Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Just the kind of luck I could probably do without.

    I started clearing out my tool cupboard this evening. I picked up my Wellington boots because I was going to chuck them out on the balcony to make some extra storage space. I could just make out a small scrunched up sandwich bag and I thought to myself, no, no it can't be, how in the hell could it be, it must be a bag that I actually had sandwiches in. But no ! Inside the bag was a reddish brown powder and no mean amount either.  So out came the roll of foil, I burnt off a piece, tore it into two, flattened one piece and rolled the other into a tube. I was pretty sure it was but it wouldn't be the first time I'd gotten excited over something of nothing. As soon as I put a flame underneath it the sickly sweet smell rose up from the powder that had now transformed into a golden brown beetle.

I stuck it on the scales and it came in at just over two grammes. It had been hiding there since the end of last Summer, just over a year.I have absolutely no recollection of stashing it there but I'm fairly sure of it's source and that up until this evening I'd thought that one definitely or two possibly persons had nicked it. I'm glad I didn't go ahead and make accusations. This was the longest stretch without gear I've done in I can't remember how long. But in the end I think that most things in life happen for a reason.

To be continued.

Monday, 24 November 2014

It's that time again.

I'm still here battling against my addiction. After smoking my way through the Summer and eventually going back to the needle things seem to have settled down a bit. The last blast I had was a couple of weekends ago, a typical binge that lasted for three days, only really ending because I ran out of money.
Life is kind of plodding along at the moment, work is steady and as long as I don't go on endless benders and get a handle on my drinking life will continue to plod on. However, I know deep down that life is never going to progress into anything remotely satisfying or fulfilling until I take that final step out of addiction. My methadone use is now back to my prescribed level of 40mls which in the scheme of things is relatively low.

When I first started blogging about my addiction there were quite a few us here writing about our struggles with heroin/methadone but now posts seem to be few and far between. More and more often I find myself reading blogs by parents of addicts which has given me an insight into what I put my parents through. Similar stories from around the world from parents who's lives have been turned upside down, learning the hard way lessons that can only be taught through experience.

After twenty years of addiction I have gone through many different stages of use, I'm what some people refer to as a functioning addict, but sometimes I feel as though I'm just perpetuating my own misery because I've gotten to the stage where I'm sick and tired of the stagnation I'm drowning in. My usual way of dealing with these feelings is to use and blot them out but the drugs don't work any more. So I think it's time I have another go at cleaning up my act.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

My last day working on the Quay, my daughter has gone back to Bristol, and the tourists that are around are more interested in coastal cruises than fishing. I put my last customers on the boat, pushed the boat away and climbed the steps back up to the pier. I'm on my way back to the office to get a piece of tin foil to smoke the gram of gear I've just bought as a way of saying goodbye to the job and hopefully goodbye to the gear. I put my hand to my waist where I wear my money belt and to my horror it's not there. A days takings and a gram of gear gone in one hit. I ran to the office scanning the ground for the belt or anyone holding it, then run back to the landing from which I'd just left, the belt had disappeared, I didn't know whether to, cry, scream or laugh. I knew the belt had a dodgy clip on it but I'd been wearing it for a couple of weeks and well it was the last day today so I didn't see much point in spending a tenner on a new one, what a mistake that turned out to be !
There were a couple of lads crabbing on the landing.
" Have you seen a money belt ?"

" Was it a light brown leather belt ?"

"Yes, that's it have you seen it ?"

"Yeah It was in the water right by the boat 100%, I thought it was attached, sorry mate I didn't think anything of it."


Now what am I going to do ? The belt has obviously sunk, I need to get that money back, if I don't my savings will just about cover the loss but that's not really an option. I don't really want anyone else finding it because of the drugs.

The boat I'd just sent out was called Crazy which is owned and skippered by a good friend of mine Chopper, I phoned him and told him what had happened and he said I'll just have to sit there until the tide went out and hopefully it would be there. The tide didn't usually go out that far but we'd just had the big Spring tides so there was a chance that it would go out far enough or at least far enough for me to be able to wade in. I remembered I had a can of special brew in the office so I fetched it returned to the landing and assumed watch, I had nearly three hours until low tide. The two lads that were crabbing left and wished me luck and I was left there on my own to contemplate this disaster and the probable outcome at the end of the day. Thankfully I wasn't on my own for long. 

I was joined by a group of twelve people from Bristol who'd gone out mackerel fishing with Chopper earlier in the morning, they'd only come back with a few fish because the mackerel were pretty much gone, but they were happy and they were keen. They'd gutted the fish and kept the heads to go crabbing. I'd been speaking with one of them over the last few days organising the booking. I told them what had happened and they were gutted for me and they were good company whilst I sat there brooding and waiting for the tide to go out. I did a few tours of the beach when restlessness got the better of me and it wasn't long before I realised that the tide wasn't going to go out far enough, I needed a plan B.

Low tide was almost upon me. I reached for my phone,

"Hi Steve, I've got a problem. Have you got a wet suit and a snorkel I can use?"
"Why what's up mate?"
"Money belt's gone in the water, with all the money in it. I'm fucked !"
"OK mate I'll be there as soon as I can !"

I hung up, and made my way to the pub for a quick pint to glug before getting wet. I was served my pint in a plastic container because it was Sunny Sunday which meant there was live music and the place was kicking !

As I made my way down the Pier to the landing I noticed the landing had emptied of people, all there was left was one girl playing with her crab line, as I looked down she looked up saw me and shouted.

"I've found it I've found it"

No fucking way, I ran down those steps and sure enough as she pulled up her line mackerel head an all there it was, my money belt.

" I think you owe me a tenner " she said

I could not believe my eyes, I undid the zip and pulled out the mulch that turned out to be £ .790.00 plus change and peeled off a twenty.

" No I was only joking, I don't want anything"

"Well you're taking it and as far as I'm concerned you've got free fishing trips for life !"
I Hugged her and then hugged her again. 

"Well it's time for me to go" she says
"Yeah me too, I'd better go and sort this out"
"Don't forget to ring your mate to tell him you found it, bye Karl"
"Hang on, what's your name?"

Below. My daughter Neoma who worked with me through the summer.

Video of sunny Sunday at Pier tavern.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sometimes I cry !

My daughter moved in with me on Tuesday and if everything works out she'll be staying for the Summer season working for me on the Quay. She's seems quite up for it but only time will tell if she's up to it. I have every faith that she is but then I would wouldn't I. After living on my own in this flat for the past 6-7 yrs it's quite an adjustment having my 20yr old daughter move in and become part of my day to day life. She was only three when I split up with her mother and I've only really seen her and her sisters a few times a year since then so this is such a wonderful opportunity for me to spend some good quality time with her.  

Harbour politics are so rife at the moment I'm having serious doubts about next years season, I made up my mind not to get involved with any of it this year but how can I not when it's starting to affect the money that goes into my pocket. As much as I love the job, there's no way I'm doing it for free.The harbour is like a little micro image of the world around us, "same people, just different faces" It's the same where ever you work be it a factory,a  warehouse, building site or office, but this office is just so beautiful, even when it's raining !
                                                                             This song is beautiful, I shed a tear this morning watching the video & taking in the words.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Things are starting to look up a bit. I'm on my 3rd day without gear, this is nothing unusual apart from the fact that this time it was done through choice. As I was walking down the quay to work yesterday morning I realised I had a big smile on my face and that there was no where else I'd rather be. I thought to myself "how lucky is that". Enjoying your job is half the battle in life, I'm not saying my job is perfect, it's far from it. I offered one of my daughters a job for the summer yesterday and she's coming down for a try~out next week. It'll be great to have her working and living with me for a few months if it works out.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Today is a good Day

There's fresh food in the cupboard, enough for today and tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

And so it Begins

I've been back working the harbour since Easter, but the amount of tourists has decreased and I'm hoping to be painting the insides of a pub next week. I'm surprised they had me back after the way things ended last year, things got so out of hand I walked out about two weeks before the end of the season swearing I'd never go back. I'd worked five months solid without a day off, my mind was fried and I wasn't thinking all that straight. The people I was working for were in a similar space as me, overtired and overworked, although they'd had days off here and there when the weather had been bad, I didn't get that luxury.
 There is a pub right next to my office on the harbour, I used to sneak in there for swift house doubles when I needed a quick de-stress and around five o'clock when things were starting to calm down I'd have a pint. Between five and eight o'clock I'd still be manning the office because I'd often pick up some trade for the next day. There was a girl working in the office over the road who I befriended, she also liked a drink so I had someone to talk and have a laugh with. The harbour is a beautiful place, mostly populated at that time of day by couples eating fish and chips and about a thousand sea gulls, occasionally the dolphin who'd been entertaining the tourists all Summer would stop by and do a few somersaults for us. I looked forward to the evenings. She's supposed to be coming back this Summer when it gets busy, I hope so.
The pub closed down for refurbishment about a week before I left. The days seemed to drag on so much longer without my supply of vodka cokes but I managed to hang on till five and then either me or Tanya would nip down to the shop and get a bottle to share. The last day the pub was open they had a party, they were a popular and well liked family, plenty of people showed up to see them off and plenty of people showed up to drink whatever was on offer. The booze certainly flowed that night, they locked the doors at about nine o'clock and there was much singing and dancing. I was robbed that night of £200 by a person who is married to a guy also working on the harbour I thought they were trustworthy but they got the better of me because I was so damn drunk, I didn't realise the money had gone until I went to pay for my taxi the next morning. I shouldn't have had the money on me but it was what I'd made that day and I'd gone straight to the party. He wont be working the harbour this year, I've done everything I can to make sure of it.
At around twelve o'clock I stirred from my slumber, I didn't know where I was at first, I'd fallen asleep whilst the party raged on around me, I knew I had to get home in order to be 'ok' for tomorrow.
I got someone to ring me a cab,  said goodnight to a few people, slid back the locks on the doors and was immediately hit by the stillness of the night and the tinkling of the bells attached to the masts on the yachts. I was making my way over to the harbour wall when Tanya stuck her head out of the pub doors,
"Oi where do you think you're going ?"
"I need to go, I've got to be back at eight, you're ok you don't start till ten"
She smiled and walked over to me, she kissed me and said,
"I love you"
And then she went back inside.                                                                                                                                             1st picture. The Pier Tavern  2nd & 3rd pictures are taken looking over the wall by the phone box.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It wont be long now,  the good times are nearly here !      

Monday, 28 April 2014

Yesterday was the first day in months that I didn't do any heroin, it's not for the first time and I imagine not the last but it's refreshing to know that I can at least still get through a day without using. The Summer is fast approaching and my life is in a considerable mess at the moment, but after yesterday I now have a little hope.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Three little words

He said three words that made me sit up and listen, my new key worker, I didn't take him seriously for the first couple of meetings,    "lonely,desperate and isolated".

"Let me ask you a question Karl ? Do you still enjoy taking gear "

" Yes, NO, I don't know " What the fuck " I do and I don't " The fact that I couldn't answer the question was enough of an answer for him.

"Karl I get it" He says with his eyes closed, and I was convinced that he had, he's one of the rare ones that've actually been through it..

It's been four months now that my habit has been steadily gaining ground and with each day I get a little more desperate to put it behind me before the Summer season starts when I'm back down on the harbour. Last year it just kind of happened, as I became more and more busy my desire to use became less and less, which kind of links into what the key worker was saying.

"It's all to do with passion Karl ! Passion is what gives you fulfilment in life and everyone needs to be fulfilled in order to be happy. It doesn't matter so much what you have a passion for, it can be a hobby, relationship, a car, vocation. Unfortunately your passion is heroin and it's like a dirty little secret that you guard and hang on to. In order to break the cycle there needs to be a substantial change in your life, on the surface you seem fine, but underneath we both know you are far from fine, you are emotionally, physically and psychologically dependant upon heroin which you use with a passion in order to deal with the feelings of being lonely, desperate and isolated".

Wow, it was only ten o'clock in the morning and what he'd said had just fried my mind, I'd just spent the two previous hours up a ladder painting and that was where I had to return but I knew right then the day had a new spin on it. That day turned out to be a clean day and so did the next day, the next day I was walking around town with money in my pocket and phone in hand ringing the familiar numbers, I hadn't really thought about what I was doing, I was running on instinct but something clicked in my head, I suddenly realised what I was doing and managed to talk myself into my favourite pub where I would see friendly faces and know I would be safe until a taxi arrived to whisk me home.
Yesterday I wasn't so lucky, my brother phoned me asking if anyone was on in town, it was 2:30pm. I immediately went straight into gear mode and before I could do anything about it I'd agreed to him driving out of town and procuring me two bags of the best shit in North Devon

I suppose in a way I'm relying on working down the harbour again to realign my passion for life, I've gone over in my head all the mistakes I made last year that brought me back into this seemingly endless cycle of rot and I pray I can do things differently this year.

Only because this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, Enter One  Sol Seppy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Deja vu

Wandering along Ilfracombe promenade and I'm noticing all the sand bags, they're all shoved to the side now looking a bit trampled. This place has taken a real battering, 10metre tides, wild winds & plenty of rain, the weekend's not looking bright either. Of course all this bad weather has stopped me from working. I had to sign on again today , I'm already behind on the rent plus my washing machine has decided to pack up, " It doesn't just rain it pours".

Weekend junkieism has taken its toll, plus I've been tanking booze to maximise the gear. Friday after work I glugged down half a bottle of vodka.

Fri 31st Jan.
" Alright mate what are you after ?"

" 3 "

"OK prang me when you're at the door and I'll come down for you"

Excellent he's inviting me in, that means Dr. J. can give me a hand with my hit, I'd better act normal on the way up, better not stumble on the stairs and give away the fact I'm drunk, J's given me enough chances as it is.

" You got clean ones ? "

" Yep ! How many are you doing now ?

" All three of course "

All I had to do was take the position, lie down on the bed, turn my head to the right, stick my thumb in my mouth and blow. All being well the vein in my neck would show itself, the Dr. can  administer the shot and then it's whoosh, "Goodnight Irene".

The next thing I'm aware of is walking into the pub across the road from where I live thinking  " Oh yeah curry and a pint, just what I need ."   I knew I was 'out of it' ! People kept shouting at me to wake up, they weren't horrible to me, we were having a laugh and a joke, my history is no secret, they knew I was fucked, they didn't refer to it but they knew ! and they knew how ! I could see the concern in their faces.
 The curry was delicious, the pint I only just managed to drain, I took the best possible action possible and got the hell out of there before I made a bad situation a whole lot worse.

" Goodnight everyone "

" Karl aren't you forgetting something ? "

" Eh "

" That's £7:95 please "

When I awoke in the early hours of Saturday morning there was no sore head just a profound sense of confusion. I had no recollection whatsoever of how I made it back home from town, just a niggling memory of being led down the stairs by a very concerned J. holding me by the arm. The rest was a complete blank until the moment I entered the pub.

Saturday afternoon was my next rendevoux  with J.  He met me in the lanes, no surprise there !

" Fuckin hell Karl you had me worried yesterday !"

" Did I go over ?"

"You collapsed, I threw water over you and got you out into the fresh air, I was moments away from calling an ambulance, and then you just wandered off up the road. "

" Sorry mate and cheers "

I guess I'll never know how I made it back to Hele that night but one thing I do know is that I might as well have been playing Russian roulette.

I've been running these events through my mind again and again, Why do I keep trying to obliterate myself ? The only pattern I've found so far is that for the past four years I've been prone to losing the plot around this time of year, I'm sure it goes back further but my memory ain't that great.

It's Sunday February 9th today and it's been a gear free weekend, I've managed to talk myself out of using all week and guess what ?      Now my fridge has packed up !

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Went to the council office yesterday to pay off the last £32- of my council tax bill.

" I'd like to pay the rest of my bill please"

"Ok Karl, How much would you like to pay ?"

"It's 32 quid something, that's what the letter said. I'm sure the computer will tell you"

"Ah yes there's an instalment of £32:99"

"What do you mean instalment ?"

"£32:99 & then £204:00 payable by March 31st"

"Wait a minute ! Doesn't the £32 come off of the £204"

"No sorry"

"SHIT"   Oh well I suppose I can manage that.   That was until today when I decided to open one of the letters that's been sitting on my doormat for the last week.
You entitlement to Housing Benefit ended 16/12/2013.
Overpayment of 3weeks = £270- owed.

Oh Dear.
I've only been using since Christmas. Weekend junkiedom Fri-Sun. Working seems to cost me more than being on the damn dole. At the moment I'm only earning about £80- per week more than I'd receive in unemployment benefits & after a lot of wasted time contemplating this conundrum I decided "What the fuck" At least it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, So what if it's cold & I've got to stand around in the rain & wind all day ? It could be worse (a lot worse), I could be laying in bed complaining I've got fuck all to do !

I hope that was the worst of the news laying on the doormat

"There's no way to delay that trouble coming every day." Thanks Frank.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Today, yesterday & tomorrow. So many things to do and I'm not sure what it is that's stopping me from doin'em, maybe I just don't want to.

1997  26th Jan    4:45am.  Somewhere very close to the centre of Bristol.
Shit that's snow out there ! Right. Telly on,  kettle on, spoon at the ready, just gotta get this hit sorted then it's breakfast, make sandwiches, pump up tyre, & Cribbs Causeway here I come.

1997  25th Jan   12;15  A recruitment agency somewhere south of the river.
" The tray wash ! Cribbs ! Is that all you got ?
"Yes Karl ! Do you know the place ? 6:00am. tomorrow morning, wear your steel toecap boots and they'll provide the hi~viz."
"I'll be there"
 .....Do I know the place ? ....  The agencies are the last port of call. I'd been surfing them for the last 2years

1995   21st. June   7:30pm. Somewhere in North Bristol.
Mum: "Oh that's great ! And you're starting tonight."
  " Yeah I've got the night shift"
Dad " I'll give you a lift, you can stick your bike in the back of the car"
"Thanks Dad"

1995  21st June 9:45pm.Cribbs Causeway Safeway RRU. 
Dad "Good luck Karl"
" Thanks Dad "

1995  22nd June 6:01am Cribbs Safeway RRU
Trevor " See you tonight Karl. Don't worry, it gets easier"
" Cheers Trev "
EASIER ! Well it couldn't get much fucking worse.. Ever !!!!

But it did ! And I went back a few times before my 6month stint where I worked my way up to being a charge hand.

1997 27th Jan  5:20am.  Somewhere near the centre of Bristol
Headphones on, light roll up, bump the kerb & here we go, coming up shortly is the first of the "fuck off hills" which takes me up to the downs, which is a flat for a mile then it's a long down hill stretch which takes me into the 2nd of the "fuck off hills" then it's a nice glide down into the half a "fuck off hill" round the round about, a short downhill run, a left turn, through the carpark, dump the bike, deal with the clock card and if the universe has been compliant there's enough time for a coffee & a fag.

The 8mile cycle ride was a bit of a chore, but with the right music in the head phones it became more of a ritual which was far from unpleasant, there was many a time that I resented having to slow down at the gates, dismount the bike, turn the music off & clock in, when all I wanted to do was keep on peddling !

2014 27th Jan  8:45pm Sat in front of the computer with a can of Brew.
Well so much for staying dry this week. My left calf has been throbbing all day because of a rather angry abcess
....... Roll on..... Tomorrow