I recently conducted an interview with a very good friend of mine who has been battling her drug addiction demons for years now. I agreed to keep her identity anonymous to avoid any unpleasant repercussions, and I have also agreed to help her in her journey of recovery any way I can.

This is a woman I have known for nearly six years and have shared a lot of memories with. At the start of our friendship we both enjoyed a drink and a good night out. However, as I grew up, began my career and started to settle down, she did the opposite. For years we drifted apart until recently I confronted her about her problem. After an emotional conversation with her family, friends and herself, she agreed she needed help. She is currently undergoing an outpatient programme at our local hospital and has moved back in with her parents.

Although she is getting help she is clearly still haunted by the life she used to lead. We decided to share her story in the hope that someone might read it, relate to it, and agree to get help. It went as follows:

Hello love, how’s it going?

Not bad, not bad. You?

Yeah I’m good thanks. Are you still up for this interview?

Yeah. Bring it on! [She laughs]. Be gentle!

Right! Urm. Where to start? How about when we met, how do you remember yourself from back then, what sort of memories do you have from before?

Well… I’m not sure. It’s kind of hard to remember. Well, I know I was happy. I liked the way I looked, I was confident. I had lots of friends so I guess I was alright fun?!

Yeah you were, we had a laugh.

Yeah we did. Yeah, I used to love to drink but like, in pubs and stuff. It was different. Y’know we all used to go and hang out and have a laugh and I used to love being around people and just, well, having fun I guess.

Yeah they were good times. So, when did things change?

Well. I started smoking weed because my new boyfriend at the time did. I was really in a good place in my life I didn’t see how just smoking a spliff would really change anything. Anyway I started doing it all the time, smoking in the morning, smoking in the garden, smoking before bed, just wasting my money, I stopped going to the pub and saw my mates less and just chilled and smoked instead.

How did it go from there?

Well, because me and my boyfriend would just smoke, smoke, smoke, and so we started to hang out with his mates who were the same. They had different kinds of nights, not going out, just sitting around smoking weed, getting high, doing pills, taking acid, whatever they could get. At first obviously I was like ‘Nah’ but in the end it just became normal so I joined in.

What sort of things would you take?

Well in the end, anything. I mean, after a couple of years with this crowd I was doing coke all the time, taking pills… I used to take MDMA and acid together a lot, and other hallucinogens, I liked the trips I used to get, like… I don’t know… I never touched heroine or ket though. I always thought they were dirty. I suppose they are all are really.

So, why did you give in and agree to take these things in the first place?

I don’t know. I just wanted to. This was my crowd, I drifted away from you guys and my family and I thought… Well at first I guess I thought ‘f*** it’, like, ‘why not’ because what’s the worst that can happen. And then before you know it it’s who you are, you are a drug-taker. You do it to fulfill that image. Like, you’re more sure of who you are when you drop a pill or whatever.

Why did you carry on despite the obvious health risks?

I liked it! Yeah I f***ing loved it, loved getting wrecked for years it was just my thing, until I realised that’s all I had. But yeah at the time man, I thought I was so, like, rock’n’roll or something, like ‘yeah I look like s*** but I take drugs so it’s okay’. It was like, putting your finger up at authority, at life, and yeah I liked that person, I liked who I was on drugs. Trouble is you come down and then it f***s up your head. That’s the thing with drugs there’s this honeymoon period that is just so amazing you think it will last forever, but it doesn’t it just leaves you empty and feeling like s***.

So… when did it start to go bad for you?

I didn’t really realise at the time. I mean, with hindsight there were a few times that it got really low. Like… I had these comedowns that would last for days and I just couldn’t move I felt so empty. I got fired, obviously I was a waste of space. I just stopped caring about my boyfriend and my family and I got in trouble with the police… but it never scared me though. Everyone around me who did drugs the same had the same stories so it was like, it was normal.

What was the lowest point for you?

I don’t know if there was like, a point or defining moment. It all just sort of built up until it was too much. I really didn’t like the people around me, I couldn’t stand my boyfriend and I resented everyone and myself for the opportunities I had just utterly f****d up and lost all my potential to do something in life. I just started to really hate myself and it just grew to the point where it was unbearable.

What would you say to others like you?

Um. I dunno. Not a lot, I mean, it’d be pretty hypocritical wouldn’t it? I guess. There are some people who you just can’t help and you’ve got to accept that. The people who love taking drugs and are still loving the way it feels and the lifestyle and just wouldn’t give it up for the world. You can’t help them. But I mean, the people who are like me, the ones who can’t even stand it anymore, I guess just ask for help. Swallow your pride.

Alright mate I think we’ve got enough. You alright?

Yeah man. All good.


Image by @FiverWeed, Curtis Gregory Perry and dreamglowpumpkincat210