|artist book experimentation for the project 'The Homeless Library'|
"There's always someone worse of. Got a brother Tom, he’s lost his wife, daughter, if you gave him a million pounds he’d spend it on heroin. His heart is ripped in two places.
Grief, the stress of my mum being ill and dad dying of cancer, when I was doing the detox all the memories came back. You have to want to come off it, no one will ever make you. I didn’t care about anyone but myself. You have to have something you care about to get off the heroin. It will just swallow you up. Three of my friends died last year.
The devil drug they call it that for a reason. 39 years old and I missed out on having kids. The natural family unit you miss out on. You crave the normal life, its not to much to ask for to sit on a Sunday watching tv with your misses and the kids. You miss it all. It’s a horrible drug, run a mile and keep running, the most destructive drug. 11 years I’ll never get back, it’s a daze, a dream, you don’t know if you’re coming or going.
Carol (my partner) was an ex-user, that’s how we met. One daft day I went to my brothers and met me partner. She was completely clean, I thought if she could do it anyone could. She’d been on it for 12 years, the drugs get into your bones. She said ‘if I want off I’ll help’, we sat up and talked all night. I wanted to get off- 6 weeks she locked me up, had the runs, aches, pains, sweats, she nursed me through. It was the emotional side that was the worse, the drug blocks emotion out. You start getting your nerves back to life- in your fingers, in your private parts. You get symptoms after trying it a few times, aches, pains, like having the flu.
26 when I first tried it. A group of people trying it and everyone was talking about how good it was. You got to be part of the group, like a gang at school ‘try it’.
I’d only had cannabis before, heroin was the poison for me. Crack cocaine didn’t click with me, 95% of people take heroin to bring them down, crack for a high. I know people who pick scabs and holes into their faces with crack, they will pick pieces out of the wall thinking its crack, its mental, in your head- heroin is more physical, more to get off.
If I see someone homeless now asking me for money- if they refused food I know they weren’t properly homeless, I wouldn’t had money over- I’d offer paracetomol if they needed a painkiller. Would never hand money over. Two times a week there will be people handing round methadone strips, trying to help.
Nothings bigger than family, keep going back even if they scream, never give up. Before I knew it four members of my family had died, when I was on the streets. You miss out on life, so high on your life, you don’t get a chance to say goodbye. Keep fighting, there is nothing more important than family. I didn’t even know my dad had died. My sister told me two weeks after. The last words you speak are the last ones, you cant change that.
Listening and talking helps- talking to you helps. Loves to you all.
Its going to be my first proper Christmas, I’m even cooking Christmas dinner for my partner. The first I can remember, Christmas under a roof with someone I love."
24th November 2015