1. Lush, Valium lush

The Journey Begins

“They’re lush! Valium lush,” they say, at least that’s what they say where I am from.

I remember the sticky green sofa I sat on the night I took my first Valium. It evokes senses that I still recall today. The smell of cannabis, the stained yellow walls and how hot it was in the flat. I stare at the little blue pill in my palm; this was the first time I held such a thing in my hand.

I was late teens and hanging round with the same gang, in the same place I had been all my life. Anything to alter the mundane was always welcomed.

My knowledge of valium before that day was limited.

That night I started with 10mg tablets. I know this as I was told by a friend that “blue is ten and yellow is five.”

I took my first tablet and washed it back with a can of Uri Gellar. After thirty minutes I felt nothing. How anti climatic I remember thinking, willing the effect on me but no avail. My friends had rabbited on about the effects of Valium.

“You fight the urge to sleep while drinking alcohol and you get a great feeling of chillness, a mild sense of euphoria even”, is what they explained. But for all the hype, there was absolutely nothing for me. I decided to drink more beer.

I took another tablet and waited a little. A short while later and something began. Think warm and fuzzy and you’re on the right road.

Time slowed down, my mind stopped firing, I even liked the way I sounded when I spoke. Personality shortcomings had disappeared. I began to feel very cool indeed.

I had taking cocaine and amphetamine but was never fully comfortable with those types of drugs. I treated them as imposters, holding them with contempt immediately after consuming. Always waiting for the high to end, as opposed to enjoying the high at the present.

This feeling was different. It wasn’t going anywhere.

It was like putting on an invisible cloak. My insecurities evaporated and I really didn’t care what people thought. Really didn’t care about f*ck all.

Yeah it’s safe to say that after an hour; I fully understood the “…..lush, Valium lush” expression.

After an hour I dipped in for another. And another and one more I’d imagine.

I am not entirely sure when I blacked out but I woke up fresh as a daisy with no hangover. To coin the phrase that would become synonymous with the next fifteen years, I was ‘still valed up.’

The fact I couldn’t remember my night didn’t bother me, quite the contrary. The way my anxiety had disappeared and I felt tip top the next day felt empowering. The ability to get in a shambolic state and not care about consequence had me excited to do it again.

I had fallen in love with Valium.

Laying in bed that Sunday morning seems a long way from this Sunday morning. Between then and now so much has been squashed in between. My journey on the ‘Benzo Bus’ has been long. I write this blog as a way of navigating my journey on this bumpy road and making sense of all the traffic encountered along the way.

One thing I have grown to learn is that life can be beautiful. If you have found this post in a moment of despair it does pass, hold on. Remember we are not alone, we are all in this together.

*Uri Gellar = Stella Artois

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