I am… a former heroin addict
Chrissie tells her story of heroin addiction and recovery
I never wanted to conform. Growing up, what excited me was risk. Adrenaline was my first drug – that, and fantasy about being someone else, someone who felt free. Not feeling like I belonged in my own skin or family, I fantasised I was adopted and my ‘real’ parents were going to come and claim me. Always on edge, anxious, oversensitive, feeling like an alien who’d landed on the wrong planet without the guide book, I disguised it by never letting anyone see the real me.
I never knew how much pain I was in until in my teens. I felt the pain go when I had my first hit of heroin and cocaine. I was in its thrall and seduced at once.
From the age of 10, long before heroin, alcohol glued together the brittle carapace of my stumbling rebellion, then the gamut of other drugs – whatever you had in your pocket. My drug of choice was MORE. I was greedy and needy, selfish to the core. Terrified of the come down and avoiding my feelings at all costs.
When punk hit London in the 70s, I lost myself in the rebellious sea of noise, violence, sex and drugs. Yelling along to an angry song, full of rage, filth and shame, kicking against the world.
Life got messy, as it does with addiction. I tried controlling my using by emigrating to another country, but took myself and my self hatred with me. Friends tried to rescue me and got their fingers burned. I was on a hellish merry go round and I couldn’t see how to get off. …
This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2017 edition of Reform. The column was written by Chrissie, and supplied by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust – a charity that supports people recovering from addiction sct.org.uk