As a person with a serious addiction, what are you afraid of most?

Around ten years ago as I sat across from my counselor confidently and sure as I could ever be, telling her that I would never use heroin again, how evil, destructive, and ultimately pointless it is. I wasn’t afraid at that time that I would use the drug ever again.

My counselor’s words, the cognitive nature of the process I undertook, the tools I had gathered along the way to utilize if I ever felt tempted to use again. It all felt perfect. After many years of GPS prescribing everything from Prozac to largactyl to thioridazine, The countless psychologists, psychiatrists, and other clearly disinterested NHS employed workers I had sat with and tried so very hard to communicate effectively with ( you can tell that I have not got much faith in that particular path I followed. Religiously.) Despite it all. Despite my surety and confidence, I had a nagging all the way through that everything negative was laying dormant, below the surface.

I was adamant that Heroin could never enter my life again. I had built enough barriers and removed myself from all possible connections and channels that could link me back to that dirty, ‘junkie’ substance. And then my trusted counselor spoke these words “ you cannot be sure that you will never use again”

I agreed. I told her that I would almost certainly use amphetamine again. If I had a social engagement, a wedding, or something that would force me to be around lots of other people, I may use just a little speed or perhaps a little cocaine, just to open up my social capability. And I did just that. At weddings, several of them. Family occasions and get-togethers that I would dread were made possible by utilizing some substance that would ‘open’ me up and allow me to live in that moment and actually enjoy it and actively participate to a degree. That remained my m.o. Indefinitely. And it worked. I used. And then I didn’t use it. I would return to my usual state of stasis, and just ‘be’

But I would never use heroin again. That was out of the question. Except it wasn’t.

I got cocky. I was employed at the time having just served time in prison for the attempted theft of my neighbor’s car ( a long story, maybe another time! – not cut and dried) but I was stable, not really using apart from smoking cannabis and the odd dabble with research chemicals, cathinone based ones such as mephedrone. Again, I wasn’t out of control, I practiced and experimented with micro-dosing in an attempt to medicate my 30-year depressive state which could leave me incapacitated and incapable of rising from bed for weeks at a time. Unless you have experience of true clinical and chronic depression you cannot have a concept of how this manifests. How can you just lie there? Just get up. Just go out for a walk, you will feel better after a while, just persevere, nothing is easy but you can do it. It can’t be THAT bad ….is what others would comment. Trying to help. Just not understanding. I used to imagine how frustrated they would feel. Here they were, encouraging right, left, and center, suggesting activities and calling round to take me out for a drive or a walk or just to talk.

I felt increasingly guilty that I appeared to be simply ignoring everyone. I wouldn’t follow up on suggestions to go for a walk. I wouldn’t return phone calls or go to the job center or even keep up appointments with doctors. This guilt only served to compound already deep-seated and untouchable depression which developed further deepening my agoraphobic tendencies and everything just became a massive ball of I don’t know what. What I did know was that I would be better of the dead, and everyone would benefit from this too. Sure, they might grieve for a while but they would get over me in a few months and they could move on with their lives without me as a burden.

I failed at that too.. several times I found myself walking over the bridge which spanned part of the north sea estuary. A place I knew had been a suicide site previously. No one would know of these attempts at the time. I didn’t write suicide notes hoping they’d be found and everyone would come rushing down to beg me to seek help. I WANTED to do it…Another occasion found me deep inside the woodland. Armed with canisters of petroleum and engine oil. I thought the petrol would just burn up too quickly. I’d be seriously burned but still alive so I reckoned on the engine oil soaking my clothing and burning my whole body like a candle wick but on the outside. That time was kinda funny though as I had forgotten one crucial ingredient in the recipe. An ignition source. I had no lighter! I thought to myself ‘omfg’…I can’t even get this right! However, I began to see how hopeless and futile my attempts had become and saw a funny side. I spent about an hour carving a huge arrow into the bark of a tree, pointing up to the sky!

I had already calmed down enough by the time a huge german shepherd sniffer dog tracked me down. A concerned member of a construction team working close to where I had left the car kinda felt something was not right and had phoned the police who had smashed their way into the said car and found pills scattered all over, the contents of my wallet on the dashboard.

So, that was that… I was shipped directly to the psychiatric ward at the local hospital where I spent an unproductive four or so weeks being fed antipsychotics and not much else.

When I was released nothing had actually been achieved. Nothing was new and my feelings and outlook were unchanged, however, simply being released from the captivity of sorts allowed me to have a false sense of semi hope for a short period. About a few weeks anyway…

Anyway, I’m pretty sure you will all be tired of reading this repetition of circumstance and generic tale you can find anywhere..I am tired of writing it!

I have gone MASSIVELY off-topic AGAIN!.. it’s just another part of my particular carousel and I haven’t even begun to actually write what I intended… if you’re unlucky enough to stumble upon these ramblings, sorry about that! I might return to try to relay what happened afterward, the following few years or so. Blah fuckn blah. Maybe not. Probably not. I never finish anything to my or indeed anyone’s satisfaction…

Sorry again. See ya some time, maybe.

Ray Smith