A Story of Meth Addiction and Relapse on the Road to Recovery
Describing meth addiction to those who are unfamiliar with it is very difficult. It’s hard to explain how terrible and destructive this drug has been to so many people. Even once you’ve gone through it as I have, it can still be tough to accurately explain how dangerous it is and to really describe answers about why is meth so addictive?
By the time I got to South Shores Detox and Recovery, I nearly died on multiple occasions. I truly feel that they saved me from myself.
Meth use does a lot of damage to your body and mind. Although the physical effects of meth addiction are bad enough, there’s no way to describe the psychological effects of meth. Meth is a stimulant, which can cause extreme insomnia and worse.
At my lowest point, I would stay awake for nearly a week at a time. The meth-induced psychosis that I suffered from was unreal. When you live in that world and are constantly questioning reality, things can get very intense.
I hope my story can help explain why I kept going back to a drug with so many consequences, and also show how I finally found effective help for meth recovery at South Shores!
Falling Into Chronic Meth Use
I was addicted to crystal meth for ten years and fairly recently made the decision to get clean. When I finally made that decision, I chose South Shores Detox. I couldn’t have picked a better place. It was difficult for me to process how I got so deep into meth abuse like this.
Once you’re in it, it’s hard to find your way out. The mental hurdle of addiction is extremely tough to grapple with. In order to get clean from a drug like meth, it takes every ounce of energy you’ve got.
A Bit About ‘Meth World’
Meth addicts are a unique bunch. Any drug addiction is going to be tough to overcome, but when it comes to meth addiction treatment, it almost takes a complete rewiring of your brain. The damage done to your mind is intense. And the world you enter into, with everyone up 24/7 and ripping and running constantly, is a surreal and all-consuming one for many of us.
The rest of the world begins to fade away, and everything relates to getting more meth, missions to get funds, and intensely pursuing tasks (boobytrapping my apartment for invisible intruders is only one example) that look more than a little strange to an outside observer.
Becoming the Mayor of Tweaker Town
But for me, I embraced it all. People would come and go at all hours from my place, and the amount of random boosted (stolen) goods that filled my 1 bedroom apartment was enough to get me in trouble all by itself. Never mind the other criminals I would associate with, not giving my safety a second thought.
Luckily for me, South Shores Detox and Recovery were able to help me get my mind and body back where they needed to be. Here’s a bit more on why meth was so addictive to me, and how I finally put some clean time together.
Maintaining A Methamphetamine Addiction
I began dabbling with drugs when I was a teenager, but a drug like meth always freaked me out. I had heard stories about it and seen all of those before and after pictures of people struggling with meth addiction. It wasn’t until I was at a low point in my personal life that I decided to try it.
I was hooked from the first high. A drug like meth is extremely addicting. It doesn’t take much. I’ve heard this opinion echoed from many others who have suffered from meth addiction. For some of us, the drug just fits, like a missing piece of your central nervous system you didn’t know you needed.
As my meth addiction grew, my mind and body began to deteriorate. I started to suffer from all the common signs of meth use. As my personal hygiene began to suffer, my physical appearance began to decline. What is it that makes meth so addictive?
The intense euphoria that it gives you at first makes you eager to go back for more. The withdrawal symptoms and corresponding comedown are bad enough that you will do anything to continue that high. This is how you end up staying awake for multiple days or even weeks.
The Physical Effects Of Meth Use Mount Over Time
As I mentioned earlier, I had seen the before and after photos of meth addicts, and I still ended up in that position. When I look at before and after photos of myself, pre and post-meth addiction, it shocks me. Why do meth users suffer such great physical damage?
There are a variety of reasons. First and foremost, chronic meth addiction results in intense tooth grinding, which can cause cracked and broken teeth. This tooth decay is known as meth mouth.
When you’re addicted to meth, skin sores and other skin conditions are common. Meth causes us to scratch and pick at our skin, which results in sores and damaged skin. The fact that meth users often neglect their hygiene can further these problems. Other physical signs of meth addiction include decreased appetite, weight loss, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
The (Insane) Psychological Effects Of Meth
We all need sleep to regulate our brains. If you don’t sleep, you begin hallucinating. You literally start dreaming while you are awake. There are a lot of forms of substance abuse that cause psychological issues, but this one is absolutely terrifying.
There is no reasoning with someone in the middle of meth psychosis. I stayed up for days smoking crystal meth and dealt with crippling hallucinations. When I found the instant high that injecting meth produces, things got that much worse.
When Hallucincations Become Reality
One time I carried on whole conversations with a set of statues on my shelves that I knew were speaking to me. I felt like I had lost my mind entirely, but it all felt so real you could never have convinced me otherwise.
Anxiety and paranoia are common symptoms of prolonged meth use. I always thought that people were after me. I would literally see people that weren’t there. I would have conversations with relatives who were long dead. This created intense feelings of detachment.
Crystal meth took me to the very edge of sanity, and thankfully I didn’t entirely cross over. My mental health issues were only worsened by my drug addiction.
Mood Swings and Going Over the Edge
When I was in the middle of my addiction and kept meth in my system at all times, my mood was all over the place. I rode the wave of emotions. I would feel intense euphoria followed by brutal depression. I exhibited violent behavior. Mood swings can also be one of the common withdrawal symptoms of meth addiction.
When I was detoxing at South Shores, I would feel content and hopeful, and then sad and afraid not long after. This was a very strange period for me, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
There is an intense psychological dependence associated with meth use, and there were times during my recovery that I wanted to go back to it very badly. There is always an increased risk of relapse when you fall into these negative thought patterns, but there are ways to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of the initial recovery period. I had to constantly remind myself that this period was temporary, and I wouldn’t feel this way forever.
Overcoming Methamphetamine Addiction
As someone who is still actively going through recovery, I have learned that my addiction is still there right below the surface. I have no delusions. I don’t believe that you are ever cured of addiction. I’ve met people with years of sobriety who slip up once and fall right back into their old habits.
Even when I was sober for months, I still occasionally felt intense cravings. Even years later, I still feel the long-term effects of meth.
I attend therapy on a regular basis and try to speak as much as possible in support groups. The physical withdrawal symptoms are gone, yet I still have dreams about it. Sometimes I feel like I can still taste it in my mouth. I still have the urge to grind my teeth once in a while and wear a mouth guard at night because I still clench my jaw, especially when I have dreams of using it again.
The effects and memories of my meth days still feel tangible to me. This can make me feel triggered, but because I have a good support system, I can work through these feelings.
Substance Abuse Affects More People Than the Addict
My drug abuse caused me a lot of devastating consequences, but it also hurt my loved ones as well. The families of addicts often get forgotten about. Drug abuse hurts everybody around you, and can even cause PTSD. Drug use can often lead people to abuse and neglect the ones they love the most. I did and said a lot of things that I wish I could take back, but luckily my family knows how deep into addiction I was.
Even though I know the shame I hold onto does me no good, I still have a lot of forgiving to do.
I’ve attended therapy sessions with my family, and I learned a lot about what my methamphetamine use did to them. The drug’s effects turned me into a different person altogether. I try not to deflect the blame, however.
Even though I didn’t feel like myself, it was still me that caused all that pain. I don’t beat myself up for it, but I do hold myself accountable. I don’t blame the dealers. The blame is on me, and me alone.
Embracing the Opportunity for a New Life
There is no manual for how to stop using drugs, especially a drug as highly addictive as meth. What works for one person may not work for another, and vice versa. You have to figure out why you got there in the first place. Your past often dictates the decisions that you make in life.
I learned a lot about myself in recovery. I recognize the issues that I have and I have the tools to deal with them in a way I didn’t before.
Reaching Out for Support at South Shores Recovery
You have to forgive yourself and realize that none of us are perfect. Addiction can sometimes make you feel invincible, especially with a drug like meth. These feelings don’t last long once you get further and further into your addiction.
The support of South Shores Recovery taught me that although I am powerless in my addiction, there are things that I can do to maintain my sobriety. Recovery is possible for anyone, especially if you choose a place like South Shores to begin your new life. Pick up the phone when you are ready to leave the insanity behind and get help from people who care about you and who you can become.
That one call made a huge difference for me, and if I can get clean, you can do it too!