[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…
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.