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Methamphetamine, Marijuana, Alcohol - Experienced - Junk Mail, Revisited

FEA 2.0

Mar 17, 2016
Junk mail revisited. Part 1. 6th February 2016

I knew, nearly a decade ago, when I began the process of getting clean, that it was a one way path. It had become clear to me, somewhere along the line, that if I managed to save myself I wouldn?€™t be able to let it happen again. And, weirdly, that?€™s been a huge obstacle in terms of getting clean.

Dedicated drug habits are snug. Doesn?€™t matter if you?€™re a chain smoker, an alcoholic or an intra-venous heroin addict. They ?€“ habits ?€“ are comfortable?€?

Non-smokers often can?€™t comprehend why smokers smoke. Tobacco has very little recreational value. Certainly not enough to justify lung cancer or emphysema. I suspect that, like me, in the past, people who smoke cigarettes don?€™t even like the effect of the drug they?€™re consuming. Because, when you?€™re addicted your consumption ?€“ of whatever it is that you?€™re addicted to ?€“ is compulsive.

Taking methamphetamines, day in / day out, for months (as I have in the past) becomes increasingly expensive and it isn?€™t even particularly pleasant after the first couple of days.
People don?€™t inject heroin on a daily basis to treat trauma. I don?€™t believe that?€™s what they?€™re doing, anyway. I think that?€™s just an excuse. Because, you need a damn good excuse the sort of self-destructive behavior that results ?€“ directly and indirectly ?€“ from being a heroin addict.
In the end, I think, junkies believe their own bullshit. They convince themselves they don?€™t have a choice. It?€™s better, for them, to believe that they have a disease. That way they never have to admit what they?€™ve done with their lives and/or take any responsibility for their actions.

Addictions ?€“ drug habits, particularly ?€“ are always there for you. They give you an edge, too. Like bass jumping. I think the logic is: if your life is extreme enough, it is worthwhile. Cocaine is the classic status symbol drug. Like tobacco, I?€™m convinced that the majority of users don?€™t like the effects of coke.
People do all sorts of crazy things in an effort to convince themselves, by convincing everyone else, that they?€™re truly alive. Tattoos, body piercings, extreme sports, sexual exploits, sub-cultures, sexual orientations, political orientations, dancing, extreme racism.

When I see someone covered in tattoos or piercings I always wonder why some people need to mutilate themselves and others don?€™t. And when people who don?€™t drink, or use drugs, often have seen me sabotaging my life via drug abuse?€? I guess they wonder the same thing?

Since making the switch from smoke to vapor, in terms of marijuana consumption, I know that I will never go back to smoking. Looking back, now, it?€™s like I was a different person. And, looking at that person ?€“ the former me ?€“ I wonder why I was like that. The same way I might wonder about someone boasting tattoos across half their body or a two dozen facial piercings.

So, if I continue to change, which I will, then ?€“ one day ?€“ I will look back at myself now and find myself asking the same questions. This, I think, is why it?€™s so difficult for people with addiction problems to quit their drug of choice. Most people who abuse drugs, I think, are aware on some level that they are caught in a net. And, if they manage to free themselves, they will look back at that time as wasted.

Change, in general, is frightening for the same reasons. Change means death, of course, but ?€“ beyond that ?€“ it threatens to expose us to ourselves. We are afraid that, if we change too much, we might cease to exist; afraid that our personalities are illusory.

Once we lose ourselves, we fear, there will be nothing to replace us.

This fear of change is highly contagious. We are afraid of others changing, because we might contract it. This is why people who hate their jobs convince other people not to quit their jobs, even if they hate them. Staying at a job you hate because of the security, or your mortgage, is like maintaining an addiction after it stops being even remotely recreational.

People who hate their jobs should be looking for new work as soon as they realize that they?€™re unsatisfied. And drug users should seek help as soon as they realize that they?€™ve gone too far. Failing to do this (in both cases) causes self-institutionalization. In the end, after a few decades of procrastination, they will justify not doing anything to save themselves by any means necessary?€? Even if it means brainwashing themselves and burying their true feelings so deep, that they might never resurface.

Fear, in general, is highly contagious. It is as contagious as joy.

Although we don?€™t talk about it, I?€™m sure ?€“ deep down ?€“ everyone is haunted by their mortality. We use joy as a distraction from our base emotional state, which is fear/anxiety. We do this, I think, because we have no personal foundation for understanding that one day we will all be dead.

The majority of people ?€“ in Western countries, at least ?€“ avoid thinking about death until they?€™re dying. And then, it?€™s too late to benefit from the resolution of these worldly issues.

Death is the most confronting and confusing thing in the life of any human. It?€™s difficult to determine how aware animals are of their own mortality. But, presumably, death is the most frightening thing for anything capable of comprehending the implications. Having said that, I don?€™t think it haunts any other species (on this planet) as much as it does humans.

Everything is a give and take. The higher our consciousness, the more we have to fear.
Science is not a very comforting thing. Those who belong to the science of religion ?€“ those who believe that science will explain everything there is to be explained ?€“ they are members of a very bleak religion. Everything we learn about reality is unsettling.

Not only are we aware that we?€™re going to die one day, we?€™re also aware that we?€™re utterly insignificant in the first place. The combination of these two fears has motivated most of our greatest accomplishments. Doing something significant ?€“ before we die ?€“ is the most popular solution, as far as death is concerned. Everyone always says that on your deathbed you will regret doing (and not doing) the wrong and right thing, respectively. You audit yourself, on the way out, basically. And, like the Santa Clause census, you end up getting sorted into one of two lists. You either had a worthy life or you didn?€™t.

But, can life be simplified, like that?

The problem with heaven and hell ?€“ with good and bad, in general ?€“ is this: why do bad people (or people who live unworthy lives) exist in the first place? Isn?€™t it a bit arrogant to assume that some of us are significant and others aren?€™t? I mean, do accomplished men and women have somehow ?€œbetter?€ deaths? And, if so, how would they know? We make assumptions about what happens when we die, in a clumsy effort to distract ourselves. We apply logic to death. We convince ourselves that we will be ready for it, as long as we keep ourselves distracted by being more significant than our neighbors.

But, maybe, death is illogical by human standards.

No assumptions should be made about how to somehow avoid the pain of dying. Life should not be lived (or as a solution to) death. After all, what if death is painful for everyone ?€“ regardless of whether or not they take their life for granted ?€“ and there?€™s absolutely no way to avoid it?

Is it satisfying, to have lived what society deems a worthwhile life when you?€™re going to die anyway? How many people die with no regrets? Do the self-made billionaires and acclaimed artists of this world somehow bypass being confronted by their mortality on their deathbeds?

I?€™m not sure that it?€™s possible to avoid ?€“ coming to terms with our fear of death and insignificance ?€“ no matter how hard you try. So, why bother?

Tibetan Buddhism teaches acceptance. Even though death is painful, pain is as illusory as life itself. It is better to accept impermanence, than to fight it. Everything, the Buddha says, is impermanent. And, the modern scientific community agrees. We are in a constant state of flux. Our cells die and get replaced. We die and our children are born. Our species dies out and another species evolves. Our planet becomes uninhabitable, and another becomes inhabitable.

We are the evolutionary descendants of apes, inhabiting a small spherical rock that is spinning around in the middle of an incalculably massive void. Sciences attempts to re-assure us by dissecting and naming everything we can find. But, the universe ?€“ it must be said ?€“ is too vast to catalogue.

Some people genuinely believe that science will one day explain everything. But, really, with every answer come more questions. So, in a sense, we?€™re actually going backwards in the long-term. There are more unanswered questions now than there ever have been and ?€“ so far ?€“ we?€™ve only attempted to catalogue one planet among trillions. So, those who belong to the church of science, I wonder how long they think it will take us to know everything?

Wanting to have all the answers is another byproduct of fearing change. But, even if we somehow answered every imaginable question, won?€™t there will be more questions ?€“ about things we haven?€™t seen before ?€“ as the universe continues to change? I mean, no matter how much data we collect, we?€™re not going to stop change. And, I?€™m not convinced that the most efficient way to answer the big questions is to answer all of the little questions first in the hope that ?€“ one day ?€“ we might be able to assemble all the little answers into bigger ones.

As far as the science versus religion debate goes, science threatens to destroy the entire planet. People blame religion for the threat of nuclear war, but ?€“ really ?€“ we are to blame.

We are never satisfied. We complain that we have to wait for things to load on the internet. We always demand more ?€“ we demand faster internet / bigger televisions / cheaper petrol / we always want everything to be better than it is ?€“ ensuring that the scientific world is sufficiently motivated to develop even more unnecessary technologies at the expense of the planet. And, then we blame them for the environmental consequences of everything we impatiently demanded they develop.

Without science, nuclear war would be absolutely impossible.

The popular opinion is that religion is the real threat, even though we know we?€™re destroying the planet on a daily basis and do nothing about it. It?€™s easy, that way. The religious fundamentalists can blame science for developing the evils of the modern world and the scientific fundamentalists can blame religion for misusing said evils. Nobody takes any personal responsibility. We?€™re just passing blame.

Who am I to judge anyone ?€“ about anything ?€“ unless my actions are beyond judgment?

Those historical figures ?€“ those great men and women, motivated, presumably by the fear of death ?€“ who contributed to the chain of events that resulted in the development of asbestos, napalm or the first nuclear weapon. If they knew the long-term consequences of their actions, would they regret their lives, as the unaccomplished supposedly do? And what if Jesus was a real person ?€“ a prophet that struggled to save the world around him ?€“ what if he could see all the atrocities committed in his name?

I don?€™t think it?€™s possible for humans to save themselves by continuing to develop the thing threatens them the most. The majority of attempts to create sustainable long-term change will probably backfire somewhere down the line in. When Tesla developed the foundation for modern power by experimenting with electricity, how could he have predicted the effect on the environment?

We don?€™t learn from the past. We convince ourselves, arrogantly, that this time will be different. And, instead of making efforts to minimize our energy consumption (for example), we try to work out ways around it. Rather than limiting the use of electricity and petrol, we try to find less harmful alternatives. That way, we don?€™t have to make any sacrifices.

The Amish don?€™t use what they deem to be unnecessary technology. They lead simple, sustainable lives. If the world was entirely occupied by the Amish, there would be no immediate concern about sustainability. And, they don?€™t use unnecessary technology because it is obvious to them (as it is obvious to all of us) that it is the wrong thing to do.

But, the whole world isn?€™t going to suddenly become Amish. If one man or woman becomes vegetarian, it doesn?€™t change the world. Most people are too stubborn ?€“ and too afraid of change ?€“ to embrace a new lifestyle. So, those who do often get frustrated.

It?€™s difficult to motivate yourself to make your fair share of sacrifices in this life, if the people around you aren?€™t willing to sacrifice anything. Maintaining a vegan diet is very difficult (relative to vegetarianism) and it isn?€™t rewarding when everyone around you keeps eating meat.

Although the universe is impermanent and everything is in a constant state of flux, change can be gradual. Change is constant, but different things change at different rates. Mountains erode slowly. Stars die at an excruciating pace. Some insect species die less than a week after they?€™re born.

The human race, as a collective, changes gradually. The vegetarian movement is gathering speed, now. But, we have a long way to go ?€“ centuries, at least ?€“ before we evolve to a point where we stop farming animals for meat. It might take twenty thousand years. Or, it might not happen at all. Hell, our species might not even exist 50 years from now. But, the possibility of failure can be applied to any situation and is a poor justification for inaction?€? As is comparing yourself to the average person.

We all look back at ancient human slavery and say, ?€œHow could that have possibly happened??€ We say this, not because slavery was obviously outrageous four thousand years ago. No We say it because everything is obvious in retrospect. And, because it is safe to criticize history. If you judge the decisions of the dead, rather than the living ?€“ and acknowledge historical actions as misdeeds ?€“ you won?€™t have to re-evaluate your life in any way, or make any sacrifices.

People who lived in a time were the use of human slaves was commonplace (and didn?€™t object to it) are lesser, morally, than us. That is what we believe, now. Because it?€™s easy to see the flaws in others, the further away they are from you. There is no threat of immediate change ?€“ or sacrifice ?€“ when you someone on the other side of the world who?€™s been dead for a couple of thousand years.

In our species?€™ typically arrogant fashion, we remove ourselves from our own history. We refer to our ancestry as barbaric. But one day our descendants will look back say the same thing about us.

The challenge lies in seeing the world as it is, now, not through the convenient lens of history. It is harder to see ourselves, and the people closest to us, than it is to see other people. So, we need to focus on that. Rather than blaming the world ?€“ while conveniently removing ourselves from it ?€“ we need to try and accept our share of that blame so we can do something about it.

There were people ?€“ during periods of human slavery throughout history ?€“ who objected. And, gradually, as their numbers grew, things started to change. Eventually, slavery was abolished.

Those men and women who stood by their values, and didn?€™t get swept away by the momentum of popular opinion, aren?€™t completely dissimilar to vegetarians.

The consumption of meat produced from factory farmed animals is so widespread in society, that the dark realities surrounding it have become obscured. Just like human slavery, genocide and sexism were in the past. I?€™m convinced that future people will look back at how we treated animals and feel shame and superiority, like we do about our ancestors.

But supporting unpopular changes in society ?€“ like sustainability and veganism ?€“ isn?€™t a rewarding task. Other people don?€™t like vegetarians talking about the ethicality of factor farming, because being confronted makes it more difficult to continue doing the wrong thing. They?€™d rather not hear about it. And vegetarians would rather not talk about it, I think. But, they feel they have to.

There is, frequently, no reward for doing the right thing. In fact, doing the right thing often requires sacrifice. And ?€“ since we?€™re ape descendants inhabiting a spherical piece of rock that is spinning around in the middle of an incalculably large void ?€“ it?€™s easy to justify inaction.

Why should we make sacrifices ?€“ why should we go without anything in this life ?€“ if our time is limited and life is (probably) meaningless? The answer is: because people made sacrifices for us.

When people tell me that they don?€™t want to have children, I understand if they?€™re doing it because of the population problem. In fact, I think that?€™s noble. It is, in itself, a huge sacrifice. But, more than not, it?€™s a selfish decision. Despite being raised by their parents ?€“ and, therefore, despite their existence being a direct result of sacrifice ?€“ they don?€™t want to waste half of their lives building a family.

I?€™ve heard variations of this statement, from dozens of different people, ?€œWhy would I want to bring child into this world??€ And, I?€™m not referring to those few who are genuinely concerned about over-population. I?€™m talking about self-loathing humans. I?€™m talking about anti-human humans.

Again, it?€™s easier that way. If you convince yourself that you belong to a an evil species, it becomes very easy to justify practically anything. If the world is irreparably damaged, then there?€™s no point doing anything about it. If mankind is doomed, then we might as well enjoy ourselves, right? But, how much can you enjoy life if you have no hope for the future of your own species?

Change is everything.

Change is life. And, change is death.

To be prepared for death, we must embrace change in life.

Junk mail revisited. Part 2. 6th February 2016

I need to stop using intra-venous needles as a method of administration. It?€™s been 10 months since I?€™ve injected anything and I had a fair bit of trouble finding a usable vein. There is no reason why I should inject because I?€™m not consuming enough gear anymore, per dose, to create a substantial rush.

The first injection I did (yesterday) wasn?€™t too bad, but it was definitely more difficult than it used to be. So, I?€™m not sure how damaged my veins are, really. But, they are at least somewhat damaged. I?€™m convinced that I collapsed a section of vein in my right arm, years ago, when I was out of control. I used to try to inject when I was so fucked that I could hardly see straight. My hands, shaking. And my arm would ?€“ often ?€“ end up with dozens of failed injection sites up and down my veins.

This morning, after staying up all night, I decided (against my better judgment) to have another shot. It was a difficult decision to make. Because, I knew it was the wrong thing to do and I knew that I would end up fucking it up. I was so tired that I struggled to mix it together in the spoon, spilling some crystals onto the table. Anyway, I went outside with the syringe held between my teeth, a roll of toilet paper in one hand and a spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol in the other.

Fear of fucking it up made me impatient, which made me fuck it up even more.
I sat down so the sun was on the crook of my arms, trying to position myself so that I was hidden from nosy neighbors. It felt wrong, doing it outside, even on my own property. I could hear voices from over the fence. The Asian family in the unit next door were gathered outside. And, it wasn?€™t that I cared if I got caught that made me uneasy. More than that, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame. Doing such a socially unacceptable, illegal and self-destructive thing was bad enough. But, did I have to potentially expose my innocent neighbors to it? If they saw me, with a needle stuck between my teeth, stabbing at my arm, they would ?€“ I?€™m sure ?€“ feel unsafe. And why shouldn?€™t they?

Nobody wants to live next to a junky.

It?€™s funny, because I used to sit in the middle of my back yard, at my old house ?€“ out in the open, making no effort to disguise myself ?€“ and inject drugs three or four times a day. And, I don?€™t remember it ever occurring to me that I was doing something wrong. My attitude, back then, was ?€œWhy should I have to hide??€ When I started writing this document, during the onset of this epic binge, I was a very inconsiderate and unhappy person. I didn?€™t care about the consequences of my actions. But, now I do.

The first vein I entered with the needle, drew blood, but I shifted the tip of the needle slightly (on account fatigue and the shakes) and ?€“ try as I might ?€“ I couldn?€™t manage to get it back into the correct position. So I had to withdraw, with blood in the chamber, and try another site.

29 gauge needles tend to clog up pretty quickly after they?€™ve had blood travel through them. So, once you register a vein and fuck it up, you have a limited amount of time before the needle is unusable. This always makes me panic. Because I know that I?€™m most likely going to lose the shot.

I give up earlier than I would have in the past, returning inside after about ten failed attempts to salvage my shot. During two attempts, I drew the plunger in when the needle tip was pressed against the side of a vein and then pulled it out without releasing the pressure. There are small hard lumps, now, underneath those injection sites. While nowhere near my very worst intra-venous disasters, I still think I did a little bit of damage this morning. The crook of my right arm hurts, near one of the lumps.

So, I went back inside, frustrated, and put the cap back on the needle leaving it in the fridge so I can inject it anally (or eat it) on another date. Then, I drank some water (to improve circulation) and started making another shot. This always happens when I fuck up a shot. I?€™m stubborn. I don?€™t give up, until I either succeed or ?€“ after dozens more unsuccessful attempts ?€“ I admit defeat.

I was afraid this time, though. More afraid than usual. So, I decided that I would take my time and be super careful. But, I was too scattered to think of something I could use as a tourniquet. So, I wandered around the house, in a daze. As if hoping to find a medical tourniquet lying on the floor somewhere. It took me about five minutes to finally decided on a long-sleeved shirt.

I went back outside with my supplies (toilet paper, isopropyl alcohol, my makeshift tourniquet, and a fresh needle between my teeth), reseating myself in the same position as earlier. And, feeling the same sense of shame. I sprayed some disinfectant on my fingers and the crooks of my arms, wiping them dry with the toilet paper, and wrapped the sleeve of my brown and white shirt above the crook of my right arm. I bite down onto the end of the sleeve and pull it taut, applying pressure periodically in order to pump the veins up to four times their normal size.

After seriously considering doing it above the painful lump, I chose the vein that isn?€™t hurting. I take my time, so that I don?€™t fuck it up again. I re-check at least five times that my intended vein is bulging sufficiently and that I know exactly where it is. Then, I push the needle tip into my arm, loosen the tourniquet with my teeth a little, and ?€“ very carefully ?€“ attempt to register the vein.

I get blood, but I?€™m not securely inside the vein. So, trying to keep calm, I twist the needle clockwise slightly. The register improves, but it still isn?€™t properly inside the vein. When I pull back on the plunger I get blood, but a little bubble appears along with it.

If I don?€™t inject it, I know I?€™m probably going to lose it (like the last shot), so I decide to inject slowly. I can tell from the register that the needle tip is partly inside the vein and, also, partly pressed against the side of it. But, that?€™s okay. If I push slowly, it will dribble past the block and into the vein.

I am extra careful doing this, because I don?€™t want to damage myself any more than I have already. With every five units, I pull back gently on the plunger to ensure that there is still blood flow. The shot takes a couple of minutes to deliver. Pushing a little bit in, then pulling more blood into the chamber, and so on and so forth until there?€™s only a couple of units left. I feel the rush build up, slowly, as more units of methamphetamine water find their way into my blood stream. By the time I remove the needle from the crook of my arm, I am fully awake again and buzzing with energy.

I tear another bit of toilet paper and press it into the injection site, applying pressure, and wander back inside. My fiancé is asleep on the couch. When she wakes up, I tell her I?€™ve got to stop using needles. We?€™re supposed to see the new Tarantino film with some friends today, but I tell her I can?€™t do it. Because I?€™m too fucked up. Because I haven?€™t slept. Because of my relapse.

She is understandably disappointed. We?€™re supposed to be trying to get pregnant in five months. That?€™s the plan. We detox for six months and then we start trying to conceive. And, here I am, up to my old tricks again. Gambling with the health of our unborn children. Being selfish. Again, I am ashamed. Injecting drugs isn?€™t something I can tolerate any more. My conscience has caught up with me.

I find it difficult to talk to her, or look her in the eyes for more than a couple of seconds at a time. I?€™ve disappointed her, and bailed on social commitments, way too many times. There is no excuse for this sort of behavior, any more. I?€™m not the same trouble person I was. I?€™ve changed.

I realize, as I?€™m writing this, that I?€™m no longer a junky.

A junky has utter disregard for their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those around them. And, I can?€™t do that anymore. I care about my neighbors. And, more importantly, I care about myself. Despite relapsing yesterday, I think my time as a junky ?€“ that self-destructive nightmare - is now over.

This is the second time I?€™ve had any methamphetamines for about two years. Last time I bought half a gram and it lasted me over six weeks. This time I got a bit less (four points), and I had a quarter of it (including a bit that I gave away) in a bit over 12 hours. But, I?€™m not having any more for a while.

I?€™m not going to inject any more. It?€™s too messy, now that I?€™ve damaged the veins in the crooks of my arms. It?€™s not worth it, any more. There are (relatively) hassle-free, stress-free alternatives that don?€™t result in lumps forming along my veins. All this blood and pain and stress, I can do without it?€? And, I don?€™t have a tolerance. So, I don?€™t need to maximize bioavailability anyway.

The only reason I still use intra-venous drugs is because I?€™m used to doing it that way. It comes back to fearing change. We are so afraid of change that we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, before trying something different.

My brothers smoke cigarettes and have done so, without much of a break, for nearly twenty years. And, I worry about their health. But, I should focus on myself rather than distracting myself with other people?€™s problems. Who am I ?€“ really ?€“ to criticize the consumption of tobacco when I continue to do this to myself? Is intra-venous recreational drug use even comparable to smoking tobacco? Are they in the same league? Both of them are needless acts of self-destruction, but at least cigarettes take decades to kill you?€?. Whereas, injecting unfiltered junk into your veins can kill you immediately.

If I never got clean, I?€™m pretty sure I?€™d be in a horrible physical state right now. I might have died, the way I was going. So, if I?€™m going to quit smoking tobacco ?€“ for health reasons ?€“ it doesn?€™t make any sense to continue injecting drugs into damaged veins.

I?€™ve been meaning to get my kidneys and liver tested for some time. It?€™s quite possible that I damaged one of my organs during with methamphetamine abuse. I keep putting it off, I think, because I?€™m afraid to know the extent of the damage. And, I?€™m afraid of the opposite: that I?€™ll have an excuse to start using again if it turns out that I don?€™t have any detectable kidney / liver / heart damage.

I want to get my veins checked, with an ultra-sound machine, also.

My ex-wife was sectioned after jumping out the second story window of my parent?€™s house and shattering her vertebrae on the concrete below. One of the staff at the institution she ended up in told me that they found evidence of vascular damage from intra-venous drug use. And, she only used needles about five or ten times in comparison to hundreds (for me). So, I figure I have significant damage. But, I don?€™t know how significant. Could restricted blood-flow and/or the formation of clots, resulting from damage to my vascular walls, increase my chance of a stroke / heart-attack?

I need to know how much damage I?€™ve done to myself, and if there?€™s anything I can do to repair it. If I don?€™t get my veins tested, I?€™m going to keep worrying about them. And, I?€™m sure I worry too much. Although I?€™ve been irresponsible with needles, there are far worse intra-venous users than me. Some people inject drugs every day, without fail, for decades, and still live to a reasonable age. But, then, they probably don?€™t stab the hell out of their veins like I have. Or, maybe they do. I don?€™t know. Some users inject drugs into their femoral vein. Others inject into their eyeballs or the tiny veins on their penis. But, do these lunatics live past middle-age? I can?€™t imagine how it must feel to have damaged veins all over your body. At least, I never strayed from the crooks of my arms.
From what I?€™ve read, it can be extremely dangerous if you fuck up an injection in your neck, your genitals or your legs. But, relative to that, I don?€™t know how safe / dangerous it is to fuck up the biggest veins in your arms. When I get older, will I have circulatory problems? Is that the extent of the damage?

Junk isn?€™t a part of my life any more. I don?€™t have room for it.

Saying goodbye to junk includes damage control.

People keep smoking cigarettes because ?€“ a lot of the time, anyway ?€“ they think it?€™s too late to stop. After a couple of decades, they become convinced they are past the point of no return. The cancer, in their mind, has started to develop silently in the blackened lining of their lungs. It?€™s difficult to stop anything if you?€™ve been doing it for too long. But, particularly self-destructive things. Because, in order to motivate yourself to get better, you need to believe that it isn?€™t too late.

I think the government has gone slightly overboard with the warnings on cigarette packets. Some smokers, I?€™m sure, become even more convinced (via all those horrific photos) that they?€™re most likely sick already. And, similarly, the dangers of intra-venous drug use are so exaggerated by fictional stereotypes and drug-war campaigns, that junkies become convinced that they have done themselves more damage than they actually have. Society tells us that using a needle recreationally, even just once, is the point of no return. People who have never had IV drug use in their life seem to believe that intra-venous heroin and methamphetamine users are totally dysfunctional. That is the stereotype.

If you use needles, you?€™re a scumbag. Everybody hates junkies. Junkies are the scum of the earth. But, really, there are lots of highly functional intra-venous drug users that maintain high paid positions in various industries. They just do it in secret. They hide. They inject between their toes.

Anti-drug propaganda that exaggerates the dangers of intra-venous drug use have the same effect on some people that I believe the pictures of diseased organs on cigarette packets have on others.
Society is so quick to label junkies scum. Junkies don?€™t have equal rights. It?€™s socially acceptable to mock them ?€“ in as cruel a manner as you see fit ?€“ because (like rapists) they?€™re perceived as sub-human. And, this applies to all illegal drug users, to some extent. Drinking alcohol is socially acceptable. No. Drinking alcohol is beyond socially acceptable. It is Australian. And, it?€™s a totally normal and reasonable thing to do. Even though it is more neurotoxic and carcinogenic than some illicit substances.

A lot of people, in society, believe alcoholism is a disease and is separate from other addictions. While it is not socially approved to be an alcoholic, there is more empathy. As if, somehow, becoming addicted to alcohol is not the alcoholic?€™s fault but having a heroin or a meth habit is.

I have hated myself, in the past, for being a junkie. I was too ashamed to reach out to my family. This shame and this self-loathing gave me reason to use more. I was, in part, self-medicating as a result of society?€™s perception of my self-medication. This is a horrible loop that junkies get stuck in. They perceive themselves as burdens on the world around them, especially if they?€™ve made efforts to get clean and repeatedly relapsed?€? Because, the world isn?€™t patient. Society will write you off as a lost cause, if you?€™re (statistically) beyond the point of no return. And, in turn, you start believing it too.

It is impossible to accomplish something like getting clean, if you don?€™t believe that it?€™s possible.
The methadone program is the perfect example of society giving up on drug addicts. The government will feed you opiates (that are supposedly intended to wean you off opiates) and they will feed this drug to you indefinitely. Nobody will encourage you to gradually reduce your dose. They won?€™t try to help you. They?€™ll just put you in this legal opiate limbo. It?€™s just like incurably schizophrenic patients being heavily sedated their entire lives. It?€™s easier to just sweep the difficult types under their respective pharmaceutical rugs. It is too difficult to cure a schizophrenic, so they don?€™t even bother trying. Similarly, heroin addicts and child sex offenders are treated as incurable.

The system doesn?€™t determine ?€“ on an individual basis ?€“ whether or not methadone makes sense. They just prescribe it, on the spot, assuming you test positive for opiates.

I was only on heroin (regularly) for three weeks when I was put on the methadone program. My decision to seek help resulted in another ?€“ much more sustainable ?€“ addiction. Instead of going to score smack on the streets for $300 a gram like I used to, the government suggested I take a cheap, readily available legal alternative. And, naively, I trusted them. Nobody mentioned that methadone is actually harder to kick than heroin. They failed to point out that, statistically, it is an ineffective method of getting clean. Most people, they could have said, stay on it for years. So, keep that in mind.

Quitting methadone was the hardest thing I?€™ve ever had to do. It terrifies me to think that, if things had gone differently, I might have ended up like all those other poor souls. Forever lost to that horrible program. I could have become permanently dependent on opiates. I certainly became more dependent on methadone than I ever was with heroin. Because, again, like the cigarette packet warnings, they exaggerate how difficult it is to kick. So, you end up believing that it?€™s unachievable.

I was terrified of withdrawals, after everything society had taught me about the first shot (of meth / heroin) being the point of no return. And all the overly dramatic depictions of opiate withdrawal in film and television didn?€™t help, either. Fictional addicts look like they?€™re giving birth when they?€™re kicking a heroin habit. So real-life users are convinced, before they have their first shot, that they won?€™t be able to quit once they start. Or, if they do, it will be a living nightmare.

Cigarette smokers have this, too, I think. They build up how horrible withdrawals will be in their head, rather than just attempting to quit. And the longer they smoke, the more horrible and impossible that image becomes. Until, eventually, it is too terrifying to even consider.

The world convinces addicts that addictions are more difficult to break than they actually are. This demotivates people with addiction problems. If we?€™re going to misrepresent and exaggerate the dangers of drugs, we should downplay how difficult it is to quit smoking tobacco rather than fear-mongering. That way, at least, people might believe they can do it.

Long-term smokers are convinced that they?€™re probably sick already and that attempting to quit, at such a late stage, is probably going to be worse than cancer anyway. Junkies also believe they are sick. Thousands of people with chronic addiction problems in this country have been brain-washed into believing that they cannot repair themselves, without enduring unimaginable pain. But, I don?€™t believe that?€™s true. I think most people on the methadone program ?€“ no matter how long they?€™ve been on it ?€“ are capable of getting clean. And most alcoholics are treatable, too, in my opinion.

Alcoholics Anonymous, brain-washes people with drinking problems into thinking that they?€™re condition is irreparable. If you?€™re an alcoholic, according to AA, you will never be able to drink in moderation. Your compulsive consumption of alcohol cannot be altered. You have to accept that. And, you have to avoid drinking alcohol for the rest of your life. But, the bizarre thing is, they diagnose you immediately. If you go to an AA meeting and you?€™ve been drinking heavily for a year, they?€™ll tell you you?€™re an alcoholic. And, they?€™ll do a damn good job of convincing if you don?€™t agree straight away.

Alcoholism is a symptom, not a disease. And, so is drug addiction. People who drink and do drugs are, often, in pain. People aren?€™t born alcoholics. Kids don?€™t compulsively consume alcohol. And, most of the AA members that shared their stories with me admitted that they became alcoholics at some point in their lives. Yet, there?€™s no effort to determine what happened. They are just labeled alcoholics, and told that they will always be alcoholics and that there?€™s nothing they can do about it.

For the past fifteen or so years, general medical practitioners have been prescribing anti-depressant medication to anyone who asks for them. Because, again, it?€™s easier to just sweep problems under the rug. Like the government, the public health system doesn?€™t care if you?€™re depressed. They don?€™t bother checking up on you. They don?€™t monitor your medication, and whether or not it?€™s working. They just give you a prescription and shoo you out the door. You cannot trust that they?€™re offering you the right advice. Because, they don?€™t care. They don?€™t care about you, and they don?€™t care about your mental health. Public doctors cannot be trusted. And, neither can the government.
In order to be saved from chronic addiction or depression, you need to save yourself. It is our personal responsibility to resolve our own psychological issues. Mental health specialists can only do as much as you allow them to. And, most of the time, they?€™re not even willing to do that.

If you?€™re depressed, medicating yourself isn?€™t the solution. The depression is a symptom of something else. Just like all chronic addiction problems. There are reasons people get depressed and there are reasons others abuse drugs. Methadone and anti-depressants only treat the symptom.

Chronic pain is an indication that something is wrong. It is a message from the body to the brain, intended to inform your conscious mind that there is a problem. If you take pain killers, instead of attempting to diagnose what is causing the pain, it will only get worse. This applies to self-medicating, also. Miserable people drink alcohol to get them through the day. Then, in the morning, they wake up miserable again. Self-medicating long-term (while neglecting the underlying condition) will lead to the development of more problems. And, you?€™ll end up self-medicating for them too.

Junk ruins people?€™s lives and it is also a treatment for ruined lives. Methadone and alcohol, too. If you keep feeding it, substance abuse is cyclical and never-ending. And, to some extent, at least, it will go way if you stop feeding it. Cigarettes are cyclical too, particularly because nicotine dependency is heavily weighted towards addiction rather than recreational effect (of which there is very little). Since cigarettes do not inebriate like other recreational drugs, the compulsion to consume them is not necessarily symptomatic of some underlying core issue. On the contrary, the compulsion to consume them exists because you consumed them in the first place. Cigarette addiction, relative to drug and alcohol dependency, is illusory. People don?€™t self-medicate with tobacco. It serves no function. Once you?€™ve overcome withdrawals, and flushed every last trace out of your system, you won?€™t need it any more. Whereas, heroin and alcohol are different. One man might have one drink while another man can?€™t stop until they pass out. AA explains this, vaguely, as alcoholism (whatever that means). The latter, ?€œalcoholic?€ individual, drinks excessively to treat anxiety or depression. Or, maybe, to aide in the repression of a trauma. In the context of chronic addicts, alcohol is, essentially, an anti-depressant.

Junk mail revisited. Part 3. 6th February 2016

So, I did it again somehow. I managed to convince myself to do one more shot, and it was an absolute disaster. I couldn?€™t get the first syringe to register after drawing some blood and losing the vein again. I kept persisting, though, incapable of accepting defeat. Stabbing, stabbing, stabbing at my veins.

I hadn?€™t slept or eaten anything and it had been almost 12 hours since my last shot. So, I wasn?€™t thinking clearly. After around fifty failed attempts, I decided to make another shot and try again with a smaller gauge needle (the last remaining unused syringe was a 29 gauge).

?€œI won?€™t do much damage with a smaller needle,?€ I thought to myself. And, thankfully, the shot was successful after less than a dozen attempts. But, now, my arms look totally fucked. They hurt a bit, too. There are a couple more lumps as well as two extremely dark purple marks on a vein In the crook of my left arm. I think that vein might have collapsed temporarily. Need to get Vitamin E cream and some Hirudoid. And, I need to get my veins checked out properly to determine how much damage I?€™ve done.

Depending on the severity of the damage, I may get vascular surgery. There is a permanently collapsed vein in my right arm, I think. Either that or it has shrunk to an unusable size. I can?€™t find it any more. Haven?€™t been able to for at least five years. So, I assume it has collapsed. And, if so, I will probably develop chronic circulatory problems in that arm. I looked up the implications of this and ?€“ as I suspected ?€“ restricted blood flow in an arm increases the chance of heart attack / stroke / etc.

I think I kept going, stabbing myself repeatedly in the crooks of my arms, because I didn?€™t want to believe that I?€™d damaged them as much as I have. But, then, I?€™m not actually sure it was the veins that made it impossible to register. It wasn?€™t damaged veins. It was me. My hands were shaky. I couldn?€™t see perfectly. I was sleep-deprived, hungry, stoned and coming down ?€“ heavily ?€“ from my last shot. So, the fact that I couldn?€™t register a vein doesn?€™t mean that they?€™re all unusable. I?€™m sure they?€™re (more than) a little damaged, but the main reason was: I was in no state to do an intravenous injection.

If I ever inject anything in the future, I can?€™t do it when I?€™m high and/or drunk. I need to have meth in the morning, too, so that I can sleep at the end of the day. Having meth at night means I stay up until the morning. And, then, if I don?€™t have another shot, I need to go to sleep during the day.

Meth is much more effective if you sleep and eat between each dose, anyway. It is a waste of money to redose repeatedly. By the third shot, it doesn?€™t even get me high. It just compensates for the lack of food and sleep, and brings me back to normal.

I need to get a medical tourniquet. Using the sleeve of a long-sleeved shirt ?€“ or a leather belt ?€“ as a tourniquet is messy. It puts too much pressure on the veins and makes registering more complicated than it needs to be. Holding a tourniquet in your teeth, while you inject yourself in the crook of your arm, is somewhat difficult sober. Doing it fucked up is a recipe for disaster.

I need to get a referral to a vascular specialist and see what they think about the state of my veins. I just inspected them, thoroughly, and I?€™m no longer convinced any of my major veins have collapsed. The one with the two purple marks on it on my left arm seems to be okay, somehow. I can trace the vein, under the skin, up towards my shoulder. And, strangely, the one in my right arm either never disappeared or has come back (which is possible). It?€™s not as large as it used to be, but it is there. So, I?€™m probably freaking out over nothing. But, either way, I?€™m not going to be able to relax about my arms until I get an ultrasound and a professional diagnosis.

In the past three months, I?€™ve had minor surgery and a lot of minor dental work done (I went to the dentist once over the course of a decade). I?€™m fixing myself up, piece by piece. It?€™s costing me about $400 a month, after insurance, but it?€™s worth it. And so is getting vascular surgery, no matter how much it costs. If I have any significant sections of major veins that have collapsed, I need to get them fixed.

Like cigarette smokers, I have convinced myself that I am beyond the point of no return. My veins are so fucked, I figure, that there?€™s no point in taking care of them anymore. This is, in part, how I justify continuing to use needles. Yet, the opposite is also true. Sometimes my denial of the damage that I probably have caused my veins is used to justify doing another shot.

When I have trouble registering veins in both arms, I get scared and I desperately need to prove that my arms aren?€™t totally fucked, by completing a successful shot. So, I keep going. And, as I continue to fail, due to my shaking hands and scattered brain, the fear increases along with my desperation. The longer it takes me to register successfully, the more stressed (and, therefore, sloppy) I become.

The only place I could register the 29 gauge was below a lump that formed less than 24 hours prior. I absolutely shouldn?€™t have injected it there, but I did get a sense of relief (however illogical) when I was finally successful. Even though, at the exact same moment, I instantly regretted mutilating myself.

It?€™s all very confusing. Are my veins damaged? Is it all in my head? If they are damaged, how bad are they? And, most importantly, why do I keep injecting this drug when I can consume it in a much safer and less frustrating way? But ?€“ whatever is going on ?€“ I need to do something about it.

Having my veins scanned and diagnosed should fix this horrible loop. In the meantime, I can?€™t allow myself to use needles. The condition that my veins are in, it might be unadvisable to ever use intravenous drugs again. I might be one shot away from collapsing a vein, for real. And, it?€™s not worth taking the risk. If I get an ultrasound, I will feel better about the whole situation.

Injecting methamphetamine directly into your bloodstream is very dangerous. Much more so than injecting heroin. And, I?€™ve gotten to a point where I think I might have done myself some serious damage. I?€™m going to get an ECG, too, and a full series of kidney / liver function tests.

I think the odds are that I?€™m blowing it up in my head. I mean, surely a lot of IV drug users are way more careless than I am. People share needles, re-use needles, and ?€“ I?€™m sure ?€“ it?€™s pretty common for junkies to redose when they?€™re high. I can?€™t be the only one. And then there?€™s the femoral veins and the small veins between your toes that a lot of people use. I?€™ve never used a vein other than the crooks of my arms. And, those are the safest veins to use. Plus, I always use clean sharp needles. And, I apply Hirudoid cream. So, logically, I can?€™t have done that much damage relative to the average IV meth user. But, I guess that?€™s not a very re-assuring thought. (What?€™s the life expectancy of an IV meth user?)

I can?€™t allow the veins in my arms to threaten my longevity. Old people have bad circulation, generally. So, if I don?€™t repair whatever damage I?€™ve done, assuming I have done significant damage, I will ?€“ most likely ?€“ develop chronic circulation problems when I?€™m sixty / seventy.

There is no hurry. I?€™m not going to die of vascular complications in the next fifteen years or anything. If I need surgery, it will be very expensive. But, I can always postpone it. For now, I just need to know what?€™s going on with my body. Using intravenous drugs can be pretty traumatic, psychologically. I?€™ve had hundreds of injection-themed nightmares over the years. And, I worry all the time ?€“ during my waking life ?€“ about the state of my veins.
I used to worry about my teeth, too, until a month or so ago when I decided to do something about them.. For five years I?€™ve been convinced that they were all rotted beyond repair and that I?€™d have to pay somewhere in the vicinity of fifty thousand dollars to replace / cap them all. Turns out, they weren?€™t too bad. I had three cracks in my teeth and six cavities. After all that senseless worrying it only cost about five hundred dollars, after insurance, to fix them. The same thing might be true for my veins. Although, I suspect that it?€™s going to be more expensive since vascular reconstruction is a type of laser / micro-surgery. It will probably be more like a thousand, after insurance. Then again, maybe I don?€™t need surgery. Maybe I?€™m totally fine and this is all in my head. Either way. it is time to find out.

There are five physical things that I need to fix up, having emerged from heavy long-term drug use. I?€™ve already had the cyst on my tailbone removed, the skin where the sun don?€™t shine snipped off. Plus, I?€™m more than halfway through fixing my teeth. Beyond that, all I need to do is correct my posture (this is going to be the most difficult and have the longest duration) and repair my veins, if necessary. Plus, as I said earlier, a full medical including ECG and liver / kidney function test.

I?€™m determined to resolve all of my medical concerns. These stresses that I?€™ve been accumulating over the years are unnecessary. I need to be proactive about my health, rather than worrying about it and doing nothing. In the past three months, I?€™ve already made an enormous amount of progress. And, honestly, I?€™m absolutely terrified of vascular surgery. But, if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Actions have consequences. And, I?€™ll be getting off easy ?€“ as far as I?€™m concerned ?€“ if all I have to put up with is another surgical procedure that costs around a grand.
It?€™s a miracle that I managed to emerge from meth, relatively unscathed. And, another miracle, that I managed to quit meth and heroin and get my life back on track. So, although the image of my veins having splints inserted into them is less desirable than having a catheter inserted in my penis every day for a month, vascular surgery is the worst case scenario. And, it ?€“ the worst case scenario ?€“ could have been a lot worse. I?€™ve injected spilt gear (mixed with water) from the floor of a tent. And, I?€™ve spent weeks straight on a steady diet of meth and alcohol, without much food, sleep or water.

So, I?€™m not bitter about the possibility of vascular reconstructive surgery. I don?€™t consider it an injustice. On the contrary. I?€™m grateful that I?€™m still alive. I?€™m not sure I deserve the second chance I?€™ve been given. Nor am I certain I deserve my fiancé, who arrived ?€“ just in the nick of time ?€“ to give me something to live for again. In fact, I suspect that I deserve much less. But, I don?€™t take it for granted. While I?€™m grateful that fortune hasn?€™t been crueler to me, I feel guilty for being saved from myself when there are so many equally deserving people that continue to suffer alone.

I owe fate. That?€™s the way I see it. I can?€™t squander the chance that I?€™ve been given to turn my life around. To do so, would be an insult to those less fortunate. And, from a selfish perspective, the only way to appease the guilt I mentioned ?€“ and convince myself that I deserve this ?€“ is to be strong. I?€™ve come so far, from the drug-addled creature I once was. I owe it to my family, my fiancé, and my unborn children to never again allow myself to drift back into the deep end of the drug world.

My parents haven?€™t been perfect, in terms of their approach to my drug and alcohol problems over the years. But, I imagine it?€™s pretty difficult to watch your child grow up into a junky and disappear out of your life for a couple of years. Every time I put a needle in my arm, I am killing whatever still remains of the sweet innocent boy my parents raised me to be. It is inexcusably selfish to trade my health or my relationship with my parents for a recreational high.

I used to think I should be free, in this life, to do whatever I want. Even if it?€™s self-destructive. But, the more I think about it, the more childish that seems. We are not free, to do whatever we want. There are financial constraints limiting us to what we can afford. Then there are all the ethical / legal boundaries in society, preventing us getting an unfair advantage or from harming others.

I realize that it is not a selfish act to become a junky. Something motivated me to put a needle in my arm back in high school. Most of the students at my school wouldn?€™t have even considered it for a second. Whereas, I didn?€™t even hesitate. It seemed like a good idea, at the time. Because, I guess, I was extremely anxious and unstable. And I?€™d already discovered by that point that a drug habit can fill whatever hole you want it to (more or less). So, of course, I don?€™t blame myself for how things turned out. At the time, it was beyond my control. But, now it isn?€™t. And, I have some repair work to do.

People who are destined to develop chronic dependency problems are victims of fate, in my opinion. They are free to abuse drugs or do whatever they want. Some people are destined to become prostitutes or thieves, and ?€“ again ?€“ they are free to do so. But, actions have consequences.

When I was younger I had a collection of axes to grind with the world. My ?€œFuck you. Life is short. And, I?€™m going to die someday,?€ attitude entitled me to behave however I wanted. It outraged me ?€“ beyond words ?€“ that the government, the media, my family members and various other people tried to impose their will upon me. I was a very angry self-righteous person. The life I was expected to live wasn?€™t good enough for me. So, I rejected it. And I lived an self-centered indulgent lifestyle. I abused drugs, because I could and how-dare-anybody-tell-me-otherwise. But, like I said, actions have consequences. About seven years ago (I remember it very clearly) I realized that my lifestyle was hurting other people. I realized that I?€™d opted for drugs, over a relationship with my family. And, furthermore, prior to said revelation, I had always blamed my family.

My ?€“ now sixty something year old ?€“ mother, for example. I genuinely thought that she chose not to have a relationship with her son because of her zero-tolerance attitude towards drug use. But, again, that?€™s childish. She?€™s from a different generation. She was born in Scotland. And, she?€™s very stubborn. It was considerably more difficult (read: impossible), I realize now, for her to accept my drug use than it would have been for me to stop using drugs. There was no decision for her to make. In retrospect, I was the only one with a choice. And, I chose drugs over her.
Her steadfast anti-drug attitude helped me get clean, in the end, anyway. In the end, I couldn?€™t bear to look her in the eyes while I continued to maintain my increasingly depraved lifestyle. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to convince myself that drug use had been a positive (or at least not negative) aspect of my life. But, I was just trying to justify my self-destructive indulgent behavior through self-deception. Because, even though the drugs were clearly doing me harm, I didn?€™t want to give them up.

It was childish, and selfish, of me to think that I should be able to do whatever I want. That?€™s not what adult life is about. Part of growing up, I think, is accepting the fact that you have to sacrifice some of your freedoms. That?€™s just my opinion, though. You don?€™t have to sacrifice anything, if you don?€™t want to. You can just say, ?€œFuck you world,?€ like I did, and do whatever you want. You are free to break the law, but you might end up in jail. You are free to be emotionally abusive to your sister, too. But there is a difference between what you can do freely and what you should do freely.

If you rob a convenience store, you run the risk of getting arrested. And, if you take a stance against your mother ?€“ as I did when I was young and stupid ?€“ divorcing yourself from her in the name of drugs. Then, you will be without a mother. And, one day, you will most likely regret it.

Drugs are, largely, pretty destructive. That?€™s not a fact. It?€™s an observation. The vast majority of people I know who smoke marijuana are heavily dependent users. Marijuana use is so commonplace, like alcohol, that it?€™s seen as harmless. And it is one of the least problematic mainstream drugs. But, it?€™s not harmless. I?€™ve seen people waste their lives away beside a bong. Hell, I?€™ve done it. I?€™ve spent years smoking myself into a stupor every day. And, all the while, I ?€˜d argue ?€“ until I turned blue in the face ?€“ that I didn?€™t have a problem with weed. Somehow, the majority of stoners manage to convince themselves that weed isn?€™t a drug and that it?€™s totally harmless.
People who smoke marijuana aren?€™t the most functional people in the world. More than half the people I know who still smoke bongs, rarely clean them. Glass bongs end up turning black with layers of bacteria-infested tarry sludge. Yet, people still use them. It baffles me how often seemingly clean and functioning adults don?€™t clean their bongs. They clean their plates and their cups, and they expect kitchenware to be kept clean in other people?€™s houses. You wouldn?€™t eat from a dirty plate, if you were a guest somewhere. Yet, It?€™s okay normal to shove your mouth into a foul-smelling biohazardous bong?

Marijuana depletes so much of your motivation (if you consume it on a daily basis) that ?€“ for the average stoner ?€“ spending 30 minutes per week cleaning your bong is out of the question. A lot of stoners I?€™ve known over the years only clean their bong when they absolutely have to. Like, if it starts making them sick or if it stinks out the entire house. This is what weed does when you consume it every day. It demotivates you to such an extent, that you do the absolute bare minimum.

There are exceptions, of course. Some stoners are highly-functional, and there have been countless artists and musicians who have been inspired by weed. Don?€™t get me wrong. I like marijuana. But, I don?€™t want to consume it every day any more. Last month I had twenty one (out of thirty one) days sober. No weed. No alcohol. No drugs. No caffeine. No red meat. And, it was a better month than one spent stoned. But, having said that, I don?€™t think I?€™ll ever completely stop consuming marijuana.

I?€™m just saying that isn?€™t harmless. Stoners need to acknowledge that for their own sake.
Drugs aren?€™t evil. But they are very addictive. And, ideally, no recreational drug should be consumed on a daily basis. It?€™s very difficult not to become dependent on marijuana or alcohol (or any mind-altering drug) if you don?€™t take regular breaks. Drugs aren?€™t bad. But, drug dependency is.

I know this guy that smokes so much he can hardly open his eyes. Every time I see him, he looks like he just woke up. And, he doesn?€™t realize he?€™s abusing weed. Even though he recognizes other people who behaved in pretty much exactly the same way as abusing heroin.

Another friend of mine always owes people money for weed (and other things). He buys stuff on credit and works a full-time job so that he can catch up with the debt that he accumulated the month before. He?€™s always at least a month behind himself. And, he?€™s not that unusual. I?€™ve been in a similar situation before, with weed. Desperately scrounging together enough money to score single grams for fear of withdrawals. Telling myself every day that I?€™m going to quit tomorrow.

The behavior of stoners isn?€™t much different to the behavior of any addict. It is society?€™s perception of marijuana as harmless that confuses marijuana users into believing that it is harmless and not recognizing warning signs that would be clear if they resulted from any other drug.

The decriminalization of marijuana in the United States (and elsewhere) has only served to re-enforce the idea that it is not habit forming and problematic like all other substances. They should, really, have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms first. Because, the potential for abuse is practically non-existent (and because they grow out of the ground all over the world).

Marijuana is closer to heroin, in some ways, than it is to psilocybin. And, personally, having had problems with it for many years, it frustrates me to see weed being embraced by the US media as not only a positive thing, but (practically) a god-send. I mean, I get that people have been waiting a long time for it to be decriminalized. But, the uninitiated should be informed that it is a highly addictive drug.

If you spend a couple of years smoking every day, it?€™s harder to quit than a couple of months of shooting meth every day. I?€™m not sure that inexperienced users taking advantage of loopholes in the United States are aware of how addictive it can be (for some users) and how it can, otherwise, negatively affect their lives. I don?€™t think I?€™ve encountered any drug user (including former drug users) who agree with me about this. It?€™s a bit creepy, like a Twilight Zone episode or something. I don?€™t understand why everyone believes that weed is harmless when you can observe the harm everywhere.

At least meth users and heroin addicts are, generally, aware of the realities of what they?€™re consuming. Even if they?€™re stuck and they don?€™t do anything about it. At least, they can do something. Because, unlike most stoners, they are somewhat aware of the implications of their actions.

If you abuse cigarettes for four decades, it?€™s widely understood that you will probably develop heart disease, some kind of cancer or emphysema. Alcohol is neurotoxic, It makes you sick the next morning. And, if abused, can cause cancer and cirrhosis. And weed is ?€“ what ?€“ harmless? Just because it?€™s relatively harmless? If so, we shouldn?€™t worry about spider bites because spiders aren?€™t lions.

Depending on the quality and strain, marijuana can be a very intense, confusing and unpleasant drug. And, observably, it is a drug of dependence. People try to argue that it?€™s not addictive. It?€™s only addictive because of the tobacco, they say. This is nonsense. Marijuana is highly addictive. I?€™d say there are probably more people helplessly addicted to weed than any other illegal drug in the world. Or, at least, the Western world. (I?€™m not sure about the distribution of drug use in most non-English speaking countries.) And, I?€™m not making a ridiculous statement, like marijuana is more addictive than heroin.

There are more people addicted to marijuana than heroin, in part, because heroin scares people away and marijuana is perceived as harmless. But, there are a bunch of contributing factors. It?€™s also much cheaper and the tolerance is manageable, relative to meth / heroin / etc. And, of course, marijuana ?€“ unlike most other drugs ?€“ is not potentially life threatening. I get all that.

But, the point remains, for whatever reason, it is ?€“ by far ?€“ the most widespread illegal drug in the world. And in the Western world, there appear to be more regular users (from my observations) than casual users. Or, at least, the regular users consume far more than the casuals.

Most people will never try heroin, for fear of getting addicted. But, personally, I?€™ve been addicted to marijuana far longer than I was addicted to opiates. And, I found it easier to quit opiates. The perception that marijuana is safe and harmless, combined with the health benefits (and lack of health risks), the low cost, and it?€™s worldwide social acceptability (relative to heroin et all) means that people aren?€™t even remotely afraid to try marijuana.

I was ready to quit heroin, before I even tried it, because I?€™d heard so much about how addictive it is. I was prepared, somewhat. Whereas, with marijuana, I wasn?€™t prepared. I started smoking when I was a teenager, thinking that it was harmless. And, as a result, I ended up spending many years addicted to it before I realized that I was a drug addict.

Stereotypical bong heads and stereotypical crack heads have a few things in common. They both smoke (their respective drug of choice) out of disgusting glass devices or homemade alternatives. Neither of them have remarkable personal hygiene standards. And, when the prospect of sobriety lingers it?€™s ugly head, they become quite desperate. Although stoners are unlikely to offer random people blowjobs for five dollars a-piece, so they can afford to get some bud.

Marijuana is more addictive than alcohol, I think. Most people who consume alcohol, don?€™t consume it heavily on a daily basis. I was a raging alcoholic for a couple of years, but ?€“ throughout most of my life ?€“ I have been more addicted to and dependent on marijuana than alcohol.

Alcoholics take up a very small portion of people who consume alcohol. Whereas, from my observations, dedicated stoners outnumber casual users (at least in terms of how much they consume).

A large percentage of people that I?€™ve known when they?€™ve first encountered marijuana, have become addicted to it. I warn people, now, not to get stoned every day. Because, before they know it, they?€™ll develop a habit. But, nobody listens to me. And, then, about half the time, they get addicted.

So, yeah, my point was ?€“ originally ?€“ that drugs are pretty destructive. Not in and of themselves, of course. Marijuana is just a plant. It?€™s not evil, nor is it bad. It depends on how it is used. I?€™m just saying that a considerable portion of marijuana users that I?€™ve observed throughout my life have problems with weed in a similar fashion to those who abuse other drugs.

Guns aren?€™t dangerous without someone to operate them, either. This is an argument often made by gun enthusiasts. But it isn?€™t based on particularly sound logic. Because, kitchen knives aren?€™t dangerous (unless you use them to stab someone) yet more people get murdered by guns than cutlery. Statistically, guns are clearly more dangerous than kitchen knives. And that?€™s my point about drugs.

Drug abuse and drug use are separate things. There?€™s a responsible way to use guns and there?€™s a responsible way to approach drug use. But, practically, are there more drug users than drug abusers in the world? Or, in the context of gun control, are there more people using guns in responsible ways? Hopefully, you?€™ll agree ?€“ whoever you are ?€“ that the answer to both questions is pretty obvious.

Junk mail revisited. Part 4. 7th February 2016

I managed to get a bit of sleep, eat a pizza, and treat the crooks of my arms with Vitamin E Cream and Hirudoid. When I started preparing my next dose, I was in the middle of a long argument with my fiancé about gender inequality. My arms looked a little better, when I woke up this morning, but ?€“ still ?€“ it was the (perhaps) the most damage I?€™d ever done in such a short period of time.

Short sleeved shirts were, now, out of the question. The crooks of both arms, in the space of only 24 hours, had become as fucked up as they normally would after a couple of weeks. But, after calming myself down, and thinking about the history of my needle use, I came to the conclusion that whatever damage I?€™ve already done is probably manageable.

I?€™ve never had an abscess, or any kind of infection, from injecting. Although my experiences have been somewhat horrific, there are far worse cases. Some people, I?€™ve heard, end up having to have their limbs amputated. And, my biggest worry is whether or not I?€™ve collapsed a short section of vein. So, although this situation is far from ideal, things could be much worse.

I inspected my veins more thoroughly than I ever have, to try and work out if I?€™d lost part of the basilic in my left arm. But ?€“ as best I could tell, with all the lumps and bruises distracting me ?€“ the vein was still functioning. And, weirdly, I also managed to find the collapsed cephalic in my right arm. Rather than collapsing permanently five years ago, it must have collapsed temporarily. At least, I think it?€™s the same vein. It?€™s considerably smaller than I remember it, so it might just be minor vein that has inflated to compensate for the cephalic. I?€™m not an expert on these things. So, whatever it is, it?€™s off limits. Collapsing a section of your cephalic vein is bad enough. I can?€™t lose the replacement, too.

When I get an ultra-sound of the crooks of my arms, hopefully they?€™ll be able to confirm whether or not I ?€“ actually ?€“ have any permanently collapsed veins. It?€™s possible, after all this time worrying about the long-term implications of my circulatory problems, that I don?€™t have any. Still, my veins are fucked and I?€™m not going to use them again for at least a month. Not until I?€™ve had them looked at by a specialist, and they?€™ve had (more than enough) time to heal.
Anyway, back to my relapse.

One of the syringes had a clot in it, blocking the needle, so I pulled the plunger out of the back and sucked the contents out with the other one. Then, after cutting off the needle with a heavy duty pair of scissors, I went into the bedroom and shoved it up my ass (with the aid of some lubricant). But, it?€™d gotten reclogged somewhere along the line (probably when I sucked in another clot out of the other syringe) so I had to pull the plunger ?€“ again ?€“ and suck it into another used needle.

As the plunger came out of the clogged syringe, all my gear / blood mix spilt onto the table. So, I had to suck it up through a piece of cotton as best I could. Whatever was left over, I licked off the stained wood surface of my dining table. Then, I returned to the bedroom, dropped my pants, made my corn hole sufficiently slippery again, and shoved the needle up inside me as far as it would go.

The effects, from plugging what remained of my two failed shots from yesterday (approximately 0.03 grams each) took about fifteen minutes to kick in properly. But, I could feel the initial effects immediately. In less than a minute, I transitioned from drunk / stoned to fully lucid.

When I returned to the lounge, I had no interest in continuing the argument. In my drunken state, it had frustrated me to no end. And, now, it was nothing. So, I apologized to her for being upset and things quickly returned to normal. Or as normal as they can be when you?€™re me, I guess.

I rolled another joint (my second, in half an hour) and made my way outside to smoke, greedily finished drinking my last long neck of beer as I puffed away. She came out ?€“ my fiancé ?€“ to hang some washing out on the line, and we talked about this and that.

Not for a second did I think, in my fucked up state, to help her. I just sat there, drinking beer and smoking marijuana. By the time I realized I should give her a hand (when she pointed it out) there were only four socks left in the basket. But, I pegged them up anyway.

About an hour later, I decided the effects of my anal dose were insufficient and I made a decision to chase the crystals that I?€™d spilt on the table the day before. So, I flattened out a wedge of aluminum foil (about six inches by two inches) and folded it into shape.

I?€™m not great at chasing, so I lost a bit of smoke, but I managed to boost my dose enough to satisfy my expectations. But, I have to say, it?€™s disappointing in comparison to intra-venous administration. I guess that?€™s why I?€™ve never really been a fan of smoking.

Smoking, in general, is my least favorite way to consume drugs. Not only is it a waste of product, it?€™s dirty. The high is less clean. Less pure. Whether or not you?€™re smoking marijuana, heroin or meth. Combustion, I think, compromises the integrity of the product. You get high from the drug, and you get high from the smoke itself (which, when you?€™re smoking meth, is highly toxic).

Injecting, a quarter of a point (0.025 grams) of this gear lasted me about twelve hours. But, I doubt ?€“ now ?€“ whether or not the three quarters of a point I just consumed will keep me satisfied for eight. And, I?€™m not nearly as high as was either.

This can?€™t be explained by tolerance, alone. Although (presumably) my meth tolerance has increased from zero to something-other-than-zero, it shouldn?€™t have increased enough to make any significant impact on the quality of my high. So, it must be the route of administration.

Switching from (occasional) intra-venous meth user to (occasional) inter-anal meth user is going to be more difficult than I thought. The rush I feel when I inject ?€“ even from shooting a measly quarter point ?€“ is much greater than the rush I got today from smoking and plugging combined.

I prefer my meth buzz to be stronger and shorter-lasting than the effects of plugging or eating, but I ?€“ since I?€™ve fucked up my veins and my teeth ?€“ there is no sensible alternative. Not until I get the all clear from a vascular specialist, anyway. If I don?€™t get the all clear, I?€™m going to have to stop injecting.

Really, I should stop using drugs intravenously regardless of whether or not I?€™ve already done significant damage. But, I?€™ve dealt with enough addiction problems to know that it?€™s good to have a contingency plan. That way, if I relapse again at some point ?€“ which I probably will ?€“ it will be a controlled relapse. So, whenever I quit anything, I give myself a little leeway.

Currently, with meth, my limit is half a gram per year. And, it?€™s working for me so far.

Giving myself this allowance means I end up using less than I would have otherwise. Because, when the cravings kick in, they aren?€™t as excruciating as they could be. The last couple of months, for example, my cravings have been getting out of hand. But, I?€™ve been able to keep them at bay (for as long as possible, anyway) by thinking about my allowance. It needs an adjustment, though.

It?€™s better to spread out my yearly allowance across the year, rather than using it all up at once. That way ?€“ if I can?€™t resist using needles ?€“ I won?€™t cause any more significant damage to my veins. And, I won?€™t have enough time to develop a tolerance either. So, the extra expense of buying individual points, rather than half grams, will get cancelled out (to some extent, anyway).

If I only buy one point every three months, or so, I won?€™t get sleep-deprived or malnourished as a result of binging for a week straight. A point is a reasonable amount to last one or two days which keeps the mini-relapses that I?€™m allowing myself a bit less dangerous.

Tomorrow I?€™m going to start another three week period of sobriety. So, I?€™m going to interrupt this relapse and save the two and a quarter points I have left until next month. Then ?€“ at the end of that month ?€“ I?€™m going to start my three month sperm detox so that all the drugs and toxins I?€™ve been consuming over the years are well and truly out of my system by the time we start trying to conceive. And, it might take me six months (or even a year) to successfully get my fiancé pregnant.

So, I?€™m going to be sober ?€“ and healthy ?€“ for a long time.

This relapse was my last chance to use methamphetamines before having children. It?€™s quite possible that I won?€™t revisit my crystal friend again for over a year, this time. But, that?€™s okay. I?€™ve never had a reason to be completely sober for a long period of time, in the past. So, I?€™ve had to force myself to get clean. And, that?€™s a hard thing to do if you don?€™t really want to do it. But, this is different.

I would spend years sober to ensure the health of my future children, if I had to. If I didn?€™t, and my child ended up with some sort of disability, I would never forgive myself. Frankly, it baffles me how people try to get sober when they?€™re smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, or taking drugs.

This guy I know, him and his girlfriend are trying to get pregnant again after their last pregnancy miscarried. But, for some unknown reason, they both continue to smoke marijuana (mixed with tobacco) and drink alcohol, on a regular basis. Their plan is to stop when they get pregnant, again, like they did last time. And, I?€™ve tried telling him how long sperm takes to develop. But, he doesn?€™t listen.

I guess, when I was more dependent on drugs, it would have been difficult for me to detox sufficiently ?€“ and stay clean ?€“ while attempting to conceive. So, it?€™s not my place to judge. Although his baby-rearing strategy still baffles me, to some extent, so do large sections of my own life.

People are strange, I guess. And, shit happens.

Hopefully his kid will turn out fine.

It?€™s around midnight, now, and my last opportunity to indulge in anything for the next three weeks is upon me. So, I roll a big joint. Half a gram of marijuana and one entire cigarette. My fiancé comes with me, but she doesn?€™t smoke with me. We talk random nonsense.

I can?€™t finish the joint. So, I put the rest of it out onto the ground and throw it in the bin. No sense keeping it around for three weeks. I can always get some more. It is not as precious to me, as it once was. And, it was pretty cheap anyway. So, I don?€™t care if I waste a bit.

We have sex three times. And, by the time we?€™re done I?€™m pretty tired. It?€™s three o?€™clock in the morning now. But, I?€™m not going to be able to get to sleep just yet.

I try to watch some porn. But my balls hurt when my dick gets hard. So, I have to stop. I?€™ve been sitting down too much over the past couple of days. The scar from my tailbone surgery is really tender, now. The adrenaline-like effects of meth caused me to masturbate too much and have sex too much and sit down for way too long. I?€™m still recovering from the surgery. So, I hope I haven?€™t fucked it up.

I?€™m going to attempt to go to sleep, now. It?€™s only half past three. But, the meth is wearing off (already!) and I feel like shit. I haven?€™t had much to eat the past forty eight hours and I?€™m developing a bit of a headache. Even if I can?€™t sleep, I?€™m going to lie down in the darkness and unwind.

Tagged by Xorkoth
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FEA 2.0

Mar 17, 2016
Junk Mail Revisited. Part 5. 13th / 14th February, 2016

Growing up, video games were hard.

I remember – playing 8-bit Nintendo games in the late 80s – being absolutely devastated. I’m talking back before there were save points. Before auto aiming and automated health regeneration. Devastated doesn’t even do it justice actually. It’s possible that these games traumatized me.

Sitting cross-legged in front of my dad’s 51 cm Sony Trinitron television. My eyes glued to the screen. My little hands gripping the controller so tight that it left imprints in my flesh. Sitting there, and traversing hours (upon hours) of excruciatingly-difficult, side-scrolling, two-dimensional landscapes. Only to suddenly die and finding myself back where I started, earlier that day.
I’ve been revisiting these nightmarish games, as a thirty-something year old. And, nothing has changed. They’re not less difficult, now, then they once were. Unlike my the size of my primary school campus – which has shrunk considerably over the years – my perception of these nostalgic video games has not been affected by time. I still get worked up. So worked up, that I scream at the television. Or, seriously consider throwing the controller at the wall to vent my frustrations.

By modern standards, most first generation console games are so difficult they’re almost torturous. And, now – having grown accustomed to the lack of challenge, these days – I find myself less prepared to tackle those 8-bit nightmares than ever.
I’ve been spoilt by modern video games.

Years of being rewarded for nothing has whittled away at my motivation to accept real challenges, without (at least, occasionally) throwing a tantrum. I am less patient, now. The older I get, however, the more difficult it becomes to justify devoting large amounts of time to video games. And, I can’t – rightly – disregard that as a contributing factor. These days, I expect more than a challenge.

My standards for video games are higher than my standards for anything else. I’m not going to spend dozens of hours playing a game, unless I really enjoy it. And, although I don’t enjoy being patronized and spoon-fed, I also don’t really enjoy the complete opposite.

Some retro games aren’t just hard, they’re hard for the wrong reasons. In a lot of those old 8-bit classics, the difficult stems from having to work around serious design flaws. In Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, for example, the enemies will randomly spawn directly in front of you and attack before you can react.

Beating some of these old games requires stubborn persistence and a tolerance for abuse. In order to succeed, you have to learn the levels back to front, through a pain-staking process of trial-and-error. Games like the original Battletoads require blind luck and ceaseless repetition, more than skill.

Don’t get me wrong, there are countless examples of great balanced titles from the 80s and early 90s. But, looking back, it was (by no means) the golden age of gaming. Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels – despite offering more of a challenge – is nowhere near as fun to play as Super Mario World or Super Mario Galaxy. Thanks to the widespread use of save functions and checkpoints, when you play modern games, you’re no longer forced to repeat the same sections of levels over and over again.

Having said all that, I struggle to find games produced these days that offer any challenge whatsoever. We seem to have gradually drifted from one extreme to the other, over the past thirty years. Now, instead of being traumatized by impossible levels, instead of gripping my controller to death, I find myself struggling to maintain interest in whatever I’m playing, as a result of sheer boredom.
Most popular games – these days – pander to the expectation that they shouldn’t be too difficult. So, they’re designed to be as easy as possible (without affecting sales).

The average first person shooter allows you to be hit by hundreds of bullets without ever dying. This is justified, within the reality of the game, by some vague regeneration ability (that’s often backed up by some weak plot device). Even games set in the modern world – like the latest Far Cry and Battlefield titles – allow you to heal yourself no matter how much damage you take. Regenerating health, on top of that, means you’re basically invincible. Assuming, that is, you’re a skilled gamer.

When I play these games, I find myself zoning out. Because, I don’t need to concentrate. I could complete most games produced these days, drunk. Despite all the fancy gameplay mechanics – and the beautiful graphics – there is no real challenge. And (personally) if I’m not challenged, I lose interest.

Fallout: New Vegas is one of the few games I played in the past five years, that’s challenged me. And, in order for it to be challenging, I had to modify it with a patch to make it harder. And, that wasn’t even enough. In order to up the difficult even more, my character wouldn’t wear any clothes or armor. And, I would walk out into the wilderness with practically no supplies and only a handful of ammo.

The only other (non-Nintendo) game I can think of that really engaged me was The Last of Us HD, on the highest difficult setting. If I played the original version, I don’t think I’d think so highly of it as a game. Because, the re-mastered edition gave you the option of playing on Survivor mode, which previously was only accessible after beating the entire game.

I can’t imagine what The Last of Us is like on easy difficulty, nor can I fathom how any self-respecting gamer (casual or otherwise) can allow themselves to even consider selecting the easy option before – at least – attempting to complete the game on normal difficulty.

The easy options on most games, as far as I’m concerned, are only appropriate for small children and people with serious mental (or physical) disabilities. Having spent a considerable amount of time as an attendant support worker, playing video games with brain-injured clients, I understand the value of easy mode. But, it still baffles me why any non-disabled gamer, over the age of twelve – particularly someone who’s been around the block a couple of times – would chose to challenge themselves as little as possible. I wonder what they’d do, if there was a difficulty option lower than easy. But, it’s not a huge mystery really. In some games, the easiest difficulty setting is straight-forward about just how easy It is.

Instead of easy mode, games often have “Story Only” mode. It’s telling you that no challenge lies ahead, whatsoever. And, when you click on it, sometimes a message will pop up warning you that you’re not really going to be playing a game if you proceed. They don’t say it in those words, of course. But, they might as well. Because, as far as I’m concerned, a game that isn’t remotely challenging isn’t a game at all. It’s an interactive story. A game you can push your way through, without trying, is basically a chose-your-own adventure book (like the ones that were popular back when video games were hard), only on your television. If you manage to complete it successfully, you get a small sense of accomplishment. But, it’s illusory. And, the illusion is paper-thin.
Completing a video game on the easiest difficult setting is like receiving a participation certificate – when you’re in school – after coming last in a relay race. And, since I was a chubby uncoordinated teenager, with no interest in sports, I got more than my fair share of those horribly patronizing pieces of paper. And, adding insult to injury, my parents would collect them.

Participation certificates are patronizing, to me, anyway, because of what they imply. I mean, does the world not think I can handle performing poorly in the 100 meter sprint, or the triathlon? And, do video game developers not think gamers can cope with not being constantly re-assured that they’re doing well, even if they aren’t? Because I’m a big boy, and I can take it.

Having said that, the gaming industry – like all industries, particularly entertainment industries – revolves around supply and demand. Film studios produce crap, because that is what the majority of people want to see. The major studios aren’t in the habit of investing hundreds of millions of dollars, unless they’re pretty certain they’ll profit. So, audiences – not film-makers – are to be blame for films? Are generations of frustrated gamers actually to blame for the lack of challenge these days?

The problem with supply on demand, as far as film-making and video game design goes, anyway, is: people don’t know what they want. What we think we want is, often, not best for us.

A hundred millions dollars, for example, will (probably) primarily serve to fund you on your quest to do everything you thought you always wanted to do. But, the money will also serve as a distraction from whatever you think you don’t want. When there’s an easier path, available – whether it be choosing not to challenge yourself in a video game, or inheriting enough money so you never have to work a day in your life – most people will take that path and never look back.

What we think we want, in this life – most of us, anyway – is to survive as painlessly as possible. But, all you have to do is observe the filthy rich to realize that it’s not as straight-forward as popular opinion suggests. Being rewarded for doing nothing feels empty. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything, if I can’t look back and (honestly) say to myself that I tried my best.

Overcoming obstacles is when I feel most alive. When I do something, that requires skill and determination. Not just accomplishing something, but really challenging myself. And, accomplishing something that is unique to my particular skill sets. Doing something – I guess – that others can’t do. But, that makes me wonder. What is it that I have to prove to myself: that I’m better than others?
Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe this is what motivates everyone to succeed. I mean, Did Leonardo Da Vinci contribute to society, so – at the end of the day – he could compare himself to his fellow man and die thinking he was superior in some way? And, did he actually manage to convince himself: or, did he do the opposite? By trying to prove himself, was he just feeding his insecurities?

Disillusioned with modern games, I started doing some research. Convinced that my dissatisfaction with gaming stemmed from the ever-increasing lack of challenge offered to me, I decided to seek out the very hardest modern games.

I read dozens – maybe hundreds – of forum posts, articles and reviews. Reminding myself, as I did so, to not take anything I read for granted. I took little notice, for example, if some random person said a game was brutally difficult. Because, as far as I knew, they were the sort that chose the easy paths in life. And, their definition of what is (and isn’t) challenging could be completely removed from my own. Determined to find a game that truly challenged me, like games used to when I was a kid, I didn’t allow myself to take any chances. Today’s generation of gamers doesn’t know what difficult means. So, one or two opinions failed to convince me of anything. If pretty much everyone confirmed a game was brutally difficult – so much so, that it could be compared to the hardest titles from the 8-bit era – then, and only then, did it end up on my short list. If there was more than a fraction of disagreement, online, about how difficult a game truly was, I moved on to the next contender.

Eventually, after about a fortnight of research and hesitation, I settled on Demon’s Souls. It was the only game I read about that everyone agreed was difficult. Not only that, a bunch of people described as too difficult. And, after reading a bunch of angry user reviews, I got the distinct impression that the easy-mode people not only disliked it: apparently, they hated it with a passion.
Gamers who like pushing through levels on autopilot – not looking for anything resembling a challenge – were doing their best to convince the world that there was something wrong with the game. Confronted with the truth about how easy all of their gaming experiences had been up to that point, relative to Demon’s Souls, they outright rejected the idea that the game had any value. That’s how it appeared, anyway. The sheer time and effort some of them spent trying to convince themselves (by telling the world) that it was a bad game, rather than a difficult one, reminded me of the glory days. The more they complained, and stomped their feet, the more I became convinced that I would be satisfied. Their internet tantrums reminded me of screaming bloody murder at a heavily-pixelated Donkey Kong.

Now, after playing the game myself, I’m not so sure. The people complaining about it have a point. Because, it is – arguably – too hard. And, it’s not the good kind of hard like Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels. No. Demon’s Souls is more like Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins or Battletoads, in the sense that the difficult arises from learning to push your way through seemingly impossible situations.
It is more like an 8-bit game than a modern game, in terms of how unforgiving it is when you make a mistake. But, there are still patronizing elements – that disallow real challenge – like the ability to auto-target enemies. And, the exploitability of the leveling system.

Like the majority of first generation games, you can’t save your progress whenever you like. Also, you have extremely limited health. And, when you die, you have to start from the beginning again. So, like the games of my childhood, you’re forced to play the same level over and over until you get it right. And, like many of the hardest 8-bit era games, Demon’s Souls is so challenging (initially) that you will end up playing the first couple of levels until you’re sick of them. Progressing in the game is very satisfying – relative to other modern games, anyway – but it’s satisfying for the wrong reasons.

After beating on two levels, I’ve decided to sell it and find something else to do that is worthier of my limited time on this planet. Completing it would only serve to prove that I’m capable of completing it. Moving on to a new level, after beating my head against a wall for hours on end, offers little satisfaction. No longer being stuck in the previous level is what was motivating me, in the end, to try and progress. And, it was somewhat satisfying to break that endlessly-repetitive cycle of trying, dying and trying again. Especially, relative to most other modern games.

I couldn’t shake the sense that the feeling of accomplishment I experienced was illusory. Liberating myself from one part of the game, only to be stuck in the next part. Until, finally, I am free. Sounds more like the satisfaction derived from working, rather than playing. Is it is more satisfying (I wondered) to push your way through a game, just because it happens to be difficult. Is accomplishment determined by how unlikely it is that you will succeed? And, should difficulty be as significant a factor as how much fun you have. But, then (I thought) what is fun anyway?

While the challenging levels in Super Mario Galaxy are among the most memorable, the easy parts are lots of fun too. When kids play in the school-yard, there is no challenge. And, there doesn’t need to be. Hide and seek isn’t about winning. When I was a kid, being better than other people was less important to me than just enjoying the experience. But, now, somehow, enjoying myself isn’t enough. My enjoyment needs to be justified. I need the illusion, at the end of the day, that I achieved something. Because, I guess, the illusion distracts me from the absence of achievement in my day-to-day life.

I find it very difficult, these days, to justify playing video games. Perhaps, I shouldn’t be playing video games. If I don’t find it satisfying, maybe that’s not because of the lack of challenge these days. More likely, I think, that gaming is dissatisfying for another – rather obvious – reason. As I get older, I guess I’m realizing that the level of accomplishment I require is not going to result from gaming.

Rather than trying distract myself – by filling square holes with round pegs – and, rather than redirecting my dissatisfaction towards children’s toys, I need to pursue what I really want in life. No matter how challenging a video game, I will always end up where I started once it’s complete. The hole I’m trying to fill, by distracting myself with anything I can get my hands on, it will still be there at the end of the day. Doesn’t matter how satisfied I am with a video game or how much I enjoy watching a film or reading a book. I can’t neglect myself any longer. I need to achieve something, in this life, beyond the bare minimum. What drives me to seek an increasing level of challenge from video games is the desire to be challenged in life. Like it or not, after years of procrastination, I can distract myself no longer.

This is something I can’t shake. I have to accept it. No matter how magnificent and unquestionably brilliant a video game happens to be, I’m never going to be satisfied with it. I need something more difficult – and more competitive – than any game ever made. Whether it’s being a successful writer or a successful film-maker, or something else altogether.

I need my pride back. I need to believe in myself, like I once did. I realize, now, what I have to prove to myself. After insisting for years that I’m highly intelligent and capable, I’m no longer willing to believe it. Not after all the terrible choices I’ve made. Looking back at my life, I’m no longer convinced that I’m capable of excelling. The evidence isn’t there. And, although the complete lack of evidence never bothered me then – for whatever reason – it does now.

My high school results, were mediocre. But, I justified that. Because, I didn’t study and I spent my last school year drinking and taking drugs. I’ve told myself at least a million times, that I would’ve achieved the highest score possible if I had something to prove. And, for most of my life I’ve held the unfaltering belief that – if I put in sufficient effort – I could do just about anything. But, maybe I’m full of shit. And, what if the motivation to try (or the lack thereof) is inseparable from success and failure? Anybody could argue, like I have, that they could succeed in any given situation if they cared enough to try. And, perhaps, the only thing separating the accomplished from the unaccomplished is whether or not they are absolutely convinced (before undertaking a task) that they will succeed.

Well, as I’ve been saying, I’m no longer absolutely convinced of this.

Maybe I could be as successful a writer, as I think I could be. But, maybe not. It’s arrogant to assume, given that I’m surrounded on all sides by people who blatantly maintain similar delusions, that I’m capable of accomplishing what I fail to accomplish. And, after distracting myself for years, I’m finally nearing a dead-end. There is no avoiding it, anymore, unless I want to be miserable.
In order to restore my sense of self-worth, I need to live a worthwhile life.

My expectation is, currently, that people should see what I haven’t accomplished. Because, in my mind, my potential to excel is obvious. But, that’s an unrealistic expectation. It doesn’t work for me, anymore. So, it doesn’t work for anyone else either. I’m not convinced of myself, unquestionably, as a dormant person of the wonderful me that I could be. And, I don’t expect others to be either.

I need to life my life, rather than fantasizing about what it could be if I bothered to live it. Even if I fail (and I’m sure I will many times along the way) I think I’ll feel better about myself in the end for – at the very least – having the courage to try. And, in the end, for better or worse, I will know once and for all who I am and what I’m actually capable of. Doing what I’ve been doing, is depressing.

Lazy people don’t lead accomplished lives, no matter how convincing an argument they might be able to construct about meaningless and the illusory nature of existence. But, more importantly, they can’t lead accomplished lives (even if they’re physically or intellectually capable of doing so) unless they stop being lazy. A lazy person is a lazy person, however they attempt to justify it, and – no matter how intelligent they think they are – there’s no way to really determine if they’re capable of not being lazy.

I’ve lead a selfish life. And, that has to come to an end.

Although my life is not my fault (or anyone’s fault, for that matter), it’s still me that has to do something about it. Whether or not fate delivered me here, is irrelevant. And, so is whether or not my parents – or this privileged society – spoilt me, by giving me a never-ending series of second chances. There is no point blaming myself for how I turned out or torturing myself over the way I’ve acted in the past. Regret has no purpose, other than to motivate change. Dwelling on how I could have lived a better life will get me nowhere. Instead, I need to actualize and start living that life.

One day, if I keep up this lazy bare-minimum existence, I will lose faith altogether. My dreams, in turn, will die. If I continue to neglect what I’m passionate about, eventually this inflating pocket of self-doubt threatening to take me over and the weight of my self-loathing: they will take permanent residency in the deepest part of my soul. I can feel them, eating away at what little is left of my pride.

With every passing day, I can feel my old self weakening. And – one day soon, if I don’t do something about it – I fear that old me will die altogether, leaving behind the shell of a man I am now: lost; directionless; lethargic; miserable; and (in every sense of the word) unfulfilled.

I can feel myself, slipping into this impending spiritual coma. And, it’s excruciatingly slow, my descent from life to (metaphorical) death. Like a snail having a head on collision with an inanimate object. Only, in slow motion. It’s horrific to witness myself become less and less conscious, especially after emerging –long ago – from a similar void. It is harder for me, I think, to be unhappy, than it is for most people. Because, I know what it feels like to be fully awake. I know what it feels like to fearlessly pursue my dreams. I only experienced it briefly, but long enough to get a taste for it.

You don’t feel the full pain associated with losing something, if you never really had it in the first place. And, from my observations, the vast majority of people rarely experience being truly alive in their entire adult lives. I could be wrong, of course. But, I used to describe our species as asleep. Because, I guess, after experiencing an awakening, years ago, I needed a relative term. I wasn’t being nasty, or comparing myself favorably to the world around me. No. It pained me, deeply, to see them sleeping.

My family and friends – indeed, all the people I loved in this world – were still asleep, after I woke up. It may be liberating beyond words to have a spiritual awakening, and to emerge as an actualized person. But, it’s also very difficult being awake when everyone in your live is still slumbering. Naturally, you want to wake them up. So, they can experience what you’re experiencing. But, try as you might, no matter what you do, you can’t penetrate their spiritually comatose states.

I discovered, after my awakening, that the people around me were practically zombies relative to the spiritually awakened. They were people machines, each one stuck in the same endless loop. And, they were not only incapable of doing anything about it. They were also incapable – like a dreamer’s consciousness – of realizing they were asleep in the first place. I could see it, clear as day, everywhere I looked. These fleshy automatons. These people, that didn’t respond to reason even if it was right in front of them. They kept their souls hidden, somewhere deep within the void they occupied, where nobody (including themselves) would ever find them. Not living the lives, they want to live. Their actions, dictated by auto-pilot. Their existence defined by chance and external stimuli, rather than passion and personal aspirations. Like they were being pushed through their lives.

These sleeping dead. They were all around me. Like bloated corpses, bobbing up-and-down, as they meandered, aimless, through the constant pull of a river’s current. Although, they were alive, they weren’t. Not according to my definition of it, anyway. There is more, I think, to being alive than eating food, sleeping and inhaling air. There is more to life than draining your bladder and excreting shit. There is more to your life than paying taxes. What it is, exactly – that thing I’m referring to that some people don’t have – is impossible to describe to someone that’s still asleep.

When you’re dreaming, you can’t distinguish your dreams (no matter how absurd or illogical they are by normal standards) from the reality of waking life. When you’re dreaming, you think you’re awake. People don’t like being told their not really alive. Or that they’re asleep, spiritually. No matter how you say it, it doesn’t sound very appetizing. This is one of the reasons, I think, the deep sleepers react so negatively to any attempt at waking them. To them, everything I’ve been saying about spiritual lucidity will probably come seem like the ramblings of a mental patient and/or the sort of thing a dread-locked hippy (who has consumed one too many mushrooms) might preach to the disinterested world. The deep sleepers, they are incapable of considering the possibility that they’re asleep. So, if I continue to slip, as I’ve been doing, I know that I’ll eventually cross the point of no return and become like them. This – being asleep and unresponsive as others try to wake me up – is an absolute nightmare. And, I’m experiencing it already. Bit by bit, my self-perception is distorting. And, along with it, my delusions are resurfacing. I’m sleep-walking, now. Neither asleep nor awake. I’m in that place, wherever it is, that people go between one thing and another. Call it limbo, if you like. It is neither here or there. I am sinking, deeper. But, unlike the dreamers deep below the surface, I can still see (a blurred image of) myself. Even though – like the utterly unconscious – I cannot, or will not, do anything about it.

This is what is killing me. I’m being forced to watch myself live a life that I don’t want to live. And, despite all my efforts to take control, I can’t penetrate the immense distance between my ever-sinking soul and the soulless vessel that it left behind. One of the people I love the most in this life, is slipping away right in front of me. Although it pains me to watch it happen, I can’t look away. And, even though I’m convinced that I can save myself, somehow, nothing is working. It’s indescribably frustrating. I imagine it feels like a parent might – watching, helpless – as their child dies in front of them.

The more time I dispose of – with video games, alcohol and other mindless distractions – the less chance I will have of ever recovering from this. The longer I neglect my hygiene and my health, the further I will sink. And every day spent idle in this messy house, will sending me deeper still. And, most importantly, if I keep putting off pursuing my dreams I will ensure that I never emerge from this state. I need to work on fiction (or publishable non-fiction) every day. It’s easier to write something like this, than it is to polish a serious piece of work to a publishable standard. Junk Mail, although it has some potential, doesn’t force me to refine my skills as much as writing short fiction for competitions or essays to submit to literary journals. This document has value, of course. But, it is raw. And, I am more tolerant of tangents and imperfect sentences, here, than I would be otherwise.
In order to recover, I need to do more than write down my feelings when I’m on meth. Saving myself means I have to reverse the trend. I need to spend the majority of my time building towards a spiritual reawakening. Being lazy and neglectful ninety nine point nine percent of the time isn’t affected much by point one percent. This – and the my other moments of drug-induced lucidity – aren’t nearly enough. Rather than barely existing, my good deeds must outweigh my bad. Currently, the ratio (of my actions that potentially contribute to a heightened state of lucidity versus actions that are contributing to my zombification) is completely back-to-front. Every day, I push my soul deeper into the abyss.

There is no reason I can’t do five times as much as I’m doing at the moment. Honestly, I don’t know how my time is being spent. It just seems to evaporate. Days blend into days. And, weeks blend into weeks. And, before I realize it, another year has passed. Yet, nothing is being accomplished.

My Buddhist/existential– namely, that everything is meaningless and illusory – are used to justify remaining in this idle position. If everything is meaningless, I tell myself, it doesn’t matter. Also, if life is illusory and I know this, then why pursue anything? Why write and get published, if I’m just going to die anyway and everything I write is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things? And, why should I trick myself into having relationships with people if relationships are illusory and we’re just tiny pawns in a chaotic universe? Particularly, people who aren’t even awake. These people that can’t hear what you have to say, should you bother to speak. When the truth is absent, what is left?

But, the thing is, existentialism and Buddhism can just as easily be used to motivate positive change. If everything is meaningless, after all, and it doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter either way. And, I have to go up or down anyway. So – even if both the ascent and the descent are illusory and even if everything is meaningless – the question remains: which path would I prefer? I mean, a dream might as well be enjoyable, rather than being a nightmare. Right? Given theI choice between one meaningless illusion and another, I might as well chose the one that supports (the meaningless illusion of ) happiness. But, I don’t do that. Instead, my depression uses spirituality as a weapon against me. And, with it, I manage to convince myself not to listen. With it, I convince myself not to lift a finger to fix my life.

Once upon a time, meaningless gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do and not fear the consequences. Because, consequences, too, are meaningless. And, if you truly embrace that – if you can allow it to empower you – you can live outside of your anxiety. The potential for change is limitless, as long as you embrace it. If you can unlearn everything society has taught you over the years, too, you’ll no longer be confined to the limited definition of what a man can and should be.

It’s funny how Buddhism and existentialism, after being sources of positive light for me for many years, can be distorted by my soul in the name of almighty depression, as I continue to sink. How these integral parts of my spiritual awakening – how these tools of peace – can so easily become weapons of destruction, when they end up in the wrong hands. What chance do I have, I wonder, if the very things that saved my soul are now contributing to my spiritual incarceration? What chance, indeed, when I’m always looking at myself, and the world around me, through the lens of depression and hopelessness?

I’ve said a couple of times, recently, to my fiancé, that I’ve overcome my anxiety. I’ve even gone as far as declaring that there is no longer a trace of it left in me. But, this isn’t true. I’m not cured. I just can’t feel the pain, like I used to, because I’m numb. And, it doesn’t help (on top of that) to convince myself that there is no pain. I need to remind myself it is there, when I can’t feel it. I need to remember, pain is a symptom. I need to keep it as close to me as possible, my pain. Otherwise – if I don’t believe it exists – I have no chance of diagnosing (and successfully treating) whatever is causing it.

I have not cured my depression, or my anxiety. They’ve been reduced, over time, but they’re still there. I am more numb, now, than I am sad or stressed out. But, I’m not sure that’s an improvement. The numbness scares me. I interpret it as a symptom of my resignation. It seems logical to me, if my depression and my anxiety took over completely, I would become accustomed to them as permanent fixtures of my psyche and absorb them into myself. Maybe this is what the numb feeling is. Perhaps being numb means I’m not fighting my psychological problems anymore, rather than indicating that they’re gone. Perhaps numbness indicates that these messages are no longer getting through. Although I’m still sad and I’m still anxious, I feel nothing. Because depression and anxiety have become the norm.

Not being able to cry worries me less than it should. I am numb and, therefore, maybe I am too indifferent about myself to warrant tears. But, still, I miss them. I miss being able to access the full spectrum of psychological sensations. Even the painful ones. The feelings we are taught to hate. All that sadness, that we resent throughout our lives. The fears that we are afraid of. All of that inner turmoil and pain. I wish I could have it all back, without having to earn it by doing the right thing.

I wish I could be happy as a lazy unhygienic thirty-three year old man, wasting his life away as he slowly recovers from a series of lifelong addiction problems. Like everyone, I think, I wish this life didn’t ask anything of me. If only I could take from life, without having to give back anything. Is it so hard, in the crazy meaningless illusion we call a universe, for a man to just exist?

Are there people on this planet who are one hundred percent content to do nothing with their lives? Or, are they just asleep? Does everyone either end up going down one of two paths: either, having a spiritual awakening and embracing their true selves; or, keeping their heart and soul repressed, like we’re told to, until numbness settles and whatever remains of their potential is practically irretrievable?

Is this still part of our long transition from nature? Does our spiritual evolution dictate that we are either wake up or remain asleep, in the same way our biological evolution separates us into animal and man? Is this just the latest awakening, then, in a long series? If so, when did it all begin? When we first started growing legs and crawling from the ocean floor? Or did it start when the first pre-human struck another pre-human over the head with a blunt instrument? Or, maybe, it began when a distant ancestor of the human race, consumed something unknown (due to starvation or curiosity) and consequently became the first highly intelligent mammal to consume mind-altering psychoactive drugs? I’m not sure the answer will ever be known. And, like everything else, it doesn’t really matter.

While science strives to answer this, and all of life’s questions, perhaps the answer to another question – is it wise to attempt to answer all of life’s questions? – isn’t as obvious as some might think. Because, in the end, I think the answers to most questions (if not all of them) are irrelevant. This brings us back to the meaningless and illusory existence thing, though. I mean, if answering questions is irrelevant, then (as a counter balance) something must irrelevant. But, if existence is meaningless, nothing is. So, I guess, we might as well keep inventing more questions in our pursuit of the answers to other questions and (at the same time) forget about all the unanswered questions we already have.

Like I said earlier, though, if nothing matters, we might as well just go with whatever option appeals to us. And, that’s what we’re doing with science. It may be a dead end, like everything else, but the alternative is – what? – doing nothing. That doesn’t make sense. We can’t, as a species, ignore what drives us. Or we will become collectively numb. And, the human race, itself, will slip into a coma. If I should pursue a life that makes me happy, rather than an equally meaningless one that does not, everybody else should do the same. It’s easy to criticize the human race as a whole, but you can’t rightly separate yourself from it. We don’t exist outside of our species. Our actions contribute to our collective identity. And, despite it being easy to do, who am I to question the validity of another man’s path? It’s not my place to understand why other people do what they do (and why), just as it is not their place to try and derive meaning from what makes me happy. To assess the overall purpose of another person’s aspirations is arrogant. The only path in life that we should criticize is our own. And, often, that is the one we devote the least amount of attention to. Instead, opting to create distractions by judging others.

Being critical of other people is a very difficult thing to stop. We define ourselves, in part, by what we think of other people. Music that we don’t like is, according to our perception of the world, bad music. So, people who listen to that music have bad taste. Beyond that, if we find the song particularly questionable (for whatever reason), we question whoever listens to it on a fundamental level. Rather than accepting that the rest of the world’s musical inclinations are arbitrary like our own, we judge them. And, we do so without even thinking about it. If they listen to music that disgusts us – and we cannot see beyond that disgust – we wonder (beyond their questionable taste) what’s wrong with them.

I saw this guy in the supermarket the other day wearing a skin-tight shirt made of thin stretchy “rash-vest” type material. The shirt had a tuxedo printed on it, complete with a big red bowtie. And, as soon as I saw it, I started trying to make sense of it. Because, as far as I was concerned, there had to be a reason he was wearing it. And, because it was such a ridiculous shirt, I made a couple of comments out-loud to my fiancé. I mocked him, quietly, for wearing a shirt. And, I said to myself, in order to appease my confusion, that he was probably wearing it just to get a reaction. So, people look at him and think that he’s interesting. That was my conclusion. Even though, with the tables turned, I don’t have any particular reason for what shirt I wear. And, I used to walk around supermarkets wearing a dressing gown for no particular reason other than I didn’t care what anyone thought about it. Plus, I didn’t see the point of changing clothes just to go to the supermarket.

I don’t wear the dressing gown, out, any more. But, to this day, I still walk around the suburbs without shoes on. A pair of socks, the only thing separating my feet from the pavement. The reaction is mostly silent, I’m sure. But, people occasionally yell out sarcastic comments about how they like my shoes. And, every time it happens, I think, who cares? And, I tell myself that whoever’s mocking me for wearing socks without shoes outside the house is probably just a petty, narrow-minded individual.

I judge them, in other words, for judging me. And, in doing so, I contribute to (and validate) this ridiculous web of cyclical inter-personal judgments that the human race spends too much time weaving together. Like everyone else – who is, at least, partially asleep, I waste a lot of time focusing on other people’s problems, rather than thinking about my own. We judge people all the time. All of us do. We judge people for judging us. And, they judge us for judging them.

Political correctness dictates that it is unacceptable for certain sub-groups in society to be openly judged. But, making racism socially unacceptable doesn’t cure it. And, what about the racists anyway? Is it okay to judge them, and mock them, because the popular opinion is that they’re in the wrong? Because, although it is deemed utterly socially unacceptable to judge certain groups of people (particularly in public), it remains perfectly socially acceptable to judge other groups.

You can’t make fun of black people. But, you can make fun of whites. And you can’t openly criticize women, or they’ll be a shit-storm. But, you can say (in public) that all men bastards and get away with it, more or less, by passing it off as a joke. You can’t criticize fat people, either, or even mention that they’re fat. But, you can “playfully” joke about any other type of physique someone might have. You can make skinny jokes and muscle jokes. That’s okay. But, God forbid, you call a woman fat.

And then there’s drug users.

Although it’s socially acceptable to be a stoner, as opposed to having a heroin habit, stoners are the butt of a lot of jokes too. People have been ridiculing marijuana users, in the Western world, anyway, as long as there has been marijuana users to ridicule. The stereotypes are pretty nasty. According to popular opinion, stoners are simple minded hippies who have bad body odor. They are lazy, too, apparently. All this, despite the fact that marijuana is – by a long way – the most widely used illegal drug in the world. And, people are unlikely to be totally honest in a survey about partaking in illegal activities. Particularly in some foreign countries, I suspect, that are harsher with drug penalties and/or don’t have the same rights to privacy as we do. So, the statistics probably indicate that there are less users than their actually are. But, still, apparently it’s fine to stereotype and pigeon hole them all.

Intra-venous drug users make people uncomfortable. There is a distorted perception of junkies, in society, just as there is a distorted perception of people living with HIV and people who have developed AIDS. It makes people uncomfortable, I think, to knowingly be around needle users, for reasons not dissimilar to why people are uncomfortable around those who are HIV positive.

I’ve cared for people with HIV and AIDS, in the past, as an attendant support worker. And, despite trying not to feel unsafe in their presence, I couldn’t help it at first. Having thought about this, considerably, I’ve decided that I was accidentally taught by society (including my parents and the educational system) to fear people with sexually transmitted diseases. From a young age, authorities use fear to dissuade us from having unsafe sex. And, as a result, we end up being terrified of STDs. People who carry STDs are carriers what we’re programmed to fear. And, according to sex education, the worst of all the sexually transmitted diseases is a AIDS. On top of that, they exaggerate and distort the contagiousness of HIV. So, since we’re taught to be terrified of HIV, we also fear people who have it.

Drug education, like sex education, uses fear in an attempt to discourage children (and adults) from becoming potential addicts. And, like HIV, needle users are the worst of all drug addicts. Plus, apparently, they often contract communicable sexually transmitted diseases like Hepatitis and HIV.

Junkies and casual intravenous drug users have such a bad image in society, that the vast majority of users (even when they’ve had regular habits for numerous decades) keep it secret. Motivated by shame and self-loathing, that often results from ignorant stereotypes openly perpetuated by society at large, needle users often only reveal themselves to people in their life that are closest to them. And, even doing that is hard. I kept my intravenous drug use from my family for over ten years. Then, when I finally said I needed help, I could see the disappointment in their eyes as plain as day. And I could hear it in their voice. Beyond the supportive words they were expected to utter, there’s always been a tone of disgust or distaste or something. I’m not sure what the right word is. But, your own mother might look at you differently (at least, for a while) if you tell her you use needles.

And, medical doctors, too. They’re supposed to not judge their patients and maintain a professional attitude. But, most of them make it as clear as they can (without actually coming out and saying it) that they don’t care about your health, after you tell them you’re an intravenous drug user. Their attitude is, I think, similar to dentists who take their patient’s oral health too seriously and are obviously disappointed if you have bad oral hygiene and you haven’t taken greater care looking after your teeth. I suspect they wonder why they should bother fixing your teeth, if you’re intent on fucking them up. And, similarly, when you tell a GP that you use intravenous drugs they think: why should I bother attempting to improve your health, if you’re just going to continue to self-harm? But, also, they automatically assume – as soon as you mention any illegal drug use – that you’re trying to get a prescription from them. So, unsurprisingly, a lot of intravenous users don’t seek medical help.

Heroin addicts aren’t renowned for looking after themselves, either. It’s difficult, I imagine, to find the motivation to go to a doctor if you’ve got a serious – long-term – smack addiction. And, again, due to the fear mongering efforts of misguided government-funded drug education program employees, heroin users are taught (long before they even become addicted) to fear the exaggerated legal consequences of heroin use. It’s hard, the first time you talk to a medical professional about drug abuse. Society teaches us, by scaring and misinforming us as small children, to bury any evidence of any intravenous habits we may develop in our adult lives. Without directly intending to do so, the government’s drug education programs contribute to the shameful and oppressive perception that intravenous (and, to a lesser extent, non-intravenous drug) users face in society. If these programs succeed in preventing some kids from using drugs (which I’m not convinced of), they’re also contributing to problems arising from the psychological and physical baggage that comes with chronic addiction.

Junkies belong to one of the lowest, most despised, groups of people on the planet. There is no other group in society, that I can think of – aside from groups that intentionally harm others like rapists and murderers – that have such a poor social image. It seems to me (and maybe I’m imagining things) that junkies are closer to pedophiles than they are to alcoholics. And, I understand that violent crimes are sometimes perpetuated by addicts. I get it. Junkies have been known to rob people, and even kill people, if they’re desperate enough. But, can’t the same be said for alcoholics? I mean, how many fatal car accidents and domestic abuse situations are directly caused by excessive alcohol consumption?

Yet, alcohol is part of the status quo in Australia. On our national holiday, Australia Day, everybody gets pissed in the name of patriotism. And, someone always gets stabbed. Yet, society continues to embrace the drug. And, people can admit to drinking alcohol in abundance without fear of being reduced to a stereotype or being judged as sub-human. Unlike intravenous drug users, a borderline alcoholic is free to drink in public and proudly boast their love of booze from the rooftops.

Why is alcoholism often perceived as a disease, even though marijuana addiction isn’t? And, aside from historical influences, why in the living fuck is the alcohol the legal drug? The perception of alcohol and marijuana in society is illogical for so many reasons. As far as alcoholism being a disease goes, the human brain actually has a cannabinoid receptor that’s specific function is to interact with the marijuana plant. So, surely, that indicates there’s more evidence of something fundamentally biological underlining heavy marijuana use than there is for alcohol. And, secondly, who – after consuming marijuana – is motivated to pick a fight, or vandalize public property, or beat up on their spouse?

As a white Australian man, alone, I belong to a group that can be mocked – in a relatively socially acceptable fashion – on multiple fronts. You can: call me white trash; call me a cracker; call me a chauvinist; an oppressor of women; a racist; an oppressor of Aboriginal Australians; or, the descendent of criminals, if you like. Not that I am any of those things, of course. But, that doesn’t matter. I’m a white man, and a bunch of other white men who died long before I was born did some terrible things to women and various minorities. So, it’s okay to be racist and sexist towards me, apparently. But, I need to be super careful about anything I say pertaining to Aboriginal Australians. Because it’s not okay to be racist towards them. Even though, from an uninformed international perspective, we’re all thought to be racist towards Aboriginals anyway. Because, I guess, it’s not racist to call a race racist?

As a white Australian male bisexual stoner and intravenous drug user, I belong to a small sub-group of people that are generally considered to be sub-human. That’s the impression I get, anyway. I’ve encountered a bunch of homosexuals who are – amazingly – quite openly disapproving of bisexuality. And, beyond that, in general society, you shouldn’t expect (as a bisexual) to be treated as someone with equal rights to the same extent as homosexuals or lesbians. It’s a hate crime to make fun of gay people. But, I don’t think it’s a hate crime to make fun of bisexuals. But, that’s a minor thing. Although it baffles me when homosexual men make disparaging remarks about bisexual men, it doesn’t affect me much.

And I don’t think I’m being oppressed as a white male, or anything. It just pisses me off that I have less rights than other groups of people, because of certain historical events. How is it not racist against white people, or sexist against men, for me to suffer – in any way – because of the color of my skin or the fact that I have a penis rather than a vagina? It’s extremely ironic that we’ve adopted various inequalities in an effort to treat each other all equally. Like the government pressuring employers to hire a certain number of women, regardless of whether or not they’re the best suited for any particular job? Or, universities being pressured to exercise favoritism when reviewing the applications of Caucasian students and students of certain minority groups (Aboriginal Australians, and Torres Strait Islanders)?

What single advantage does the white male have? And before you say we don’t deserve any advantages – on account of been privileged throughout history – keep in mind that innocent Caucasian baby boys that are born into this world don’t have anything to do with adult white males that lived here a hundred and fifty odd years ago. And, consider white kids from extremely poor families and ask yourself whether or not it’s fair to disadvantage them. There are white people in this country that come from similar, and even poorer, backgrounds others that happen to identify as Aboriginal. So, why aren’t they offered special considerations? It seems to me that preferential treatment should be determined on a case to case basis, by assessing the financial situation of every student, regardless of skin color.

And, what about white slavery? What about my Irish ancestors? Why isn’t there some sort of preferential treatment for us? And then, there’s Scotland too. I’m half Scottish. My mother was born there. So, should I be eligible for compensation – somehow – for the atrocities committed against Scotland at the hands of the mighty Commonwealth all those years ago? Or, are reparations limited to people that don’t happen to be white? And, if so, how in the living hell do I not interpret that as racist?

And, again, I don’t actually want reparations. Don’t get me wrong. I just want us to stop treating people differently based on the color of their skin. Being one sixteenth Aboriginal shouldn’t entitle you to anything, as far as I’m concerned. And I haven’t seen a lot of evidence to suggest that it does any good, long-term, anyway. I mean, what’s the end game here? How long are we going to offer women and minorities advantages in society? Are we going to balance it out, year for year, and keep the advantages going for the same amount of time these groups were oppressed? Are my sons, and my grandsons, going to be disadvantaged when applying for jobs? What about my great grandsons? And, for how long are my ancestors – male and female – going to be disadvantaged by tertiary applications?

I feel somewhat hesitant even writing this stuff, without toning down how passionate I am about the issue. Because, it’s outrageous – according to many people in the world – for a white male to complain about personal experiences with inequality relating to gender or race. And, I understand that white men have been relatively fortunate throughout history. Also, I’m not saying that either group has it worse than anyone else. I just feel like any white men talking about the rights of whites or the rights of men, in modern society, are likely to be dismissed as a racist or (even) a white supremacist.

Obviously, my great grandfather wasn’t born a slave. And, my gender (not to mention my race) has received an incalculably large amount of preferential treatment throughout history. But, white people shouldn’t be defined by the actions of other white people. And, men shouldn’t be defined by the actions of other men. I suspect that white German men have it much worse than I do, because – to some extent – their people are still being blamed for the holocaust. I can’t think of a more despised race, historically. And, again, it is (relatively) socially acceptable to be racist against Germans. But, you have to tiptoe when you say anything even potentially offensive about Jewish people. They even have their own word for racism that is specifically directed against their people. As if, somehow, it’s sufficiently different to be racist against other races than it is to be anti-Semitic.

The term anti-Semitism always struck me as racist. The Jewish people are the only race who has their race-specific term for racism. And, if you think about it in the broader context of equality and racism world-wide, it’s downright hypocritical. I mean, what is it about anti-Semitism that separates it from racism? Should all races invent their own terms? Maybe there should be different terms for sexism, too, as it pertains to men and women? Hell, maybe we should go a step further and actually physically separate everyone into their respective groups and sub-groups?

I’m trying not to be judgmental, here. But, I guess I’m making certain judgments and assumptions about the international Jewish community. And, honestly, I don’t mean any offense. Perhaps there is a valid reason for the existence and continued use of the term anti-Semitism. And maybe whites and males in modern-day Australia should be indirectly disadvantaged as a result of certain advantages being reserved for other, more deserving, groups. But junkies deserve better.

Intravenous drug users often suffer from undiagnosed and untreated psychological disorders that lead them down the path of self-medication. These people need help and support. Ideally, the world should recognize this group as more sympathetic than it does. This attitude that IV drug users chose to inject drugs in the first place is bullshit. Otherwise, what about teenagers who self-harm by cutting themselves with razor blades? Is that a choice, too? And, should we ignore them accordingly?

I’m tired of hating myself and I’m tired of being ashamed for who I am. That sort of negative reinforcement doesn’t motivate me to get better. It motivates me to keep using. A lot of people believe that once you become a junky, you’ll always be one. A large percentage of the world will write you off if you’ve ever been to prison or if you’ve ever been an intravenous drug user. It is so widespread, this attitude, from my observations, anyway, that some intravenous users start to wonder if there’s any truth behind it,. Just like drug education programs perpetuating myths about the exaggerated addictive properties of heroin and other illegal drugs. In the end, the kids that end up using anyway are taught to be absolutely terrified of withdrawals before they even attempt to go through them. And, the average addict doesn’t need an elaborate list of reasons in order to justify using. The fear-mongering conducted by agents the disastrous war on drugs and the brainwashing efforts of misguided governmental agencies provides a lot of users with more than enough reasons than they need to avoid getting clean.

Part of the problem, I think, stems from the drugs being illegal in the first place. If possession for personal use wasn’t illegal – and it was as socially acceptable to talk about intravenous issues as it is to discuss alcoholism – then, I think, the government would have a more accurate idea of how many people are actually using. And, I’m sure a lot of very anti-drug people would be surprised about how diverse and widespread intravenous users are in society. But, still, there are a lot of professional IV users working in highly paid positions that cannot risk revealing themselves. Even if it becomes legal to possess and use heroin, the government cannot erase the negative stigma (that they helped create) overnight. So, a lot of intravenous users will remain in hiding until changes settles into the mainstream.

The weird thing is, I’m actually guilty sometimes of stereotyping intravenous users myself. Even though I use needles, from time to time, being around other people that use can be uncomfortable.

I’ve never injected drugs in the same house (let alone the same room) as another user, except my ex-wife. And, I’ve never shared a needle in my life. But, I’m not always entirely sensible – in fact, I’m often not even remotely sensible – when I’m drunk and/or high. It is because I use needles (in a way) that being around other IV users makes me a little uneasy. Because, unlike people who will never inject anything in their life, the threat of disease potentially exists for me. And, honestly, I don’t like watching people inject drugs. Because, I guess, it’s a little close to home. And, I try not to associate with heavy drug users anymore for fear of descending back into the deep end of that lifestyle.

So, yeah, after all my ranting and raving I’m actually a bit of a hypocrite. But, I don’t judge users for being hopelessly addicted to certain drugs. Nor do I judge people for choosing certain methods of administration. Although, that can be difficult with IV users who inject into the veins in the shaft of their penis. Or users who inject into their neck. The image, of attempting in either of those locations, horrifies and baffles me. But, I don’t (in any way) assume that they’re bad people. Instead, I assume that they’re in a lot of pain and – depending on the person – I might suspect that they’re extremely reckless behavior is a last-ditch effort to reach out and ask for help. Like teenagers self-harming, in order to get attention from their peers. But, yeah, if someone injected heroin into their penis in front of me, it would take me a while to get over it. And, I feel a bit bad about that. But, I never claimed to be perfect.
Plus, I’m trying to iron out the kinks in my personality. I always try to be aware when I’m being judgmental and stop. Often, I find, it isn’t obvious that I’m doing it until after I’ve said something – or thought something – unnecessarily judgmental. The behavior was hard-wired into my personality during my childhood to such an extent that I can’t reprogram it overnight. it will take me some time to rewrite my behavior. And, even if I live the life I should be living, it will take me years (probably decades) before I even start approaching the gates of enlightenment. Assuming, that is, I don’t end up falling asleep.

FEA 2.0

Mar 17, 2016
Junk Mail Revisited. Part 6. 14th February, 2016

Last night, before writing the above entry, I administered two shots of meth. The first one, I missed. Wasn’t sure if the needle was in the vein properly. There was blood, but not enough. I pushed the plunger, anyway, hoping that my previous methamphetamine payload would find itself into my bloodstream. But, it didn’t. After removing the needle, I didn’t feel a rush. And, there was a lump under the skin where I’d missed the shot. The drugs would take some time for my body to absorb. Plus, I was looking forward to the rush. So, without much hesitation, I started preparing another shot.

The second time around, I was really careful. After drinking a liter of water (to ensure a proper level of hydration) I unclipped the strap from my fiancé’s handbag and wrapped it around my left arm as a makeshift tourniquet. And, holding the leather between my teach, I started applying and releasing pressure with it. I took my time. Opening and closing my fist, and flexing the muscles in my arm. I made sure that the inner basilic vein in the crook of my left arm was big enough so that I couldn’t possibly miss it. And, releasing the tourniquet, I slipped the needle into the vein, registered a strong current of blood in the chamber immediately, and pushed in the plunger, delivering the payload.

The effects of the previous shot had already started to kick in, so the rush I got was pretty intense. I felt the drugs rush to my head, causing my scull to became light and tingly. Adrenaline coursing through my veins, I removed the needle and applied pressure to the vein. Then, fucked off my head, I sat down and typed seventeen pages straight. I kept typing, right through the night. Until, I started to run out of steam and I actually had to stop and think rather than just spilling thoughts onto the page. Not sure if what I wrote has a lot of value, but it was therapeutic.

The lack of inhibitions, and the complete absence of hesitation, resulting from the meth, gave me the ability to process a lot of feelings that had been bottled up for some time. So, it doesn’t matter if it has any value for others. Because, writing it was invaluable to me. I think it might be the longest Junk Mail entry I’ve ever written. Although, a good chunk of it is about video games.

When I started writing, last night, I hadn’t intended to write a Junk Mail entry at all. But, somewhere along the line, it became one. My rant about video games turned into a rant about drugs and about the somewhat sorry state of my life. I might be mistaken, because I was pretty high when I was writing it, but I think it all fit together pretty well by the time I stopped typing. To my surprise, what I’d intended to write about video games ended up being connected to everything else that I’ve been writing over the years. Or, at least, it seemed to fit. Like I said, I was very high. It’s quite possible that I typed seventeen pages of insane meth-fueled ramblings, thinking that I was typing gold.

Whatever the case, It’s part of this journal now. I’m not going to cut any of it out.

I don’t like the idea of editing anything, beyond fixing up grammar and spelling. Because it would compromise the realism of what I’m attempting to document. If I typed nonsense for seventeen pages – if what I wrote last night has little value – well, that’s part of the meth experience. So, it stays.

It’s refreshing, for a change, to produce a raw piece of writing. When I write fiction, I tend to polish every sentence until they’re all as close to perfect as possible. But, with Junk Mail, I’ve hardly changed a word. And, even though there’s a fair amount of repetition, it’s real. So, again, maybe, when you’re on meth, you repeat yourself a bit. And, if so, why should I trim the fat?
Last night, after administering those two shots, I gave my remaining unused needles to my fiancé and asked her to hide them somewhere in the house. That way, I figured, I wouldn’t be able to use again. Or, at least, until she woke up the next day. And, it sort of worked. I didn’t have another shot for over twelve hours, but I was still pretty high when she woke up anyway. So, I’m not sure I would have attempted another shot, anyway. But, I suspect I might have.

Anyway, when I ran out of typing steam, it was about seven o’clock in the morning. And, as the meth wore off, I found myself getting pretty horny. So, I decided to see if it was possible to masturbate.

I discovered that my penis had shrunk, considerably, on account of the high dose of meth. It had reverted to the size of a child’s. But, since I was too scattered to continue writing, and I had nothing else to do, I was pretty determined to jerk myself off to completion. The fact that my cock was mostly a wrinkled pile of foreskin, didn’t dissuade me much. And neither did my inability to maintain an erection.

I spent the next couple of hours browsing high resolution pictures of men with hard cocks on the internet, and watching dozens of videos – from free streaming sites, on the internet – of dirty old men masturbating. Try as I might, though, I couldn’t keep my dick hard. But, even with the tiny flaccid dick in my pants refusing to behave, I enjoyed myself. Meth is one of the few drugs I’ve encountered that make sex enjoyable even when I’m not physical aroused. But, in all honesty, I’d have killed for a raging boner.

Anyway, the lubricant was in the bedroom. And, I didn’t want to wake up my fiancé in the middle of the night retrieving it. So, I improvised and got some olive oil from the kitchen. Greasing up my cock helped me overcome the meth-induced erectile dysfunction to some extent. I managed to maintain a semi-hard erection, as long as I kept rubbing at my oily little dick.
Roughly two hours later, my cock came back to life suddenly. I achieved a normal erection. And, time caught up with itself. Within about thirty seconds, I was spilling white cum ribbons onto the carpet.

After masturbating, I ate two bananas and an apple. Then, I drank over a liter of water. The hallucinations I get from meth were very strong. Looking down into the toilet bowl, as I urinated, it seemed like it was full – right up to the brim – of a weird fluid mist-like substance that danced about as if someone was gently blowing on it. This is the most common hallucination I get from meth. It’s like I can see the air, or something. But, it only happens in specific places around the house.

I suspect it is my brain struggling to maintain depth perception. When I look into the toilet, the water in the bowl appears to stretch upwards towards me. This creates the illusion that the bowl is full of a thin misty substance. But, really, I think it was just an illusion created by the bubbly toilet water. A steady stream of urine shooting out of my dick, was creating patterns in the bubbles and ripples in the water beneath. And, this, I suspect, was simply too much for my exhausted brain to comprehend. So, everything became distorted. The patterns in the toilet-duck bubbles and the ripples in the water were interpreted as separate three-dimensional objects. My brain mistook certain chaotic movements in the water as actual objects, floating above the surface. And, these objects, they were reaching out for me.

I’ve consumed a lot of psychedelics in my life, including highly hallucinogenic substances like DMT and Amanita Muscaria. But, nothing fascinates me quite as much as my meth hallucinations. I’m not sure if most people experience similar phenomena when they consume a certain amount of uppers. But, I suspect not. It’s hard to do them justice with words. But, I assure you, these meth hallucinations are very striking and unique. And, sometimes I have no explanation what they are.

Once I saw a multi-orificed creature – that I assumed was from another dimension – floating around my house. It was made of the same mist-like substance as the mirage in my toilet bowl, but it had a red tinge and dozens of tiny mouths / eyeballs that opened and closed as it moved. It absolutely blew me away. I remember it very clearly. Like it happened yesterday. It was – by far – the most profound hallucination I’ve ever experienced. The thing I couldn’t understand about it was how it reacted to touch. If I reached out for it, it would fly towards me. Dancing, elegantly, through the air. And, when I touched it, it reacted by shooting off to a corner of the room. Only to return to me, again, if I reached out for it. Again, it’s difficult to do it justice with words. The way it moved, alone, was like nothing I’d ever seen. It was playful, yet graceful. Whatever it was, it had a distinct personality.

Junk Mail Revisited. Part 7. 14th February, 2016

My fiancé returns home, distracting me before I can finish writing the last entry. But, then, I’m never really finished I guess. These entries just go on and on, sometimes. And, I never run out of steam.

Anyway, I ask her if she wants to have sex. But, I warn her, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to perform. I don’t want to use my arms too much and I’m seriously scattered now. So, I tell her she might have to do all the work. And, although she’s not all that impressed by the idea, she still wants to fuck.

Turns out, I’m capable of getting hard anyway. Whenever it’s neglected for more than fifteen seconds, my dick starts to go soft. But, that’s to be expected. It comes with the territory.

Anyway, the sex is amazing. Reduced inhibitions and an increased level of courage (thanks to the meth) allow me to talk dirty to her without feeling silly for doing so. I’m inspired to do things I wouldn’t usually do. I order her to grease up her tits with lube, while I jerk off. Then I tell her I want to shove a big toy in her pussy. But, the only one we can find is too big and it hurts her. So, we put it aside and keep fucking. When she says she wants to take a pee break, I follow her to the bathroom and tell her to stand in the bath and piss, so I can watch. She’s shy about doing this, which is a huge turn on for me. So, when she starts pissing, I shove a hand (the one I’m not jerking off with) between her legs and rub her pussy as her warm piss dribbles down between my fingers. I watch it trickle down her legs.

She insists on showering and I don’t argue, even though I think it’s kind of hot that her legs are drenched with her bodily fluids. I’d like to bend her over in the bathroom and fuck her dirty little pussy as it drips warm piss onto my balls. But, I don’t argue about the shower. Because, she’s obviously a bit uncomfortable. Instead, I duck back into my office and watch some more videos of old men wanking. It’s hardly a substitute, though, after the sex I’ve been having. Sitting there, looking at a computer screen. But, it’s a good way to keep my dick hard while my fiancé showers in between fuck sessions.

She doesn’t take long, thankfully. We return to the bedroom. And, after some more sex, I tell her to break the seal on an unopened packet of anal beads. We stumbled across it, earlier, while looking for dildos. So, she lubes up my asshole and I jerk off while she slips the beads in and out of my ass. Finally – after God knows how long – I ejaculate.

Junk Mail Revisited. Part 8. 15th February, 2016

So, I found myself doing another shot. I don’t want to say that I decided to do it, because in order to decide something you need to be awake. And I was fast asleep (spiritually speaking) when I began preparing my last syringe for the year. An hour or so later, after stabbing myself repeatedly in the veins and only registering once, I was still a sleeping automaton. I don’t know how many times I attempted to register. I transferred the dose through four different syringes because the nightmare went on so long, this time, I went past the point where each needles – one after the other – had been used so many times that it was inevitably barbed or blunted.

I sprayed the contents of the syringe back into the spoon, and grabbed another syringe, three times. Until, finally, I forced myself to concede defeat. This, whatever you want to call it, has to stop. Fortunately, there was a silver lining. I realized why it keeps happening.

There’s a reason I, often, don’t give up and keep on trying to register a syringe that I know most likely isn’t going to work (no matter how many times I happen to try). This time, I had a brief moment of lucidity. And, I realized what’s been happening all this time. It all became crystal clear to me.

I have been tensing up. The problem isn’t my veins. I’m often too high to inject drugs safely. That’s the problem. Looking back, I think I’ve always been high or drunk during these intravenous nightmares. And, last night, for the first time, I was able to observe my sleep-deprived starving scattered body operating on auto-pilot. And, I could see – clear as day – the missing piece of the puzzle.
I’ve noticed it before. But, only for fleeting moments. I would catch a glimpse, from time to time, through the fog of alcohol and drugs and sleep deprivation (or any combination of the three). But, I’ve never been lucid enough, or sober enough, during one of these moments to realize that every attempt to register a vein is botched because I’m tense. Flexing the muscles in the arm I am injecting into and gripping the syringe so hard with my other hand that it leaves an imprint in my palm. That’s what I’ve been doing. And, consequently, the needle has been going in on an angle.

Every time I pushed the needle through my skin towards a vein, I noticed it was pulling to one side. But, my autonomous body just continued to do it. And, horrified, I watched it happen over and over again. Unable to do anything about it. I was an observer, of my own self-destruction.

My first or second attempt registered blood. And, I managed to inject half the shot into my vein. But, the needle slipped and – halfway through pushing the plunger – I couldn’t register. I assume the needle slipped. Maybe the vein collapsed temporarily halfway through the payload. Whatever happened, it was a blessing in disguise. I’m sure that half shot was responsible for my lucidity.

I don’t think it’s ever happened like that before. Half registering the shot at the beginning of the nightmare. And, even if it has happened once or twice, over the years, I’ve never had just the right amount so that I neither wake up or remain asleep. This nightmare was, in many ways, a miracle.

My veins were visibly popping out of my arm. And, when I removed the needle (after failing to register any blood in the chamber) blood dribbled out of the hole. So, from my body’s perspective, my veins should work. This explains my relentless efforts to register a vein.

At first, I thought I was in denial about the state of my veins. But, I don’t think that’s right. Now, I think I’ve just been confused all this time. It’s not a question of convincing myself that my veins are less damaged than they are. Because, it’s obvious that they’re relatively healthy and functional. And, since my self-perception is distorted by the fucked up state my head is in, I don’t realize how stressed I am.

I know that I shouldn’t be using needles. And, I’m genuinely afraid that if I keep going like this, I will die. When I attempt to inject drugs, and I know I’m in no state to be doing so, that fear occupies me. And, that’s why I tense up. It’s a weird cycle of events. I tense up and fuck up the shot because I’m afraid of the long-term consequences of tensing up and fucking up more shots than my veins can recover from.

From now on, I need to control my usage. If I’m going to use needles, at some point, I need to give all of my equipment to my fiancé. I need to teach her to inject. That way, I’ll avoid having to do it when I’m in no state to do so. And, I can’t stay up multiple days in a row any more.

I’ve been awake for three days, now. The misty air-liquid filling up the toilet bowl flew up towards my face while I was peeing. I’m seeing my hands change color again, too. And, despite my fiancé assuring me that they look fine, I can’t shake this lingering paranoid fear that accompanies this particular hallucination. Every time the slightest sensation occurs in either arm, I panic. As if, they’re one step away from being amputated, or something.

Back when I was using meth heavily, and had hardly slept for weeks, I went to a medical clinic. My visit was motivated by the same hallucination. I opted for the first available doctor, and showed him my hands. To which, he replied, “There is nothing wrong with your hands, clinically.” And, that was all.

Not only did he not offer me a solution, he also pretended he couldn’t see what I was talking about. One of my hands was bright red. I had a serious medical problem, that needed to be taken care of. And, I couldn’t understand why he would deny me of that. Probably because I admitted to intravenous drug use, I thought. And, in a state of extreme frustration, I demanded that he help me. Waiting two hours in a waiting room with a bright red hand, only to be told I don’t have a red hand, wasn’t something I was willing to tolerate. But, the more I insisted, the more uneasy he became.

I told him I wasn’t going to pay for the consultation. And, he told me to get out of his office. What’s more, he banned me from ever being a patient of his again. But, that wasn’t good enough for me. So I started raising my voice. And, seemingly indifferent to my dilemma, he offered to put me in the front of the line for the next available doctor, so I could get a second opinion. And, I accepted the offer. I was speaking angrily, at the top of my voice. I think I said something about being glad that he banned me. Because I’d never want to see him again, anyway. I was half-yelling at him, as I stormed back into the waiting room. And all the other patients looked up at me. Like, I was crazy. But, I didn’t care. My hand was bright red, and I was determined to get the medical attention I required.

So, after sitting – impatiently – in the waiting room for another ten minutes or so (my mind fueled how outrageously unprofessional the first doctor had been) I was called into another office. And, to my amazement, there was no second opinion. This guy, he said the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with my hands, he told me. And, again, that was all he had to say.

I’ve been convinced, for years, that both of those doctors were discriminating against me for being an intravenous drug user. But, I realize now that I was in the middle of a psychotic episode. My hand wasn’t red. I was just confusing hallucinations with reality.
Like I said earlier, my default reaction whenever I feel the slightest twinge in either arm is panic. And, if I look at my hands, my hallucinations make my skin look blotchy and discolored. During last night’s IV nightmare, my left hand turned white. Then, my fiancé told me it looked perfectly normal. And, minutes later it was back to normal. But, still, I’m not one hundred percent convinced. Part of me still thinks that both doctors and my fiancé are wrong. Did all three of them, somehow, fail to see what was right in front of them? Is that possible? Did they not even consider for one second that my hands might have changed color? Could all three of them have dismissed my claim outright – without really bothering to take a good look at my hands – and write me off as just another crazy meth-head?

Is that what society thinks about intravenous drug addicts or life-long methamphetamine users? That we’re all crazy, like the stereotypical crack addict? I realize, as I write this down, how absurd that sounds. The doctors in that clinic, I don’t think they did anything wrong.

I was experiencing meth-induced psychosis. The more I think about that, the more obvious it becomes. In fact, it is disturbingly obvious. I suspect I have inflated society’s hatred of junkies, after misinterpreting this incident. And, probably many others. The scary thing is, that’s probably not the only memory that I fail to recognize as psychotic. If I can maintain the delusion that those doctors were out to get me for over three years, what other psychotic remnants might be clouding my perception?

Maybe methamphetamines have compromised my ability to perceive the world as it is, through a whole series of interwoven delusions? If I was suffering from psychosis when I visited that clinic, how do I know I’m not experiencing a mild psychotic state all the time. Maybe, I’m crazy. It‘d explain a lot.

Anyway, after re-capping my last syringe of the year, I put it in the fridge for another day. Plugging meth lasts longer than injecting. And, I’m too tired to keep myself awake any longer than absolutely necessary. Better to put it in the fridge and plug it in the next couple of days. I’ll have it as soon as I wake up in the morning, so it doesn’t fuck up my sleep pattern any more than it already is.

I seriously need to sleep. The hallucinations are becoming overwhelming, now. And, with each passing hour, they’re getting more and more intense. When I look at the ceiling, now, I see weird little mist creatures dancing in the air. Nothing half as breath-taking as the pan-dimensional orifice creature I described earlier. These hallucinations are less consistent. They are constantly shifting from one shape to another. When I looked at the bookshelf, just now, I saw the glowing silhouettes of medieval warriors marching towards me through the air. Then, seconds later, a small multi-tentacled mist creature appeared protruding from the wall. A lot of the time, though, the hallucinations are limited to fragments of chaos. If Iook at the wall now, the creature is gone. Instead, there are these random things flying at me. A series of complex three dimensional shapes, that constantly shift from one random thing to another. They are bits of a bigger pattern, I think, despite each random iteration having absolutely no observable relationship with the last. Everything is a pattern, really, even if it appears to be chaotic.

The universe, itself, is a fractal. It is too vast and complex a pattern to recognize it as such, by gazing up at the stars. But, the reality isn’t limited by our intellectual capacity. There are lots of things in this life that we cannot understand. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Like that magnificent creature I saw, years ago. The one with dozens of mouth / eye orifices. For all I know, it actually exists. It – and others like it – might be flying around us all the time. That’s why I say it was from another dimension. At the time, I was absolutely convinced that I’d overcome a limitation of human perception by accidentally combining extreme sleep deprivation with a cocktail of had drugs, in just the right proportions. And, I’d caught a brief glimpse of the other side (so to speak). And I’m sure that explanation sounds much less plausible to the average person. And, of course, it’s possible that it was nothing more than another psychotic hallucination. But, I’ve experienced a lot of hallucinations, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. And, when I say I’m well versed, I’m not just talking DMT and LSD. Although it has never been officially diagnosed, I believe I have Hallucination Persisting Perception Disorder (or HPPD, for short). Maybe I’m what the psychiatric world would call mildly schizophrenic. Who knows? I’m not particularly interested in labels. Whatever you want to call it, I hallucinate 24 hours a day regardless of whether or not I’m on drugs. Plus, weed makes me hallucinate. And booze too, sometimes. So, I am very familiar with differentiating between what is real and what my mind projects onto reality. Much more so, than your average person. Yet, I’m almost always capable of recognizing what I see as hallucinatory. Especially when the things I see defy the laws of reality.

That flying red-tinged creature that materialized in my house is the only vision I’ve ever encountered that’s stumped me. It didn’t behave like other hallucinations. And, I had the distinct impression – while interacting with it – that it wasn’t created by my sub-conscious. It was way more complex and detailed than any other three-dimensional entity my mind has projected onto the world. But, that’s not what makes me question whether or not it’s real. It’s the fact that I could actually interact with it. That’s what blew me away. And, the fact that it – too – was capable of interacting with me.

My long-delayed realization about those two doctors, however, has cast a shadow of doubt over everything I thought I knew. And, I suppose, that’s why I have trouble accepting (absolutely) that there was nothing clinically wrong with my hands. Perhaps psychosis was clouding my mind. And, maybe the creature that I thought I saw was the combined result of a particularly strong hallucination and my mind being highly suggestible. I guess, it’s impossible for me to trust anything I’ve experienced under the influence of drugs. If I compare some of those experiences to my sober life, though, I’m not convinced that there’s a significant difference in terms of my overall ability to perceive the truth. Sometimes, of course, reality becomes distorted when I alter my consciousness. But, I’ve also been able to see things that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Drug use can, undoubtedly, be beneficial. Even highly toxic drugs, like methamphetamines and heroin, that we’re trained to fear from an early age. They will ruin your life if you abuse them for too long, but – if you manage to use them in moderation – they also have the potential to improve your life. More often than not, I think they do both.

Junk Mail Revisited. Part 9 (continues directly from part 8). 15th February, 2016

Heroin addicts have something that most miserable working stiffs do not. They have freedom. They have passion. And, they have beauty. So, they’re able to justify their drug use, by comparing themselves to the norm. They look at the average person, slaving away at their jobs so they can spend their free time watching televised shit, and they don’t see what they’re missing. And the same is true, vice-versa. People who’ve never used heroin look at those with chronic addiction problems and think they have nothing. The world is convinced that being a heroin addict is nightmarish. And, that’s not true. Hard drug habits can have horrible consequences, obviously. But – like everything – it’s a give and take.

The ideal life (in terms of sobriety and intoxication) is that of moderation. When people say everything in moderation they generally don’t include meth. The attitude of society, at large, is to avoid it altogether. But, like everything, it only becomes problematic if you have too much.

The taboo surrounding these untouchable drugs is – in part – due to misperceptions about how dangerous they are. But, it’s also results from the myth that danger is the only thing they have to offer. People are taught, in the name of preventative fear-mongering, that nothing can be gained from heroin. And, that’s why it baffles your average comatose conservative why anyone in their right mind would ever willingly inject it into their bloodstream. Yet, the world is less baffled about people who smoke. Even though cigarettes have practically nothing to offer and are (arguably) more toxic than heroin. Many conservative law-abiding people will eat junk food their entire lives, knowing that they’re increasing the likelihood of developing serious medical conditions down the line. But, they won’t consume illegal drugs, because of the comparable health risks. Because, like the majority of people devoted to mainstream religions, your average law-abiding citizen doesn’t think for themself.

Among these lawful types are millions of smug atheistic pseudo-intellectuals, who mock anyone stupid enough to blindly follow religion. Yet, they blindly follow the law. And, really, what’s the practical difference between the laws in the Bible (or the Quran) and the laws in the United States (or England)?

Isn’t the only reason we separated church and state, in the first place, because of our growing multi-faith and atheistic populations? Rather than separating the two, we created a sort-of parent religion when we officially decided to religion from government. That’s how it seems, to me, anyway. In Australia, for example, all theistic religions (including Islam and Christianity) are sub-groups of the parent religion. Christians have to obey the laws of both religions, but the parent religion trumps the sub-group religion. Unless they’re extremists or fundamentalists, the majority of religious types are more devoted to government than to their God/s. Even if they disagree with the government – and steadfastly maintain their grip on their moral values, as dictated by the church – they won’t break the law. Most of the devoted Christians I’ve met, living in numerous multi-faith countries, believe that obeying government (even if that means contradicting the word of God) is actually part of their duty as good Christians. And, I guess, they have to believe that – however blatantly illogical it is – so they can avoid admitting to themselves that they’re prioritizing government over God.

In the end, most of us are religious. We obey our governments, now, instead of our Gods. The majority of self-assured atheists in society – whether they like this comparison or not – are as devoted to the law as the average Christian is devoted to the laws of God. And, they are motivated by the same thing. The fear of punishment keeps us from misbehaving. This applies to government and all mainstream religions, except (maybe) Judaism. If you break governmental law, you can end up in jail. Whereas, in the Judea-Christian religions, you can end up in hell. And, according to traditional Buddhism and Hinduism, the punishment is descending the ladder towards enlightenment and being demoted (through re-incarnation) as a lesser being. Judaism, like government, threatens punishment during life rather than after death. Devoted Jews (particularly those in orthodox communities) are expected not tolerate improper behavior from those around them. And, the same thing applies to Mormons. If you significantly disobey the church of Mormon, your family will disown you. Not only will you and burn in hell, you will suffer in life, too. And this applies, to varying extents, to most religious communities. Christian parents are (stereotypically, at least) disappointed when their children don’t follow in their footsteps. Misdeeds (as defined by any mainstream system) always result in punishment.
We motivate ourselves like the circus used to train animals. We’re taught, from a very early age, that we will be punished – in one way, or another – if we do not obey God or the almighty government. And, as a result, most people are too afraid to think for themselves. Or, at least, they don’t act on those thoughts. That’s one of the reasons the majority of people are asleep, I think. We don’t live our lives, because we are slaves. Because, we become accustomed to this maddening schizophrenic existence of thinking one thing and doing another. And, as we get older, those unfulfilled thoughts are too devastating to acknowledge. So, we bury them. And, we bury ourselves along with them.

It’s hard to explain how being addicted to heroin gives you freedom, so that someone who has observed hopeless junkies lying on the street might begin to understand what I mean. Hence, my seemingly off-topic tangent about the threat of punishment.
Disregarding the law – even disregarding your own health – can be liberating, simply because you’re not supposed to do it. This is one of the reasons people self-harm. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the form of eating too much junk food, neglecting exercise, or smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for three decades. They’re all ways to rebel against what you should be doing, without breaking the law. And, to someone who knows they’re a slave, exercising a freedom (even if it just for the sake of it) can be quite liberating. There is no threat of being punished by the government, or by God, if you smoke cigarettes. The punishment is self-inflicted. And, it’s more appealing to punish yourself than it is to be a slave.

Injecting heroin is one of the ultimate ways to rebel. If some satisfaction can be derived from smoking cigarettes, then – logically, if you think about it – the very act of using heroin (ignoring the recreational effects) must be even more liberating. And, even more so, if you inject it into your bloodstream. Not only are you rebelling against social expectations and self-harming, you’re also disobeying the mighty government. In the context of the slave analogy I keep referring to, becoming a fully-fledged junky is the closest achievable parallel to escaping the clutches of your enslavers.

Since heroin allows you to be utterly indifferent towards the world around you, those who are hopelessly addicted don’t care – whatsoever – about what they should be doing, or about what anybody thinks of them. And, unless you’ve ever actually experienced that (first-hand), you will never realize why it has such enormous appeal. But, that’s one of the reasons it’s so addictive.

I’m not sure what’s more difficult when trying to kick a serious opiate habit. The chemically addictive properties of heroin get more attention. Whenever you hear someone talking about withdrawals, they tell you how horrifyingly sick they were and how much they wanted to do. But, few people never relapse. And, it doesn’t make sense to write this off (like people do) as a product of mental instability or weakness of character.

The reason people return to heroin after experiencing the nightmare of withdrawals, is simple. Heroin is a perfect drug, in terms of recreational effect. And, I wouldn’t make that statement about anything else I’ve been addicted to. Nor would I be able to describe any other drug, so succinctly.

Although some people claim to be happy, I tend to believe that the majority of us – despite our best efforts to convince ourselves otherwise – are closer to the miserable end of the spectrum. People who act happy all the time make me uncomfortable. Because, in order to be like that, you need to have buried whatever it is that should be making you unhappy. That’s my best explanation, anyway.

I describe people as being asleep. What I mean by that is, they’re not in touch with their true feelings. And, I suspect these perpetually happy people – those, who I’m sure haven’t processed the fundamental questions about their existence and come to terms with their enslavement – I suspect that they are beyond asleep. They are, basically, dead. That’s why I find them so disturbing. Because, according to my perception of the world, they are grinning, animated corpses.

If these smiley idiots were literally human slaves, they’d have no issues with their enslavement. They’d be friendly towards their oppressors. And, consequently, they would enable it to continue.

When I was in my early twenties, I set out to change the world by attempting to influencing my friends and family about global warming and the ethical treatment of animals (among other issues). But, nobody wants to hear about that sort of thing over dinner. The average person will do their best to avoid engaging with how they really feel, about any given issue, if doing so means they need to make significant sacrifices. And, that frustrated the hell out of me.

After having a series of crystal clear psychedelic realizations, I soon came to realize that – no matter how hard I tried, or what approach I happened to take – it was damn-near impossible to provoke similar awakenings in the people around me. Even those that took psychedelics on a regular basis, weren’t willing to honestly engage in remotely confronting discussions concerning the ethicality of their lifestyles. I’ve come to accept now that most psychedelic enthusiasts take what they want from the drug, while attempting to avoid any unpleasantness.

This, I think, is why people refer to certain experiences as “bad trips”. Because, the expectation is that drugs are recreational and (therefore) all trips should be positive. The same core thing motivates people to avoid dinner table conversations that might be unpleasant. Even though, by evading any short-term discomfort, they will be worse off in the end. This is the problem with the fundamental pursuit of happiness. It is an empty, impossible, path. Without pain, there is no happiness.

I don’t like being around people who are happy all the time. It’s exhausting. And, the same goes for insecure people who always try to be the funny one in social situations. This one-dimensional utopian life that the modern capitalist world idealizes cannot be sustained forever. People who expect life to be great all the time – and avoid everything in life that isn’t great – they fail to develop a tolerance for pain. And, inevitably, assuming they’re beyond the point of no return when everything turns to shit, and they can no longer run away from things they’d rather avoid, they develop blinders. They chose not to see the pain. I think that’s where those smiley impenetrably happy assholes come from. Either that, or they’ve been raised by other smiley people wearing blinders and being blind is all they know.

It’s always bothered me how much the world only sees value in the positive. When I point out that people who are always happy make me uncomfortable, most people think I’m being bitter and jealous. But, if you make the same statement about someone who’s perpetually depressed, nobody argues about it. Because, the modern world wants everyone to be happy all the time. Happiness is rewarded and embraced. Whereas, if you’re a bit of a downer, chances are nobody is going to like you very much. People like to surround themselves with joy because they’re miserable. That’s why we spend our lives pursuing this one-dimensional happy-ever-after fairy tale. But, the pursuit itself is making us miserable. You can’t achieve happiness, long-term, by consistently avoiding unhappiness.

There is, often, something to be gained from negative experiences anyway. The universe is in a constant state of flux, and it oscillates evenly across our species’ positive-negative spectrum. New life emerges from death. Maggots are born from road kill. The extinction of one species makes way for the evolution of another. When stars explode their atoms are redistributed across the universe.

We are terrified of death. But, our life is the result of others dying. In fact, we are comprised – on a molecular level, I mean – of the recycled dead. So, for the sake of new life, it is selfish to deny our mortality. And, for the sake of all new species, it is selfish to perceive our potential extinction as something that must not ever happen. If the dinosaurs never became extinct, we wouldn’t be here.

Negative drug experiences are often more beneficial than positive ones. Because, in order for us to develop into better people, we need to kill off our former selves. And, this is seriously unpleasant. Especially, since we’re taught to fear change and avoid negativity. But, it’s not as unpleasant as you might think. And, after you step over that threshold, you will begin to overcome the fear of change.

Every time you shed your spiritual skin, the process becomes easier. And, certain drugs can be hugely beneficial if you want to fast-track this process. All drugs, I think, assuming you don’t abuse them, promote change. Experiencing contrasting states of mind allows you to see yourself from the outside. This is what all mind-altering drugs have in common, I think, in terms of their potential to promote positive change. And, why it doesn’t matter if the experience is positive or negative.

Drugs change the way you see the world, and the way you see yourself. And change – whether it is positive or negative – is good. As they used to say, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

I have consumed many different drugs, throughout my life, in various combinations, and (as a result) I’ve had the benefit of seeing myself from dozens of different angles. And, while the effects of some drugs have had more positive long-term effects than others, I’ve benefited more from all of them.

I’m not convinced of the supposedly divine properties of any plant or mushroom, or chemical. Whatever spiritual benefit is derived from consuming them, doesn’t exist prior to consumption. It is the combination of human and mushroom that creates a divine experience, not the mushroom itself.

People who are unfamiliar with psychedelic culture are taught to be afraid that mind-altering drugs (like LSD) can make you go insane. And, that’s true. But, anything can make you go insane. Especially, if you’re brain-washed into being terrified of it in the first place. And, most people don’t develop permanent psychosis from drug-use. It is a very small percentage, that do. I’ve heard it happening, but I can’t take that on faith. It could be propaganda.

I’ve seen many people have mild psychotic episodes from psychedelics (and other drugs), but I’ve only ever witnessed one major episode. The minor ones have only lasted a couple of days, from my observations. And, the major one lasted a couple of weeks. So, there’s been no evidence presented to me – whatsoever – of any permanent psychosis resulting from drug use. I’ve been taking drugs for eighteen years. If it happens at all, it has been exaggerated. Whereas, I know numerous people who’ve been seriously injured in traffic accidents. So, we should be taught to be more afraid of cars.

My left arm is a bit sore, at I type this.

I applied some Vitamin E cream on top of a layer of Hirudoid last night, before finally going to sleep. And, the injection sites had already cleared up significantly when I woke up.

I’m going on an inter-state, in a couple of days though. And, my parents are going to be there. So, I need to try and get rid of the markings completely. Not that I have to hide, any more, after coming out – years ago – as an IV user. I just don’t want to worry them, unnecessarily. It won’t do me in any good, if they know I had a relapse. And, if they see track marks, they’ll imagine the worst.

I’m not going to have any meth, today. I’m saving that bloody syringe I put in the fridge for tomorrow morning. So, I’m already running out of steam. And, I can’t ignore the pain in my arm. Even though it’s probably just muscular. I’m surprised my arms aren’t hurting more, really, considering how much time I spent typing and masturbating over the course of three days.
This morning I got a shitload of McDonald’s, on account of being too rundown to prepare anything for myself. But, I couldn’t finish it. It was the first meal I’ve consumed since last week. And, after forcing myself to get through as much as possible, I felt really bloated and tired.

I’m hallway through a long neck of beer, now. And, there’s two more in the fridge. My plan is to have something else to eat, re-apply both creams, then drink and smoke myself back to sleep. I’m amazed I actually managed to type as much as I have, today. Now, it is time for me to wind down.

Junk Mail Revisited. Part 10. 16th February, 2016

The medical tourniquet I ordered over the internet, after I began to relapse, arrive in the mail yesterday. I had to laugh about the timing, even though it reminded me just how careless I’ve become. Despite insisting that I’m terrified of doing myself serious damage, I’m not even motivated enough to go to the needle exchange program and buy a fucking tourniquet. I have to order one from the internet. Because, that way, I don’t have to interrupt the drugs. And, I don’t have to leave the house.

I smoked five or six joints last night, along with three long necks. And, I didn’t eat much either. Just some corn chips and salsa, after midnight. The hallucinations had withered, throughout the course of the day. When I woke up, I could still see things in the air. Simple, optical illusion stuff. Nothing nearly as complex as what I saw last night. But, still, more than I typically see when I wake up. And, on account of the alcohol, I felt like shit too. Hangovers tend to be unpleasant. And, coming down from hard drugs doesn’t help… I felt so sick, today, I struggled to eat anything. The only food I’ve had is a microwave meal. And, it was horrible. I had to force myself to eat every bite.

Afterwards, there was no delaying it any longer. It was nearly three o’clock, which meant I had to work. The post office closes at half past four. And, I have orders that should’ve been sent yesterday.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, by the way, I’ll catch you up.

Two years ago, I quit my job. Having endured serious tragedy in my personal life, I could no longer function at work. Most people who care for the disabled burn out in the first three years. Somehow, even though the job defeated me after four or five years, I kept forcing myself to do it for over a decade. And – while I was toileting quadriplegics and suctioning bodily fluids through medical tubing, during the day – I was drinking and getting high, at night.

I was naïve when I started working in the care industry. People that I looked after took advantage of me. And, because I had a good heart, I didn’t suspect them. But, now I know, this is human nature. Given the opportunity, an unhappy man will do whatever it takes. Because, unhappiness is at the core of desperation. And, desperation is selfish. The more miserable a man is, the more he focuses on his survival. Until animal instinct kicks in and the illusion of humanity vanishes.

It’s no surprise, really, that severely disabled people are (often) pretty unhappy. I’ve worked with a lot of clients who would seriously struggle to maintain active social lives. And, people without disabilities feel guilty about this. The majority of people don’t know how to act around the disabled. And, I know they don’t like that term. But, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And, if you happened to know me personally, you’d know that I don’t mean any offense. They have disabilities. They are disabled. The word handicapable annoys me. Why do we have to bend our language like that? And, isn’t it patronizing to do so? Particularly since many disabled people have cognitive impairments?

I mean, we don’t say people with HIV have dis-easychairs. We say HIV is a disease. Although HIV / AIDS is a disability – I personally cared for numerous HIV positive clients, throughout my career – we don’t patronize people who contract it, like we do with other diseases. Because, there is a lot of public awareness about HIV. Being positive doesn’t make you stand out. Whereas, with certain disabilities, there is no way to disguise yourself as normal. And, again, I realize the word normal isn’t politically correct in this context. But, I don’t care. Having a disability is not normal. If disabilities were normal, they wouldn’t be called disabilities. It’s better, I think, to call a spade a spade. It doesn’t do anyone any good to lie to them. Even, if you think it’s justified. Or, you assume that they’re not intellectually capable of telling the difference anyway. If they’re sitting in a wheelchair and they have limited movement in their body, accompanied with uncontrollable muscle spasm, I don’t see why we should treat them any differently to anyone else. Not everyone agrees about this. Some people will righteously argue against certain attitudes I have about disability and equality, if I allow myself to be honest.

People who have disabled children are, probably, the worst. They have a lot of issues, typically. And, they’re supposed to act like they don’t. Because, we’re all supposed to pretend that certain disabilities aren’t the nightmare that they obviously are. So, the parents of severely disabled children have to bury a lot of the hardship rather than processing it. And then there’s the theoretical moralists. Randomly outraged people, who spend no time whatsoever with the disabled – more often than not, people who’ve never volunteered a second of their time for any cause – get weirdly defensive, too, sometimes, when I build up enough courage to publically voice an unpopular opinion about how I think disability should be approached in society. There’s this misperception, I think, that people with disabilities aren’t people. If they’re harmless, they’re angels. And, damn you to hell if you dare say anything about an angel. That’s the reaction I get, more or less, when I criticize a disabled person.

But, the thing I don’t get is, why does nobody wants to spend time with them if they’re angels? Why bother pretending like it’s nice to be around severely disabled people, if you never visit? And, does an asshole in a wheelchair deserve the same as a nice guy? Shouldn’t merit be determined on a case-by-case basis? And, how is lying to them supposed to help them, when they can observe the truth?

I’ve known some horrible people with severe disabilities, and I have any issue with saying so. Most people will insist (in order to avoid judging the disabled) that – however horrible the behavior – it is justified because of their disability. And, most people will say the same thing about the parents of disable children. Because, as we all know, it is difficult to imagine how difficult either position might be. But, I don’t care how difficult life is. As far as I’m concerned, the bar is same for everyone. Disabled people can’t justify behaving unjustifiably, simply because they’re disabled. And, if the world didn’t spoil them with lies in the first place, they wouldn’t have so many behavioral issues to begin with.

It was difficult caring for people with disabilities, when I was a junky. Because, nobody gave a shit about me. Yet, I was surrounded – at all times – by people that expected extra attention. And, although I need help, I neglected myself. I let them use me and manipulate me. The more I was willing to give, the more they would take. Until, finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. And, I quit my job.

I went on unemployment, so I could continue to pay the bills. But, I couldn’t find a job. The one interview I got was for a night-shift cleaning the boning room in a meat processing plant. Thankfully, they never called me back. So, I started my own business. And – now – I work from home.

The money isn’t great, but at least I can pay the bills, without relying on the government. Plus, I rarely have to do more than a couple of hours a day. And, at the end of the day, I know I earned my way.

Accepting unemployment benefits (or any financial support from the government, whatsoever) when I don’t absolutely need to, isn’t something I can justify. Exploiting that system is like pretending to be homeless, so you can beg for money on the street. It’s not worth the shame.

So, anyway, I just made it to the post office on time with my orders.

I’ve almost finished my second long neck. And, I’m going to roll up my fourth joint for the day. I flushed that last syringe of meth up my ass, this morning. Need to eat something, now. Got to snap out of meth mode and get back to normal dietary habits. But, I’m still too fucked up to prepare food.

When my fiancé comes back, I need to get her to drive me so I can get some food and another beer. In the meantime, I’m going to apply my creams to my scar tissue and roll another joint.

First thing tomorrow morning, we our plane departs. My parents are picking us up when our flight arrives, at some unGodly hour. And, I’m not looking forward to pretending I’m fine. I’m not ready, yet, to get on a plane. I need time to recover. I’m exhausted and my mind is totally fucked.

FEA 2.0

Mar 17, 2016


Sep 15, 2012
Northwest Arizona
Wtf dude I couldn't read something that long if I was paid, if I was In jail, no matter the case. I mean I've read some long posts/trip reports on here but holy shit man. Tone it down a bit or find a hobby. That was just ridiculous

FEA 2.0

Mar 17, 2016
Indeed. It is very long, and rambling.

It's not like the original Junk Mail (I'm a different person, these days), but I've had positive feedback in the past... And, I wouldn't have posted it (unedited) if hadn't received dozens of requests to do so.

I'm not sure if anyone has the patience (or inclination) to read this report in it's entirety, but it needed to be written. It was therapeutic, for me. I enjoyed writing it. I learned a lot about myself while doing so. And, I think there is some quality stuff in there (if anyone could be bothered finding it).

There is no need for you to be patronizing.
I don't spend a lot of time writing stuff like this.
It is a meth-fueled rant.
It's also brutally honest.
The sexual stuff, for example, is completely unfiltered.
And, the obsessive over-the-top tangential style of the writing reflects meth.
To tone it down, for your sake, would be dishonest.

No offense, sir, but I don't care if you like it.
Nor do I care if anyone likes it.

I'm not here to impress you or entertain you.

This is a confession.
It is the unedited internal ramblings of a confused relapsing recovering meth addict.

This report is certainly not for everyone. If somebody else posted something this length, I probably wouldn't read it either at this point in my life... But, like I said, I received numerous private messages requesting that I post it. So, here it is.

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Mar 19, 2009
Debated whether to say this, but made up my mind after revisiting the original "I'm tired" trip report. OP, that thread is several years old at this point, and you're right--in some respects you were a different person. But the changes are not good.

Your older writing grabs the reader; it is a collection of incisive observations with moments of brilliance. Your writing here, on the other hand, shows a withdrawal from the world, a sinking inward. This thread is simply a verbose collection of lazy and self-serving generalizations. There is a show of self-examination, but the overall effect is one of vacant superficiality. You seem to have retreated from reality.

For someone of your obvious writing talent, this kind of withdrawal from the world is a tragic waste. Stop regressing!


Mar 17, 2016
When you say the changes aren't good, I assume you mean the changes to my writing (as opposed to my life)?
The changes in my life are good. I am sober, now, and that means I have sacrificed something.
Everything - in the end - is a give and a take.

Drugs gave me something, but they took away something too.
And, I can no longer continue to abuse myself for the sake of my writing.

I appreciate that this isn't a great report, by past standards.
It certainly isn't the quality of the original Junk Mail diaries.
But, like I said, it was requested. And, I didn't write it for Bluelight.

I'm not sure if you read it all because - although there is a lot of crap to sift through - I still think that this report has it's moments. Although it's not as exciting as the old reports, it is more mature (I think). I was writing from a different perspective. Not because I'm regressing. But, because I'm looking back at my life as a junky rather than writing in the middle of a serious junk problem.

The albums that The Rolling Stones made when they were high were much better than their later albums.
But, still, I think they benefited from the later albums (regardless of whether or not their fans were as pleased).

This report is not a crowd-pleaser. I get that.
But, there's nothing much I can do about it.

In the previous Junk Mail diaries, I was in denial about the damage I was doing to myself.
I thought I was invincible.

Now, I have the opposite of denial.
Instead of seeing myself as invincible, I see the pain.
For seven weeks this year, I haven't had any alcohol, drugs, red meat, tobacco or caffeine.
And, I've gained some perspective (rather than losing it).

I appreciate your response - I do - but, I think it's a bit harsh.

"This thread is simply a verbose collection of lazy and self-serving generalizations. There is a show of self-examination, but the overall effect is one of vacant superficiality. You seem to have retreated from reality."

I assume, reading the above, that you haven't read the report in it's entirety.
It is rambling and excessively long, but I haven't retreated from reality. I object to that.
Whether or not it comes across in the writing, I am closer to reality than I ever have been.

this kind of withdrawal from the world"

When I wrote Junk Mail, I was alone with my thoughts. I was in pain.
Now, I'm in a relationship. And, I assure you, I'm much happier these days.
I'm not withdrawn. I was, back when I wrote the original Junk Mail reports.
Now I travel, regularly. I'm going to a festival (sober) at the end of the month.
I'm planning to have a family... In truth, I have made serious progress.

I miss those days of taking drugs
recklessly and writing like a maniac, but that's not sustainable (for me, anyway).
At the end of the day, I'd rather have a fulfilling life than impress people with words.
Hopefully, one day, I will work out how to do both.

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Apr 26, 2016
It was therapeutic to read also! Thank You!!! I don´t agree with you 100% but majority of these thoughts has been on my mind half of my life (I´m 34, so same generation, best one so far). I would like to add that You shouldn´t be so angry/hopeless about those who ain`t "awake" yet, they aren´t just ready yet (everything changes gradually). It`s like you try to run a Windows opsys with Commodore 64 :) P.S. I´m from Estonia the most "atheistic" country in the world and to me government and church are the same basically, we here are spiritual mostly, to me it means you yourself are the God but most people doesn´t act like one :(


🎨 ARTministrator 🎨
Staff member
Feb 8, 2006
In the mountains
Wtf dude I couldn't read something that long if I was paid, if I was In jail, no matter the case. I mean I've read some long posts/trip reports on here but holy shit man. Tone it down a bit or find a hobby. That was just ridiculous
It's pretty silly to suggest he has a problem because you're not the type of person to read something that long. Some people enjoy writing, and some people enjoy reading long narratives.


Sep 15, 2012
Northwest Arizona
Lol soooo the irony is that i read parts 1 & 2 a few weeks ago and fell in love with his writing. Then found this and it was a great read. Only to find out i commented on this 18 months ago kind of discredited it because the length. (Without reading first of course) ironic as fuck. I hope ForeverAfter is doing okay & was able to conceive his child.