A little bit of balance, scales settling tonight.
One one of Australia's wet edges, a junkie prepares to go under the knife. To have her twelfth, or is it thirteenth, naltrexone implant placed inside her. The rest are still there, stillborn, they are never removed.
And I read recently of a woman in China, 90 years old, and they found a fossilised fetus inside her. She had been pregnant 60 years before, and the baby never came out. Somehow she put it out of mind, and inside it fossilised. Stone baby, they called it. (The woman who made stone soup).
And a decade ago I swallowed a bunch of bags, 94 of them, and only ever retrieved 89.
There are things inside we have no control over, that change our destinies. The thing inside that makes our outsides behave differently.
And I wonder if there was ever more to Milan Kundera than his name]
On the furthest edge from her, across a thousand abandoned swimming pools and over ten thousand streets with broken lamps, another junkie is sitting in a doctor's room, negotiating an increase in his methadone supply. He is surprised to learn, after fifteen years being dosed, that you can now have a big increase for a couple of days then back down to a lower dose. This was not the way things were done when he started on the program in the 90s. You were made aware that you ere only being dosed under sufferance. And the chemists reminded you daily - your first chemist, Taringa Day and Night Pharmacy, had a nazi chemist (that adjective is used more with methadone chemists even than with parking inspectors I have found) that would never dose you whilst someone else was in his shop. So you could turn up at 8am, a full thirty minutes before he opened the doors, just to show them you were more than on time, and yet you would not walk out dosed until 9am.
This wasn't so great when you had no car and your work was a half hour's walk away, and your starting time was 8:30am.
His excuse had been 'I don't want to embarrass you by dosing you in front of someone'. Being a junkie looking for assistance was something to be ashamed of. You should hide it.
His philosophy had one use. If you wanted to start using again, it was the perfect impetus. No dealer made you feel embarrassed to score. Using was a business transaction, removed of any moral element.
So on two sides of this nation we approached our own personally chosen methods of abstinence. Hers would definitely result in no gear use - that was a chemical reality. My way you could still 'choose to use', but you would be choosing out of desire to sedate rather than as an escape from sickness. It would feel like more of an actual choice than an impulse or a response.
This was in the week that I discovered Band of Horses had recently released their Infinite Arms album. I was listening to them after overdosing on Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown for two months. And I was finding them a little too close to LRB or Neil Young or country to be entirely comfortable with them. But by the time I was adjusting my dose from 7.mg to 30mg (for two days) then back to 15mg, I was starting to accept and hum along.
It was the week I had admitted I had a habit out loud, to my dealer. My first habit in a few years I said.
"Oh, sorry" said the dealers on/off strobing girlfriend. Sorry, like she had something to do with it. I thought about my statement and amended.
"I mean, the first time my addiction has shifted from methadone back to gear". Because it was the truth. I had been addicted to methadone or gear for twenty years. Gear was illegal and therefore expensive, so I chose methadone mostly. But gear is the one you go back to, the one you take for, well, not enjoyment, perhaps closer to satisfaction. Satiate, satisfy, all the Latin roots.
I told her, L, that she had nothing to apologise for.
It was the week that UK group Transform released a paper summing up drug responses "after the War on Drugs". Obama was the first US president to not push the War on Drugs rhetoric in forty years. At times I had described myself as a soldier or a casualty of said war, and when I put on my GDR surplus army coat I felt very much the part.
Sidelined not by addiction but by a moralistic approach to addiction. An adult life filled with poverty and fear as a result of outmoded and pointless policies, mimicking the US approach for no good reason.
The report is full of clear and simple analysis. Removed from a moralistic (that word again!) interpretation, it looks at how to treat the issue of drugs. Harm minimisation is a buzzword I heard in the early 90s and it is in this document. Why? Because that's the sanest way to approach the issue.
The saddest thing is that there is not much in this document that I did not know by 1994, after a couple of years of using. Most damage from illegal drugs occurs as a result of their illegality, not as a result of inherent properties of the drug. Cigarettes and alcohol cause much more harm in our society than gear and pot.
Read the doc here. There's an executive summary and a detailed report. I'm reading the detailed one this weekend.
As I adjust to a life without gear, again. On 30mg of legal, liquid sedation.
Synchronicity. I was rambling through the net the other day, from a tech article, then I hit 'Next Blog' , read of a girl who enjoyed being collared, literally. Read more of her stuff (who can stop after such an introduction?). Found her being heartfelt, sometimes painfully so. One article discussed how the film '500 Days of Summer' had changed her life, being so close to her own life.
So tonight I put it on, and it opens with some Regina Spektor. And I thought of diverging time lines. That time a month ago when I was in Adelaide, standing outside (yes outside! I had caught a free tram ) the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and literally swayed back and forth with desire to go and see Regina. I had the money to but two tickets, but this would mean not scoring upon my return.
One life I went to the concert, was inspired and cleaned up my act. You know, like in a story or a movie.
Another life, I went back to the hotel, $200 in my pocket, and continued using until found dead in a bedsit six years later.
I don't know which one of these paths I went down, if any, but I love the synchronicity that links a random blog to a song to an event in my life. Such stuff knits the fabric of my days together.