In this powerful piece, D.Read has used his talent as a writer to change people’s ideas. In his words, “If there is one gift I would like to give the world, I personally can’t imagine a more self-gratifying one than stopping even one person making the mistake of heavy Class A abuse, like me.”

I guess the main reason I’m writing this is to change people’s ideas. If there is one gift I would like to give the world, I personally can’t imagine a more self-gratifying one than stopping even one person making the mistake of heavy Class A abuse, like me.

What you are about to read may leave you with the impression that I’m some poor unfortunate youth, living in a big city, left to my own devices on a housing estate, maybe from a broken home. But that is not the case. Far from it. I had the most loving and caring mum and dad I could wish for. I was really very lucky.

But I don’t think many people realise what the darker side of a lovely small town by the sea in Devon is like. The place that pensioners come to retire, rich city goers buy expensive holiday homes, a place where everything seems picturesque, quiet and calm.

Drugs, dealing and crime were around even before I knew what they were. They were in school, in the movies and now they are even in computer games. You are told drugs are bad, evil, dangerous, but you still end up trying them.

For many, myself included, it all started with my first spliff with some school mates at the age of 15. I remember reading or hearing about tales of tables full of pills, wads of cash, stashes of drugs in freezers, and it all seemed, how do I put it, appealing in my teens. An easy way to a life of excitement , lots of parties, women and fun.

I don’t want to be one of those ex-heads, preaching about how drugs are nothing but misery, ‘cos I have had some good times, laughs and parties. If it was all bad from the word go, nobody would do them more than a few times.

Depending on what drug you take you may feel an intimate loving beautifulness with everyone and everything. Bonds will be made as strong as strong can be. You may see things that make the most vivid wild dream you have ever had seem like a bore. You may feel like you are superhuman, buzzing at a million miles per hour. Indestructible. Or you may be floating on a cloud, all your pain vanishing.

It takes time and all seems well. That first e didn’t kill you. You sniff a bit of coke or smoke a rock on the weekend and you’re not out robbing old ladies the next day. You just carry on with school, college or work as normal.

But keep at it long enough and it all comes crashing down around you. And don’t go blaming anyone else or try and make excuses, ‘cos there aint nobody but you to blame. This is all your doing.

Thirteen years on from when I first dabbled with drugs, I was a chronic heroin addict. All ideas of this being a fun lifestyle had evaporated. Two years of crack addiction and four years of heroin left me totally veinless. The mornings. God, the mornings. I had to have a hit around 3am. I couldn’t even get a few hours sleep before the sickness woke me.

Then I tried to get that precious hit. Imagine spending an hour and a half, sweating, trying your best not to be sick or shit yourself, on the verge of tears, constantly shaking, needles in your feet, legs, arms and neck, covered in blood. Happiness? It’s a long way away. Is it worth going through that, just for a few laughs? Is it fuck?

But it took many a year, many, many a substance, countless headaches, almost being thrown out of what was considered locally a very good school, more arguments than I can even remember, nearly getting arrested more than once or twice and ultimately fucking myself up to the point of near total self destruction, before I finally realised what I was doing.

And as for my family and loved ones, Igenuinely hate thinking of what it’s done tothem. All those years of carrying ons. Trying to pretend that everything was fine and dandy. All the lies, trying to cover up what had been going on. Deep down I knew that they must have seen the signs of chronic drug use.

And then the day that every parent must dread. When the police arrive at the door explaining that I was being rushed to hospital and it seemed apparent that I had taken far too much of something. I don’t remember much of what happened, except it was one wild night. I think the prospect of scoring seemed low so I found what pills I could. I’m guessing it was a case of scoffing a few. Then you think you may need a few more, and then some more. And then you forget you’ve just taken some a few minutes ago, and so it goes on.

And then you come round in hospital and there’s your mum, who you’ve kept in the quiet all along, in tears, staring in complete disbelief at all those tracklines you’d carefully kept hidden. Game over! She could see the veinless, pin marked skeleton that I’d become. What else was there to say? As much as I wanted them not to know, how could I now try and feed them a long winded load of bollocks. There was only one choice. Tell them the score.

Of course it was far from good news to hear that I’d got into the junk and was scripted but man it was good to have things out in the open. It was a relief for all of us.

But here’s the problem with drug addiction. Really, really wanting to stop and actually stopping are two different things. I knew I’d almost died multiple times in that hospital. So, who wouldn’t think about stopping? I did. But around a week later I was out scoring, having a hit again. I did try to slowly cut down but over time that conviction to stop and how close I’d come to dying became a distant memory.

The other thing that happens with drugs is that you lose your confidence. I became very anxious and paranoid and even doing basic things like opening a door became a nerve wracking experience.

Some time later, I was due a three way meeting with my doctor and drug worker. Nothing major, maybe dropping a few mill on the meds. How wrong I was.

‘Ever thought about detox?’ ‘Fuck me. No. Not me. Other people do that.’

I didn’t know up ‘till then how much utter bullshit could come out of my mouth so quickly. Every excuse under the sun came out as to why I couldn’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t go to detox. Luckily my doctor stopped me mid flow and came out with a sentence that would change my life forever.

‘What is two weeks compared to years of addiction?’

I went quiet, but still wasn’t going. But I thought about that sentence and after the weekend I phoned up and said I’d changed my mind. The bed was booked. I don’t know why I changed my mind. Maybe it was hours of thinking about all the near misses with the law, and my health. I don’t know. I really don’t. But I went.

And now? I have been clean for 9 months. As sad as it sounds I had forgotten what I used to be like after all the years of shite. But I’m bloody loving it. I can leap out of bed straight away without having to reach for the draw of meds. Everything looks a little more colourful. I can even taste the air!!

I haven’t really stopped smiling and reconnecting with parents and friends. And my confidence has increased at least tenfold. I didn’t realise the damage that losing your confidence could do to you.

But now, at last, the future looks good.

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