4. Like a New Me

A brand new me, a new drug and the same old ways.

When I decided to leave my valley it was for reasons that began to affect me personally. It’s sad to admit but the hurt caused to others I considered collateral and just carried on with my life.
When it became too close to home I finally acted, I decided to leave. I left for a new place, a new country, a new life.

As I recall my time away I remember how awkward I felt for the first few weeks, I was socially uncomfortable; anxiety and anger consumed me. Perhaps this was quitting cold turkey.

As the weeks turned to months things started to change and my life started to move in a positive direction. I started to question my life up to this point and geared myself for change. I met different people and made new friendships. Friendships I cherish to this day, partly because they are responsible for making me a better person. I will have a spot reserved in my heart for those people for the rest of my life.

I remember the moment with clarity as I sat in a dirty hot tub. I remember how bright the sun was shining on my face, the trees glistened as if fake (maybe they were) but nothing was fake about that moment. I was in it, finally!
For many years I had used Valium to take the edge off that feeling alertness, to numb life, to exist but not to live. Unbeknown to me at the time, I had just gone eight months without any Valium and the world felt beautiful.

I decided it was time to return to my valley.

I got home and after twelve hours I was back on the Valium, this time a small but potent batch with a little ‘MSJ’ stamped in the middle was sitting in the palm of my hand. Cocaine was still rife in my little valley as it was throughout my town, my country, my island. But it was never the drug for me I was naturally alert, always switched on. My issue was I longed to switch off, to detach from the network, that was the only way to fully enjoy myself. In this little MSJ tablet I found the perfect ailment.

I had been home for a few months, I got my dream job, had a beautiful girlfriend and everyone had commented on how different I was. I had dropped the attitude, the bravado, the anger, the insecurity. I felt amazing. I was like a new me.

Six months and I had slipped back into addiction.

I could buy a thousand MSJ’s for one hundred golden coins, I would sell half of them for one hundred and twenty golden coins and be left with five hundred blue pills of mischief with a score (twenty) in my back pocket.
I would make justifications daily: My new job is dangerous so I will take one to calm the nerves, my new job has early starts; so I take an extra two with the original one to get a good night sleep. My new girlfriend introduces me to lots of new people; so I pop three to feel relaxed. On the weekend six doesn’t have the same affect anymore so I stick ten down my Gregory Peck. My addiction became methodical, organised and essential.

When you wash down a Valium I guess it can affect people differently, we are all different. My preferred method was to slip a couple under my tongue and let them melt. I would keep them there until the metallic chalk taste started to swill round the bottom of my mouth, then a quick sip of a drink and they were washed straight into my system. twenty minutes later I was calm, the edge had gone. It was nothing like coming up off an E or a bump of cocaine. It was a warm glow.

I felt I didn’t care, didn’t worry, I wasn’t scared anymore. It felt like I had popped on the invisible cloak again. A cloak I could take it off when I wanted everyone to see or hear from me and pop back on once I was finished. I mentioned earlier about being in the moment and that’s precisely what being on Valium felt like, but an emotionless and detached version. Does this make them real moments at all?

But and its a big but, I have had some amazing nights on Valium and other drugs in general. They have pushed me into situations I perhaps never would have dared to step in, allowed me to live on the cusp of danger and joy. When you think of it like that it leads me to conflicted feelings.

However I look back and there are large chunks that are just black. How many connections have I made and lost? How many unforgettable nights are dark and forgotten? How many moments are buried?

The ones I never forget? A majority are losses, betrayals, pains and sadness really.

The truth of the matter is there is very little positive I can take from my addiction and it would be a few more years before ask myself the most important question, “How have these drugs changed your life for better?”

*Gregory Peck – Neck

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