Wednesday, 30 January 2013


I've been meaning to write this post ever since I came back from Australia but kept putting it off
I was a bit concerned about what certain people might think but I think I'll write about it anyway

I brought 33 days worth of methadone to Oz with me, which was just over a litre
Plus my other meds
I was managing fine
Taking the right dose everyday
On the second week I threw out all my anti depressants
I'm not sure why but it seemed like a good idea at the time
I had brought a measure to measure out my methadone but wasn't using it
I was basically eye balling how much I took
I also spilled some one day
So I got to my last week and the bottle looked decidedly empty
I measured it and to my horror realised that I only had 3 days left
Cue panic
I had 7 days including a 24 hour flight to get through
I could have spared it out
Stretched it as much as I could
But I just couldn't take the risk of going in to withdrawal on an international flight

So I did what any addict would do and decided to hunt down some methadone
I thought about trying to buy it on the street but that was too big a risk
Doing it the legit way made more sense
I made an appointment for that morning with the local doctor
This was a risk too as some doctors will just not entertain addicts
I sat in the waiting room with my mother reading trashy magazines
Then I was called in
It was a female doctor which I was glad about as sometimes they are more sympathetic
I told her about my predicament and thankfully I had a doctors letter to confirm that I was on methadone in Ireland
She listened carefully and took down my details
She explained that she could not prescribe methadone but she would ring some clinics to see if they could help
I watched as she rang clinic after clinic
My hopes were almost dashed when a private clinic agreed to see me
The doctor wrote me a detailed letter to give at the clinic and wished me good luck
The appointment was made for 7 30am the next morning
I still had no guarantee that I would get methadone but it was worth a shot

Early the next morning my mother and I set off for the clinic armed with a map and my doctors letters
I was hoping that it would all go smoothly but I was prepared for disappointment
On the bus 2 women got on
I knew by looking at them that they were probably heading for the clinic too
We found it easily and went in
The girl behind the counter said 'Oh your from Ireland, we've been expecting you'
My mother waited downstairs while I went up to the waiting room to see the doctor
The receptionist up there said 'Ireland?' before I even opened my mouth
I took a seat preparing for a long wait
Methadone clinics are not the nicest of places to be
People are antsy, anxious and sometimes desperate
It can be an intimidating place
I had no sooner sat down when one of the other people waiting started to kick off
He was waiting to see the doctor and needed to be at work
He verbally abused the receptionist
A petite little woman about half his size
She dealt with it well though and didn't seem phased
The receptionist seemed interested in me and kept asking me questions
Before I knew it I was the topic of conversation in the waiting room
Why was I there?
Where was I from?
What drugs did I take?
And so on and so on
The receptionist let everyone go in front of me who had to be at work and so after an hour I was finally called in to Dr. Browne's office
To my surprise he was Irish
What a stroke of luck
He looked at my address and said 'My brother won a swimming gala there once'
He took my details and told me to come back in an hour
He didn't even take a urine test
So  my mother and I went to a cafe to wait
She told me about the people she had met in the clinic
One girl explained in graphic detail how her brother was tortured to death
Like I said, methadone clinics are not the most pleasant places to be

We had tea and toast and discussed all the characters we had met
I felt very guilty for dragging my mother through this
It was the last few days of our holiday and we should have been making the most of it
Instead here we were in a seedy methadone clinic
She said she didn't mind
Unfortunately she is used to such things

We made our way back to the clinic
Again we had to wait until the doctor was ready and after about 20 mins we were called upstairs
'Good news' he said
'I rang the department of health and we can prescribe for you'
Relief flooded through my body
He handed the precious script and I brought it to the girls downstairs
Yet again I had to wait
This is the thing with drugs including methadone
In active addiction I spent most of my time wating
Waiting for dealer who were in no hurry at all to come and meet you
If they said they'd be 20mins, you could bet your life they would be over an hour
Same with methadone
You wait for the doctor
You wait for the script
You wait for it to be dispensed
And because you need these drugs, waiting is like torture
I know it's because these drugs are so tightly controlled but that doesn't make it any easier
They agreed to prescribe me 3 days
I would collect one dose today
And then come back the next day for the other 2
It was a private clinic which meant I had to pay
8 dollars a dose plus 30 dollars to see the doctor
But I was willing to pay anything
I watched as the girl pumped the methadone in to a little cup
I was surprised to see it was a different colour
Where as at home it is bright green, here it was a pale orange colour
I downed it in one and it was vile
I struggled not to throw up
I think the difference was that here it was sugar free, where as at home it is filled with sugar
It didn't matter though
What mattered was that I wouldn't be sick
Thank God I wouldn't be sick

Afterwards I thought about how scary it is to be so dependant on methadone
I have to have it every single day or else I will go in to withdrawal
And that is not something I want to experience
It is physical and mental torture
It feels like your body is trying to turn inside out
I guess this has taught me a lesson
Never take chances with it
Measure it properly
Bring extra if I I think I will need it
And the thing is that nothing else will do
If you are sick the only thing that will make you feel better is methadone or opiates
Not valium
Not benzos
Not sleeping tablets
I've been on methadone for almost 9 years now
Ideally a person is not supposed to be on it this long
It is meant to be a stepping stone between using and getting clean
But all too often we are left on it indefinitely
I have made some progress though
Over the years I have worked my way down from 70mls to 30mls
No mean feat
This year I hope to decrease more
Although the thought of that is scary
It's a lot like thinking about life without my eating disorder
I want to get clean like I want to live without anorexia/bulimia
But I'm worried that I won't cope without it
I'm worried that I will go back to heroin
So even though life is quite difficult with it, it's easier than living without it
It's a crutch
Something that helps me get through the day
The first thing I do every morning is take my methadone
And as well as being physically addicted, I'm also psychologically addicted
If I missed a day I probably wouldn't miss it but mentally I would crave it
Once an addict always an addict

Is there anything you can't live without?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Crazy for party drugs

I stumbled across a documentary last night on BBC3 called 'Crazy for party drugs'
It followed a weekend in the lives of a group of twenty something's living in Leeds, documenting the rise of party drugs such as mephedrone (m-cat, meow meow), ketamine and GHB
These so called 'legal highs' were banned in 2010
Up until they were widely available in 'head shops'
These drugs fell through a legal loophole
They weren't advertised or packaged under their chemical names and were sold as things such as bath salts or plant food
Along with a warning that these substances were not fit for human consumption
They soon replaced ecstasy and cocaine as the new designer party drugs
Being cheaper and so readily available more and more people began taking them
People who would never have considered taking illegal drugs now tried these drugs under the illusion that they were safer
But this couldn't be further from the truth
These drugs are a cocktail of chemicals that we have no ides what the long term effects are
You are literally playing Russian roulette
At least with the likes of weed or cocaine you have some idea with what you are taking
We have little understanding of what is in these new party drugs

In Leeds it was  the biggest party night of the year
We were introduced to Tony and his friends as they prepared for a big night out
It didn't actually show them taking any drugs but it was plain to see that they were off their heads
I watched this programme cautiously
Because of my own history with drugs, watching people under the influence can massively trigger me
And I have to admit I was triggered
As I watched Tony and his friends dancing, smiling, hugging and kissing each other, memories of my own drug addled days came flooding back
I've been there
In a club
At a party
Eyes glazed
Chewing my gums to bits
Loved up
Out of my face
Feeling this amazing feeling of love and unity with all the people around me
Not wanting the night to ever end
But it does end
It has to
What goes up must come down
As the morning light seeps through the curtains, the dreaded come down begins

The next morning we meet Tony again
It's 8am and not having slept he is wandering around town
Talking shite as you do when you're off your face
He looked shocking
His eyes ruby red and falling out of his head
He  then left to go and score more drugs
I know that feeling

The story I really related to was Holly
Holly was a 23 year old fashion graduate living in Huddersfield
A stunning red head with ice blue eyes
She began taking mephedrone after she was attacked a couple of years previously
As we picked up her story she was trying to get clean
She had had enough of being a slave to drugs and desperately wanted to change her life
An aspiring fashion designer, she had big dreams
I felt hopeful about Holly
She seemed to have an inner strength and a real desire to live a drug free life
But drugs have brought the strongest of us to our knees
Holly had good insight in to her using and that's always a valuable asset
We saw Holly ad her friends out on Halloween night
She confessed that she was nervous to go out but felt strong enough to resist temptation
The camera interviewed her at various points through out the night and each time she said she hadn't used
But as  the camera left her at 6am the following morning, I don't know why but I guessed she had used
Even though she was coherent there was something just not right

Fast forward to Monday morning and we see Holly's dad
He is worried as she has not turned up for work and he hasn't seen or heard from her in 3 days
Immediately I knew she had slipped
I've been there
So ashamed from using that you can't bear to face anyone
Holly arrives home Monday evening looking dishevelled
Still in the same clothes we saw her in on Friday
She admitted to using
She had been in the club's bathroom when another girl invited her in to her cubicle and offered her m-cat
I know just how that feels
When your drug
Your comfort
Your escape is put right in front of you
It takes super human will power to say no
I know people who have been clean for years who would struggle to walk past a line of coke
Only being clean for 2 weeks and having been drinking, Holly did what most of us would have done
I call it 'fuck it syndrome'
Fuck it, I'll have a smoke
Fuck it, I'll have a line
Fuck it!
Holly was devastated that she had used but it's a lesson that most drug addicts learn the hard way
As a counsellor it treatment said to me once 'If you hang around a barbers shop long enough, you will end up getting a hair cut'
The trick is to not let a slip develop in to a full blown relapse
Not to say 'Fuck it'

Overcoming drug addiction is so much more that not picking up
It involves changing your whole life
Your friends
Your behaviour
Your way of thinking
In my case I moved across the country to get away from drugs
I don't go back to my old town
It's one big trigger
The streets I walked
The housed I used in
The shops I robbed
The people I hung out with
I just can't go back there

I'm pleased to report that at the end of the documentary Holly was 8 weeks clean and was launching her fashion business
I hope and pray for her sake that she stays clean
It breaks my heart to see young people throw away their lives for drugs
It's a life that only leads to hurt, pain, loss and emptiness
For  the addict and everyone around them
I've written about my own experience with legal highs
I once tried a substance called 'Ivory'
Sold as bath salts but I suspect it was mephedrone
It was one the scariest experiences of my life
I literally couldn't stop talking
I've never felt so out of control
I remember trying to make a cup of tea and not being able to get it together enough to carry out this simple
I took it on a Saturday and didn't come down until Monday
I cried with relief when I finally felt normal again

Did anyone see this documentary?
What did you think?