Category Archives: Addiction

Finding passion without becoming addicted or why six years on it’s not any easier

2012 calendar desktop monsters handmade aliens pretty whimsical etsy

I wrote this blog post earlier this year in May but hadn’t published it. This seems to be a common occurrence as I write a lot but don’t publish them. And with 95 blog post drafts sitting anxiously I thought well, now is the time to edit and publish. Anyhow, I recently celebrated six years sobriety of off hard drugs on August 26th so while perusing the drafts I re-read this one and thought it appropriate to share with you.

For the last six years I’ve been searching for something that doesn’t exist. A something that perhaps exists in everyday life but doesn’t exist in the nether regions of one’s psyche. One can never return to the past nor can they return to the future.

While I may think of chemical drugs almost everyday I know that if I consume them it would spell the death of me as I’d fall so far down the rabbit hole that I would not return as the drug means more to me than life itself and more than everyone and everything else in this world. I knew this, and understood this, when cleaning up from addiction in 2005.

And I miss the freedom of living in a larger urban center and of being free to not wear a bra and being free to not look like the rest of the population surrounding me. While it seems tuff at times to live in a small town… yes, Saint John is a small town even though it is officially declared a city… it is still a small town by modern standards; and a very conservative small town at that. And to see fashions that were in style in Vancouver in 2007 rearing there head here right now is mind boggling as it’s nuts to think that it takes four to five years for fashions to make their way from West to East.

I was talking with my cousin a few days ago who is four years older than I. We are both relatively single and do not have children. We are also both self employed and creative although her creativity is a hobby while mine is my main source of income.

I can remember at age 12 or 13 visiting with her and her showing me the many drawings that she drew and being inspired by them. I don’t know if you know that Rochelle. But I’ll never forget the amazing ink drawings you rendered as a teenager and how you told me to keep drawing even when I didn’t feel like it while we stood in your bedroom. I’m fortunate to have had people in my life who inspired me creatively at a very early and tender age.

As I near middle age now, I wonder if this is how it’s supposed to be. While I don’t enjoy being single, I do long for savageness and wild abandon. I miss it to be honest. I feel repressed here in Saint John and while I have sex on very rare occasions, I do miss the damn connection that comes when you finally meet the right person. I’m sick and tired of dating. And this isn’t to say that I’m looking to lay just anybody. I’m not addicted to sex but I am human and I hunger for physical contact but MUCH more than that I want a life long commitment with someone.

I may never have children and that is not okay. So six years on it’s not any easier. And that is the truth people about addiction. It never goes away, but you can use it to your advantage and work with it, molding it into inspiration to continue living and striving for the life you want.

Handmade by me 2012 Desk and Wall Calendars are listed and ready to ship in the art shop now. Pictured above are the 12 months from the desk calendar.

Fast and processed foods need to be taxed at the same rate that cigarettes are taxed in Canada

cut up cigarette - trying to quit smoking

I wish the Canadian government would begin taxing fast and processed foods as much as they tax cigarettes immediately. And don’t even try to argue with me by saying it’s food, and a necessity. It’s not food. It’s a manufactured multi-national addiction too, brought to you by multi-national corporate marketing and advertising jingles combined with scientifically proven perfect amounts of fat, sugar, genetically modified soy and salt to make you want to consume it, more and more and more.

Fast food is next on the list for outrageous taxes. The day of the $20.00 Happy Meal is coming quicker than you think to Canada. Continue reading

After letting it go you begin to see the solutions

It’s always funny after sleeping on it for one night how one’s problems begin to appear much smaller with the solutions to those problems becoming more apparent.

I spent the afternoon today digging out of yet another massive Maritime snow storm. I feel relieved after shovelling that 60 inch drift from the side walkway so that the house can be accessed easily again. Wind combined with snow do create mountains and valleys outside during a storm. The front walkway on the other hand had no snow on it at all, while the back deck had about 12 inches that needed to be removed. The car was clear while the driveway was half covered.

This is akin to how a brain can react to life conditions presented to it too. Continue reading

No smoking is healthy or is it?

no smoking sign, art, illustration, healthy, print, poster

My mind has begun to play tricks on me. My mind can get pretty sick at times. The loneliness and social withdrawal keep me stuck in this infinite loop of stopping and starting only to stop and start once again.

I need to ask your permission to write freely on this blog for a while indefinitely without being judged or being harassed for being an addict. I began this blog almost five years ago in search of an escape from addiction and the mental afflictions that seem to envelope the core of my soul only to have it turn into a tame, almost socially acceptable version of myself. I am far from socially acceptable in societies eyes… my eyes. Continue reading

Chasing the Dragon Illustration

chasing the dragon, illustration, winsor and newton watercolour, original, jessica doyle, addiction, sobriety, psychedelic

We chase dragons all our lives whether we are conscious of it or not…

This illustration holds more significance to me than perhaps any other drawing I’ve rendered over the last few years. Maybe I shouldn’t sell it It signifies the turning point in one’s life where one must move forward and discontinue past follies and experience regardless of how difficult the emotions welling up inside may be. It can mean leaving jobs, changing where one lives or even ending relationships and being financially poor and emotionally destitute until the change happens. Continue reading

Chasing the dragon for the last five years

Chasing the Dragon Illustration by artist Jessica Doyle yellow, blue, green

Today marks five years sobriety for me off of GHB.

I drew this dragon five months ago. I added the watercolour five days ago and the image just screamed chasing the dragon once the colours began popping it to life. It still needs more work mind you… Subconsciously, I still chase that illusive dragon when working, creating or even when alone thinking or researching. When what I’m working on, creating, thinking or researching climaxes, I certainly do, feel high and struggle to get to the end. I almost can’t contain myself at times and must run outside to smoke a cigarette and sadly, nicotine is the worst drug of all, as it doesn’t even make you high.

I silently research drugs, their uses and legalities. I consider it a hobby and when I feel the need to use a substance that most certainly will cause me angst, I read back in my journals about the gruesome detox and agony I suffered through for months when sobering up from GHB.

It’s not a pleasant experience to break out in painful large blisters and pimples all over your back, arms and legs and to lose feeling in your extremities and watch your fingers and toes go blue from slowed blood circulation as you reduce your dose of GHB slowly and by half each day for one week at home. It’s not human to recoil into an infantile state regressing to points in one life while awake or asleep when bad things happened only to have to vividly relive them again and again until you aged and moved onwards to the next abuse or trauma.

Process of chasing the dragon illustration by artist Jessica Doyle winsor and Newton watercolour blue green

And I certainly don’t miss the need to dose every half hour at times and the need to overdose just to sleep for two hours at a time or the constant fear of knowing that I would die from sudden withdrawal without GHB running through my system if my drug dealer ran out of it or I forgot my bottle at home after leaving the house for that day. I would return home for the bottle. Always. You hit a certain point with GHB addiction where there is no turning back to just recreational use. Missing a dose can send you into convulsions. Missing a dose can stop your heart from beating. Missing a dose can take your breath away forever. While taking too much can make you fall asleep and go into a coma.

I do miss the first five months of the addiction; the time when everything was wonderful, my brain worked properly and life seemed easier even if it was only a charade.

And most of all, I DO NOT REGRET taking GHB or becoming addicted to it as there were times when it, was perfect.

Over the years people have said to me why not take a Xanax or a Valium to calm down. Are you kidding me? Really, offering a sedative to someone who was addicted to them for two full years (albeit the illegal kind) is like offering a recovered heroin addict a T1 or an alcoholic a just a small shot of whiskey.

Studio of artist Jessica Doyle showing chasing the dragon illustration paint watercolour acrylic

So, chasing the dragon is akin to being amongst the living.

Chasing the dragon is a work in progress. Thus far the mediums used are Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens and Winsor and Newton watercolour on Arches watercolour paper. It measures 8×10 inches (20,3cm by 25,4cm). And I do not ever smoke inside. My household is a strict non-smoking and scent free home.

The programs offered by addiction treatment centers are designed to help treat addiction to any kind of illicit drug.

Handwriting is a lost art form or why I’m glad I learned to dot my I’s and cross my T’s

Vintage Spelling Test Book - 1981 - Jessica Doyle

So, I hand write letters to people and post them in the mail and rarely seem to receive a letter in return. And that’s OK. Perhaps, I’m one of the last hand writers left on earth. My grandmother used to write me back though. But she passed away a couple of years ago. Her handwriting was elegant and old style and it made me smile when I opened a letter from her to read. And, I notice as the years progress my own mother’s cursive handwriting is taking on that same scrolling form as is my own.

I tend to print in all caps though, and avoid cursive, as it’s slower to create and more cumbersome to lay down. My own handwriting is fast and deliberate; the letters flow seamlessly into one and other first forming sentences then paragraphs and pages and hence, volumes of journals.

While I lived in Vancouver from 2001 to 2005 the only medium I used was ink; more specifically Pilot G-tec C4 pens. I settled on that pen for writing after trying out a stupendous amount of pen brands. I spent that four years of my life purposefully writing and drawing in only ink. I wanted to eliminate the use of pencil and become adept at using only pen and ink on paper. At it’s height, it was all consuming; and emptying dry on average two pens per week. That is a lot of writing and drawing in this day and age.
Continue reading

Video Interview with Elastic Lab – Working the 9 to 5 job was killing me

Last Fall, I was contacted by videographer Frank Sheppard of Elastic Lab to do an interview for their Culture of Content Creation Series. The interview is live now! Go watch it! or watch it below.

Working the 9 to 5 job was killing me from Elastic Lab on Vimeo.

From the site:

In today’s world of social media, digital voices rant and rave, ruminate on their experiences, give life to the world’s causes, bring fame to the worthy, bring shame to the unworthy, denounce dishonesty and evil, and preach a million variations on truth. But while the voices are loud, the social media movement is, for the most part, a faceless movement. Conversations, discussions, relationships, business partnerships, and friendships exist where face-to-face encounters do not. Such is the nature of the Internet, and why this project, The Culture of Content Creation, was launched.

My segment is entitled Working the 9 to 5 job was killing me. I talk about how I how and why I began blogging and how it lead me to what I do today.

I’m honored to be a part of this project. Hope you all enjoy the interview.

And thank you Frank for contacting me to do this!

UPDATE – Thank you to Julie Morey who pointed out in the comments that I could embed this video into my blog from Vimeo! 😀 And to see pictures of my studio please visit this blog post.