Heroin

WARNING: This posting may be just a tiny bit uncharitable. Blame it on me working a busy nightshift.
Poxy bloody heroin addicts.

This post may also be just a shade judgemental…

I got sent to a call, “Male collapsed”. I'm first on scene and as I enter the flat there is a partially dressed man on the floor with a woman kneeling over him.

At least she is honest.

“He's clucking, because he used to inject, and now smokes heroin. We had a fight now he's acting strange”.

'Clucking' means that he is withdrawing from heroin.

“Is he on methadone?”, I ask.

“Yes, but they don't give him enough”, she replies.

Heroin addicts never think they get enough methadone, which is a drug that is used as part of heroin addiction treatment.

She continues, “so he went a bit strange, so I gave him a few runs to see if it made him any better”.

'Runs' are a description used in smoking heroin.

So his addict girlfriend (she admits to sharing a drug of choice) has seen him go a bit strange and thought that giving him some heroin would help.

Normally this wouldn't be too much of a problem, we'd take him to hospital and let them sort it out…

But this one doesn't want to go to hospital. He is refusing despite using our range of persuasion tricks.

Apparently the local A&E doesn't give him enough methadone either. Apparently he has to take heroin with him when he goes to A&E so he can have a smoke of it outside the department.

We are stuck. We can't drag him out, his girlfriend and mum can't persuade him to go, and the police won't be able to do much.

This is also the sort of job that can (in the local slang) 'go bent'. In other words, this is the sort of patient who will take great pleasure in dying five minutes after we leave.

The ambulance crew decide to get an officer on duty to come down – this covers our backs, and means none of us should get the sack should the patient decide to stop breathing.

I'm sorry to be judgemental, but as soon as you start thinking it's a good idea to start injecting heroin into your veins, you stop being a human being, and instead step outside normal society.

I've never met a heroin addict I've liked.

On the flip side, there probably aren't that many heroin addicts who have found ambulance crews that they like.

It's on jobs like this that I rely on the training, and on my belief that, no matter how little I like the patient I'm treating, if I'm nice and polite to them it makes my life so much easier. I'll also treat them to the best of my ability, because anything else would just be wrong.

But it certainly doesn't help to think that while I am treating this patient there may be some little old lady, lying on the floor with a broken hip, awaiting an ambulance which is slow in coming because we are tied up dealing a heroin addict.

It also makes me both angry and sad that this person has completely wasted their life instead of doing something useful and productive. And don't forget the relatives, friends (and quite possibly) victims of crime) that are affected by his addiction.

And then after this job I get three maternataxis one after another.

Still, as my mother says “It must be nice to be busy – it must make the shift pass quickly”.

I'd still like a cup of tea every so often…

And with a bit of luck I'll be in a better mood tomorrow. In the meantime – Does anyone know a good nightclub in London for a Saturday night? Does the LA2 still play 80's music? Every time I work nights I look with envy at people enjoying themselves – so this weekend I intend to enjoy myself and maybe go 'clubbing'.

64 thoughts on “Heroin”

  1. oh to have had such a nice life that the thought of getting off your face on some drug or another has never crossed your mind …let me tell you a bit about me … i have a good job, i pay my taxes, i'm a homeowner, i generally contribute to society in all the ways i'm expected to etc etc. but it all could have been very different. i abused drink and drugs in my teens, and if there hadn't been a couple of people around me to fight my corner, stop me getting into trouble, and give me support and the occasional kick up the arse, i probably would have ended up addicted to *something*, and would quite possibly have ended up in prison or in the forensic mental health system. most people aren't as lucky as i've been. if you'd known anything about the life of the man you went out to last night, well, i don't think you would have felt the need to write this entry. it's the shit lives of addicts that stop them being human, not the drugs – i was dead inside *years* before i started drinking heavily or taking speed. at that time, it was the only thing i could do to get any kind of good feeling – i didn't think i deserved anything *truly* good. i know it was my “choice”, but it really didn't feel like a choice at the time. it was either that or a long walk off a short cliff. and the trouble i caused in the lives of those around me was unintentional – i couldn't believe that anyone cared, so why would i think that what i was doing to myself would affect them in any way?

    you know it's not just about the methadone, you must do. getting off drugs or drink is about changing your whole life, not just one habit. you work in the nhs (as do i by the way), so you know too that there just aren't enough resources out there to help these people in the ways that they need to be helped, even though substance misuse is one of the better funded areas. it annoys me that society is so quick to turn its back on addicts & write them off as losers, but not so quick to look at the reasons why they've ended up that way.

    i'm sorry this has turned into such a rant. i'm all for getting things off your chest and being honest etc, but it kinda made my blood boil to read something so judgemental when it seems like you haven't stopped to try and imagine what it must be like for the patient. saying that though, it's probably better that you offload it here than bottle it up and letting it affect how you treat people.

    and just so you know – i'm not coming at this entirely from the patient perspective either – i work in forensic mental health – a service full of “heartsink” patients if ever there was one, & most of them addicts in recovery – so i know that feeling of wanting to tell someone to pull themselves together when they've messed up *yet again*. but i also know that it aint that easy. and that's what i always have to remember.

    http://survivorworker.blogspot.com

  2. Agreed – Alcohol and Nicotine kill way more people than anything illegal.Of course you could use that as an example to make sure that nothing else becomes leagal…

    My life would be so much easier if alcohol was illegal.

  3. Which is cool, especially as you share the same first name.And I thought that when you sent me ((motherly hugs)) a while ago, that my brother had taught my mum how to leave comments…

  4. Opiates don't give everyone a feeling of pleasure. Having been into hospital and had “heroin” as a painkiller and then spent several days throwing up and feeling like crap despite anti sickness injections I can not see why people use it as a fun thing to do! I've just been in hospital again for an operation and avoided opiates as much as possible, but still had to have some and yet again ended up being sick (although I don't think the hospital food helped either!!)We all have different tolerances of drugs too, some like me are very sensitive to them, others need loads to get any effect, messing around with them is just way too dangerous.

  5. But see the difference – you have stopped abusing drugs, and are no longer a wasted life. The people I am talking about never seem to change until I turn up one day and find them dead.(And I did warn you folks that it was a bit of a rant).

    I'd also vaguely like to point out (without it turning into a “walk three miles uphill in the rain” sort of Monty Python sketch), and with the greatest respect, that despite reading this blog, you don't know how shite my life had been. The difference between myself and those who turn to drugs is perhaps that I resolved to change my situation, rather than make it worse by becoming an addict.

    Having said that I can take your point that it may be the things that turn people into addicts that remove their humanity rather than the drugs itself.

    And I don't think that methadone is any form of help (personal opinion only based on experiences with patients on it – I think that the cure is much more complicated than that).

    Thanks for the comment, it's appreciated.

  6. Of course I remember Henry, I used to have a huge crush on her…And I never pull in clubs…

    And Lost gets a lot stranger yet.

  7. It should, in fairness, be noted that you've probably met lots of heroin addicts that you've liked – you just haven't known they were addicts, because they've been sensible and lucky enough not to suffer drug-related problems.Opiates are, in fact, one of the easiest drugs to use for pleasure while remaining productive. You won't be doing much if you get high as a kite, of course, but I live in a country where you can buy codeine pills over the counter, and quite often enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of a good solid dose while working, of an evening.

    People can make themselves into zombies with most recreational drugs, most definitely including the biggest demon of them all, alcohol. They can also remain happy and healthy, if they know what they're doing and take what they think they're taking.

    Legalisation of pretty much everything can only make things better for users and medical people alike. It's hard to find a way in which drugs like opiates and marijuana aren't just plain better than nicotine and ethanol.

  8. This guy injects Heroin (I didn't even know you could smoke it by the way). That means he is injecting all kinds of rubbish along with his drug of choice. Brick dust, sand, talc. It is added (cut) with the Heroin by the dealers to increase the amount they can sell. This destroys your body and circulation. They can nead amputations and other lumps cut from their body. Not to mention the HIV risk from shared needles. Also because you have no idea how strong a particular dose is (it depends on how much rubbish it is cut with) they risk overdose every time.It is so addictive most women on the drug turn to prostitution to fund their habit.

    It funds some very shady nasty people. Do you want to fund the people who train Moslems to blow themselves up.

    Now if it were legalised most of these problems could be sorted. But do you really want an unproductive drug addicted society? Do you want your train driver/ambulance paramedic on a high? Prescribe it to addicts I say (on a treatment program) but leave it to that.

  9. I can't really recommend clubs (only ever been to one) but the I was at the Bunker Bar in Covent Garden for Henry's 30th last Friday (you remember her Tom? Used to work on Montreal Ward). Anyway, it was pleasently friendly little place, great 80's/90's DJ on and pucker grub….you could even end up pulling:)PS. Lost was brilliant! I take back all my PooPoo's about the TV trailer! A Polar Bear!!

  10. I know a lovely girl who is unfortunately an injecting heroin addict. Of course, she's not that lovely when she is stealing and lying to get her fix. In fact, she's far from lovely. But, with the greatest of respect to you Tom, she has not ceased to be a human being. She is a human being in deep trouble and in need of a lot of help. I just hope it will never be the kind of help that you provide.

  11. I know a lovely girl who is unfortunately an injecting heroin addict. Of course, she's not that lovely when she is stealing and lying to get her fix. In fact, she's far from lovely. She's a stealing, lying, self-hating hell cat in fact. But, with the greatest of respect to you Tom, she has not ceased to be a human being. She is a human being in deep trouble and in need of a lot of help. I just hope it will never be the 'ambulance' variety of help.

  12. ladycat peeking in via livejournal and being very nosy:I'm afraid most of the decent 80's nights/night that play some 80's I know are on Friday. Buttoneddown disco moves around and is rather good, as is 'AfterskoolKlub' at the LSE Union (don't be put off by the name is a great night of indie stuff). B Movie is on at the Waterrats in Kings Cross, and is far too good to miss.

    On the Heroin front, yes I can see your viewpoint, I hate it too, and don't take anything at all. However, I work for an organisation with some service users who have experienced substance misuse problems.

    It must be really annoying, and hard to have any sympathy for people like that man, but you don't end up in that state without having a lot of problems to start with. They might waste years of their life, some might never recover, but it's still worth trying to help, becausea small percentage do, and some of the ones we've helped have gone on to do fantastic things.

    Of course we all have out own pet 'can't deal with it' things. Mine is sex offenders, less rehabilitation, more castration, grr!

  13. I have been teaching in secondary education for 15 years and have seen some of my students get involved in drugs. Many stay in control. Some do not. Two come to mind who have every opportunity in life – good parents, families who are supportive, they were good kids. But they got addicted and got into crime and, while on the drugs are not human. They do not think for themselves, they just let the drug control them. They have had help but do not seem to be interested in changing anything. I agree with Reynolds here – getting into drugs does waste a lot of public resources. It's not just luck and a nice life that keeps the majority of drugs.

  14. what i'm saying though is that it wasn't just my personal resolve to change my situation that effected the change – i had people around me who had faith in me that i could change, when i had none in myself. some people just aren't born with the kind of resolve or coping strategies to change, or they have them eroded through whatever's gone on in their lives – and that's not their fault. you're right though, i don't know what's gone on in your life and i shouldn't have made the generalisation – i would have thought though that having had whatever experiences you've had might make you bit more empathetic! i dunno … i just think it would be very easy for me to get up on my high horse and say “well i've got through it, why the hell can't you? why are you so different?” and then i remember the days, weeks, months when it seemed like nothing could ever help and that i'd spend the rest of my life in some terrible black hole (i still get times like that, but less often these days) and i remember the teachers who locked me in my school boarding house for a week so i could detox (yes, really!) and turned a blind eye to certain things so i wouldn't have the rest of my life fucked up by having a criminal record, and my best friend's mum who gave me a place to escape to when i couldn't deal with being at home, and i feel very very lucky. [bloody hell, i should write all that on a piece of paper, keep it in my wallet and get it out and read it the next time i'm having a bad day!] maybe there are some people out there who are just self-indulgent and peversely enjoy having a miserable life, i dunno. i think i've only met one so far, and i know a lot of messed up people ;o)

  15. My life would be so much easier if alcohol was illegal – but it wouldn't be half as much fun for the rest of us. ~*hic*~

  16. I had the unfortunate need to go and get a prescription this morning. There were 2 things I hadn't counted on that would hold me up: 1) its thursday (pension day) and thus there were a lot of old folk out to pick up prescriptions and b) the junkies waiting for their methodone. These 2 polarised groups of society all queuing side by side in the pharmacy, with the gobby addicts giving grief to the pharmacist, and generally being noisy and the OAPs waiting quietly and patiently for their turn and to get out of there. Top that off with this being in Oxford and the pharmacy in one of the department stores that attracts a lot of tourists, so it was packed to the gills.I think anyone that has lost any vestige of respect for other people or sense of basic manners forfeits many of the things that make them human. It doesn't mean they're not human but it detracts from their humanity in my eyes.

  17. Heroin is evil, no way around it. It feeds on the weaknesses of those who face depression in their daily lives, and really does suck their souls and turn them into something inhuman. My sister got addicted to heroin at the age of 14. My family is loving and stable. There was nothing in her past that drove her away from us. At least not in her external environment. But depression is a powerful thing and makes it easy to fall prey to substance abuse. It was precisely because we love her that it was difficult to know her during that time. She had run away from home, and we were constantly worried if we would ever see her again, if she was hurt, if she was still alive. When she would appear at home, she was not the person we knew and loved. It was like that person had been buried underneath and if only we could shower her with more love, maybe one day she'd know it and come out again. But usually the love we gave her was “wasted”, and she would leave us again for the streets/hospital/streets. Speaking as a relative of an addict, and this will probably shock some of you, there were times that I wished she would just die and get it over with. Not because I hated her (although sometimes it felt like it), but because I loved her and missed her and wanted the suffering of my family and my sister to end. But thank God she didn't. She was wasting her life, but eventually, she came back to us. It was a bumpy road with lots of false starts, but she has been clean now for 6 years. She is in university and publishing her writing and has become a loving wonderful young woman. I still have anger at what happened to her and to our family. Alot of it rests with heroin. And for those of you that are shocked by Tom's comments, I have to say that I find them natural and familiar. These people are wasting their lives. But the important thing is that he takes care of them anyway. He treats them politely and tries his best. And the frustration with the waste wouldn't exist if there wasn't a love for humanity in the first place. I do believe that if we'd given up on my sister, she would have had no reason not to give up on herself. And I know that this doesn't work for everybody, but the chance is worth the effort.

  18. My contribution is slightly boring, but factual: a tried-and-tested finding in psychology is the “fundamental attribtuional error”, which claims that when we see someone in a particular situation (in this case addicted to drugs, life wasted) we tend to attribute the cause of that problem to the person rather than to the situation they are in or the context (so “it's their own bloody fault”) whereas people who are living the problem see the cause of the problem outside themselves, in the context or situation (“everything seems to go against me”, “I haven't got a choice”). This difference between actor and observer viepoints will always remain, reardless of what or whom you are judging. The person who recovered from speed and alcohol in the comments above understands the heroin addict better because he empathises and can see it too from the actor perspective. I can understand the feeling of having a problem that is “outside your control” too from experiences in childhood depression, another thing that is misunderstood if viewed by observers, i.e. people who have never been in that situation. I wonder if an ex-addict paramedic who witneses similar events on a daily basis shares Tom's view.

  19. I would put forward that “when she is stealing and lying to get her fix” she is no longer the person she was…

  20. This is making me feel a bit like I did at school – if you act up, do drugs, make a nuisance of yourself, then you'll get all the care and attention and fuss and support and rewards for behaving normally.Or you could keep quiet, be good, struggle through those black times without a single person knowing about it, make the effort, fight to build your own future by yourself… and think “why don't I screw up, then maybe I'll get some help here! I'm doing it by myself, despite extreme events and circumstances – why can't they?”

  21. I read to the bottom of the page and thought “but I hope he still treats them”, scrolled down and read

    It's on jobs like this that I rely on the training, and on my belief that, no matter how little I like the patient I'm treating, if I'm nice and polite to them it makes my life so much easier. I'll also treat them to the best of my ability, because anything else would just be wrong.

    There's no way you can avoid forming opinions about the people you have to treat, but it's great to hear that you don't let that get in the way of doing your best.

  22. But the problem isn't JUST their situation. The problem is also how they *chose* to try and deal with it. Or hide from it.What about the people abused through their childhoods and teen years, suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress and god knows what else, who get through without getting addicted to illegal drugs and committing all sorts of crime to satisfy their habit?

  23. “…My life would be so much easier if alcohol was illegal…” Man always what others must not have. It, booze running was very profitable for many of to-days leading citizens. UK and across the pond.

  24. Addicts? Bollocks to them. They made their choice, they can fecking lump it. One of my closest friends has a brother who (it was thought) was an ex-addict. He and his g/f moved to the other end of the country to escape the temptation. Apparently.She deliberately got herself pregnant so that he wouldn't leave her. Then mentioned that if he wanted to get back on H she'd join him. In other words, she wanted back on. In the meantime a beautiful little baby girl resulted – she's lovely.

    He collapsed last week with pleurasy. His mum shot up to the hospital where a lot of crap came out. He's been on H for months, as has his g/f (who's been shagging someone else behind his back). Their house is a fucking tip. The chances are they were both smoking the shit while she was pregnant.

    I know what he's like when he's high. That little baby is going to die if she's not taken away from them. She's inquisitive and gets everywhere if she's not looked after.

    People like them make me sick. Sure, you can argue they have a medical problem, an addiction, whatever.

    I. Don't. Care.

    There's a very young life at risk here, and she should be given a chance. That twat and his stupid girlfriend have had their chances and blew it. Let them die. Their parents would be more than happy to look after their grandchild (if they'd stop fighting with each other).

    Grr.

    *aaaannnd… breathe*

  25. errata Man always WANTS what others must not have. We were never promised a Rose Garden, we unfortunately all different, and in the end we must find for ourselves the solutions, it be great when there are others to help.Life is tough period.

  26. I appreciate your honesty. Addiction to anything – drugs, food, drink, painkillers, tv, the internet ad infinitum is generally an 'avoidance' of something. It's not so much changing your life – it's actually changing your self and that must be why so many addicts relapse. I can't think of anything worse than realising that the only person that can help you properly is yourself. That must be a very daunting prospect. Especially if you have spent your life avoiding/not liking yourself. Self destruction is so painful to watch at any age.

  27. Well, how is that carrying on though? That child needs to be taken to a place of safety – even if it is the social services – even if it is as a temporary measure. Heroin is an ultimately selfish drug and there is probably every reason to believe that drugs are coming first in that family. I can't bear it – no child should have to be a party to that.

  28. Whatever the circumstances everybody has choices. I can understand the frustration of someone who spends thieir days trying to save lives and then dealing with people mindlessly throwing theirs away.Pat

  29. Everyone has their own perspective of life which is developed in part by their own unique experiences. From my perspective, as someone who has never tried illegal drugs, I dont understand how a drug can turn someone inside out. Even though I was married to an addict, and witnessed it. I was there when the warning signs started. I was there when he shut out his family and friends. I was there when the only thing that mattered to him was getting high. I was there when the collectors called day and night because he had maxed out our credit cards with cash withdraws from ATMs. I was there when he shut me out. I left the night he became physically abusive. I left in an ambulance.During this time, and especially after, I would think about the bottle of vodka in the freezer. The very big and unopened, bottle of vodka. It has been 5 years, and I still have that same bottle of vodka in my freezer still unopened. I do drink alcohol, and I have on occasion drank way too much when out with my friends. And sometimes, when Im having a bad day Ill grab a beer from the fridge. But yet when things are dark, and I feel all alone that no one could possibly understand I dont reach for that bottle or any other drug. I cant tell you why. I cant tell you why my ex choose (yes, choose) drugs over his family and his wife who loved him, and who gave up a part of their lives to try and help him.

    But, I can tell you that Ive let go of the anger, and most of the guilt. Ive accepted that there will always be that little bit of pain left. I can tell you that the memories of finding him in the garage after he overdosed will never leave me, and also the day I looked at him and he did not seem human to me. I did not know who he was.

    It was surprisingly difficult explaining to the one person who truly knows what happened the night I left cuz he's the one who found me several hours later – slowly bleeding to death. He could'nt understand how I could let the anger go – how I could on any level forgive the monster – (his former best friend) who left me to die because he was late meeting his source. All I could tell him was that I was tired of carrying around the hate that was eating me alive. That in order to move on, it's what I had to do.

    Having said all of that – from my perspective the human spirit is an amazing thing. It can conquer most anything. It is present in everyone. The question, is weather or not a person is willing to find it in order to survive. Inspiration from a loved one may shorten the journey, but only if that person accepts it.

  30. i know this feeling having been in the same class as someone who used to cut their arms and then parade them round the classroom, whilst i was sat there with cuts on my legs that no-one would ever see or even knew existed, but i think you're making quite a sweeping generalisation there … *i* certainly didn't “act up” – nobody had any idea i was going into lessons half cut until my grades started slipping, and that wasn't for months. i drank vodka out of a mineral water bottle so that no-one would know. there was very little “fuss” – i had to do my gcse mocks like the rest of my year in the week that i was detoxing. maybe i wasn't “good”, but i certainly kept quiet and struggled through the black times alone, until someone put 2&2 together that is, & gave me help regardless of whether i wanted it or thought i needed or deserved it at the time. and what's wrong with accepting help if it's offered? i certainly didn't seek it – i felt really ashamed of what i was doing, but i couldn't stop.maybe some people do do drugs, make a nuisance of themselves etc to draw attention to their situation to get the help they need – what's so wrong with that? squeaky wheel gets the oil and all that. it's better than keeping it to yourself and continuing to be miserable, surely? the people who act out are generally just as scared and hurt inside as those who don't … they just deal with it in a different way. well, that's what i think anyway.

  31. There *is* something lacking in the humanity of addicts. They start self medicating for some issue. They screw up their lives. They screw up the lives of everyone around them. Then they get righteous about being called on it. Everything is someone else's fault. “Nobody helped me” they say, but usually a lot of people try at first, then give up after being screwed over repeatedly. It is a false life, lacking in the search for truth or understanding. It is slow suicide. And I never met an EMT yet who didn't have a grudge against attempted suicides either.I can pity addicts, give them good care, but do not ask me to like them or admire them.

  32. Thanks for sharing this with us. I'd like to know more. When you say you found him overdosed, do you mean he died? What was the drug he was addicted to? I suspect it was cocaine.

  33. This has been a really interesting stream of comments, thank you everyone who share their stories.Reynolds, relating to your original comments that sparked all this, everyone I speak to about wanting to become a paramedic tells me the job is all materna taxis, junkies and alcoholics. It hasn't made me change my mind. I still want to help them because they're among some of the most vulneable (maybe not materna taxis!). I can see that you find this frustrating at times, but the ability to maintain a professional attitude despite what your personal opinions are is something I would have thought was crucial to the job.

    Thanks for the snapshot of what you get up to.

    Travelling Punk

  34. Of course it's a generalisation. I don't know your case, nor do I need to.I think it's selfish of people who continually act up to think there's nothing wrong with them using up all the resources while, as stated in Reynolds' original post, someone who is really in need has to go without.

    I also think it's wrong of the people running schools and so on to be more focused on rewarding and encouraging the absolute horrors to behave like civilised human beings for half the time, while completely ignoring the ones who act like civilised human beings all the time.

    Although I suppose it's accurate preparation for the real world. Nice guys come last and all that. I must be less idealistic.

  35. An interesting word to use, “Choice.” I doubt very much that any one in their right mind would choose this kind of life, no more than they would choose any addiction. People don't wake up one day and say “im going to ruin my life today , jack me up!” Life is MUCH deeper than that.Why stop there, how about alcoholics, they don't contribute “something useful and productive to society” Nor do people with depression or any number of other diseases/mental problems etc. But hey, if they are not human and not in “our” society why bother with ambulances, social and mental health services. We could just shoot them all and be done with it. After all it is only human nature to destroy what we don't understand. NO.

    Addiction, alcoholism, depression and many other issues as im sure you know, are often all part of the same deeper problems, we will never solve these issues until the cycle of them/us stops.

    YOU COULD BE NEXT.

    If you are, I sincerely hope you receive the help you need.

  36. “Of course it's a generalisation. I don't know your case, nor do I need to”no, you're right, it's quite clear you've already made up your mind on this issue!

    i just don't things are ever that black & white, that's all. it would be a lot easier if they were, mind.

  37. “Of course it's a generalisation. I don't know your case, nor do I need to”no, you're right, it's quite clear you've already made up your mind on this issue!

    i just don't things are ever that black & white, that's all. it would be a lot easier if they were, mind.

  38. By even touching drugs you are *choosing* that life. Everyone knows what drugs do to you and everyone know how addictive they can be. People don't choose to be depressed or to suffer from other mental illnesses so that is a totally separate issue. People choose alcohol and drugs. Obviously they don't wake up one day and decide to ruin their life but when faced with a difficult time they choose the easy route. It doesn't matter how messed up someone's life is, there is never any excuse for becoming dependant on drugs or alcohol. There are so many people out there who have had sh*t lives and done their utmost to change things and they've come out on top, if one person can do it, anyone can, they just *choose* not to.

  39. no, things aren't black and white, and if I was *your* psychologist or *your* caseworker then I would keep my opinions to myself and give you the best professional care I could.As I'm not, and as this is a general discussion about addicts in general, then I will have a general opinion based on the cases I have worked with, heard about, studied or encountered personally.

    As far as black and white is concerned, one or two bits of shining white amongst all the grubby darkness doesn't make a vast amount of difference to the whole. I don't deny the existence of the “white” cases and I certainly don't deny a large amount of “grey”, however their existence will not make me close my eyes to the predominating “black”.

  40. The point I was trying to make is that to 'Choose' that life something must be wrong. To choose this judgement must be impaired. Unless this is evolutions way of getting rid of the 'scum' that crowds our streets. Your right, people don't choose to become mentally ill, but your wrong in saying they are different issues. They are often related. Like I said before anyone in their right mind would be unlikely to 'choose' this life. There are far more issues than a mere choice. Your right, there are no 'excuses' for becoming dependant on drugs or alcohol but to say its the easy route is wrong. It is often the ONLY route that seems available. Yes, people can come out on top with help and support. Unfortunately this seldom happens. IF ONE PERSON CAN DO IT ANYONE CAN. This goes both ways my friend. You, your friends, family and loved ones are not immune to any of this. Stick by them, help and support them. Always see them as the people they are, were and always will be. NOT THE DRUGS AND LIFE THAT HAVE TAKEN THEM OVER.

  41. Of course they don't wake up deciding to ruin their life, it's a very gradual process. But there is always an element of choice, even if it's between two evils (eg try heroin vs keep feeling this low).I've met plenty of people who feel like they cannot change their lives and that they would like to end it. They are suicidal and can see no way out. The usual reason they *don't* is because of someone else and the effect it would have on that person – “it would upset my mum” “such-and-such a teacher believes in me and I don't want to let them down” “how would my kids cope”. They CHOOSE between ending their personal pain, and hurting other people… or continuing to deal with their personal pain in the hope of things getting better.

    A person who becomes an addict isn't stupid. They have been exposed to the same media influences as the rest of us. They know certain drugs are addictive, cut with rubbish, damaging to the brain or the body. But they still try the addictive drug, either because they believe they're invincible (won't happen to me) or because, unlike the suicidal people I've mentioned above, they don't care about how it will affect anyone else (although they'll phrase it “no one else cares about me” which rarely turns out to be true). And as they do it, they are choosing.

    I realise this is an essay, but just one more point – I know a number of addicts who don't abuse anything. They are alcoholics and spenders and drug addicts. But they have identified the problem before it's got out of hand, realised that they are addicts, and CHOSEN to do something about it by themselves, rather than continue in a destructive cycle. They're the addicts I respect – not the ones pumping in more and more smack and insisting it's everybody else's fault.

  42. Yes. Thank you for the clarification. Recovering addicts do deserve admiration, as they wake and make better choices.

  43. Every one has valid points. The strange part of life is we are ALL different we would like to be Henry Ford Model T's, so that we can use the same remedies,parts to keep on the path of life.E.G. Cows milk can make some babies grow grow, others it fails, the baby need other foods.

    Unfortunatly so many of our defects be not seen or known 'til it be too late. Dungbeetle

  44. Every one has valid points. The strange part of life is we are ALL different we would like to be Henry Ford Model T's, so that we can use the same remedies,parts to keep on the path of life.E.G. Cows milk can make some babies grow grow, others it fails, the baby need other foods.

    Unfortunatly so many of our defects be not seen or known 'til it be too late. Dungbeetle

  45. Count yourself lucky you don't work in medical admissions where you have to be civil to the gits for a whole shift or so. Smile sweetly when the bastards rob other patients or disappear to meet their pusher in the carpark and shoot up in the visitors' bog. And you still feel obligated to smile when you bump into the twats in Tesco…

  46. Well, you have a problem with heroin addicts taking up valuable time and resources. I have a problem with a recovering heroin addict doing the same. If I have to listen to another navel gazing rant, in-depth step recovery prgramme update, I'll die of boredom.A close family member has done the brilliant thing of being clean for three years but in my cynical moments I understand why they where a heroin addict. They are so sensitive, to the point of excrutiation (made that word up?) that I can understand why they needed to numb themselves. Only now am I getting to know them, and as much as I love them, they bore me to tears. So when you meet a heroin addict, or any addict, bear in mind that many of these people really do find life hurful and difficult. You may not have the patience for them but that's the way they are.

    In the beginning I hated what he was doing to himself and I tried everything from tough to tender love but I realised that I needed to just be there for him.

    Now, I dread meeting up with him, really, he is so tuned into himself, and only himself, that I've begun to think that heroin was the only way he could deal with the reality of life. Don't know what I'm trying to say really. But there is it is.

  47. hey debbie, i don't find life hurtful – granted i wish i never took opiates in the first instance but i'm a stable methadone addict now – i work i contribute i go to art galleries i don't drink, smoke i'm and i'm relatively happy. A lot of junkies are fucking arseholes but don't tar us all with the same brush!

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