Tag Archives: drugs

Recovery

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Last year, though drug-riddled and ill, still she wanted to please me. She saw a vintage sewing machine – my favourite make – in the window of a charity shop. She thought of me, and asked to see the manager, who told her she could put down a deposit. The manager knew it was for me – we go way back to schooldays, when we used to spend our weekends together, sitting on five-bar gates, swinging our legs, flaunting our budding sexuality, watching cars go by, and getting into scrapes with unsuitable dates, using each other as an excuse for escape. But that’s another story.

When I next saw Laura, she asked me if I would like a sewing machine, and I gruffly said that all I wanted for my birthday was for her to be clean.

She bought the machine anyway. It weighed a ton, but she carried it back to my flat, and I was grateful. It was beautiful, and worked like a dream. I thanked her, gave her a hug and told her I loved her, but I couldn’t resist smiling sadly, and saying, “Maybe I’ll get that other gift next year.”

I turned 62 yesterday. She gave me a book and a lovely card, hand-made by her, but most important of all, she delivered the miraculous gift I had been longing for.

Laura is clean.

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Laura was a child of spirit, born into a world of flesh, and she didn’t adapt in the way that most of us do. She spent her childhood confused and unhappy, but she was brave. She tried to fit into a world that understood her no more than she understood it. She was beaten down, time after time. The day came when she couldn’t take another beating, and she turned to street-medication.

She has felt, and witnessed, things that we cannot imagine. She knows what the bottom of the pit looks like, because she’s been there – in a place where we have never been, because our hearts beat differently.

I knew that she had to witness pure darkness before she could see the light, so I turned away from her. It was horrible – I looked down on her from my safe window, saw her staggering by, and felt my insides shredding. I coped by being angry, by feigning indifference, by talking to Serenity, my mannequin, by chanting affirmations – any way I could, I coped. I woke some mornings terrified that she may have died in the night, all alone – yet knowing she hadn’t, as I would have felt it as her life ebbed away.

She was sliding on black ice. She slid until there she was in utter darkness, with her eyes closed. When she opened them again, there were glints of light twinkling in the distance – not one, but many. There was her boyfriend Joe, me, her sister, Sarah, and other family members who never stopped loving her – and not only those, there were many – twinkling away, in this country, and all over the world – in America, Australia, Canada, Africa. I hope you all know who you are – all you who sent your good wishes, your healing thoughts, your love and your prayers – she saw your light. I know I’ve mentioned it several times, but I can’t get over what you have all done for her.

Laura’s 31 now. She’s no longer a schoolgirl; she no longer has to try to fit into a tight box for the convenience of school or society. She can practice her own unique dance, and she will be admired for it. She’s been burnt and frozen by life. She’s been cut, bruised,and fractured, but her scars make her more beautiful. She is her own person, brave, strong and creative. She’ll achieve her own kind of greatness.

Joe says that when the world points its finger and speaks of the mistakes of others, they speak out of ignorance. They don’t know the background. They don’t know that what they call a mistake may have been the right thing for the individual at that particular time, or that it may have seemed like the only choice available. I think he’s right.

We have a lot to learn from those who have climbed out of that dark pit.

I’m in shock, and for once it’s happy shock. I keep finding myself smiling about nothing – except that it’s not nothing. It’s all-consuming.

©Jane Paterson Basil

In the Street

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Saw him in the street today.
I could say we passed like strangers,
but it wouldn’t be true.

Years of  abuse
curled like vapour
in the grey space between us.
I caught the rueful look on his face,
maybe shame, maybe regret at having lost
his power to use me.
He limply lifted his hand in vague salute,
and my view willingly slid from his face.

He didn’t slow his pace –
neither did I.

After we’d passed each other by,
I felt chilled relief;
throughout the vacant years of addiction,
I have clung on to a fake picture of a wonderful son.

I don’t know when he went, or understand why,
but he died, leaving but a shallow crust,
to be squatted by the horror I saw
in the street today.

Maybe I need to grieve,
but it feels like I’ve been grieving forever.

Please don’t criticise,
nor empathise or sympathise.
Don’t tell me he’s still there, or that he cares;
don’t treat me like an innocent,
or like a green beginner ~
I may be too brittle to take it;
I may break.

©Jane Paterson Basil

A bigger deal

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I know your every whim should be my top priority;
your youth implies importance; you’re a bigger deal than me.
You’re short of cash? I’d better dash off with my debit card,
and get your dosh; it doesn’t wash to tell you times are hard.

I may not have enough to pay for eggs and milk and bread,
but I must aid you, as you claim a price upon your head.
You state your case as if you lie, but why should I complain?
I’m probably mistaken, due to water on the brain.

You said you needed thirty, but now sixty’s not enough
to dole out to your dealer; your afraid he’ll cut up rough.
If he don’t get ato least a ton he’ll fracture both your knees;
So here you go now sweetie, I’ve a thousand, take it please.

I shouldn’t be so greedy, I shouldn’t need to eat.
I needn’t spoil my Grandsons with some silly Christmas treat.
I shouldn’t be so selfish, you’re a bigger deal than me;
I know your dirty drugs should be my top priority.

<> <> <>

Before my friends get the idea that this is still going on, I should explain – it was written for a contest which required a sarcastic poem. In the end I didn’t use it.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Closing off the power

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A text from Krusti’s phone;
“It’s Paul, please answer.”

I translate;
Hi mum, I need to see you
to offer hollow reassurance;
to speak of love and great futures;
to grovel and apologise.
I will offer you the richest slice
of my phoney dream;
I will promise you unbuilt castles
and fruit that I shall never pick;
I will say whatever I must
to make you jump,
and if my well-planned words
don’t persuade you to empty your wallet
into my outstretched hand,
I will find another way.

I pick up the phone
A light pressure from my thumb
closes off the power.

the sun sets.
my candle glows dim,
painting a subtle tint on the wall.
I sit on the floor, writing and listening
to the sounds of the town.
I hear Paul talking to someone outside.
the doorbell rings.
there’s no pause in the rhythm
of fingers on keys.
Paul speaks to someone who agrees
that I don’t appear to be in.

His companion is only half right;
I am in, but
I don’t appear.

The Daily Post #Jump

©Jane Paterson Basil

10 ways to get your son to leave.

 

1. Ask him to stay a bit longer.

2.  Give him all your cash.

3. Tell him that if he goes outside he’ll probably be devoured by a man-eating she devil who will take his money and his sanity.

4. Invite your brother over.

5. Tell him they’re giving away money at the bank, but they close in fifteen minutes.

6. Tell him the police are on their way.

7. Try to have a reasonable conversation about his future, or give him some useful advice.

8. Throw his wallet out of the window.

9. Set fire to your home.

10. Throw him out of the window.

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See also: Ten ways to get your son to visit you.

NB. Free with this post! A bonus Way To Get Your Son To Visit You:

  • Borrow a phone off someone, call your number, and when he answers, tell him that if he doesn’t return your phone within fifteen minutes you’ll phone the police. Mean it.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

None the worse

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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.

~o~

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

Choose life

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You’re not a human being, you’re a human been;
you’re the worst case of foolishness I’ve ever seen;
every chance you’ve had has been thrown away,
making you the wasted soul I see today.

You’re not alone, there are millions of your kind,
taking murderous drugs that are stealing their minds,
when they could be enjoying fulfilling lives,
as gardeners and comedians; husbands and wives.

You could become a journalist, a builder or a nurse;
it may not appeal to you, but your life is worse.
You could do relief work,  assisting those in need,
instead of taking drugs while your mind goes to seed.

Get up off your arse and do something good;
learn to paint a landscape or cook some food;
enrol yourself in college or in university;
or  go travelling in India to see what you can see.

You can get your life sorted – it’s not too late
to become the master of a more exalted fate.
It’s perplexing that you want to spend all of your days
dragging through the streets in a perpetual haze.

Written for The Daily Post #Perplexed

©Jane Paterson Basil

Trigger

 

this time
we needed a
radical change;
I had to stand fast
no matter what he did;
I had made the connection;
my presence was a drug trigger
and each time he walked in
the trigger was activated,
it had to be broken
at whatever the
cost to him
or me
.
this time
he limped away
with nothing but anger,
a fractured toe, from kicking my door,
and a green woollen blanket;
to warm him on the
cold street
.
bits of
both of us
lay in fragments
as separately, we tended
or ignored our various wounds.
my victory cost me dear
but I feel hopeful
that something
has finally
shifted

~0~

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~0~

Written for The Daily Post #Radical

©Jane Paterson Basil

Hypocrisy

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Vice is pouring from humankind’s pores,
we’re thieves and conmen and pimps and whores,
we’re dealers, receivers and peeping perverts
on the constant lookout for greedy perks.
Some will do anything while some specialise
but most of us use common tricks and lies.

What can you expect when the heads of the land
are crooked and immoral and underhand;
uplifting the rich and crushing the poor,
discouraging peace and glorifying war,
while the media plays games to corrupt the mind;
twisting every human story they find.

And the people look out of their windows and say
What’s gone wrong with the world today?
There’s Junkie John, he’s been stealing again
and I hear the police have arrested young Ben
for selling crack cocaine and speed;
army conscription  is what they need.

They turn from the window as the doorbell rings
and John is outside with tasty things.
They pull out cheese and a leg of  lamb,
a pack of salmon and a large chunk of ham;
fifteen quid the lot, a pretty good price
for keeping our country in a state of vice.

They freeze all the meat and they tell themselves
they couldn’t afford honest food on the shelves.
If it wasn’t for Junkie John’s rotten thieving ways
they’d sometimes be deprived of proper food for days.
Then they fire up the Mac and rest their tired feet
while they trawl the ether for a new three-piece suite.

Written for The Daily Post #Vice

©Jane Paterson Basil