I was a teenage meth-head

Red Clark
Tell us about your (or your loved one's) recovery journey. What has been the most rewarding part?

See above.

Do you have a message for the Shatterproof community?

I personally don't use a 'program' or 'steps' or any of that, but if it helps you, DO IT! I have zero faith in what I call The Fiction Of Addiction, I believe it's a matter of will-power vs won't-power... I WON'T do this to myself any more! That said, I know we are all prone to 'addiction', some more than others, but it's more mental than chemical, IMO. Most of us can unlearn addictive behavior patterns, it just takes effort... a LOT of effort. If you need a higher power or whatever to help with the heavy lifting, I'm not about to judge. Whatever it takes, take back your life! People love you and want you safe and sane and happy.

Right after high school, I got a night job washing dishes. The night janitor turned me on to some cocaine one night and I loved it. When he and his supply of great coke were no longer available, I turned to meth, or as I had called it at the time, "welfare dope". I dove head-first into a bag of meth for about five years and I didn't support a habit, it supported me (very poorly). I found a supplier where I could get quantity for about half retail and I snorted as much of the profit as I could. I stayed awake for weeks at a time and survived on mini-mart hot dogs and soda. I lived on people's couches and out of their closets when I wasn't sleeping in an abandoned windshield shipping box...much better insulation than refrigerator boxes. I was trying to kill myself, to be honest. I wanted to see how long it would take...I stayed awake for over 6 weeks one time, just to see how long I could go without sleep. I was genuinely psychotic by this point, and very lucky I didn't get a chance to do anything truly horrific to anyone but myself. Then one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and saw a person I hated. I had become the tweeker-trash I so despised and made fun of with my fellow dealers. I was a depraved lowlife, ready to do almost anything to anyone, not for my 'fix', but because it might prove entertaining. By this point I had faced down knives and guns, I just didn't care... "You might take me out but you better know I'm taking you with me, and when we get there I'll be running the show because I have an in with the boss!" would be a good description of my mentality at the time. I was a meth zombie... half-alive and a danger to anyone I came in contact with. I look back on those days with a combination of shame at what I had become and amazement that I survived. My mom, bless her loving soul, gave me a way out by inviting me to come stay with her and get myself together. I (mostly) cleaned up, went to school, got a degree, etc. but the meth monster has deep claws. I lost several jobs by letting 'a little to get me moving' turn into staying up for days at a time again. The final straw was watching my favorite cousin, more like a brother, kill himself after falling into the same hole I had before. He went off the deep end, started ripping everyone off, etc. drove away every friend he had including me. Then he sucked a tailpipe and we had to bury him. It still hurts. Speed kills.