How bloody rough and skinny do I look here. Scary really. This was taken around my 30th birthday (I think) when I was probably the most ill from Addiction I have ever been. About 8 stone I think (I am usually 12), eating probably once every couple of days and doing very little with myself other than working. I have been meaning to write this for a few weeks, but I was kind of putting it off. I prefer to leave things in my rear view mirror a bit. But alas, the song is out now so I can’t really put it off any longer. I could probably drone on for ages with this, which would be horrifically boring, so I am going to try and give a synopsis.
Katie and I were Skint, 23, jobless and pretty much homeless. We had places to stay but we didn’t have our own place. Oh, Katie was pregnant too. So, to say our relationship started a little unorthodox is probably a fair assessment. Around this time, I wasn’t earning very much from music either, but fortunately some friends helped us out and allowed us to rent from them for a little while whilst we sorted ourselves out.
Marley was born on 26th October and about 3 months later I was diagnosed with Lupus SLE. If you wanna know about Lupus then google it. I ignore the little wanker and so I am not discussing him. Needless to say Lupus is a dick head and requires pain relief sometimes.
Fire forward to Thea (Ted) being born (2014) and I had a rather large lupus flare up. This also happened to be my final year at uni. We had a lot on haha. The doctors prescribed me Tramadol for the pain. The flare eventually faded, however, when I stopped taking the Tramadol I felt really ill. When I explained it to the Doctors they said to just continue taking them. And so began the worst 4 years of my fuckin life.
For the entire four years I was trying to get off them. I tried everything. In fact the picture above is around the time that I tried to just stop taking them altogether. This didn’t end well and after about 5 days when I was convulsing on the floor Katie phoned the hospital. You see tramadol is a tricky little bastard. It’s a member of the opiate family, so basically shit heroin, but it is also an anti-depressant. So stopping cold turkey can be pretty bloody dangerous.
Eventually, weirdly enough around the time I met Andy (Bass Extraordinaire), I decided to go to rehab. I had 2 weeks off work (Engineering cos music pays nothing) and I booked myself in.
On TV when they are coming off Heroin it looks pretty crappy, but, it’s generally over in about 24 hours and then the person is back to fighting crime or whatever. In real life this is far from the case. The rehab place was lovely. I met some really cool people (and a few psychos) but it was the worst week ever, for everyone around me too. I didn’t sleep for 5 days straight. I actually googled how long you can go without sleep before you die. It’s 3 days I think, so I assume I am dead. The worst part was restless legs, well restless everything. I couldn’t sit still for longer than like a minute. They called me creeping Jesus cos I was just wandering around the place like a mental patient (which I was) in my little slippers and rocky balboa dressing gown (Don’t judge me you know you want one, I actually asked Katie to marry me wearing this dressing gown. I am an absolute loser.) The only time this deep, griping restless feeling went away was when I was in warm water. So, I was in and out of the bath constantly. I was so tired too. Hallucinating and coming up with weird ways I could sleep. At one point I tied a towel around my head and attached it to a towel rail behind the bath, so if I fell asleep I wouldn’t drown. I would however probably strangle myself, so that idea was binned. On the 5th day ish I was ready to cave in and just accept addiction forever and that I would never get my life together. Fortunately, as a broken man I collapsed in tears in the office. The main doctor at the centre was willing to take a bit of a risk and he prescribed me this medication for restless legs. None of us had any idea if it would work. It’s actually for Parkinson’s disease. 2 hours later I was asleep. ASLEEP! Oh my god it was fuckin amazing. Everything changed now. I had hope. This could work.
I woke up had a wash and when I was brushing my teeth I realised I had put music on. This was the first point I realised I was getting better. I hadn’t listened to music in a long time and I was singing along. (Frank Turner, If Ever I Stray). I remember a ridiculous thing here. Because I had so little energy and Tramadol seems to stop you peeing. It takes ages to have a wee, so I had sat down to wee for about 3 years. I remember phoning Katie this morning and crying laughing that I was stood up to wee. It felt like a momentous thing haha. The other thing I remember is the Piano was out of tune. I played it quite a bit, but it just depressed me. I made a vow that I would pay to get that damn thing tuned, but I haven’t been back yet. Maybe when we hit a 1000 sales of an album.
All the way through this ordeal I was convinced that I was only physically addicted and not mentally. The problem is, nobody believes anything you say when you are in the throws of addiction. We treat our addicts appallingly. When I told rehab that same thing. I got the usual look. Oh yeah right, of course you’re not.
On the day I signed myself out I walked outside and took a full box of tramadol out of my car and gave it to the nurses. “Has that been in your car this whole time?” they asked. “ I could have snook outside at anytime and taken these, I wasn’t lying to you.” This seems petty now, but it didn’t at the time. It felt like I had proven it to myself too.
I was trying to keep a journal around this time. I didn’t do very well to be honest. I did find this though:
This book is over. It has been a mixed year of fun and pain. 2018 will be different. I will be well and I will do all I wanted to do for so long but have been to unwell to do it. This book marks the end of my addiction and the beginning of a new life.
I would love to say this was it, but long term destruction to your mind and body is not fixed in 5 days. Booze tried to creep in for a while and caused some mayhem. I quit alcohol too on 5th November 2021. As it stands I have been fully sober nearly 12 months and everything is going great. I have improved relationships with people, got healthier and KHT is smashing it out of the park. As a wise man once said “The light is in the dark.” Haha I am such a dick.