about scoring another. And I’d be claiming to be out of money. I was never like that with crack. Apart from one binge I went on, when I decided to smoke and speedball as much as I pleased until the money ran out, I only once bought a second rock after doing the first. This is because crack gave me an intense craving for heroin. Mostly to take away the negative after-effects of the crack. When I think about the nastiness I’ve been involved in I’m disgusted. I don’t want ever to be involved in hard drugs again. Because soft drugs don’t appeal to me (cannabis being just about the most unpleasant experience short of actual torture, I can envisage)… being off hard drugs will mean being off all drugs. None of the drugs I used to take tempt me today. If only if only if only I could be in an Elevated enough mood to kiss goodbye to my beloved heroin for ever. I’m bored of heroin. Fed up of chemical slavery. And I’ve had enough enough enough of the crappy life that came with the stuff.
This is what I gain from NA. A sense of reality from people who are deceived no more. My feelings about the politics of heroin prescribing evaporate as I walk through the doors of NA. I’m no longer interested in prescription heroin. I just want a prescription to be DRUG-FREE, CLEAN, SERENE.
I WANT A LIFE BACK.
CHOICE: ACID EIFFEL
PUSH: STRANGE WORLD