None the worse


I take life, not by week or day, but by the hour,
and when so suddenly, and often, it all goes sour,
I try to count the heartbeats until I’m well again.
When my brain refuses, I chant an agonised refrain:
“Don’t focus on the danger; don’t focus on the fear”
while my terrifying thoughts rebelliously veer
to images of blue lips, of cold, flaccid flesh,
and my mouth cries out with raspy breath,
“No no no no, he is not lost, it cannot be,
he’ll soon return, quite safe, to me.”
An hour may pass, or four or eight.
I fret and pace, I gasp and wait,
try to keep my concentration;
fail to still my palpitations.
I roll up small, I mutter, curse;
he must come back, and none the worse.

 He calls me up, or rings my bell,
I hear his voice and all seems well,
but every time I die some more,
and question what my life is for,
when every inch of peace, and joy
is stolen by my addict boy.


Tonight, as I was enjoying an evening beside a bonfire with friends, I received a text which warned me that my son and his girlfriend had fallen out, and he’d disappeared, and there was a danger he may overdose. 

I cut the evening short, and came straight home. If he turned up I wanted to be here.

I waited for three hours, and then he rang me, safe and well.

I can breathe again.

©Jane Paterson Basil


49 thoughts on “None the worse

  1. Your post triggered emotions in me. I had to deal with my youngest daughter’s transgressions in learning lessons in life. She wasn’t into drugs, but alcohol abuse and the consequences. I remember her being brought to my door with a bloody eye and had to call 911. She’s turned her life around now and started university with my support. Wish you strength in dealing with your son. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

            1. I think so – at a time like that. If he had a genuine crisis I’d be there for him, but all his crises (and they are many) are carefully engineered by him for attention. The other night he deliberately went hypoglycemic, and then tried to refuse glucose. We had to call the paramedics.

              Liked by 1 person

            1. Forcable detention in a psychiatric ward under a section of the mental health act. It’s carried out if they believe someone is a danger to themselves or others, for mental health reasons. somebody found him asleep outdoors, and when they tried to wake him his body started jerking uncontrolably. It’s not due to drugs – the hospital checks that out before psychiatry is called, and the psychiatrists refuse to see anyone who’s under the influence.


                1. Paul has OCD – so at least he cleared up the mess. He even hoovered!
                  I don’t get depression any more; I almost wish I did, as that would enable me to slump. I get anxious instead – horribly anxious – luckily I have a strong heart.

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. I’ve written a book about the last fifteen years of my life, but I can’t bring myself to try and get it published, because it tells the whole truth about my two youngest children, and no matter what they do to me, I can’t do that to them.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I know what you mean. I have done the same under the cover if fiction though… all those who are mean to me get killed off in a nasty manner…and I am not sharing those stories for fear that those people might recognize themselves…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. There was something I wrote some time back when I was writing those terribly tiny 2-5 line tales. Tell me what you think:-
                      She aims her cuts carefully…thin lacerations that never heal completely before being re-opened. I know everything, yet I can’t speak out. It is the perfect crime after all. No weapon, no motive and no witnesses. Only a fool would believe me if I said that words can kill too!

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you have personal experience of this horrible situation, Fiona. Thank you for reading and commenting. It gave me a reason to take another look at the poem. As a result, I’ve edited it, taking away a line, and adding four at the bottom. It now reads like this:

      He calls me up, or rings my bell,
      I hear his voice and all seems well,
      but every time I die some more,
      and question what my life is for,
      when every inch of peace, and joy
      is stolen by my addict boy.

      It’s a harsh ending, but addiction is harsh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a different experience in that I work in the Emergency Medical Services so I have seen the destruction that drugs abuse can cause to both the user and their family. I appreciate you sharing your emotions via this medium so hopefully giving others the support that they are not able to find hough their families or friends. Re your poem. Would it seem wrong to say that I like it as it’s so very true. It may be harsh but it is exactly that. That is the sad reality that users and their loved ones go through, just sometimes the user is not always aware of this fact. Thank you again. Fiona

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for explaining your interest in this poem. I was very impressed with our paramedics the first time I had to resuscitate my son. They were really kind. They did all they could, but he wasn’t responding. The paramedic in charge was preparing us for bad news when he suddenly shot into a standing position, spraying blood everywhere. I began yelling abuse at him. I’m sure you’ve witnessed that scenario, so I won’t make excuses, but I was shocked at my behaviour, even as I was ranting. The paramedic defused the situation by telling him that if it hadn’t been for my fast action he’d be dead. She’d already lost one patient to heroin that week, and one was enough. She went on to lecture him quietly, and by the time she’d finished, I was more calm. I think she was more concerned for me than my son. She was wonderful.
          He overdosed again a couple of weeks later. I brought him back without medical aid that time, and watched over him all night.
          I wish our governments put more resources into prevention and recovery. I think, ultimately, it would be an economy – money seems to be a main concern of most Govenments, rather than health and happiness..

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wow thank you for sharing your personal & quite potentially horrific experience with your son. I am very sorry you had to go through that & on more than one occasion too. Yes sometimes paramedics do experience the various stages of denial from close family members but we try and deal with them all in a sensible manner & very often like you say we have to comfort and take care of the family more so than the patient them self. So don’t blame you for your out break, at least you are able to recognise it and learn from it. I do hope your son is on the road to recovery with having broken away from that aweful and addictive behaviour. It must be extremely hard for you as a parent as well.

            Very true words re the government. Think money dominates most situations and circumstances globally which has you say is a shame really, but don’t think the public will ever be able to change the views, priorities and opinions of the government. Fiona

            Liked by 1 person

            1. My son appears to be on the verge of recovery – or rather, he’s buying methodone on the streets (and not using on top) while waiting for a prescription from the drugs services. Taking opiates to get off opiates seems a contradiction (like fighting for peace). I don’t know a single person who’s stayed clean after the meth. programme, whereas I know a lot of AA and NA members who have been clean for many years, due to group support, and the 12 step programme. Maybe he or his sister (another addict) will be the first in my experience. I hope so. Jane


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