Back from Mum’s funeral.
I’ve smoked ice.
For the first time.
My friend at ACE, Geordie Phil, we always talked about our personal rock bottom.
Phil was a shining light for the 12 Step programme.
The appearance of a bevvy swilling football hooligan Phil was professional, smart, dedicated to his work and liked by all.
Phil was on his way up.
He even polished his shoes.
We became friends.
Breakfast on street 172 was a regular occurrence.
When the conversation led towards recovery always said I’d hit my rock bottom.
Although I hadn’t taken the steps I’d had years of counselling since my drug addiction in my early – mid 20’s – and I hadn’t taken a hard drug in 25 years.
I considered going to meetings in Phnom Penh just to be supportive.
Maybe I could help foreigners who were struggling.
Stories of English teachers or teflers losing their lives to ice in Cambodia were many.
I knew I would never go that route.
I was a Christian.
I was healed.
But I would find out, returning from my mother’s funeral in August, that I was not the healed model of sobriety I thought I was.
As soon as I hit the pipe with Anna that was it.
I had opened a door.
A door to a world which would lead me deep into crystal meth addicted, gangland Cambodia.
A world that would lead me to carrying a flick knife late at night around the streets of Phnom Penh.
A world that would force me to become – in the words of the girl I would soon fall in love with – a street gangster.