Friday, 29 November 2013

Once more with Feeling

All of a sudden I find myself looking back at six gear free weeks. There was no conscious decision made, no declarations, no hitting "rock bottom", it just kind of happened. There have been plenty of opportunities to use, I could go right now and be back within the hour. It's been so spontaneous there's still a bag full of needles and citric along with a blackened spoon stuffed away in a drawer.

There's been no cravings or wild mood swing, I'm not particularly overflowing with joy at the moment but that's just the roller coaster of life. This is a new road I'm travelling upon, there is an element that sets it apart from previous paths . It's all about choice and understanding behaviour, it's like I've stepped out of darkness and into the light.

It's taken nearly 20yrs and a lot of heart ache to get here. I've been to hell and back several times but in the end all it needed was a choice made with conviction.






Thursday, 31 October 2013

?

I knew it had been a while, well eleven days to be exact, not that long but I suppose. I should have seen the signs, there's always signs. The days have been getting longer and lonelier, I read a book last night from cover to cover, reading soothes, it takes me to another place where all I have to do is turn the page.
Time is running out !
Heroin is not what it used to be ! Since the drought at the end of 2010 the quality has never returned,
So why do I carry on ? ? ?
I wonder what tomorrow will bring ?

Sol Seppy Enter one


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Finding Balance.

It's time to find some balance otherwise this is going to be a very long and hard winter. Carry on like I am and it wont be long before the wolves come baying at my door. This year has seen me go from one extreme to another. I've gone from binging to near abstinence and back to binging again. The situation really hit home yesterday after being let down by a dealer, I almost exploded on the spot. Thankfully I cooled off after 15mins of quietly raging, but then I have got a weeks worth of methadone on the shelf and I had a few shots of vodka left out of half a bottle I'd drunk during the day. But of course this sent my mind into overdrive about why I'm continuing this cycle of destruction. I wasn't even drunk, I know I drink a excessively sometimes but I go days without and don't suffer any withdrawal and I can walk out of a pub after one or two drinks, tolerance I suppose.

The biggest storm in decades is about to hit North Devon, the winds are already starting to pick up so I suppose I better get myself into town to gather supplies, another weeks worth of methadone, and then back home to batten down the hatches. I love going down to the beach when the storms hit, the sea has a certain beauty when the elements are raging, I can stand on the shore for hours watching the sea crashing against the cliffs. I was supposed to be taking down and rebuilding a wall next week, I'm not sure that's going to happen if this storm kicks off. Maybe this cloud will have a silver lining and I can tap into some inspiration to work on some of the projects I've been planning for longer than I care to remember. I finished the decorating in the spare room but there's a whole host of jobs that need attending to, some of which I'll be doing with my Father, it'll be nice to spend some time with him.

.
THE KING BLUES.  What if punk never happened ? One of the most powerful songs I've heard in a long time


















Sunday, 20 October 2013

Round & round & round I go,,,

Another day spent stewing in my flat thinking about all the things I could or should be doing. In one respect it was a day well spent, a day without heroin. There's been too much heroin taking going on recently. The night before last I woke up shivering on the bathroom floor. Self destruct mode has been getting the upper hand recently but as luck would have it I'm still here to smile about it. I wasn't smiling at the time I just felt physically & emotionally sick at having found myself yet again in the cycle of drinking, popping pills & shooting gear.

Thinking the unthinkable:
" Maybe I'd be doing myself and everyone around me a favour if I hadn't woken up".
>No ! Because that would be far too easy, besides I've only got the skirting boards left to do and my spare room, shortly to become an office/dining & spare room will be finished. My past record at seeing things through to the end isn't exactly famous and I'm thinking it could very well give me some kind of psychological boost getting this job done and dusted.

When I first got to this town and became acquainted with the local junkies they used to call this day " Suicide Sunday". Well I like Sundays and I think I'd like to see the next one.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I Dream of a place I can be Free.


FREE STATE

                                                                                                   
     It's been while since I've posted & and in that time a lot's been going on. It's been a fantastic Summer that seems to have flown by in a flash. There's been plenty of drama, plenty of lessons learnt (& re-learnt), as well as a few more trips around the same old block. There's been threats of violence, I've been robbed, I've earned loads of money, I wasted loads of money. Worked Seven days a week, 12-14hrs a day for four months. It's been a complete roller coaster of a ride that's been an educational experience from start to finish, I wont be forgetting it for a while. I've witnessed people lie, cheat & steal, storm off never to return and come back to start all over again.. There's been heart ache and heart break, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
     Looking back I loved every minute of it, even if sometimes all I wanted to do was run far far away. I'd do it all over again in a heart beat if they'll have me back. I regret the way it ended but that's a story all of its own. The most important thing for me this Summer was proving I could do it. I took on a job that they couldn't find anybody else willing to do. They took me on because they were desperate. I had no real experience of working out sailing time tables, my phone manner was atrocious, I knew nothing about or even like fishing ( I used to read the Angling Times for home work). I have a reputation around town for being a lunched out- druggie (it's no big secret) yet I'd be trusted to handle anything between 5-10 grand in cash on a busy day, take my percentage and divide it up amongst the skippers.
     The Bristol channel is one of the most dangerous shipping lanes in the world, it has the second highest tide on the globe. The tide can rise from under a metre to over 10metres around Ilfracombe. The skippers have got to know what they're doing because the one thing the sea doesn't do is take prisoners. Ilfracombe is nearly an all tidal harbour, but four-five days a month around the big Spring tides there is a 3hr period around the low tides when the boats can't load or land passengers safely. On days like this I could have up to 60 people divided between five boats which would be doing different kinds of fishing all set to sail at the same time, the potential for chaos could be quite overwhelming , thank goodness these tides only come once a month. Now as difficult as the public can be at times the people with whom I had the most stress were the skippers, there were times I felt like a school teacher dealing with a group of children with over-inflated egos.
     The season is now behind us, the holiday makers have gone home and I am back to painting and decorating. This Summer saw me consume less amounts of class A drugs than any previous summers I can remember, but I think replacing drugs with 98hrs per week of work isn't necessarily a healthy way to confront a problem. As much as I tried to put some kind of plan into place for when the season came to an end I fell straight into a heavy binge. I don't think drugs are the actual problem, they are a part of it and they aggravate it, drugs are also how I deal with unwanted feelings and emotions.
      I've said this before and I obviously need to say it again,  " The things in life that I'm least inclined to do are more than likely the things which I need to do most of all.."
   


,

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Another Day On The Quay

28 days in a row, 10-12hrs a day. and it' gonna start getting really busy any day now. Not done too much heroin lately although I am coming down off of  a lengthy  binge that went on for 4-8wks ? I'm pretty sure I'd pass a tox screen right now if required but I wouldn't want to put money on it staying that way.  The hours maybe long and days off are a thing of the past , there's plenty of stress and bitching going on but despite that this job can be rewarding and I'm enjoying it.. My bills are paid, I've got money in the bank and I've even started stashing cash away in a little hidy hole which is a complete novelty for me.

I've done little else but work solidly for the last few months and it's been quite a battle proving I'm up to this job. They didn't really want me to start with but they don't want to lose me now. It's 6am so I need to start gettiing ready for another day on the quay.

Every day is a good day at the moment and I'm sure the best is yet to come !

Friday, 24 May 2013

Bring It On !

So much has been going on over the last 5-6wks. Some good some bad. I've had most of the day off today, the first time I've had any time to myself over this period and I've spent most of it asleep through sheer exhaustion although I have been sleeping next to my work phone and bookings diary because next week the chaos begins, well I hope it does because I need to earn some money. Let me explain.

Last year I did a job down on the harbour selling fishing trips to holiday makers and I absolutely loved it. I posted about it last year with a few pics,  Interpretations & ramblings etc.: Anyone for fishing ?: Well last year I was working for one boat which meant the money wasn't that good but I enjoyed it so much I didn't care. This year I've been given the opportunity to work for five boats, it puts the job into a completely different realm plus I'll be on a good rate of commission not a day rate. It's been a quite a struggle winning over the five skippers (two in particular), I've invested most of my free time and been working  for very little over the last three weeks but I see it as an investment which if works out will be rewarding in many ways.

Well that's the good bit now for the bad. Up until 6wks ago I'd been unemployed not using much but lapsing regularly every 2-3wks. One of my local pubs asked me to decorate the exterior of their building which turned out to be 2 and a half weeks work. After the worst winter I can remember financially as well as a lot of personal negativity/depression I  ended up binging on heroin and valium plus there was alcohol often being thrown into the mix. I have a few memory losses from that period and on one occasion I was found collapsed in the lanes off of the high st. by a friend who took me back to his place until I was fit enough to make it home. I live in a small town and my past/present is no real secret, this is one of the reasons I've had such a battle proving myself worthy of this new job. I realised I was going to fuck up big time if I carried on and that the job I was lusting after would be history, so I've pulled myself together. Haven't taken valium for about 2wks and haven't had heroin for a week. I'm drinking a couple or three pints in the evening but taking the occasional night off tonight being one.

This new job involves taking bookings over the phone during the days and evenings as well as this I have to work out timetables for the many different kinds of trips and they have to be worked out around the tide time table so I need to have my head screwed on. Our harbour is on the Bristol channel which has the 2nd highest tide in the world 10 meters plus we have an almost all tidal port but not quite so I'm having to do a lot of work getting my head around it all.

I remember how much I enjoyed myself and how happy I was last year. It will either work or it wont but I've known all along my future would be working and interacting with people, so for now I'm going to commit myself and see how it all works out.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Do I have a Disease ?

After living through nearly twenty years of heroin or heroin substitute addiction I've been fortunate enough not to have contracted any diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, or any other diseases associated with long term drug addiction, however there is a line of thought that claims addiction itself is a disease. A couple of years ago shortly after I started this blog I wrote a post supporting this claim and more recently I've made comments to the same effect. But even more recently as my problems with addiction have been gradually declining I've been able to consider the question with a clearer head and understanding.

I think that to some extent blaming my addiction on a disease (that some go as far as to say is incurable) took away my responsibility and provided me with an excuse for further use. This is probably why I went along with it.

 Addiction can be extremely destructive, it can ruin lives, tear apart families and even disrupt communities, in this respect it is very much like a disease.

Whilst researching this subject I came across an article which sums things up rather nicely,


Why Addiction is NOT a Brain Disease




Saturday, 13 April 2013

Life is an ever flowing river.......

Rest In Peace  Ronald Mannings.  10th April 1916-19th March 2013
Pop, Father, Grand Father, Great Grand Father, Great Great Grand Father.
My Grand Father.
One of the few survivors of the chindit campaign, Burma WWII .



My daughters & I

It's been a long winter but eventually things are beginning to turn around. Next week I've got a start on a job, it's only a small one but I've hopefully got a few more lined up after it.  Though after 4yrs of being self employed I've learnt never to rely on a job until you're actually there working it.  For a week at least I wont be claiming state benefits, I just hope the weather behaves itself because all the work I've got lined up is outside.

I haven't had any contact with my drug workers since late last year, I've practically given up on them so I've been reducing my methadone under my own volition and am now down to 30mls. My aim is to be off of it by the end of July because I'm off to Switzerland for a couple of weeks for work/holiday. But nothing is written in stone as far as medication is concerned. I've been on methadone/subutex for a decade and a half, so I'm not expecting miracles I'm just trying to maintain a positive attitude.

Ding Dong the witch is - I'm sure you know the rest !
  

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Follow the light

What a beautiful spring morning !
I'm decorating my bedroom today, cleared it out yesterday and I'm all set to go. The flat's turned into a bit of a disaster area over the winter. I was living on the couch through the cold months whilst my bedroom turned into a walk in wardrobe and general storage space. I started sleeping in the spare bedroom about two weeks ago but now I'd like my bedroom back.




This is such a great song and video. It reinforces my belief that not all enabling is wrong. I'd go out and buy the heroin myself if it stopped any daughter of mine from having to enter the kind of life depicted in the video.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

A few thoughts on a Saturday morning

I've had some disappointments recently and instead of moving on I've tended to dwell on them which has only succeeded in filling me with frustration and misdirected anger. Except when I was a student and for a few brief periods I've always been employed or self employed Even when my habit was full on I always managed to hold on to a job of some kind. I remember a friend telling me once,
" Karl you need a certain amount of discipline to maintain a healthy habit "
I was successfully exercising this discipline without realising it. Without employment the life of an addict can very quickly fall into chaos. I watched in horror as my friends and associates got involved with dealing, prostitution and crime, some came through it, some didn't .A life of crime was not for me.

The irony is now that my life is stable, my drug use being minimal and recreational, my methadone at a low dose which is slowly continuing to fall, I am poorer than I've ever been and I'm reliant on state benefits which are a pittance and an insult to anyone who's been working and paying taxes for most of their life. It's a daily struggle trying to legitimately survive these days.

I want to work, I've always wanted to work. Without work I don't have much of a life or the opportunity to build a life that is worth living. Sometimes I feel I had more of a life when I was on heroin.

A lot of people believe that an addict has to reach their lowest ebb in order to successfully turn their lives around. From my own experiences I think this line of thought is flawed. It was going through one of my lowest periods when I started using heroin daily in the first place. I haven't been actively using heroin for just over a year now, I've lapsed plenty but not relapsed. The lapses have been short and sweet, sometimes not so sweet, but they've never gone on for more than a day. I cannot envision myself  going back to using day in, day out ever again. I didn't need to be destitute in order to reach this point, I've been on the brink of destitution many times over the years and it usually resulted in heavier use. What it took was for my life to get better and for me to realise it. I needed to realise that I had more to live for than my daily fix and that my daily fix was stopping me from doing what I actually wanted to do. It was a slow process that involved changing the way I thought. It couldn't be forced, it couldn't be brought on by guilt and it couldn't be brought on by being  in a state of destitution, in fact those three things would only have encouraged more use and becoming more trapped in addiction if that is even possible.

My journey through addiction has been a long one but the worst of it now seems to be over.  The biggest problem affecting my life now is unemployment and trying to find a job that pays a living wage. This is a problem I never had when I was an active junky, I feel like I have swapped one shitty life for another.          













Thursday, 14 March 2013

Wow. What a difference a bit of sun makes,the cats are out basking on the balcony and people are walking around with a smile on their face me included. Financially this has been the worst winter I can remember. I've been laden with negativity, but now as the sun is smiling on me I feel like I'm beginning to wake up from the slumber that was winter.
What is Freedom ?
What is Truth ?
What is Justice ?
Man made concepts is what they are - social constructs. Completely relative to where, when and who you are !
The only absolute is that there are no absolutes, the only constant is change.
Adapt and survive.
  What is soul ?

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Battle Continues

I'm don't exactly know what I'm going to do yet but I'm sure that will come in time. What matters at the moment is that I at least try to turn my life around. I've been letting myself deteriorate for the last year now, all my talk of change has slipped by the wayside, the intent has been there but the commitment not. I've grown extremely tired of the life I've been living, though I think living is the wrong word, I've been existing, getting by, scraping through one bad situation merely to face or produce another.
Alcohol has been slowly seeping its way back into my daily routine because of the lack of decent heroin, but I'm no alcoholic not yet ! I've grown lazy and weak, my health is starting to suffer and my mind is constantly questioning itself. The faith I had in myself has been battered down so far I find myself questioning whether its worth trying to climb out of the hole I've been digging for the last twenty years. At the moment I have no job, no prospects, debt and very little hope.

BUT ! Maybe a little hope can go a long way.

There seems to be something inside me that doesn't want to entirely let go, I've reduced my methadone, I've bought an e cigarette, I've acquired a new bicycle, I bake my own bread and even enrolled on a computer course. Small things, but it's a start.

The coming year is going to be just as difficult if not more so than the last. The world is changing before our eyes. Many mistakes have been made and there is going to be a lot of suffering. I don't think any particular group of people are to blame, because pretty much the whole of the western world jumped aboard for the ride into the good times, though some were definitely more ruthless than others. Maybe this was just the way it had to be in order for people to wake up and take responsibility.

ANYWAY.

I know I've been here a million times before. But going round in circles is better than not going anywhere at all. So today I will try again because one day I might actually CHANGE ! 




 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Last took heroin about 5weeks ago whilst in Bristol. The heroin was twice the price as usual because it was about 5-10 times stronger than anything I've taken in Devon for the last 2yrs. It was easily as good as, if not better than pre-drought gear of 2010. It made me realise that the local heroin is simply not worth buying but it also made me realise that if the local gear was what it should be then I could very well be drowning in oblivion.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Should I stay or should I go ?

Give it all up, jump out of the frying pan into the fire and move on ! It's time to get out of 'dodge', that's the plan. I'm barely existing at the moment, life is drifting by, the days are merging together, the weeks are flying past. If I carry on like this then before I know it summer will be gone and I'll be facing another winter, asking myself the same questions, letting life pass me by.

I've lulled myself into a safe meagre existence, I preferred the chaos of junkiedom, at least it gave me a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a hunger to satisfy.
A wise man once said to me,
" Life is the sum total of your experiences, if you have no experiences then you have no life !"
Life keeps going around the same circle, revolving instead of evolving, repeating the same mistakes over and over, I see this clearly, it's safe, it's comfortable, and so so predictable.

It's time to break the cycle, forge a new path, and rediscover the joy of life, but to do this I need to shed this life and search out a new one, sooner rather than later !

Thursday, 10 January 2013

THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

The subject of enabling
 I made a rash comment on somebodies blog last night which I hadn't completely thought through and suffered the loss of several hours sleep.

"Summer I am sorry, I should never have questioned either your compassion or your love, I had no right"
I also said I'd write about this subject so here goes.

There's a lot of talk about enabling on the blogs of parents of addicts and I have found the subject fascinating, it has opened my eyes and forced me to look at my own behaviour both past and present, as an addict with parents, and also as a parent. It seems most parents struggle with the concept of enabling and more often than not they eventually come to the conclusion that all enabling is wrong. I disagree with this blanket conclusion that all enabling is wrong, indeed in some cases it could well be wrong and untenable but in some cases I would say it's wrong not to enable. What about the cases where the harm of not enabling far outweighs the harm of enabling. Not every problem has a good solution !

There are many families that have been destroyed by drugs, parents disown children, relatives don't speak, children never meet their Grandparent etc. and then before they know it, there's a funeral and any hope of conciliation is gone for ever. Without family support and love an addicts life can rapidly spiral out of control resulting in any number of scenarios, here's a few; 

a) The addict hits their rock bottom,. sees the light, reforms and lives happily ever after. Therefore justifying the families disassociation and proving that 'tough love' can work.

b) A classic scenario for female addicts is prostitution which often entails dealing with the dregs of society, this can inevitably lead to rape, abuse, disease, murder, etc. which leads to heavier drug use, normalisation of low morals, criminal prosecution, low life expectancy, etc. I wouldn't want this for any daughter of mine and I would do any enabling possible to avoid it, but then again if I tried everything I could and she still went down that road, I would at least provide food & shelter if I could.

c) For male and female addicts who cannot for whatever reason hold down a job crime is a classic scenario. Dealing, theft, fraud, begging, mugging, robbery, living off immoral earnings, the list is endless and jail is almost always inevitably the result. For many parents of addicts jail time is a welcome relief, a time when they can sleep soundly not having to worry about their loved ones being in harms way and having no or very little access to drugs. That may well be the case and just maybe jail time will allow them to see the error of their ways and inspire reform; Therefore once again justifying their families disassociation and everyone can live happily ever after. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. Prison is viewed by many as the university of criminality, a place to get a bit of clean time, get fit, learn more efficient ways of breaking the law, make new contacts, in essence become a better criminal. It could go either way.

d) An addict cut off from all support networks can easily fall into a deep depression and become suicidal.

I realise that my own experience is exceptional, I have managed to hold down a job throughout my addiction therefore I've not fallen into a life of crime and placed myself and my loved ones in any significant danger. This is not the case for many addicts and I can sympathise with parents who live in constant fear of becoming victims of their very own flesh and blood.

I believe there is no absolute right or wrong answers to this problem and each case has to be measured individually. There are no easy solutions and no solution is going to be perfect because we don't live in a perfect world.. I've only really scratched the surface here but I hope I've given people something to think about. I haven't even mentioned the problems that arise from legislation and the resulting prejudices.

May Love, Compassion, Understanding, and Forgiveness be our guide.






Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Smile to Die For: Stop being who you were & become who you are !

Today as I was doing the second half of the washing up that has been stagnating in my kitchen for the last 2weeks I realised that I had read something very important just an hour earlier.

For the last past couple of months I've been suffering from some kind of depression, I've been feeling lost, pathetic and unworthy of the 'priveliged' life I lead, I felt I had dug myself so deep into a hole that I really had nothing to lose if somebody came along and buried me in it. I'd drink every few days to get drunk and I'd use heroin when I could afford to, which would be about once a week. Two days before Factory Friday I got blind drunk and then  I scored, to my utter surprise I got my hit first jab. 2hrs later I found myself shouting and screaming in my toilet, it took me a few minutes to realise what I was doing and where I was and then another minute or two to calm  myself down and stop myself from shouting, my throat was hurting so I must have been shouting for some time. The last time I had a psychotic episode like this was 4yrs ago and it was isolated, before that it was when I was living in Bridgwater when I'd been using heavily both heroin and speed. I was shocked, ashamed and really wanting someone to just come along and bury me in that hole I'd dug for myself . Luckily there were no repercussions from this episode, the last time my neighbours called the police on me.

I managed to drag myself through Christmas with a smile on my face,  it wasn't too difficult because it was just me and my parents having dinner and as I didn't have any drugs to take I was not doing head dives into my plate of food, I couldn't even drink because I was rapidly coming down with a bug. Boxing day was spent with my children's mothers parents, it was great to see the kids and the grand daughter but by this time I was so full of cold my head wanted to explode and every muscle in my body wanted to collapse, but if I hadn't been there everyone would have been thinking the worst, and why wouldn't they, it's not even as though they would've been wrong, but I was there and I was sober, and I would do anything to see the smile on that baby's face.

After boxing day I laid ill upon the sofa wrapped up in a duvet. The bug had progressed to my chest and just as I'd predicted developed into a chest infection for which I've been on antibiotics for the last few days. I've been doing a lot of reading over the last couple of weeks and I've been taught some important lessons, now I need to learn them.

Here is the passage that has helped to lift me out of depression:

"That is why it is important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride,inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. STOP BEING WHO YOU WERE AND BECOME WHO YOU ARE."  
 Paulo Coelho, The Zahir.

               



A smile to die for.