Studies over the years have shown the link between drug addiction and criminal behaviour. In this guest blog for CYCJ about heroin addiction, Amc speaks frankly about peer pressure and the impact addiction had on his relationships – and why jail wasn’t the answer.
By the time l was 18 years old l had tried most recreational drugs. Soft drugs you might prefer to call them, but you know what? They ain’t soft. Anyway, at a party (a party that was at my best friends that was for his older brother coming home) l was given the chance to try this new drug. He called it “kit”, and I’d never even heard of it before. I mean, this was one of my best friends; for years we had each other’s back, basically always together, never saw one without the other. So this friend, this person l almost felt was a brother to me said “try this, you’ll love it”.
And l did.
I did try it.
And l did love it.
Well it loved me, and from that first taste, that first moment, l lost over 20 years of my life to heroin.
Years later, looking back on this exact moment, l realise that my friend had long gone; what was left was a husk, a hollow person. He had no interest in me outside of getting me as addicted to smack as fast as he could. The more people you have around you with the same addiction, the more chance you have of being able to keep your own habit. Your friends, your family, your partner, they become walking talking bank accounts, and it’s your job – 24 hours a day – to get as much money out of them as you can. And you will use any means you can. You lie, cheat and steal from people who have loved you all of your life, people who have raised you and cared for you. But you see nothing but an opportunity to get more money for more drugs. So you manipulate, you beg, you cry, you threaten. Anything is allowed and all is permitted in the search for your next hit. Fuck everyone, as long as you’re ok, that’s all that needs to be.
For those 20 years, the only friends l had were also addicts, as they are the only people whom you feel understand. I was given more chances to quit and clean up than l can probably remember, but l was never ready to stop. Sure l’d get ‘clean’ now and again for a few days or weeks, but l was never CLEAN. My head was always in the same place. I was still always trying to figure out an angle to get cash or something to sell, to score again. Even jail didn’t help. If you go in an addict you come out an addict. Your body might be free and clean from drugs, but your mind, for the whole time you were inside, all you could think about was your first hit when you get out. That first taste, the first needle tear.
I wasted 20 years of my life. I lost my family, my real friends, l manipulated people all the time, l used people for my own gain and didn’t care one little bit about what happened to them. Long term isn’t a word in an addict’s vocabulary. Living till tomorrow is the most we can hope for and for a heroin addict, it’s 12 hours. Your life revolves around 12 hour segments, not days, or weeks. Once you use, you have around 12 hours, at most, until you need to use again. To be honest, saying need to use again don’t really do it justice. You have 12 hours until you feel like your whole body is in flames, like you’re dying but something’s not letting you. Pain is the only thing that keeps you going, or more correctly, the fear of that pain, the fear of feeling even a little bit like that ever again, and you will do anything to stop that from happening. And l really do mean anything. No matter how you think you see yourself, how much you think you have morals or standards or any of those words, you would and will do anything to stop the pain. No matter how low you think you are, you can and will go lower.
The jails are full of poor bastards that just wanted to stop the pain, that found that they’re the type of people who would go that little bit further than they ever thought they would. I was one of them, and you will be too.
Cos no matter how much money you have or how much drugs you have, it’s never enough. The more you have the more you take. Heroin is a greedy bitch. It eats you up and then makes you do the same to yourself and others.
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