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The Crystal Meth Myth


Sfj The Crystal Meth Myth
Media's methamphetamine fixation feeds users' glorification of the drug, says a former addict.
By Patrick Moore, PATRICK MOORE is the author of "Tweaked: A Crystal Meth Memoir" and a co-founder of the new media company 12th Street Jam. His blog, "The Principles," appears on Yahoo! Health.
June 11, 2006

"IT'S EASY TO BELIEVE that crystal meth addicts (tweakers) are hopeless cases. Methamphetamine has taken on the role once played by heroin, and later by crack, in the public imagination a drug so deeply destructive and addictive that there is no chance of release from its grip. But addicts and the rest of society are making a big mistake.

What I know after more than 11 years of being clean and sober is this: Addiction is addiction, and addiction can be overcome. The more unique I believed I was as a meth addict, the less likely my recovery. When I was convinced that crystal meth was a drug like no other, that its damage was irretrievable, I created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Although crystal is the most dramatic aspect of my story as an addict, I used assorted drugs and alcohol for more than 20 years before I found meth. After a lonely childhood in Iowa and a disastrous run in New York, I found myself sitting paralyzed in a Hollywood rental, strung out on meth, hallucinating that robbers were breaking in to steal my last few possessions. Out front, the car I had driven west from New York sat with a huge gash in its side from the previous night's hit-and-run accident. In short, I was tweaked.

I realize now that I went further over the edge using crystal than other drugs because I glorified it, because everyone glorified it. The very things that are horrifying about crystal meth to a normal person are alluring to a self-destructive addict. That it is made from outrageously toxic substances added to its outlaw appeal. Staying up for three or four days seemed like a door to a magical universe. And the compulsive behavior turned normal life into something unimaginably boring. I saw crystal as the ultimate act of rebellion instead of the mundane dead end that it is.

The media's meth fascination ("Meth mouth!" "Crystal epidemic!" "America's most dangerous drug!" scream the reports) makes it easier to believe the super-drug myth. And crystal use does, in fact, have some unique consequences. Dr. Paul Thompson, a researcher at UCLA, describes the effect of chronic meth use as "a forest fire of brain damage." In a recent UCLA study, the brains of meth addicts were found to have lost 8% to 11% of the brain tissue needed to make and retain new memories. (I have a difficult time with my memory, but, on the bright side, the world seems new to me every day. I keep lists. I stay organized.)

Some of the other horror stories of meth addiction are true as well. It often triggers intense paranoia and bizarre behavior. I spent a considerable sum buying motion detectors, certain that intruders lurked outside my windows. This belief was cemented when a neighborhood cat sauntered through my garden, setting off the screaming sirens. But that paranoia faded for me, as it does for others who stay sober.

I had to hit bottom before I started attending 12-step meetings. It was a relief, but even so, I believed myself to be irretrievably damaged. Had the alcoholics I sat with in meetings really fallen as far as I had? I was sober, but I still romanticized crystal's destructive power. Gradually, my pose as a rebellious outsider lost its allure in the face of the fulfillment that sober alcoholics, potheads and junkies were creating together. That was the beginning of real recovery.

When I began writing a memoir, I took a job as a counselor at Van Ness Recovery House in Hollywood. A year and a half later, it affords me the opportunity to remind myself of the patterns of addiction. I see that crystal meth addicts have a very difficult time staying sober, not only because of the physical and mental damage inflicted by the drug but because they revel in the idea that they are "the worst of the worst."

But in reality, we are the same as the next addict in the circle ? arrogant, manipulative liars with huge egos and no self-esteem. On the flip side, when we recover, we all embrace the same solutions, the same principles: surrender, honesty, responsibility, humility, willingness, forgiveness and service.

For meth addicts, there is finally hope when we stop thinking of ourselves as different and realize, instead, that we are nothing special."


I find myself agreeing with that.  
     Replies...
viking Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Thanks for giving this Mom hope for her daughter
Kell
happy
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
"a drug is a drug is a drug is a drug" - heard in treatment

Now, they told me this about marijuana, to make me understand it's not harmless....but I'm sure they meant it about meth, too. Please don't think I'm discounting the harm of meth, I have experienced and seen it for myself.

I think each drug has its own aspects of attraction or effects or harm, but I am an addict...when I take drugs the same things happen, in general, no matter what drug.

I surely agree we can go a lot farther when we cease thinking of ourselves as so unique. We have more to gain from working together. That "terminal uniqueness" I can feel as an addict keeps me trapped in isolation and feeling unhelpable, unlovable, etc. I sometimes mention my friend who says recovering meth addicts are like walking miracles. I believe that, but really I believe all recovering drug addicts are miracles. I think the 12 step recovery program is a bit of a miracle, considering how often psychiatry and medicine and so many other things didn't work for so many alcoholics until Bill W. and those other pioneers created a group of alcoholics helping other alcoholics (it reminds me of this forum, we are addicts helping addicts). I have felt so often that there is no hope for me, and had that feeling removed when I talked to other addicts who felt the same way. I feel that way, really, about any way that anyone gets recovery. We are working our way back into being whole human beings.
Sfj Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Yeah,

I think people err when they try to use the 12-step model as a substitute for treatment and vice versa.

The 12-step model, in my case, CMA is a spiritual program. It should not be seen as a psychological form of treatment.

On the other hand, I went to rehab, S.T.O.P. and it is not a spiritual program, but it sure helped me get clean.
peace
ful05
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
I think you have something here SFJ. The lie is that there is no hope for users of this drug. Satan would like you to believe that. With all of the "talk" about this drug, it sort of makes you feel "special" in a sick way.

I think with the destructive speed that this drug destroys, it strikes fear in the hearts of parents, where pot and alcohol maybe doesn't. But all drugs have a opportunity for abuse.

thanks for the thought-there is always hope in GOD! peaceful05
scared
ma
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
That was a very good piece sfj. Thanks.
road
wife
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Very good writing indeed. Thank you
sdm
sanjose
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Quote:
I realize now that I went further over the edge using crystal than other drugs because I glorified it, because everyone glorified it. The very things that are horrifying about crystal meth to a normal person are alluring to a self-destructive addict. That it is made from outrageously toxic substances added to its outlaw appeal. Staying up for three or four days seemed like a door to a magical universe. And the compulsive behavior turned normal life into something unimaginably boring. I saw crystal as the ultimate act of rebellion instead of the mundane dead end that it is.
That is the best summary on the thinking of an addict that I have seen in a long time.
Is there a way to get people to understand this before they get addicted? Especially the youth that seem gravitate to the ?outlaw appeal?

Can the addict get this twisted thinking in their logic long enough to start recovery before hitting a terrible bottom?

Why is it so hard for the addict to see the truths that are stated below and act accordingly?
Quote:
But in reality, we are the same as the next addict in the circle ? arrogant, manipulative liars with huge egos and no self-esteem. On the flip side, when we recover, we all embrace the same solutions, the same principles: surrender, honesty, responsibility, humility, willingness, forgiveness and service
lax2 Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
So often I find it hard to talk about this drug HONESTLY, without glorifying it, even with all I know about it.

I agree with the QUOTE you have pasted above STAN, Its very accurate of how it felt to me. The BEING AN OUTLAW part was a huge turn on for me, I was playing by my own rules. Just like I must say, I Really liked the craziness than being under its influence for 72-96 hours without sleep made me experience. I can't explain why, but for the longest time... say every thursday for 5 years I mostly enjoyed the "TRIP" that the meth gave me... both sexually as well as PROJECT MODE... as well as the feeling of confidence & (delusions of) invincibility that I felt.

I was even convinced that it was Crystal that kept me from getting more colds... When I'd have a small cold on a THURSDAY , more often than not it was gone by the time I slept on Monday & woke up on Tuesday.

I know you want and expect us to be brutally honest. That's part of why I am (In this post) talking about The Benefits( I Thought) I was getting out of doing Meth.

I hope it is clear that I am in no way condoning the use of meth. I am not.
sdm
sanjose
Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Lax

I have read enough of your posts to know that you would never condone meth. I also know that I can depend on you to be HONEST.

PS
Can you think of anyway to get the addict and potential addict to see the truths in SFJ's posts?
lax2 Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
I hate to say it but unless they are ready to hear the message... the truth of the message is just dismissed as propaganda... for many... I dunno how else to answer that...
JDP Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Quote:
The lie is that there is no hope for users of this drug. Satan would like you to believe that.
EXACTLY MY BELIEF, but with GOD there is hope, so true. It is just difficult to get the addict to see this when they are actively using and consumed with the evils of meth.
henrts Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Thanks for that insight. I kept reading and reading how most meth addicts relapse and never can quit. It was making me doubt my choice to even try at first but reading so many that have defeated this demon I'm staying on the right track
wildcat5 Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
6 years clean and I was really close to death I believe I would have died. yes You can beat meth.. I still think about it almost daily though
Cabird Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
My son was off meth for 6 months one time. He had learned in rehab that 6 months clean is a crucial time because it is common to relapse at 6 months. I think he had a hard time waiting for the 6 months to come around so he could relapse. That is exactly what he did. I think he had been preparing us for his relapse because he told us many times that it is normal to relapse at 6 months. He kept using for 4 more years after his planned relapse. Now he tells me he doesn't believe that relapsing at 6 months is the norm. He says he had no desire to use after 6 months clean. He has been clean now for 3 years and 2 months.
lax2 Re: The Crystal Meth Myth
Right on. Glad to hear it. Your son sounds like a winner. I'm so glad he's gotten so much wiser. Congratulate him 4 me. I'm sure you are very proud of him. BRAVO!!!!!!!

See also:

Songs about drugs, meth, being high

Songs/Music about Recovery


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