User's Story: Getting Our Heads Together in the Country, Man
It was the longest ten days of my life; I had just trekked for hours through the bush to escape my camping ground detox. It was the middle of the night and I sat alone at Parkes train station going over and over in my head how I got to be there.
A year ago I was living with my girlfriend Malina in a nice apartment on Macleay Street in the Cross. We were recreational users but we paid the rent on time, we both had good jobs, good furniture and a nice bed. We had a good, happy, normal relationship. Then we met a guy called Bob, who asked if he could use our apartment to make up his deals and reload. For that he would give us a cap a day. We gave him a key so he could come and go when we were not home.
Soon Malina lost her job because she was always sick. She looked an awful yellow colour and was very skinny because we couldn’t afford to buy food – all our money was being spent on drugs.
I was still going to work but I needed way more than a half a cap a day. So I still split the cap we got off Bob with Malina in the morning, then I’d have sly shots on the side. I was using about a half gram of smack and coke a day. What I didn’t know was that Malina was sleeping with Bob. When I came home from work she’d either say she was tired as she scratched her nose or she’d have a shot of coke and pick her face all night. She was also using more than she let on, too.
Then one day Bob just didn’t show up. We rang his phone and it was switched off. We had no money and we were counting on Bob for tick so we sat there sweating for three days. One night we decided to end the cycle. We would go detox in the bush.
When Bob finally showed, he was cold and arrogant and wouldn’t say where he’d been. I got the feeling that he’d lost interest in Malina now that she looked so crook. We also owed him thousands of dollars.
That day I went to work and my boss asked to see me at lunchtime. Just before I went to see him I went into the toilet, had a shot and passed out with the needle in my arm. My boss rang the ambos and the cops. I was escorted out.
Bob stopped giving us any freebies or tick and we had no money or jobs, so we hocked everything we owned and sold the rest of our stuff across the road at the local markets. We sold our bed, our clothes, everything. We kept our tent, two sleeping bags and some camping gear.
Malina picked a campsite at Goobang National Park. It would take about six hours by train and then we’d walk the rest of the way.
We made as many preparations as we thought we needed. We packed our fits, smack, Coke, cereal, milk and two-minute noodles into a backpack and set off at dawn. We took a train to Tomingley West station. By the time we arrived the sun was going down.
We walked for about an hour down a rural road to the campsite knowing that we had enough smack and coke to shoot up that night and the next day.
When we got to the campsite it was deserted. We soon realised we were fucked. We didn’t have a torch so we had to shoot up in the dark. There was no running water and we’d only brought one bottle with us. There were no toilets, we had no toilet paper. We couldn’t be bothered to pitch the tent in the dark so we waited ’til morning. As soon as it was light we had a shot of smack, put up the tent and settled in. I walked back to the train station to get some water and other supplies with the three dollars I had to my name. I took the rest of the drugs with me and left the fits with Malina so we’d both have to wait to have our last shot when I got back. All I managed to get was some water out of a tap in an old bottle.
I don’t know how but I lost the smack somewhere. We had a huge fight when I got back. Malina thought I had snorted it but I hadn’t. She made me strip and she searched me. Still no smack. So we shot up the last of the coke and it made us feel really sick. We walked back and forth to the station looking for the smack but we didn’t find it.
The next morning I was so sick, I couldn’t move. Malina looked okay. I thought she had found the smack and used it but she said she hadn’t. We decided to have some cereal but the milk was off. We couldn’t even have the noodles ’cause we didn’t have anything to boil the water with. So we just sat there feeling sick, hungry and miserable. We spent the whole day talking about how stupid it had been to come this far away to detox with no meds, no real food and no water. That night was so cold.
The next day I had uncontrollable diarrhoea and was dry retching. My eyes were watery and I couldn’t stop yawning and sneezing. We were so desperate we pulled apart our bag and clothes looking for any trace of a rock of any sort of drug that we could ingest, we mixed up water in our old spoons and shot up the watery mix trying to get a hit.
By the fourth day we just lay there all cramped up smelling like death warmed up, we couldn’t move even if we wanted to. We hadn’t eaten any food, drunk any water or slept for over five days. The next few days just blurred into each other and I felt delirious thinking of ways to get some money so we could go get on. But I came up with nothing.
The only solution now was to wait four days until I got paid.
On the tenth day I woke up. Malina was gone. So was my ATM card.
Was I dreaming? I looked around for her, yelled out her name. Nothing. I got myself together to make the trek back to the train station and decided to leave everything at the camping ground. When I got to the station I found out that there wouldn’t be another train ’til the next day. I tried to hitch back to Sydney but nobody would give me a lift. So I cut through a marked bush walk that was supposed to be a short cut back to Parkes but I got lost.
By the time I got back to Sydney I felt better but I still went and got on. I never saw Malina again. Years later, someone told me she OD’d.
Illustration by Tony Sawrey