Normally employers pretend NOT to exploit the employees, but every now and then, there’s an exception.

Some random article just reminded me of this, so I thought Id share. There isn’t really much of a point. I walked out of my very first job interview. Here’s why…

It was 1996 and I’d studied electrical engineering at a place called Cape Technikon. It has a different name now. Anyway, the course involved four six month semesters and a year “in-service training” (employment somewhere) before you could get your diploma.

I’d finished studying – rather than do my first year, then work, then do my second year, I’d managed to get a student loan so that I could complete my studies and then work after being a fulltime student for two years. There were a few companies that offered in-service training and would also send people to interview students directly on campus.

I can’t remember what the company was called, but I showed up for the interview, and an old fart greeted me in the office. He started by telling me about the company, what they did, what their products were, etc. I acted interested, which is the appropriate thing to do, and asked what the offices were like, benefits, and so on.

His answer: “Oh, you start off at the bottom of the company like everybody else, wearing blue overalls.” So I thanked him for the interview, got up, and walked out. Fuck you. The end.

You don’t have to take shit from anybody just because they have authority to abuse. You just don’t. I found something better, not much better, mind you, because it turned out “in-service training” was the perfect setup to pay students who had not yet qualified as little as possible, and get away with it. But still… if someone tells you directly they will treat you the same as someone completely unqualified even though you are qualified – fuck them.


I was young and innocent back then. In reality, all employers exploit you. If you’re working class, i.e. weren’t born rich, that’s just the way it is. But some are worse than others. Find someone who treats you with dignity. That was the first, but not the last interview I walked out of. Job interviews are a two way evaluation and this is something that’s often overlooked; the employer evaluates the candidate, and the candidate evaluates the company. If you don’t like the company for whatever reason, there is no reason to pretend otherwise.

How to smoke meth with Satan (a search string) and other unrelated stuff

Please excuse my hopping around from subject to subject. I feel almost bad about it… and at the end of last week I realized that most of the blogs I follow seem to have a clear pattern with regard to subject matter. On here, I write about my recovery (a word I loathe because I don’t consider myself in recovery – I’m a former addict, fuckers), skepticism, atheism, maybe a bit of humanism, feminism (recently), a series or movie review occasionally, satire (once so far), and whatever else is on my mind at the time. There are plenty of things I never get around to writing because I just don’t have the time any more. So… apologies for that. It’s just the way I am… probably one of the laziest people you could ever meet, but with a mind that just won’t shut up. I have all these ideas flying around my head, begging to be written down. And this is where I write them.

Moving on, somebody reached this blog via this bizarre search string…

how to smoke meth with Satan

Seriously. Somebody typed that into Google and then got here. The mind boggles.

First of all, Satan isn’t real. Belief in Satan is even dodgier than belief in god, and isn’t based so much on the Bible, but rather on the Middle Ages demonizing of pagan gods and on modern entertainment culture.

Having written that, I’d love to write a wikiHow style article on how to use meth with Satan, complete with pictures of cheerful teenagers and a red skinned, horned guy passing a meth pipe around, but I just don’t have the time. Anyway…

I can think of three ways you can achieve your goal, but since it will be really hard to find somebody already named Satan, and naming your male child Satan and waiting until he can grow up to use meth with you will take far too long, here are the three steps that can work for you:

  1. Find a meth addict who is willing to legally change his name to Satan.
  2. Have him legally change his name.
  3. Use meth with him.

Yet another search string, a less crazy one to get here, was this:

obsessed with my phone while using meth

It’s normal. And thanks to this reasonable search, I can’t tag this post with “stupid search strings” as I usually would. This one makes sense.

When you first use meth, you probably jump from one task to another to another, starting many but completing none. But when you get more accustomed to the meth high and build up tolerance, you tend to obsess or tweak on one thing. You may do so relentlessly and compulsively, and then kick yourself after you eventually snap out of it. Be glad you picked your phone as the object to tweak on.

My girlfriend used to tell me not to “zone on the phone”. We never used the word “tweak” for this, and it was a word related to meth that I only learned online after I stopped using meth. I think it’s an American thing. I don’t think it’s even a great word in this context, and “zone” works better… as in being “in the zone” because meth puts you into a zone, literally. The twilight zone. But I use that word because most people seem to get the drift.

Ironically, despite your self consciousness and paranoia, people won’t notice that you are spending too much time on the phone. They will notice your self consciousness and paranoia. It’s become normal to zone on the phone, but what isn’t normal is seeing somebody who constantly looks up from the screen, peering around nervously and moving around so much because he or she is obviously high.

Whenever someone asks me for advice on beating addiction, I feel like an imposter.

I don’t think this is the imposter syndrome but it feels similar. As I mentioned in the introduction to the old 2010 blog post I republished yesterday, When people ask me for advice on how to overcome their addiction, I feel like an imposter, a fraud.

I look back on the way I felt in 2010, and in that post I asserted that “I will never use meth again”. But I didn’t know that. In fact, deep down I still wanted to use and I was struggling with an internal desire to do so – one that I could overcome for a while in that I made no effort to get drugs, but when my girlfriend relapsed I was quick to follow.

In contrast, when I cleaned up in September 2013, it was different. Very different. I knew that I would never use again. I knew it from day one. It was never something to think about, never a temptation to resist, and obviously still isn’t. What this means, is that unlike my first aborted attempt at recovery, this one was easy from the start, and now at four and a half years clean, it’s even easier than it was then. “Easy” isn’t even a relevant word here, as there is no effort at all required on my part.

So when somebody asks me for advice on how to beat their addiction, what do I say? I can’t very well tell them to just stop and also have no desire to use drugs again. In doesn’t work like that, and whenever anyone asks me, I know their mindset is more like mine was that first time I tried to stay clean. I know I’ve written this before, so excuse the repetition, but I have no formula, no method that works to give anyone. What exactly happened in my brain that left me with no interest in using meth this time, versus that first failed attempt to stay clean, when all I really wanted as to use meth, I do not know. I wish it happened the first time. And it’s not like I did anything different. It’s simply that at the end of the day, if you have no interest in using drugs, you have no problem with drugs.

Of course I can explain anecdotally how I got here, and how my love for my son and his half sister motivated me, so that’s what I do. But I still feel like a fraud, because although I have achieved sobriety and know that I will remain clean, I can’t say how it happened.

This is relevant to me lately because somebody I know and respect sent me a private message about his foray into drug usage, just last month. It’s situations like that when I realize that I don’t have the words to push anyone else to sobriety. I wish I did. I wish I could just say “repeat these simple steps” or wave a magic wand and his desire to use meth would disappear. But I can’t do that.

Quitting drugs without rehab isn’t easy.

I don’t recommend it. And I know that seems hypocritical because I did quit meth without rehab in 2013. But let’s take a few steps back and put my success into perspective.

I first tried to quit meth at the end of 2009 and into the first couple of months of 2010, with a three month stint in a rehab. I went into recovery, albeit with great intentions, with greater naiveté. Assuming that treatment would be evidence based, I showed up unprepared for what lay before me. Rehab itself wasn’t so bad, as it was a safe place away from drugs, but I only managed nine months clean before returning to meth with a vengeance. I had a support system, of family who had no idea what I was going through and did not understand how NA and 12 step programs could not possibly help someone like me. That’s no excuse for my failure – the point is that recovery is a matter of taking personal responsibility and I wasn’t ready.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I did quit in September 2013, I did so when my ex and her three month old baby moved in with me. I simply could not use with them sleeping in the same room. Also, I was ready. I knew what I needed to do, and my mind was right. Sure, saying they were there kept me from using is somewhat of an oversimplification… I could have used elsewhere, I suppose – but that’s not my style. I was never a social user. So having them there helped. Them, and my son, became my focal point. My life became about something else other than drugs, and I simply had to refrain for a little while until I felt no more interest in using drugs. For whatever reason, it was a short while. Next thing I knew, a year had passed, and already comfortable with my sobriety (Fuck just for today, by the way.), I began the programs the court required me to complete so that I could get my son back. I took part in a 12 step program just to get a piece of paper saying I had done so, making sure I was already clean and sober for more than a year so that the 12 step woo wouldn’t confuse me or change my trajectory.

I’m making it sound easy, and that wasn’t the intention. The point I’m trying to make is that I made it, I stayed clean without a program because I knew exactly what I had to do and I had a support system around me, unlike my first attempt.

Recently a Facebook friend contacted me about her attempt to quit cocaine. She’s been messaging me directly, and made it to three days clean yesterday. I realized through this, that despite my success at quitting meth, I am awful at giving advice. I try though. The thing is, I’m not the kind of guy who hugs you and exclaims, “You can do it!” in much the same way as I’m not the kind of guy who’s the life of the party. I’m more like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh… that’s how my voice sounds to me anyway. Miserable as fuck but well meaning and lovable… Not the kind of guy you who gets anybody motivated.

I empathize with her and hope she can make it… She had a life threatening disease, and when it went into remission a year ago, she “partied” with cocaine to celebrate. And in her words, “the party never ended”. She hasn’t gone to rehab, and can’t tell anyone in her life about her struggle. All that makes her situation highly risky. I’ve suggested CBT because I’ve heard that it works and she can’t go to rehab without letting those close to her know what’s going on. And that’s the best I can do. But at the end of the day, nothing beats having a safe place to go, like rehab. A place where you temporarily give up control and cannot purchase drugs. That is the one overriding advantage of going to rehab. So yeah… I quit meth without rehab, but that won’t work for everybody. If you’ve never tried to quit before, you have money in your pocket, and no support system, the cards are stacked against you. I hope my friend makes it though. I really do. It isn’t impossible, but you need to have a plan to get it right.

Update: She’s 4 days clean now.

Funny how on meth, we see when other people are acting strangely, but not ourselves

This is something I realized years ago, but haven’t written about for a while. Recently reader “juststartedmethlastweek” commented the following:

Ok here goes, we have been up for like 7-8 days now and still going strong. But all a sudden he starts to cry and just begging to his to please help him. He was not only hearing things but also seeing things! I have never seen my husband like this before. He is real jumpy,thinks everyone is talking about him. Can someone please tell me what is really going on. How can I get him to calm down cause even my voice trips him out. I try to do things slow for him so he ain’t trippin more. Any advise for me would be amazing!

I’m glad it was an anonymous comment, so I don’t have to feel bad about quoting it. Anyway, I didn’t reply because I figured she wouldn’t listen to the only piece of advice I can give. (Stop using meth.)

It is kind of amusing to think about what happens when we use meth. It’s all fun and games for the first day or two, but then things start to go awry…

  • Meth only leaves you alert and wide awake on day one. After that, you start to get delayed. You won’t notice, because you’re too delayed to notice, and assuming you’re not using alone, your partner is also delayed. Your reactions are delayed; your words are delayed, and you begin to change from the stage where you couldn’t stop switching focus and talking incessantly, to the way long term meth users behave, which involves focusing exclusively on one thing, like a zombie.
  • After two or three days, you become overly anxious and edgy. You start overreacting to everything. A small disagreement leads to a shouting match.
  • You start to become paranoid. You think everybody is watching you. They may well be, because  you’re not acting normally at all. You might notice your partner is spending too much time in a “zone” where they stop interacting with you and anybody else. They might stare into space for a little too long, quite unaware of the strained expressions on their face.
    Meanwhile, your partner might notice the same about you. We don’t see this in ourselves.
  • After seven or eight days, if you make it that long, all of the above are happening. You and your partner are also confused most of the time at this point, and looking at each other’s strange behaviour, thinking it is drawing attention to yourself.
  • You may or may not experience hallucinations. It starts with pareidolia, where you see or hear patterns where there are none, recognizing voices and images in random audial and visual noise. (And if you use for a few years, you’ll eventually hear voices all the time, without the need for any background noise to stimulate the hallucination.) You think your hallucinations are real (because you see or hear them, with your normal senses, or so you think) but may well realize that your partner is responding to shit that isn’t real… because you don’t see what he or she sees.

Can you see why I didn’t respond to her comment? I saw it too many times in my years using meth… Addicts laughing at other addicts, quite unaware that they look just as pathetic as the others. I don’t know why, but I was a little different to my junkie peers, and became quite aware of what was happening to me early on. (Not that it stopped me for several years though. And I was unaware of this for the first year or two.) I remember once, when I was using in a large group, one of the guys was tripping on something stupid for three or four hours, totally out of it, delayed and in his own little world, and everybody laughed at him – everybody except me. When they laughed, I made this ironic little joke, “Don’t we all get a little delayed?” Only one other person caught the joke. One. So out of seven people using that night, only two were aware of what the drug was doing to themselves.

So when you use meth with your significant other, and notice that they are behaving strangely, don’t ask for advice to help them. You have exactly the same problem, but you can’t see it. And the only answer to fix that behaviour is to stop using meth.

Of course this does change a little when you develop tolerance to the drug. This post is more about inexperienced users who don’t realize what the drug is doing to them. With tolerance comes greater self awareness, I think… Though not always – sadly I knew of someone who used for years and had no idea what was happening to him. With tolerance there also come a whole host of other problems… such as immediately using enough that you disengage from the world and tweak like a zombie, while paradoxically you have more control and the effects are not as easy to detect by a casual observer. Also, you reach the point where the high isn’t good any more – you long for those days where the high used to be good, but you carry on using anyway, trying to get that good high that will never be possible again.

After stopping using meth, for how long will I be hearing voices?

This is a very good question, asked by someone via a search… I have written about it before:

  1. Meth-induced voices in your head start with pareidolia.
  2. Do you still hear voices after you stop using meth?

For me, it was about two to three days. I gather it is different for everybody, and actually back when I used, nobody else was ever honest with me about hearing voices themselves.

One bit of advice I can give you is that once you stop, don’t start again. Easier said than done of course, but as someone who tried to stop many times before getting it right, I can tell you how unpleasant it is to try stopping, get it right for a few days and go through days of detox and complete physical as well as mental fatigue, and having the voices disappear, only to resume using again, over and over and over. The first few days clean are gruelling and extremely difficult. At one stage I tried to quit and went through that process about twice every month.

To try and then fail so many times was debilitating. I felt like I could never get it right, like there was no hope. I started to see myself as useless and a failure, someone who was defeated by a stupid little packet of crystals that had taken over my life. And every time I told people that I was clean, only to screw it up yet again, led to mistrust. People didn’t believe me anymore. So my advice to you is, don’t start using again after the voices disappear. They return pretty quickly, and besides it being highly unpleasant to put yourself through that cycle over and over, it leads to other people, and more importantly, yourself, losing any confidence that you still have. And if you do try and then still fail, no matter how many times, don’t give up. I didn’t give up, and today I am so glad that I kept trying.

If you can follow my advice, not give up, and don’t start using again, the voices will soon be a distant memory. (And then…You probably have far more important issues to be taking care of than voices in your head. But as long as you have them, you are not mentally capable of dealing with your real issues. You waste time trying to tell what’s real and what’s imaginary. After you stop using and the voices disappear, you can start focusing on your real issues and get on with your life.)

More odd searches that found their way here

I’m having a mini crisis with self-confidence… not a big deal but it happens to me now and then. I’ve suffered with a lack of self-confidence since I was a child – back then I called it shyness. But whatever it is, it rears its ugly head from time to time, and lately that means my writing doesn’t have the usual conviction or passion behind it. Since I feel like writing anyway, I’m tackling an easy subject, a snarky response to some search strings that brought readers here…

Meth promiscuity paranoia

Now that’s easy… just like most meth addicts.

I suppose you got here because of the last time I responded to a search string (which was also the first time I did so on this blog. Funny how these things work.)

I’ve no idea if the person is asking whether meth makes people promiscuous, or paranoid, or both, but it doesn’t really matter because meth can definitely make you paranoid and can lead to promiscuity. It doesn’t make you promiscuous… no drug makes you take your clothes off and fuck some other random person or some other junkie or some dealer. You do that all on your own. It’s a choice just like the choice to use drugs. (You don’t get to duck on the responsibility for your actions just because you’re high. If that were the case, almost every criminal could be let off because they were high.) But meth does make you horny. Don’t blame the drug for your lack of self-control, or your partner’s lack of control, or your paranoia about your partner’s control. It’s your lack of self control that got you addicted and in your predicament to begin with. For more that actually answers the question without the sarcasm, see the post I linked to above.

Do meth have a good career?

My grammar am more better than yours.

Probably not. Meth doesn’t turn you into a monkey/donkey. It just makes you high. So if you have a high IQ, it doesn’t suddenly drop because you’re high on speed. If you have a good career and are clever, you can still work and be clever while you’re using meth. But keep in mind that the meth high is not conducive to excellent performance at work.

When you use, you stay awake for days and nights on end. The drug makes you feel awake and alert, but in reality, except for those first couple of minutes after a hit where you’re bouncing off the walls like a Gummy Bear, most of the time you are slower than normal. This is a natural consequence of sleep deprivation. You simply can’t perform well after being awake for more than a day or two.

Furthermore, meth makes you tweak. While tweaking, you become abnormally fascinated, obsessed with performing simple repetitive tasks. You get stuck doing them actually. Sometimes you can get stuck repeating something over and over for hours. And even when you work on complex, intellectually challenging tasks that require abstract thinking and high intellect, you won’t use your high intellect. No, you’ll just turn everything into simple, repetitive tasks. You’ll get stuck on a complex problem, and continue working on it at a frantic pace, making zero progress for hours, maybe even days. In short, you will find ways to fuck things up on meth, ways that would normally never happen.

Yah, I wrote some good source code when I was on meth, and came up with some clever programming solutions to complex problems. And I posted some of that code here. But so what? I don’t still have the bad code that I wrote on meth. That shit didn’t even compile.

To all the drug users desperate and willing to do anything for that next hit: It doesn’t have to be this way

Today when my colleague returned from a smoke break outside, he told me how he’d been approached by a man, who was fifty-something and looked strung out and desperate, yet well dressed and well spoken, who had then told him a story about being short of cash for a bus ticket and being in a dilemma, and asking for money. My colleague knows – hopefully not only because I have emphasized it to him many times – that the man is a drug addict. Also, the man forgot that he already tried that story about two weeks ago.

Normally when approached by such people, I say only the words, “I’m sorry. I can’t help you.” Then they go away. (Sometimes they persist, in which case I am rude to them.) But I was thinking about this as I drove home from work, thinking about what I would love to say instead, if only they would listen…

It doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t. You don’t have to be enslaved by your drug. You don’t have to be desperate to get it, so desperate that you are willing to do anything, including humiliating yourself by approaching strangers at shopping malls and trying to con each out of a few cents here and there that eventually add up to make a hit. Considering that when you reach this point, you have already lost the trust of your family and alienated everyone who used to care about you, isolated yourself, it should be a huge red flag to you that you have placed yourself in this situation. If you were thinking straight you would realize that you should never have put yourself in this position, and that you need to get yourself out of it, no matter how difficult that may be. You should realize that it is unacceptable to live your life like this.

It doesn’t end there – I know. I knew people in rehab, straight men and even more women, who sold themselves to other men to get their fix. I met people in NA meetings who robbed to get their fix. You don’t have to live that meaningless life where a chemical is more important to you than anything else, where your life is empty and has no purpose. You don’t have to hate yourself; to come down and be ashamed; to look at others and imagine that they are judging you. You don’t have to live this life where nobody cares about you, least of all yourself.

You can be happy and normal, fulfilled and lead a good life, one that you can be proud of. You can be a good parent, and a good worker who is admired by your peers. But right now, it’s your fault that you are a junkie. You might think that begging or conning others out of money is harmless, but in reality you are a burden to others, and if they judge you harshly, that is to be expected. Don’t be angry when people refuse to give you money. I’ve met many who are, many who seem to think that others who are more fortunate than them should just give them money – that they deserve it somehow. You made your own poor choices, and I made my own good fortune. (Eventually.) While I empathise and I understand addiction because I put myself through it, I feel no pity and I owe you nothing. It’s your responsibility to get help; to find a way to get into rehab. That should be your only goal now. Rehab. Don’t think any further than that.