and Letters of the Hidden Costs
by Users, Loved Ones, and Parents
My name is Ashley and I'm 22 years old, I have a 16 month old daughter who basically saved my life. I started experimenting with drugs when I was just 11. I grew up in a very small town that consisted of nothing but a walmart, a gas station, our school, dirt roads,and woods...I tried everything that was put on the table for me, shrooms and acid, x, pcp, pot, coke, pills...but nothing captured me like meth did. I tried it first when I was 12, my 16 year old boyfriend introduced it to me...I never came across it again til I was 15...My parents were divorced and my father, whom I lived with had remarried. Tragically, when I was 15 my father was shot and killed by my youngest brother by accident when they were hunting. That ripped not only me, but my family apart once again. I gained access to alcohol and drugs 24/7...I found meth easily. That first rush that I recieved when I was 12 was back in me. I was unstoppable...I packed my shit and hauled ass to wherever the next line or boat was. I got involved with the meth ring very quickly...in just a month I was stealing boxes of sudafed and locating anhydrous. I made money and got a cut of the dope so it didn't even phase me.
| I worked my way up to the ladder and got involved in dealing it. I was still in school at the time...always an honor student with the crazy and bad attitude...I got reeeeeaaaaal smart and started dealing it in school. That didn't last long...october of my junior year I got a rude awakening, I was sitting in home ec. and in walks in 2 dea agents, 2 cops, the head of board of education, principal and assistant principal. I was called out of class, and let me tell you I never had been in trouble before,school or law, other than silly dress code violations. They brought me to the office and I was told that 4 people had snitched on me and they had to search my things. I had a joint in my pocketbook, an 8ball of meth on me, and an ounce of weed in my car, along with my "sales" book. Great. I was expelled from school, lost my scholarships...brought to jail and gained some felonies. I was charged with unlawful possession on school property, possession with intent, and unruly behavior. I gave up then. I got of good with just 4 days in juvi, and 1 year probation along with drug rehab and community service and heafty fines...well, in the state of Georgia you are considered an adult at 17...I was 6 months shy of that. Which meant my case would be closed and I would be off probation. Since that was the case I just quit reporting and everything and jumped over to the next county to...get this...live in a tractor trailer container with my then sex buddie, and the main man...the cook. I was taught everything. I learned how to make it and once I figured that out is when I hit rock bottom. I was doing it with them like we were making cakes. It was all to easy and the supplies were way too convienient. I felt so impervious to the law like they couldnt catch me or stop me and little did i know they were watching us the whole time. The tractor trailer got raided and they didn't find anything...thanks to informants on our end. I was jumping from house to house once again...going in circles not going anywhere in life but I felt as if I was conquering the world. I got pulled over one night for speeding...the dea were still on my case and they had set it up...they followed me that whole day, and followed behind me in an unmarked car that night, with marked cars sitting on the side of the road waiting for me. I was clueless, when they got me my license was suspended, I had a valve for an anhydrous tank in the back, and a strainer with residue on it. They called my mother who I hadn't talked to or seen in several months to come get me and take me to the hospital for detox because I had been awake so long. I moved back in with my mom for the time being and slowed my roll. She had given the police permission to tap our phones and patrol our house,,,I kept it low key for a month or two and then slowly stepped back in the game. That's when I met my soon to be ex-husband. I'm not really sure how I met him, I was friends with his brother and drugs tend to bring people together, expecially in the country ass town I lived in. My ex was a coke dealer at the time and I was doing my thing of course. We moved in 2 days after meeting eachother and we were like bonnie and clyde. We were two of a kind and had no worries and no morals, we just didn't care...plenty of arrests together in our relationship...we would bond out and move and do it again..house got raided twice in one month for a meth lab, but we were either fortunante or lucky...I haven't decided, to never get caught. I woke up one morning after the second raid and decided that I needed to get a grasp on life and get my GED and get a job. That's exactly what I did and then decided to go to college. Things were good, I had a job at a nursing home and was stripping on the side for extra money, I was clean from dope for 2 months and we had separated ourselves from those people. By the third month I ran into an old "friend" at the gas station and it was thrown in my face....back to same old thing. I quit my job at the nursing home and continued school and stripping. Eventually I quit school too. Time went on...same crazy shit and then I went through one of my phases again and put a stop to it...I got pregnant almost immediatly. I did the right thing and went back to school, I still danced until I started showing, and then by 7 months I quit work. I stayed home and my husband worked. He got layed off of his job one week before my daughter was born and so I returned to work just 4 weeks after I had her. I pumped breast milk and we stored it for my husband to feed while I worked. During that period my husband got bored and annoyed and depressed because I was working 6 days a week to cover his part of bills. He got back on coke and then eventually crack, and I was blind. Didn't realize he was stealing money and having girls come over while I was at work and smoking that shit with our baby in the house. I found out when I went to pull money out of our account and 3 grand was missing. The following week a female called me and told me that she and my husband were having sex regularly and that was the last straw. I packed mine and my daughters things and left. I moved in with my mom and that was too stressful on top of the stress I already had, I got my own place and moved a few people in which turned out to be a mistake. I got back into x, and meth and started pawning my child off to party. It only lasted 3 weeks before I got caught. I got a DUI and then ended up for detox in a mental facility. I stayed there for just a week and then they released me with the order that I complete the outpatient program. Which is what I am doing now and back on probation with fines and community service, I've been in the program since June and have maintained my sobriety. I'm dating a really awesome guy who is in the military and has goals in life. The best part about it is hes never touched drugs, cigarettes, and minimal alcohol, because of what he went through with his dad when he was a child. He def. is helping me stay straight and focus on what I need to...which is the future.
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Michael began using drugs at the age of 15, shortly after we moved to Sioux Falls, by the age of 16 he had been arrested for possession of pot, by the age of 17 he had completed 2 thirty day drug and alcohol inpatient programs and gone through boot camp in Custer, SD. By the age of 18 he had returned to inpatient treatment and completed another 30 day program. After completion of these programs, Michael tried very hard to stay clean and work his programs, but the drugs again took control of his life, and he began using.
MIchael began by smoking pot, drinking and then went to stronger drugs, snorting meth and doing acid. From there, he began smoking meth and finally he was using needles, shooting meth.
I watched Michael slowly killing himself, going from a happy carefree teen to an angry, sometimes even violent stranger. At times I could not believe he was the same child. his circle of friends changed, he lost interest in all the things he used to love. The closeness that we all once shared was going, I fought and fought to pull him back, but again the addiction had it's hold.
Meth is by far the most addictive drug and also so easily obtained. Any one can find it, any one can use and become addicted. There is no person who is immune to addiction. Of course if you ask an addict who is using, they will definitely tell you that they can quit at any time they choose, they just choose not to. Bull! Do they really like what they are doing and feeling? At first they may! But once they have truly become addicted to the drug, the answer is no.
In Dec. 1999, Michael and Christine were engaged and expecting a baby. By this time Michael was further into the drug world than ever before, he was now dealing. Of course, me being the optimistic person I am, kept hoping and praying that the baby would make him wake up, make him stop. I was so wrong. By now the drugs had complete and total control of Michael, as much as he wanted to stop as much as he hated how he felt and what this was doing to him, he needed help, but would not admit it and now that he was 18, an adult, I as his mother could not force him back into treatment, it had to be his decision to go this time. He continued to use and continued to deal. Always he had excuses, like..I will stop after the baby gets here..I'm going to have my fun now, while I still can, I'll have to be responsible soon enough. Michael's first son, David Michael was born Aug. 14, 2000. Michael, Christine and Baby David were living at home with me. 2 weeks after David was born, I gave Michael the choice, he either stopped using, stopped dealing or he could not stay in my home. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but I could not continue to put myself, my son, my daughter and now my grandson's lives in danger anymore. Michael chose to leave.
Christine and Baby David continued to live at home with me until Christine found an apartment and she and Baby David moved. Soon....... Christine was also back to using again.
In Nov. 2000 Michael and his roommates were robbed at gunpoint. The story is that it was over a drug debt. 2 weeks later, the night before Thanksgiving, Michael and his 2 roommates were busted for possesion of a cotrolled substance, distribution of a controlled substance, and maintaining a dwelling where drugs were used or sold. In the middle of the bust, Brock, Michael's brother came over to see him. Barely 14 years old and he had to witness a drug bust, his own brothers. Michael was in jail with a 25,000 cash only bond set. Baby David's first Thanksgiving and his daddy was not with him, his daddy was in jail.
Michael did get released on 25,000 cash bond, I and the rest of my family thought we were doing the right thing. Sure that Michael had learned his lesson, sure that Michael now saw what drugs were doing to destroy his life, to destroy his families lives, to destroy his sons life. Again, the addiction was stronger than anything and again took over. They continued to use, more and more, both Michael and Christine.
In February 2001, Michael and Christine got evicted from their apartment and moved in with people they knew, living in a dumpy basement, no water, sleeping on the floor, raising a baby in that horrible environment. How could they not see what was happening in their lives, how could they not see where they were headed?
On May 25th , 2001 Michael again got busted, 5 felonies, possession, distribution, possession of a firearm, etc. So.he was back in jail. Christine and Baby David moved out and into my father's house. Michael finally called asking for help, begging for help, begging for me to help Christine. At the end of June we finally got the judge to go along with letting Michael go through treatment again. He went to Keystone in Canton for the 3rd time. I still could not convince Christine to go through treatment, she believed she could do it on her own. Unfortunately, she continued to use.....
On July 13th , 2001, Michael and Christine were married while he was in treatment. Michael believed it would help him in court if he was married, settled down. On July 19th, 2001 Michael's second son, Jordan, was born. The mother was a girl that Michael had gotten involved with when he had moved out right after David was born. A young girl who Michael loved very deeply, but could not be with because of the age difference. Michael completed his treatment, but had to return to jail. He continue to work his program, going to NA meetings daily. He had a very positive attitude and truly wanted to make it this time. He was released from jail 3 weeks before his sentencing, which was on Sept. 13, 2001. In those 3 weeks, he began using with Christine again. It's pretty hard to stay clean when the person you are with continues to use....But it was still his choice...
On September 7th, Michael and his oldest son David rode to Custer with me to pick up Brock, he had finished boot camp. He only had one night home with us before he had to be in Keystone for another 30 day inpatient program.
On September 13th, 2001, Michael had his sentencing hearing. We had expected bad, but what we heard was more than we had imagined. Michael was sentenced to 2 10 year sentences, he would be eligible for parole in 3 ½ years. The judge gave Michael 5 days before he had to turn himself in to begin his sentence.
On Sunday, September 16th, 2001, Michael, Christine and David came with me to Keystone to visit Brock. It was very emotional. Michael had to say goodbye to his brother. He would be leaving in 2 days to begin his prison sentence.
Brock was devastated, he did not know how he could make it without his big brother there for him when he came home. Michael was all Brock has ever had other than me. I of course, did my best to reassure him that Michael would be home soon, and things would be different, both the boys lives would be different, they would be clean, they would live normal lives.
Tuesday September 18th, the day Michael was due to turn himself in, the day we had all been dreading for so long, it was here. Michael, Christine and David came over to see me at 7:30 that evening, Michael cried in my arms, I have never seen such fear, I have never seen such pain. It all caught up with him, the years of drugs, the dealing drugs, it had all caught up with him. We talked we cried, we hugged, I did all I could to reassure him everything would be ok again. At 8:30 they left to take him to the jail, Michael's son, David stayed with me, we sat we rocked and watched out the window waiting for his mommy to come get him, to tell me Michael was in jail on his way to prison. At 11:45 PM, there was a knock on my door, when I answered it, there were 2 police officers there, I immediately panicd, thinking, oh my god he ran, they were looking for him. But that is not what they were there for, they were there to tell me that my son, my baby boy, had shot himself. Drugs had not only taken over his life, but had taken his life.
I was with Michael when he died, 3 hours after he had shot himself in the head with a 12 gauge shotgun. I saw my son take his first breath at 11:30 pm May 16th, 1981 and I saw my son take his last breath at 1:50 am September 19th, 2001.
I would like to leave this message with all of you , to the parents, be there for your children, listen to them, listen to the songs they listen too. I have learned so much from my son's music, it is a way of expressing what they are feeling. If your son or daughter is using drugs, or you suspect they are, do not ever stop trying to help them, no matter how many times they need to be sent to treatment, no matter how much you feel they will not forgive you. Sometimes the clues they are giving us are their cries for help. Remember this, even when they are away from us, they are not only getting the help they need to stay clean, they are safe, they are alive.
With how it all ended with my son Michael, I can at least live with the fact that I did all that was in my power to help him. And I am still doing all that is in my power to help Brock.
Communication between us as parents and you as children, that is what is important. We as parents need to try to be understanding and if we don't understand, we need to find ways to learn and understand. We cannot be judgemental of what our children may do, we can only try to understand and always be there for them, let them know our love is unconditional. Separate the addict from the person. As children, you need to try to find a way to communicate with your parents, to try to help us understand.
Brock, Michael's brother, is also a meth addict, I will do all I can from letting this disease, this drug, take another one of my children from me. Brock has spent his life following in his big brothers footsteps. This is one time I can't let him do as his big brother did!!!!!
To the young people here, remember this, even if getting high seems like it helps you cope, it doesn't, it ultimately makes everything you are trying to run from worse. Like Michael's poems say, it even takes your soul. There is always someone out there for you to turn to when you need to talk, when you need help. Remember my son's story, maybe Michael's death has a meaning, a purpose to show you where the road leads, he would not want anyone of you or anyone else to go through all that he went through, there was a time it all seemed glamorous to him, the lifestyle, the fun, the money, but look at where he is now, none of it was worth losing his life for. It is not worth you or anyone you know losing their life, either physically or emotionally.
Please visit my website in Memory of my son Michael David Huser www.michaelhuser.homestead.com
Dear God, I am sad that my son does not choose joy in his life. I look back and can only ask "what has happened?". I know that divorce is hard, but he won’t let himself move past this trial in life and find true happiness. He looks to me, his mom, and asks me to "fix" everything. I try to give him all the reasons anyone would need to pursue happiness, but he doesn't see that he is the only one that can fix what is wrong.
The only thing that I feel I can do is let him voice his concerns uninterrupted and then offer alternatives and try to get him to agree with things in stages. If he gripes, I try to stay open minded just in case he has some real concerns. Sometimes I feel his concerns are just him feeling powerless. I tell him to “write it down”. Whatever it may be because then he won’t feel so overwhelmed. But something has changed in him. There is a fear, a nervousness, an anger that seems to be in the way of his peace.
He is very negative. Why can’t he see the common sense in things we know are common sense and why does he make problems where none should exist, especially with his ex-wife? Its been nearly a year since she left. But he still creates such pain for her. He makes excuses such as "It's just the way I am" and refuses to take action on his responsibility for making their relationship new and possible. He cannot see, or refuses to see, that his Children deserve two parents who can set an example of how it is possible to move past any trial in life. The children deserve this security and I will insure this, with his wife, until their dad can become whole.
The hardest part is his inability to accept the truth that his marriage is in the past and it is time to look forward and take the opportunity to grow from this learning experience. We are all a child of God and nothing less. When he shows her disrespect, he disrespects life. She is also his children’s mother and his children are owed the respect by him treating her well.
I try to counter his negativism with optimism but he won’t consider “it” because he seems to love his pain more than his desire to move forward. I have decided to let go trying to convince him because I am exhausted. He needs to have his confidence built and needs to know that change is a choice he has to make, and confidence comes from learning how to be “Okay- Alone”. Why dear God, can he not hear me?
Sometimes I have to repeat myself every day. However, I fear that I will have to cut him totally loose because my heart is breaking. I cannot live this way. There has been meth abuse in the past and I fear that day may be repeating itself. He denies it. But why are their 2 locks on bedroom door again? Why must I call at least an hour before I stop by to visit him? Are my fears coming true? Is the stage is set? God I hope that does not happen because he will have chose the wrong road- it is a road that he must walk a lone. A road that will cut him from the family.
I fear in my heart of hearts that he will never understand that his choice for unhappiness has gone on too long. I fear he cannot understand that everything he does is his decision. He cannot expect any of those he loves to share a life of misery with him. We, his mom and dad, are approaching our later years in life and we deserve to sit back and take pride for a job well done with our family. We do not deserve regret, sadness, and heart break from a child that is once again choosing misery over happiness. The wounds he created many years ago when he chose meth over everything else can be opened to easily and the pain will come much more quickly and I will run in an instant.
Why can he no see that if “we” become a burden to our loved ones because of choices within our control, and we continue to make the same mistakes everyday- the result is loss? Loss of his loved ones in his life and loss of a son to his mom and dad. It will leave a hole in my heart but I cannot walk down this road of pain with him again.
My son is “tension”. He can be insensitive, loud, and harsh. It is getting harder for me to stay calm and give him his chance to blow and not argue or interrupt. He doesn’t see how he has taken advantage of my good heart and how he talks to me with disrespect which is the ultimate pain a child can inflict on their mother.
We all should be held accountable for our actions but it is the hardest thing to do for your child. I remind him daily that his little boys and his family are the ones that are suffering the consequences for his actions and that we are hurt and ashamed by the continued poor decisions he is making. I don’t understand why he cannot grasp this fact in his heart. This situation is no longer about him, about his suffering, and about his place in life. It is now about the pain he is inflicting on the ones who love him. An unselfish act would be to realize this.
If I challenge anything he says, he becomes very angry, combative and aggressive. This concerns me because I fear the worse. He has lost his ability to talk to his mother with respect unless I am saying what he wants to hear. I learned in the past that I cannot change him and so I was forced to give up my right and expectations about him. I have changed my reactions toward him because that is the only thing I can control and that helps to minimize my stress.
I am greatly concerned that he will abuse the kindness of the family. We always rally in supported of one of ours in need. But I have a great fear that history will be repeated. Although I hope he proves me wrong, I am fearful many kind hearts will be greatly disappointed.
I need the strength to maintain my own respect and credibility. This is my greatest struggle aside from not letting bitterness, anger, or resentment grow. What is such a shame is that under all of this, he has a huge heart and a loving spirit. It is also a shame that he cannot see that everyone around him sees the real truth of what is happening and although we try to not accept the truth of what seems to be happening, we are slowly resigning ourselves that no matter how much we try to lovingly push him in the right direction, he chooses to put himself in situations that is destroying this loving heart and spirit. He is looking to the drug to fill up that space in his heart when in reality, the family could have more than filled that space. I can only hope that before he totally falls off the edge, that he will realize how close he is and pull himself back to safety.
Although I understand his pain and the divorce created a snowball that consistently got bigger, he could have stopped it long ago. At some point we all have to take responsibility for letting that snowball get out of control. It is the truth that he should be well on his way to a happy life but he has chosen not too and he is pulling everyone in with him. I thank God every day for my family and my life. I take responsibility for my happiness every day because I have many that depend on me to do so. I owe it to my family to not become a weight around their hearts.
What can “we” do? I am afraid nothing. I have given my children all of the tools to build a loving family and I have tried to instill respect for all of humanity whether we feel they deserve it or not. Life is our judge and our jury and what we do to our life will surely manifest either reward or penalty and it is all in our own control. We should care how we live, give our heart as a gift to those who will receive it, But protect our hearts from those who do not accept this gift with the blessing that we hope they find their way.
I have decided that I choose joy and I can only hope that my son will someday rejoin me. I know now, today, that my son is once again a meth addict. His excuses for his behavior come from a pipe. His hatred and his pain come from a pipe. He is only fooling himself when tells his lies but the truth is so easy for us to see. This is a road that the family has been down before, but this is a road we have learned is treaturous and filled with uncertainty. This is a road he will have to go alone because it is the only way to save him. Until then, I will love his boys and keep them safe. I will pray that God's hand will keep my son alive and that he will find his way back home soon.
With much grief,
--His mother and an Awesome Nana of 8 beautiful grandchildren.
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