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Meth is a monster. Crank. Ice. Crystal. Tina. Speed. Glass. It goes by many names. But my favorite name for meth is Demon. It’s a demon that destroys people’s lives. A demon that took my cousin, my aunt, my first love, and countless other people.
Have you ever seen someone you love, before and after meth? I have. I wondered what was wrong with him. He had a good life, from the outside. Yeah, his girlfriend cheated on him, but other than that, I didn’t see the problem. Why did he try to kill himself? I went to see him about a week later. He looked like hell on earth. His eyes were sunken. His skin was dry. His hair was disheveled. He spoke softly, like every word was a struggle. I left as quickly as I could, I couldn’t handle seeing him like that. The last thing I remember about that day was seeing him take the longest, most desperate drag from a Marlboro Red that I have ever seen.
In retrospect, I should have known something was up. I left thinking, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was tweaked out…nah. Not him. Not him…”
Turns out, he wasn’t tweaked out. That day. After another two weeks of probing deeper into the life of this person I used to know, I found out about the meth use.
“I’m not the sweet kid you used to know. I’ve done a lot of bad things,” he said to me, late one night. “Bullshit. What could you have done?” I replied. I harbored, and still do, a ridiculously biased, high opinion of the man I lost my virginity to. He could tell me he killed someone, and I’d probably just help him hide the body. Even so, I wasn’t prepared for what he said next.
“I shot up a couple times.”
Shot up? That could mean anything. There’s plenty of drugs that could be shot up, it doesn’t have to be…
My breath caught. I felt sick to my stomach. It was like jumping into the North Atlantic at midnight.
“How long did you use meth?” I demanded, tears already forming in my eyes.
“For about three months before I met her,” he replied.
“What made you stop?” I demanded again, this time tears streaking my cheeks.
I could hear the ache in his voice. And suddenly, everything made sense to me. That girl that I despised for breaking his heart saved him from the Demon. I always knew he was a strong man with a lot of willpower, but his love for her had gotten him away from meth.
“Damn,” I said, “I understand now. I understand everything now.”
“Yeah. I’ve been relapsing like a mother fucker.”
“What do you mean relapsing? You’re not using, are you? Please tell me you’re not using…”
“No, I’m not. Just lying in bed all day, not moving. Not eating. Shaking. Wanting to take a hit.”
“You have to promise me you’ll stay away from that shit. Promise.”
“I promise, Bell.”
I didn’t think I could handle it. Seven evil exes I could handle. An asshole brother and an emotional sister-in-law I could handle. But meth? Meth, I couldn’t handle. But I knew that if I didn’t find a way to fucking handle it, this man would die.
I’ve been living on a prayer ever since. He loved her enough to get clean. Does he love me enough to stay clean? I don’t know. I know he loves me a lot. He always has. That high opinion I was telling you about? He has the same high opinion of me.
He looks better every time I see him. Happier, healthier. But not like how he used to look. I can see the irrevocable change that the Demon has made in his soul. The knowledge that this man that I love so much put that shit in his body puts a knife in my heart every time I think about it.
I hate methamphetamine. It’s Satan’s drug.