Tell me your worst ever holiday – mine was agreeing to go camping with heroin addicts

News that foreign holiday sales have slumped in the recession and that people are opting to stay local for their annual summer break reminds me of a holiday I spent under the stars with two heroin addicts going through cold turkey. Ah, those where the days when I knew how to have fun.

These days, the fact that I agreed to go camping at all seems as mind-bogglingly deranged as the fact that I agreed to go camping with two heroin addicts.

While I still can’t remember why the trip ever seemed like a good idea, I think my boyfriend sold it to me on the basis that we’d never actually seen the addicts move, therefore the likelihood of the whole venture actually happening was somewhere between ‘no chance’ and ‘only if hell freezes over’.

The heroins nearly cooked, love, do you want yours with beans?

"The heroin's nearly cooked, love, do you want yours with beans?"

He was wrong. What we didn’t know was that our friends were planning to use the holiday as a convenient time to quit heroin – all that fresh air, a break from routine, a seven-mile walk across scrubland to the nearest hamlet; the conditions were perfect.

As soon as I was informed of their plan (after I’d pitched my tent), I was struck by the irony. As far as I’m concerned, the grim, joyless pain of camping is one of the only things on the planet that could persuade me to try heroin in the first place.

What my friends had forgotten was one vital fact: heroin users are unbelievably resourceful, especially when it comes to finding heroin.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Trainspotting. I didn’t appreciate living it quite so much, especially as all that separated me from two furious, frothing lunatics was a thin sheet of canvas and a family-size pack of toilet paper. Within hours, there was weeping, gnashing, cursing, begging and threatening. I’m not proud of the way I dealt with the situation.

I swiftly realised that the one thing that had made my friends bearable in the first place had been the industrial amounts of heroin they pumped into their veins and that without it, they were interminable. By the first night I was practically begging my friends to hitchhike to the nearest town to score some drugs – if not to ease their withdrawal symptoms, then to give to me so I could get a little bit of sleep.

On day two, they did just that. We didn’t see them for hours, and when they returned, they were their old selves – barely coherent and horizontal. The rest of the trip passed in companiable silence, bar the odd reminder not to leave discarded needles outside the tent or to leave lit cigarettes unattended.

There is a happy end to this story – my friends did manage to kick their habit. Ten years after our camping holiday.

Anyone else out there with a truly appalling holiday to share?


7 Responses to “Tell me your worst ever holiday – mine was agreeing to go camping with heroin addicts”

  1. February 1, 2009 at 2:50 am

    well, i’d say my worst holiday ever was when i decided to date a guy from london, have him move back here only to find out that he was a heroin addict of 13 years, and a multimillionaire. ah yes. thanks for bringing it up! 😉

  2. 2 Ram Venkatararam
    February 1, 2009 at 3:32 am

    There was the time I went to London to visit my brother. Spent 3 days looking for the Adrian Mole Museum and couldn’t find it. Turned out it was someone’s idea of a joke – just like the Tower of Bridget Jones and Malcom McLarenville.

    Thanks for another great post. Very funny as always.

  3. February 1, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Before reading this post, I would’ve never have thought that I’d see the words”heroin” and “camping” in the same sentence.

    My worst holiday was when I went out into in the desert in outback Australia to see Lake Eyre that was supposedly in flood (a once in 25 years occurrence) with huge amounts of waterbirds to be seen. There was just mud and to top it all off I rolled my car and nearly killed my wife and I.

  4. February 2, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I am so glad that I’m not the only one to suffer a dreadful, scarring holiday. Not that I wish for any of my readers to have experienced such misery, but you know what I mean.
    Ram, you were looking in the wrong place for the museum. We keep everything cultural in Stratford-upon-Avon where that bloke who wrote all those plays came from. You know, JK Rowling.

  5. February 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

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  6. February 15, 2009 at 9:26 pm

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  7. November 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

    That post was v funny. I see by the size of the spoon what you meant by “industrial amounts”, ho-ho!
    I tried to do “cold turkey” at my parents’ house. While they were there. Without telling them.
    On day three of my very strange behaviour. (High agitation, constant pacing, inability to keep still for more than 2 secs. Not sleeping at all. These were what stood out. Not so much the dilated pupils, profuse sweating and plucked turkey goosebumps look.)… I eventually fessed up what was behind it all.
    They had already semi-correctly guessed that I was “on drugs” but I countered by saying “who on earth would take a drug that does this to you?” Of course I wasn’t ON drugs, I was OFF them. That was the problem.
    After a week I felt physically better but mentally awful. I went back to London and heroin. I am still on it, or at least methadone now, nearly ten years later. And only now do I feel the tide genuinely turning, but there is still a long way to go. I hope to God I’m not still on it in another 10 years 🙂 but that of course is down to me.

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