Tag Archives: addiction

Interesting times

Well, here i am, November, and i should have a working computer in a week or so. I’ve got a computer that works but has a dodgy mouse plate (every so often it goes rogue and hits links or marks text) which can’t be trusted online, so i’ve been using that to edit the trilogy. It’s also got a coffee-soaked hard disk, so i’m saving to memory sticks, clouds, and everywhere else i can cadge some disk space.

The editing is nearly done – i’m on Book 3, and the other two are done. I can’t believe it’s taking so long. I’m at the point of giving up writing and taking up something like illuminating manuscripts by hand, you know, something quick and totes 21st C.

Meanwhile, despite liver getting steadily better, i’ve had non-stop health probs, including so many cancer scares i’m almost blase over blood tests, MRI’s, and CAT scans. Almost. MRI’s are an exercise in Zen and the Art of Keeping On Breathing, and I still find waiting for results is terrifying. So far, so benign.

Tip for MRI machines – put in good earplugs and then their headphones over the top. Doesn’t kill the noise, but brings the constant disco thump down to ‘there’s a nightclub next door’ instead of ‘i’m lying with my head in a speaker at a Boney M concert’.

Latest was ‘you may have some kind of sinus cancer’ and a CAT scan that showed up what they thought was a brain tumour. It was, but it’s apparently not the dangerous kind. Turns out all those years abusing my body are really starting to pay off.

Anyway, weird thing about being away from Twitter this long? I’m cured. I don’t even think about it much. Which is a worry, as i am going to need to go back soon, at least to let people know my books are out.

What if i’m like a bornagain non-smoker, and can’t stop myself from criticising other people’s obsessions with baby hippos, politics, or i-Things? It’s a worry. Still, I gave up smoking and didn’t become a bornagain, so I’ll try to have faith.

One day at a time.

copyright 2015 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


The house across the road…

I live on the Central Coast –  a series of dormitory suburbs north of Sydney. The CBD is just over 100k (62 miles) away from this northern end. It’s about 2 hours by train if the trains aren’t delayed, and with a 20 minute car run to the station included in that time. If the F3 isn’t choked with crashes, bushfires, or traffic, it’s about 90 minutes at the 110k limit on the Newcastle-Sydney Freeway.

It’s a strip of land squashed between the rolling Pacific Ocean and the inland Dividing Range. Just inland are chains of picturesque lakes studded with pretty islands. The hinterland is full of fat farmlets and ‘substantial properties’ – mansions on a few acres that sell for millions.

looks like paradise

looks like paradise

Everywhere, there are empty second houses owned by people who don’t have time to visit them, while locals can barely afford to rent. At the most, these second homes are tenanted on long weekends.

One house in our street is literally inhabited for four days twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, though the last year, they only made it at Easter. This year, they came on a long weekend too, and as they have noisy dogs and children who think screaming is acceptable, we’re hoping it’s a momentary aberration.

This was a holiday place in the south and along the coastline, and a coal mining area in the north – with rural endeavours along the rest of it. The only people who lived here were those who made a living off tourists, or worked in the coal mines. The mines are mostly closed now, or automated.

Not far away, driving down the desirability of absolute lakefront, is the power station, its high chimneys marking the sky for miles around, but invisible from our little pocket of lake and sky, which cups us like a blue bowl. No smoke in the sky, they filter out ‘visible’ smoke. Usually the only stains in our sky are the nicotine stain of Sydney to the south.

Looking south over the Tuggerah Lakes from Munmorah Power Station's twin stacks

Looking southeast over the Tuggerah Lakes to the coast, from Munmorah Power Station's twin stacks. Just glad prevailing winds blow from me to thee. Budgewoi is top left of this pic.

Like any fringe metropolitan area, more than just city-dwellers looking for cheap real estate wash up here. The junkies, the alcoholics, the abused and their abusers. The crazy, the crazed, and the crying inside.Those who need medical care in the capital, but can’t afford to live near a decent hospital.

Our street is a cross between retirees, upwardly mobile and ordinary working people, and society’s leftovers. I’m actually leftovers, the Underclass, but i pretend to be polite and middle-class – amazing what you can do with a posh speaking voice.

The house across the road, cut into two flats, attracts the Underclass. When i first came here, there was a beer-bellied 30’s guy upstairs, and a younger guy with gaol-house tattoos downstairs.

Bazz was skinny, covered in blue ink, but with a big smile, his long hair in a mullet. We met when he came over to help get the fridge up the stairs. He’d seen us struggling from across the road. It’s the sort of first meeting you give a person a lot of credit for, a really nice gesture, and we appreciated it.

Mr Whatsit and I had little contact with any of our neighbours – i don’t really want to get to know them, had too many crazy ones. There were occasional loans of battery chargers by us, help with carrying things inside from him, basic good neighbourly stuff.

Mr Whatsit was helping Bazz with his car. When reading the battery’s install date, it came out that Bazz was completely illiterate, and couldn’t read numbers either. It was only ten in the morning, but he was already drinking bourbon and coke. A young man on his way down.

Looking SSE over Budgewoi and the Tuggerah Lakes to the Pacific Ocean

Looking SSE over Budgewoi and the Tuggerah Lakes to the Pacific Ocean

Then his girlfriend moved in. A tall, slim, very pretty girl, Mandy spoke to me once, her eyes downcast when Bazz spoke over her. We tried to steer clear of them – we could see Bazz was wired too tight.

Like most of us who end up in abusive relationships, Mandy was probably on a rescue mission which had gone horribly wrong. The fights started. You could hardly hear her, just him shouting and screaming, getting in his car and doing burnouts in the street, driving off like a madman, screeching back into the driveway, more yelling.

Neighbours called the cops, as did we, but it went on, for months and months. Sometimes you could hear Mandy, a little high-pitched voice, or hear her sobbing. He didn’t hit her, at least as far as we knew, but it was abuse of a different kind.

Their ground-floor flat was barely habitable. Bazz had three goofy, friendly Staffordshire Terrier crosses, kept fish, tanks and tanks of them, and wasn’t the best fishkeeper – the tanks were often discoloured.

Then there was the mess from three dogs, carpeting the back yard. The smell reached out if you went past the front of the house.

Bazz and Mandy were both about early to mid 20’s. I went over one day, i can’t even remember why. I was talking to Bazz, and he was telling me how they were moving to Sydney. They had an offer of somewhere to live and he’d be able to get work.

A woman came round the corner of the house, looking  to be about mid-forties and not ageing well. Very thin and hard-faced. She smiled, i recognised the smile, and assumed it was Mandy’s Mum come to help with the moving.

We said hello and shook, and Bazz said, “You remember Mandy?” Of course i did, but i couldn’t see her in the woman looking at me. It was less than a year since the first time i’d seen her.

I pretended to recognise her, managed not to look shocked, finished the conversation and went back across the road. To my unsmelly house. Once my sinuses stopped complaining, i realised they were both on something nasty – amphetamines of some kind, most probably.

Part of me wanted to help, particularly Mandy – i could see myself in her.

abusive relationships often go with drug & alcohol addiction

abusive relationships often go with gambling, drug, & alcohol abuse - click pic for information on Signs of An Abusive Relationship

I know there was nothing i could have said, nothing i could have done. Nobody could have told me, when i was young and in love, that i was in a bad place with a man who was wrong for me in almost every way, or that the drug i was taking was messing with my perceptions, and destroying me.

Meanwhile, the house across the road emptied out. The guy who lived upstairs never came back after a court date, and Bazz and Mandy took off to the Big Smoke in his 80’s vintage Holden Commodore.

Pair of kids on an adventure. Dogs in the back, friends helping move the furniture with some hired trailers.

At first, the street seemed quiet without them, then a  man who claimed he had been a medic in Vietnam, plus another woman and her pregnant daughter, moved in upstairs.

With three people in there, it was so crowded that the fights were just like before. A  deaf guy with a weakness for brunettes lived downstairs where Bazz and Mandy used to be.

I have Bazz’s phone number, he has mine. When i next clean out my phone, i think i’ll delete Bazz’s.

No sense in holding on to the dead.

© https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

Welcome to Junkie Country!

I was reading (the funny and thoughtful) Bern Morley’s blog So Now What? When i googled her to check her website address later, this Tweet of hers popped up…

Bern_Morley I think Dr Phil fails to realise this woman is probably menopausal. Give her some fucking hormones and she’ll be AOK.

Sort of sums up her appeal for me – she speaks her mind, and she’s funny – she doesn’t swear much, usually, but she’s a mum, so under extreme stress at all times  – and yes, i recommend you follow her on Twitter. (I recommend you follow me too – though at the moment i’m focused on my book, so not tweeting or blogging much.)

I was reading Bern’s blog post  where she talked about people smoking round kids in 80’s Queensland and how she still sees people lighting up around children. I was surprised people were still smoking with kids in the car then – my parents used to, but that was in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

However, i reminded myself that only a couple of years ago, a very pregnant 25 yr old neighbour nearly made me fall off my chair when she lit up a cigarette. Her 45 yr old mother, who was there, seemed to think it was alright, because she rolled her daughter the cigarette. Two days later, out popped her (underweight, chesty) baby.

I admit, i’m stunned anyone is still pretending it’s okay. Even if you can’t give up, you can’t pretend it’s good for you. You can’t be that stupid, and you can’t be that ill-informed (in a Western country, that is – sadly the tobacco companies are still making lots of money and it’s rising every year in Asia and Africa).

You couldn’t pretend otherwise after about the mid-70’s even in Western Australia, which was a bit like the US in the 50’s, but during the 60’s & 70’s. Suddenly they admitted the cig companies were lying, having told us for years there was no proof it did cause cancer – I was already addicted by then.

The first time i tried to stop, and then realised i couldn’t – I was 14ish. I was probably addicted to secondary smoke before i left the womb, although my mother stopped smoking during all her pregnancies, my father didn’t, (he even smoked in bed) and no man went outside to smoke in 1960.

It actually took me, despite knowing all those years, another 30 or so to give up. This is what being an addict means. Your will to stop isn’t necessarily going to get you there. (It will if you keep at it, but most smokers retreat to “well, i tried, and everyone said for god’s sake, smoke, you’re horrible without them” – yeah, like that’s a reason to stop trying, junkie.)

I tried several times, managed up to six months a couple of them, didn’t last the week more often. In 2002, my father died of lung cancer. I still smoked. I didn’t even try to give up.

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, there were lots of cigarettes marketed to women, and advertised on television and in magazines. Smoking was cool, sophisticated, and an easy way to be older – adults who didn’t smoke were a tiny minority, remember – and it also became a way to show teen rebellion.

I bet it’s even cooler for teens now, seeing as everyone’s trying to stop you, even the government has stopped pretending they believe the tobacco companies any more, (woo hoo, a taste of nicotine-soaked teen rebellion, anyone?) and you know it’s at least a 50% chance it will kill you. Gosh, even driving drunk doesn’t have that kind of attrition rate and smouldering bad boy/grrl danger.

Smoking does kill that many smokers, and it will stunt your children’s growth and lead to problems for them, mentally and physically – whether in the womb or in the room.

However, I do wish they wouldn’t pretend it ages you as much as they do in those ads on the television – those awful haggard toothless women aren’t that way from just smoking. That’s a lifetime of misery, alcoholism, &/or heavy drug addiction written on those faces.

Alcoholism is just frequent binge drinking, btw – and that’s the clue, if you can’t stop once you open a bottle, unless you pass out first – maybe google ‘signs of alcoholism’.

Booze is a drug, like cigs, one the government also makes megabucks out of while it destroys families, relationships, and lives. They do the same with other addictions like gambling.

With booze, they’ll happily tax it, and send you to gaol if you break the law under the influence, despite them saying, alcohol fucks with your brain, you can’t tell how messed up you are, so don’t drink and drive – but it’s alright for you to drink at home, lose all your usual morals, and bash your family.  People are destroyed by booze.

Smoking, on the other hand, kills you in several horrible ways. Heart Disease? Lung cancer? Something slower? Emphysema?  Take your pick, they’re all fun. Of course, it also costs a fortune, and causes you to crawl in abject subjugation to a legal drug, the whole of your (shorter than average) life.

That’s what got me in the end. Getting older meant every year took me closer to the diagnosis of lung cancer. One of my uncles gave up for 20 years and still died of it, one was diagnosed at my age, so i know my own chances still aren’t good.

This drug, nicotine, is one the government keeps legal, but taxes higher, and higher – despite most people who now smoke being poor, and cost being negligible when one is addicted to a drug – or why would heroin/crack/meth addicts steal to fuel their habits?

People already buy their cigs and booze, then pay their bills, and buy food for their families. They go gambling and spend the rent money, while the government rakes in the money- maybe think about that, next time you vote.

The huge joke about my dad dying of lung cancer is, he’d given up a couple of months before they discovered the cancer, (having smoked for 50+ years) because of his heart condition, which needed surgery. He thought it was funny, anyway.

Oh yes, i’m doomed, both sides of the family have heart trouble – my father’s two brothers also died of either lung cancer or heart problems, while they also had lung cancer/heart problems. It extends into the grandparents.

So, there i was, tired of being scared every time i breathed in that smoke i craved, that didn’t really satisfy, and so tired of being Nicotine’s bitch. Tired of collecting adequate  supplies plus a spare lighter every time i moved position in the living room, let alone went on a whole day’s journey somewhere.

I gave up for seven months. Cold turkey, with no drug assistance, and no help from the biggest lie of all – therapeutic nicotine. It’s a poison, don’t keep taking it – i don’t know anyone who’s given up using therapeutic nicotine – i know lots who tried.

So there I was – completely clean, scary or what? I discovered my breaking point – i thought the end of the world had come.

We were flooded in for 4 days one midwinter, with no power, no food, and a dwindling supply of tea candles (the tiny ones you use for meditation) to warm water enough for tepid cupasoups.

We couldn’t heat any food, though we had a fair bit, as there was sewage in the floodwaters and we couldn’t get anything hot enough to stop food poisoning.

This was an extra worry as Mr Whatsit was just out of hospital after spinal surgery, confined to a stiff neck brace. He kept going outside (on the veranda, well above the water)  to survey the flood and have a smoke. He seemed much happier than me. On the third day, i said, give me one!

I was hooked again.

It took me six weeks to break the habit again. I used marijuana to break it that time, after having trouble with insane cravings. I’d go have a puff on a water pipe whenever the cravings hit insane levels. I have smoked grass for 20 yrs on and off, and it’s not addictive, sugar puffs – this junkie knows addictive.

I have a dear friend who has struggled since she was about 14 with addiction to heroin. She says giving up heroin was a walk in the park compared to giving up smoking.

Since I gave up the last time it’s been two years. Two years yesterday. I’m quite surprised, and only last week had an out-of-the-blue craving for tobacco, under stress. (Yes, i still smoke marijuana – if you have a problem with that, you’re on the wrong blog.)

As the cigarette craving hit last week, I reminded myself that i wasn’t flooded in with no freaking food or heat, my partner only four weeks out of surgery, so having a cigarette wasn’t a rational response.

Mistress Nicotine was still crooning her siren song, telling me i’d feel better, and didn’t i deserve a little treat? Hadn’t i missed her, didn’t i still sometimes think, ah, a cig would be nice right now?

I hit her over the head with a mallet. Fucking cow. I distracted myself, I lied and said i could have one tomorrow if i still felt that way. I had a bong, I cleaned my teeth with a mint flavoured toothpick, I chopped veggies for dinner and ate some raw- in short, everything i could think of to stop myself doing it.

When it comes down to it, it’s really going to have to be the end of the world, before i have another cigarette. With my family’s predilections for dying of heart disease or lung cancer, (which are smoking-related diseases, lest we forget), continuing to smoke was suicidal – and i’m not suicidal.

I was suicidal when i realised i was hooked. i remember thinking how awful it was, being an addict, what a failure i was – at only 14. I’ve no doubt it had a negative effect on my life and my behaviour.

So, if you’re trying to give up, and getting depressed, instead of smoking again, Google for help in your area, and call or visit the sites for support.

In Australia, there’s the Quit Line, 13 78 48 – specifically for those trying to give up.

If it’s making you feel like death’s better (or any time you’re down, depressed, suicidal), you can call Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, and the BeyondBlue info line 1300 22 4636  -with thanks to the friend who supplied those.

Everyone i know well who has tried to or has given up has suffered the most awful welling up of psychological debris, much of it problems they thought they’d dealt with.

Many of them couldn’t stand it, and went back to smoking. I remember my father trying to give up back in the 70’s. If he’d done it, he might still be alive, which would annoy my mother in a most satisfying way.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, who stops, has no problems, and never looks back – you were smoking why? *rolls eyes* I cannot understand why anyone who could stop wouldn’t just do it.

My mother did that. After smoking for about fifty years most days, but not a lot every day, except in social situations, she had a heart attack, and because her doctor said it would be a good idea, she stopped.

Without any cravings at all. Gawd.


For those of you only born yesterday (any time since the 70’s i spose) the title is a pun on the old Marlboro™ cigarette  commercials,
“Welcome to Marlboro Country”

© stinginthetail.wordpress.com

i can walk away any time

Lots of people are giving stuff up for Lent. Yeah, I accidentally landed on a religious website, it never bodes well. I’m likely to get annoyed with the Pope, or anyone else, telling me they have exclusive rights on knowledge of the Divine.

However, Lent isn’t a bad concept. Basically, you pick something to give up for a while – 40 days to be precise – used to be you gave up meat, sweets, chocolate, oral sex – the works. If you enjoyed it, or if it was fun the Church had a reason to ban it, then it was included.

After Lent, one could appreciate life generally, be reminded of God in one’s life, and it was civilising, in that it separated a person from base instinct and appetites (food, sex, um, is there anything else? oh, yeah, coffee!), and made their mind the one in control.

After an afternoon wandering around the net, you can’t help thinking that might be a cool thing to promote, though the first thing i’d give up for Lent would be organised religions, lol.

Taking a break is essential – from the good and the bad. It gives us back our freshness, our delight in the ordinary aspects of something we once enjoyed, or giving it up can show us when we’ve outgrown a part of our lives.

I know it’s time when I start I start getting irritated by a place. It’s not their fault – it’s me. Usually, i just shed the crap. It’s best to laugh at the fucktards, not engage with them.

I’m taking breaks from several things I once enjoyed that had become a grind.  Places I used to hang out online are going through fucktard-infestations bad stages, so I wandered off. Am I addicted? There’s one way to find out. Stop for a while.

I was blogging privately, about 8 months or so but wanted a break from the site. I lasted two days not blogging, lol. So here i am on WordPress.

My name is Sheila, and I’m a blog-junkie.

© stinginthetail.wordpress.com