Today my good friend Sheri McDonald is joining us to share her perspective on addiction. Sheri blogs over at Kidumers where you can find out everything you need to know about products, books, trips, activities and events. Thank you so much Sheri for sharing your journey with a family-member’s addiction, it’s never easy to put yourself on display and we appreciate it!
What exactly does meth do if you use it?
It blocks your ability to feel pleasure from anything but a meth high. It steals your joy.
It destroys your skin and teeth, and leaves behind a shadow of who you used to be.
It damages your heart and health, slowly leading you to death’s door.
It takes away your ability to control your own movements.
It leads you to be a thief, a liar and someone people can’t trust or respect.
It breaks the hearts of the people who love you.
I have watched someone I care about let meth steal her life away. She has lost her children, her home, and most of her support system, because you can only watch someone destroy themselves for so long. I have been trying to understand her, and her choices, by reading about meth use. Today I learned that meth destroys the dopamine receptors that allow you to feel pleasure, making it impossible to feel pleasure from anything but a meth high.
Can you imagine a life without joy? Would anyone choose meth if they understood what it steals from you?
It helps me to somewhat understand how a mother can seemingly turn her back on her own children, but worries me that she can’t come back from it.
One website described meth use as “self-inflicted mental illness”. How fitting. I have worked in a mental health hospital, and the people needing the most care appeared in better shape than most meth addicts.
I researched the chance for recovery too, and learned that it is not as hopeless as I first thought. In fact, there are a number of terrific resources available such as the Axis Residential Treatment site. Our brains can find ways to recover from the damage that meth causes, but it is a long and difficult recovery. Therapy, medication and sometimes institutionalization is necessary.
So why do people choose meth when it destroys so many lives? I think the short answer is that either they don’t understand the damage that it does; or they think one time won’t hurt; or they think that they are too strong, too smart or too tough for meth to take over their lives. They are wrong.
So what can we do to make sure our children don’t try meth (or any other drug)? I believe education is key. Make sure they know what it would do to them by teaching them all about crystal meth abuse. Show them before and after pictures of meth addicts. If your child isn’t involved in anything, help find something for him to be involved in, so he doesn’t have idle time to fill. Is your child a risk taker? Find her activities that suit her need for excitement…zip lining, surfing, dirt bike racing…or less risky but still exciting things like travel, or starting her own business, or painting a mural…there are so many ways for kids to stand out and be unique without using drugs. Help your child find hers.
In the case of my sister-in-law, she was not a child when she started meth. I wish that I had known what to look for, and I wish that someone would have noticed the changes before things got so out of control. Her children deserve so much more, and after being away from their mother for nearly a year, it looks like she will never get them back. I think it is probably best for them, but I’m so sad for her loss, even if she doesn’t recognize it right now.
Meth use is an epidemic among adults and teens, and we all need to educate ourselves and one another so that no more people fall into the trap.
What does meth do?
It destroys lives. Let’s stop it from destroying any more.
To submit your story about addiction please visit my Sober doesn’t Suck! submission page!