A writer pal of mine, Mark Matthews, has recently written a post on his blog about addiction and how writers can write about characters who are jonsing realistically, and since there are at least a couple of writers who use such characters in their fiction who gather here (as well as a few people who've been addicted themselves...), I thought it might be beneficial to look at what he has to say.
Around 9:37 am today I am 22 years clean and sober. Yep. 22 years. What the hell is that? Crazy huh. (I’ve blogged on this subject a lot over the years, such as here and here.) I like to think the hell I put myself through helped me gain the perseverance to run marathons and write books, despite all the forces in the universe trying to stop me.
Addicts love rituals. Your character can be on the outside looking in, and intimidated and beguiled by the strange world, or it can be part of their lexicon. Alcoholics love the ding of the bell as they enter the party store, the smell of old mop soap, seeing all those little stogies at the counter. Heroin addicts come to welcome the prick of the needle into their flesh, and the comfort of patting their front pocket and knowing there’s a pack of dope inside. Get this right, and the passages will read true to the reader.
"Most people don't know how they're gonna feel from one moment to the next. But a dope fiend has a pretty good idea. All you gotta do is look at the labels on the little bottles”