Romanticism & French Smack

The first hint of spring came today. It arrived on the breeze like a welcome kiss. Oh, its too early to celebrate the warmer seasons, I know, but this afternoon brought just the tiniest hint of romance. Some things transport me back to magical times, times that never really existed, and the changing seasons are always one of those things. I remember afew years ago, renting the upstairs flat of a Victorian maisonette in Fulham, and on warm spring or summer mornings I would flush and scrub the wooden floorboards with cold soapy water. The sun would heat the wood and the most wonderful scents would rise up. I would sit, bare-footed at my writing desk, smoking and reading... drifting in and out of fantastic and obsessive daydreams. That is what spring is to me... it’s the doorway to unrequited sensations. Spring offers it all. I think this romanticism is one of my biggest problems.

Heroin is also a romance... a distorted, depraved and narcissistic romance. Heroin has a history, an image. It has literary and artistic connotations... it is all glorious until one IS heroin, then things rapidly change. Romance turns to reality and reality is a solitary, introverted chase for the drug. Heroin is also a statement... it is a silent scream... a subliminal advertisement for help. But above all, heroin is a slow death - it is the way non-suicidal people choose to kill themselves. Heroin is how I will kill myself... I've known this for many years. I think I’ve already done it.

But for all this, I cannot come to criticise the drug. I honestly believe that if it were not for heroin I would already be dead. This is something that someone who has never had this addiction can never understand – the addicts lack of regret. I have seen junkies riddled by HIV or bloated and jaundiced by hepatitis singing the drugs praises. Their regret is not the drug, it is getting turned onto the needle. You must understand, death gets in the way of one’s habit... it is a permanent detour from the next shot... a permanent release from the pain. Death is neither welcome nor wanted. It is not suicidal depression that troubles the heroin addict... it is something else, something that I cannot yet explain.

* * * *

Today I will have to leave Lyon to score. This place is not like London with 10 or 20 dealers to each square mile. No, here you’ll be lucky if there are 10 dealers in trhe entire city.... it is very often that one cannot find anything. The only time this happened in London was during the war in Afghanistan. American troops on the border interrupted the usual drug routes and there was nothing on the streets for nearly two weeks. As you can imagine most junkies were anti-war! That drought went on in different manifestations for months – either low quality gear, or increased prices and smaller bags. In Lyon it is always like that. The other difference here is the wait. It can take up to six hours to score. In London you are doing badly if it takes 30 minutes. In France, the addict learns very quickly the importance of methodone as a backup. The rehabilitation rules are very lax here, so almost every junkie has their own script. That includes me... my problem is I need twice as much as what i'm prescribed, so I have to buy the rest on the street. Anyway, for now I have a good backup supply so the fear of junk illness is not a worry - that allows life to flow smoothly.

32 comments :

mtyler77 said...

Wow--you write so beautifully. That is my first thought. My second thought is that I wish you didn't do heroin.

The first time I did heroin, it was the best feeling I ever had. It was as though I was wrapped in a warm, loving blanket--both psychologically and physically. It was the first time I remember feeling secure and happy.

But, that was an illusion--nothing more. I never got that same exact feeling back, but I tried for such a long time. I was chasing an illusion that I wanted to believe in so much--that was so insidious that it crept into my soul so quickly. It was so hard to stop.

When I was using, I never believed that life could be better without drugs. I was terrified to even try living without drugs. But life, with clarity, is truly beautiful--drugs cloak the ability to appreciate the depth of what life has to offer).

I send you my thoughts and my best, healing energy.

Take care, my friend--

Melinda

Ruth said...

Hi, interesting life, pretty intense eh? you write well. Do you like this balance you have for yourself?

Heroinhead said...

Ruth, I hope this reply finds you... or you find it. I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to blogging and am never quite sure how I contact people.

Interesting??? It's just my life and I suppose like anyone else I live mostly very mundane daily details. I understand why it can be interesting to others - thats why I detail it. For me, even all the behaviour around heroin, it has all become normal... it's the same as you going to the shops. When I take an injection now it's just like someone else changing their socks.

The balance... yes I enjoy it. I earn my way as an artist and the constant extremes of heroin addiction inspires me. It is a very unpredictable existence and one forever meets the MOST bizarre people. Because of the illegal side to the drug, the user always feels a bit of an outlaw... surviving just outside the law. I take this further and for me it is the complete rejection of all social morals and ethics. It is a stand... a rebellion. Though never forget what I said in my post: romantism is one of my biggest problems. ;)

If you have any other questions you can mail me at myheroinhead@gmail.com

Best Wishes, Shane.

Gledwood said...

Hi I found you via your comment at Noa's Heroinitis ...
We had a massive drought here too around the beginning of the Afghan war. None of the reliable dealers had anything (or had picked up rubbish) yet so many of the fly-by-night never there when you want them unreliable kids suddenly had shit-hot gear. I've never understood why droughts turn things on their head quite like that...
It's interesting what you said about the situation there in France. I'm in London and it's true, if you have the dollars you can get it within the hour if not 5 minutes. I was quite astonished with the hoops people in some other parts of the world have to jump through to sustain a habit...
I'm not surprised you said the gear was not as good there. I was quite surprised to read online that British street gear is actually the strongest by weight in Europe, averaging about 43% purity. This was based on over 2000 seizures and specified retail purity. Ie not bulk airport seizures/etc. In other countries it seemed to be weaker, around 25%, but quite a lot cheaper on the G so all told you got about the same. I have to say I'd rather pay more for something small and strong than less for a load of vein-scraping cut... know what I mean??

Gledwood said...

I know what you're saying about "would otherwise be dead".
But that's one of the things about heroin, isn't it: your best friend is also your destroyer and were you not being destroyed so, would you even feel the pain that gave you such a compunction to kill it..(??)...?

Heroinhead said...

Gledwood, glad you stopped by... it means a lot. Yep, same here during Afghan war... nothing and then suddenly we've China White everywhere! I've never overdosed but I had a huge scare one evening during this period. The reason why the strong + stuff arrives is money. A drought already loses the big dealers millions and each day they lose more. It takes time to cut gear, so rather than lose everything the big dealers let it through uncut. The weak stuff was already in the counry and was cut on the D's realising a supply problem.

Thne gear here, it's fucking awful! You buy it in grams here, and you have to take 7 times as much in a fix than with British gear. It's crazy. Good gear occassionally filters through, so I pounce then and buy the lot!!

The relatuonship with this drug is perverse and unexplainable... It's the gentlest killer about. I prefer being soothed to death... it's a choice I've made. I don't even think of kicking.

keep passing by... I'll do the same on your blog.

Stay well, Shane.

Starrlight said...

First off thank you for following my blog. I take it as a compliment from a writer as talented as yourself.

I won't preach even though I am not nor have I ever used any major drugs. I think God did me a huge favor and gave me and inborn ability to disconnect from people and places. It's that or the fact that my parents were jacked up on acid and it altered my zygote DNA in utero ;)

But I completely understand the allure and the lack of remorse. I just hope a publishing deal finds it's way to you because I really think you have something here.

Heroinhead said...

Starrlight, it's very kind what you say... it makes me sad when people are so nice. I mean that in a nice way... It gives me hope in humanity.

Your blog is wonderful... I enjoy people who obviously have a love for certain things. Though I'm a little worried by your admiration for U2! ;) No, I really love their early albums.

Take care & enjoy the blog. Shane

Darren said...

Oh I am so torn. I am very anti-drugs and their promotion in any way (even in an indirect way, as on your blog) pains me. That said, you have such a wonderful style of writing. Beautiful!

You have a tentative subscriber here. :)

Heroinhead said...

Darren, take heart that I NEVER promote drugs or advise the use of heroin (or any substance). If a certain sentence seems to put the drug in a good light, one can be sure that somewhere else in my blog there is a statement showing the bad and the ugly and the dirty.

I really want to portray the truth of drug addiction and not anti or pro-drug opinions. The truth of addiction is not romantic, pretty or clean... this will show. As long as you feel I stick to this intention, I think you've got nothing to feel tentative about.

Don't ever be shy in making your voice heard... if you think I ever go over the line, or am not giving an honest reflection, say so. It will never offend me & we need people on both sides of the fence giving their opinions.

I hope you stay with us... Best Wishes, Shane.

The Wager Witch said...

I'm right with the first commenter - Excellent writing - excellent skill...

But wish that I could not have this phrase ringing through my head:

But above all, heroin is a slow death - it is the way non-suicidal people choose to kill themselves. Heroin is how I will kill myself..."


It is by far the most sad statement on your entire blog.

I am one of the few unlucky people that processes Opiods differently than others. They do not give me a kick. I have a pain disorder and due to that Opiods stop my receptors from feeling actual pain - but never a single high.

I found that out by accident when someone took one of my medications and totally went through a euphoric state... I was like WOW - I never felt like that.

Ended up being studied by my doctor and pharmacist and all sorts of people.

Something about the MU Receptor and the PU receptor... So addiction is something I cannot personally understand when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

Gambling - on the other hand... LOL!

Anyhow - I wish you well - I enjoyed reading your writing - consider publishing - just like your blog is written.

I think it would be a good wakeup call.

WagerWitch

Heroinhead said...

WagerWitch,

Thank you for your comment and compliment!!!

The line you quote is just me being honest... heroin damages the body, the veins and the internal organs. I know that and I continue to do it. But it's like many things we do... If we analyse it breathing is unhealthy! ;)

Gambling... I know a bit about this. I spent a few years chucking any spare money I had on the back of dogs & horses. It was a high. I can't relate it to drugs because thats a synthetic thing and gambling is a natural high. I don't say it's good - just natural.

It's probably better that your opiod receptors seem to be blocked... . being an addict and being straight are very similar. That is why I always tell people: if you don't know drugs you don't need them. Addicts end up using just to feel normal.

Thanks once again for all you say... it means a lot.

Take care, Shane.

Eve Douglas said...

Your blog is like a book I can't put down

Eve x

Heroinhead said...

Eve,

If you like it then it was worth writing.

Thanks for your message & I hope you continue to read & enjoy.

Shane.

HH. Harriotte said...

hey i really like reading your blog
i find it really facinating
and i am rather young and probably naive but i feel i could learn alot from it, so i hope you won't mind me following it
i dnt know anything about heroin
and in a way i am slightly jealous of your life, you seem so cool (minus the whole heroin thing)
i really like your art work too
reminds me of some of francis bacons stuff(hope that doesn't offend you)
rather inspiring
well thanks for letting me have an insight on your life
bye
harriotte x

HH. Harriotte said...

i didn't mean i was jealous of your life,sorry that sounded so bad
i just meant of your life in france, and your art and your look on life
sorry i didn't mean to offend or anything :)

Heroinhead said...

HH Harriotte,

Of course you can follow!! You can never be naive when your young.... only old people can be naive (it takes time!)

Of course nothing you say offends me... it's a pleasure to have you write. Anything you want to ask, I'm always open. It's a fgood thing you don't know anything about heroin... now you can learn without having to do it yourself. 95% of the readers are the same as you.

Take care HH & we'll speak more soon.

BW, Shnae. x

Heroinhead said...

Shane! I hate it when I mis-type my name... I call them "Keyboard casualties". ;)

Sara said...

Hi Shane!
You do write very beautifully. I've never tried heroin myself, but I've had my share of experimenting with other drugs. I've always wondered what the actual high was like; I'm way too scared to try it.
Your blog makes me so sad, some of the things you write, but at the same time you write it in such a fascinating and beautiful way. I wish I could be so brutally honest, and express things in my writings that way.
I agree with Eve; it is like a book I can't put down.
Hope things are well,
Sara

Heroinhead said...

Sara,

Another wonderful compliment... you guys are really trying to embarrass me! ;)

Don't be too sad reading it... at least i'm together enough to write it. Think of it in that way.

Take care, Sara

Shane

Sara said...

Hello again!
That is a very good point
:)
That makes me feel a bit better!
Do you ever go back and read the things you've written, and get sad too?

Heroinhead said...

Sara,

I do reread the posts, but I do not become sad, no. I wasn't sad writing them in the first place. Of course some memories will be more emotional than others... but thats the same with everyone.

I've lived with these things for nearly 30 years... it's old news to me. ;)

I hope you stay with us & keep commentating... & above all, enjoy it... there's no guilt to be had there.

Take care & All the best, Shane.

AnnaGrace said...

Nature is a whore, sell the kids for food. All plagiarized. My new favorite word is plagiarized. I know this an old post, one I have just read. Which is odd, because I get your blogs electronically mailed to me. I felt the need to write electronically.
While reading your blog I was listening to the tindersticks, but now that I'm commenting I can't here the music, but I can here a faint sound of squeaks, and cries, and laughter, and talking....its strange. I might just sit here and listen to it all day.

I'm sorry that someone commented to me on your other blog. That was strange too.

I want to move to France, since the laws on rehabilitation are so lax. I need lax rehab laws. Too bad I have a warrant for my arrest, and I don't speak a lick of French, or I'd go to France, instead of Washington State here in the US of A.

I send you all my kisses, and death threats.
Anna Grace
XXX

Terminal MarGret said...

Happy Birthday, blog! A year (and a day)! Congratulations. This be my birthday present! X

emissjayiss said...

Shane, I've just arrived here after reading all of your posts in a day of ignoring the rest of the world. What a strong voice you have. I appreciate so much your honesty and compassion, not only for others but for yourself. I appreciate the chance to see the world in a way that I didn't yesterday. I wish for you all that you wish for yourself.
sending you heartfelt love,
Maryjane

Hayden Derk said...

There is something beautiful here that brings Melmoth the Wanderer and Mishima Yukio to mind.

You know how to write and you seem to know how to live. I like that.

I won't waste time whining about how "drugs are bad". Every man chooses his poison and junk is a more elegant choice than others.

I like these things you write. I will continue to read them with relish.

The Total Impostor said...

Shane, your description of the people in the St Stephens squat was so funny that I laughed so convulsively I coughed up some of the deepest smoke-related phlegm in my knackered lungs, and now I can breathe better than I have for weeks. Thanks for that.

Jovita said...

Shane, my dear unknown Friend,
(please indulge me I dare to call you this way, and forgive me my poor, disabled language as well-I wish English were my native, so I could express myself as well, as I usually do in my first language).

Calling you Friend it's not just an act of pathetical/overdone/too-made behaviour, completely meaningless.

What I want to tell you, concerns not that part of your "Memoires..." in particular, but your work in general.

I'm coming from Poland, where the idea of "heroin' romanticism" doesn't exist; even for users it's something completely strange.

Wait, wait, I know, what you're going to say:
"please, show me the place I told heroin/opiates has something to do with romanticism!!! It's for me as trivial, as opening the next bottle of bear for an average guy ending his daily grind(?)/work..."

However, even if it isn't intentional, you are pretty succeded to get some absolutely unique result(maybe it's just a side effect):
"Ridin'" THAT KINDA subject(so to say, hope you get what I mean)is really hard to avoid portraying yourself as a "poete maudit", what always touch me...
Maybe "creativity"(instead of the "romanticism")is at that the most proper word I'm looking for...?

Because of my language inability I can't get exactly what you write, especially the way you express yourself is pretty sophisticated, however, even if I miss the single words sometimes, I'm sure I can get the "feeling"/meaning very well, because "I'm ridin' the same H":
H for Heroin; for a Horse and H for the History(I mean Tales).

It's already long years I'm still tryin'to find proper words for the one of the most wordless/unspeachable/speachless phenomenon of this world:opiate addiction.
It's not a good time for artists/writers hanging on the needles and inspired by the high-and low tieds...(lol,keep in mind: English ISN'T my native;))
I've written a novel; the dope-pulp fiction called THRILLS, my friend(top publisher of the only one polish HR-magazine, I regular co-work with)called it:"fucking kickassed", but that was all. We sent it to whole possible publishings and they reply something like:"The old time Hells gets already used up. Nowadays we can add loads of new cyrcles of Hell to the previous ones-the drug-hell is just passe. Besides, your novel collapses under it's own weight-give us new "Trainspotting", or modern day "We, Children...", so maybe we'll talk with you."(yes, it's not coquetery)...

No matter, I'm just jealous you, guys in the West have some space for yourself and your creativity, what we, here in Poland still looking for in vain.

I'm gratefull for your work and thanks for inspire me start writtin' blog.

All the best to you, Brother
Your Friend,
Jowita

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hi Jovita. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

No, I wont say: "please, show me the place I told heroin/opiates has something to do with romanticism!!!, etc" because I know Heroin Romanticism exists, and it has a little to do with the reason most addicts use in the first place. What I will say is that I never try to make 'heroin addiction' romantic, but I'm fully aware that my words will make it romantic to those who want to see it in that way. I can't help that. IU can't help what people take from the writing. But 'heroin romanticism' as an abstract thing certainly does exist and many writers go all out on that to somehow write their own tragedy, but to imbue it with sex and attraction along the way so as the "self-destruction" is a romantic and beautiful one. But for me, no self-destruction is 'beautiful'. I've lived around self-destruction and it's an ugly, hideous thing.

You may be polish, but I think you're mistaken to think that 'heroin romanticism' doesn't exist in your country. I know polish addicts and they are just as wrapped up in the 'image' of the junkie as anyone else in the world. They have seen films and pictures and listened to music that shows us what 'junk' is.. they know full well that image and many are still searching that in their own addiction. But let's forget about 'heroin romanticism' because it's more 'junkie romanticism'... and idea of what a junkie is, looks like, walks and talks like. That exists in Poland though maybe not as much as in the West. But that's only because the West is even more superficial and fake thanks to all the choices we have from socks to fancy needles! Capitalism and what it pushes our way has a responsibility in it all.

But although heroin addiction often has something to do with image, or expressing an image, there's something more going on than just that. If not we'd all just dress and walk it but not actually do it. So Romanticism can lead us to play around with certain ideas but it's never the cause of a dependency.. that's something else. Internal problems and a way to deal with them.

Some people get angry and punch walls; other get angry and punch themselves. Heroin addiction is a common state for those who like to hit themselves. In a way it's a kind of masculine version of bulimia.... the two have many common points.

Addiction itself is easy to answer: it's a matter of biology. The hard question is 'why does someone become an addict?' For that there is no single answer, and ANY answer is complex and the result of a thousand different chance things. We can maybe in our lifetime answer our own case, but even that is doubtful, even if we're extremely open and honest. But instead of answers we can give insight, and often that's better than the answer as it doesn't try to solve anything. Because really, what's the point of knowing the answer if it doesn't stop the question? And knowing the answer to addiction is a pretty useless thing when even in possession of that knowledge we're still shooting dope. So personally I only ever try to give some insight into the life and what surrounds it. If it's sometimes romantic I will say so, and if it's vulgar and disgusting I will tell that too. It's all we can do, because the real truth of addiction has very rarely been told... and the biggest mythmakers of all are the addicts.

Take care Jovita and write whenever you like.

Moje najlepsze życzenia, Shane. X

Jovita said...

Hi, Shane,
thanks for your reply to my comment and... just let me to take a voice one more time again.

I'm really glad to meet someone so fully aware/selfconsciuos, who "follows the ways of addiction" with such a passion. Looks your private "searchings" reach pretty deep: as deep as deep addiction concerns/angage whole aspects of human beeing. Feels, you doesn't find satisfaction in easy/simply answers and I like it. It occurs pretty rarely, believe me.

I'm also glad, that you understand me in matter of so called "junkies'image/entourage"-it makes me sure I'm not just a single freak getting herself into such an "abstractive rubbish", as already many people suggests...
The question of "junkies' design"/lifestyle, no matter it's intentional or just a side effect is for me still very vital, because, as you already pointed very accurate, it's something what "reaches" beyond/out our biological status; it is A TALE: at that something, what makes us, human being defined as humans.

The TALES (for this moment: let's forget/despite the dope as itself with it's unique result) were so attracting, so they led me to my addiction. By the other hand, when I already got "involved", they probably were really helpfull to survive/go through the worst: the TALE I was telling to myself day after day in my deepest depht made me able to CONVERT the Destruction into Creativity... I think, it saved my life frequently...Every fucking negative finds its epical(?) opposite and ballance in a TALE. Things doesn't hurt so much, if you CALL it by the name you choose for them---it makes the STORY completely change, doesn't it?...
...Pain is not pain anymore; it goes into Experience; the Battlefield becomes Playground...
It's like dressing up an old ugly mistress... Just a cheap trick, but it works anyway.

Sorry for take your worthfull time again.
By the way, may I ask you, are there many polish users/junkies where you live?

Best regards to you,
your truly
Jowita
jowita70@interia.pl

Tabatha Linkes said...

Ahhhh ! Such comfort I get from ur words...to know that I am not alone in this heroin hell/heaven. Thank you so much for ur wonderful view on life, art, love, hate, family, addiction. You are truly amazing.

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