Shit cards, Heroin and the light at the end of the tunnel – The life of Ed

Written by James Dear

This blog follows my life through drug addiction, anxiety and life's challanges. I cover my own experiences as well as the loss of several friends to suicide. I want to share my knowledge in the hope that we can save lives and all live a happier and more fulfilled life.

April 6, 2019

After reading Mr Dears blog I felt inspired and reading his story compelled to share my own in the hope that it can help someone too.

Here’s my story (I promise there is a happy ending)

We are the same age and we partied in the same circles, but we walked very different paths with very different struggles. I have been on this ‘roller coaster’ that is called life for 29 years now and I have had highs so high I touched the sky and lows so low that I was burnt by the devil himself.

Let’s start with where we grew up. There is nothing but fields and pubs. Life was monotonous, and through boredom and sheer abundance of them, you will be faced with every and all drugs imaginable. I was not the best-behaved student at school but I did ok and made my way to college to do Uniformed Public Services (not ideal when you are a bit of a ‘rebel’). Here I got my first taste of drugs, although looking back at it, someone with A.D.H.D (I don’t shut up) didn’t need speed! However, this was apart from cannabis (which I wouldn’t count) my first experience. I got the taste and soon started trying out anything and everything, next ecstasy soon followed by ketamine. Once having ketamine I found that calm I had been looking for.

Being far from normal, I felt outcast in your typical night club. I stumbled across the underground rave scene, a group of people that felt pubs and clubs were not where they belong. Dirty warehouses and fields, free from judgment and rules were where we were best suited. I fitted in perfectly. The lines started flowing and the antics got out of hand. You thought Ozzy or motley cru did it weird, One of our mates BBQ’d a dog shit sandwich and got offended when no one would eat it so he ate it himself! Don’t ask me why, but every day was wild. I don’t regret all the partying when we were younger, these experiences will live with me forever. Not many people can say they spent new years eve at an illegal rave in a multi-million pound scout centre with a 50 meter swimming pool, climbing wall, a full working gym and nearly 100 people riding around on roller skates. 🙂 The whole scene was surreal and had to be seen to believed. Up until the age of 19, every weekend was spent with local friends from different villages all uniting as one, going to the biggest party that was happening that weekend.

It was a Friday night. The older lads in my friendship group had tried Heroin before but they had hidden it from me. The fact that they had hidden it made me even more curious. This was the night that I first tried heroin, just after I did I got a phone call. My mother who had taken some kids to a show had collapsed and been taken to the local hospital. I rushed home to the best of my ability to see her. She was more off her face than I was on Morphine. At the time she was looking after my aunt who was battling cancer. For the next week, my mum was showing symptoms of what we thought was flu, being violently sick, spending half her time wrapped around the toilet, I just spent the time in my bedroom with friends thinking she would be ok. She went to the local GP twice. On the first occasion they gave her tablets that made her sick, she returned two days later and they gave her more tablets to counter the tablets they gave her before. On the Friday me and my friends had been looking forward to one of our first ‘big’ legal party in Birmingham. I told my parents I loved them like I would do every time I left the house…I left and about 40 mins later I got a phone call from a friend who said there was a fire engine outside our house……

Had I left something on?

Was there a fire?

I quickly rang my house and the first thing my dad said to me was… ‘I think she’s dead ed’. It knocked the wind straight out of me! I rushed home to see paramedics working on my mum. That day she was not feeling herself, but was a hell of a lot better then she had been in the week. We rushed to the hospital where she was put on a ventilating machine but it was only to keep her alive so my sister who was 6 months pregnant at the time and living in London could say goodbye. We got told she was brain-dead at 4 in the morning.

I had to get out! I couldn’t bare the inevitable, I had said goodbye, I didn’t want to see that image of her wired up again.

I got the dreaded phone call at 11 that they had turned it off. We found out my mum died of a global brain hemorrhage.

Obviously, I didn’t enjoy where I was but it made what was happening go to the back of my mind. At least for a few hours. I was not prepared to go home knowing the most valuable woman in my life was not going to be there anymore.

The next few days were crazy! Family came to visit, making sure we were ok. I was on the sofa when the phone rang at 6am, they told us that my aunt that had been battling cancer was finally at rest. Two family members lost within a matter of days.

For the next 6 months, I was luckily given work to distract me from what was really going on. In this time my drug use was consistent, and in my honest opinion I think it helped in the short term, but prolonged the real grief that was yet to come.

A new drug was hitting the U.K. It was like MDMA and Speed and as addictive as Crack, one line and you would be partying all weekend, and it was legal! I was at the local party in one of the villages nightclubs and I got a phone call after telling someone what was going to be the next big thing. I never thought I would grow up to become a drug dealer but I had lost control. I was doing whatever I wanted, legal or not and at the time it didn’t seem to matter. When you have something that a lot of people get a taste for things can escalate quick! It turned from selling small amounts to getting rid of half a kilo a week. It got out of hand but it blocked out reality.

My dad had been off alcohol for 10 years but with my mum not here anymore he turned back to the booze and our worlds were going at 1000 miles per hour. I had access to any drug I and could sniff as much as I wanted. I had plenty of money but my mental health was quickly deteriorating and I was in a desperate place.

One day someone with the same name as I was selling to got arrested and my paranoia went out of control. I once chucked £400 out of a window thinking my mate’s radio was listening to us and flushed a hefty amount of mephedrone down the toilet.

I wasn’t interested in the drugs. I just liked the company and the comfort I found in it.

It was mother’s day weekend, so I expected to fuck up. To take my mind off it I took me and my mate to Prague for a weekend, where I met 3 of my favourite DJs off the plane and had one of the best weekends. I was hoping that when I came back, things would be different….

Here I am with some of my favourite DJ’s

5 days after Dad got taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack and my world came crashing down again.

I refused to go to the hospital to see my Dad. I couldn’t face seeing another parent die. Thankfully he didn’t. He was in hospital for two weeks and I decided to have a party at the house. The music lasted 5 mins before ‘Betty’ came round the corner not appreciating ‘one night in hackney booming flat out and it was off. That night the house got messy and just my luck, Dad came back the next day. I cried when he came in, he had lost a lot of weight and was now on about 15 tablets a day.

Mephedrone had been made illegal and things started happening which I didn’t like, friends getting robbed at knifepoint and all kinds of crazy incidents. I kept selling it but my mental health was out of control. I honestly couldn’t sit in a room with friends without thinking they were talking about me. Ketamine, where I found my comfort, had become 5 times the price for me. From there, things went from terrible to horrendous. I started giving someone a lift who was scoring heroin and paying my fuel as well as my drug habit.

At the age of 21 things got a hell of a lot worse! With my go-to comfort being expensive and hard to get hold of I gave in the to the devil. I started taking using Heroin regularly. The effects are completely different. When smoking it feels like a warm feeling in your belly, a bit like drinking Bailey’s, it takes a bit longer to kick in, If you inject it, within 10 seconds, you feel it in your head. The first time you do this it will changed everything for the worse. It quickly started to take over my mind body and soul. Yet still things got worse; I lost my driving license due to driving under the influence of drugs and dad started dating a new woman. Whilst I was sincerely happy for him I found this really discomforting as I had still not processed the loss of my mother.

I changed doctor and he put me on 15mg diazepam a day, antidepressants and 7.5 mg zopiclone to sleep at night. I was told to do Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It didn’t fix me but talking to someone helped. My life was hectic and was changing on a weekly basis.

I’ve had some close calls that I am grateful to have survived, including several car accidents, there’s been about 5 (ironically not caused by drugs). In the one that will always stick in my mind – The driver was going too fast, we didn’t make the corner and flew over a ditch into the water. When that car hit the water and rolled upside down, I was in the front passenger seat. I thought to myself…. This it is! My window was open about an inch, nothing smashed, everything went dark. Hanging upside down, I got my bearings a bit, feeling where the seatbelt was, reaching over to my right shoulder and finding the clip. The driver was also panicking like myself, survival mode engaged! It was every man for themselves. He was pushing me down, trying to escape, I just started swinging erratically. Thankfully we both managed to get out of his driver’s door as mine had been pinned shut. I definitely think I’ve got someone watching over me!

Dad was now in a full blown relationship and I had to leave my family home. I moved to a new area, which meant that I had to change doctor and no doctor would prescribe me what the previous one had. I was immediately cut off, which I am not sure was the best thing for me. Moving to a city, Heroin became easily accessible and soon enough I wasn’t just smoking it. It got so much worse. In this period I started self-harming too, my arm looks like Freddie Krueger been visiting in the night.

Every mothers day I try to do something special to distract me.  On birthdays and at Christmas I would lose the plot close to overdosing. On one of mums birthday, I got a phone call that her sister had collapsed and passed away, I don’t know who the family had pissed off up there but I wouldn’t wish this shit on my worst enemy!!!!

I’ve always been honest, I feel that if you lie, you’re only lying to yourself. I’ve done my best to keep my morals in check even in my darkest hours. I’ve always managed to ‘support’ myself and I am proud of that. There is no bigger test of character than keeping your morals when you get addicted to Heroin.  

Two years ago shit hit the fan again! Dad had been taken to the hospital. He was in there about 10 days doing tests. They told us that he had stomach cancer and they gave him 4 months to live. Now we know where this going, To lose someone who was the hardest person you know, the biggest man you know, yet one with one of the biggest hearts. Such a unique character that people will always remember. To see him in so much pain was absolutely heartbreaking, hearing him moan out in agony is something that I will always remember. This death was different though I wanted him to die, I didn’t want him to suffer anymore I wanted him to be at peace, knowing my mum would be there waiting for him! I am eternally grateful for his girlfriend who looked after him until the very end. Losing a lover must be terrible. It was good to see my family at the funeral, who I hadn’t seen since for years, although I wish things were different. I just felt so bad for his girlfriend and my Nan who hadn’t cried until that day. She couldn’t believe she had outlived her son; no mother should bury their child whatever age.

It still hasn’t really hit, him not being here, even though it has been about 16 months. I think because the circumstances are different, I am glad he is at peace. My habit escalated even further. I was in my own bubble, which until very recently didn’t pop. My Dad’s mum passed at the end of last year, again to cancer. It feels like it’s been one after the other. My sister has a picture of her engagement party, and all of our family have now passed in it. It makes it all a bit surreal, but I know none of them are in pain anymore.

Again I truly wouldn’t wish these circumstances on my worst enemy.

At times the drugs and parties helped and sometimes they caused more pain and paranoia. I am grateful for their medicinal function. If I hadn’t have medicated myself with the drugs  I firmly believe that I would be dead too.

I have been to hell and back and I am determined that this story is going to have a happy ending! I moved away from that area and I am now 3 weeks clean from everything, no methadone, no heroin, no cannabis, no ketamine, and have just been offered a job despite not working in 8 years.

I just want to say no matter how bad you think it is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you don’t know who will miss you if something went stupidly wrong. If you need help ask! There are people who will give you the time and listen to your problems. Me being one of them 🙂  

I just have to carry on the path I am on and with the support of all my friends who really have been supportive and giving me the energy to carry on, I know anything is possible! Mental health is no laughing matter, and I would recommend going to the doctors if you are ever not feeling yourself for a period of time, as depression is something horrible to deal with no matter why you got it, just remember someone out there loves you!

People take drugs for many different reasons, at the beginning, I took it for something fun, but then it soon becomes an addiction.

Whether it is party drugs or the harder stuff, they can ‘help’ with some problems, however, this is temporary. It is a curtain pulled over reality and it hides the effects it has on surrounding people around you. I know that in some phases of my life, the people that love me have absolutely hated what I’ve been up to, and see me as the black sheep of the family, but I am blessed to have the opportunity to prove them wrong.

Getting off heroin

Yeah, that shit needs a title! Do you know what it is like to get withdrawals from Heroin? If you stop using heroin you will start rattling. This is a vicious process where you know that you have no one to blame apart from yourself and you have to take responsibility for your own reality. It must be so traumatic for your family members to see someone they love in a situation like this. Heroin withdrawal is like an intense flu, a crippling sickness which gets immediately cured with that next ‘hit’. This is why it is so difficult to come off of it. No one told us this when we were younger and I really hope that I can get the message across to people! I wish people could understand what it is like before they decide to try it.  You are literally being sick from the bottom of your stomach whether you have been eating or not, hot and cold sweats e.g. your sweating but have goosebumps, diarrhea, restless sleeping, and weird dreams. In this state, you will do anything for this pain to stop. This will cause you will borrow money, sell items you own, spend money you don’t have spare or worse. It will attempt to bend your mind and morals to places that your true self didn’t know was possible. You will need it every day 18-24 hours, or go into withdrawal without Opiates.

I wouldn’t recommend this but on my path, I can’t sit there and regret it. It got me off other drugs which were damaging my mental health and body, however unless you are prepared to go through the most intense suffering to get off it, it is not something that I would touch with a barge pole. No matter what you think you just have it the once, It’s called heroin for a reason. The feeling of being in a warm blanket, taking all the pain away, but like I said before, it doesn’t take them away. It masks them and eventually, you have to realise, you are now an addict, and those problems are still there. Don’t fall into a trap and think I’m strong enough to get through that, thinking it’s easy, because it isn’t! I don’t think anyone would say they grew up to be a heroin addict. The things people go through in life just don’t seem fair sometimes. It helps the pain that is deeper inside them. I met one woman once who was on it, and asked why? Her reply was “I was raped as a kid, and I was raped as an adult”. Now not using this is not an excuse to be on drugs, but that is something that is mentally scarring and I can understand why she would want to block it out, however, it will not get rid of the pain she has gone through either.

I was on it 8 years, and the way I’m getting off it at the moment has been to completely keep myself away from certain people, get into a routine of doing things, and with the support of friends and family. It is not easy! Far from it, and I still have a lot more obstacles in the way, and it will always be available wherever I go. It is up to me to say no. As the saying goes ‘Just say No’. I don’t regret any of the times I’ve had on them otherwise the last 14 years will be one big regret. I do regret some of the actions I’ve had on my family, and friends through my stupid actions but I will try to learn all of the valuable lessons that the experience has given me. You can do anything you put your mind to! Don’t let people bring you down or tell you how to act because everyone is unique in their own way and everyone has their own path walk. It just depends if you choose the right or wrong one. Even then with the right mind frame and help, you can get yourself back on the right one. This may seem I’m glorifying it and I really am not. People walk past the homeless man on the street and think ‘o he must deserve that’ when you don’t know what struggles they are going through. Treat everyone as you want to be treated. Why should you be treated with respect if you can’t even respect your fellow human being, who may of no fault of their own have been dealt some shitty cards?

Real friends will be there through thick and thin. They will support and love you regardless of what you are doing. I hid a lot of what was going on and put on a brave face, this was because I thought it was my problem, not theirs, and they wouldn’t understand. Real friends love you no matter how you are getting on. They see you for who you are, although they might not be happy about the situation you are in at that precise moment. It is all down to you! People can help but you are 100% responsible in the end because you can’t have someone with you 24/7 and no one else can fix you. Then you will notice who really is there for you. It is not good to shut yourself away from the people that are close to you, as from my own experiences you never know what is around the corner. You can lose people but the ones that are worth caring about will always be there and I will love them forever….

For not disowning me, for not judging me, and for more importantly believing in me.

I am doing this for them, my family, and more importantly myself.

I am proud of how much things have changed, however, this is only the beginning.

I thank the mask but now it is time to put my real face on and let my light shine.

Thanks again sincerely for your ongoing support

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  1. Henry Taylor

    Big loves to ya Ed. We have grown apart from some of this. But you know i have time for the real Ed. So happy to see you doing well. Pm me your address on tv. I’ll send ya a postcard

  2. Becky

    Wow! Well done!! You’re a real inspiration….Good luck on your new life journey Ed x

  3. Laura

    Wow what a heartfelt blog, this was such an inspiring post and I’m sure it will help anyone out there that’s going through the same thing. Good on you and well done 👍

  4. Aleysha hare

    Wow Eddie, got so much respect for you mate, drugs is a horrible circle, good on you for getting over it… Parents are so proud of you I know it! Xxx


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