Category Archives: Current Journal

Toxic grey dope and spraying morphine up the butts of loved ones

I’m not even getting high. Either my tolerance is too high or the dope in this town is too shitty. For a while there, I was getting shit ten times better than anything else I’ve found in Jacksonville but that shit hit me less and less as my tolerance went up and, once the package ran out, the dealers behind it re-upped with this dark grey garbage. Not only do I have to do a shit ton to feel anything but it doesn’t even feel like a heroin high. It’s closer to a Dilaudid high but not as pleasant. There’s absolutely no euphoria, just a strange tight sensation in my skull and my jaw, coupled with light-headedness and – yeah – its one positive attribute is that I can fall asleep after I shoot enough of it. But that’s leaving out the worst part. Anytime I’ve done a shot that was strong enough to feel – before those slightly positive effects kick in – there’s another set of sensations that storms across my body. As the blood flows up my arm back to my heart and is pumped out to the rest of my body, I start to itch. Not an acceptable heroin itch but what morphs into an intense burning sensation. It hurts. Badly. It starts in my head and my chest and spreads to my hands and sometimes my feet. It is, to say the least, unpleasant. The only thing I can compare it to is liquid non-injectable morphine, intended for oral consumption. Like many drugs that are NOT formulated for injection, it fucking hurts if you inject it. (And – to those of you that found this page because you’re Googling, “Can I inject liquid morphine?” The answer is “Yes, but it will hurt and there’s no fucking way you’re going to find a syringe big enough to inject enough in a single hit to stand any chance of actually getting high. So don’t do it. Drink it or have a loved one fill their mouth and spray it up your butthole with a straw; it’s not strong stuff and the bioavailability is highest when absorbed – um – you know… through the butt).

And here I was thinking that I’m of no use to anyone ever since I fell off, started using again, stopped producing anything of any value, and went from aspirational figure to cautionary tale. But here I am, educating the masses on anal morphine.

So where was I? The grey dope. It was awful. It hurt to inject it. And no one seemed to be able to find anything that was any better.

Fuck this. I can’t fucking take it anymore. I quit. I’m not playing this game. I’m not going to struggle to scrape up hundreds of dollars everyday just to feel sort of okay and keep myself from going into withdrawal.

Hey, withdrawal! Come on, let’s go. Bring it on. I’m ready for you.

I didn’t shoot any more dope that day. I felt fine. The dope was still in my system. It’s not unusual for me to be able to go 24 hours before the withdrawal symptoms start.

I didn’t shoot any more dope the next day. I still felt… mostly fine. It was strange that I hadn’t started withdrawal but…

I didn’t shoot any dope the next day. And still I was fine! If you’ve got a dope habit, you’re going to start experiencing withdrawal within 48 hours of quitting. It’s the same with virtually ever opiate and opioid. Three days off dope without consequences didn’t make any sense.

Day Four: STILL NO WITHDRAWAL. Alright, so it’s clear what’s happening, I said to myself. I thought I wasn’t getting high because my tolerance was through the roof. In reality, I must have been getting dope of gradually decreasing strength/quality. Wow. I had weened myself off of heroin already without even realizing it. I had been shooting fucking dust for who knows how long. After all, if there was any dope in the shit I had been shooting up, I’d have quite a tolerance and dependence and be SICK AS FUCK right now.

On the fifth day, I finally got out of bed, fully confident that I could face the day without getting sick. I showered, dressed, and walked outside. It was hot and it was miserable but I was really doing it. I was facing the world again. It had been quite a fucking while. I felt good about myself. As I walked to nowhere in particular, I thought about the things I needed to do to get my life straight. I’d need to hire a lawyer to get my current legal situation sorted out (did you guys know I’m currently wanted by the police? Hooray!), I’d need to start making art again or else find a real fucking job…. two prospects that were equally disheartening given my fears about my sparkling internet reputation these days. No one is ever gonna hire me, I thought. No one is ever gonna wanna host an exhibition of my art at their gallery. I’m fucked no matter what I do. I’m fucking hopeless. I suddenly remembered why I’ve spent the last year and a half in a dark room with a needle, and I was defeated. I broke down into tears. Getting clean was the easy part (especially this time). But what the fuck am I gonna do even if I am clean? What’s the point of getting clean? I have nothing to live for. Half of the world wants me dead because they think I’m a fucking rapist and while they’re wrong about why I should kill myself, I still agree that their final conclusion is ultimately correct.

I went back home to Wallis who suggested that I take a Suboxone. It’s primarily used to treat the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal but it certainly helps with the mental/emotional symptoms as well.

Now, here’s the thing: When taken orally as intended, the only active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine – a “partial opioid agonist.” The “agonist” part means is that it interacts with the same receptors in your brain as heroin and other opiates. “Partial” means that it’s not going to interact to the same extent as heroin (a “full agonist”) so it’ll keep you from going into withdrawal if you’re heroin-dependent, but it won’t get you high. Here’s the problem with Suboxone: the buprenorphine doesn’t just crowd around the receptors of your brain alongside the other opiates that are already hanging out there; it kicks the rest of them out of the fucking party. For this reason, an addict needs to wait 24-48 hours after their last hit of heroin, when the withdrawal is already starting, before Suboxone can be safely taken. If taken before the heroin has begun to abandon your body’s opiate receptors, rather than gently transitioning your body off of heroin and onto buprenorphine (and thus relieving most symptoms of opiate withdrawal) the Suboxone kicks the other opiates to the curb and – by itself, at this early stage in the game – is insufficient to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Worse still, it doesn’t just fail to alleviate withdrawal, it actually kicks your body into a state known as “precipitated withdrawal,” which for all intents and purposes, could more accurately be described as “SUPER KICK YOUR ASS MAKE YOU WANT TO FUCKING DIE THIS IS THE WORST PAIN I’VE EVER FELT WITHDRAWAL.”

But this wasn’t an issue for me, you see. I was already five days clean off dope. 24-48 hours? I scoff at your 48 hours, I’ve got over a HUNDRED. At this point, not only is it safe to take Suboxone but I might even be able to catch just the slightest buzz off of it. If nothing else, it’s going to trigger the same chemicals in my brain (most notably dopamine) as the heroin was and it’s going to help me to stop fucking crying. It’s gonna make me feel better.

I put the strip of Suboxone under my tongue and crawled back into bed to let it dissolve and comfort me. Only… I wasn’t starting to feel any better. Shit, I actually feel a little worse. And wait… what’s that familiar creeping sensation… that mentholated feeling coming over my body that I’ve only felt twice before in my life….

Oh fuck… my body is falling into precipitated withdrawal. FUCK.

Buckets of sweat began flowing from my body. I was freezing cold and simultaneously burning up. My stomach is in knots. I can’t fucking move. Everything hurts.

Now, I’m not gonna play this shit up worse than it was. Of my three episodes of precipitated withdrawal, this one was the least severe. The worst of the symptoms – when your body evacuates every last particle of waste from your dilated asshole – only to then continue with buckets of water until you’re absolutely emergency-room-level dehydrated – and for the coup de grace, some kind of bilious liquid that burns as it squirts and drops incessantly from your asshole over the course of the next two hours – I didn’t experience that this time. I felt like it was coming all along but I clenched as tight as I could and was able to keep it at bay. The same went for vomiting. I had an almost uncontrollable urge to throw up but I kept my throat clenched, knowing that if I started throwing up, I’d likely be unable to stop for some time. Even still, I was not well and it wasn’t long before I had Wallis dial up a familiar number for me so that I could politely request that someone bring me some of that awful dark grey garbage that I had so recently decided was as benign and impotent as sand.

After enough time had passed and I had injected enough of that dark grey poison, I started to feel better and began considering just exactly what the fuck had just happened to me.

And here’s the conclusion I’ve reached, boys and girls: There are all kinds of opiates, both natural and synthetic (opioids), under the sun. Virtually all of them share one thing in common though: the speed at which they depart they body. It’s true that some may take a little longer than heroin (and some take a little less time) but they’re all pretty close, with one exception: methadone. Methadone doesn’t begin to take off until 5 to 7 days after an addict’s last dose. However, in this glorious digital age, we’re no longer limited to the opioids of our parents’ generation. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, kids are playing with chemicals and – essentially – inventing new opioids, to sell on the streets as a cheaper alternative to heroin. Some of these could theoretically be more analogous to methadone than they are to heroin. So, it seems that my dark grey garbage powder either contains methadone or else some other new toxic fucking opioid. I’ve taken methadone plenty of times but never had it in a concentrated powder formulation so I’m not sure if that’s absolutely what it is that I’ve been using. If anyone out there can tell me, does methadone BURN LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER when injected in high doses? If so, then it seems I’ve been injecting methadone. If it doesn’t, then I’m shooting up something else with a super long half-life. Something with some toxic non-injectable ingredient or cutting agent that makes my fucking blood hurt.

You know, from a capitalist point-of-view, this really is quite brilliant. A withdrawal that takes longer to start is also going to take longer to end. If you were a drug dealer, would you rather sell someone something that – if they stop taking it – it’s going to cause them pain for a week before they feel relatively okay? Or something that ensures it’ll be closer to two weeks (or possibly longer) before they’re in the clear? After all, the fact that one can go longer between shots on this stuff is of little consequence. Anyone that’s actively addicted and shooting up is always going to struggle to shoot up any less than “as often as possible.” It’s only when an addict tries to quit that the long half-life is of any benefit or consequence – but even then, it’s just delaying the inevitable and then stretching it out over a longer period of time.

So that’s where I’m at now. I’m back on my shitty dark grey dope, working up the courage to quit again, knowing that it’s going to be the most protracted detox of my life. I’ve got my reasons for holding off for now and not getting started just yet (and they’re nothing fucking positive) but I’m also starting to get ideas for how I might actually be able to have a life that I can stand one day (soon, I hope). I’ve got just a little bit of hope for the first time in a long time. And I’m writing honestly on my blog again, which is never a bad thing. It’s a good sign that I’m at least starting to feel a little bit like me again.

Anybody that’s got anything shitty to say about any of that can fuck right off. I know who I am, I know what I’m not, and if I’m gonna hate myself, it’s gonna be for the right fucking reasons. But I feel okay today. (Right now anyway). Oh – and for what it’s worth, I do have a pocket full of dope and I’ve been awake since 7AM, but I haven’t shot up since last night. Whether you think so or not, that’s pretty fucking good. I had things I wanted to do before I shot up and I’ve been doing them all day. I don’t care how petty or little it is, I’m proud knowing that it’s 3PM and I haven’t put a needle in my arm.

(Yet).

The residue

Okay, here’s the difference between now and the other two times I’ve used since getting clean: this didn’t happen in the course of some short out-of-town project. Those times, I finished what i was doing and then had to leave town to get back to my regular life. This time, it happened in the course of my regular life. I don’t have anywhere to run to, I still have things to do here in NY, there’s nothing pulling me “back” to anywhere else. The fact that it’s really easy to cop dope here doesn’t help. I thought I’d be able to bounce out of the hospital with a smile on my face and a “well that’s over – what’s next?!” attitude. And I did feel that way for a minute. But the residue of this shit is sticking with me and won’t leave me alone. And I feel alone. And I wanna use. I kinda really wanna use. And I can’t even remember the last time I felt that way.

And it’s not like I think it’s gonna be fun or that it’ll even be okay. I know it’s all bad, I know it’s all downhill but I still can’t shake the feeling. I’ve already had the thought of “well, if I’m gonna use, I might as well OD intentionally this time (and without anybody else around to call 911). ‘Cause I don’t like feeling like I wanna use. And even though I know this shit’s temporary – that I’ve lived without this feeling for the better part of three years now – the present bias is strong in me. And for all the positivity and optimism that comes with my current brand of nihilism, my personal philosophy doesn’t include any great reasons to continue living unless I’m enjoying it. And I am (I guess) – for the most part – up until moments like this.

I don’t fucking know. I’m not saying I wanna kill myself. I’m definitely not saying I need to go back into treatment. I’m sure this shit will pass in another day or two. I just… my head’s just all fucked up right now and I’m not enjoying it. I’m probably making it out to sound worse than it is.

My fucked up legal problem

In September 2014, I was arrested for being in possession of 40mg of Adderall. Adderall is one of three prescription medications that I take daily. It was first prescribed to me in January of 2005 and I have been on it consistently ever since. My prescribed dosage has ranged from 20 to 40 mg/day.

The Adderall for which I was arrested was in a bottle with my friends’ name on it. She gave it to me when I babysat her for two days, leading up to her entrance into a detox facility (for which I made the arrangements) on account of her problems with crack and heroin. I was happy she offered it to me because – as I travel for my career – it’s not always easy to get my prescriptions renewed on time each month. Finding a new psychiatrist in each new city that I visit can be incredibly difficult. Waiting lists for new patients to get a first visit are regularly as long as two to five months. I’m rarely ever in the same city (or state) for that length of time.

After my arrest, I brought in my pharmacy records, doctors’ notes, as well as newspaper articles and letters from friends and fans, testifying that – not only am I not a drug addict but that my life is built around that very fact and that I regularly help those still struggling with drugs to overcome their addictions.

The prosecuting attorney was not interested in any of these facts. At the time of my arrest, my own Adderall prescription was not current and it didn’t matter how long I had been on the drug or that I wasn’t abusing it in anyway, or that my life, career, and essence are diametrically opposed to drug abuse. I was offered a deal: “complete two years of probation and keep a clean (felony-free) record.”

My lawyer advised that we file a motion to suppress the evidence in the state’s case against me, as I hadn’t consented to the search which yielded the Adderall of which I was “illegally” in possession. If it didn’t work, I could take the deal. The motion failed, as the judge ruled that my friend’s consent (obtained outside of my earshot) was valid for the entirety of the vehicle in which we were traveling.

After that hearing, the prosecution withdrew it’s earlier offer and replaced it with “take the felony conviction on your record and either (1) complete two years probation or (2) serve one month in jail.” I requested a continuance to give the matter more thought. I sent in more records, proving that I had managed to keep my prescription current in the (now) nine months since my arrest; I had more letters mailed in – this time from family and people with whom I’ve dealt in my art career. I hoped this would sway the prosecution to reconsider. They did not.

On Wednesday, I went back to court resigned to accept the jail sentence (as probation would prove too great a hindrance to my career and the travel which it necessitates. Moments before I stepped into the courtroom, I allowed someone’s advice to sway me into choosing probation. I figured that I could serve it in Florida (which is still my permanent legal residence) and I had a few personal reasons to return there that I let myself believe outweighed the importance of career and travel.

It was so ordered. I left the courtroom and went to the probation office to sign up. It was there that I was told that my “residency status” in Florida was insufficient to warrant a transfer of my probation. In fact, I had no residency status sufficient to warrant a transfer anywhere outside of McLean County, Illinois (where my arrest took place). I would have to serve my two years of probation in the middle of Illinois where, needless to say, I would be unable to maintain a career as an artist. (There is no art scene there; there is no market for my artwork there).

I went to speak with my lawyer. “They can’t transfer my probation to Florida,” I told him, “I’ll need to take the jail sentence instead.” “Okay,” he said, “We’ll file a motion to vacate.” “Am I free to leave the county and the state in the meantime?” I asked. He nodded. “Should I go back to the probation office and tell them?” I asked. He nodded.

I went back to the office, told the woman at the front desk, and drove to Iowa City to visit my friends. And then I got a call from the probation office. “Until a judge approves that motion, we’re still legally required to complete your intake for probation,” I was told. “If you don’t come back and complete your intake by Tuesday, you’ll be in violation of your probation and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.”

I called my lawyer but only got his receptionist. He’s yet to get back to me.

I have an outstanding opportunity waiting for me in New York City right now. It’s one of the most important cities for the arts in the world and one that I’ve had on my list since day one. I need to go to New York and capitalize on the opportunity before it’s too late (which would be approximately two months from now). But – at this moment – not only am I unable to pack up and head to New York, it seems that – by Tuesday – I may be trapped back in McLean County for who knows how long.

In spite of this, I remain optimistic but my optimism doesn’t snuff out my anxiety, which is sometimes pretty overwhelming. This level of anxiety is not good for me. The last few days, I’ve caught myself entertaining stupid, self-destructive thoughts.

I won’t give in to them though. I’m going to be okay.

Hopefully, I’ll have a better idea of what’s happening by tomorrow or Tuesday. Wish me luck. (And/or buy some art).


Here’s a picture from the 4th of July party/punk show at the Cedar Falls Skate Park yesterday. I’m the one in the middle, clearly having the most fun, without a care in the world. (I’m actually less of a bummer right now than this picture indicates; I just wasn’t 100% comfortable posing for a photo with a bunch of other shirtless dudes, even if they are friends). I’m awkward. I was never in a frat. Whatever, dude.

Sammy_thrashLife_Cedar_Falls

I Work Hard For the Money

"I Work Hard For the Money." 8/11/14. Ink. 8x6".
“I Work Hard For the Money.” 8/11/14. Ink. 8×6″.

A friend made a joke that hurt my feelings. I put my response in a drawing.

If you wanna make me angry, suggest that I’m lazy or somehow less than self-sufficient. My job is emotionally fucking taxing. Every day that I’m not getting more famous feels like some kind of a failure. I’m in the business of trying to convince strangers that I’m extraordinary. It’s a fragile position to be in.

It’d be easy to say that your desk job is an easy, coward’s way out but I’m not gonna ’cause I couldn’t do that shit. But don’t tell me that I have it easier on the streets, selling my story and my essence to people that – 9 times outta 10 – don’t even wanna make eye contact with me.

You don’t got it any harder or any better than me; it’s just different. I don’t shit on your desk; don’t act like you’re better than me. You’re just more stable. If you think my job is easier then – by all means – there’s plenty of room in the marketplace.

This was one in a series of four drawings that I made two months ago. I realized last week that I’m angry. And that I have been for some time now. Back when I was still on heroin (and all throughout my life even before that) I had a really terrible temper. By the time I got out of Tranquil Shores though, I had learned to control it. And – honestly – I don’t even really think I needed to control it at that point. It’d flare up occasionally but, for the most part, I was happy enough that things didn’t get to me the way that they always had in the past. I’m realizing that that’s no longer the case and this drawing is evidence that it’s been that way since (at least) mid-summer. I’m hyper-sensitive and it’s fucking up my life. I think I need regular counseling again and (as much as I hate the idea) I’m even considering new medication.


On another note, my legal situation remains unresolved and I am (consequently) still accepting online orders to help with my legal expenses. Check out my GoFundMe page for more info.

I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight or wake up tomorrow. I couldn’t even attempt to guess where I’ll be in a month. Life is uncertain and scary (sometimes). I just used “frozen yogurt” body wash and that’s really, really funny.

I’ve got six or seven hours to drive today. I’ve got more friends than I can count. There are a lotta people out there that love me and a lot of people that I’ve got warm, fuzzy feelings for that (I think) approximate (or
maybe even are) that same kind of love.

Hey, Jacksonville – if I’ve been sayin’ I’ll hit you up when I get back, that day’s right around the corner. I been gone so long but I’m coming “home” and it’ll be at least two weeks before I bail “for good” and move on to whatever’s waiting for me outside of Florida.

Check me out – talkin’ like I’ve got a clue! Making a “plan!” As if things have ever worked out as I thought they would.

Here’s what I do know: (1) I’ve got so many stories, dark/light, beautiful/fucked up, egocentric, and otherwise from this last month or so that I’m really excited to get back to writing (publicly) real soon. (2) I got a bunch of new art to compliment and round up all my stories. (3) Some of this shit’s gonna make people feel weird, some is gonna make me uncomfortable, but I’m committed to being honest about what I’ve recently been up to, experienced, and how I’ve felt about it. (4) Chris Hembrough is the best friend I could ask for and I wish I could take him with me. Spillane too (OBVIOUSLY) but I’ve gotten to connect with Hemmy in such an outstanding, positive way this last month.

Yesterday, there was a tragedy. I’m not gonna get into it just yet but I wanna say this: we didn’t need a tragedy for me to be writing this way. It’s been on my mind for two weeks already and while there were some beautiful moments in the aftermath of the accident, there were plenty more, long before anything went wrong and even in between the time of the crash and the time it came to light. So as fucked up as it strikes me to describe it as at all “natural” or “good,” it felt very much like a natural extension of everything that’s been happening. And I think it was good for both of us, at least insofar as the roles that it lead us into. It also prolonged my stay in the area for one extra day. Now that I’m off, we’ve both got our own adventures and trials ahead of us. I’m pretty confident that we’ll both be kicking the shit out of them.

Death and loss feel surreal sometimes, we can feel the pain of the people we love almost as intensely as our own. I’m not sure what I’m getting at so I’m gonna stop until I can take the time to process and write about everything that’s been 2014 so far, in a less stream-of-consciousness kinda way…

We live on quite a planet. Let’s celebrate.


Don’t know if I can keep up but I try god dammit.

Here’s the drum head I made for Rational Anthem. Adapted from my painting, “Autobiography.” (It’ll also be featured on all of their summer merch and their new record cover; more on that later though).

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Still Geekin’

Life is scary. I’m sticking around ’cause I have an appointment to sell a painting on Wednesday. In the meantime, I feel static. How am I supposed to be spending my time? Why is this suddenly a question?

I had a meeting at a gallery today. I got some cards printed. I painted for four hours. I sold a print. I got paid for merch design I did over the weekend. But I feel unproductive because I’m not “moving forward.” What does that even mean?

—–

I finished this drawing last month; it’s on a page torn out of my Narcotics Anonymous text.

"Still Geekin'." 1/11/13. Ink. 5¼x5¼".
“Still Geekin’.” 1/11/13. Ink. 5¼x5¼”.

1/25/14

I’m dictating this post to Siri because I’m driving more hours than I can count today, so forgive any typos or anything that doesn’t make any sense.

Life is erratic and unpredictable.

Or maybe I’m just erratic and unpredictable.

Either way things are in flux but I’m doing okay. I don’t feel like I’m crumbling and, driving right now on this particular four hour stretch, I can’t help but just laugh and be totally in love with punk rock.

First it was “Heterosexual Lion” by Vacation, then it was “Barren” by The Credentials.

Does it get any better than this?

I wonder how many hours it’ll be until I’m contemplating suicide again…

Who cares? I’m not going anywhere