All posts by Sam North

What year is it?

I was gonna wait until I had something more “polished” to post but – let’s face it – it’s not like I have any semblance of a career at the moment and the reason I started writing and painting in the first place was for the sake of my mental health, so I’m just gonna get back to that for a second.

It’s been another year (and change since I last updated my blog). I relapsed again. Obviously. I’m on methadone right now and (in the process of) titrating off.

Motherfucker. Ten minutes ago, I was overwhelmed by the impulse to write but I made the mistake of showering and getting dressed first and now I can’t even remember what was so god damn important. All I know is that I want to paint right now and I hung up the piece that I need to work on and then just felt overwhelmed by anxiety.

I’ll have to get back to you…

Mental Health Services Available to Strippers, Junkies, Cutters, and Other SICK GIRLS

“Mental Health Services Available to Strippers, Junkies, Cutters, and Other SICK GIRLS.” 12/6/17. Acrylic paint. 3×4′.

GOD DAMN. Where do I start? As 2015 and my third year as an artist drew to a close, I relapsed. By February 2016, I was back to shooting up all day everyday and had completely stopped painting. My three years of art and clean time were over and I was back to where I started before I went to rehab for two years, discovered art, and gave up heroin. It wouldn’t be until September of 2017 that I got clean again and another couple months before I got back to painting. This was the first painting I made at that time. Unfortunately, after seven months off heroin, I relapsed again in April 2018 (and stayed fucked up through October) so I’m just now (April 2019) getting back on top of my game and doing the things I should have been doing all along, like updating my website and writing the statements for the batch of paintings I made in those 7 months of clean time that ended a year ago.

I did a fair amount of journaling on this canvas so I’m going to let it mostly speak for itself and just interject as I wanna supplement or comment on what I remember was going on in my head. For a little context though, I was living with the same family that “adopted” me when I was a teenager and that have been in my life ever since, I had broken up with Wallis, and I was trying to regain my footing but feeling pretty broken and lonely a fair amount of the time. Things were better than they’d been in a long time but, overall, I was just generally shaky. Regarding the title/main caption though (“Mental health services available to strippers, junkies, cutters, and other SICK GIRLS”), it was like a calling card. A casting call. I was putting it out to the world that I was looking for a girlfriend and making a joke about the kinds of girls that I attract and a joke about what I have to offer those girls. Anyway, here’s what else is written on the canvas (in chronological order, to the best of my recollection).

Yo – I am super fucking codependent. It’s been maybe two weeks that I’ve been “single” and I’m already fiending like a lonely little sad sack. Painting helps but it’s weird on a back porch instead of on the street with an audience and a stream of validation AND GIRLS.

I’m happy to report that, today, a year and a half later (after getting back together with Wallis, relapsing again, and breaking up again) I got over that overwhelming need to be with someone. I do have a girlfriend again at this point but – before I met her – I wasn’t sadding around and obsessing about finding someone. I was back to painting, spending time with friends, and – for the most part – I was pretty happy, even without a girlfriend for once.

I keep thinking if I could just find the right record to listen to or the right colors to energize me or the right title to plaster across this thing, I might get excited to paint and not just want to go lay down. I’m smoking way too many cigarettes, sitting out here, NOT painting.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.

People say shit like, “You don’t know how good you had it ’til you lost it.” I don’t know if I knew back then. I honestly might have. (Certainly at times; in moments, I knew how lucky I was). One thing I know absolutely: I DON’T HAVE IT THAT GOOD ANYMORE. But I still got something. I still got SOME THINGS (people, a bed, whatever) to be grateful for. I’m thinking maybe this is one of those times to realize how good I got it before I don’t anymore…

HOW ‘BOUT THAT? A couple months after penning that shit, I got my girlfriend back, a couple months after that, I got a motorcycle – then my own home/apartment – and then fucking lost it all again and was worse off that when I was painting this.

Here’s the longest “journal entry” on this painting:

I’m not sure what’s motivating my behavior. I mean, I know I’m codependent. I miss her. But I’m not doing everything I could to get her back to me. Is that what I should be doing? I’ve been chasing other girls… “Chasing” is a strong word. I’m barely even casting my line out. But is it even fair to do that? Am I even looking for anyone as more than a temporary substitute until I can have her again? (I don’t like that I’m writing this, knowing it’ll soon be public record; no girl wants to be a placeholder; I’m not doing myself any favors putting this out there). Whatever. I’m lonely but I miss her. I’m lonely because I miss her. I miss her because I’m lonely. At least one of those is true. (Or more true than the others). I don’t know which one. I absolutely love her. But do I need her back because I love her or just because I’m codependent? I’m having plenty of fun without her but maybe that’s just because it’s easier to have fun when you’re broke and only one person – not responsible for a second person. Or maybe just because I’m going out more. Even if I had money right now, I probably wouldn’t go out as much if she were here. But part of that is because I’d be more content just being at home with her. Content. With her. That sounds like not a bad thing either. But if we’re apart for long enough for her to get over me, which I’m piss-scared of, I need to be (ready to be) over her. That’s probably not gonna happen unless I meet someone else. A right someone else. That doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world but, in my current state, doesn’t seem super likely. Then again, the sale of a painting or two could drastically change my “current state.” …GIRLS AND MONEY. [That’s what it always comes down to.] I’m no more substantial than mainstream hip hop. AWESOME.

And last but perhaps most significantly, a regurgitation of something I was taught in rehab.


That final parenthetical is a reference to the fact that a few of the girls that I’ve dated (casually or seriously) have been cutters. I definitely don’t ever look for or target girls that have self-harm scars, but it’s something I’ve found out about or noticed shortly after getting involved (to whatever degree) with more than a couple of my “partners” (or whatever you wanna call ’em).

On a related note, I’ve been struggling a little bit lately with something. In the past, I’ve publicized my partners’ personal issues in the same way that I do my own. I wouldn’t say I feel like it’s been exploitative but – even with consent – I just feel a little more uneasy about it than I used to. With that being said…

My new girlfriend, Juliana, has a history with self-harm. As time passes, I’m hoping it proves to be just that: history. But, in any case, it’s no coincidence that she (LIKE ME) “suffers” from some mental health issues. Honestly, if she didn’t – if she were completely well-adjusted – I have a hard time believing that she’d have any interest in me. She’s just too wonderful. Really, her only issue is insecurity. Especially when it comes to my past with other girls. THIS ARTIST’S STATEMENT IS CERTAINLY EXACERBATING THAT. For real, she cannot handle anything involving my past with other girls. It’s the only thing we “argue” about at all. (PLEASE DON’T BE UPSET WHEN YOU READ THIS, JULIANA; I LOVE YOU A LOT, YOU LITTLE TWERP; I’m just wrapping up loose ends/finishing old projects so I can put this shit 100% behind me). Anyway, I don’t know exactly why it’s such a sensitive area for her but I know that her previous relationships (to put it mildly) have been abusive. She has not had the loving partners she deserves. I’m very proud though of the fact that she is already repeatedly telling me that no one has ever treated her as well as I do and that I make her very happy. It’s my hope that – just in loving her and treating her well – I’ll be able to help her feel as secure, safe, and loved as she deserves. Which isn’t to say that she’s a “project” or that I’m trying to “fix” her. But I can’t deny that the title of this painting, which I made over a year ago, still has some application to my life presently.

So we’re both sick but I think we’re good for each other. WE’LL SEE HOW IT GOES…

At the time of this writing, this original painting is still available for purchase, as are 12×18″ signed, sealed, hand-numbered archival prints. Get in touch if you’d like to buy anything.

Back and on the attack (just like that Voodoo Glow Skulls song except not stupid)

OKAY – how many times have we done this now? Just twice, right? MAYBE three times? Who cares. Here’s the obligatory first-post-after-a-long-relapse post. “WHAT WENT WRONG THIS TIME,” YOU ASK? Again – who fucking cares? Here are the only details that I feel are relevant:

  1. I got back together with Wallis in January 2018 after just three months apart.
  2. Shit went off the rails sometime in the spring when I started using.
  3. Shit went WAY off the rails by October and we split up.
  4. I called Brandon, he agreed to take me to detox the next day.
  5. Before that happened, that same night, I got arrested for more drug charges. (Surprise!)
  6. I got bailed out by my sister ’cause she’s a sweet girl and it WAS ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY.
  7. I went into detox and moved in with Brandon and Amanda.
  8. Two months later, I switched it up and moved in with Ellen.
  9. I started painting again.
  10. I’ve got two new pieces. One’s already sold; the other hasn’t. (I’ll be posting and writing about all of my “new” art (from this year and last year) here, very soon).
  11. I’ve been in outpatient treatment since I got out of the hospital.
  12. Oh – speaking of which – I also had some broken bones around the same time as my detox, from a motorcycle accident. (More on that later (MAYBE)).
  13. Shit’s going fucking good. (Not “well,” but GOOD; fuck your grammar; language is for communication; I don’t care about rules).
  14. I recently started dating someone new and I like her a wholllllllllllle fucking lot but I’m not gonna write a lot about her here just now because I learned from experience that – even when the girl is cool with it – parents don’t seem to like it when their daughter starts dating an artist with no sense of boundaries or propriety and writes all about their beloved child’s private life on the internet. Her name is Juliana though and she’s just wonderful.
  15. Oh – and because I know YOU KIDS WORRY, I’ll just say this much: No, she is not now (nor has she ever been) a heroin addict. And I’m pretty sure she’ll be good for me and I’m gonna do everything I can to be good for her.

Cool? Cool.

More substantive (or at least art-related) posts coming very soon.

Here’s a recent photo of me on a day I was wearing an “employable human” costume – because I don’t want to post the photos of my new paintings just yet but because blog posts should have SOME kind of graphic, right?

I didn’t (proof)read this post after typing it because I’m in a hurry just this minute. If I wrote something wrong, maybe I’ll fix it later, MAYBE NOT.

Love you nerds. Thanks for caring.

5 months clean

Tomorrow marks five months clean. Everything’s going pretty well. I’m a little bummed that I haven’t been able to share decent photos my post-relapse paintings on here yet (there are five finished paintings so far, another that’s in progress, and a drawing that’s in progress as well). I should be able to get most of them photographed sometime this week, at which point I’ll start writing the ancillary statements for each so that I can give each one its own proper blog entry AND start offering prints for sale.

The big news lately (as those that follow me on Facebook already know) is that I got Wallis back down here and back off drugs. (Things took a (predictably) bad turn for her when we split up and she went back to Jacksonville). There’s no judgment in that statement by the way; if I had been in that situation, I very sincerely doubt that I’d have fared even the slightest bit better. Anyway, initially we (I, with the help of some friends) got her into inpatient rehab but – for reasons I’m not going to get into – that didn’t really pan out as well as we might’ve hoped. So she’s been back out now for a few days and I’m scrambling a little bit to figure out where to put her. Art sales have been going as well as could be expected considering I’m just now getting back to it after a two-year hiatus/relapse but the brief period that she was in rehab wasn’t exactly enough time for me to make enough money to find a place for her to live. (She’s, of course, going to be getting a job and paying her own way but someone has to cover her first month’s rent and who’s that gonna be if not me?) Toward that end, I swallowed ALL OF MY PRIDE and actually got a “real job” for the first time in ten thousand years. I’m not super happy about it; it feels a little bit like an acknowledgment of failure; like maybe I can’t support myself (and someone else) off art alone but history’s already proven that that’s not true and I’m confident that this isn’t the new “state of affairs” and that I’ll be able to return full-time to art in the relatively near future. It basically boils down to the question of what’s more important to me: my pride and my image or providing a safe place for the girl that I love to recover/heal/rebuild in the same way that I was so recently given the opportunity to do?

I guess that about covers it for now. Hit me up if you wanna buy some art. Apparently these “JOBS” have these things called “pay periods” where you don’t get your money until, like, two Fridays after you do the stuff that you do and I’d like to start renting a place before then. But – you know – whatever. It’s all gonna work out regardless. IT SORT OF ALWAYS DOES.

photo, Thursday, 2/15/2018

Still clean (105 days)

I was thinking earlier today that I need to accept the idea that I’m never going to be happy. That seems kind of strange coming from someone that has a smile plastered to his face so much of the time. And it’s not like I’m faking being happy. I’m having fun. I’m laughing. I’m enjoying myself and my friends and the dumb (fairly ordinary lately) shit that I’ve been getting into. But I’ve been spending so much time with friends lately and – when I’m with friends – I mostly feel pretty okay. But then – when I get back to being alone – it’s kind of another story. Chris Hembrough was just in town visiting and I spent the whole week with him at his mom’s house; it was sort of like being on vacation. We’d get up every morning, go to the gym, get lunch, kick around the house for a bit, and then go out at night to meet up with more friends. And we had a lot of fun. Like, pretty much every minute of every day was fun. Now that I’m back “home,” I’m thinking about the fact that I don’t really have my own home right now. I don’t even really have my own room. I feel like a child. Like a dependent. I need to rebuild my life and get back to being independent. But what does that even look like? Where does that take place? Who am I even anymore?

So I still talk to my sort-of/pseudo-(ex)-girlfriend every day and we try to make plans to get her into detox or rehab and, ultimately, down here to me. But she’s got no money, no nothing; she can’t stay where I stay, so I’m on the hook for at least her first month’s rent. Which is fine because I want her here and there have been plenty of times when I was in worse shape than her and she took care of me. But, obviously, my resources are super limited right now; if they weren’t, then I wouldn’t still be in the position that I’m in right now. So it’s, like, I need to make more money but the only way I make money is from art and while there’s some degree to which I can make sales happen, it’s ultimately (more or less / at the end of the day) just about catching breaks and getting lucky. It’s about somebody hitting me up and wanting to buy one of the originals and making me “rich” again. It’s not like I have the resources or the tools that I need right now to hammer it out the way that I used to so far as selling prints on the street or hitting up galleries is concerned. So – yeah – all I can really do is what I do and hope that it comes back to me.

But let’s fast forward a little bit. Let’s say enough time passes that we get our own place and move back in together. Is that here? Is that in some other city or state? There’s so much I need to do before I’ll even be in a position where I could move my life somewhere else again. But let’s say that I get all my shit worked out, let’s say we do move away together and get our own place again… Let’s say my art career picks back up and I’m making good money again. Let’s say I get everything that I want

I’m just gonna want different shit. There’s gonna be something wrong with something and I’m not gonna be okay. She’s gonna get fucked up again, or I’m gonna be stressed that she’s gonna get fucked up again, or get upset about how her family hates me, or – whatever.

And that’s not to say that all of my problems are about her. They’re not. They’re really, really not. And even if they were, if it weren’t her, it’d be another girl. I’m sure.

Like I wrote on one of my new paintings, it seems like it all always come down to girls and money. That’s what I always stress about; that’s what I’m probably always going to stress about no matter what.

SO… – how do I get okay with that?

I don’t fucking know. But the easy, obvious answer is that I don’t and that this is just the way that life works. So I need to just enjoy the good moments and do the things that I like to do. I need to do the things that put that dumb, crooked smile on my face so much of the time.

And just fucking hope that it all works out….?

That seems like such a copout. I’m not trying to rely on faith. I make things happen for myself. But I can’t right now. So how am I even “me” still? Am I? Am I Sammy thrashLife or am I “Sam North” or… I don’t even know what that shit means right now.

It’s moments like these when I feel like I need to change everything about myself and start from scratch. But shit… when I think about what that looks like, I realize that I may feel insecure about who I am right now or what I’m doing but I know who and what I’m not. And from that I can pretty much extrapolate to who I am. And – yeah – for better or worse, I’m that reckless, fucked up, paint-covered, snarky fucking kid (who’s not much of a kid anymore) and trying to be anything else is just gonna make me miserable for real. Not “dissatisfied in quiet moments” but straight up depressed all the time.

So I guess I should go paint some funny fucking faces now and maybe scribble about my feelings a little more.

I need a professional photographer in my new (temporary) hometown so that I can get real photos of my new work for use online and to make prints from. For now, here are three sorta-decent iPhone photos of the three pieces I’ve finished since getting clean. They’re not clear enough to zoom in and see any detail but they oughtta give you the basic idea. Two are still available for purchase, one is sold.

“Enjoy Me While You Can” (the newest of the 3) 3×2′.

“Chemicool” (this one’s real small) – the colors are brighter than they appear in the photo.

the first of my post-relapse pieces, “Mental Health Services Available to Strippers, Junkies, Cutters, and Other SICK GIRLS” (it’s 3×4′)


If you follow my personal Facebook page, this might not be the most interesting update. For anyone that doesn’t: I’M FIFTY-ONE DAYS CLEAN. That’s a pretty big deal. It’s been two years since I could say that.

So far as other shit that’s going on:
1) I left Jacksonville. There was nothing good for me there. I was never gonna get clean in that city.
2) Wallis and I are split (at least for the time being). But so far as I know, SHE’S FIFTY-ONE DAYS CLEAN TOO.
3) I started making art again. I waited this long because I was never an artist before I got clean. I never made art while I was getting high. I didn’t wanna start making art while I was still at risk of using again. So I waited ‘til I had what I felt was a significant amount of time and I was in a place where I felt like I had a safety net – a place where, as soon as something went wrong, I wasn’t going to fall right back into shooting heroin. I feel like I have that now. And I feel like it’s been proven by Wallis and I splitting, the recent death of an old friend, and all of the everyday basic shit that ordinary humans deal with but that sends me spiraling into hopelessness on a regular basis. Also, I was scared. Scared to make art again. ‘Cause it’s been awhile. And my life is different now. And I don’t know if I can ever go back to doing things the way that I used to.

BUT (with that being said) I don’t exactly know what the fuck else to do so here’s my plan… I’ve got a huge mess to clean up. I’ve got a lot of “rebuilding” to do. I’ve lost pretty much everything. No phone, no car, no license, no home (of my own), no girlfriend (sorta), no prospects, no income, no not shit. (And yes, that’s an intentional nonsensical double-negative). And I still got legal issues hanging over my head that I need to clear up.

So all I really know how to do is paint. And write. (And listen to punk rock and smoke cigarettes, but those last two probably aren’t gonna be super integral to the rebuilding of my life). And it’s possible that those first two won’t either. After all, before I went to rehab and got my stretch of clean time, I was running Traffic Street Records and had just graduated from law school. By the time I got out of rehab, neither of those were relevant to my life anymore. Maybe art isn’t either at this point. But I literally got nothin’ else. Shit – I even left all my physical possession behind in Jacksonville. (I lost damn near everything).

So I’m gonna paint. And post bullshit on the internet. And just try to keep stacking up days without putting a needle into my arm. I’m super lucky to have people that support me and take care of me. Feed me and give me a place to sleep and paint.

That’s what I got right now. It’s not the most solid plan anyone’s ever formulated but – like I said – I don’t know anything else.

Wish me luck. Or  send me messages about how I’m a junkie piece of shit who should just kill himself already. (I know how much some of you just love that).

Here’s a picture that someone sent me recently. It’s from the first day I ever used heroin. That was 15 years ago.

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.