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I write every day about living with bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. I've written and published more than 1.3 million words



11 min read

This is a story about strict routine...

Washing machine

I don't feel like writing today. I saw something in the news which I wanted to write about and I even started a blog post, but then I kinda lost my way when doing a bit of research. I had selected a photo - different from the one above - and I started to feel that it was unwise to use it because it shows my face without my cunning and infallible disguise. I'm starting to think more and more about how people perceive me and the damage I could do to my own reputation if my blog was read by my work colleagues.

There are certain things that will cause people to look at you in a completely different light. There are prejudices that are so powerful that they can warp reality and turn good people into twisted grotesque imaginary monsters. To write about addiction is to bracket myself with baby-eating, granny-mugging, child-raping, ethnic-minority-murdering, every-other-bad-thing-you-can-think-of, demonised people who are blamed for all the ills in society. Your average injecting crack and heroin addict is going to commit a hundred or maybe even two hundred crimes every year to feed their habit. However, it's a non-sequitur to think that everybody who's experienced a period of drug addiction in the past is an immoral murderous criminal. "Death's too good for 'em! String 'em up!" cries the tabloid press and the public lap it up, even though the vast majority have never been a victim of crime, nor are they aware that the so-called character flaws which potentiate addiction live inside all of us.

I was going to write about that oft-used song lyric: "there's a monkey on my back". I can't say that I ever felt like I had a monkey on my back when I was a drug addict. "I'm waiting for my man" is another famous addiction-inspired song lyric, which again is something I can't relate to at all. In fact I can't relate to any of the addiction references in popular culture. I've never 'scored' drugs from a dealer. I've never been part of a drugs 'scene'. I never adopted a drug as part of my identity - I never wore clothing with a cannabis leaf or some other drug reference advertising my addiction.

There's a lot I don't understand about drug addicts even though I was one myself. I don't understand why many addicts buy crack cocaine when they could easily make it themselves with baking soda. I don't understand why addicts buy their drugs in small quantities. I don't understand why addicts buy impure and weak products at hugely inflated prices. I don't understand why there are heroin addicts when they could easily bulk-buy fentanyl, which is much more powerful. I don't know why addicts don't just stop being addicts and get rich - like me - whenever life gets tough.

Of course, I do understand all those things. I understand that the only difference between me and an injecting crack and heroin user, is that they were exposed to a drug 'scene' which brought them into contact with dealers, street drugs, needles and other drug paraphernalia. Addicts are caught in the never-ending cycle of scoring drugs, turning tricks, petty crime and everything else that's part of the chaotic life of an injecting drugs user, and the only difference between them and me is that I know that there's some hope that I can escape a miserable life of poverty. What hope does your average crack and heroin addict have of earning a 6-figure salary a month after they quit drugs? What hope do they have of ever earning a decent wage?

I've been able to use my wealth, intellect and other privileges - such as my science and technology skills - to research and obtain high purity drugs of the maximum potency at rock-bottom prices. Instead of messing around with £10 bags of crappy cut heroin, I'd do the research and find out what the chemical with the biggest bang for my buck would be, and then buy it in bulk.

What happens when you have access to a practically unlimited amount of drugs and a practically unlimited amount of time to use them, is that you discover the meaning of the word: practically. It's practically impossible to satisfy a desire for addictive drugs. Given enough drugs and enough time, you just die. Eating, drinking, sleeping, personal hygiene, bathroom breaks and other bodily functions are put on hold for as long as possible. There are some addicts who are perfectly functional - they go about their daily business under the influence of drugs and they can carry on like that for years. That's not really addiction though. Addiction specifically means harmful drug use. Smoking, for example, harms the health of the smoker and the health of those who have to breathe their second-hand smoke. Arguably a pill-popper isn't an addict at all, if the pills are not causing health damage. My own addiction took the form of the very worst kind: the insatiable appetite for a drug to the exclusion of everything else, including the basic necessities for human survival.

At some point drug-taking either becomes a chore - it's something which has to be done to stave off the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms - or it becomes so destructive that destitution and death become certainties. I'm sure there are a handful of homeless people who could see that their addiction was making them unable to work and unable pay their rent or mortgage, and they would be evicted eventually, but they didn't want to stop the drugs: they'd rather be homeless, living in a tent or otherwise sleeping rough, and able to carry on with their addictions. Most homeless addicts probably couldn't see any hope of avoiding homelessness if they quit - there was no incentive. The drug-taking becomes a chore and there's no hope of escaping the dreadful circumstances when you fall too far; the health damage is too severe and the behaviour patterns are too entrenched... rehabilitation would take years, and the best possible hope for those people who dropped out of mainstream society for a long time, is that they could become burger flippers, shelf stackers, toilet cleaners and street sweepers. I have nothing against the untouchables on the bottom rung of civilised society, who do the worst jobs for the worst pay, but it's hardly an enthralling prospect to be shackled to a dreadful job which doesn't pay enough to cover rent and bills, and robs a person of their time and freedom. Given the choice, I'd rather be begging on the streets.

My life is a chore. I'm doing things which I've done a million times before - so there's no doubt that I'm extremely capable of doing my job - and I'm working on projects which are exactly the same as every other project I ever worked on. It doesn't matter if it's Space Invaders, torpedo guidance, stockbroker share prices, computers for schools, public transport, investment banking, government... whatever. Same shit different day. I make systems which are just like the old systems. It's like painting a white wall with white paint, over and over and over again.

Life's a stupid pathetic pointless game. Money is the 'score' and the more you have of it the better player you are, supposedly, but everybody starts with a different amount and the ones with the most are cheating the most. There are other ways to score points, such as academic qualifications, but again, those who start with the most money have the most leisure time to pursue academic interests and surround themselves with people who'll help them obtain those qualification. Winning a game of chess doesn't mean you're smarter than your opponent if the game wasn't on the clock. Winning a game of chess doesn't mean you're smarter than your opponent if you were raised by chess grandmasters and your entire childhood was structured around a single purpose: to make you into a brilliant chess player.

As we scurry around desperately trying to comply with the rules of the game, which mostly means being exploited by capitalists and living in constant fear of losing our job, our home and our children, we surely must stop and think that this is insanity. Why would mortal creatures waste their precious time playing a rigged game, for the benefit of the rentier class who oppress them and profit from their labour?

It must surely be due to drugs and drug addiction that the present situation is allowed to continue. How else are people able to buy alcohol, cigarettes, tea and coffee if they don't have miserable exploitative jobs? How else could we tolerate the intolerable except with massive amounts of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquillisers, sedatives and sleeping pills? Why would we bother with the miserable commute and the horrible work, unless there was the promise of some artificial and chemically induced bliss during our breaks and at the end of the working day?

You can have as many slaves as you want, but they won't work without coca leaves, khat, betel leaves, areca nut, tobacco, tea and coffee. Fear, intimidation, pain and torture will only get you so far. There needs to be carrot as well as stick.

If you watch enough X-Factor and Pop Idol on TV then you'll see that all anybody has ever wanted for their whole entire life - more than anything else - is to be a singer. Why then are those who succeed against the odds in becoming a rich and famous pop singer, are very often afflicted with addiction problems and many die young?

Consider how hard it is to escape from the poverty trap. Consider how hard it is to escape the rat race. Consider how hard it is to accumulate enough wealth to be truly free. Consider the effort and exertion necessary to break the chains and liberate yourself from the shackles of capitalism and bullshit jobs.

Unfortunately, most people's idea of freedom is flawed. Are you looking forward to your retirement? Why? You'll be old and your health will be declining... why didn't you retire when you were young and fit? Are you looking forward to fame? Why? You'll be working for your sponsors; you'll be working for your fans. Are you looking forward to being rich? Why? What are you going to do when you are? If you spend your money you'll be poor again, and you'll be just as much of a slave as you ever were, except you'll have developed expensive tastes.

Drugs strip away all of capitalism's artificial constructs. A £10 bag of heroin will get a billionaire just as high as a homeless penniless person. Drugs can - in a way - become a way of life which has much more meaning than the pursuit of wealth. However, the insatiability of a drug addiction; its intrinsic destructiveness and lack of meaning beyond the internal experience of the drug addict, leads inexorably to the desire to use drugs as a form of protracted suicide.

Art is the only known antidote, but art is denied to the vast majority of humanity. Only wealthy spoiled trust-fund brats are truly free enough from the tyranny of capitalism to be artists. Of course many of the spoiled brat offspring of the ultra-rich will become drug addicts, because they're too stupid to appreciate the incredible privilege it is to be able to be an artist.

Perhaps the other choice is to bury ourselves in bestial behaviour. If you're blessed with enough stupidity and ignorance to be happily consumed by your reproductive efforts, all the best to you - enjoy yourself. Sadly, this isn't an option for those who've read too many books and newspapers, and have become aware of the absurdity of existence - ignorance is bliss, and there's no returning to those blissfully ignorant times once your eyes have been opened to the stark reality of human life.

In a godless world with no afterlife, free from magic, spiritual and otherwise ethereal non-existent mumbo-jumbo, there's little which is comforting and inviting in a hostile universe which obeys strict mathematical laws. Just a few hundred kilometres away there's the vacuum of space, where you'd just turn into a frozen corpse and float around weightlessly for billions of years. And you're worried about losing your minimum wage zero-hours contract McJob cleaning toilets just so that you can give every penny you earn to a capitalist, even though you already give every waking hour of your life to a different capitalist? Don't you feel conned; cheated?

I don't feel like doing much, but is that really surprising? Is it so surprising that life feels like such a chore?




My Government Made Me a Criminal

9 min read

This is a story about changing the law...

Legal high packets

In 1920 in the UK, heroin and cocaine were made illegal to possess - if you were alive when heroin and cocaine could legally be bought and sold, you're 98 years old, or older. Assuming that becoming a drug addict isn't generally possible until you're old enough to obtain money, score drugs and get high without your parents noticing, let's assume that you'd have to be a 12-year-old heroin addict back in 1920, in order to have been affected by this change in the law, which means that you'd be 110 years old today, assuming you're still alive.

Having tried various antidepressants and mood stabilisers which were prescribed by my doctor, I became frustrated with the fact that most of the medications available to those who are suffering with depression, are slow acting - taking some 6 to 8 weeks to become effective - and they cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction and somnolence. Given that I valued my appearance, my sex life and my job, the side effects of the medications on offer were intolerable.

Through extensive research, I found many medications which are not commonly prescribed, but which had shown considerably better efficacy in clinical trials than the SSRIs and other antidepressants which were on offer through the NHS. These medications were not controlled substances, so I was able to legally purchase them from overseas pharmacies and have them delivered to me in the post.

My self-experimentation led me to a medication called bupropion - marketed as Wellbutrin - which is actually France's most popular antidepressant, but doesn't have a license for use as an antidepressant in the UK. Bupropion was very effective and fast-acting - it alleviated my symptoms of depression, and appeared to have no intolerable side effects. However, at higher doses I suffered insomnia and panic attacks. I discontinued its use.

Growing more desperate to find something as effective as bupropion - which had given me welcome and much needed relief from my depression - I turned to a group of medications for treating Parkinson's disease. These had terrible side effects, including a period where I became narcoleptic. Clearly my self-experimentation had become risky and I even induced in myself pseudo-Parkinson's symptoms briefly, which mercifully went away soon after discontinuing my experiment with L-DOPA, without lasting damage.

You have to understand that it was my desperation to feel better after years of suffering with depression and low mood, which drove me to take these risks and use myself as a human guinea pig. Given how suicidal I had been, there was only upside for me - if I died, that was likely to happen anyway through suicide; if I felt better - even briefly - then I had succeeded.

Through a tabloid newspaper, I became aware of legal highs. The tabloid newspaper's sensationalistic coverage of the legal highs was a great advertisement for something I hadn't known about or tried before. I was ready and willing to experiment with legal highs, given that I had already exhaustively experimented with all the medications I could lay my hands on.

The very first legal high that I obtained was bk-MDMA, also known as methylone. This chemical cousin of MDMA - also known as ecstasy, Molly, Mandy, X etc. - had similar properties but lacked a lot of the telltale giveaway side effects of MDMA, such as jaw-clenching and other involuntary mouth movements known colloquially as "gurning". Its mildly stimulating effects restored the energy and enthusiasm for life that had been stolen from me by depression - it was instantly curative, which is everything I'd ever hoped for.

bk-MDMA was made illegal in the UK in April 2010, but thankfully I was not addicted to it. No plan had been made to help any of the people who had become addicted to the legal highs, which overnight became illegal highs. No detox and rehab places had been made available. No medical support was available. No addiction counselling had been made available. Nobody thought about what would happen to all the people who had become addicted to substances that were completely legal one day and illegal the next. I was one of the lucky ones - I was able to abruptly stop taking bk-MDMA, but of course my depression then returned with a vengeance.

After 2010 followed a period of cat-and-mouse where those people who were addicted, or like me were self-medicating using legally available substances, were then driven out of dependency - not through choice - to then seek an alternative, which global free-market capitalism was only too happy to provide. Out of desperation, I obtained and experimented with every legally available substance I could obtain, in order to treat my medication-resistant depression.

Sadly, during this time I experienced total burnout due to the demands of my business, the collapse of my marriage and subsequent divorce, and other factors which put me at risk of addiction. In this perfect storm, I was careless and ended up experimenting with a substance which all my research had told me was exceptionally risky and should be avoided. Out of desperation I tried a substance I said I never would. It turned out to be fiendishly addictive, even though it was legal.

The cat-and-mouse game of making substances illegal - criminalising the unfortunate addicts caught the trade war - had absolutely nothing to do with health and public safety... I was one of the victims finally caught me in the net and criminalised, through no fault of my own. I had an addiction to a substance that had become illegal overnight, with nothing put in place to help me escape addiction's vice-like grip. No detox, no rehab, no treatment, no legally prescribed substitute, no medical advice, no support, no guidance, no nothing - I just woke up one day, and I was a criminal. I was wilfully and knowingly criminalised by my own government.

My attempts to stay on the right side of the law are documented above. Pictured are legal high packets of substances that could be legally bought until as recently as 2016. These could be bought in shops or via the internet. I attempted to find a legal substitute, so that my addiction did not make me a criminal, but even this route became barred to me. Addictions do not respect the law, just as much as you cannot make a law that says "all people called fred must by law become dogs" and POOF! suddenly all Freds magically turn into a dog - that's wishful magical thinking. One cannot simply legislate to get rid of addiction - addiction is an illness and it needs to be treated.

I'm not pro-legalisation. I don't think that all drugs should be legal. I think that drugs are dangerous. However, it's clearly immoral to criminalise an addict.

If I was committing crime - such as theft - to fund my habit, then I agree that those crimes have been crimes for a very long time. However, what is my crime? What crime did I commit? How did it come to pass that I'd become a criminal, with no opportunity to avoid it given my dependence on the substances in question?

The police, using their discretion, saw fit to caution me on multiple occasions for the same offence - namely possession of a controlled substance. Normally this wouldn't happen and breaking the law for a second time would automatically lead to prosecution, but perhaps the Crown Prosecution Service saw that as a test case, it would have set a disastrous precedent for their new laws.

The New Psychoactive Substances act of 2016 hinges on the central word: psychoactive. In order to obtain a conviction, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the substance deemed illegal is in fact psychoactive. However, as anybody who has read the mighty tomes Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved and Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved by Alexander Shulgin, will know that it's impossible to predict which substances will be psychoactive and which will not, without experimenting on a human test subject. Ethically it is not conscionable to experiment on humans, purely for the purposes of obtaining criminal convictions, but it's the only way that a conviction could viably stand under the government's new law - otherwise the test of beyond reasonable doubt cannot possibly stand because the burden of proof has not been met to prove the psychoactivity of a new and novel substance.

Today I'm clean and substance-free, but I have police cautions which will remain on record for life, and will not be 'filtered' until 6 years have elapsed, which prevents me from working in jobs which require an enhanced level of background checks. I cannot, for example, use my outdoor pursuits instructor qualifications to teach children to rock climb, abseil, sail dinghies or walk in the mountains. I leave it to the reader to decide whether my punishment is commensurate with my crimes, and what danger I pose to the general public.

I take a huge risk writing about this so publicly, but I feel that it's more important to publish this information than it is to maintain my privacy and anonymity. I feel sorry for those who, like me, have been criminalised by a government that doesn't give a damn who's victimised by their legislation, and whose lives are consequently ruined. I'm very lucky that I don't have a criminal record. Others have not been so lucky, because they are not so well educated and informed as me - they're vulnerable.

Drug addicts will always be a convenient scapegoat, because they're weak and vulnerable. I hope that in telling my story, you can see that addicts aren't evil, immoral and lacking in willpower. Our circumstances dictate the outcome - we don't make our choices freely.




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.