It all starts off with alcohol. Most people I knew when I was young start smoking at school. Supposed to be cool they say. All it gave me was a headache. So I stayed with alcohol. Downing beers when you're young and puking it all up again. Was it worth it? Hell yes. This is life experience. This is growth. Once you've drunk enough alcohol you start looking for a better combination. You need a top up. Something for the lungs perhaps? Just cigarettes or something more? More wins the vote. Introducing marijuana. And what an introduction it was.
Not only do you get to do a new drug, with new effects, but you get to learn a new skill. Rolling. And learn you must, because the first joints you roll will be so bad you'll just manage to smoke some of it before it unwraps or spontaneously combusts. But never fear - practice is here.
So it goes, you're drinking and smoking. The start of a cocktail that will be all too sweet to let go. But you don't know this - you're young and blissfully stupid. It all feels good. You start the dope philosophy course, where you have an all new perspective to life. You're talking shit you won't remember in years to come; literally. All those nights wonderfully out of your mind. Bliss indeed.
You finish school. Now its college or sixth form. You do less work, never ever stay for eight hours and generally fuck about. Fantastic. You're growing up, you go to parties, you drink, smoke, chase women. All the things you're supposed to do. When it starts to come to an end and you've fucked up your exams in true style, you still don't give a shit.
Somehow you get into a university. Great, you didn't even need the points to get in. Could life be any better? So you go to university, meet more people, but you just can't be bothered to do any of the work. You turn up late every day, go straight to the pub, never go to seminars. Class. Don't mind lectures because you have your mini-disc and a good book. You end up going to HMV because you can't be bothered to learn anymore.
You're taking dope and alcohol in the middle of the day because you can handle it.You're a consumer.
So you mess up university. It's time to go into full time work. The whole eight hour thing. The reason teachers can smile at the kids that cause them grief is because they know the real world hits after finishing your education.
Nothing prepares you to work for the rest of your life. The downer of working full time. Some people get jobs they like, even enjoy. Others just can't handle it. But you still do it. Because you need money. It will always rule the world, judge, jury and executioner.
You need money for the drugs that relax you in your own time. Work your ass off to pay for your own self destruction.
Years of drinking and smoking, years of experience and fun. Its upgrade time. So what comes next? You've got the money coming in, no problem.
A little bit of a boost is needed. I know, I know. Cocaine.
Coke. Charlie. Hello. Hello. Hello. Holy shit. I've found the
elixir of the drugs zone. Could a cocktail get any better
than a line, a pre-rolled joint, chased by an ice cold beer.
You'd be hard pressed. This combination is so good you can't
quite believe it. So you do it again and again. It's repeat
subscription time. Who says routine is boring?
See how much distance you can put in. If you joined up all the lines of coke you've done, how far would it stretch. To the moon. Mars maybe.
Perfection after working your eight hour day. You're entitled to relax and chill out. It's your time and you'll do what you want with it. Besides you're on shifts and your body clock has no idea what the fucking time is. Best that it doesn't as well. Because there's no way you could wake at six am to waste another eight hours.
Do enough drugs and life feels amazing. You perceive more, you never worry. Fear nothing. You find the right balance of real time and drug time. Of work and play.
Trying every different flavour you can get. One of these, two of those, I'll take a dozen. So much choice, so little time. Delivery as well. Excellent.
You get stuck in a routine. Your not a drug addict, you're a
drug user. I don't steal televisions and mug old ladies. I
work a full time job and enjoy myself when I can. This is how
you start the deception. You're fucking yourself over and you
don't even know it. Not that you'd give a shit, you're
How many days have you wasted already? A hundred? A thousand? How many hours completely off your nut? Just so you can feel relaxed, chatty, and social. Pubs, clubs, gigs. Every night you've ever gone out. Were you ever sober? Does such a thing exist? Your mask is on and you're the life and soul of the party.
You have permission to be the fool.
Life is grand. There's no such thing as a low. Low is from waking, to the time you have breakfast. Food tastes better when you feel like shit.
So how could the perfect balance of drugs and work go so horribly wrong? How do you end up being one of those drug stories you hear about. It could never happen to you. You're in charge.
Propaganda is a two way affair. From drug extraordinaire, to a pathetic curled up mass of overdose. You shrivel up like a prune. In the end you're in a constant state of dehydration. You can't remember when your piss wasn't yellow.
Stuck in an endless cycle like the earth around the sun. Until your own personal asteroid hits you square in the face.
Most drug users don't know the damage the stuff they ingest is doing to them, me included. If it feels good why stop? If you wake up feeling like shit enough times, you'd feel weird if you didn't. In the end you've taken so many drugs, so often, that you're never truly sober.
What you do not see - cannot hurt you.
Whenever I've hurt myself, I have to look at the damage before the pain sets in. I wonder if I had never bothered looking in the first place would I feel anything.
This is the advantage of drug taking. It goes in. The damage is done. And you never have to see it. Most modern drugs have pain killing affects anyway. Numb the body so you can't feel the poison.
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant. It increases your heart rate, blood pressure, can cause bleeding on the brain, strokes. But when you're on it, all you care about is the high. You smoke dope and drink at the same time to balance the effects. What you don't know is that it's actually causing more damage.
Given enough time, the damage will catch up with you. It'll happen so fast you won't know what's going on. One moment, you're at work doing the job you're paid to do waiting to finish. And the next your hearing things that don't exist.
If there is one thing cocaine guarantees other than a great high, it's a great depression. After chronic use you end up taking it to feel normal. Secretly you know something is wrong, but you just can't figure it out. The drugs are never ever to blame. Until one day the word paranoia takes on a new meaning.
Smoking dope, you might be paranoid that cops in a passing car can see the joint in your hand. You don't go out of your way to hide it. Just play it cool, cup it in your hand, breath out naturally. No problem. Coke paranoia on the other hand is unbearable to say the least.
Cocaine does something quite unexpected. It does something that neither the mind nor the brain can understand. Suddenly there is a volume switch to your thoughts. You're convinced that people can hear everything you think. And when this happens you're screwed. You actually start testing it. Anger takes over from calm; you start to get angry at everything and everyone.
It's said that cocaine has the ability to mimic many mental disorders. One of the reasons believed for this is cocaine's ability to play with neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is responsible for feeling pleasure. Serotonin is responsible for things such as mood. If you mess around with these two then you are asking for trouble.
After extended use of coke, it causes the transmitters to flood, instead of flowing as they should. This puts you in a very confused, anxious, and agitated state.
You simply lose the plot. Complete. Total. Meltdown. Your psyche bleeds away into oblivion. The Id gets replaced by a circus act.
I don't know if chronic use causes some kind of infection in
the ears, but it certainly seems like it.You can hear, but
from your eardrum to your brain something is wrong. Auditory
hallucination just doesn't quite cover it.
It's as though you're hearing 3 or 4 dimensions at once. Whatever the damage is, your body is trying to tell you about it, but it's lost in translation.
You get so mad that you're screaming in your mind as loud as you can for it to just shut the fuck up. At first you can't quite figure out what's going on. Did you really hear that? Who fucking said that? What the fuck is going on?
The brain doesn't have pain receptors in the same way as the rest of the body. You feel something is horribly wrong but you don't know what it is.
Therefore, you quit taking all drugs. Problem solved? The problems however, are only just beginning.
Now you have to survive the withdrawal.
When you're in withdrawal, a minute of anything other than madness or anxiety is a blessing. So when I had a rare moment of normal thinking I tried to calculate the amount of drugs I've taken in my career as Drug Czar.
Problem is you only get a rough average. Because half the time you were so fucked, you were lucky to survive the night. But over the last two years of my career, I'd say I've consumed over a hundred grams of cocaine.
Now here's a question. Being someone who has almost no body fat, where the fuck did these drugs go? My internal organs, my lungs, my brain, all the above. If you ask me I'll tell you it's all of them.
But it's the damage you've caused that takes an eternity to get rid of. Take just a little too much and suddenly you're forced at death point to get in touch with your fucking body.
Like you'd forgotten you had one. Where's the manual again? Suddenly your liver and lungs are talking to you. 'Hey shit-head remember me?'
The word crash takes on a whole new meaning. A train, a plane, a bus can't crash as bad as you can.
The brain has evolved a series of negative feedback mechanisms. Their effect is to stop us from ever being truly happy for very long. The longer you take drugs, the more negative feedback you will receive in the end. Nature always gets its way. This is why, when going clean, people feel like they are dying.
All the stories you hear about going cold turkey shrivel in comparison to experiencing it first hand.
Of course the easiest solution is to not start in the fucking first place. But being that a future version of myself couldn't be bothered to invent a time machine and warn me that although I'd enjoy myself for years, it wasn't worth the withdrawal, I'm stuck with what I've got. Cheers.
Just whatever you do don't change the routine. Until you have a heart attack or a stroke.
Make sure it's serious enough that you're unconscious for the withdrawal. Like a coma maybe. But only then. Because if you have to give up suddenly you're going to wish you were dead.
This can last days or weeks depending how much of a state you're in. The whole time you can barely think. You feel nothing but emptiness.
Not only that - you feel worthless. Your mind reacts to everything even though you don't want it too. Problem is your reacting before you have something to react too.
It's like suffering from precognition. Before the sound hits your eardrum you already know a dog is going to start barking. A car is passing. It's like being in another dimension. The whole time you're absolutely terrified of everything.
If there's one thing I should have known about cocaine before
I started it's what it does after prolonged use. Or chronic
use. Or copious amounts. It has what is called a predictable
outcome. People start off using it and feel fantastic.
But eventually all you feel is paranoia, anxiety and fear. At the time though you just don't care.
Add to this the fact that you're experiencing most of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia without knowing it.
Your sense of humour packs its bags and fucks off for a few years. In fact the very things that you use to be able laugh and joke about turn against you.
Everything is suddenly completely serious.
And you haven't even tried sleeping yet. You thought you had trouble sleeping when you were on drugs. Without that bed time joint how are you going to sleep now?
The answer is you're not.
But when you finally fall to sleep you will have the most vivid dreams of your life. Your brain is working overtime to repair the damage wrought. You wake up everyday and hope it won't be there.
You're tired all the time. And not just from repairing the damage, but from manic exhaustion.
Insanity is a tiring business. It uses up energy that could be put to use elsewhere. Like healing your internal organs.
When you're in this state of mind, if you hear someone laugh, it will sound utterly horrible. Like an insane cackle in a film, but a million times worse.
As far as you're concerned the world is against you, everyone knows you, everyone laughs at you. People that beep their car horns are doing it to show you they can hear you. So it goes on and on for what seems like forever.
Five months will pass and you'll still be hearing the insanity from the first week like a bad echo. You have no sense of time. Your own memory is distorted. This is damage to your hippocampus. The days fly by without any change except you feel worse.
How are you supposed to deal with something you can't feel? Pain is easy, it lets you know where and how much. Madness on the other hand just eats away at you until you admit defeat.
There is no you anymore. You've been sculpted down to your barest emotions. Crying is so easy you might make it a habit.
If you could hear the real world again you'd be laughing. But
you just can't get used to it.
When you suddenly stop hearing these things you can't quite believe it. Silence is too golden. You're afraid it could come back at any moment. And it usually does because you're thinking about it.
You've spent so long being crazy that a normal conversation
is too overwhelming. It's too normal. You get anxious
wondering when you're going to hear something that you
The only thing you hold dear is that it can never be as bad as when you had no control over it.
Once you start feeling emotions again, most of the insanity will peel away as though it never existed.
You look back in time and cringe at some of the things you thought. Just because you believed that your privacy had been taken away.
Makes you wonder if all madness is, is a lack of emotion. Or a lack of properly feeling it. You can never again be afraid of emotion because as soon as it comes back, you hold on to it with a death grip.
Now you've got the vital part of yourself back you have to try to get back in to the real world.
It's daunting for someone who spent all day experiencing this kind of warped reality. It takes a hell of a lot of time just to feel normal. There's no more I think "I'll have a joint to calm my nerves."
The whole time you were crazy you never once blamed the drugs for doing it. Not once. Just goes to show you how much you relied on that endless cycle just to be yourself. Now that has gone you feel lost, confused, like a having a head injury. Except this is more serious than a bump on the head. Your skull is not protecting you from this injury it is only hiding it.
What you do not see - is hurting you.
The outside may look fine, but the inside is a mess that may never heal properly.
I use to laugh when people talk of exercise. It's for sad people. Health freaks. I've got drugs. Well I don't have the fucking things anymore. And I'm starting to wish I had the strength of will to never have fucking started.
The disillusion of the self has been imagined, debated, researched, philosophized and yet it eludes us. But when you lose your sanity, the quest for that most important sense is the difference between life and death.
If you don't find it your chances of recovery are slim. It is a sneaky bastard though.
My description of it would be, it is as minuscule as a black hole, surrounded by a universe of knowledge and information, and when you finally find it, it has the power of a true warp in space.
It destroys any of the insanities that can tear a person apart. It is true feeling. But it is futile to search for it. To scream in agony that it has abandoned you.
Eventually it will catch up to you. It is only a matter of time. Just depends on whether you can be bothered to wait or take the easy way out looking down the barrel of a gun.
The only flaw to all of this is that nobody likes a quitter, including your own body.
When it finally sinks into your skull that quitting is a full-time occupation you may just crack under the pressure.
But hopefully you can find the strength to see it through - all the way to a natural death.
'The Dreamer became the dream; birthed the illusion: woke in a nightmare.'