Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In his own words; Willow Darkwater's Bath Salt Addiction: The Salt Tester

Chapter One

The room smelled of cigarettes, plastics and some other man-made material he couldn’t quite pinpoint.  He continued to open the door to the motel room but could see nothing.  He fumbled for a switch on the wall.  He had stayed in this motel twice before but could not remember the layout of the rooms.  He sighed with relief as he flipped a switch on the wall.

His spirit was weak and loosely attached to his gaunt frame. But the dopamine triggered in his body by the synthetic drugs made it a mute point; he was more than comfortable with his body, he masturbated a lengthy four hours a day, an hour was spent drawing at least ten shots into hypodermic syringes, depending on his supply, sometimes only a couple, sometimes fifteen if he had company or a zealous day of bath salt injections. This was a good day. And he was amply supplied for a couple of days: salts, syringes, and enough money to eat once a day and keep himself hydrated.

He truly was bored.  Deep inside, no matter the amount of dopamine, he was bored, discontented, guilt ridden and desperate for the touch of another human, preferably male.  He was more than willing to take whatever embrace, touch (hell, an accidental brush in a narrow grocery aisle); he was in no position to turn down any contact he could get. His gut cramped and made some alchemically unbalanced sound that let him know his lifestyle was not healthy.  It was cry for help from physical body to somewhere in the ethereal where his spirit spent most of it’s time in limbo debating separation from or staying with the string bean of a physical body that was its slim temple.

Existentialism, transcendentalism, philosophy,
spirituality and religion, even Love, not just love, but Love with a capital “L”—everything seemed so obsolete, overdone, overestimated.  He was not sure which he was more tired of:  living or dying.  He didn’t care to ponder the question either because one inevitably inferred the other. Life supposed death. Death supposed having lived.  The only thing that seemed to be of any interest to him was sensuality, sexuality, and increasingly, fetishes and kink.  He was getting wilder in his bath salt addiction than he wanted to acknowledge and some of the thoughts than ran through his head made him do more than blush, he felt the need to put on a hairshirt and reach out to something, someone for absolution.  In his mind he flogged himself and even that turned him on.

The bath salts weren’t for baths by any means.  The price alone said there was something more than “invigorating” about a half of a gram of some times sandy pink to fine white floury powder that said “retail methamphetamines” but everyone referred to them simply as “salt”.  There were four main active ingredients in the powders and they were inhalable through snorts, puffs of smoke, or infusions, and the preferred mode: injection.  The ingredients were methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and methylone, and pyrovalerone.   

The only thing he had found that countered the varying combination of drugs to the point of sleep was melatonin. Surprisingly, melatonin worked against the retail meth and it brought sleep at a fair dose of 20 mgs or so.  He didn’t like his physical dependence and felt himself slipping into some psychological abyss; a psychosis, he was sure. Eventually, it happened to everyone on retail meth and he had some anxiety about it but still, the drug cried, and his body craved it’s own demise.  He hoped his spirit survived.

The weather worked against his slim body.  It was winter, barely the end of January.  Going out into the windy, sharp weather made his veins shrivel and dry up making purchase harder as the scar tissue mounted, the hydration fluctuated, and his blood pressure rose and fell. There was no part of this addiction that hid itself, no facet he didn’t consider and with the playing field leveled, he looked his devil in the eye and kissed him sexually like an incubus and knew they would never marry.  The love child was scar tissues.  He scrubbed with a loofah and put a thin layer of triple antibiotic ointment over his after shower moisturizers, the loofah stimulated circulation and the warm soapy water got him clean (kept scabs from forming thickly and other things like nutrients, proteins, (dope!) all in steady supply to his well kempt body.

His head ached as his blood pressure soared and a faint itch in his chest said his heart felt it. It was always in the back of his mind when giving himself an injection:  Will this be the one that finally does me in? It never slowed the plunger through the syringe. There was an excitement to not knowing and it made the rush of the chemicals a bit more intoxicating. As if that were possible. It didn’t matter, nothing did. Steady, he undid the tourniquet and lay back on the bed. He made his shots thick and small so he could get all the medicine and fewer headaches from water. The headaches from high blood pressure seemed to cancel out any efforts in that area. His vision became choppy and his leg twitched, only once, and he felt the erection growing in his Levi’s. God, what a rush. The designers knew what they were doing when they engineered this one. And for that, he was grateful. Where was the moon? He needed to howl.

At the café down the street from his seedy motel, he sipped coffee with milk and a ton of sugar.  He had to get calories from somewhere and it might as well not be counterproductive-- more stimulants.  His high broke with a sudden mood swing and he felt anxious. He took a small prescription bottle from his bag and poured several tablets in his hand.  Xanax was an excellent buffer on the comedown, but only in excess.  The reason why doctors didn’t think benzodiazepines were helpful in dealing with bath salt overdoses was that they were too conservative with their measurements. One doctor had even used general anesthesia, he had read in the paper.  General aneasthisia? But no Valium buzz—it was extreme. 

The chemicals, especially mephedrone, were highly scrutinized globally and they should have been.  They were a hot mess and the problem was growing. As states banned the bath salts, the manufacturers changed things up. From bath salt to plant food to ladybug attractant, they were one step ahead. He wondered where the obscure little laboratories were and if he could visit.  If they would make a batch in front of very eyes and he could "scarface" the table in front of him as they placed the finished product before him.

He was developing a nervous tick from the salt and he was self-conscious as he fought some compulsion to run from the table flipping it over and spraying other patrons with ashtrays and artificial sweetener packets. He laughed out loud at himself and his thoughts, observed a woman eye him with skepticism and looked through his bag for no other reason than to avoid the woman’s eyes.

 Why were there still ashtrays? All of the states had banned smoking at least ten years ago and yet the ashtray stood proud like the flag of some defeatist veteran. He shook the thought from his head and realized he was about to cry. Absolutely not. He never cried and he wasn’t starting. Dopamine would fix that and he went to the café bathroom carrying his trusty bag.

Along the way, he had lost his family and friends. He had made a choice, and the chemicals won. Everyone was kept safely away; he socialized by Internet and rarely met anyone in person. The meth retailers were his only real contact and in exchange he worked as a tester.  They would give him a sample of a new drug and he would tell them whether it would sell or to negate the offer from the vendor. There were perks to being a tester like a line of credit when money was tight or discounts, needle exchanges and of course, free dope. The credit line always seemed to pay itself and he had cell numbers for at least two people on every shift. He was well protected from the pitfalls of addiction; it was his best friend and worst enemy, the tester. How easy they made it. He marked grateful somewhere in his mind.

Once, he had run out of dope and slept for five days. The store had run out, the manufacturers sold out. Bone dry, sober as the proverbial judge, his mind had saved him and shut down.  Things to be grateful for were at every turn and he didn’t fail to notice.

He had been a high priest at one point in his life, before salt before everything got so hectic and he paid homage to the Matriarch at this point.  It was different, he noticed his spirit was removed, empty almost, or preoccupied and he didn’t like it.

He had been to South America on scholarship because of his sixth sense development. He had worked with the last first level Chavin culture shaman, maestro Mancoluto, and four fourth-level shaman from the same culture. They had said wonderful things about him, told him he was “sheer will-power”, that he could, “manifest anything,” and he had been more than flattered. He was sharp on every level and he had been dulled at the same time. He was reluctant to accept this change as anything but bad but the dopamine won. The addiction won over spirit and he knew this was a bad sign.  It was an omen of the worst kind.

He was never blind, in any situation he could see more than most, and of course he felt more than most, before the salt.  Before this addiction, drugs had been used in combination with spiritual tools to be catalysts for a profound number of things, witchcraft on a high level. From meditation to creative visualization, to ritual ingestion, to now, bath salt. What a confession!  What a shameful sight his laughable life had become.  To even say, “I am addicted to salt? Bath salt?” Who makes these admissions? He had had students, pupils, witches that studied under him and now he had no one. Where had he disappeared to and on what level did he even still exist, other than some ego driven maniac that got his beans on designer drugs.  Holy shit, indeed.  And working as a tester? Well, that just took the cake. His reputation was no better than mud he was sure.  Good grief, and from Seattle to Virginia, some dark smear across some page of The Book of Judgment and probably in some profane and indelible ink. He was most sure. For this, he was not grateful. He was fucking pissed.

Somewhere, there was three generations of women sitting by a fire, one telling a story of a man, one she had loved greatly, and he had loved her.  There had been many storms that winter. The man had left to find food and had never returned. This was some old love story, and it drifted on the smoke into the trees and disrupted by limbs, got separated by the up-reaching arms that tickled the night’s underbelly like the probing fingers of a precocious child, and abducted part of the myth like the calloused hands of a underhanded man that drove a white utility van.

During the next few weeks he settled back into his mother’s home.  He tried to keep his addiction a secret, keep his private life tucked discreetly into his bag, but the buzz won over tidiness and a syringe was left lying about, a spoon, something and he could not lie. What would be the point and who would have benefitted?

His mother had aged twenty years in the past two; his father had succumbed to cancer on the third and final round but had given a more than dignified fight; he had chosen chemotherapy and radiation when the time was right and he had chosen neither by the same intuition. He had crossed with grace and tranquility. He embodied an officer and a gentleman through the entire war with cancer, though fought mostly on the inside.

Most of the war was unobserved or more unobservable, it was no spectacle, and the family, though experiencing malignance in it’s nucleus for the first time, acted as well trained veterans.  The man’s wife of 52 years, the mother of the Tester, was a force to be reckoned with, a sublime example of the Matriarch and she, body stretched and pulled from four pregnancies and raising four children, plowing, seeding, growing, hoeing, and hauling tobacco. Not to mention the cooking, feeding, laundering, schooling and disciplining of the four children and the farm animals. It was a sustainable community run by one man, his wife and four children, and that’s how southwest Virginia had been for a couple hundred years and he figured nobody was in a real rush to fix a machine that didn’t necessarily seem broken.

Her body looked like any fertility goddess from any culture, and it was packed full, as her zodiac sign of Cancer would suggest, of love.  She was a constant source of love.

Now she was widowed and only a few months into the life of a single woman again.  Her husband had past in the month of October.  The Tester had flown in from Seattle to see his father before he had died and had made it within the timeframe of his physical death but not before the cancer-induced dementia had wiped the slate of his mind clear.  The tester looked deep into his father’s eyes and there he was:  A scared, tired man, without words, without communication but so many emotions.  His eyes screamed to be engaged, and those eyes got more than sympathy, they received solace, comfort, and hugs from everyone who bothered or was strong enough to look.  He was a husband who deserved it, a father who was never denied it, and spirit that could simply ask and receive it. He was asking, simply, and his proverbial cup ran over.  His life had been long and full, he had had many stories to tell that were now on the tongues of others or lost to his failing mind forever. He was sure, the right and important ones, were on the tongues and in the hearts of the next generation. They would rightfully be carried on the shoulders and in the hearts of the children and the grandchildren and their children for many generations to hear, enjoy, and gain knowledge and morals.  His path was landmark and it deserved to be passed on.  Was this just the sensationalizing of a parent all children do? Maybe, but it was his father, and romanticizing the man who taught him everything, could have been his twin brother, they looked and acted so much alike. They had fought like brothers in barroom brawls, had laughed, cried, and shared every emotional experience a father and son should, with the exception of a couple of adult thrown punches.  But what do mirrors do?  They reflect in the opposite, so a clash had always been inevitable.

It was the last ritual the Tester performed:  Helping his father’s spirit pass over.  It was the most rewarding and stinging; it was bittersweet heartache and relief.  He felt his father’s spirit brush past him as he closed the witch’s circle.  He knew his father was gone.  He knew he had helped him transition. The ferryman paid, the River was flowing, slow and steady, delivering his father to the other side.  Peace be with you, gentleman.  His father had crossed precisely when he had known he did.

  Chapter Two

            The town was small and some of the city drugs like heroin or powdered cocaine didn’t make it the towns nestled here in the Appalachian foothills.  It was a blessing and a curse, and the curse part had really just recently reared its haunting head.  There was a population waiting on a designer drug like “bath salt” to hit the market.  There was a black market to the point of a “need” just waiting for the city drugs to bleed in or the designer drugs to be made and so, the bath salts were received with open, welcoming arms.

          The retailers were not shunned but praised, and, in the beginning, the community was blind to the side effects that lay in wait with the salts and their deadly combinations.  The communities didn’t care as long their dopamine levels were raised and the street legal dope was more plentiful than cocaine in Columbia or Brazil.  Between the two states of Virginia and Tennessee, Virginia, with its supposed Democratic party, had shut down the bath salt market more than year before Tennessee had and the town of Bristol was a town divided by the two state lines. So on the Virginia side, there was a squelched public participation in the bath salt psychosis and on the Tennessee side there was a party of moonlighters that went well into the eighty or more hours of non-stop debauchery that usually satiated the most zealous salt partaker. Usually.

          Then there were the types like the Tester who had to have it on a daily basis, were usually able to sleep on it, eat on it and had gotten past most of the “amphetamine” like side effects and were more functional than most.  He did realize he was not functional and was far from it.  He was sure that the addiction had affected him in certain ways that would never allow him to be a fully functional member of society. His anxiety level was through the roof, and he was shaky most all of the time.  The nervous tick he was developing made him very self-conscious and he had a real problem with going out into public because of the combination of the two.  It was hard to try to address someone and have an arm twitching uncontrollably at your side, or to be hypo- or hyperventilating.  He was sure, one day soon he would be in a public situation and he would hold his breath to the point of passing out, or would hyperventilate to point the of hallucinating and make a total scene.  He was sure it was in the offing and soon.  The pangs of depression hit his chest in a manifestation of anxiety and he hated this feeling the worst. “If I can just make it through a couple more of these.” He said to himself, in an attempt to buy time.  He knew that the anxiety never stopped, would be with him forever like some conjoined twin and still he played the game with himself.  He had just administered a substantial shot, why was he feeling so anxiety ridden the rush killed every emotion but this time it seemed fleeting, lasting no longer than fifteen minutes and where?  Where was the comfort in that?

          He took out a second shot and registered blood in the syringe and sank the plunger.  The chemicals this time hit his brain with the break of glass that was the usual auditory hallucination that meant he had done it up right, then a second breaking glass, then a third, he had never heard these last two, a cat in an alley somewhere sounding bigger than it was, on purpose, he was sure.  It was his own mind against the over dose of chemicals he had just administered.  There was no faking it out, the nausea churned in his stomach not realizing any purging would be futile, it was already in the blood stream, never in the stomach, he was one step ahead of the body.  Except right now, he felt vaguely sleepy, and then sleepy out-right.  Two hours later he woke with the capped syringe in his hand.

          Sleep deprivation or slight overdose.  Slight? Either he did or he didn’t like conceiving a child.  It didn’t matter, apathy got him everywhere and he picked up another dose of salt in a syringe preordained to make or break him.  He had trouble finding purchase, then as the blood gave feedback he sank the plunger half way counted to five and administered the rest of the medicine.  His shoulder jerked, which made his anxiety level rise, and he found the Xanax bottle laying on the desk beside him and but four under his tongue. As the salt circulated and more hit receptors he felt rise in his groin and he knew everything, though blurry, was going to be just fine.  His shoulder jerked again.  Unusual.  Then a breaking of glass, and he knew if there was a second to lie down quickly.  The second never came and for that he was grateful. He was glad he had separated the injection into two, though mere seconds apart.

By Willow Darkwater
you can e mail Willow at: willowdarkwater@gmail.com

Currently 33 states ban bath salts. Other states and territories have yet to introduce legislation, or legislation is pending. You can see all this info on the site of the National Conference of State Legislatures, last updated on March 7th, 2012. Write your state legisltors and leaders in Washington, D.C. to demand a federal ban on Bath Salts! Visit http://www.votesmart.org to find who your legislatures are.

From Youtube:
20/20 from ABC News: Bath Salts: A Deadly, Legal High? 

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