28 January 2005


Ah've never been incarcerated for junk. However, loads ay cunts have had stabs at rehabilitating me. Rehabilitation is shite; sometimes ah think ah'd rather be banged up. Rehabilitation means the surrender ay the self. Ah've been referred tae a variety of counsellors, wi backgrounds ranging fae pure psychiatry through clinical psychology to social work. Doctor Forbes, the psychiatrist, used non-directive counselling techniques, basing his approach largely on Freudian psychoanalysis. This involved getting us tae talk aboot ma past life and focus oan unresolved conflicts, the assumption presumably bein that the identification and resolution ay such conflicts will remove the anger which fuels ma self-destructive behaviour, that behaviour manifesting itself in ma use ay hard drugs. A typical exchange: Dr Forbes: You mentioned your brother, the one with the, eh, disability. The one that died. Can we talk about him? (pause) Me: Why? (pause) Dr Forbes: You're reluctant to talk about your brother? Me: Naw. It's just that ah dinnae see the relevance ay that tae me bein oan smack. Dr Forbes: It seems that you started using heavily around the time of your brother's death. Me: A loat happened aroond that time. Ah'm no really sure how relevant it is tae isolate ma brar's death. Ah went up tae Aberdeen at the time; the Uni. Ah hated it. Then ah started oan the cross-channel ferries, tae Holland. Access tae aw the collies ye could hope fir. (pause) Dr Forbes: I'd like to go back to Aberdeen. You say you hated Aberdeen? Me: Aye. Dr Forbes: What was it about Aberdeen you hated? Me: The University. The staff, the students and aw that. Ah thought they were aw boring middle-class cunts. Dr Forbes: I see. You were unable to form relationships with people there. Me: No sae much unable, as unwilling, although ah suppose it means the same, for your purposes (noncommittal shrug fae Dr Forbes) ... ah hudnae any interest in any fucker thair. (pause) Ah mean ah didnae really see the point. If ah wanted a blether, ah'd go tae the pub. If ah wanted a ride ah'd go tae a prostitute. Dr Forbes: You spent time with prostitutes? Me: Aye. Dr Forbes: Was this because you lacked confidence in your ability to form social and sexual attachments with women at the University? (pause) Me: Naw, ah did meet a couple ay lassies. Dr Forbes: What happened? Me: Ah wis only interested in sex, rather than a relationship. Ah didnae really huv the motivation tae disguise that fact. Ah saw these women purely as a means ay satisfying ma sexual urges. Ah decided it wis mair honest tae go tae a prostitute instead, rather than play a game ay deception. Ah wis quite a moral fucker in these days. So ah blew ma grant money oan prostitutes, and nicked food and books. That's what started the thievin. It wisnae really the junk, though that obviously didnae help. Dr Forbes: Mmmm. Can we go back to your brother, the one with the handicap. How did you feel about him? Me: No really sure ... look, the guy wis jist ootay it. He wisnae thair. Totally paralysed. Aw he'd dae wis tae sit in that chair wi his heid turned tae the side. Aw he could dae wis blink n swallow. Sometimes he made wee noises ... he wis like an object, rather than a person. (pause) Ah suppose ah resented um whin ah wis younger. Ah mean, ma Ma would just take um oot in this pram. This big, outsized thing in a fuckin pram, likes. It made me n ma big brar, Billy, the laughin stock wi the other kids. Wid git: 'You brother's a spastic' or 'Your brother's a zombie' and aw that sortay shite. Jist bairns, ah ken, but it doesnae seem like that at the time. Because ah wis tall n awkward as a wee laddie, ah started tae believe thit thir wis something wrong wi me n aw, that ah wis somehow like Davie ... (long pause) Dr Forbes: So you felt a resentment towards your brother. Me: Aye, as a bairn, a wee ladie, like. Then he went intae the hospital. Ah suppose it wis, likes, problem solved, ken. Sortay ootay sight, ootay mind. Ah visited um a few tmes, but thir didnae seem tae be any point. Nae interaction, ken? Ah jist saw it as a cruel twist ay life. Perr Davie goat dealt the shitest possible hand. Fuckin sad, but yet cannae greet aboot it fir the rest ay yir puff. He wis in the best place fir um, gittin well looked eftir. Whin he died, ah felt guilty aboot resentin um, guilty aboot mibbe no huvin made a bit mair ay an effort. What kin ye dae though? (pause) Dr Forbes: Have you talked about these feelings before? Me: Naw ... well, mibbe mentioned it tae ma Ma n faither ...... That was how it used tae go. A loat ay issues brought up; some trivial, some heavy, some dull, some interesting. Sometimes ah telt the truth, sometimes ah lied. When ah lied, ah sometimes said the things that ah thought he'd like tae hear, n sometimes said something which ah thought would wind him up, or confuse him. Fucked if ah could see the connection between any ay that and me takin smack, but. Ah did learn a few things though, based oan Forbe's disclosures and ma ain researches into psychoanalysis and how ma behaviour should be interpreted. Ah have an unresolved relationship wi ma deid brother, Davie, as ah huv been unable tae work oot or express may feelings about his catatonic life and subsequent death. Ah have oedipal feelings towards ma mother and an attendant unresolved jealousy toward ma faither. Me junk behaviour is anal in concept, attention-seeking, yes, but instead of withholding the faeces tae rebel against parental authority, ah'm pittin smack intae ma body tae claim power over it vis-a-vis society in general. Radge, eh? Aw this might or might no be true. Ah've pondered ower a loat ay it, and ah'm willing tae explore it; ah don't feel defensive aboot any ay it. However, ah feel that it's at best peripheral tae the issue ay ma addiction. Certainly, talking about it extensively has done fuck all good. Ah think Forbes is as scoobied as ah am. Molly Greaves, the clinical psychologist, tended to look at ma behaviour and ways of modifying it, rather than determining its causes. It seemed like Forbes had done his bit, now it was time tae get us sorted oot. That wis when ah started oan the reduction programme, which simply didnae work, then the methadone treatment, which made us worse. Tom Curzon, the counsellor fae the drugs agency, a guy wi a social work rather than a medical background, was intae Rogerian client-centred counselling. Ah went tae the Central Library and read Carl Roger's On Becoming A Person. Ah thought that the book wis shite, but ah huv tae admit that Tom seemed tae get us closer tae what ah believe the truth might be. Ah despised masel and the world because ah failed tae face up tae ma ain, and life's, limitations. The acceptance ay self-defeating limitations seemed then tae constitute mental health, or non-deviant behaviour. Success and failure simply mean the satisfaction and frustration ay desire. Desire can either be predominantly intrinsic, based oan oor individual drives, or extrinsic, primarily stimulated by advertising, or societal role models as presented through the media and popular culture. Tom feels that ma concept ay success and failure only operates on an individual rather than an individual and societal level. Due tae this failure tae recognize societal reward, success (and failure) can only ever be fleeting experiences for me, as tha experience cannae be sustained by the socially-supported condoning of wealth, power, status, etc., nor in the case ay failure, by stigma or reproach. So, according tae Tom, it's nae good tellin us that ah've done well in ma exams, or got a good job, or got off wi a nice burd; that kind ay acclaim means nowt tae us. Of course, ah enjoy these things at the time, or for themselves, but their value cannae be sustained because there's nae recognition ay the society which values them. What Tom's trying tae say, ah suppose, is that ah dinnae gie a fuck. Why? So it goes back tae ma alienation from society. The problem is that Tom refuses tae accept ma view that society cannae be changed tae make it significantly better, or that ah cannae change tae accommodate it. Such a state ay affairs induced depression on ma part, aw the anger gets turned in. That's what depression is, they say. However, depression also results in demotivation. A void grows within ye. Junk fills the void, and also helps us tae satisfy ma need tae destroy masel, the anger turned in bit again. So basically ah agree wi Tom here. Whair we depart is that he refuses tae see this picture in its total bleakness. He believes that ah'm suffering fae low self-esteem, and that ah'm refusing tae acknowledge that by projecting the blame oantae society. He feels that ma means ay emasculating the rewards and praise (and conversely condemnation) available tae me by society is not a rejection ay these values per se, but an indication that ah dinnae feel good enough (or bad enough) aboot masel tae accept them. Rather than come oot and say: Ah don't think ah have these qualities (or ah think ah'm better than that), Ah say: It's a loaday fuckin shite anywey. Hazel said tae us, jist before she telt us that she didnae wantae see us again, whin ah started using for the umpteenth time: - You just want tae fuck up on drugs so that everyone'll think how deep and fucking complex you are. It's pathetic, and fucking boring. In a sense ah prefer Hazel's view. Thir is an element ay ego in it. Hazel understands ego needs. She's a windae dresser in a department store, but describes hersel as a 'consumer display artist' or something like that. Why should ah reject the world, see masel as better than it? Because ah do, that's why. Because ah fucking am, and that's that. The upshot ay this attitude is that ah was sent tae this therapy/counselling shite. Ah didnae want aw this. It wis this or the jail. Ah'm startin tae think that Spud goat the soft option. This shite muddies the waters for us; confuses rather than clarifies issues. Basically, aw ah ask is that cunts mind their ain business and ah'll dae the same. Why is it that because ye use hard drugs every cunt feels that they have a right tae dissect and analyse ye? Once ye accept that they huv that right, ye'll join them in the search fir this holy grail, this thing that makes ye tick. Ye'll then defer tae them, allowin yerself tae be conned intae believin any biscuit-ersed theory ay behaviour they choose tae attach tae ye. Then yir theirs, no yir ain; the dependency shifts from the drug to them. Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ay sound mind etcetera, etcetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because it's seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fucking problem. As Harry Lauder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road ...

Irvine Welsh's 'Trainspotting' (1993), page 181.