You Can't Blame Johnny Thunders!

I knew from the age of 10 that I would be a heroin addict. I used to wander around my school, with my eyes half-closed, acting drowsy and drunk. I think that came from a desire to impress my mother, to be like the men that attracted her. If I judge myself in terms of this, my life has been a succes. If I judge myself from my mothers eyes... I am a star.

My mother has always seemed to be proud of my heroin addiction. She will tell people of it as other mothers will boast of their sons honours and achievements. I know that will sound incredible and perverse to many of you, but I understand the place where she is coming from. When looking at me, she must be proxy to a bizarre mix of contradicting emotions and guilt.

With the butchering of my father, my mother lost (in the most horrific way) the only man she has ever loved. Of three children, I was the secret child of this man. To her, I was all that was left of him: a physical reminder of her lover. As my life began to mirror his, as she watched the new, like she once watched the old, find solace in the needle, she must have really seen in me the reincarnation of of a man she thought was gone forever. In this light, her feelings are not perverse. They are quite natural and understandable. But for all the reflection in the world, I still cannot give an exact reason as to why I have embraced heroin. The above is a small part of a much larger reason... a reason  so large, and so integregated in me, that I cannot even see it.

Many people search for the answers of drug addiction. They will look for some huge rupture or some awful event in the life. But for many addicts this isn’t the case. For many there’s no obvious reason why they turned to drugs - no one defining event. With lack of any hard evidence for a loved ones addiction, many point fingers towards musicians, or artist drug users. They accuse them of gloryifying drug addiction and blame them for turning their fans onto drugs. But one can no more say that listening to Johnny Thunders leads to heroin addiction than one can say that reading Oscar Wilde will turn you into a homosexual. No, if one takes part in these things, it is because the seeds are already sown.

It is true, many addicts will also like the art, music, even the image of junkie artists (and Oscar Wilde has a large gay following) but this is not because people are emulating them, it is because they can identify with their expression, their life. What people must never forget is that heroin is not a fun drug. It is not used to have a good time on, but to make the bad times better. Heroin is a pain killer and an anti-depressant, and those are the underlying reasons behind the majority of addicts.

* * * *

There's been some good gear floating aound these past days so I bought as much as my dealer could sell me. I'm just lucky I was in the position to do that.

The other news is that in St. Etienne 5 addicts have been rushed to hospital after collapsing. This adds to the 20 Parisien junkies who had the same problem two weeks ago. They were found,  immediately after fixing, unconscious in their cars, in the street or collapsed down stairwells, . Officially it has not been disclosed whether this is due to ultra strong gear or dirty gear. But I will tell you now, it is dirty heroin. On the news it warns addicts using intravenously to be very careful. But what does that mean? Inject a mini dose? I'm sure we're all going to do that.

I mention the above because St. Etienne is only 30 minutes from Lyon, so it's a little worrying. Still, I know it won't stop water from falling... it won't stop us. How can it? Only death does.

Tomorrow I will meet with the director of the Theo Argence Cultural Centre to organise the dates for a forthcoming exhibition of my paintings. I think it will likely be either late May or early June. You can have a look at my paintings by going to my site: -->>

A Lifetime of Dying: http://shanelevene.hpage.com/

4 comments :

mtyler77 said...

Another compelling post, Shane.

First, I find it so hard to imagine that your mother is proud of your heroin addiction. One of my greatest regrets *and* proudest accomplishments is that I never had a child. Today, I would love to have a child but I feel it is a little too late (I'm in my mid 40's now) but I am so glad that I never had a child when I was using--because I would never want to hurt another person in such a way.

My own mother was absolutely devastated when she realized I was a heroin addict. And of course, she blamed herself (as I am fairly sure your mother must). I will never forget a conversation we had late into my addiction--it was the last phone conversation we had for several years, when I disappeared from the earth (or so it seemed). She said, "Melinda, every night, I fall asleep with a stake in my heart." I hurt her terribly with my addiction--but of course, I hurt myself more.

I believe that most addicts have an underlying condition--such as depression (as you mentioned) or unresolved trauma (which I am quite sure was my case). Most people are not that self-destructive--there has to be some underlying reason to explain the behavior--my view as a psychologist, of course).

Shane, do be very careful with the 'gear' (I would call it dope)--that's terribly frightening that people are dying. My husband died of an OD--I had been there before when that same thing happened but the fatal time, I was nowhere near and he subsequently died. Always fix when someone is around--

Be careful--stay safe. My hope for you has to be that I hope you will stop using. Life can be even better without heroin but of course, this is your path to choose.

Peace,

Melinda

Heroinhead said...

My mother had a very hard life & I know that she never caused any harm or damage on purpose. Her problems were such that she had to look after herself. Maybe she was irresponsible to have had children, but when you're young you can't always forsee the consequences (I'm a fine one to talk, aren't I!) She's a wonderful person at heart... and now that she is free of alcohol, crack & heroin she's even better. My brother and sister will never forgive her... I understand them but cannot feel the same.

My mother doesn't blame herself for my addiction... & she's right. There were a thousand differing yet converging things that took me there. I made that choice as an intelligent adult. She blames herself for other things, but not that.

I will answer the underlying causes of heroin use in my blog. It's very complicated though. Why someone first starts using and the reasons for using many years later can often be very different. Many times the addiction remains to cover one underlying problem... not always.

When I started using I was extremely unhappy in life - not suicidal, or manically depressed. All those things have gone now... time has passed and they are healed. I am very happy. I mean that... I don't say that to cover up anything. I am extremely happy, content and I enjoy life more than I could ever imagine. That isnt the effect of heroin... I would feel that whether I use or not. So I dont use heroin for the same reason I started. Most people who know me are evcen more confused with my addiction because of this. When they see I am always happy, always humourous, always joking.. they then don't have anything to pin the badge of addiction on. It is confusing... yet, I think that is finally what encourages them to leave me alone.

I'm always careful with the gear ... In 8 years I've only ever over-dosed once (it wasn't fatal!)... that's not too bad, hey?
(In England'dope' is marijuana )

Take Care M... I'll do the same.

Gledwood said...

Bloody hell that sounds familiar... I used to walk round in a daze of misery I later found out was called "depression" but classmates used to (jokingly) put down to drugs. Then "heroin screws you up" came out and I thought: wow, if you feel miserable, alienated etc. there's something out there to make you feel better! Plus most of the models in that campaign (though supposedly the epitome of emaciated misery) looked pretty cool to me... haha!!

Heroinhead said...

You're right Gledwood. The people who come up with these campaigns are so square and so straight they don't even understand what they're campaigning about. They give you role models more than anything else. If they understood a little more of what goes to make an addict they would deal with it differently.

I remember the campaigns in England when I was growing up... I was thinking: fuck, wouldn't it be cool to look like that! ;)

People can do all they want... they can give us the most horrendous statistics and images... it won't stop anything. Heroin has some terrible consequences, but it does help in desperate times... it did me anyway.