In Perugia? You find it everywhere. You don’t need to leave the city. You can find it in any square, at the station, at school. Everywhere. It’s like Bologna: a drug market square in the light of the sun. I used to take her at school. I was fourteen when I started using weed. I started with the older kids, with those from the last year. I attended the first year of high school, but I went out with those of the fifth: an unusual thing, it is true, but I am a friendly and expansive type, I make myself loved and I make friends quickly. I frequented the artistic, which is close to the station, a strategic place, important for drug dealing in Perugia. At school, drugs were everywhere: everyone knew it, even the headmaster. But what could he have done? Out of a thousand boys, at least nine hundred were using weed. It’s hard to keep everything at bay. Even then I just smoked. Then there was the dealing phase. But that came later. I smoked whatever happened to me. I remember that I celebrated my sixteenth birthday with two grams of opium. beautiful … Of course all this did not help my academic performance: the first year of high school I got away with it and I went through it quietly. Then I started going to school just to “skip”, in short, not to go there: I would arrive in front of it and with a group of boys I walked away and then we decided the destination of our day. We used to go to the parks, where the buses stop: that’s where everyone goes. It is an interesting place to find stuff. I went there, smoked and unplugged my head, stopped thinking, stopped remembering.
Mine is a classic normal family: separated parents who went to war. Mom has a shop and dad works in the Army. They broke up when I was four. I was with mom. My dad used to see him on the agreed afternoons. The separation was tough. I felt hatred on both sides. The comments that one made against the other. This thing hurt. At first I didn’t know which side to take. I didn’t want to choose. But I felt I wanted to be with my mom: I felt more warmth, that was my family. Mom has always been very apprehensive and very hen. Dad, on the other hand, a master father. He took work home. He was authoritative, military, not very physical, very focused. He’s an imposing person, he scared me. He used his hands many times to make me understand things. At first I was trying to talk to him. But then I realized that it was useless: then I didn’t even try to understand it, I suffered it and didn’t face it. He told me to do something and I obeyed, like a soldier. And anyway, I knew that in any case something would not be to his liking and that he would surely hit me. I remember once, I was twelve, I was at the end of eighth grade. I was at my father’s house doing my homework. I see that he dresses sporty and goes out for a run. As he is leaving, he tells me that if I don’t finish my homework before he comes back, he will slap me. Then he goes out and locks me inside the house. I am afraid. So I call my mother to ask her to pick me up, but her hands are tied too. I have to stay there. I am desperate. I try to leave the house. I don’t know how to escape from that prison. Then I open the window on the balcony and throw myself. I’m on a first floor, but I fall badly, I try to get up, but I can’t. I drag myself to the fence to climb over, but I can’t. I collapse to the ground and start screaming, not from the pain, I don’t feel anything, but to get attention. The neighbor who is a doctor sees me. He tells me to stay still because I broke my tibia and fibula. After a while my father arrives, sweating. Obviously he declares that he was at home, that he had gone away for a moment, not that he had been running for a while. I’m a minor, he couldn’t leave me and he has such an important job. Gets angry. He understood that I wanted to leave, that I was running away. From that moment on, I always stay with my mother. When I start taking drugs, my mom doesn’t notice anything. Then he begins to notice that there is total laxity. I played piano, guitar, I went swimming, karate and slowly I left everything. The only thing I keep is football. This is why he thinks that maybe it’s a phase, that I do too many things, that I don’t like all of them and that I only keep what makes me really happy. She does not notice anything because in reality I manage, despite everything, to keep up with the rhythm of my days: I play football, I go home, then I go back to estranging myself, I go out with my friends and I go back to my world, I am here and I’m not there, I isolate myself and share, speak and keep silent. When I start taking drugs, I take everything: I do the joints, I smoke opium, then comes cocaine, heroin, MD, speed, hallucinogens, mushrooms. I have no brakes. If I happen to find a new drug on my hands and I see that I like its effects, then I will go and find it. At sixteen, without any problems, I go out in the center of Perugia and go shopping. I get to spend two hundred / three hundred euros a day. How do I get the money? I steal home. At first it is enough for me. Then, entering those circles and needing more and more money, I have to start selling it: there is trust on the part of others; I know so many people … and then they know that I am “available”. I sell anything: weed, MD, heroin. And I take everything, but, since I’m afraid of needles, I never start to inject: that’s why I don’t consider myself a drug addict, that’s why I don’t think it’s my problem; I think I can stop at any time. Also because the pleasure of drugs, of any drug I take, does not last long. a week, a couple of weeks is enough and the body no longer feels the positive effects and instead feels only the need not to go into withdrwal, not to feel bad. For me too, therefore, oblivion comes soon. Yet I manage to carry on like this for many years, without my mother understanding, intervening, stopping me. Around the age of eighteen I leave home. Where I sleep? In the station! There are homeless people, Moroccans, there is everything. I sleep inside the trains. Or, when there are no trains stopped on the tracks, I go to the abandoned houses nearby. I don’t ask myself questions: I’m just there. I am not aware of anything. The only discomfort is the cold and the eating, but in that state it doesn’t weigh on me. I don’t know how many months I don’t wash, but I don’t want to go home, I had a fight with my mother. In fact, I have only one obsession: to find the money to take drugs. So I steal alcohol from supermarkets and sell it to the elderly around the station so I can eat and buy stuff. All this lasts for a year. Then, one day, my uncle, my mother’s brother, comes to pick me up. He tells me that in a few hours there will be a round-up and that there is also my name. I think about it for a while and then I decide to go home to my mother. When he opens the door he slaps me, then starts to cry. He takes me by the hand, burns all my clothes, has me washed in a tub with lots of hot water, then prepares me to eat and puts me to bed. During the night, he lies down next to me, hugs me and falls asleep … Yet even that doesn’t help me quit drugs: she’s in charge, she’s my queen, my dominatrix. After a short time, I go away from home and begin to rely on my friends: first I go to one then to the other. I wait for my friends to come home and then organize the afternoons and evenings. To refuel and to sell we go to the station area, to the Duomo, where there is perhaps the highest concentration of drugstore, then to the streets behind the Duomo, to the University of foreigners, to the park behind Piazza Partigiani, not far from the School of languages of the military: we don’t really have problems! I continue to steal, sometimes I even steal my mother and my grandfather’s car: they file a complaint, then they come to retrieve it and remove the complaint from me. Mum does everything to make me understand that I’m wrong, but I do nothing, I don’t listen to her and I continue to spend my days thinking only about what to buy, where to sell and how to get money. For another year I go on: I am tired, even if I have never overdosed. But how many withdrawal crises have I experienced. Withdrawal crises are terrible: I vomit, I’m cold, I shiver, I feel like biting and chewing, scratching. I am tired: of the crises, but also of selling, of stealing, of getting by, of not washing myself, of running away, of sleeping badly, of having to take something to sleep, of doing nothing in life, of dragging myself like an empty sack, of feeling no emotion. I am tired and when I see some boys at the station who have slept with me in the station dead with a needle in their arm, Im petrified … I feel everything in that moment: fear, frost, terror and all the tiredness of those years. I go home, where my mom is ready, once again, to welcome me. I am locked in the house for two weeks. I can’t even get up. I detoxify like this, without using methadone. It is very hard. Everything hurts, my muscles tighten, there isn’t a part of my body that doesn’t feel pain, it’s as if I had to throw an alien out of me. I am cold, I feel bruised and then I am hot, I have a fever, I vomit. Meanwhile, my mother begins to tell me to do something, to think about the future. Two weeks go by and I feel better. So I try to listen to it and go to different schools. But I don’t have a head. For a while I go to work in a company. For three months I don’t do anything, I’m very good, clean, a good boy, a model son. But then it’s a moment, I get the chance and I start again: but I don’t exaggerate, I only smoke heroin, sometimes I take MD. I actually try to contain myself, but I really can’t. It is at that moment that my father proposes to me to join the Army, so I could have a job and above all I would be placed on the job. I accept and first of all I take the license and the diploma as a lifeguard. But then I stop: I should take the shooting license and then the paratrooper license, but having been stopped at fifteen with weed on me ,I am reported and when you are reported the Police and Carabinieri do not take you, despite my record criminal is clean. end of the dream. An excellent excuse to start over with the good life: I have to recover from this disappointment, after all … I have to satisfy myself and quickly fall back into the abyss … But once again it is my mother who saves me: she learns that the son of a neighboring shop is in San Patrignano. He talks to me, convinces me to approach the Perugia Association. I accept. I’m tired too, even if I don’t know what a community is. So I think about going in, seeing how it is and deciding whether to stay. When I see that it is a gigantic structure full of opportunities I decide to stay. it is not easy, but here they help me a lot to overcome the limits of my character. I am a person who gets bored easily, who changes his mind constantly and at the beginning every month I say that I want to leave. It was a question from my managers that nailed me: what do you do if you go out? A question that terrified me, because I knew what I would do if I got out. For this I stayed. And slowly I took back the reins of myself. It took a year and a half to begin to control my emotions more. I tried to make my father understand that I am like that. That I cannot be the image he has in his head, I cannot be his clone and I cannot be his shadow. he didn’t apologize, because he can’t apologize, but if he didn’t listen to me before, now at least he tries to understand. Now he lives to help me, in part.
Which is difficult for him. My mom, on the other hand, realized she did it too much. I apologized to her for everything I did. She understood. Indeed she is happy to see me like this. To see his Giuseppe like this. I’m not afraid to go back to Perugia: there is my mom, my brother, my mom’s partner. I want to go home because I want to give an example to my brother, who is ten years younger than me: I’ve never done it and maybe he still really needs to know me. There are so many things I miss about life outside, at home: first of all, freedom of movement! Here you are forced and rightly so. You must always be by the side of another person. There are times to be respected. If I want to make coffee, I can’t. I can’t listen to music or watch TV or go fishing which is my passion. But I’ll do it again when I’m ready to totally take back my life. I believe that totally losing these things makes you understand what drugs take away from you: drugs take away the taste of family, you don’t feel it anymore, you don’t care about anything. You take everything for granted and monotony assails you. When you get here, not having objects, mobile phones, TV, the comforts we are used to, forces you to spend time with yourself, to reflect, to cultivate human relationships that drugs cancel out and that in any case outside you. struggles to build. When you understand this, when you cleanse yourself of all the superstructures, when you detoxify the soul, then you really understand what you have lost due to drugs and you can’t wait to really start living.
Taken from “Sanpanews – Voci per crescere” N ° 34 July 2019