I was the girl no one ever expected. The tiny, nerdy girl who always smiled and laughed but always kept to herself. I didn’t go out. I didn’t party. I didn’t do normal teenage-get-into-trouble things. Even when I snuck out at night, it was to go to Sonic or McDonald’s. I was boring, but drug addiction doesn’t care about boring. It doesn’t care about your personality, about your friends, or about you.
The thing is, I knew about addiction before I started using it. Both of my parents were drug addicts, and I had watched my family get destroyed time and time again. I had watched the need for drugs take over their need to eat, to have power in the house, to spend any time with me. I watched my parents become different people since I was 10. Finally, I got angry.
I was angry at the drugs for shaping my parents into these creatures that I didn’t know. I was angry that my parents would rather spend money on dope rather than feed me and my brothers. I was angry that by the age of 15, I had already been so traumatized that even now I have nightmares. My anxiety and depression flew through the roof. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. My grades at school slipped. I just wanted to know: why?
What made this drug so good that it was worth tearing my family apart? What made it so terrific that given the choice between me and meth, they would always choose the meth? I tried to put the thoughts out of my mind, but they kept coming back, forcing themselves into my brain to the point that no matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of the question. Why? Why? Why?! I had to know. I had to try it at least once, just to know what exactly was so fantastic about this substance.
So I did. And everything stopped.
The depression. The anxiety. The feeling that I could never be good enough. It was all gone. My mind raced then slowed then raced and went blank. Was I feeling normal or feeling at all? My adrenaline pumped. I had to go. Do… something. So I cleaned the house for 8 hours before leaving for school.
I didn’t sleep for two days and when I crashed, I slept for almost 20 hours. At least, now, I understood. The worst part was that I wanted more.
I spiraled quickly and became a regular user. I didn’t need sleep. I didn’t need food. All I needed was this drug, the one I watched destroy my parents. Now, I was watching it destroy myself, but I didn’t care. It made the pain stop, at least for a while.
I ended up at 65lbs in the hospital for severe malnutrition and a nasty infection before I quit. Withdrawals were horrible, but I don’t remember much except for about three months in. See, what they don’t tell you about being a regular user is that after a while, it reroutes your brain. So now I sometimes hear things and see things that aren’t there. I have incredible paranoia and after I quit, my depression and anxiety increased tenfold.
The physical pain was much worse. Broken bones, cracked ribs, and a host of diseases before and after I quit has given me the bone and muscle structure of someone in their mid-40s instead of early 20s.
I’ve been clean for over two years, and I never plan on going back. God, though, do the cravings ever stop?
Amanda Bateson has an interest in psychology and psychological studies.