Tag: gay men and crystal meth

Attending Crystal Meth Harm Reduction Groups

[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column! For help with addiction please visit Treatment 4 Addiction]

Money was tight every week for Erik and I. We were paying a weekly rent of $200 dollars at Robert’s apartment. Coming up with that money each week proved to be a challenge so we had to come up with other creative ways to make money. Erik would escort from time to time which was an easy way to get fast money. We would also occasionally make a little money from selling crystal meth, however most of these funds went back into feeding our own habit.

One day, Robert mentioned to us that there was a crystal meth harm reduction class at a local community center where participants received a $20 dollar Ralphs gift card for their time. This sounded like a good deal to me. We needed the money and $20 would provide more than enough groceries for me since I was actively on the crystal meth diet.

We started attending these crystal meth harm reduction classes for the next four weeks. These classes were very different that other 12 step groups I had attended. These groups would talk about the dangers of crystal meth but would give suggestions on how to use it more “safely” (if that’s even possible). They recommended complete abstinence from the drug but were not adamant about it. I think they realized that the majority of the people who attended this meeting were there for the free grocery card. It was a way to get people in the door to teach them about the dangers of crystal meth with the hope of maybe getting through to someone.

At the time I actually enjoyed going to these classes. I listened, learned, and Identified with a lot of the things they had to say. Erik on the other hand seemed to have no interest in listening to what was being said and spent the entire time playing games on his phone…


9/19/2008
I for one actually really enjoyed the crystal meth harm reduction class tonight. So many things struck cords with me. They talked about the link between meth users and signs of irritability, restlessness, depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts. These are all of the things I have been feeling lately causing a great deal of strain on our relationship. Part of me wants to stop using completely but I know that’s only possible if you stop with me, I can’t do it alone. I asked you this afternoon while we layed in bed if you were happier when we were clean and sober. You didn’t respond right away and then I realized you had peacefully fallen asleep. I just don’t think we can survive doing this for that much longer.

 

Even though I was using meth on a daily basis, I still romanticized the thought of being sober and having a regular life. All I really wanted at the time was to have my own place with Erik, be happy together and do things that normal couples do. I knew deep down the only way that this would ever be possible was if we both quit using drugs and got sober. I knew Erik was not ready to give up drugs. I would bring this up to him every now and then but he tended to always avoid the question. At this time holding onto that relationship was a good enough excuse for me to continue using drugs. And who was I kidding? I wasn’t ready to give it up either.

Destroying My Body, Mind & Spirit with Crystal Meth

[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column!]

Shortly after I began abusing crystal meth on a daily basis, I noticed some serious side effects and started developing medical problems. While active in addiction, my skin was absolutely horrible. I was always in the middle of an indefinite breakout. When I was high, I would tweak out and pick at my face or other parts of my body for hours at a time. The incessant picking left terrible red wounds all over my body that I would unsuccessfully try to cover up with makeup.

Picking at breakouts would sometimes cause skin inflammation that would soon develop into a cyst-like lesion on my body. I soon realized that some of these zits might actually be something more serious. My boyfriend Erik was convinced that I had a bad staph infection, he was right. Due to my heavy drug use and weakened immune system I began getting staph infections on a regular basis. At one point I had a really terrible infection on my shoulder about the size of a golf ball. Erik had also been getting staph infections but told me that mine looked really bad and suggested that I go the emergency room…


8/17/08

Just got back from ER. They had to drain out my staph infection, it was fucking gross. It had gotten so big. Erik made me go, he said it looked really bad and that they would fix it for free, they can’t turn me away, so I went. It fucking hurt, they stuck this huge needle in my shoulder and the stuff spewed out everywhere, so gross. I couldn’t look at it – it was so painful. When the nurse was taking down some information she asked for my address. Told her I didn’t have one at the moment. She asked how often I used drugs and if I was using needles. I told her I use every day but don’t inject. She gave me some speech about not doing it or something. Whatever, just fix my shoulder bitch, who asked you. They gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I hope they work. Right now I have a large gaping hole in my shoulder. Looks like a bullet wound or something. I probably should stop, but don’t want to, I still want to have fun.

At this phase in my addiction my body was in awful condition and I was extremely underweight. I probably weighed about 140 pounds, which is not a lot for a guy who is six feet tall. The staph infection healed up but over the next months, but I continued getting smaller infections on a recurring basis. In addition to all of the physical side effects of meth, my brain was a complete mess. I would have auditory hallucinations on a regular basis as well as occasional visual hallucinations. I remember walking down the street and swearing I heard people screaming out my name. When I turned around there was no one there, it was all in my head. Whenever I took a shower I would hear terrible screaming and yelling as if there was someone fighting in the room next. But as soon as I turned off the shower the noises would stop. I was losing my mind.

I had been homeless for a few months now and was struggling daily to find drugs and a place to crash. If this happened to any normal person who was not a drug addict chances are they would have stopped a long time ago. It would be absolutely insane to keep using drugs if these were the consequences. Since I suffer from the disease of addiction, I could not stop – nor did I want to. I still thought there was fun to be had despite my body shutting down and the other countless consequences. My drug addiction had a strong hold on me and I was not willing or ready to let meth go.

Crystal Meth: Not Ready to Give it Up

[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column! Please visit Queer Planet every weekend where Brendon will be posting a video discussing this weeks column and answering questions from readers. You can email him at brendon@gaysocialites.com]

The following journal entry was written the very next day after I spent the night at Jill’s house. When I woke up the next morning I had terrible anxiety about having to go to treatment and being away from my boyfriend. I called Eric and told him I did not want to go through with it, he told me to leave Jill’s and meet him at a local bathhouse. Later in the day I received a phone call from my old sponsor Sharon. She proposed an offer to me. With the help of my parents, she had set it up for me to go to a treatment center in Florida.

7/24/08
Sharon is really pissed off at me. I just got off phone with her. She told me that she and my parents have it set up for me to go to treatment in Florida. FLORIDA!!? In the summer? Are they crazy? Disgusting!!! When I asked her how long it was for she told me it was three months! 3 Months! I don’t fucking think so, I can’t be away from Erik for that long. I swear this whole thing is set up to keep me away from him. Sharon yelled at me and told me if I didn’t go do this that she would never talk to me again. FINE BY ME. What the fuck? Who says that? Don’t threaten me! I don’t really care, it’s not like I need you in my life bitch! People think they can threaten me by saying they don’t want me in their lives? Newsflash! I don’t really care. I’m fine without you, I don’t need you or your empty threats, my life is great. I have everything I need, I have Erik and I’m in love, and that is good enough for me…

This was the final attempt made by my friends and family to try and get me help for my crystal meth addiction. They had previously tried with an intervention and 30-day stint in rehab. These things did not stick for me – I was not ready to be sober. Until I was ready to clean my act up there was really nothing that could be done to help me. I hadn’t hit rock bottom yet and I wasn’t desperate enough to accept or seek any outside help. Sharon’s threat of no longer speaking to me wasn’t an empty threat; I don’t think I spoke to her again until I got sober.

The same thing went for my parents, throughout the next five months communication between them and I was very limited – I was completely okay with that. My mother would occasionally send me emails asking how I was. I would send her brief responses so she would know that I was still alive, things like “everything is fine, don’t worry.” On the other hand, I don’t think my father spoke to me at all during the next five months, which was probably the healthiest thing for him to do. I didn’t want to talk to anyone from my past and certainly didn’t want any help from them. Accepting help would mean giving up the drugs and the boyfriend, and I was not ready to leave either of those things.

Sometimes in order to help someone who has a drug addiction you need to cut all ties and let them fall flat on their face. Chances are they will act like I did and not care about losing contact with their friends or family members. They will probably be able to survive for some amount of time on their own but hopefully somewhere down the road the will reach a point of desperation. For the next five months, I managed to survive on my own with the help of my boyfriend. Eventually my resources dried up and shit hit the fan, hard. I reached a point where I was so desperate; I didn’t know where to turn to. This is when I reached out and asked for help, and luckily for me my family and friends were waiting and willing to support me on my journey into sobriety.

Codependency: Fear of Losing the Man and the Meth

[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column! Please visit Queer Planet every weekend where Brendon will be posting a video discussing this weeks column and answering questions from readers. You can email questions to brendon@gaysocialites.com]

The following entry was written shortly after my boyfriend Erik and I and quickly used up most of our money. We were no longer able to afford the hotel we were staying at so we moved back in with Erik’s alcoholic friend Tom. Tom did not want us there and made it very clear that this was only going to be for a few days. This development started to freak me out as I had no clue what we were going to do in regards to having a place to live. I ended up calling my old sponsor Sharon and asked her for some help or advice. She told me that if I met her at a meeting she would help me. I followed her direction and met her at a meeting that night. Sharon said had been in contact with my parents and was working with them to figure out the best way to help me.

7/23/08
So I’m spending the night at Jill’s apartment. Met Sharon at a meeting earlier tonight, it was nice to see her. She asked me if I was willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. Ummmm I guess so? I dunno. Who asks that? Anyways she, Jill and my parents are trying to plan something to get me some help, so I’m staying with Jill until they figure that out. Finding out more in the morning.

I’m kind of scared and don’t feel good at all. I really miss Erik… He came to the meeting with me and Sharon, but he just stayed outside, then Jill came to pick me up. I asked her if Erik could stay over as well, she said no. Not surprised, she hates him. Erik said it would be good to spend some time apart and that everything was going to be ok. I couldn’t fucking believe he would say that! WHY? I love him so much, I just want to be with him tonight. I feel so lonely now, and really upset. I’m scared about what’s going to happen. Jill looks at me differently, it’s annoying, hellooooo I’m the same person. She brought me to Taco Bell which was nice. I just feel really weird right now, like I feel like I’m making the wrong decision, my stomach hurts and I miss my boyfriend SO MUCH!!! I feel like everyone is trying to keep me away from him and that everyone is against us. Everyone hates him, they don’t understand that I’m SO SO SO in love with him. Nobody does.

The next day after Jill went to work I called Erik and told him I didn’t think I could go through with it and didn’t want to go to treatment. I wasn’t willing to walk away from him and give up the lifestyle we had been living. Erik was the first boyfriend I ever had and I fell head over heels in love with him. It got to the point where I was completely co-dependent and could not imagine doing anything without him being there. I almost feel that I was more addicted to being in a relationship with him than I was to crystal meth.

If Erik had not been in the picture I probably would have gone with the plan that my parents, Jill, and Sharon had set up for me. However, at the time I was completely in love with him and could not imagine being separated from him for any length of time. I by no means blame him or hold him accountable for my drug addiction. I was using drugs on a regular basis way before he came along. Erik provided me with companionship and also provided a way for me to survive while doing drugs without the financial support of my parents or anyone else. I was completely addicted to him, the drugs, and all the drama that came with it.

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