Meth use and addiction is an epidemic currently sweeping the streets of America. It has been reported that meth and heroin are now easier to get in high schools than marijuana. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant, similar in its effects to cocaine, typically home-made and synthesized using dangerous, store-bought chemicals. The ingredients range from sudafex (found in over-the-counter flu and cold medications) to battery acid in some cases. Regular meth users often start to lose their teeth and suffer various health problems like constant itching and scratching, and dangerous weight levels from having a low to non-existent appetite.
Recovering from meth is a long and arduous process. Recovery from addiction can be one of the hardest things someone can go through, and meth is one of the most addictive substances out there. Admitting that you have a problem and detox are the first steps in recovery. Most people have to be checked into a treatment center in order to start weaning off the drug, which like with suboxone treatments for opiate addicts, amphetamines can be used to supplement this process gradually.
One of the worst things about meth addiction is that methamphetamine is a neurotoxic substance. Meth literally kills brain cells and starts to re-wire the brain, even after a single use. After regular, every day use it can start to lead to cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Since meth is a powerful stimulant, users will binge for days upon days, and possibly go weeks without sleep. This is the much dreaded amphetamine psychosis described by doctors, where the user is essentially going insane from lack of sleep and from ingesting so much of the drug.
Meth users’ friends and family frequently report that the user’s personality has changed, often in undesirable ways. A meth addict is more likely to forego their moral compass while high on the drug, justifying such acts as theft and maybe even murder to keep their habit going. Meth is a mind-altering drug. It clouds your judgment and inhibitions and makes you do things that you normally wouldn’t.
After losing everything (job, home, friends, and family) some meth users resort to prostitution to pay for their habit. There is often a sick relationship between the drug-addicted prostitute and their pimp, who supplies them with the drug. But if someone really wants to get help, and takes their recovery seriously, they can avoid these mistakes and again become clean, healthy, productive members of society.
One of the things that a counselor will tell an addict in treatment is to “avoid old people, places, and things.” If the choices we were making before weren’t necessarily in our best interests, it is wise to extricate oneself from the situation that caused the drug use in the first place. Contact should be cut altogether with old friends who enabled or encouraged use. Places that one would go to use or that remind them of using should be avoided. And things, like paraphernalia and things surrounding the drug culture, should be discarded.
This is where the sponsor comes in during the recovery process. The sponsor is another recovering addict who has gone through treatment and has been clean for a number of years. This person acts as a friend, mentor, and guide for the newly recovering addict, offering sagely advice and helping them through a crisis when they feel down and feel like using again. Every recovering addict needs a sponsor to help them through tough times and to keep tabs on their recovery.
Meth addiction can only be overcome with patience, hope, and the belief that the treatment and recovery process work. It is a concerted effort between multiple people, multiple organizations and sectors of society that all work in tandem to heal the addict soul. Everything an addict goes through is what we all go through throughout our daily lives, but on a larger scale.
We’re all “addicted” to something – coffee, cigarettes, donuts, cheeseburgers; oddly enough some people can even get addicted to healthy things like eating right and exercising. But the meth addict is ensnared by something that is killing them from the inside out and, no matter how hard they try on their own to get away from its grasp, will not let go. The first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and that is the first step in a journey that will lead to a healthier and happier life.