People don’t see what goes on behind closed doors. The really scary thing about addiction, that still frightens me to this very day, is how it’s actually not scary at all. I was taking it in my room, in my flat in Spain on my gap year. I had a cuddly toy on my bed, pink sandals by my door and cocaine on my desk. It was bizarre, and went against everything I had ever been taught about drug culture.
It wasn’t like anything I had seen in films, it was just me, in my cosy little room. During my binges, I would snort a thick line of the powder on my own, then clean the flat, or call a friend, or go to the supermarket. It felt safe, and made me feel beautiful, inside and out.
I never mixed alcohol with cocaine. Despite the fact that I was taking class A drugs, I tried to remain relatively cautious, a concept which was later drilled into me in therapy: if you can’t be good, be careful.
But you never see the reality of active addiction.
Addiction is disgusting and degrading, and people call it “using” but in reality its getting a dirty straw from McDonald’s, cutting it in half with scissors you used to cut your fingernails, leaving the house carrying drugs in a baggie that probably smells like weed and wandering aimlessly around town waiting for the previous hit to wear off so you can have another one.
Addiction is going to the Pret-à-manger customer toilets, getting the drugs out from your jacket pocket, getting two filthy cards out, one of which is your student ID, the other a SIM card voucher, mushing up the drugs on the toilet seat and inhaling them to the back of your throat through your nose as quietly as possible. It’s routine and you do it quickly, but you’re paranoid as ever.
Addiction is then running your finger over the toilet lid and rubbing it into your gums so they go numb and you feel like you can function for a little while, until you have to find another café or Starbucks toilet and do it again, with trembling fingers, shaking from a combination of relief and desperation.
Addiction is knowing how disgusting the harsh reality of taking drugs, and still going out of your way to chase the feeling of initial ecstasy that evolves into simply feeling like yourself for a short while.
And to turn your back on it, on this grubby little substance that no one else on this earth seems to understand the way you do, to turn your back on not just the lifestyle, but the habit, the ritual of cutting a white powdered line, the cutting and crushing of the powdered rocks, the blissful taste, the ecstasy, the euphoria, the feeling like everything in your life is so fucking OKAY, will forever be to this day one of the saddest, and yet most badass, cool things I will ever have to do.
One day I am going to kick this in the balls. Stay with me while I do, internet.