I'm sitting in a tiny room, it's your typical underfunded, National-Health-service, no-frills
sort of affair. Bland, grey strips, hanging over the windows, forming folding vertical curtains via a chain-mail pull chord rope, oddly coloured plastic chairs with one leg slightly bent laid out for the patient, whilst the poorly paid, yet enthusiastic and kind key worker gets a slightly better (but still bottom of the rung) cheap 'pine look' chair with a proper framed back and an ugly powder blue cushion that probably does absolutely nothing to comfort the buttocks whatsoever. The decor is of absolutely no fucking consequences at all but I am focusing on it in an attempt to try and forget, even just for for a millisecond, the pain and suffering and pure desperation I am feeling. I'm cold, freezing cold, but I'm wearing two T-Shirts, a thick hoodie, and a jacket, plus the key worker has bi-passed NHS rules on having the central heating on at designated times, by placing a mobile electrical heater blowing lovely hot tax payers money across the room in warm waves of air.
But I'm still shivering, yet sweating profusely, and I mean I'm actually drenched, totally soaked in horrible cold sweat pouring out of me at a rate of knots, whilst my bones clench inside me involuntarily so that I feel the marrow is being squeezed out like a chewable bone for dogs, and the marrow is poisoning my body, making the heart burn so bad I'm close to vomiting. My horrible pale, grey skin is covered in goose pimples and my nose is running like a fountain. I am cursing myself with an internal monologue using every expletive under the sun "you cunt, you fucking shit cunt, loser, no good, junkie piece of shit, fucking wanker, cunt, dickhead, CUNT" It's like a terrible cheesy song that you can't get out of your head, but it NEVER stops playing and I am so accustomed to the monologue it almost passes unnoticed, a worrying sign that I don't even at least try and pretend that I don't hate myself and every morsel of my being.
I'm pissed off, with myself, for doing this to myself, again. I've seriously let myself down and now I am paying the consequences. I've entirely brought this upon myself, in a way, I felt that my whole life had been slowly building up to this moment and now that it was here I was fully wallowing in my suffering and misery, the physical and mental torture bestowed upon in such an undeniably poignant fashion . The doe-eyed key worker is kind, you can hear it in her voice and whilst she is trying her best to comfort me with words of encouragement, and sympathetic smiles, and doing her very level best to get me some much needed help, she's fucking winding me right up.
It's really not her fault at all, everything is winding me up at the moment as I am in brutal agony and I am simply not capable of showing any real sincere gratitude or thanks, which somehow makes me feel even worse, a feat I thought impossible only seconds before this realisation hit me. I am of course in the local drug clinic, and I am suffering what is commonly described as "cold turkey" although I never really got the reference to the turkey, it's probably because you get goose pricked or goose pimpled skin so the turkey is the goose I guess, but it could just as easily have been cold chicken, cold duck, chilled pigeon, or chilled rotting dead dog to me and it wouldn't have made much fucking difference to the way I felt. Cold turkey, or heroin withdrawal is a brutal, grim, unforgiving experience. I've been through it three times before but this has been the worst of all the four. Probably because I had used heroin every day in a slightly larger capacity since I had lapsed from my last effort to get clean and it had been going on for 8 months almost to the day. It was about 6 months after I'd initially got clean that this lapse has happened and I am determined for it to be the last and final time I experience this horrible, painful, suffering. I am not sure I can go through it again and make it out the other side and and expect to ever live a 'normal' life again.
My story isn't really an especially interesting one, maybe it is, I am not sure, perhaps the audience shall be the judge on this occasion, (rather than with my usual cocaine fuelled story telling in which I would TELL YOU that it was interesting ) I had always been 'into drugs' since I was a teenager. I smoked my first spliff aged just 12 and was regularly smoking weed until it had become a daily habit by 15/16 and I carry it to this day. Marijuana just takes the edge off life, and for me life has an edge, I don't know why but real life to me is a very jagged, sharp, tough place to be and every time I go there I don't like it very much and want to return to what is now "normal" to me. It's very difficult for me to work out what is 'normal' because I have been smoking weed and taking valium daily since I was 15. I've tried to stop but I just became a manic, hysterical, irritating mess to the point that my fiance actually had enough of my crazy behaviour and told me to go and buy some weed, for the good of our relationship, that stint of not smoking weed had lasted less than 3 weeks and been disastrous.
I first took ecstasy aged 16 at a rave at a warehouse studio called 'Bagleys' in Kings Cross in North London, where the new Cross Rail Link is now, this would be late 1998/early 1999, it was like an enlightenment to me as it is to many the first time they take it, a spiritual awakening I thought "I have finally found what I have been looking for my entire life, infused into that tablet, to the thumping soundtrack of drum and bass and old school hardcore piano riffs, was my destiny, it was what I was put on this earth to do, to be a part of!" and it became my life. I followed different music scenes and went to different raves but it was all primarily an excuse and a ritual to take ecstasy. I didn't take ecstasy like my friends took it. They did half a pill, or a whole one, and then maybe a half more for the rest of the night. The first time I took it I did 4 pills. The second time I think I took 9 pills. I had lost count really, it could have been 10 or even 15 and I wouldn't have known. This rang alarm bells to some people but I didn't really think anything of it, I just knew that I loved it and I wanted to do it as often as I possibly could. I also knew the risks, I knew which pills were good and which were bad, and I knew that if I just took MDMA and didn't drink too much or too little water, and I had a break in-between dancing and shocking out to the bass lines that had become the soundtrack to my teenage existence, it was million-to-one odds that I would die.
Sometimes I restricted my consumption of ecstasy on nights out to just 2/3 pills but it wasn't uncommon for me to take 5 on a Friday and another 6/7 the next night or more. Endless grams of MDMA crystals were guzzled down with relish, the foul tasting chemicals on my tongue fizzing down via a bottle of becks, like caviar to an indulged French King. This trend continued until my early 20's and beyond, by the time I was 21, I was a fully fledged, drug crazy, weekend warrior. Get through my dull 9-5 office job Monday-Friday and then lose yourself in the filthy, sordid, exciting, enticing, electrifying, soul enamouring, sexual world of ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, 2CB, DMT, Salvia, Poppers, Amphetamines, of course all washed down with a bottle of lager which would just keep on flowing. I knew a lot about drugs too, I had testing kits for MDMA, I knew how to wash cocaine in acetone to assess its purity and I was a connoisseur of marijuana for many years.
Dealers would often contact me in order to get an assessment on a product as they knew I could tell them how pure they were and whether they were worth buying or for what price. A lot of professional drug dealers don't touch drugs themselves and would need a user to give an accurate assessment of their potential product, I was this person for a number of dealers in West and South London. I was heavily involved in this London free party/rave scene and the drugs, taking them and buying them and sometimes selling them, was how I coped with and formed my life and the fabric of my life itself. It was part of who I was,it was part of if not most of my identity I thought that it would always last forever. I never questioned how much stock I put into it, it was my release and my reason to exist, it gave me a purpose and in a strange and twisted way it fulfilled my basic human need.
But then one day it just stopped working. I was 26 almost 27, and all these drugs that had held me together suddenly just gave up on me seemingly over night. The ecstasy was the most difficult thing to accept, I kept trying to take it but as soon as I tasted it I would vomit almost immediately sometimes before I had even swallowed it I would just vomit. It was my body's way of telling me enough was enough, the serotonin gland could no longer cope with its continual abuse and it just gave way. The other effects of drugs also changed, cocaine made me paranoid and anxious, even the good cocaine without any speedy additives after I had acetone washed it would make me an anxious wreck full of paranoia. I started to change. The hallucinogens started to make me become morbidly fanatical about life as a concept and I became very philosophical about what life meant and our limitations of thought, it began to invoke thoughts of suicide, not wishing to end my life, just wondering what death would be like. Wondering if we ever really 'die' spiritually.
It became a fascination I couldn't shirk. The enormous 150 mg hits DMT and bottles of liquid acid I had consumed had stopped me from fearing death and made me see life as such an abstract concept, so that it became almost as though I wasn't really alive anyway, knowing that we're a fantastic form of energy that can live on forever in an entirely different form, a far more beautiful one if it was anything like some of my DMT trips. But I became very very depressed, I no longer had this outlet that had become my be-all and end-all and it felt like life was somehow closing in on me. I suddenly realised that Richard fucking Ashcroft was right all along, the drugs (eventually) don't work (any more).
If you haven't got an addictive personality, if you've never been fascinated by drugs and how they can make you feel or questioned the main stream media's information about them, (you will likely have stopped reading by now, however if you're still with me at this point but this still applies, you have to try and open your mind a little bit to how OTHER people different to you might think and feel before passing judgement) then this article may strike you as nothing more than "another druggie's story" and perhaps that is all it is. We're not all the same though. We don't all have the same brain patterns, and as much as everything I have done in my life has been my decision, has been my own choice, which I take full responsibility for, there is a LOT of nailed-on, scientific evidence to suggest that some of us are "hard wired" to be more prone to addiction and be more likely to suffer some mental illness than others.
I was suggested to have (and was a little later formally diagnosed of having) ADHD aged 9 or 10 at my primary school. I remember being a weird kid, I would hum and make strange noises to myself all the time and had a constant need to fidget and move and tense, and do strange 'rituals' I would act out over and over, like a strange, eccentric twitch. I went to secondary school and was referred to the school counselor in my second year as I had become unmanageable in the class room. Many credible academic ADHD study's and various study's on animals that show similar brain patterns and components as well as distinctive behavioural patterns in animals with those brain patterns when left in a room with drugs like cocaine and heroin etc. The animals, I believe they were rats, which shared the different brain patterns and transmitters as ADHD sufferers and a certain percentage of the population which also share these patterns I think it's about 10% or so, became addicted to the cocaine whilst the other drugs did not continue to consume it!
I do honestly believe some people are pre-disposed genetically to suffer from addiction. Mental health issues (and addiction IS a mental health issue make no mistake about it) are also hereditary and run in my direct and secondary family as does alcoholism and addiction and general mental health problems such as schizophrenia and depression. I believe I have actually led a very fortunate life, in terms of materialism, but a greatly unhappy and unfulfilled life with a lot of struggle and mental strife along the way.
So by the time I was 26 years old I had taken a lot of drugs on an increasing basis. The cocaine was sometimes 5 nights a week and eventually I started to take it less and less as it made me more and more paranoid and anxious I became convinced that someone was cutting all the coke with bizarre cuts and added agents that were adding to my post using anxiety. When I tried to take all the different types of drugs on various occasions but they didn't work like before, I realised I had overdone it and lost my ability it and lost my ability to enjoy the activity my life had been based around, taking drugs. It was also part of my identity as a person, without the drugs I didn't feel like myself, I didn't recognise myself.
At age 27 I took a trip to New York and on the first night met this blonde girl from Texas in a bar. We had a brief kind of holiday fling and then when I left she gave me these pills, she said they were "yummy" and for special occasions but that I might want to take one on the flight home. They were Vicodin, Percocet and something called Dilaudid. All prescription opiate pain killers which I had never taken before. I already had valium for the flight home, I'd been taking valium for 10 years almost daily already but usually also to knock me out after long cocaine binges and nights on end of ecstasy and ketamine and 2cb.
I remember popping the dilaudid, she told me it was extra yummy and to just do half but I took the whole thing, it was a 7.5mg I believe, and as I sat back in my Virgin economy seat, this beautiful warm feeling swept across me. It was like nothing I had ever felt before, it was such a beautiful peaceful feeling and I was just so happy and contented I was almost drooling in my chair. I suddenly had one of those moments that I had when I first took ecstasy, a eureka moment if you like, and I just suddenly felt that with that one tablet, once again all my troubles had sailed off into the merry distance and I was this free creature, roaming the earth and loving life, and more importantly not hating myself.
It had given me a totally new lease of life, I had finally found the answer to all my problems and I knew that it was the start of something again in my life. I was wondering how I could find these pills in the UK...so I will continue with where that went in the next blog post....