TRUE LIFE: Richard Oates talks about his first time using G.

I woke up to a beautiful early September morning, possibly one of the last scorchers of the year. Upon opening my curtains, a trip down to Brighton beach seemed like a thoroughly enticing idea. So I armed myself with a good book, an embarrassingly high SPF and set off.

As I slowly walked the pebbles, allowing myself the opportunity to correctly assess that ‘right’ spot, two very handsome (and very naked) guys smiled and said “Hello”. I put up little fight and before I knew it, I was attired in accordance with them and engaging in casual banter. Life was good.

It soon became apparent that these strangers were not purely high on life or the sea breeze and upon my inquisition, I was offered some G (also known as GHB or GBL). I'd never tried it and was certainly curious. I hesitated for all the right reasons, though as I observed the energising glisten of the sun on the water, I thought to myself "oh fuck it" and conceded once more.

As much as I'd like to write how it didn't agree with me, the difficult reality was that I loved the high. Every moment in fact. An hour or so had passed and the boys offered me another ride. I felt perfectly lucid and in control, perhaps empowered even. My decision was not a hard one and so I got on once more. This time the high intensified and my sexual awareness was far greater. These guys were hot and apparently wanted me. Where had this shit been all my life?

Our supplies had depleted, so the only logical next course of action would be to return to the flat of my new ‘friends’ for a top-up. No time had passed before we were naked once more and relieving all that mounted tension from the beach. The sex was magnificent.

As these boys (who I was by now quite sure I knew as well as could be), measured my third serving, I weakly urged them to consider that this was my first experience. Of course I didn't really need to reinforce this point, because I'm much stronger than most, you see. But on this occasion, it seemed, I wasn't. Suddenly, I could no longer see three feet ahead. I needed air so we stepped outside. As I reached for the walls to hold myself up, that strength had escaped me.

The very kind nurse told me I was collected by the ambulance in a pool of vomit outside Brighton sauna. She couldn't confirm whether I was alone or not and I suppose I didn't want her to, as the truth, I expect, would just serve to disappoint me.

As I lay in the bed wired up, I couldn't remember a time in my 34 years I had ever felt so alone, scared or stripped from all those attributes I've so proudly claimed to be mine. My fat lip and pale body covered in cuts and bruises seemed the very least of my concerns. The clock said ten thirty and I wondered which one it was. If morning, my employer would want to know where I was. I just wanted to know who my employer was.

When I was finally discharged, clarity had resumed. Of course the events leading up to my demise remain unclear. As the cold reality of my abandonment dawned, so did my awareness of the fundamental lack of regard towards me, not just from my two new ‘friends’, but altogether more alarmingly, from myself. How could I expect others to show me respect if I couldn't even show it to myself?

I began to question if we had been safe. Did we use condoms? Unlikely. Did those guys care about my well-being or safety? Did I? Evidently not. A friend wisely recommended I acquire PEP, so I visited a London clinic. The nurse was magnificent and provided me with great support and advice, without the eyes of judgment.

Now, three months down the line and armed with negative results and no lasting wounds, I consider myself a lucky fool.

A shame really, the book was quite good.

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