One thing I learned in rehab years ago, which should be obvious to all but doesn’t seem to be, is to avoid people, places and things that were familiar in addiction. For me, that means not hanging around with other meth addicts, which is actually quite easy here in Johannesburg, because I seldom see meth addicts.
In the first few years of my addiction in Cape Town, I had many addict “friends”. (Quoted because a friend in addiction might be a friend in need but is not a friend indeed.) So I used with groups of people. When you have a network of contacts who are also addicts, you learn from them. You learn where all the dealers are. Living in Muizenberg, I could go to the local addicts who tried to pass themselves off as dealers, or go to dealers I knew of in Retreat (3 of them a few roads from each other), Grassy Park, Vrygrond, Lavender Hill, or the other direction, in Mitchell’s Plain. Actually I don’t remember all the addresses anymore. If ever I return to Caper Town, knowing where they are (assuming some of them will still be in the same place) wouldn’t be a problem. What would be a problem is some of my old friends. There was one true male friend there (Graham Sawyer) and one or two female friends who I did care for. The problem for me is, I’d probably try to help them, and that might be a mistake.
Having a network of people who all use meth also meant that I could delude myself into the belief that using drugs was normal and acceptable. After all, most of the people I knew were also addicts. It was like a subculture of meth addiction, where everybody used, everybody identified with everybody else, and everybody ripped everybody else off. One big trippy family. Of course, hardly anybody ever spoke about the voices in their heads though, and there was one guy who tweaked on talking all about recovery.
But here in Johannesburg, I seldom see meth addicts, although there are crack addicts all over the place. There’s one old woman who stays in my complex who is an obvious alcoholic/crack addict. I’ve seen many like here, all over different parts of Joburg, and they all look like sisters, all have that same haggard look. It’s sad but true… Crack addicts, especially the women, tend to take on generic looks; similar to the “faces of meth” but slightly different. They all have course skin on weather-worn faces, not bony like meth-heads, but course and grainy like old eroded rocks, somehow with their individual features simultaneously smoothed away so they all resemble one another. Their glazed over eyes are always narrow horizontal slits from spending too much time outside in the sun as they seek money for the next hit. If you live around here, you may have seen them: usually old white women begging at terrific lights. Most of them are beggars, but this one lives in an apartment.
When I used in Johannesburg, it was different to Cape Town. I used mostly alone, and knew very few dealers. I’ve deleted all their numbers long ago, and there is no chance of ever bumping into a friend I used with, because none of those friends live within 1 403km.
Actually, I see the top two result boxes from Google contradict each other… Whatever, it’s around 1400km to Cape Town. (Those people aren’t going to come knocking on my door.)
Ironically I did see a meth addict yesterday. I was buying cigarettes, and he was doing the same, in front of me in the queue. He bought smokes and the cheapest lighter he could get. Then I went to stand outside and have a smoke break. About two minutes later he turned up at the mall exit, lit his cigarette, and looked lost. He had that subtle but characteristic look of someone on meth. Although nobody else gave him a second glance, I noticed him as he stood not quite still, moved his head side-to-side a little too often, moved his hands and legs too much too, and then walked aimlessly around, while moving his head up and down too much for it to be normal, because he’d forgotten where he’d parked his car. Oh, I so do not miss being like him!
Not much of a lesson, moral or message in this post, except I suppose, if you are an addict who wants to be clean, stay the fuck away from other addicts. It’s not enough, but does make a difference. Since I hate NA and AA, I stay away from anyone who calls themself a recovering addict too.
The next post explores psychic channelling, mocks Theosophy and digresses into discussing astral travelling, from a sceptical point of view. I think it’s especially funny and is one of my better posts. It will go live at 6:30PM South African time, 4:30PM UTC.