Reading through my journals this morning in preparation for this post I was once again surprised by the details they record, and it reminded me of how chaotic and bizarre the world of heroin addiction and sex working can be. Littered with highs and lows, and odd little moments that made me smile, because they show people are complex, and the people we may view as professional, responsible and reliable also have their flaws and secrets, people carry secrets all the time, people are good at deceit. Sex Working and Heroin addiction revealed this to me on many occasions, it’s often the ones you’d never consider that lead the most surprising lives, and worlds collide in such unexpected ways.
The part of this phase of my life that never escapes me is the amount of people who died, reading my journals is an intense reminder of all those I knew who died suddenly due to drugs, I remember all of them vividly, and I’m pleased I noted each in my journal, like a Valkyrie creating a place for the dishonoured dead, the pages are Odin’s table, the words a eulogy for our shared sins.
The journal entries that follow are taken from July 2014, they explore a sex working scandal I became involved with, a conflict of interest you might say. They also detail some of the challenges faced by those seeking treatment for addiction, and sadly detail some of the loss that so frequently occurs when you occupy this world.
July 2014 Kipling Terrace, Westward Ho!
Fragments of Life: ST died – may she rest in peace – yet another casualty of a reckless life.
Another death – SG has died, heart attack from smoking too much crack – only in her 40’s – two young children left behind, although they were already in care, she lost them cause of the gear when her partner went to prison for dealing. She was pretty selfish, I saw her with her kids lying on the bed next to pins with gear in.
What are the drugs services in this area really doing if so many are dying due to drugs, like SG, ST, M, J, RN, A, PF, P, RC in the last year and a half, slowly people are just disappearing before my eyes.
On my clean phase right now and taking it seriously, just using methadone so I can give a clean test on Monday when I see worker to discuss detox, make an action plan and timetable to work towards, will help me to have a plan to work towards. Trying to be positive and focused, went to Barnstaple Lesuire Centre with Ruby on Thursday, swimming, hot tub and spa, I did a few lengths and was exhausted, struggled with breathing at first but it felt good to exercise and cleanse. Looking forward to discussing detox plans, I’ve been cracking on with getting life in order, cleaned the kitchen, did recycling, took Charlie out early. Farmer X visited for an appointment, discovered I can work without using gear if dosed up on Meth.
Marcel and I hired bikes and cycled on the Tarka Trail, we stopped for a picnic at the Puffing Billy, down by the river, it felt really nice to be out all afternoon in the fresh air, it was a good laugh.
Well I gave a clean test on Monday at the drug service – I was really proud I’d stuck to the meth and managed without gear for a short time, I was so excited to talk detox and plans. Well, my worker suddenly tells me I can’t do inpatient detox now, I have to do community based one, cut down bit by bit. I was really cross, especially as she said last time I could do it as long as I made a good plan for afterwards and if I showed I could manage without gear. She told me is wasn’t the amount of meth that mattered but my aftercare plan and resilience in not using, that I could show that by giving clean test and once I did we could start working towards inpatient detox, now I’ve done what was asked it’s suddenly not an option, the only route is community detox. So what happened to service users being consulted about recovery options, it’s the same as last time, false promises. You do one thing they set you and then they say something else is needed, it’s infuriating, why can’t it be clear, why keep changing the goal posts. I tried to assert myself by reminding her what was discussed and agreed, I told her I’d made notes in my journal after the session so I could be clear, I asked where the accountability was, because I did what was agreed. I lost it a bit then and told her all these people are dying and it feels like the drug service isn’t doing anything, people at risk are left vulnerable, people don’t return calls asking for help or guidance, all the say is to attend a group at the centre which is two hours by bus really, and groups are not for everyone. People need help on how to cope alone, that’s when you’re most vulnerable to relapse, anyone can manage with a squad of cheerleaders around you.
It wasn’t that long ago I had to have discussions over my escorting client who turned out to be a prescriber for drug services. I’d met him prior to my heroin days when I started sex working, he was a nice chap and I enjoyed our conversations, I believed he was a psychologist or something similar, I liked looking at his book collection and discussing my background in mental health, youth and criminal justice work. He was fascinated by my work in Bosnia. I’d travel to his house in the country for an afternoon of playfulness and pleasure, he was a total gentleman, well until the time came for him not to be, then he gave in to his deviant desires and created a world of fantasy and role play, I like it when people can let go, you feel a difference, and when it’s in a situation like this it’s easier to just confess the naughty thoughts that you toy with, what some may think are a little unsavoury. I like clients like him who see the fun it all, don’t take it too seriously. He’s also a client I feel safe with, he sticks to the rules, he’s respectful and that allows me to be free in what I do, everybody’s a winner!
So I’d seen the client quite a few times and then had a break for a bit, I then got asked to a meeting with the drug service, my name had come up at a meeting and my client worked for them on a temporary basis, he had to disclose that he’d seen me for personal services, they wanted to check my side of thngs, I felt terrible for him, he’s not done anything wrong, to start with I wasn’t a heroin addict when I first knew him, and secondly it was a consensual act, I didn’t feel in anyway exploited or taken advantage of, he wasn’t abusing his power in any way, I made this clear to them and said that there was absolutely no issue on my part, it must’ve been so awkward for him to have his personal life exposed in such a way, but he did the right thing by telling them, for all he knew I could’ve been some crazy lady who wanted to accuse him of things and use to my benefit. I abhor such things, I know what it takes to speak that truth and find it baffling that people make false accusations, it just makes it harder for real victims, and it’s already hard enough. Poor Frances Andrade who never got justice. So I won’t be seeing that client again.
Peaches Geldoff died with heroin in her system.
Had a few new clients recently, some media chap called Liam, makes sound effects for computer games or something like that. He said he works with lots of geeks and nerds. I thought he was a nice man. He said he wanted intelligent company, he wanted to wake himself up to intimacy and affection, not had sex in over four years and he felt closed off. He was very appreciative of my warmth and therapy as he called it, he said I had a therapy approach, which is true really in some cases, intimacy therapy, helping people to express themselves and feel tenderness and desire, it’s a funny world.
I could write endlessly like this, revisting my journals is a real delight right now, it’s the detail I enjoy, my memory is one tainted by intoxication; sedated and distant. My journals take me right back, I don’t want to forget, it all mattered, it all made me who I am today, when I look back now I find myself amusing with bittersweet undertones and hues, I know the depths of sadness that I was escaping.
It’s funny to read my anger about being let down regarding detox and my resentment towards the drug service for all the deaths, there is some validity in what I experienced but I’m aware too how self-centred I was, how quick I was to perceive failure and let down, seeing my short effort as an indicator for readiness to change was quite irrational, but when you’re used to using large amounts of heroin daily, stopping for four day’s feels enormous, in my head it felt like I’d managed months, I was filled with self importance and false pride. So much of the issue is in communication, if my worker had acknowledged my feelings, is she’d accepted my confusion about goals and aims, if she could’ve given more time to explore my feelings the outcome may have been different.
As an addict you get used to people treating you poorly, people break promises, they treat you with disdain and contempt, you become used to people not taking you seriously. So, when you do make efforts and you take things seriously and it doesn’t change the outcome it does feel pointless, and this can lead to people just giving up. When you don’t believe in yourself it sucks, when you become aware nobody else believes in you it sucks even harder. People who’ve believed in me helped me to believe in myself again, these subtle things make all the difference.
I’m so enjoying the process of writing up journal entries that I’m considering doing more, a Junkie Journals collection of my addiction and sex working capers, the comic and tragic. It’s been suggested to me that I should release these for subscriber views only, for just a small subscription charge, and wondered what people thought of this, I’m enjoying sharing openly but an advisor said if I’m to one day make a living from this I need to start somewhere, the concept of charging makes me uncomfortable, I wonder if anyone would be willing to pay to read more, I’d appreciate any feedback and opinion.
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