I was cooking quesadillas, getting ready for a potluck my writing class was having to celebrate the end of the term when Greg came home with the news I had secretly been waiting for, longing for, since we first quit meth almost a year ago. He had ran into an old dealer and had given him some money for a little bit of meth to celebrate his graduation from rehab. I could barely contain myself I was so excited. I knew the risks involved. I had been weighing the pros and cons ever since his rehab graduation. But I knew what my choice would be, I couldn’t say no. I wanted it so badly. I could barely contain my excitement as I paced the apartment, waiting for that knock on the door. Finally it came. Finally I had meth again. I was shaking before we even cooked it up. I watched the meth melt in the water, watched it fill the chamber. I imaged pulling the tie off and feeling that rush that would pump through my body like an overdose of adrenaline that you only get in life saving situations. I eagerly pushed the syringe into a vein, watched the blood mix with the clear liquid and pulled off the tie just as fast as my shaking hands would allow. It was everything I hoped it would be. Everything I remembered. I felt like the queen of the world. Nothing would bring me down. This time would be different. My breathing quickened, I couldn’t stop moving, I wanted to run a marathon, declare to everybody who would listen how fantastic this drug is, how marvelous it makes you feel. I never wanted to stop again. Greg finished the rest of the cooking as I rushed around the apartment doing nothing of importance, but feeling like a million bucks. It was hard sitting through class, wondering if people could tell the euphoric state I was in. I didn’t really care if they knew or not. I didn’t care about anything except how great I felt and how happy I was to be sharing this experience with Greg again.
That night I worked. I wrote a lot. Finished a couple of assignments, which actually got very good reviews. This was how meth was supposed to be used. The sex was amazing. We were amazing. We could do anything. And when I wanted to come down, there was always heroin. When we ran out there was only one option, to get more meth. And that’s what would continue to happen for the next four days. But as the days and nights passed by, I stopped working, stopped sleeping, started avoiding people. My only thoughts were about when and how we would get more meth. I wasn’t physically addicted yet, but the psychological fiending had already started.
On day four we knew we had to stop. The work week was starting again and we were way past productivity. Thoughts were scattered at best, the only focus was when we were trying to score. I knew the party had to come to an end, but I was dreading it. We scoured the floor, looking for bits that might have fallen to the ground. We tore the apartment to shreds. Glass had broken. We gathered little pieces of broken glass into piles, hoping that one or two of them might actually be meth. We searched for hours. But when we cooked it up, barely anything melted. In our disappointment, we decided just one more run to the dealers would satisfy us. Then we would stop. But our tolerance was already building. The last shot was an immense let down. We were so sleep deprived that even after the last shot we were still wide awake. It was a disappointing waste.
The next four days were filled with depression, anxiety, inability to focus, and an overwhelming desire for more meth. Each time I’ve picked up meth again after a prolonged absence I swear things are going to be different. It’s no surprise that a drug that comes with such dramatic highs ensures equally dramatic lows. That’s science. But like someone with bipolar disorder going through a manic stage, I never even consider that I could ever feel bad again – while in the midst of a meth-induced dopamine bath.
It’s a cliche you hear time and time again when in a recovery program. “I thought I could handle it, this time. This time, I wouldn’t let it get out of control. I would control the drug, this time.” I chuckle when hearing other people spout such obvious hogwash. Yet time and time again I fall for the delusion myself, rationalizing it a thousand and one ways. I actually believed that my situation was different based on a laundry list of bullshit reasons and didn’t even consider that I sound anything like those people I mocked in Twelve-Step meetings. In retrospect, the truth is ugly.
That was two and a half years ago. I’ve used crystal methamphetamine every day since, minus the days I was incarcerated and a few others I slept through. I hid it from Greg for the remainder of his life. I continued to use copious amounts after his death. My veins gave out and I had to switch to smoking it. I don’t even like smoking it. But I continue to do it day in and day out just to get up and get moving. It feels as though I can’t live without it. Although I desperately look forward to the day that I can. There is no trace of the euphoria or excitement I felt during those first days using again. It’s a distant memory, incapable of being repeated in such a dopamine saturated body. At least not with some significant time off to balance my chemistry again. Which begs the question, when faced with the same situation the next time, will I remember how I feel now? Will I dare think my situation unique once again? Or will I remember that it’s all a farce? If the past is any indication of the future, my prospects are dim. But maybe this time will be different…