Over the last few months, our Write Now group have been working with Sonya Hale to explore the theme of ‘Addiction in This Country’. They’ve worked on creating time, atmosphere and place, generating characters and writing obstacles and objectives within scenes. We would like to share with you a monologue that one of our Write Now participants wrote during the course of these sessions.
by Jonathon Thomas
Daniel: My Name is Daniel and I am an addict.
I became addicted to drugs via a friend I’d met in jail. He was a dealer outside and just before I entered this shared cell, he had a visit from his girlfriend and had received an eighth of an ounce of heroin a drug I knew nothing about, this was the start of the year of 2000. I can remember only what is written as I write it.
I remember sitting on my bunk-style bed smoking a joint of weed. I was feeling quite relaxed and in a daydreaming frame of mind, wearing a smirk on my face casually. Suddenly, looking over to my right-hand side I see Jolly my pad mate running lines on a piece of foil. I clearly was not interested for even a minute… but all the frustration I felt at court and the process of being booked into the prison reception was gone from my mind. My thoughts of how my girlfriend at the time, Lesley Anne Spencer, would cope as I was sentenced to 30 months. Les was from Newcastle but was living behind Oxford Street in a lovely flat with her friend Una, A public school girl, very confident, a strict type lady. I must admit looking back; both of these women supported me right through the 15 months I spent in custody.
I really looked forward to the letters I received from Lesley. She had moved on since the beginning of my sentence in January and was now working back in Newcastle…her hometown. I felt secure being with Lesley Anne and safe, she didn’t seem like a girl that would cheat on me, that I must insist is every man’s worst nightmare in prison. I’ve seen some crazy behaviour from other inmates after receiving the most feared letter, which I now know starts with the words… “Dear John” . The first lines making you aware your relationship has come to an end.
Anyhow, at this stage I just need to get through the daily politics of being in such a filthy place and the savage behaviours people adopt along the way. Taking drugs seems the best way for me to cope, making me feel absent from my imprisonment. As time went by, along the way, I became more clued up about the drug I thought nothing of…heroin. I had tried some with Jolly and it made me feel totally sleepy but it had a very dark side to it. The war on myself, the start of a reckless and careless journey and I knew nothing about it. Looking back it seemed like I was having a long relationship with the unknown, like dancing with the devil. I’ve realised I was like a hostage to my growing addict. Seeking the comfort and warmth it gave me was with consequence…illness, vomiting, hot and cold flushes, constant mood swings and frustration of not having this temporary feeling at my disposal. It was around the new year that I was invited to speak with a young angel-faced lady called Amber, who I used to call little red riding hood, she was a sort of counsellor and therapist. I first met the little angel-faced lady when she came to the latch of my door and asked if my name was Daniel Martin. I said… ‘yes’, and she began to explain who she is and why she was there. I became intrigued by her little face and big brown puppy type eyes and wondered what she was even doing in such a hostile place such as this. We sit down together then she said ‘hello’ and I say ‘hello’, and she says…’so what’s been happening’.