Hi, and thank you for dropping by. As you may know, the first 22 posts of this blog are the text of my ebook, 'How To Become A Crack Addict' (Jan to April 2013), which you can read here, or buy as an ebook or kindle on amazon, if your morals allow it. Since then, this blog has been the general musings of me, Benjamin of Turnham Green, an escapee from the grips of a hideous fifteen-year addiction. The title of the blog might now really reflect the content now, although it is still, as much as ever, part of the narrative that began way back, and I hope you find it vaguely interesting. I have just made a discovery, which this posting is about.
HUMAN BEINGS ARE GOOD
Yes, after years of research into the darkside, I am coming to realise that some human beings are good. I guess it's possible that all are, except for the fact that they were got at, damaged, vandalised, misled, abused at some point, and they became infected, like a computer, with various viruses and malware. Addiction, I feel now, was like a virus in me - time was, only a year or two ago, when I felt predisposed, programmed, compelled, to go and score crack regardless of the situation in the fridge, regardless of whether I had other arrangements, regardless also of whether I could 'afford' it. It was priority one, whatever else what going on in the world, whatever responsibilities I might've had. I don't say this with any pride, or glee - now, it seems a bit like a different world, a darker world, like a dream, half-remembered, or rather a nightmare, one that leaves you feeling troubled and unsettled the whole ensuing day.
One can talk about addiction in the same way one lives it (in circles) - what came first the drug or the hole it seems to fill, however fleetingly. Now, though, I am gradually finding that life is, and has been, going on around me for over a decade. I've begun writing again, performing a little bit of comedy, and even working in my local charity-shop, which is full of such a broad spectrum of people that I think if it were an actual rainbow, there would be everything from infrared to ultraviolet, and new shades either side. A dance-tutor, a student from Luxembourg, an ex-Welsh miner, a retired Spanish teacher, and a couple of people who have 'had issues', not unlike my own, it would seem. All in all, the vibe is good. My eye condition, which amongst other things, includes very dry eyes, and limited sight, doesn't seem to like the dry, dusty environment, and I've been struggling with this for a few weeks now, but I'm determined to weather it, find a solution, because, already, I'd miss the company and the sense of functionality I get from being there. Ah, how nice it is to have a sense of functionality - I think everyone should have one. Also, my problems, although not gone, are getting more and more first-world as the weeks go by - I live in one of the richest countries in the world, and, even with a Conservative government, still find I'm pretty well-catered-for, although I know plenty of people who aren't. Like many sane people, I hope this current shower (government) are ousted in May, but there's nothing controversial about that.
Even as I write, my eyes are extra-blurry, feel very dry, and I don't know how they will be tomorrow, or in the days ahead, but I want so much to continue at the charity-shop that I'm willing to weather it as long as I can. Already, I've been to a nice birthday-party, and there's a leaving-do next week, which will be sad, but social, and meaningful. These people have mostly been working there a few years or more, yards from where I was skulking around trying to score, hoping to score, having scored, not wanting to be seen or known. Life was ticking along all around me, and I, as if in a darkened cloud, wandered back and forth, perhaps with the odd odd look, but more than likely without making much of an impact at all. But I'm glad that dark cloud has dissipated, at least so far...
I actually get a sense of satisfaction and 'integration' out of being among people, not all of whom have been scraping around using crack for years - steaming a dress with a hissing snake-neck steamer is quite a satisfying task, as is learning to use a till, and giving the customer the right change, and putting a different CD on when the music stops. Today, we had Ray Charles on, which a woman commented on, and I think he made for good retail music, as we sold quite a lot this afternoon. And there I was, on my stool, behind the counter, chatting with my Spanish colleague, and others as they dotted by. What's more, they seem to like me. I, in particular in the years of my addiction, was a very unreliable, secretive, thoughtless, and ashamed individual, treading water frantically for no change. But now, I don't know how, I genuinely feel like I can go forward, without living in terror of relapse, or going back into that trench of an existence, where only slithering things exist, hissing and jeering from cracks in floor (but not like a steamer). The steamer is a virtuous serpent, a vacuum-like head on a snake-neck, with a tank of boiling water being sensibly dispensed up the tube, to cleanse a garment.
I could try to make out that I have been steamed, cleansed, but that would be crass. But I don't feel quite so grubby as I did, creased and crumpled. For years, I didn't think anyone would want to pick me up off the floor, let alone look at me, spend time with me. Now, I don't feel quite so bad about things, sitting behind the counter, knowing how to use a till, saying hello and goodbye to people, and being as sure as one can be that I'll be there next week, rather than down an alley round the corner.
Bizarre the change from the chaos to the counter in the charity bazaar.
Oh dear, that sounds like a bit of an overambitious attempt at a phrase. Anyway, I hope you're ok, and if you're not, one thing I can tell you is that if you are somewhere that seems to have no door, no hope of escape, that might not be the case - if you've been told addiction is a disease, or are using this phrase to condemn yourself to a terminal ending, I would like the suggest that addiction is a decision, a set of choices. I thought, at my worst, that it was happening to me, but I was the author of it all. I hope that doesn't sound crass, because one thing I'm not is a paragon or saint. But, for the first time in years, struggling in many ways as I still am, I'm relieved, perhaps even pleased, to have a chance at life. Even at my worst, I had more than many - now, I feel unburdened, and hope I can be a more altruistic person from now on.
There's more I could say, but won't now.
Thanks for dropping by, and here, as usual is a link to one of my songs on youtube, which I'd be chuffed if you'd like to listen to...just click on the title here...Tarantula