Early on I learned secrecy as a defense. This post is about one of my biggest secrets, my personal history of drug abuse. I am writing this for myself. To continue my process of becoming real. And perhaps it offers some value to others.
People in my life assumed that because I had never tried alcohol, I certainly wouldn’t be taking anything else. And if they asked, I would simply lie. Drugs were such an enormous theme in my life for so many years that only a staccato vignette is possible here.
My dad used tobacco. As a child, I was fascinated by fire and my dad’s pipe was an extension of this. Becoming a late teen smoker brought belonging, self importance and excitement. A few years deep, I realised that I’d always be a smoker. Now I can’t stand the stink of cigarettes.
I was really good at school. This ended when I started smoking cannabis because studying suddenly became completely irrelevant. Cannabis was my love affair, my soul mate, my yoga, my medicine, my home planet. I was ridiculously dependent for many many years.
Took my first ecstasy pill in my bedroom, listening to The Doors on cassette. Pure euphoria. Two weeks later, first squat party (illegal rave). Utopian nightmare. Lots of ecstasy and speed. Got really messy. Crashed hard next morning. Blindingly depressed for many days.
Grew cannabis plants but always cocked it up. Tried to make crack from cocaine but cocked it up. Extracted DMT from leaves but cocked up it. Made a great mescaline extract from San Pedro cactus though. Always something on the go. I was a passionate and careless alchemist.
Worked in medical research. Used to sneak into the surgery rooms, switch off the light and sit there with anaesthetics tanks, getting high on the nitrous oxide. Stole solvents and insulin needles to cook up and inject myself with various things at home.
I documented every experiment, filling hundreds of pages of notepads over the years. The dose. The time. The rationale. The minute to minute experience. Grand reality theories. Secret knowledge. The dedicated, addicted psychonaut. Skirting the ambiguity between enlightenment and escapism.
After much research, I imported a quarter kilo of pure DXM from America. Had my first intense dissociative experience. Disembodied bliss. Unimaginable. Inexplicable. Oblivion. Used it weekly as an antidepressant. A reset button for the week ahead. Then became daily.
Started going to squat parties every weekend on epic night bus shopping crusades. Discovered ketamine. Became very seriously addicted. Snorted it every night for six whole months. Blood in the shower. Emaciated. Lost grip on reality. Took me to my Heaven and then to my Hell.
Flatmate scored some heroin from a council estate alongside the usual 9-ounce bar of cannabis resin. We smoked it in a roll up. Vomited all night. Spent the next day sleeping under a bench at a nature reserve whilst my wife-to-be photographed dragonflies.
Took LSD with flatmate amidst confused chemistry and distrust. Massive freak out. Spilled out into the street. Brought a busy Monday lunchtime highstreet to a standstill as she lay headbutting the road. Ambulance. Police cars. I moved out and went clean.
Few years later. Started receiving tobacco tins of drugs mailed from Spain. One night, my wife woke up to a crash. Found me collapsed. White powder around my nose. Had no idea. Scared her half to death. Confessed. Promised. Happened again two weeks later.
Discovered legal, not-tested-in-humans, synthetic cannabinoids. Incredibly potent. Instantly addicted. Smoking crystals on foil in workplace toilets. Could not stop. One day, tried a new one and misjudged dose. Paralytic trance for hours convinced my wife was coming to murder me.
Got hooked on codeine pills. Then discovered obscure opioid kratom online. Completely addicted for about three years. Planned my whole life around it. Concealment. Insuring supply. Watching for the postman. Went through many horrible, cold turkey withdrawals only to relapse again and again.