Taking Stock, And Other Drugs: The Dishonour Roll

I choose to abandon the last 17 years to the past. 
I choose to carry the burden no more; it has weighed me down long enough.
I cannot make these years, spent addicted to drugs, disappear – but I can make them worthwhile by beating the addiction, learning the causes of my own addiction so that maybe others can learn about theirs; by growing and growing up, by accepting responsibility for my actions and the impact they had on others. 
I will not blame anyone for the addiction, nor will I blame the drugs: it was NOT drug abuse, because I used the drugs freely, and exactly as they were intended to be used. It was more than firm belief, it was a conviction, that became addiction. 
I choose to be slave no longer to that addiction.
I choose to take BACK my life.  

The addiction demands and must receive respect; it is powerful, more powerful than I hope you’ll ever know. The addiction was terrific, because it begets terror. This is the horror and these are my chemical sins, confessed: 

  • I started taking drugs in 1996 and my initiating chemicals were diet pills, poppers, ecstasy, LSD, speed and occasionally, if offered, a joint. 
  • In 1997, I took cocaine for the first time, on the 16th of December, it was a public holiday and I remember it well. 
  • In 1999 I overdosed on heroin, and died. Because I had not learned my lesson, I was revived, brought back to life and in December 1999, just two months after having died of a heroin overdose, I met up with my old acquaintances, ecstasy and cocaine.
  • On the eve of the millennium, in 1999, I took schedule 7 experimental antidepressants, and LSD, I mixed these with ecstasy and cocaine as I stood on the beach on Beacon Isle, Plettenberg Bay, and knew, that with all these chemicals in me the Y2K virus would not touch me. 
  • In 2000 my focus was wholly on cocaine – it became my constant companion, with occasional visits to that old enemy, ecstasy and its friend, LSD. That was the last year I took LSD. 
  • Before I left Pretoria, for Cape Town, in December 2000, I spent a weekend in a hotel room in Midrand, with two friends and two drug dealers, snorting ridiculous quantities of cocaine that started leaking out our tear ducts. 
  • Ecstasy fell from favour and I indulged sporadically throughout 2001, though cocaine was fast becoming a daily habit. 
  • I never touched ecstasy again. Until 2005, and 2006, and 2007, in London, where I also took ketamine, once, in a four day binge in 2006, at the Clapham Common Hotel, where I eventually sublimated into the carpet and ceased to be human for 96 hours. They call it a K-hole. 
  • In December 2006, I went clubbing in Vauxhall and went home with a stranger, and three strangers he had met earlier in the evening, at Crash,  for a drug-fueled orgy – a Ménage a Cinq, there were five of us, one was a drug dealer, who, to gain favour and attention from me, filled every orifice with cocaine, ketamine, ecstasy and speed. I became an object, lusting after the drugs so they – the four men – could lust after me. Not my proudest moment, but then, still not the worst.  
  • The night before I left England for good, in February 2007, I went clubbing, took so many pills I passed out on a bench, in the tube station, where someone removed the camera from my pocket, took my photo, and put the camera back in my pocket. The shock of that photo was not enough to put me off drugs.
February 6, 2007 – Brixton Station, London – 6:00am
  • But from 2000 until 2008 I all but gave myself to cocaine, and when my sinus passages were ruined, and my lungs operating at a meagre 25% capacity, I left cocaine for good. I started using cat. 
  • This I took almost daily, too, without exception, until 2010. 
  • In 2008, I tried crystal meth for the first time, and by the end of 2010, was smoking it almost daily. 
  • 2011 was the last time I took cocaine, I lost the taste for it. I also lost my job, my car, many friends and the last vestiges of my credibility. I also lost my grip on reality, and with my sanity lost, I lost the will to live.
  • My reputation such as it was destroyed, but it was built on a foundation of lies designed to protect my drug addiction from do-gooders who wanted to save me from myself. 
  • I smoked crystal meth for the last time on the 22nd of January, 2012. It has been 29 days, and counting…
  • In all this time, the longest continuous clean period I had was from the 2nd of January 1998, until the 31st of January 1998. 30 days in total. 
In the last 17  years, my cocaine use escalated to around R30,000 a month, and three grams a day. At it’s worst, crystal meth cost me over R20,000 a month. My cocaine addiction helped close down one of my family’s restaurants, put them through hell and likewise put many friends through hell, too. 
My addiction dragged down other friends into the well of despair that is the addiction itself. I did not care what happened to me or what the effect that would have on anyone else, sometimes being so damned foolish as to take an entire gram of cocaine in one line,  or by swallowing 10 tabs of ecstasy at once, followed by 10 more later in the evening. 
I did this, not in the arrogant belief I was invincible and immortal; I did this selfishly, and so that I could be ‘the man’ of the hour, of the party – whatever, and to show that I could do more than any of my friends: Faster! Higher! More! What is the Olympian code? I wanted to be a drug taker of Olympian quantities, I became an epic failure, instead, and the quintessential poster child for addiction. 
I have watched relationships wither and die, I have buried friends and I have destroyed my health,  my mind and my life. But that life was not worth saving, but I am, now. 
These are my sins, confessed. I leave them to history, so that you may learn, and not the hard way, like I did. 
“Choose Life!” It’s glib and clichéd, just like saying, I’ve come to rock bottom, and the only way is up. But you know what else? It’s true. Here’s another cliché for you: you are  probably sitting there saying, “This will never happen to me, I am in control!” 
You may even be sitting there, thinking to yourself “I’m a rebel, and I shun your pitiful failure to maintain the drugs, I’m more man than you and man enough to handle my drugs!” 
Maybe you’re like some people I know, and are thinking “I JUST TAKE THE DRUGS FOR FUN!” 
Here’s the harsh truth if one of those three apply to you: WAKE UP! You are NOT in control, you gave up control the first time you took any drug; you do not share control with the drugs, if you think there’s a middle ground, and compromise: you  are being controlled, by the drug, no matter how infrequently or how little you have taken. 
You are NOT a hero.
You are NOT cool.
You are NOT in control.
You are also NOT a victim. 
These are the choices, these are your truths, my truths, until now. You CHOOSE TO LIVE or you choose to die.
Make the wrong choice and, quite simply, you are NOT a hero, you are a LOSER.
You are NOT cool, you are a LOSER.
You are NOT in control, you have LOST control. 
You are NOT a victim, YOU GAVE UP ON LIFE! 
The common denominator is YOU, was me, all these years. I choose to live, so must you. Like me, you must choose NOT to take drugs and here’s another scary thought, that choice is being made now, as you read this, not when you are confronted by someone offering them to you. 
30 December 2011, Johannesburg, in the prison of my broken mind.
© healing.me 2012. All Rights Reserved.  


  1. Hey Dave, haven't heard from you for a while. Hope you are well, and that it is only the travelling that is keeping you from posting on this site. Stay in touch bud.

  2. Hey James. Been in Paarl a week now, and find myself having to read this, to remind myself of the horror. The old ways want to slip back in and take over, and they have momentum on their side.

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