This is a story about fucking up your life...
I am cooking pulled pork. The recipe called for the pork to be put in an ovenproof glass bowl. By chance, I bought an ovenproof glass dish two days ago. I bought it because it was perfect for chopping lines of supercrack and not losing any of the precious powder when in a messed-up state.
Sometime before dawn on Friday I was thinking about ending my life. I had bought razor blades at the same time as I bought the ovenproof glass dish. I bought the razor blades so I could chop lines of supercrack. I did not buy the razor blades so I could sever veins and the radial artery in my arms. I did not buy the razor blades so I could sever my carotid arteries and jugular veins in my neck. However, I was motivated to do so.
I've papered over my bedroom windows to stop perverts from peeping in. I couldn't tell how light it was outside, although I knew dawn had broken. My perception of time was completely warped, but it was so quiet that I assumed that it was earlier than 9am, because otherwise I'd have heard lots of noise of people getting ready for work and school.
I checked the time. It was 1:24pm.
I was supposed to be on a video conference at 9:45am.
I messaged a guy in my team and told him I was so sick that I hadn't been able to contact him until then, which was technically true. What I didn't tell him was that I'd been fucked up on supercrack and I was convinced that my life was ruined and I might as well kill myself.
I was convinced that my life was so ruined that I'd never be able to fix everything.
I was convinced that I'd messed up my job and I was going to lose it.
I was convinced that I'd messed up my accommodation and I was going to be made homeless.
I was convinced that all my hopes of becoming debt free, and eventually wealthy, were destroyed.
Strangely, I'd spent most of the 18 hours up to this point thinking about how to make the software at work more efficient, as well as designing in my head a system to improve internet security which could be adopted as a new standard. You'd have thought that these things were just useless insanity, utter nonsense and gibberish.
I took a shower.
I suddenly felt a lot better.
I opened up my laptop and I rewrote 5,000 lines of code, reducing the system to just 500 lines. I ran the tests. My code did exactly the same job as the old code, except it was 1,000% more efficient. I couldn't quite believe that I'd managed to do my job, and do my job really well, when I was supposed to be sick.
It was 5 o'clock and time to stop work for the day, although I'd only worked half the day.
Then, I started developing my idea for improving internet security. I was fairly convinced that I was going to discover that I'd completely overlooked an important loophole when I actually applied formal computer science to the problem. I was certain that sooner or later, I'd spot an obvious mistake in the thinking I'd had at 3am, while high on supercrack.
At 11pm the academic paper I'd written, which specified the system protocol and addressed any security concerns, was finished. I'd checked and double-checked it. It was watertight. I listed every assumption. I attacked it from every angle. Every niggling doubt I had was addressed in some way. I knew its strengths as well as it's weaknesses. It was, without being too big-headed, a brilliant piece of work.
Instead of feeling like I've had a relapse and everything is ruined, and I might as well let myself descent back into the depths of hell, I feel like I learned something. All of my anticipated reward from drug taking was a big disappointment, and all of the anticipated paranoia and feeling like I'm going to die, and want to die - all of the negative feelings - were present, reminding me that drug addiction is hell, and isn't really worth it.
My life is shit in many ways. I'm socially isolated, financially distressed and trapped in the rat race, lest I end up destitute. I'm forced to do things I don't want to do, go places I don't want to go to; my time and my freedom do not belong to me. I can't do what I want. My life is miserable. However, the stuff I fucked up with my relapse, such as making a mess of my bedroom, destabilising my mental health, risking my job, neglecting relationships, exhausting myself and generally playing with fire, is something which will clearly only get worse and worse. I was reminded of my first novel, where I wrote about a character who took the pursuit of drug addiction to its ultimate conclusion. I was reminded of the drug-addict fantasy which inspired my first novel, which is to have an unlimited supply of drugs and to escape the tyranny of wage slavery, rent, bills and bullshit McJobs. I was reminded where it leads, which I already explored at length in my first novel, so that I never had to reach rock bottom myself. My novel saved my life, even though it's unclear what the fate was of my fictional central protagonist.
So, I'm currently cooking pulled pork in my apartment. The rent and bills are paid. There's money in the bank. I still have my job.
I'm cooking pulled pork in the dish which I bought to take drugs with.
I had the opportunity to order more supercrack on Friday morning, which would have been delivered today. If I had done I wouldn't be writing this, but instead I would be fucking myself up and fucking up more of the things around me. I already fucked up my MacBook Pro for the 3rd time, but thankfully it's not too badly fucked up, and the part that's fucked up is covered by warranty anyway. I have another MacBook Pro, which I'm trying to coax back into life, but it's too fucked up from the last time I didn't stop my supercrack binge before things got fucked up. The sum total I've spent on MacBooks which I've fucked up on supercrack is about £6,000. I took an ice bath with my Apple Watch then dropped my iPhone in the bath, because I was trying to deal with malignant hyperthermia as a result of supercrack, so that's another £900. The total amount I've spent on supercrack in my lifetime is about £500 and most of that got flushed down the toilet. I bought 10 grams of supercrack last year for £150, which is enough to get high every day for 1 year and 10 months, although you'd obviously die before you got chance to use it all.
My priorities are the same as any ordinary person. I want a job, a home, friends, a partner, a pet. I want to earn more than it costs me to live, excluding the £10 a month I spend on supercrack, on average. If I have surplus cash, I don't spend it on supercrack. I buy supercrack because all the things I need are so far out of reach. For example, I have time off work booked for 3 weeks time, but I don't have anybody to go on holiday with, and I need to plan, book and pay for a holiday, which is difficult when I'm very deep in debt.
The so-called 'choice' to relapse into addiction is not a choice at all, unless you see it for what it is: the choice to kill yourself. I could kill myself quickly with poison or overdose, electrocution, hanging or ligature, blood loss, falling from a great height, suffocation or asphyxiation or self-immolation. The hope that addiction holds is of some hedonistic pleasure, before heart failure or respiratory arrest. Every heroin addict has a little bit of hope that they'll 'go over' and die every time they depress that plunger. Every coke or meth addict hopes that their heart will explode at the very moment they orgasm in the ecstasy of drug-fuelled sex.
Every addiction is held firmly in place, not by the power of the chemicals involved, but because there are no realistic better options. What heroin addict is going to suffer the agony of withdrawal, the misery of losing the only thing in their life which brings them any pleasure, only to be able to work a minimum-wage zero-hours contract McJob and be stripped of their dignity, cursed to spend all their hard-earned cash on a dirty, mouldy, flea and bed-bug infested shithole, 2 hours bus ride away, leaving them so little money that they have to go begging to a food bank just to be able to eat.
Theoretically I can earn a gross income of £151,200, which is why I'm alive and in reasonably good health. I've been through years of addiction, alcoholism, mental health problems, hospitalisations for major medical emergencies, homelessness and being no fixed abode, divorce, psych wards and being sectioned, losing hundreds of thousands of pounds, losing friends, having to give my cat to my parents for safe keeping, becoming estranged from my family, moving house many times, moving around the country, sleeping rough, detox, rehab, the shame of former work colleagues finding out my secrets and gossiping about me, reputational damage, suicide attempts, having to sell my house, having to quit as CEO of my own company, the guilt of not giving my investors a good return on their investment, the unpaid debt I have to two friends, being arrested X times and locked up X times, being cautioned by the police X times, being on bail pending investigation, being interviewed by the police, being assessed by so many psychiatrists and prescribed so many psychiatric medications, and ultimately having taken so many dangerous drugs and medications at dangerous dosages and in dangerous combinations.
The reason why I'm alive and functional, is because theoretically I can earn a gross income of £151,200, so in practice that means that if I manage to work for 5 or 6 weeks a year, I'm a hell of a lot better off than 99.999% of people who struggle with mental health problems, substance abuse problems and debt.
"Money doesn't make you happy" is a lie and money sure as shit helps you deal with a multitude of problems.
Just like an investment bank, when shit goes wrong I double down. If a bet goes against me, I just make the same bet again with double the stake. Just like an investment bank, I'm able to borrow as much as I want, so that I can beat the players who aren't able to continue to play when the stakes become too high. I use my wealth to bully life into giving me what I want, instead of allowing myself to get bullied out of the poker game by the high-rollers.
The only game in life I can't win at is drugs. It doesn't matter how rich you are, if it's you against the drugs, you're always going to lose. There's no winning in addiction, there is only not losing. To not lose in the game of addiction is a rare success, and it requires extreme wealth. Even the very wealthy - like Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse - found that their idea of nirvana (sic.) was not all it was cracked (sic.) up to be. Kurt Cobain said once in a private video that he wanted to get rich so he could just get high every day. He got so rich he could have gotten high for the rest of his life, so why did he kill himself? Thankfully, writing a novel allowed me to live that life - in a fictional world - and see if the fantasy worked out the way I dreamt it would. I wrote that book so I didn't have to experience what happened to my central protagonist in real life, but what happened to him was very real - it could very easily have been me. I know that's where I was headed.
Presently, I'm very frustrated that I must spend my time creating software - or fixing other people's - but it's churlish to complain, when I'm fortunate enough to have a skill which means that even a homeless junkie alcoholic with mental health problems who's known to the police, is highly sought-after by organisations who gladly pay relatively obscene amounts of money for work that I can do, even when utterly fucked-up by drink and drugs. While Sports Direct employees are sacked for taking toilet breaks, I've literally gone AWOL on a week-long drug binge, been taken to hospital by the police and later been welcomed back to work, despite being a gibbering wreck on a massive comedown. This is not arrogance I promise you. I don't expect to receive special treatment. I don't expect my so-called 'misbehaviour' to be excused. I don't feel entitled to be able to treat my good fortune with such apparent contempt.
The day I start taking things for granted will be the day my world falls apart and my good fortune disappears; people's compassion, forgiveness and the benefit of the doubt will no longer be given to me, if I expect to get away with taking the piss; to escape the consequences of my actions.
Although I'm very angry and bitter about my ruined childhood, the abuse perpetrated against me by my ex-wife and a handful of greedy and immoral people, completely lacking a conscience, who've taken advantage of me, I am able to remind myself that there's no value in analysing the chain of responsibility, following it back to those who are ultimately to blame - they are horrible people of bad character, who feel no guilt for the misery and suffering they cause; they feel no obligation to pay compensation for the damage they've done; no remorse for the pain of their victims. Even with the full force of the law behind me, those slippery vermin would weasel out of paying a just price for their antisocial, criminal, abusive, negligent, selfish and downright cuntish behaviour. My life strategy is to be so good at what I do and work so hard, that the vermin are left scurrying around in the slurry-filled sewers, enviously fuming about my privileged and fortunate life, before they die with a guilty conscience, full of regret for the misery and suffering they caused.
My life is not fucked up. I did take a chance of fucking it up and I was lucky that I haven't suffered any worst-case consequences. I can't take my good fortune for granted. I am feeling grateful that things haven't ended as badly as they could have done, and I am reminding myself that I was lucky not smart. I am reminding myself that there still are negative consequences, which far outweigh the euphoria I was seeking. Ironically, of course, I didn't even get the euphoria I was looking for. I just got the paranoia, sleep deprivation, damage to my work reputation, destabilised mental health, broken laptop and messed up bedroom... all of which I predicted I would get in advance.
I do have an oven-proof dish though. The pulled pork was delicious.