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Drug Addiction: The Appliance of Science

16 min read

This is a story about fact vs. fiction...


It's hard to defend yourself when you're sick. It's easy for people to take advantage of a soft target, and invent their own version of events. It's easy to discredit somebody, when you've left them dead and buried. The dead can no longer speak up for themselves.

I needed to break up with my abusive ex-wife and rebuild my life in London. London is where all the good IT contracts and jobs are. London is where I have a good chance of reconnecting with significant numbers of friends and business contacts. London is where good stuff happens.

I had an excellent credit rating. I was going to arrange for a bridging loan to cover the expenditure of relocating back to London from Bournemouth. The loan was risk free, because I had such a large amount of equity in my house. The credit risk was underwritten by the fact that as soon as the house was sold, the loan could be repaid.

I was going to arrange credit with a commercial lender, so that I had the security of knowing that I had the funds to cover me until I got a new job back in London. However, my parents insisted that I could count on them. My parents told me that I didn't need the extra stress and hassle of arranging credit, and worrying about money and administrative affairs, when I had the extremely upsetting task of leaving my home and setting up life again in London.

However, when I then said that I needed to borrow the money - secured against the large lump sum of equity tied up in my house that was being sold - they then reneged on their promise. They left me high and dry. They dumped me in the shit. With no excuse, they fucked me over. Unacceptable.

Don't make promises you have no intention of keeping.

Don't offer to support vulnerable people, and then screw them over.

It's not a fucking joke.

It's not fucking funny.

It has consequences.

Far reaching consequences.

I never got an apology or an explanation from my parents for fucking me over like that. I can only assume that they liked the idea of sounding like real parents, but actually they don't have a single shred of decency. They don't have an ounce of honesty. They are untrustworthy. They are liars. They are utter c**ts.

It wasn't like I'd asked them for support. I was putting my own commercial borrowing arrangements in place to cover my relocation. My parents insisted that I could count on them to bridge the gap. It made sense... there was no risk, because the debt was underwritten with the equity in my house, which was vacant and being sold. It made sense that they should profit instead of a commercial lender. I was doing them a favour, because they would earn a better rate of interest off me than they would from any savings interest.


Let's assume that they decided I was going to blow all the money on drugs.

My drug of choice - the one I got mixed up with by accident during the agonising destruction of my relationship and my business - is something that I've jokingly nicknamed "supercrack". As the name suggests, it's highly addictive. It used to be legal, not so long ago.

A strong dose of supercrack is 15mg. That's 0.015 grams.

The length of time that a dose of supercrack will last is about 18 hours. It's an incredibly potent stimulant.

On the dark web, you used to be able to buy 5 grams of supercrack for $150, including postage. That's enough to last 333 days, assuming you sleep 6 hours a night.

If you take supercrack around-the-clock you will not sleep, and therefore your immune system will get very low and you will soon die. The longest I ever took supercrack in a round-the-clock binge was 10 days. That's 10 days without sleep or food. I don't think you could go much longer without dying.

When I moved back to London, I was no longer using supercrack.

If I was using supercrack, from the day I moved back to London to today, I would have spent the princely sum of $450.

In fact, to use supercrack for 50 more years - long past my natural life expectancy - would only require 274 grams of the dangerous drug, which would easily cost me less than $10,000. In fact, I could probably have bought 1kg in bulk for $5,000, which would have been enough for 200 years of drug abuse.

So what did happen to all my money?

Well, I made it to my first Christmas back in London by buying Bitcoins on my credit cards and with my overdraft, which then increased 1,200% in value. I hadn't been able to work, because the stress of not having any money, and having your parents and ex-wife completely dicking you over, while also having to move the contents of a 3 bedroom house into storage and rebuild your life again, was rather too much to ask.

My parents expected me to go to their house for a jolly fucking family Christmas, when they had royally fucked me over. What a joke.

December was all too much, and by the 27th I was in full-blown relapse (which only cost a few dollars in drugs).

However, rehab doesn't come cheap... and guess who was going to pay? ME!

I've paid around £30,000 for private treatment. Guess what? It doesn't work.

Unless you have a supportive environment, treatment doesn't work. Don't bother going into rehab, unless you're going to get rid of toxic people, toxic places and toxic jobs from your life.

My first stay in rehab (The Priory) was long enough for me to see that I was being abused by my ex-wife and we needed to break up. My next stay in rehab was long enough for me to get over being dicked over by my parents. My last stay in rehab gave me just about enough strength to make a plan to cut my toxic parents out of my life altogether.

Since then, I now know the knack of quitting drugs.

Amino acids such as 5-HTP, L-Tyrosine and Phenylalanine replace the depleted neurotransmitters in your brain. Bupropion and amphetamines (like dexedrine) can cushion the cravings and depression, lack of energy and cognitive impairment.

Benzos and Z-drugs are a great way to amplify an addiction. Sleeping off the comedown by taking 'downers' to take the vicious edge off the 'uppers' means that you start to believe you are able to get all the upsides without any of the downsides. However, all you're doing is storing up the mother of all comedowns for a later day.

Coming off benzodiazepines is the single most awful thing you are likely to ever experience in your life. I'm not sure if you've ever had a panic attack or insomnia. Certainly, you must have experienced stress and anxiety. Imagine having a round-the-clock sense of horrible unease, fear, dread. If benzos calm you down, the payback is in rebound anxiety. What goes up must come down, and living with anxiety is terrible.

Something like diazepam is very long acting, so you find it's in your bloodstream for ages even after you stop taking it. The withdrawal from it lasts weeks: insomnia & anxiety.

Coming off stimulants isn't that bad. You're exhausted, suicidally depressed, physically weak, uncoordinated, slow witted, and cognitively impaired. You might be in terrible physical shape from lack of food, lack of sleep and over-exertion. It's nothing that a month in bed can't fix.

Obviously, coming off all drugs at the same time is a clusterfuck, because you'll have anxiety and insomnia, keeping you awake through your exhausted suicidal depression. But, this is the payback for polydrug abuse. What goes up must come down.

In September 2013 I escaped addiction by swapping from supercrack to dexedrine and then tapering my dose down. I further cushioned the blow by using zopiclone to get my sleep back on track. It was relatively easy and painless, especially as I also completely changed my whole environment by moving to London and reconnecting with old friends. I got a new girlfriend and started helping my homeless friend, Frank.

Drug addiction is a teeny tiny bit about the brain chemistry, and it's a whole lot more about toxic environments. Believe me, the more stress, disruption, isolation and mistreatment is perpetrated against me, the more I'm itching to pull the "fuck it" trigger.

Drug addiction is both an easy and a difficult existence. If you haven't got the guts to actually end your life quickly and cleanly, it will get you to your grave faster than you think. I think every addict knows where they're headed, but they don't give a fuck because everybody else is pushing them down that road too.

You would have thought that addicts would be our most cared for and nurtured members of society, because they're pretty much walking around with a noose around their neck, advertising their intention to kill themself. However, my experience was that my own parents and ex-wife couldn't wait to see me dead and buried.

When I eventually accepted that experimentation had become addiction and I needed professional help, I said to my ex-wife that I needed a 28-day detox. She said she would rather that I died. She actually categorically said that she would rather be a widow. These were her words. This was not a general comment. This was her saying that she would prefer it if I didn't have 28 days treatment and get better. This was her saying that what she wanted was for me to die, not get better.

When I got clean and moved back to London, my parents essentially made the same choice. Rather than honour their unsolicited offer to profit from my need for a bridging loan, they saw the opportunity to pull the rug out from under my feet and plunge me back into chaos, stress and destruction.

When things are going wrong now, I assume that I'm totally alone, and that everybody is totally hostile. I assume that doors are going to be kicked in by an abusive and violent ex or parent. I assume that treatment is going to be withheld. I assume that people would rather that I was dead.

Abuse leaves psychological scars. Calling somebody a liar, and treating them disrespectfully denies them any self esteem. Pulling away a person's means of supporting themself, and generally attacking their opportunities to escape and recover is not proof that the person is a failure and vindication of your decision to fuck them over. Let's take a look at cause and effect.

Drug addiction is a place that a person turns to when their life is unliveable. The more you mistreat a person and deny them any opportunity to recover, the more they're going to say "fuck it" and go back to killing themself slowly.

Recovery can be quick and painless if action is swift, decisive and early intervention is taken. Addiction is like a house on fire. The sooner you put out the fire, the more of the house you save. There's no point sitting around to see if the fire goes out, and then putting out half the fire. "The fire is mostly out" or "we'll just put a bit of water on the fire and see if things improve" is just utter bullshit. You're looking for an excuse to fail that person if you act like that.

I'm angry.

I don't know if this is coming across. I'm really fucking angry.

I'm spinning everything like I'm a victim. Well, that's because I'm sick of victim blaming. I know that taking the position of the victim is not a good place to start, but it's maddening because the facts are clear: the strong have exploited the weak, and tried to kick a vulnerable person into an early grave. Secrets die with a person, and it's a lot easier if a victim is dead.

I made plans for my business and my future based on the idea that I had a loving, supportive partner. I made plans based on a "for richer, for poorer" and "in sickness and in health" marriage vow that we made to each other. I made divorce and recovery plans based on an unsolicited offer of support from my parents. Parents are supposed to support their children. People are supposed to honour their word. Plans are based on agreements.

How can you make any plans or do anything if nobody keeps their word? How can anything function without people acting with a shred of integrity.

I paid for nonjudgemental reliable support, at great personal expense. The rest I did on my fucking own. Who the fuck got me out of the park and into a hostel? Who the fuck got me out of the hostel into a contract and a hotel? Who the fuck got me out of the hotel and into a flat? Who the fuck got me more contracts when the previous ones didn't work out for long enough for me to get ahead?

Recovering from depression, bipolar disorder, the destruction of your business, ruining of your career reputation, divorce, the selling off of your home and the giveaway of many of your precious possessions, having to relocate across the country, having to re-establish your life again. You think that comes easily? You think that comes cheaply? You think that can be done all on your own? You think that can be done while people jeer and take the piss from the sidelines, calling you horrible names and creating additional obstacles for you?

Now, sprinkle in substance abuse.

Drug addiction is the easy part. I should be getting a fucking ticker-tape parade for what I've been through. I should get a fucking gold medal. I should get my picture in the motherfucking paper, with lots of quotes from all my adoring fans.

Some drug addicts are driven to lie, cheat and steal. We are told that addicts leave dirty needles in children's playgrounds and try to sell drugs to your kids to get them hooked.

What exactly could anybody's problem be with me? I've paid for all my own treatment. I've never stolen any money to buy drugs. I never even bought drugs from anybody who could conceivably be accused of putting money into crime and terrorism. All I've ever wanted to do is get back to London, and restabilise myself.

What does stability look like?

Like this:

  • Place to live
  • Income to pay for food & accommodation
  • Social contact
  • Free from debt and financial stress

And I've come to realise it also means:

  • No more toxic people in my life: especially my parents
  • No more klingons: I can't carry any dead wood
  • No more arbitrary measures: being teetotal is unnecessary. I'm going to do whatever works.
  • No more shame: I've got nothing to be ashamed of

The compromises, sacrifices and things that I put up with to keep hope alive are not inconsiderable. My adherence to integrity and personal standards means that I am taking on additional challenges that I could easily circumvent by simply declaring bankruptcy and depositing myself in the care of the welfare state.

I've paid an absolute fucktonne of tax in my life, so I should feel entitled to a handout, but I don't. I don't want a life that's dependent on the state giving me a small amount of the money back that I've paid into the national purse. I'm proud and I've worked hard all my life. I've worked hard to dig myself out of a very deep hole, and I deserve a fucking break.

I'm writing this now, completely free from any drugs. My mind is my own. I have let my brain recover, and now I have nothing but pure rational thought.

Where's my money gone? It's been spent on surviving. It's been spent on keeping the possibility of recovery alive.

Recovery from drugs?


Recovery from the shit that drove me into the arms of addiction.

Will I be able to recreate the past, and get back the things I lost? No, never. Of course not!

So, am I bitter and full of regret?

Actually, I'm working my bollocks off just as hard as I've always done throughout my life FOR THE FUTURE. In 4 or 5 months I could be back in the same financial position that I was in before everything imploded, except I will be in pole position to continue at a much accelerated pace. I have a much greater chance of building a happy new life, now that I am rid of the toxic people who sabotaged everything I had worked so hard to build.

Every day in the rat race is an unpleasant reminder of the fact that I got screwed over, and this is the source of my bitter rants. I am tired. It has been exhausting to rescue things.

But, it's in my nature to build and repair. It's in my nature to look to the future, not look to the past. The only reason I do look to the past, is that I'm saddled with the consequences of being dumped in the shit by people who let me down and broke their promises.

In the world of startups we talk about a pivot. Take your lessons learned from going in one direction, and take them in another to find your sustainable competitive advantage.

Through this fucked up world of pain that I've been through, I've found several important stories that need to be told.

There is the story of the people who are disadvantaged. Those who are discriminated against because they have mental health problems or who have struggled with addiction. There are society's undesirable members. There is the issue of homelessness, and the harsh and uncaring world that waits for single people who fall on hard times. There is the arms race in the war on drugs, with legal highs and the cat and mouse game between chemists and governments. There is the battle that rages inside our heads: mania and depression. There are the differences in perception: who is mad and who is sane.

A rich white middle class investment bank employee, IT consultant, software engineer, homeowner, husband and neatly presented boy with good manners, well educated and well behaved. Young, fit and active. Adventurous, outgoing and gregarious.

If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.

The stories have got to be told.