Ask Andrew W.K.: Should I Start Doing Heroin?

Photo by Aingeru Zorita
I groggily tried to pull myself together and make sense of where I was. What was I doing here? And why did it seem so familiar? The feeling I had during the dream was that I was emerging from amnesia. A deep sense of dread began to set in. I was in a dumpy living room with extremely grainy stucco walls painted mustard yellow with a single bare light bulb hung overhead, exaggerating the sandpaper texture of everything. It was low-lit, hazy, damp, and cold. The air smelled like dead skin cells and old oil.

I had been slumped in a bean-bag type chair, and as I tried to stand up and clear my head, I noticed other people hanging around the room. Some were asleep on shredded couches, others were looking at me from the corner of the room, and some were moving about in adjacent rooms. As I explored the space, it seemed we were in an old rectory attached to a small abandoned church. I figured that I was part of this group of crust punks who had converted the space into a crude music venue and communal living space. It became clear that I had been living here for a long time.I started to panic and desperately began asking people, "Where am I? What the fuck is going on? What happened?"

A young woman, half passed out in a ratty recliner, responded lazily, "Dude, what the hell are you talking about? Are you on acid or something?" I became more frustrated, like I couldn't snap out of it or remember how I got to this place. It felt like I had been asleep for years and was finally waking up and trying to piece my brain back together. A guy hunched over a table said, "Come on, Andrew. You're just freaking out. You've been here all along. You're just waking up from some nightmare. Stop freaking out."

It began to dawn on me that this place was my real life, and that my other "real" life had all been a fantasy -- just a dream I had. What I remembered as my real life was just a vision I experienced while I had nodded off in my bean bag in this flop house. It all came crashing back at once: I was a full blown drug addict, alternating between heroin and speed, and living in this house with a bunch of other addicts. I had never moved to New York City. I had never toured the world. I had never experienced so many awesome fun times.

It had all been a dream in the midst of this true nightmare reality. The sadness was overwhelming -- the most crushing sense of despair washed over my entire soul. I staggered around the rest of the house and into the church area where a bunch of people were working on setting up a show for later that night. I remembered back to the moment when I decided to just give up on myself and life. It had been so easy to just quit caring about everything. In fact, it had been euphoric. One step at a time, I had made my way deeper into this nightmare and further away from any ambitions or interests. My "real" life faded away like a blurry memory, and I felt stupid for ever having had any enthusiasm or motivation for anything.

Towards the end of the dream, I began to have a panic attack and actually started to pry open my eye in a desperate attempt to wake up. It worked, and I came back from the junkie nightmare to find myself rejoined with my actual life here in New York, where I still have friends and a family, and still play music and have fun doing all the stuff I've always loved to do.

Words cannot express how glad I was to be back. It was by far the happiest I've ever been upon waking from a nightmare. The closest comparison I have is the feeling that Scrooge must've had when he awoke from his night of ordeals and visions in A Christmas Carol. But the most frightening part of all was how close that other reality felt, even after I woke up. It seemed like maybe I actually was living a version of that life in some parallel universe, and that if I wasn't careful, I could slip into it again and never come back.

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Atcha John
Atcha John

On 17'th April, at 21,17 hrs here. I awoke and found I had to ring the services. After a chat, I found out what had occurred. I'd had my first lucid dream ever. I had to find out the hard way....being told. Are things ok now, you ask? Honestly, I can't say, still.


once you start, good luck stopping. addiction is a lovely bride who does not discriminate. i have lived comfortably for many years, working, maintaining a loving relationship with my "junkie" babe. our moral compass is determined individually. life is meaningless. sure, give it meaning, but that still means nothing. i must say, i can relate with a.w.k. dream because that is what my life became when it could of been more. my creativity was certainly offered up to the dark plant. my dude, on the other hand, can record three albums in one year and do 56 cover art projects for 45 different bands and then like learn how to, i dunno, do all sorts of weird shit.  i suppose i can live vicariously through his creative success but i know there was another reality that this could of taken. a stronger one where i pushed through. it affects people differently. one thing to always keep in mind is, the party ends and the law can come, illegally violate you, beat you, call you a junkie faggot with guns pointed at your skull. lock you away for an undetermined amount of time. the drug users "rights"  are a joke, you are the scum with no heart and soul. interesting how some of the most insightful and caring people i have meet are drug addicts. the ones you love can get hauled off to jail very easily. tread lightly, my friend. i love dope and believe all drugs should be legalized. your body, your choice. and it is your choice. but it can have a hefty price.

Deirdre Dowd
Deirdre Dowd

take away the pain....addiction brings an awful lot of pain

Paul Dutra
Paul Dutra

Beautifully written. Heroin is tricky. And besides, "humans aren't meant to feel that good."


 "Yeah, well I think anyone that does live a normal life deserves a Brownlow Medal because it's just's just so hard. It's tedious, it's never-ending. You know, like it's vacuuming and washing dishes and cooking and cleaning and, oh, the list goes on."

-- Mark "Chopper" Read, violent standover man, murderer, jail bird, larrikin, best selling author, paid public speaker

The first few paragraphs of your piece reminded me very much of Chop Chop's philosophy on life. And crikey! Didn't he make some life choices.



Dave Rodway
Dave Rodway

ya don't need drugs to drop out of life...too bad VV doesn't have a native NY'r "taking questions". It really does make a NY that is.

Flo Francis
Flo Francis

Trying to live your best life, can be hard but be strong.


Excellent piece, but I have to take this one little line and run with it a little bit. Andrew SORT of touches on it when he talks about contrast, but not nearly enough. Let me preface this by saying that I used to scoff at people who said natural highs were better, because it really does sound ridiculously naive, but as a middle aged adult, I'm now realizing what those people meant.

Let me put it in these terms: you'll never get the EFFORTLESS high that narcotics give you from natural sources, you'll have to WORK for it. The best highs in life are not instant or high-reward, they are slow, or low-reward. I'll name a few:

Cooking and eating fresh, local and in season food with family and friends.
Learning to play and instrument and performing it.
Planting and nurturing a vegetable garden.
Becoming fit, especially lifting and running.
Cultivating intimacy and sexual ecstasy with a mate
Taking good care of oneself during pregnancy, birth and lactation
Cultivating mindfulness with meditation and other practices.

No-one really explained this to me. These are ACTUAL HIGHS. Your brain is throwing around the happy chemicals. The highs won't be as pronounced, mind you, but they are real and the effects are PERMANENTLY life-changing in a good way.

Life gives back, but you have to give first. Cultivating anything that requires discipline is a CURE for depression, since depression requires we give up. Activity, both in the immediate and in the long term help lift us up emotionally and physically and provide the context for perspective. Being present in the moment (as those activities force you to be) means your ruminations about the past or your worries about the future do not gain purchase in your mind.

The mind is malleable, but subject to natural reactions. It is not that unpredictable. 

Lastly, I have seen ALL of this in action on an organic farm that employed previously incarcerated people, many of whom had been addicts, and it was life-changing. Importantly, these people didn't go it alone, and they wouldn't have gotten anywhere without the fierce love of other people rather than the cold and ill-informed judgment of others.


I have struggled with addictions in my past with hard drugs.

I would love to speak on this topic.

1st I would like to thank you brave sole for opening up you deep feelings in life regarding hard drugs.

I would like to state that everything and everyone do not have the same effect.

In my early 20's i used alot of narcotics and i mean alot.

After years of my life passed i came out of my binge and back to reality with barley anything left to give in this life. 

It has take hard work to get to a more healthy place. 

Im not here to tell you that you should not do hard drugs. That is not my place to do so. But I feel it is my duty to inform you what happened to me. 

No im not completely sober and probably will never be (i enjoy drinking and herb) but i am clean from hard substances, now this is my choice. 

I had to make that choice to stope using thos substances mainly because the end result of things was not worth the high.

I lost everything friends family money jobs cars houses relationships

Now again this is not always the case for everyone so do not think this will happen to you because it might not. But it did to me.

It also gave me a huge empty spot in my memory in that part of life. 

Now that i look back i would not change a thing because it made me who i am to this day. But i cant help think what if i never did all that crap? Would my life be better today, in some ways yes, in some ways no. The point is my friend you need to look deep into your soul and ask yourself is this really worth it? . Again im not here to pass judgment but to just illuminate some thoughts on my behalf !

Take care friend!  


Excellent view by AWK.  However...

There should be bold print at the top that states:



I have a question. That is, would it be fine to use marijuana to relieve chronic migraines. Since I was 11 I have gotten dehibilitating migraines at least once a week. I take pills but I have a tolerance to them that makes it so they do nothing to relieve the pain and it takes a toll, having to cancel plans all the time Cuz of migraines. I know that pain is needed and I believe in that, but this is negatively affecting me as a whole, and the migraines are getting worse and worse. I am tired of litteraly throwing away entire days, I hate losing time and there is so much that I want to accomplish. But when all these days of being forced to lay down in agonizing pain, and puking everything I have eaten is really crappy. I love my life, I just want to be able to experience more of it.





Andrew, WAKE UP!

You're having that crazy dream again, the one where you're not a junky- It always messes you up, dude! Hey, cheer up, I just scored us some kickass black!!!


"the pain that comes from being alive is also what makes pleasure feel good" yeah, but I'd rather be dulled with ANYTHING rather than go thru depression sober again.


Respect for the man who has been there and mostly come back, I never went that far past the edge.

Had to twit Andrew about that dream sequence though... (Or was it really a dream?)


@retasemaj  Pot is not going to help you with your migraines in the long run - even though it has a lot of other uses for medicine.  Indeed, as pot increases the blood pressure in the small capillaries, in the long term it'll make it worse.

Now - recent studies on cluster headaches seem to have shown that some psychedelics like mushrooms in small, sub-trip doses have been very effective.  Perhaps do research in this direction?

Remember, all these drugs are illegal, and possibly dangerous without quality control.  I would never advocate your doing anything illegal...


@Whyawannaknow1  yes, i had to tweet to Andrew as well, also maybe it was not a dream at all, but a vision !?!? Some say our dreams are our subconscious trying to tell us something. Others say dreams are just a way for your brain to process knowledge. 

What ever it might be, im always grateful for Andrew's insight!

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