YESTERDAY I DUG OUT my old £30 ($44.70) Spanish Linguaphone course and had a bash at hablando en español. I did moderately well. Spanish is "cognate" with French (both languages being forms of "baby Latin") and I have a French A level (higher school certificate). But a lot of the little words you'd use day-to-day are different. Eg bed = le lit = la cama; apple = la pomme = la manzana; town = la ville = la ciudad; suitcase = la valise = la maleta and so on. Other day-to-day words are cognate with the French but not English eg customs (at the airport) = la douane = la aduana. But the higher vocabulary is similar to both English and French eg electricity = l'électricité = la electricidad; Liberty - Equality - Fraternity = liberté égalité fraternité = libertad igualdad fraternidad.
As far as I know, Spanish is the easiest major language for native speakers of English, after Italian (Italy is one European country I'd really like to go to. The Hungarian support worker at Binky's halfway house says the Italians "have everything: beautiful countryside, beautiful art and the cities: Venezia, Bologna, Milano, Napoli, Roma...
All I have seen of Spain is a tiny part of the Costa del Sol around Málaga: Mijas Costa, the (inland) clifftop town of Rhonda... I have spent just under an hour in Madrid, where I left the railway station to wonder at the vastness of the city stretched out on the plain below me as far as the eye could see... oh yes and Algeciras and the boat to Tangier from where I took the trains to Marakech, Fez, Rabat and Oujda but my 1991 Moroccan adventure is another story...
¡Well my depression seems to have cleared! ¡And I actually felt a rush of Spanish-induced excitement! ¡¡Wow!! ¿Do you like my Hispanic upside-down punctuation marks? Bloody hell I'm glad that shitty mood has cleared. Some days last week I was starting to feel truly horrendous. I phoned my folks who seemed to think the dismal voice was drug-induced. But I was wide awake and a hell of a lot more cheerful than before I banged up smack just to make it through the day.
I'm engaging with groups a lot better at the druggieclinic I attend. I'm not sure methadone is "working" for me as well as it's meant to. I told my worker that if I can't make an improvement I'm thinking of going to a private clinic who will prescribe XR Morphine Sulphate Tablets (MSTs as they're known on the street). My worker said that any improvement is down to me. Fair dos, but methadone is supposed to be a "heroin substitute" and if staying off the gear is really such hard work, requiring iron willpower and I feel so drastically better on street gear then the methadone really is NOT substituting for heroin at all. It's just masquerading as a substitute. It's hard to get MSTs on the NHS in the UK, but in other countries like Austia and Australia they're used routinely as the second-line treatment for patients like me (there are a lot of them) who don't take well to methadone treatment. MSTs are time-release pills, taken twice a day. I have experience of oral morphine in syrup form. I drank about 240mg, fell asleep in the late evening, and woke up feeling about a hundred times better than I'd ever felt waking up on methadone (which usually entailed a gasp of panic as my body, supposedly held on the "substitute" drug, cried out for lack of heroin. I didn't "gauwch" (no heroin-induced stupor) and I wasn't "high"; I just felt perfectly OK. They like to tout methadone's "lack of heroin-like 'high'". But nobody I know talks of a heroin "high". When you're as opiate-dependent as I am, heroin is a drug for survival. Junkies who want to get "high" will pipe crack ~ and I haven't done that in a long long long long time.
My biggest thing against MSTs is that other people, on coming off methadone or suboxone ~ neither of which make you feel very good ~ say they feel "really depressed". So depressed, in fact, that two people I know ended up back on methadone/suboxone within weeks of detox and a third went screaming back to heroin. (That was Lucky, my good friend who died.) I do feel really depressed (episodically) on methadone. My hope is that, in sticking with a drug that makes me feel shitty as methadone does, I'm facing the inevitable misery upfront ~ before detox, rather than after... (There is some logic in this?... Surely...) That the transition from very little methadone to none at all will be easier for me and less of a psychological (not to mention psychiatric) step down...
The final matter is that ALL my severe mental problems flared drastically and really came to the fore the time I gave up heroin for many weeks, living on methadone alone. For all I know methadone could be causing all this manic-depressive psychosis. And at its peak it really was full-blown delirious manic psychosis ~ with me so incoherent I couldn't even speak English. At all I didn't even know it was possible to go crazy like that.... If I DO find out methadone has caused all this I SHALL BE VERY UPSET INDEED. And will seriously consider suing the clinic for malpractice. Because I SAID how dodgy I felt on methadone and NOBODY EVER LISTENED.
My prospective new worker says MSTs are completely out of the question and says if I need to up my dose of antipsychotics that's for my GP to do. Well I don't see that I need to see a GP to take even MORE drugs to counteract SEVERE side-effects of another drug (methadone) I never really wanted to be on (would never in a million years have chosen that if the clinic had offered a true range of alternatives)... oh I don't know I'm just really unhappy on my progress on 20mg methadone. I should be far happier. Should be 100% clean and off all drugs by now (somehow I knew that was never going to happen).
I suppose my point is this: having seen over years many people of different ages, intelligences, backgrounds etc doing pretty much the same on methadone ~ ie, they take it when nothing better's on offer but as soon as they can get their hands on heroin, they do it. I've seen old people blowing their pensions on gear. Then they go back to the clinic thinking they've failed. Well MAYBE METHADONE HAS FAILED THEM! All I know about methadone is I WANT TO GET AS WELL CLEAR OF THAT SHIT AS FAST AS I POSSIBLY CAN. I hate it, resent it, LOATHE MYSELF FOR COMPROMISING ON A DRUG THAT IS WELL KNOWN TO BE EVEN MORE ADDICTIVE THAN HEROIN AND HARDER TO WITHDRAW FROM! (The clinic never told me that little fact before putting me on it ~ another thing I might sue them for.)
And you know, with a convoluted life story like mine, it's very difficult to remember the precise whys and wherefores... well:~~~ THE TRUTH ABOUT ME AND HEROIN came to me yesterday morning, first thing on awakening. The ONLY REASON I ever asked someone to get me heroin in the beginning was that I was so unhappy I wanted to kill myself.I truly was dead-set on dying. ~ And I knew heroin overdose was supposed to be the nicest way to die. You fall asleep and never wake up. So I gave an Indonesian man (one of the few non-students I knew) £50 to get me half a gram (back in 1992 heroin cost £10 a point and if he could have got it for any cheaper than £50 I didn't begrudge him pocketing the difference. I fully intended to snort the whole lot in the bath. If I didn't OD, I hoped I'd drown...
A few days later he came back to me saying he couldn't get it (couldn't be bothered, more like). I still had a ridiculous, botched attempt at overdosing and drowning myself. It obviously didn't work (well I'm still here, aren't I?) But about FIVE YEARS LATER this same person sold me a £20 deal of powder cocaine at a rave in Norwich (only time I've ever scored snorty coke) saying he "had a bit of brown in a drawer" if I'd like to come back to his. Of course I was round like a shot ~ I'd always wanted to sample heroin purely out of curiosity. He was dealing the stuff by then and said I could have as much as I could smoke. So I smoked a full £20 deal, which astonished him. Then I went home with another £20 deal. And that was my introduction to heroin. My point being: if I hadn't sincerely wanted to kill myself I'D NEVER HAVE GOT INTO HEROIN TO START WITH. You see ~ IT WAS ALL ABOUT DEATH TO BEGIN WITH!
I'm sorry to end on a negative note. I'm thinking maybe I ought to write out my life story. I find telling the truth distances me from the facts. I want to be as remote from them as possible... I'll retell my life to avoid EVER RELIVING IT AGAIN. I mean, it doesn't matter if no "real" publishers are interested: I'll dump it on ebook, told by "Anonymous"... (or "by Gledwood": whichever).
I'll leave my closing paragraph to Google Translate:~~
Entonces, espero que tengas todo bien. Lo siento, no he visitado ninguno de vosotros. No he estado alrededor. Me siento mejor ahora. ¡Guau, me siento bien de estar vivo!
So, I hope you're all well. Sorry, I have not visited any of you. I have not been around. I feel better now.Wow, it feels good to be alive!
Illustrated: Rhonda; Mijas; 30mg morphine XR; methadone bottle; methadone 20mg; brown heroin; death; e-reader ...
LINK: WHY METHADONE DOESN'T WORK (Guardian newspaper)Methadone is a highly addictive synthetic opiate, more addictive than heroin and harder to withdraw from, but it survives the digestive system and so does not need to be injected. Most addicts loathe it. They call it green gunk and grimace as they swallow. All of today's addicts have been coming to the pharmacy for months, some for years. And that's the problem.
And what of those heroin addicts not in treatment? They visit me regularly for clean needles to inject filthy brown street heroin. There is growing evidence to support treating these long-term relapsing addicts with pure heroin. A blueprint for the requisite regulatory changes has been created, but until the laws are changed they must remain thieves and prostitutes, rather than patients, victims of legalised social neglect.