Sunday, June 23, 2013

People think they get cred for how LONG they were addicted

Some people get off on telling how much booze they could (can) handle or how many days they stayed up straight without sleeping.  Like they've won or something.  I know I've done it myself, but that shit drives me nuts.

In the grand scheme of things, and compared to many others, I really wasn't in the horrific throws of meth addiction for as long as some people. I definitely had ABUSE issues with substances (and bouts of addiction, if that makes sense) my whole life, but the fast and furious, total take down, no turning back, of the meth and cocaine addiction, only lasted a few years.

Some people do that shit for decades. Those might be the toothless people you see in the fear selling photos, you see on the billboards or on the internet. 

I've mentioned before. I was a picker of the skin. I didn't believe I had "bugs" in my skin. I'm fucking smarter than that. But I did believe that I had SOMETHING in there, like maybe an ingrown hair, or a sliver (which was not really there), that needed to come out. But not a bug. I mean come on, I'm not crazy...

The other day, on Facebook, one of the recovery pages I follow, posted one of those shocking pages of "the faces of meth."  I commented on the photos that not everyone looks like that. I looked like this:

I remember this day.  It might have been spring or fall, but not that cold out and I was sweating my ass off. But I always had to cover up, even in the summer. And wear TONS of cover-up make up, even on my arms.  I still do today (make-up on my face, not winter gear in the summer)  And if you look closely, you can see the bumps on my face.  But not like what you see in most "faces of meth" covered by the rest of the world. 

Showing those shocking before and after mug shots on "faces of meth", do nothing to promote recovery. There was proof in the comments of other readers. They were "horrified" and "disgusted."  Is that what is important to know about this disease?  I don't think so.  Meth is scary.  It is my biggest monster, the thing I fear most.  But it isn't us at our worst that we should be looking at.  Will it stop people from trying it?  I wish, but I doubt it.  

There should be more photos like Shanna White. aand her before and after photos.  THOSE are the photos I wish people would show.

So I commented the same thing myself and others say all of the time, "this does nothing to promote recovery, it only perpetuates the shame and stigma of addicts."

A few people called "bullshit" on my comments. I didn't respond. Can't get into Facebook fights with strangers. I save that for close friends and family.

So here is my point:

What always shocks me about threads of conversation about addiction is that many people in recovery start their responses with, "I was addicted to meth for 150 years, so I know more than EVERYONE." 

That is such bullshit AND a terrible way to start a discussion. Some people often claim to be the WORST addict or the WORST alcoholic. They spent the MOST money and lost the MOST teeth. Egos running WILD.  Especially on these websites. Well... everywhere, I guess.

There is a difference, in my opinion, in sharing your story of struggle and recovery, than trying to be the biggest, baddest, winner of all drug addicts.  I think it could send a message to people who didn't lose their teeth, their house or their kids that, "well, maybe I wasn't that bad and I could try it again?"  

It's not about how much more you've done in one night or how much more money you have spent. It's about when you crossed over that line where you cannot figure out how to stop. Some people need to lose everything before they will even consider they have a problem. Some people, like me, lose a lot, but can see that what's left to lose, isn't going to be worth it. But for god's sake, this isn't a pissing match. It's a disease. 


  1. I remember sitting in group once, talking about all of this, and our leader let us for a few minutes and then chewed our asses out. None of us was "worse" than the other- we all have our own personal demons that needed slaying and arguing who did addiction better was futile and against growth and self bettering. Thank you for this reminder, I have been needing it.

    1. Not to mention, for me, it can be a HUGE trigger!! Thanks for sharing that. I will use that in a group one day I bet!

  2. I agree with you! Mostly because it's a contest I can't win, and I never play when I won't win :) But seriously, from my first hit to my last was 6 years... and I was clean for over 2.5 years during that time. When people get on their rants about how bad their addiction is because they went to X number of treatments or went to jail X number of times, the subtle message is that you have to be really f*cked up to belong. And for someone with a background like mine, if you're already on the edge, that might be enough to make you think, "Maybe I'm not a REAL addict or alcoholic because [whatever] didn't happen to me!" Dangerous stuff. I love your writing! Keep it up!

  3. Hi, I'm so thankful I found you on LinkedIn. My daughter is a meth addict. She went to rehab last night and she just called me and said she left! I'm just devastated. She's 22. She said she's going to try to go back but I don't know if they will let her. She told them she wanted to leave and they didn't even try to talk to her about it! She just got there yesterday morning and she said she just got scared. It's for 30 days. So, they said something to her about having to go back to jail so she just left, walking! She didn't have a ride there yet. But she was released on her own recognizance. But they knew she was going to rehab, so idk if the police are looking for her or not. I'm sorry this is so long. I just have noone to talk to about this. Thank you so much for writing about all this. I will be coming back here a lot.
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