Tag Archives: Heroin

East Coast Smile

Did he make it? I think he did, I rejoice in him when I see him. There is a look of caring about him. His eyes are brighter, clearer. The color of his skin is healthy. His teeth are new and white and even. They accent the big smile of triumph and happiness on his lips! There is a twinkle in his eye and a lilt of excitement in his voice. There is complete joy and gratefulness in his heart. There is a sense of freedom that surrounds him. It is fresh and catching, that feeling of freedom and newness that oozes from him.

It was the hardest thing he ever had to do, this gaining freedom. He had been captured. Yes, captured and wrapped up tight. So very tight. He and his loved ones had thought the knots would never be able to be loosed. They had given up. He had even given up all hope of a cure as he knew there was none. Or a reprieve from it and the road to hell it had led him and his down.

He began as a child. He folks’ were of a notorious biker group. They were the rough and ready type, not just recreational bikers. The bikers of the 60’s. He was raised around the partying and drugs and became addicted to heroin as a pre-teen. They allowed it. They allowed him access to it and did not care. They were in their own little world then and did not look to the future. Someone shot him up, I don’t know who as he never said. He learned to do it himself. He smoked it. It was the number 1 most important thing in his life. He fought at different times to come “clean” and stay that way. It never seemed to work, for long anyway.

When I first met him, my impression was that of a rough guy with an East Coast accent. Nice looking guy, except his teeth. I was introduced to him at one of my husband’s rehab meetings. They became friends. They connected. They were both clean and sober.

Over the next few years, my husband relapsed. But his friend did not. The East Coast guy went to every meeting and even started going to church and praising God in every way for his freedom and new life. His wife and family life were happier, he was happy too. His work was coming along well. He had more money. He got a beautiful new set of teeth. His smile was even prettier!

He had made it. It gave me hope that somehow my husband would again, “make it.” I was happy that he called him a few weeks back, thinking good, he is a good influence. My husband looked up to him. I was happier still when he phoned again, thinking maybe he is getting through to my husband. I was doubtful when the next time he called, my husband left the house. A week later, when he called our home 3 times in a row, I was skeptical.

An hour later the phone rang. As he spoke with my husband, I looked out the window. Rain was coming down hard and I saw East Coast leaning up against our front fence talking on his cell phone. Then my husband went outside in the pouring rain, wearing my pink rubber shoes on his feet to meet his friend underneath a tree that shaded them like an umbrella.

It really struck me! When my husband came back inside, the anger poured out from my heart and mouth. “What are you doing?” and “Don’t you be a part of his relapse!” and “Oh, my God!” The grief that followed surprised me.

East Coast with his beautiful new smile and freedom had relapsed. I thought he wouldn’t. Somehow his sobriety had become a symbol of hope to me. Now that was crushed. Did he make it? I thought that he had, but not this time. I sincerely hope and pray that he does again. I hope he makes it for good next time. I hope there is a next time.


My Story ~ Anon

Written and contributed by Anonymous Author

Here is my story, its not my opinion and it is not to be taken as advice, it is merely what I was like, what happened and what I’m like now. I am going to share my experience, strength and hope with you.

I was an only child raised in an alcoholic home, I had a crappy childhood and it was the perfect excuse to use for getting wasted.

I always said I had a good 11 years of sobriety and then I turned 12.

The first time I drank I wound up in hospital with alcohol intoxication, and that is what my drinking and using was always like for me – chaotic. I drank and used not for fun, but for oblivion, I could not deal with life or myself or school or anything, if I was happy or sad, if something good happened or if something bad happened whatever happened I needed to get loaded and high. It did not happen slowly for me I charged full force into a life filled with fear, abandonment, regret, guilt and a serious need for attention. I craved attention from people so badly I would do anything to get it, sleep with them, lie to them, whatever it took, just to feel wanted even if it was just for an instant.

I completely rebelled against everything and everyone – it was like I was absent the day they handed out books on life – I had no clue and I had no one to teach me.

I was young and filled with fear and hatred for myself. I wanted to be anyone but me and using and drinking gave me that ability. I grew up way to fast – I had seen and done more degrading and despicable things by the time I was 16 years old than most people have done in a lifetime, not to say that I am any more special or my story is worse than yours. When I was 16 I was admitted to rehab for 3 months, I weighed 42kg and was so strung out on crack and heroine, that my first week of detox in rehab was one big blur of shivering, shaking and vomiting. I was fed methadone and valium so I didn’t die from cold turkey. I finished up my stint in rehab and as soon as I got out I was up to no good all over again, I always knew I had a problem, but I didn’t care. I never again touched heroine, but the drinking and using everything else that was available was a norm for me.

I had a part time job and I dropped out of school when I was 17, I partied and some of what I do remember was fun, it wasn’t all bad, but it was completely destructive, every time something was going well or my relationships with others were going well – I would mess it up, no matter how or what, I found a way to destroy anything good in my life.

When I was 18 I got involved in a relationship and it seemed to fill the empty void I always felt that I had, but that too could only last so long until I destroyed that too.

I was unable to be honest about anything to anyone, no matter how close they were to me and no matter how much they cared about me, no one could ever know my secrets, and all I wanted to do was forget and so I did.

More lies and destruction until one day after so many rock bottoms I woke up in my care and looked in the mirror and said to myself this is not a way to live, this is a way to die and in that very moment I knew I wanted to care, I wanted to be “normal” I needed help……

I joined a 12 step program and attended meetings regularly and they always kept telling me if you want what we have then you must be willing to go to any length to get it, but I wasn’t. I kept going to meetings, but I couldn’t stay clean, I lied because it was the only thing I knew how to do, I had no idea what honesty was or how to be honest, I couldn’t even admit to myself who I was or the things I had done, it was too despicable to bare, not that I even knew who I was in the first place.

I did however learn a lot in the fellowship, I learned that I was not actually a bad person; I was just a very sick person. I had an illness, I had a disease it was known as alcoholism / addiction which is a mental obsession coupled with a physical allergy, the obsession being that I could control it, that I could handle just one hit/drink and then once I had the first one, my allergy would kick in and I would be powerless to stop myself. This is known as insanity, doing the same thing and expecting a different result, my result was always the same, everyone else would have fun and say they had had enough and I would end up in Hillbrow (a not so nice area in Johannesburg), wake up in strange places with strange people not knowing what I had done and hating myself even more, the words “I’ve had enough” did not exist in my vocabulary.

I could not live with the drugs and booze anymore but I couldn’t live without them, I could do nothing without a fix, I couldn’t brush my teeth, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t have a conversation with another person, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I wanted it all to end; I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I managed to start learning how to be honest, but I could never do it completely, only about certain things and I would always have my secrets, sometimes I think I may die with all my secrets never being able to share them.

I have hurt and taken for granted every good person in my life.

I now have a beautiful wife who loves me so much and I her, yet I still manage to deceive her, I still cannot tell her things I have done, but not to deliberately hurt her, but because I thought just one, what could really happen that would be that bad……well one day I woke up after one of those and I had no idea what happened, but I knew that feeling, that horrible feeling in the pit of stomach that I had done something terrible again and I had, I don’t remember and still don’t, but I had too much GHB (sometimes known as the date rape drug) and that is exactly what happened, I probably wasn’t raped because it was more than likely me that provoked the situation and even though I know if I were sober it would never have happened, I violated myself, I allowed myself to get so out of it that something like that could happen to me.

I thought I could pretend that everything was ok, but I couldn’t and I ended up taking more and more and more and by the time my wife came home on the Sunday, I was completely out of it and she knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t tell her and the guilt and the regret was too much.

The next day I went to work, still completely out of it, I was sent home and the next day I was sent for blood tests, thank goodness they came back negative, but it was the start of me losing my job and a few months later I did.

I sat at home wallowing in my self pity, hating myself, feeling useless. I had so many things to pay off and no job, I was about to lose my house, my car, my relationship, my life and then what do I do? Well being the typical addict that I am, I think oh well it can’t get much worse, let me hit the crack pipe again, just a few hits and it will all go away and I can get my mind off things and then start looking for a job after I’ve had my release from reality. Well I managed to ruin my wife’s birthday, I smoked away her birthday present, I smoked away nearly everything I had of value that she wouldn’t notice and then thought right, enough is enough now – pull yourself towards yourself and do what you gotta do to come right.

I admitted what I had done to my wife and she understood and was angry and sad – I had hurt her and betrayed her so badly, but she stood by me. I cleaned myself up, got a great job and started working the program, but I couldn’t be honest, I had manipulated and lied to everyone for so long, what would they think if I came clean now?

So I still live with the shame and the guilt, but slowly I start revealing things to her and she sticks by me, she accepts me with my faults and me defects and my lies and she loves me and I am eternally grateful and blessed to have someone like that in my life.

One day I will be completely honest and I will tell her everything, but for now, baby steps for me, I need to learn how to walk before I can run, I need to learn about myself, who I am, what I want and I do it just for today, I can’t worry about tomorrow or I will use, I can’t regret yesterday or I will use, I am happy with who and what I am today and just for today I am clean and sober.

I hope this helps anyone who thinks that what they have done can never be forgiven, as long as you can forgive yourself and accept what has happened to you and take responsibility for your actions, then there is hope. I have also learned that I cannot do it alone, I may not need another person to help me, but I need a belief in a power greater than myself, I am not talking religion, I am talking about a spiritual belief (a higher self so to say) and it is the connection I have with this higher power of mine and the will and the want to live that I am alive and happy today.

It is not all roses and nothing is simple and sometimes there are days when I don’t think I can go on, but I do, even if it is just for another hour or minute, I put one foot in front of the other and I ask my higher power for help.

I say the serenity prayer over and over and I will leave you with these words:

Grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference.

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Into Oblivion

Written and contributed by  oracleofthepearl 


She died last week. I think she was just a few years older than myself.

The word on the street is she’s been doing it with them. The same “them” your husband’s hanging around with.

Now a few of them have given you confirmation of what they’ve all been doing.

As you yourself told me, you knew it all along. But you’d hoped. You can always hope it’s not that bad.

Well, how else could you live with it?

I remember once long ago, looking at her—her pallid face, the sometimes almost-allure of her mysterious darkness…what was it?

Her odd hours and sleep patterns. The way she was there, yet not there.

So white, she was.

I remember I thought, “She looks like a junkie”.

She had Diabetes. She bore damage from that—neuropathy in her legs, for starters. She said she lived with pain, everyday. And everyday, she ate painkillers. The serious kind.

She openly said she was addicted, and what are you going to do? / the pain was just a fact of life / she couldn’t live with it without the drugs.

She had three children, not quite grown.

Isn’t this the story I heard from my other friend all those years ago?

Another one with permanent pain and the knowledge that IT made it ALL go away, easy.

Well, I never thought he hated it or anything. Of course he didn’t. Of course he wasn’t even using it for the pain. Yet….he was one with pain, for sure.

I remember once walking together on the beach, me clipping along at a moderately brisk pace, and him stopping long before I was winded.

“Please. You have got to slow down for me” he said.

I didn’t get it at first…I thought I was just in better shape than he, which seemed funny as I seemed always to be laboring to keep up with my male friends.

He mentioned the twenty-two tumors he’d once had in his legs. Told me there was damage. Pain. Walking hard set it off.

I had given him grief for being in such poor shape that I was leaving him behind….

I cringed then, remembering that I’d known the extent of the cancer he’d beaten. He looked healthy. It was startling, looking at him as somehow fragile.

That’s when he told me about the Heroin. Just once in a while, when the pain was really bad, and always only under the skin.

I accepted it, well, what would you do? I wasn’t living with his beasts.

This, from my friend. The one I admired. The one I spoke secrets to. The first ever to read my words. The first to encourage me, to teach me.

The one I’d laid with, who like a brother, never touched me. The first, that way also.

He was the one to see me, to hear me, to know something in me no one else did.

My friend, my brother for a little while, a soul brother, and brother to the one I wanted. The only connection I could keep to one who wanted something I was no part of. His connection to this one so strong as to be almost tangible to me, in his presence.

What was in it for him? Although we had a bond, I now understand he wasn’t in it to be my “brother”. He had to have hated me sometimes for my lack of grace where he was concerned. I never once meant to be that way, but I’m sure he heard an earful and bit his own tongue until it bled.

My friend, who was brilliant. Poet, music maker, artist, Father, friend, seeker. son.

I got a call from him after a long absence, asking me for help. Asking me to take him somewhere.

I tried, I really did. He asked me to give him some guidance. What would you do? I was too close, I was too timid. I knew this. I was younger than now, less tough, more worried about offending with the truth.

I also knew he had no other connection than me at this point, for his tenuous reaching to some way out.

So, I tried.

I had to admit then, that I was not the one for the job….

How do you tell one you look up to that they don’t know what’s best for them?

Because he didn’t.

Much later I got a call from him once again. About to complete his second tour of rehab, he was afraid to go home. He wanted one thing—for someone clean to come stay with him for two weeks. He said that he was sure that if he could just get through those first two weeks home, he could make it. If he could only just know there would be another there.

Living in another state, with a whole new life, and a man who would never have understood, I declined.

I will never forget this moment. I will never not wonder, at all the things I tried to say, but failed at, and the time, this last time, that he asked for something and I refused.

Because the truth is that I was afraid. I could not speak all my truths, to him, or anyone else, after all. I knew if I had gone, I would have failed at any purpose for being there.

I honestly can’t say now how much later it was that his brother called me. It could have been a year, two, or three.

His voice sounded strangled, wrecked, half there. Very quietly anguished. “J died” he told me.

The rest is so blurry; I don’t even know what he said, although I remember some of the information. I must have called him again to understand better what had happened, because from the moment he said it I felt underwater.

It felt the death of so much.

My friend, who I knew not any longer, and now never would again.

My mentor, soul brother. My liason to another–how strange, and even embarrassing that that should be part of the hurt. And here was that other with the news like a hard rain. I could hear it in his voice. He was slapped down hard, flat.

I felt strangled myself, for this one felt things I couldn’t possibly. I wanted, needed, to comfort, the only thing I could offer, and yet I could not. I could do nothing for that but leave him to hang up and be with his grief, his life, his loss, and his wife. She/he did not need the kind of comfort I would offer.

I was outside.

Another person I would hold my truth from. Another that nearly slipped away to Oblivion himself.

This was the end. There was nothing to come in the way of closure. There was to be no service at all. And for me, no commiserating with others, no wake, no recalling the things he’d said and done, no montage of pictures for people to look at together. Someone was kind enough to send me two pictures to remember him by and I still have them. All contact stopped there.

It was as though he had never been, nor anything connected with him.

Could anything I could have done have ever made a difference? If I had been brave enough, strong enough, to try harder to reach him, would it have mattered?

Probably not. How do you know when you have done all you can? It’s not as though I never tried at all.

What I do also know is this—

I did not want to alienate him. How could I be of any help if I drove him away?

But perhaps more important to me at the time was just that I didn’t want to lose him.

Well, I lost him. We all did.

What burned in me to speak to him, went largely unsaid. That I loved him and knew that he would die if he continued. That his two small children would grow up with no Father. That I wanted him to stop, whatever it took, and anything less was unacceptable and suicidal. That I would be right there, anyway I could, if he needed me. My convictions wavered when I tried. Maybe I didn’t know a thing about what he needed, after all? Maybe I just didn’t think I had the right. Maybe I was afraid of his rejection and retreat from me. I retreated myself instead.

Then he was gone.

I realize that I had little control over where he chose to go with his particular demon. He knew the demons name. And he didn’t or couldn’t banish it.

Always I’ve known, that I will just never know. I only know I didn’t say what I needed to, for fear. And I can’t do that over.

I think of him often now, and I practice telling my truth, lest I lose the chance again.

Girl, what will you regret not saying? Doing? You hope, you pray, you worry, you imagine. But now you know.

I’ve been watching. Here I am wondering what I should say/not say. Again.

What will you choose?

For two that I loved–

She Comes For You

She comes for you, your open arms

Promising dreams for your sleep

Never to tell you the price of her love

Rocking you endlessly

Away, away

You were gliding away

From me on a beautiful horse

Sublime the grace

Of painlessness

Riding so effortlessly

She came to you again and again

With solace like no one else

Ever so sweet the song she sings

Making all into a dream

Did you see me waving as you rode on her back

Did you see me on the hill

I waited a long time for you to come down

And now you never will

Away, away

Riding away

From me on a beautiful horse

Hold on tight

No pain tonight

Flying so easily

Away, away

She runs in the dark

Away she will take you and all that you love

Away she flies with all that you’ve known

Never to bring you home.

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Heroin Charly

Written and contributed by Girlswithoutshoes

His name is Heroin Charly and he helped to kill my husband. I don’t mean that my husband is physically dead, at least not yet. It was only a matter of time in my opinion. I mean how many 60 year old junkies do you see walking around? Not many if you think about it.

Charly was not really the blame, at least not by himself. He was killing himself too. You can always blame the “Pusher Man” (remember that old song?), or you can blame the drug itself. You can even blame genetics if it makes you feel better, after all it is a disease. You can blame your wife, your life, your job or your God. It really comes down to choice. Blame the choice, and that is all.

Not being an actual addict, you would think I could not possibly understand. Oh how wrong. I have lived with it in my life for 35 years. I have watched it change from a “softer” drug to the hardest possible. I have helplessly watched those choices change. I have watched the man himself change, slowly morphing into someone else, with only occasional traces of the original guy left.

I watched it, fought it, despised it, and cried over it. I intervened. It worked for a very short time. Then along came relapse, an ugly monster. I was no match for any of this and I knew it. I was tired.

Away, he went. I sent him away from me. Out of my face. I cannot watch it anymore, cannot live with it in my face anymore. For some years I was told , “You hold the key.” When I used the key, I was told, “you can’t bail out now.” “Oh watch me,” I cry, “just watch me.” …… “But it is a disease, he needs your support…..” “Where was my support for 35 years?”, I cry.

I enjoy the quiet, enjoy the air smelling sweeter. I take back my home and hang new curtains, change something, anything. I feel more relaxed. I write and then write some more. I find something inside of me awakening, almost blossoming. No, not mid-life crisis, just………possibilities. That is it. Hope. I feel giddy sometimes with hope and possibilities for my future. I also feel selfish, but know that is the demon side of his addiction. It is not my addiction, though I played a role. Now I have stepped out of my designated role. That is what my best friend told me. She is right.

When I see him, he looks sick. He looks like crap. I feel sad for him, so very sad that he has wasted his life. I feel sad that his possibilities are squashed, like a bug, by The Choice. My heart wrenches some, but my heart does not have too many wrenches left in it. A heart can actually become “wrenched out”, so to speak.

A good captain goes down with his ship. I am not a captain and he is not my ship, but captain of his own ship. I do not hold the “Key”, at least not for him. Only for myself. He holds his own “Key”. Now it remains to be seen what he chooses to do with that “Key”.

I saw Heroin Charly yesterday. I tried not to look at him, but he approached me. In his hand, he held a long stemmed pink rose that he had picked from someone’s yard. He reached out his hand and offered me the rose. I hesitated, and then took the rose. Charly said, “Be careful, watch out for the thorns.” His eyes were full of meaning. Maybe it was guilt, or sadness, or understanding, after all he did not ask to be an addict either. I looked at him square in the eye and said, “Thank you Charly, I always watch out for Thorns.” I took the rose and turned and walked away. I deserved that rose. I am, after all, a Heroin Widow.

*original post Heroin Charly



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How Battle Stories Started

Jani just turned 43, she has 5 children and is the sole bread winner for her family.  Each day she goes to homes to clean in order to make enough money to feed her children and to put them through school.  Her eldest, Ami, was just 21 when a friend of hers uttered the words “Come on just one hit, feel what I feel, it will take all your worries away”.  She took the hit and her life will never be the same again.

She is now 24 married with a child but her story is far more dark than the surface belays.  Tik is the drug of choice in Cape Town and is gaining popularity country wide.  Made from a mix of over the counter drugs including normal sinus medication it is cheap and therefore more accessible to the general public, especially the poorer communities.

It grabs you and holds you captive much like Heroin, first hit and you are hooked, it brings you heaven and then hell.  It sucks your body dry and at the same time alters your personality so much that you lose hold of love or hope, emotions don’t exist further than your next hit.

It took a weekend filled with Tik, rape, gang rape and more drugs for Ami to eventually crawl home to her more than distraught family and plead with them to help her.  She said she would go clean but knew she couldn’t do it alone, the pull was too strong, so she got her parents to book her into a facility.  Her parents took her in their arms and carried her to the rehab which cost R250. 3 days work for her mother, 3 days of food away from the other kids but they did it because they loved their daughter as if their own lives depended on it.  The family all started pulling together to the point that even the young ones tried to do extra odd jobs to bring in more money to help Ami.

Eventually after a lot of trauma Ami was released, she was stronger, brighter and she was clean.  Soon other families heard of her healing and sought her out to speak to their children, friends of friends spoke with her and heard her story.  Her story is unknown to many but it needs to be told for it holds so much hope, so much truth of the reality in Tik use and what it does not only to the user but the very people they love.

Her story needs to be told along with all other Tik survivors, the story must get out in order for it to help more people. Families who have been touched by Tik both in the present and past need to hear it. Users both present and past need to hear the story so that they can see that it is possible to come through the other side and breathe, that they do have a choice and that they can do it.

I spoke to Jani today and I told her this, I told her that her daughter is an inspiration, that she and her family are inspirations.  I then told her that there are so many out there with similar stories, if we could find them and get them to write down their stories perhaps they could save more lives.  So we agreed again.  She is now going to speak to the other families and the ex users and ask them if they would like to write about their experiences.  The ex users about their experiences, how they got started, what happened during using and how they got clean.  Their families about what it did to them, how they handled it, what they would’ve done differently and how it felt to have their family member back home.

This book will start out just being about Tik but I feel that it can also move into all drugs, stories of surviving and coming clean, experiences and the truth.

Ultimately about the truth, the whole truth and not the gloss.

I now open it up to you. If you have ever used Tik or any other drug, know of someone who might want to contribute, if you are a family member or friend of someone that is currently or has used in the past we would like to hear from you. If you are interested, want more information or would like to contribute your story you can send an email to sanityf@gmail.com and I will respond respectively.

With your help perhaps we can make a dent in this epidemic…

There is no going back

Anti Tik Campaign Short Advert

Unreported World: Lost Generation Pt 1 of 3

Unreported World: Lost Generation P2 of 3

Unreported World: Lost Generation Pt 3 of 3

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