Written by Harriet Dyer

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Life Palavers: Temptation

Harriet Dyer was a human catastrophe: drugs, drink and institutions. She’s back on her feet and has some life lessons to share so people don’t make the same mistakes she did. Here she reveals that willpower is key.

puffer fish lampshade

42 minutes: that’s how long I stared at the drugs on my coffee table.

It’s safe to say I’ve led a colourful life, during which I’ve strayed from the path quite a few times. I’ve battled drug and drink issues in spectacular fashion (not good spectacular) and people have tried to section me on more than one occasion. Sadly, that’s not even scraping the surface.

These days my life couldn’t be more different from how it used to be: I haven’t done drugs for nine years now and I genuinely get very excited about the thought of living a ‘normal’ life (I’ve heard lots about them and they seem wonderful). Staying in, watching rubbish television and being at one with a cup of green tea is my new fix.

This is a world away from when a typical week was getting through 100 ecstasy tablets, endless grams of speed and eating only so there was something in my stomach for the drugs to feed off. These were considered the more reserved days too, before we got into the harder drugs. We smoked so much weed it doesn’t even bear thinking about, and often cleared Tesco out of beer; not that we ever thought of weed and alcohol being bad for you – just constant entrées to put us on until the good stuff.

I thought it would be easier to live a normal life then it is; that if you move away from a situation then all those problems cease. Now I know you can move to the other side of the country, but your brain will still be in your head.

Despite my best conscious efforts not to surround myself with that life anymore, it’s always when you least expect it that a smidgen of sneaky beaker temptation is thrust your way.

A few months ago some friends from Cornwall came up to visit me. We used to dabble with drugs together, but they were good eggs and got out of it like me. They looked on Trip Advisor for places in which to enjoy a beverage, and the places they found were delightful – one of them had actual pufferfish as lampshades. After a while I noticed that my friends kept frequenting the toilet and coming back, well, sniffing. I’ve developed a spidey sense for when people are on drugs, and it was tres clear that my friends were now coked up.

When a lot of people that used to do drugs say they don’t do them anymore, this actually means they partake of the odd line of this and that now and again, reminding me of my auntie who claims she’s a vegetarian but EATS SAUSAGES.

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Time to get the hoover out.

I decided not to let the fact they were on drugs bother me. Eventually they even offered me a line to which I said, “Not on your nelly!” But then, for the rest of the night, even though the drinks kept flowing and it was still fun, the drugs were all I could think about. I have a faint recollection of drunkenly doing the Macarena in a kebab shop before we ventured back to mine (I may have drank more than usual in order to drown out the extreme temptation).

Back at mine my friend racked up three massive lines of coke on my glass table, sniffed one and then – very strangely – immediately fell fast asleep. His girlfriend picked him up off the floor and they both went off to bed… leaving me in my living room with TWO MASSIVE LINES OF COKE LOOKING AT ME. I stared at them. For 42 minutes. During this time I was trying to convince myself that I could just sniff these without it leading to me continuously vacuuming all the drugs I could physically get my hands on again despite my having a ridiculously addictive personality.
So I took a deep breath – and blew the lines all over my living room.

I hoovered in the morning.

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Written by Harriet Dyer

Harriet Dyer is an eccentric and full of life palavers human being that originally hails from the land of Cornwall.