The thing with addiction is there is no ‘one size fits all.’ My addiction was different because I didn’t think I was an addict. After all, I didn’t think it was a problem. To be honest, the word addiction never entered my head.
By my early twenties I had been taking Valium for four years daily. I vividly remember speaking to a friend and asking him if we were taking too much . His response I will always remember, “Of course not. The ones through the week are just for sleep.”
I agreed. Because I was still functioning, going to work, keeping fit and because it wasn’t to get in a state; it was okay. Those ones in the week simply didn’t count. Denial or ignorance? It is hard to work out even now.
Around this time drugs were on the scene constantly. I was consuming on average 60mg a weekday, weekends could spiral to around 400mg. That’s almost one every hour for two days.
Drugs like cocaine and amphetamine were always around and crack started to creep in with some. It’s those ‘hard’ drugs that grab the headlines but in my opinion the carnage Valium causes puts them in that group.
I read an article in vice magazine which stated, “Elvis, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston all had benzos in their systems when they died.” Benzodiazepines aren’t eye catching, your Doctor prescribes them. It’s heroin, crack, meth or cocaine that hog the newsreel.
My personality shift on benzodiazepines was subtle but enough. I had become addicted to Valium without really knowing and I had changed into a colder version of me.
I spoke previously about the moral compass getting skewed and it was around this time it was totally off track.
I had a cement mixer stolen from my house which I didn’t care too much about but after a few drinks it’s started to gnaw at me. In the end a me and a friend marched to a shady estate in my town, armed with a sword and totally out of our minds.
We were hoping over hedges at the back of people gardens, stumbling around as we looked for the mixer.
After forty minutes we left.
luckily for us and by some miracle we didn’t bump into anyone.
The binge carried on into the next day, company started creeping inside the group who were questionable, we were questionable! And the situations we were getting ourselves into were a little bit naughty.
The next day a friend took my car for a valet he was ‘blued up’ to the eyeballs. Two days prior he had written off another friends car. That day he did the same to me. No insurance, no licence, goodbye car.
Fast forward five days to a night in the midst of spiralling out of control.
I remember being desperate for the loo. I stopped for a pie and mash in the bushes and the police turned up. I shouted, “when you gotta go, you gotta go.”
To everyone’s amazement they left. In the backseat of vehicle was a bottle filled with petrol, the number plates had been painted with white emulsion and all four of us were absolutely smashed.
How it got to the point we would drive somewhere so I could throw a bottle filled with petrol is awful. I shudder at the thought, I shudder at all the lives I could have ruined, I wince at the absolute c**t I had become.
The reality is the state I was in, I probably would’ve hurt or killed me and my friends. It’s clear nowadays that I was unhappy and depressed but back then I didn’t know. It can be tough where I’m from but that hate in my heart only existed for me when I was on Valium and alcohol.
I can only hope it was done as a threat rather than actually going through with it. If not, then it just showed how much I had fallen.
It was dark, looking back it was probably early hours and everyone had gone home. I’m watching the rerun in my head and it is as if theres is a golden sweet wrapper over the screen.
I got out of the Jeep and tried to light the rag that was stuffed in the glass green bottle, it didn’t work. I had filled it with diesel at the petrol station and the most awful situation was avoided. My friend found a pool cue and tried to put it through a window but rebounded of the glass, vibrating like a cartoon sketch.
The following day I was walking to my house where a friend was already parked on my drive. I hoped in the passenger seat and after some small talk I passed him a big bag of Valium. “Just take them” I said. My friend had issues with drugs at the time and here’s me handing him a bag of ticking time bombs. My friend was so thankful “Are you sure?” He asked. “Just take them.” I repeated.
I remember feeling generous. I felt proud and happy with myself because I ‘sorted’ my friend out.
I was such a good friend I thought and he thought so to. The truth is that I was a b*stard and I put my friend on a path of destruction that he nearly never recovered from.
I have found this piece difficult to write as reading it back isn’t easy. It’s not easy to read what I had become. At the time I honestly thought I was flying but the reality is, I was drowning.
To function with addictions had meant living in denial. Most of the time it was automatic, deep in my psyche. My subconscious and conscious was filled with pride and around that was a wall. A wall built to protect my fragile ego.
Looking back on these events and seeing it in black and white; there is no wall or no defence I can offer and that is a pill I find most difficult to swallow.
*Pie & Mash = Go for a slash (pee)