I'm not the flawless person I'd like to be, but then again, nobody ever really is. I do think I'm interesting to talk to, at least I giggle sometimes when I'm talking to myself. Here's the thing though, I have a lot of forgiving yet to do. I have to learn to forgive myself, I mean, I say that I have forgiven myself for what I've done, but I guess somewhere inside me I haven't forgiven myself. Forgiven yourself for what, you ask? For losing my children, my family, and myself for ten years while I battled my severe methamphetamine addiction.
I never did drugs in high school. The worst thing I ever did was drink a couple winecoolers and smoke cigarettes at the teenage gathering places in the country. Rural Kansas citizens will know exactly what I mean. I never even tried meth until I was about 19 years old. One of my friends I had known from high school came over to my house, I lived on my own by then. She looked pale and sick, and she was shaking and crying. She told me she didn't know who else to turn to and she asked me to help her. Of course I wanted to help her, but what could I do? I didn't know what was wrong with her. Then she told me I needed to give her a shot, she had the shot ready but she couldn't hit the vein. I was completely shocked when I realized what it was, and being young I didn't think to tell her I couldn't do it, and I didn't think to call the ambulance or the police. I didn't know much about drugs, only that the slogan was to "Just Say No". I didn't want to say no to my friend, my only thought was that I wanted to help her feel better.
She talked me through it, it's a rather complicated thing to do, to inject something into someone's vein. I followed her verbal instructions, and I did as she directed. Her hands were just to shaky to do it herself and I know now that she was dehydrated and the veins were small. She had tried many times to do it herself and she had just ended up looking like a pincushion. Anyway, I finally was able to find a vein and give her the shot. It was the most miraculous thing. Instantly, she was fine. She stopped shaking and was full of energy. She was happy and talkative and even took to cleaning my house! I told her she didn't need to do that but she said she really wanted to do something and couldn't sit down right now. I was amazed at the transformation. I did not mean for her to offer me any when I told her "Wow, how I wish I had the energy you have!" She said "Do you want some? I have a brand new needle and I can do it for you now that I've had mine." I didn't know what to say, I think I tried to talk myself out of it for awhile, but then I ended up talking myself into it. I'd suffered with migraines for years, I'd been married at seventeen and divorced at eighteen and living by myself now. I was a very stressed out young lady and to see how my friend was just instantly cured and euphoric from just one little shot, was unfortunately enough to make me give in and accept her offer.
I winced at the needle prick and then I instantly gagged and puked after she was done injecting me. But I wasn't regretting it at all, because it felt to amazing, so good. I felt happy and satisfied in a way I never had before. I'm not trying to glorify IV drug use, that's not what I'm meaning to do. What I want to express is that methamphetamine is such a potent drug that I was hooked on it from the very first time.
After that came a year or so of occasional use. I became very good at hiding it. Keeping a shot premixed and shooting up in the bathroom or in the car. I got busy learning the ropes, who other users were, who dealers were, how to be a runner, how to get more. I pawned things, traded things, begged, flirted, lied. I did anything to get the drug. During all of this time I continued this hidden life. Meanwhile I managed to somewhat clean up for awhile and I had a couple kids and got remarried. Although I did not use meth when I was pregnant, I was using prescription drugs. I was taking pain pills and I was getting Demerol shots at the hospital for my migraines.In fact, I had a standing order at the ER for them.
When my younger son was about a year old, I saw my old friend again. I don't know why I asked her for some meth but I did, and it started all over again. I don't want to go into the details of it all, because I'm so ashamed. My drug abuse led to my divorce, and the loss of my children to the fathers. Yes, they had different dads. And I was so lost in the drugs that I just did more and more drugs to try to hide the pain. I wasn't allowed to see my kids and I got into trouble spending a total of one year in the county jail.
Despite multiple treatment centers both inpatient and outpatient, I was never able to kick the habit for very long. I bounced from place to place, from town to town, staying with other drug users and people I barely even knew. Eventually, after several years, I managed to stop using the drug intravenously, and I just switched to smoking or snorting it. It was similar to a severe alcoholic stopping drinking hard liquor and going to only beer. To the alcoholic or drug addict, a perceived reduction of use means we should be celebrated as if we can suddenly control our addictions. Truth is, we still aren't in control of anything.
Over the approximate ten years that methamphetamine ran my life, I lost everything. I mean that sincerely, I lost everything I loved and everything I owned. I've been clean for four and a half, almost five years now. I'm finally starting to get the life I always wanted. I've remarried just recently, and I have been completely honest with my new husband from the very beginning of our relationship. I regained custody of my youngest son who is now twelve years old. My oldest son comes for visits, but continues to live with his father several hours away. My kids say they have forgiven me, and I hope that's the truth. I wouldn't blame them though if they still had a part of them that hates me. I have a part of myself that will always hate me. We are only given one life, and look what I did to mine and to my kids.
I will spend the rest of my life trying to make amends for what I did. The truth is although I feel strong, and I feel hatred towards the drug that stole part of my life, I'm still scared. It's a healthy fear I guess, the quiet knowledge that if I ever slip up and do drugs again, my life will be over completely. That fear keeps me around people I know and trust, people that I know are clean and have never even tried it. I say I would turn it down if it was offered to me, and I would want to turn it down. Sadly, there's that part of me that thinks I might give in to the temptation if I saw a line of meth laying on a table. So I avoid it at all costs. I even avoid people that seem to struggle with alcohol use. I avoid any type of addictive behavior. That's the only way I can trust myself, and the only way I know to survive.
I guess the whole point of this blog was to clear the air a little, lighten my heart a little.To allow other people to know the truth, and to inspire parents to be completely honest with their children about what drugs are, what they do to you and to your loved ones, and to tell parents to train your children consistently that drugs destroy lives every single day. Tell children to call someone they trust, or the police if they know of anyone doing drugs. Tell children to avoid drugs at all costs.
Every time I tell my story I feel a little stronger. I was a weak person, with a severe drug addiction, involved with the wrong types of people, people who would have traded my life for ten bucks worth of meth, or even have killed me without thinking twice just to get a hit. And yet, I survived. I don't know how I did, I was close to death on several occasions. I remember crying out to God to help me, but feeling at the same time that I didn't deserve His help. I did irreversible damage to my body and mind. My skin bares the scars of meth sores. I am often asked about the scars on my face and the bridge of my nose. Those scars are pretty deep and very noticeable. I never wear a low cut blouse or even a v neck tee, because I have countless numbers of scars across that area of my chest. That's where the meth chose to come out of my body, I did so much meth that my kidneys couldn't process the toxins and so it came out through my skin. Somehow I managed to keep all of my teeth and luckily they do not show the signs of typical meth mouth. My heart, however, has the deepest scars of all.
I am the person I am today, scars and all, because of what I went through and where I have been and my struggle to come out of it alive. I am honest with my children and with others about my history of drug abuse. If I can keep them from doing drugs by showing myself as the example of "what not to do", then maybe the ten years I was away from my children will not be a complete waste. I show them my scars and tell them the dirty details. I will continue to answer all their questions with complete honesty in all things. Knowledge is power, cliche, but true. If I had known more of the consequences of my choice before I made that choice so many years ago, maybe I would have been able to resist the temptation. My children will be well informed, they will be knowledgeable, they will know what to say if anyone ever offers them drugs of any kind.
You may think that your kids are safe. If so, you're lying to yourselves. No one is completely safe from the temptation of drug use. The best defense is to prepare your kids about the dangers, and to have an open and honest relationship with your kids. Do you feel like your children could tell you anything? Why not ask them?
"Do you feel like you could tell me anything?"
It's the best way I've found to open a dialogue with your children that could one day save their lives.