This is something I don’t really like to talk about because it’s so dirty.
The depths that I have seen people go for this drug are outrageous and tragic.
My story, in comparison, had a fortunate ending, but for so many, the loss of teeth, family, and the ability to control any part of their life, in general, is gutting. I was able to go to an inpatient treatment facility in my town last night and share some of my experience, strength, and hope around addiction.
These guys (all men) were beat-up. Some couldn’t look up from their hands. Most had been there previously and thought they had their addiction beat until, once again, there they sit. They probably think, who is this little blondie coming in here all smiley and full of joy? They think I’m going to preach the good word and keep living in my lollipop world.
But I open my mouth, and I share with these guys—some younger, some older, and a few my age—about how I grew up. I tell them how I spent a lot of summers off of school, rolling joints at the kitchen table for my mom’s friend’s “business.” We weighed marijuana from our pot plants growing in the closet with the bright lights emanating from the bottom in our low-income apartment. We measured out dime bags of “shake” and put them in the freezer to build our inventory.
How meeting my real dad for the first time at 15 was the best thing that ever happened to me. He had a wife, a home, and a business—although he had spent the majority of his life in prison, he was out and sober and doing well and to me, he was my hero and a best friend.
A friend and I flew from Washington State to Anaheim for a spring break trip during our last year of high school. She was 18 and I was 17. We had saved up money and from our jobs at “Living well Lady,” and when we got out of the shuttle, the driver said, “Stay out of trouble girls,” and we just laughed.
Right away, we met our neighbors to the right. They invited us to their room, and we hung out. Later that night, one of the guys pulled out a shoebox of white powder. Neither of us had ever tried cocaine, and I am pretty sure I swore I never would, but I saw that powder; he offered it to me and I had no reservations. Snorted that first line, and another. Instantly, I wanted to feel like that forever. I had confidence like I was the queen of that motel. We went out to the pool. They had a vending machine in the bar that sold cigarettes and I walked right in like I owned the place.
My girlfriend is off on this guy’s crotch rocket, and I stay behind with the other guy. We ended the night swimming and drinking, and I was hooked on this new drug.
We then got introduced to the guys upstairs from us. These guys introduce us to “crank,” which I think is another word for meth, but what do I know. So we are experts now and snort that up. Not the same, but we definitely like it, and party all night with these guys.
We had a few other nights like these and eventually did make it to Disneyland. We learned that we could order alcohol to our rooms from the street vendors that are delivering food. So we are drunk, high, and have many visitors to our room. Even some innocent boys that were there on a family vacation.
When we arrive home, still having our swimsuits on under our clothes, we get right in her car and head over to our friend’s house who we know runs the cocaine and meth around our town. We knock on his door, tell him our experiences, and that we need to get hooked up.
He says no. He won’t sell it to us.
We get back to her house, and my car battery is dead. I call my dad and it happens to be his birthday. Before I remember that, I jump up and down sharing about how we tried coke and meth and had the best time. I neglect to tell him I was technically raped on this trip and was too drunk to push the guy off and say no. How one of the nights I cried drunk in the bathtub.
He says if you are going to buy coke or meth let me get it for you so I can make sure it’s good. I forget he used to be the expert and most of his prison time was for selling drugs.
From then on I have the hookup. I come home from being out and my dad would say, “Hey, there is a line on the top of the washing machine for you” or, “Hey, can you come out with me tonight to hook some ladies up?” He would have me (with my fake ID) come to the bar and meet other women in the bathroom with a little package. He would show up most nights I was out with my friends, and when he wasn’t hitting on them he was hooking us all up.
We began smoking meth in his room while his wife slept in their bedroom. His face was getting bad sores all over it. I was having black bowel movements, and throwing up what looked like blood. I was scouring the floor for any residual that maybe I had dropped; I just always needed a little bit more.
When he would leave, I would sleep with a rifle next to my bed and if I heard a sound, I would pop up ready to shoot.
I could no longer work my job, so had to quit and he offered for me to work at his Harley shop. In his office, I could usually find weed to smoke. I stood outside smoking cigarettes, and on Fridays, he would pay me some money and some meth. He eventually started to get annoyed with my work habits.
I told him I really needed a hookup “for a friend,” and he would not budge. So, reluctantly, I left on a weekend trip and could only drink, which put me passed-out in my friend’s car, occasionally opening the door to throw up.
I was miserable.
I found a new hookup though when I got home. I was able to do my own deals. There is nothing like that feeling when you know you are about to get high. Driving to this guy’s house and knowing what awaited me. My adrenaline pumping, my addict about to be put at ease.
This all didn’t last much longer. He told me this wouldn’t work anymore. The work situation with my dad was done and he took his house key off my key chain. He said I could go get all of my things and that was it.
I loaded up my car in anger and rage and drove to stay with my ex-boyfriend. I slept on his bedroom floor. His parents upstairs. He had a new girlfriend but agreed to let me sleep there until I could get it together. I went to the unemployment office and cried to the guy about how I couldn’t work, I was too depressed. I had a doctor’s note—I had just been prescribed Prozac the week before and was taking two at times to avoid driving my car into a tree, which is what my brain and body wanted desperately to do.
I was eventually able to kick meth, and by my 21st birthday, I had done it my last time.
Three months later I was arrested for a DUI, handcuffed, put in the back of the police car, and taken down to the station. When I couldn’t find anyone to pick me up, he drove me home. He didn’t have to do that, but I was in a pretty short skirt and a pretty tight shirt and maybe he felt some sympathy for me.
That was November of 1997. I was court-ordered to AA meetings and began in January. My sobriety date is February 23, 1998.
That I get to go talk to these hardcore meth heads about my sobriety, God, and finding freedom is a miracle, and so although I wish sometimes things would have been different. I thank God that I have a story to share. Hopefully, I have a message of hope—that no matter how bad it gets there is a way out.
A few years after I got sober, things got really bad for my meth-addicted dad. He was arrested for building a meth lab on this mom’s property, and spent six more years in prison. He did get cleaned up again but died at 59 of cancer. I got to spend a lot of time with him in the hospital before he died. He had a good attitude, but he had lived a rough life.
If I can learn anything as an example from my upbringing and generations before me, it may be what not to do, but through all of this I know that I have broken a cycle of addiction, and hope and pray my own kids can beat it as well.
I feel alive when I get to share where I came from and what happened and I think it’s evident from the way I live now that there is hope. I still struggle with anxiety, some depression, and am constantly in a fear-based existence. Somewhat like hypervigilance fight-or-flight, but it improves all of the time—the closer I stay to my true self, expressing my feelings instead of stuffing them, staying close to my family, meetings, and, of course, prayer, and staying connected to my Higher Power.
Addiction is such a powerful disease and while I was in it, it was so hard to see how my behavior was affecting others. I had one mission, and it was more drugs and more alcohol. I was reckless, emotional, and lacked clarity. Tunnel vision took over and using was all I could think about.
Luckily, there are vast amounts of help available today in the form of treatment centers and meetings. Sobriety and recovery for me have been invaluable. I am still growing and learning, but I wouldn’t trade my life today for anything even on the hardest days.