08. 21. 2012. 16:37

Drug diary (excerpts)

I look like someone who was born in a sewer and never crawled out. Journalist? Film critic? What a laugh. No one in the neighborhood believed it. I wouldn’t have believed either. No dignity, no pride. Just a filthy animal who’ll rob anyone with their back turned.

Viktor Kubiszyn's (1979) first, autobiographical novel, Drug Diary (A documentary novel) was published in 2011, and it achieved instant success. The writer, who quit his drug addiction of his own accord, received a request from the literary website litera.hu, on the first anniversary of his rebirth in 2010, to write a diary. The short story-like infernal trip piqued the interest of a publishing house, and they ordered a whole book based on the story. The precise, carefully crafted sentences of Drug Diary reveal a layer of reality that has so far been handled as taboo in literary works. Apart from its value as sociography, the novel also seems to foreshadow the birth of a new literary genre.


Drug Diary (excerpts)

Crossroads

I want to quit because I have no money. I’m wiped out from constant stress. Of feeling sick. Of dying. Of everything being a total mess, of the ZONE killing me, of the endless hallucinations, the voices, of not being able to die even though I want to, but being too much of a coward to live. I can’t steal anymore, or mooch off anyone, and even the Gypsy kids avoid me. I’m a zombie. I stumble from one withdrawal to the next and the Black Hole sucks me in. I have to get out of here.
Anywhere.
Shit, I am so finished.

The trees put one last effort into staying green before dropping their leaves. Dog-walking grannies and moms with little kids flood the park, plus a few bums not clutching their jug wine yet, seeing as how it’s still morning. It’s an hour without perspective, you shiver inside and out, your brain’s a dry dust-bunny. Space fills the void where your body and soul should be, and moving is impossible. I stare at the park from behind my shades, coiled around a bench, trying to organize my thoughts. The dogs bother me, the Indian summer bothers me, the sunshine bothers me, the pebbles gritting under sneakers and Scholl sandals bother me. I scan my field of view for discarded butts. I spot one, but I have no energy to reach down for it.

I don’t even know how I ended up here. Am I waiting for someone? Perhaps I only fled from the small, dark hole, the place I stay with a few others, empty after I sold everything. We pass in and out through the window, since I have no key to the security door: one advantage of ground floor living. 

I head over to the Catholic Alcoholic Aid Center to make a phone call, to dial the number I got from an opium-snorting alkie painter I met when my mother dragged me to their spiritual therapy session, thinking she saw a glimmer of hope that I’d quit. This dude stopped using after rehab too. He took one look at me at group therapy, my bruised head, the circles under my eyes, my jutting bones, the sores on my hands, and all he said was: Cut out.  

He knew I’d run myself ragged till I dropped, or until I found the right moment to change direction. ‘Cause you can talk your ass off to a junkie. Until the spark comes by itself, it’s no use. Luckily, when the spark came, I had that phone number. 

I walk across the city from the slums to high street. I phone from the CAAC. They give me some grub and a handful of tranquilizers. I’m trying to get rehab.

This is the choice I have made.

They do an addiction severity assessment to appraise the danger of my situation: What do you use? How much? How long? Work? Living conditions? Family? Relationships? Quitting attempts? Are you wanted by the police? Previous charges?
Afterwards, you could spend several months waiting, but one month is the minimum… You get wait-listed even if you’re in a really bad state. 

I try to tell the truth about myself, but I lie about some things because I’ve got this fear and loathing inside me, as if I were standing on the rim of a dark well.

I head over to the Crossroads Mission. They do some preliminary care for rehab.
The girl there is really nice. Strange how she doesn’t try to save me or even tell me off, doesn’t say what a prick I am, how I’m prepped for death. Instead, she’s outright happy to see me, almost ecstatic about my desire to change. She knows nothing about me. All she sees is a forty-kilo drug dog, pale, reeking of jug wine, wearing three sweaters. She seems overjoyed to be with me. What an incredible experience. I can’t remember the last time anyone was happy to see me.
Then I go off to wait for the Man.  

The rain falls in slimy clumps, forms a membrane around me and soaks me, every cell in my body slops around in the gray goo. I could wring the wet out of my cotton hood. The heat is stifling and it just keeps raining, raining, raining, and never stops.

My hand aches, my face oozes puss, my body and the backs of my hands are covered in rashes. I need a referral for an HIV/Hepatitis test. The doctor merely glances at me and immediately signs the form. I try not to get too wired before I show up at Crossroads. Two weeks after I made the phone call, I’m headed to rehab. It’s not too far from the city, but light years away from the Zone.  

I’m empty.

I’m dead.

[...]

Those Who Measure Time in Drops

Being a junkie is a way of life.

It saturates everything, every moment. You change because the dope transforms you. That’s what it’s all about. The STATE. That infinite moment. The eternally rewritten inner movie where the outside world plays hardly any role.

This lifestyle is a twenty-four hour job, and there are no holidays.

THERE IS NOTHING. Only the hunger, the desire, and time obliterate.

I wake up in the morning, or whenever the sun sets. I don’t ever really sleep anymore, or dream. It’s a perpetual state of half-awake, half-asleep. If I lie down, the brain-movie kicks in. I sit for hours on the bed by lamplight, in this ground-floor ghetto apartment, where the lights must burn even during daylight hours. They’re on all the time. I need the light, though it aches. They haven’t disconnected the electricity yet. That’s a plus. The hours, days, weeks, months all fuse into one. Things happen because I need the money, I need the STATE, I need to be inside it. I meet people, I make money, I sell, steal, steal, sell, lie, scuttle and whirl, in dark places and streets at night, in sunlight and rain.    

I don’t leave the Zone.

It’s been a year, maybe two, or even an eternity that I’ve been here. I never go past that invisible border stretching beyond the Mickey D’s on the corner. Out there, the world’s a different place. One I can barely remember. Not like I care.
The people go about their daily business. They have goals.

So do I.

I’ve got books to sell. A mobile phone to sell. I sell my fridge, my washing machine, everything. Hey dude, just take whatever I’ve got and gimme the dough. Five thousand, ten thousand or two, who cares, today I’m gonna get high, and that’s the only thing that matters. All I’ve got is five-hundred? No prob. I can make it into eight grand, or sixty, depending on how soon I get my fix.

It’s a wonder no one’s stabbed me yet.

I’m probably kept safe by looking like death warmed over. I’m skinny and a psycho to boot. Sometimes I hear stories told behind my back and tales about others too, of course. The gossip factory’s in full swing, but people drop faster than flies here. The dude I hung with yesterday is old news today, or just a memory in the glue-tripping brain of some girl remembering his cock, his tenderness, his random kisses.

Horrorshow, dyevushka, horrorshow. Now I’ve become a true punk, a burnt out, nihilist junkie. I could care less about it all.

I wake up and head out.

I’m hyped. Psychosis. 

It’s nighttime. Or dawn.

I sponge from tourists, collect bottles, or find a bar where I can talk a few beers out of someone. It’s easier to do if you’re high.

I’ve got my hoodie on with a turtleneck. In summer. Tattered, greenish-gray Replay cargo pants and my seven year-old orange Converse sneaks, one size too big and ripped, but good for looking cool from a certain twisted ghetto perspective. Just like the second-hand, hooded alienmonkeyz kiddie shirt I bought in Berlin, light and dark blue, made for twelve year-olds. Fits me perfect. 
My face is full of lesions. I get kicked out of every seedy bar, I move on, who cares.

I lie down on a bench.

Being a junkie is a way of life.
I’m far away from everything. 

I’m a druggie, doin’ just fine, thanks.

At last, my double life has become one. 

I finally feel at home.

After a few months, it makes no difference who I was. 

The rhythm of relapse is intangible. One day I decided I needed a nice stout hit so I popped some Rivotril and washed it down with booze. I woke up in detox a week later and had no idea what happened, except for a few flashes. I’d been off to see the Man I’d never met before, but it wasn’t hard finding him in my neighborhood.
Incredible selection, various packets, friendly service. It took two minutes for the Zone to suck me in. The weeks, months pass and I’m submerged, time stops, every day is the same.   

I am compulsion and obsession.

I look like someone who was born in a sewer and never crawled out. Journalist? Film critic? What a laugh. No one in the neighborhood believed it. I wouldn’t have believed either. No dignity, no pride. Just a filthy animal who’ll rob anyone with their back turned.

I wake up and I have money.
Where did I get it?

Who knows?

I ripped off a homo, a chick, or maybe I sold something?

Who cares?
I live minute to minute.
I’ve withdrawn myself from the world.
Live in a parallel reality.

Peculiar people walk down the streets. They don’t understand my thoughts.

I’m forty kilos. Living dead.

Junkie. Druggie. Alkie. Bum. Thief.

A pathetic loser. I don’t really care.

The walls collapse in on me.

I’m a heap of shivers.

The neighborhood is empty, but the walls of the buildings slip and slide like they do every night when the zombies of the day vanish and the shimmer of the dopers spills out onto the street.

And of course my Man is late.

He’s always late.

Only a teeth-grinding Gypsy kid approaches me on the street. He’s on a bad trip, I can feel his aura. He stares over my shoulder and clenches his fist. 

“You got a smoke for a brother?”

I nearly pass out from the smell of paint thinner.

“Naw, I pick up butts, bro.”

A wasteland of wasted puppets on a decaying, empty street. I’ve been waiting for the Man an eternity. The whole street’s about to collapse in on me, even the filthy glow of the flickering street light swinging above me hurts. No wonder the huffing leech zoomed in on me. I seeped into his hallucination with my vibes. He feels my thrashing cells.     

“Gimme a smoke, c’mon.”

I’m just trying to survive another second and this dude’s about to cut me. I go off on a rant, my screeching cells dictating.

“That’s übermensch, bro, übermensch. It’s how my systems run. The asswipes down at detox, they snapped the spiral clamp that bound my heart and soul, the motherfuckers. Shit, you hearin’ me? They got out their spokes and shredded my sweet ol’ clamp. But a buddy of mine and his pals’re gonna fuck ‘em up for sure, y’know?” 

I have to survive this so I improvise. I slash open this zonked kid with my words. He needs to haul ass and I need my Man. I lean against the wall before I cave in. The kid stumbles on, mumbling to his ninjas. 

I despise the shakes. 

I’ve got tobacco somewhere, bits and pieces from collected butts, and I’ve got sweat-soaked, cheapo rolling paper in my back pocket, but I just can’t move. The only way I could roll is if I squatted down and leaned against the wall, pressed my elbows into my belly, braced my head, and assembled the cig in my lap. The hardest part would be licking the paper ‘cause my neck is shaking so bad. And I sure as hell don’t feel like doing yoga right now.  

My Man finally appears on the corner, floating above the pavement, a halo around his head. My mouth is dry and the air stabs my eyeballs like needles.

Finally, brother, I thought you’d never show! 

He looks radiant to me in his shining fake Adidas sneaks, otherworldly sweatpants, black Nike tank, three-quarter-length leather jacket and five o’clock shadow. He’s got two eye-teeth missing as he grins at me. The street lamp glints on his earring.

“Hey, listen, you know Pete, the guy with the crescent moon inked on his face? Just got out of the slammer,” he says, and I know this party’s just slipped into a void. Bastard. There’s no junk, I should have known. “Me and him, we shot the last bindle, but chill, we’ll score some in a sec.”

Sure, just keep yapping, douche bag, instead of bringing me salvation.

Never trust a druggie. 

Never.

My bones are splintering.

“It was flea powder, man, the stuff barely hit. Four Tigers must’ve fucked me over. But it was enough for Pete to get blasted after four months, the little cocksucker.”

He knows I’ve got the chucks. He smirks and pulls out a plastic bottle of alley-juice from his inside pocket.

“Take a swig, you look like shit.”

Swine, I’m gonna collapse on you. You’re to blame if I drop dead right here. My blood will be your stigma to mark you as a slave in the afterlife forever, you lowlife scumbag Gypsy, you.  

I can barely hold the plastic wine bottle. It dents as I grip it. Oh man, this is great. It’s still three-quarters full. I send it down in huge gulps, my neck shaking, some of it spills down my chin, I gag, and I feel the semi-sweet wine rotting my stomach. This revives me a bit. 

“What’s up with you, man? You got cash? You owe me a new bottle.”

Sure, bro, anything, just let’s go get the smack.

I pull my hood up.
We drift over to a shooting gallery where there’s 24-hour service.
We’re all junkies in the building, except for the old lady on the first floor.

We get right to it and do up in the stairwell.

A lonely, gray, formless drift. Giving nothing, showing nothing. I contract, everything becomes sharp, white. The whole world a blind spot. I don’t think about the consequences. 

There are no consequences. Hot, hot, ever hotter, almost boiling, outside, inside, slowly creeping up and burning, caressing, biting and kissing.
My head slumps.
I’m on the nod.

Never trust a druggie.
Never.

I run into Toothless Glue-Girl. She’s propped against the wall. So am I.

“Got any Rivotril?”

“No, but we’ll score some, okay?”

We’ll score whatever you want, baby, just give me a whiff of that fine glue-bag of yours. Every bone in my body’s shaking, oh what a grand narcotic mornin’, sweltering hot, but I see you’ve forgotten to remove your coat, don’t worry, I’ve got two sweaters going too, you know it, yeah, I’ve got the shakes, there aren’t enough sweaters in the world to warm me. So how’s about that huff, baby, or how’s about two or three, then I’ll take a look around my pad to see what we could sell. There’s my gas stove, we’ll surely find a buyer for it. But first I need to be able to move, please Lord, just help me budge, let’s see that glue bag, ‘ata girl, we’ll score whatever you want. Rivotril, baby, the 2 milligram kind, the best, the sweetest. Frontin or Andaxin, ‘cause a hit of Black Pearl seems unreachable now. But let’s work together and swipe a liter of wine. It’ll prop me up so I can rip someone off. Maybe the only choice we’ve got is some pervert fag with deep pockets, but that’s just fine, baby, let’s not be choosy.   

“Everything’s gonna be okay, honey,” I say in encouragement.

She’s got puss oozing from all the needle-pricks on her body, a bandaged foot in slippers, sweetheart’s not yet thirty but she’s such a rag-bag, even the bums avoid her. Sure, they avoid me too, feeling the Bad Spirit, knowing I’m even lower than they are, ‘cause jug wine’s not enough. I can pretend, but it just jacks me up, inflating me, till I roll straight into the Zone.  

The structure of my life is not simply vertical, it’s horizontal, spreading formlessly throughout all dimensions, steamrolling and crushing and oppressing and out and in and across and and and… 
Loneliness, insatiability, neurosis and shivering, and sadness and terror and fear and loneliness. Swollen labia and blood-red toenails.

Thirst and tiles.

A blonde dawn in the slivers of a broken mirror. Cynical teeth-grinding in the neon desert. Twisted irises of the eye burst in spirals from the fur of predatory felines. 

Bomb explosion, plastic shards in the escalator rust. 

Simplicity, clarity, energy. The catatonic beauty of the matrix lines. An exploding pupil.

Woland floats over the street and talks to me.

I explode in a lava stone. 
I explode in a ray of sun.

I blast off into space as I reach my vein, go into orbit, the Solar System smiles as I sail towards the nearest black hole.


Finality Appeal

I arrived to the Mission nearly a month ago, on October 12, 2009. I have been an addict for fifteen years. Over the course of these fifteen years I have taken prescription drugs (Rivotril, Xanax, Frontin, Andaxin, Leponex, etc.), marihuana and hashish, hallucinogens (LSD, Jimson weed, Morning glory, magic mushrooms, etc.), amphetamine derivatives, alcohol and heroin, have inhaled paint thinner, and have ingested almost anything I hoped would result in delirium (sometimes, in a psychotic state, I shot laundry detergent, drank aftershave, and huffed butane gas). In 2002, I made a more-or-less successful attempt at quitting: I managed to stay clean for two and a half years, but my addiction, my druggie-self was never extinguished. During this time, I buried myself in work. After two and a half years, I began using light drugs while still working and managed to keep this up for a year. Finally, in 2006, I fell back into complete polytoxicomania. Since then, I have tried to go cold turkey several times, but always on the street. I joined support groups, talked to addictionologists and psychiatrists, but from time to time, day to day, I slipped lower and deeper. My relationships disintegrated, I stole, lied, tried to make it out on the street, while my family gave up on me and I ended up in states of near-death or derangement. I heard of the Mission by chance and felt that I needed to get better. I had to come here. This is my first rehab treatment and would like it to be my last.

I feel that this is my last shot.             

Though everything crumbled around me outside and I was quickly headed either to a mental institution or the grave, the hardest thing for me was making the decision to leave everything behind. I spastically clung to the last shreds of my life outside, the dead-end relationship with my girlfriend, and my junkie lifestyle. I really had to surprise myself in order to stop, but after I made the decision, I felt liberated. I felt that I wanted to get better and this was the place I had to be. I see that I may have a chance to heal. I don’t expect my time here or my therapy to be easy, but I can identify the goal I’d like to achieve and this calms me. I often fracture, get caught up in obsessive manias, and have tons of problems, but I see and receive more and more solutions, either from certain members of the community, from my sponsor, or from the community as a whole. Though on the surface my greatest problem is using, I feel that the reasons for this are deeper, in the root of my personality. This self-destructive lifestyle can only be the direct consequence of deeper distortions. I feel that I am not, nor was ever, an adult. I see myself as mature in my mind and way of thinking, but unstable, lost, and uncertain with regards to emotions and practical life strategies. I would like to discover and understand the roots of my faults and distortions in order to heal these. I would like to change. I regard staying clean as the greatest virtue of the nearly one month that I’ve spent here. I have a more sober view of myself, of my life outside, my faults, my sins, and my past. I’m still staggering, but I try to “move towards the pain.” I feel comfortable in this community and believe that I’ve managed to fit in as much as possible during such a short time. I receive love, acceptance, understanding and guidance from the community and this fills me with assurance and security. From the Mission I received tranquility and time: for healing and the possibility to change. Though I have only been here briefly, I have already noticed a change in the way I am and have discovered the seeds of development. I am trying to learn, understand, and experience the therapeutic methods. I focus closely on myself and the community, keep a journal (outside I never managed to be consistent about this either), and try to make the best of my time here in my own interest and those of others.      

I would like to become whole again.

I hereby request the finality of my stay so I might be able to consistently pass through all the stages of treatment in order to have the strength to develop a new, clean life when I leave. 
With many thanks.

Ráckeresztúr, November 8, 2009

Is it possible to overwrite fifteen years with one year of therapy?

True, God is capable of anything.

But I’m not.

What if I’m only fooling myself? I’ve deluded so many others in so many ways already, though not always deliberately. The others, the normal ones, the clean ones, call them what you want, they have no idea how much work goes into this. They don’t understand the complexities. And they don’t need to. No one will pat you on the back just because you’re clean. Because you live sober. It should be basic. No one will praise you. But the thing is, they don’t need to. They don’t have to know. That’s not their job. It’s yours.  

Practice love and humility in everyday life. Give it a shot if you can. Sometimes it’s a struggle. The habits are stuck inside me, the reflexes are there, my demons stalk me. If my attention slackens, I click right back. Click.  

In less than two minutes, I start lying, manipulating, evading, projecting, dodging, and faking. I become controlling and shifty. It’s the best show you’ve ever seen. Just add a pinch of stress and here comes Rat Boy, the neurotic street scum, who’d sell his mother’s soul for a bindle. Like he sold everything else. What if this whole love-trip is just another ruse? Another manipulation device? Yet another comfortable layer? I’d double-cross God if I had to.

‘Cause I’ve got it all under control.

 

Kubiszyn Viktor: Drognapló

Budapest: Jószöveg, 2011

Translated by: Ildikó Noémi Nagy

Tags: Viktor Kubiszyn