5. What was that all about?

I guess this is the withdrawal I’ve read about.

“What does it all mean?” I remember the moment I asked myself that very question.

My usage of MSJ’s were up and down. I would repeat the same drill. Buy a batch of one thousand; sell some, consume the rest. Have a couple weeks off, then repeat.

It caught up with me in a ‘time off’ period. I remember being in a pool hall in a shady part of town, it was quite lairy. There was a bit of trouble and I remember feeling really anxious, wishing I could click my fingers and disappear. Scared and confused, I had no idea what had happened.
I had grown up in an area where my friends and I was accustomed to this behaviour, we were responsible for it sometimes. But in that moment whilst on the verge of an internal panic attack I strolled out the snooker hall, my heart about to explode. I asked myself, “what was that all about?” It was the first time I accounted withdrawal symptoms.

I still had my high risk job, sometimes a Valium the night before felt necessary to calm my nerves. I was competing at a decent level in combat sports so the same went for that. I loved a night at a gig or the pub so one or six with a beer was lovely.
To be honest, I still loved getting in a right 2 and 8.

I had slowed my ‘recreational’ intake but that still meant I was consuming an obscene amount. I justified it; well the boys do cocaine, I’ll do Valium instead. The transient and intermittent way I was consuming meant I had started to experience and more importantly become aware of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms like feeling detached, anxious, cold, angry and vacant to those around me. The exact opposite of the feeling when I was consuming.

As discontentment started to grow so did the questions. I thought I can’t carry on like this. I either quit or carry on the functional addiction. I decided to quit.

I lasted three months , after a trip to an European city synonymous with being chilled out (the irony). I ended up getting the highest I had ever been, the ecstasy tablets I took were like nothing I had experienced. The comedown was horrific.

I fought and fought taking the blues but after three days, I couldn’t fight the come down anymore. I got in my car, over to the valley and went in for another thousand. I collected my ticket and it was all aboard the bus again.

Somehow, professionally I was going from strength to strength and I was happy in my relationship. I was fit and looking my best. I had kept it all under control, all in a pot with a lid on but for the first time it was starting to simmer. I started to wonder about my addiction and once that seed was planted, everything started to change.

The fun disappeared; I was asking tougher questions and began to wonder was it all sustainable. I was losing track of who was me straight and was me on Valium. The mind is the most amazing tool with electrons and protons flying around in organised madness. But just like electricity it finds the path of least resistance and the quickest way to shock you. I had an identity crisis and was on the verge of ripping shreds off my character and ego; my condition was precarious.

My love affair with Valium had started nine years prior. Barring the odd hiccup on the way I had made it to a point in my life where I wanted a big challenge. It was decided for me to take a crack at the capital. High pressure, high stakes with a new young family in tow. I dusted myself off, locked the negative thoughts in a box and held off on the character assassination.

I began to feel distracted, optimistic and thought I could sustain this way of living after all.

I asked myself, “I’m not an addict, am I?” I stop when I want and go back when I need to. Back then I didn’t really know what that made me.

Nowadays I am pretty sure that’s called ‘denial’.


* 2 and 8 = State

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