Citation: little girl. "With Me, Forever: An Experience with Methamphetamine & Cocaine (exp28668)". Erowid.org. Nov 24, 2003. erowid.org/exp/28668
Here we go folks, yet another woe-be-upon-you horror story of meth abuse, inevitably ending up in death or tragedy. However, this is a little different. I'm trying to stay away from words like 'evil' and 'sinister'. I'd like to point out to a few that it is grammatically incorrect to use subjective value-judgement adjectives when referring to inanimate nouns. I'm not innocent - I've been known to mutter satanic accusations at my computer quite often, and my grammar is a far step from perfect. Ok. I'll now step away from my role as Miss anal-retentive grammar police to get to my main story, which thankfully does not concern the past subjunctive or prepositional phrases.
Since the age of 14, I had experimented more and more frequently with a variety of drugs. I had and have always had a drive for knowledge, so I entered that world armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs of every kind, an information bank that serves me well to this day.
I tried meth for the first time at a rave, where a girl coming with my friends and I whispered in my ear that she had some speed. She asked if I would like to try it, and, in my state of general melancholy and apathy, I said yes. After swallowing a good sized lump of what I now realize was EXTREMELY pure speed, I spent a lovely night socializing and dancing until the sun came up, proceeding to crash at my best friend's house. I spent an hour before the sleeping pills kicked in marveling at my feelings of clarity and energy, levels of which I had never felt before. You know - the usual. Great first experience, energy and euphoria, 'the best thing ever'. Anyway. We drove back to school the next morning, and for the next few weeks I occasionally did a tiny line of the baggie I had left over. I forgot about it, although I had a great time, and came home from boarding school for thanksgiving break. I should have put the brakes on right then and there - I am manic-depressive and should have realized the danger in mixing illegal drugs with my impressive array of medications.
One of my best friends there drove me to her dealer's house after I told her about my first time on meth. She was an old user, and introduced me to smoking meth. I loved it instantly. When I was younger I saw my brother go through awful meth addiction, an addiction that tore my family apart forever and left two friends dead. All those memories floated from my head as I inhaled the white vapor, feeling a sense of serenity, clarity, and lightness. This time will be different. I'll never get addicted. This was my mantra as I arrogantly supposed myself to be different from all the other hacks who tried meth for the first time.
My use was infrequent but regular, smoking a little one or two times a week. Months passed, my grades were great, my social life was thriving, my art was more and more creative, and life was overall great. I was finally living up to my harsh parent's impossible demands of academic and physical perfection. I lost weight and bore myself confidently for the first time.
All good things go bad. My use went up, to a few times a week, to every day, to a few times a day, to constantly, anywhere I could find a bathroom or chill in my dorm room. I still was pretty together, and never faced the ugly comedown due to my strange body chemistry. I have the kind of body where I can smoke over a gram of crystal, then eat a meal and go to sleep. I don't really have withdrawals, and my body gives no stop signs, no warnings, a dangerous trait succeptible to overdose. So I did it all the time, never coming down.
By that time I was addicted, buying constantly with stolen and lent money, sneaking out from school at night to meet my dealer in the woods. I sat on my bed all day after classes, locked in an embrace with my pipe. I began to get paranoid, thinking that even my friends knew everything and were out to bust me. I lost more and more weight, getting down to under 115 pounds at 5 foot 9 inches. Sad thing was, my skeletal appearance was complimented and pined over. I had modeled when I was younger, and once again I was back to the anorexic look of an emaciated model. Every girl in the school asked me constantly for diet advice. This is one of the greatest sources of my sorrow when I look back over these years. Another testament to a society so distorted and delusional that my drug-addled body was considered the ideal. Meanwhile, my psychosis increased, until a night where I spent hours hallucinating people outside, and imagining alarms going off from imaginary smoke. That night scared me, and I quit for a few days. Then I just started again...
By that time it was obvious to my friends that something was seriously wrong with me. A best friend of mine confronted me, accusing me of being on speed. At first violently denying it, I eventually broke down and told him everything, including my slowly emerging sense of the nature of my drug use. Reality gave me a swift kick in the ass a few days later, when my roommate ratted me out and I was kicked out of school, my furious parents sending me straight to rehab and the hardcore wilderness program Ascent. Going home I ran straight back into my lover's arms, only to spiral back into addiction, this time worse, ending up with admission to the ER with a severe heart murmur or something of the sort. I was sent back to rehab, came back a lot saner, and went back to my junior year at school.
I can't describe to you the horror of my relapse. My first experience, so awful at the time, was cake compared to my second one. To summarize, at my worse, I had run away from home and was in my second week of homelessness, begging during the day for enough money for a fix, eventually finding a friend with a small, dirty drug den of an apartment in the middle of the ghetto. I spent days and days in the same spot on the couch, flirting just enough with my dealer to get free eightballs and grams. I did NOTHING but smoke meth. I stayed awake for days and once ate nothing for 5 days. I watched people sitting on the dirty cement floor shooting up heroin and I felt no emotion, no shock. No reality touched me. Withdrawal final showed itself to me, hours where I screamed and scratched at my skin, begging anyone I could find, going back to my house to steal possesions and pawn anything I could find. At that point, you don't give a shit. Drugs are not evil, but their abuse takes away all your self-control and dignity. I look back on those three weeks and thank god I didn't start shooting up or sleep with someone for drugs. That's all I can say about my dignity.
I was finally arrested and taken home to my family. I spent some time at a local rehab center. After having difficulty and exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, I was admitted to a mental institution where the remaining shreds of my dignity were systematically taken from me. Following my commitment, I returned to the Ascent program, this brutal 4week odyssey through the colorado mountains resulting in a 105 degree flu and a few weeks in the hospital after my heart had more problems. I can honestly say that that half year was hell. Lying on the clean vinyl of a loony bin, forcibly shot up with Thorazine, you have some 'alone time' to realize how immensely you've fucked up.
But things got better. Over months I was improving. My body was healing and my moods had stabilized. Things were looking great - I was clean, healthy, happy, and doing well at school. But, like in a hollywood film about evil drug addicts played by attractive starlets, things changed for the worse.
I should have been strong. I should have thought about all the things I was throwing away. But i couldn't really say no when my friend offered me a line of coke for the first time. One led to two led to a shitload. It was like I had never gone to rehab and never entered a therapist's room. I started using instantly, cheating on my frequent drug tests at home while on christmas break. I became a typical cokehead - partying, doing lines like eating candy, having fabulous coke sex, and denying reality in general. Once again, I dropped heinous amounts of weight in just one or two weeks and became violent, getting in physical fights with my parents.
And then the inevitable happened - I fucked up a drug test fake and tested positive for coke. I can only imagine how devastating this was for my parents, who, despite their harsh rule, care a lot about me. It was rehab again, and then many days of therapy and speculation on my ability and fitness to go back to school for my senior year. The summer was spent sober (excepting a discreet joint in Amsterdam) and thinking a whole lot. I admitted to myself for the first time that I had a serious problem. One that wasn't going away without my help. By the end of the summer, I felt pulled together enough to start school. Thank god for my intensely rational side, a conscience strong enough to keep me clean for a crucial year before my year of for college. My savior was ritalin, my daily 108 mg going straight up my nose as the only thing that makes me give a shit anymore.
My family is falling apart and I'm dealing with the death of two best friends from overdose and DWI. the mania and depression that I so skillfully evade taunt me from an ever-approaching distance. I grow tired of parents who only say 'I love you' when you bring home a perfect GPA or SAT scores. I'm tired of my sanity being governed by a handful of daily pills, but know that living in the midst of a hallucination is twice as painful. My bones hurt as if my skeleton is being pulled apart due to a form of osteoporosis, early onset, a condition brought about from anorexia due to years of meth and cocaine use. I wonder if my chemistry is permanently altered. I've seen the brain scans and I know it is. I wish I could say I'll never touch coke or meth again, even on my unsupervised year off, after seeing the pale shadows of my 60-year old bones and the darkened spots on my brain, but I can't even make that promise. I wonder often what life was like before drugs and before schizophrenia/manic-depression. I often daydream about perfect happiness, a feeling I remember only in my old apartment in rome, where I lived for most of my childhood before moving to the USA.
That was August. I'm home for break from school. And my super-complex sure-victory battle plan is to live day to day, and try to funnel the endless stream of thoughts that distracts me from even simple conversation. each day I face the reality of the world I have carved myself, and the agony of beginning to heal. I already feel stronger, a little more sure of myself.
I critique earlier this trivial bit of language not to point out a mistake, but to bring attention to a certain state of mind found so commonly in the 'world of drugs' (hmm...awkward, but I don't have anything else to call it). This report focuses on my struggles with methamphetamine and cocaine addiction, its preface, and prologue, the aftermath of a storm. I'm also taking this writeup as a chance to express a few ideas about addiction and the human psyche that have remained unsaid for many years, stewing and evolving in their captivity.
Back to the point. (get used to detours) Addiction is just one of the 'scourges' upon our country. The way politicians talk about it, it seems to be equal to the fall of the iron curtain of communism upon our beloved country. There is a stigma to this day on the subject of addiction, and drugs in general. Our culture's obsession with movies depicting drug abuse and the horrible demise of housewives and teenagers gone wrong is evidence of the fear, aversion, and curiosity the average American citizen holds toward the subject. We can live out our sick little fantasies through beautiful but tragic hollywood actresses who have probably never touched meth in their charmed lives.
So when our culture and government is confronted with this growing problem of drugs and drug abuse, no one really knows what to do but lock 'em up, along the same lines of our treatment of mental patients. There exists the sentiment that we've come a long way as a society, and we are approaching a harmonious, educated, and open-minded utopian vision of life. There are a few things in our way, and instead of doing things the hard way, i.e. trying to understand the complexities and psyhcology of addiction and mental illness, we prefer to push these issues away into the back of our prisons and the back of our minds. Even politicians are wary of these topics, and try to stick to safe things like social security and taxes in elections and debate.
So when we are fed this image of drug addicts as demons and menaces of freedom by society, most people emerge with that same mindset, a sterile and awful image of drugs and the drug addict. Even drug addicts call their addiction a disease, which brings me back to the labeling of drugs as evil or malicious. Both the labeling of addiction as a responsibility-shirking illness and drugs as 'beings', we succumb to a simplification of values endorsed by society. It is easy for me to look back over years of drug use, rehab, and mental confinement, and funnel my fear, regret, and anger into methamphetamine or cocaine. It makes me feel like I'm a little less responsible, a little less crazy. Basically, putting labels on anything is a copout.
After realizing this, I have ceased to simplify and blame, wallow in self-pity and indulge in misguided anger. I have spent the last few months picking apart my psyche, trying to understand every facet of my addiction and 'mental illness', as it is called when a mind deviates from the norm. It is painful, and has required my admitting of a serious problem that I would rather not acknowledge. I recommend you all to go inward instead of outward, and begin the painful process of healing to begin by confronting your own reasons for demonizing a drug.
What do you fear in yourself? What do you have nightmares about? What are you most frightened of concerning drugs? Would you go back and change things? Start taking responsibility by questioning every one of your old assumptions. Bear the pain of tearing open old wounds to stitch them up correctly. I know I'm trying. And it's a painful, awful process that some days, is simply impossible. Some days I f*ck up. I've relapsed, I've done things I shouldn't after time and time again of second chances and mistakes. Some days I'm ok, and some days I'm not. It seems recently that there are more of the latter than the former.
When jane doe, conservative right-winger, watches anti-drug propaganda, she knows well the image of the infamous Drug User. He is homeless, track marks evident, eyes violent and psychotic, hands just ready to strangle you for drug money. He is a scourge to society, a bit of unsightly dandruff.
Jane Doe, meet X.
She is an honor roll student since 6th grade. Community service means a lot to her, so she spends considerable time at the Audobon center and local senior citizen homes. She dresses well and has long, glossy black hair. X wears no makeup and pulls her hair back neatly into a bun. She is never late to class and just scored a perfect verbal on her SATs. Along with her GPA, her scores put her in the running for schools like Harvard and Stanford and Columbia, a place she has dreamed of going to since middle school. An educated and literate democrat, she reads Rousseau in her free time and can hold her own in any political debate. She is her parent's pride and joy, and loves to go skiing and hike with her family, who would describe her as an eccentric and creative perfectionist. X is the face of our generation. She is one of our many voices, a natural leader eager to change things in the world.
X is also a chronic drug addict. Under her crisp cotton sleeves are the faded dots of old track marks, and her skirt conceals a hip structure breakable with a small stumble. X has smoked so many chemicals her lungs have trouble inhaling and have permanently lowered their capacity.
X is the new breed of addict, a deceiving example of the youth and their many emerging problems. I feel so weak as X, I feel like a number, a cog, and a distraction. I am left behind and ignored by the system, and life seems harder and harder these days. I am a pariah, I am taboo. I am untouchable beneath this surface of middle-class normality. I am the embarrassing lovechild of the new american society, and I must eventually be dealt with.
I hope I grow up to help this change happen. I hope one day I can live a day without thinking about the descriptive-quality-free substances that have been such forces of change in my life.
I can honestly say it was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me.
Just be careful...please. Stop this cycle before it starts.
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