- Anti-Porn and Anti-Prostitution Writer, Speaker and Activist
- AntiPornography.org Volunteer
Life is made up of choices. Making the right choices can lead to great things, and making the wrong choices can lead to devastation. Unfortunately, in my life I have made a series of bad choices. One of the worst choices I ever made was trying meth.
I had just turned seventeen and I was hanging out with an old friend from elementary school, Selena*, and her brother Miguel. They lived on a fairly large-sized property with a main house where their parents lived, and a small house where they stayed. Selena invited three other girls over: Vicki, Ally and Karen. I vaguely knew Vicki and Ally from school, but Karen I had never met.
At nineteen Karen was older than we were, and from a "rougher" area. I found Karen interesting. She seemed so confident and like she had seen it all and done it all. Little did I know that Karen's "confidence" came from meth. (I also later found out that Karen was pregnant. She continued to smoke all throughout her pregnancy, and for some reason no one in our little circle was critical of this. Thankfully her baby was born healthy. I sometimes think of her, and hope that she was able to clean up and be there for her child.)
Within minutes of showing up, Karen pulled out a little bag filled with white crystal-like powder and a small glass pipe. I had already done cocaine, marijuana, prescription pills and some drinking, so I didn't hesitate for a second when she offered everyone a hit. She showed us how to smoke it, and was even gracious enough to light the pipe for me. After that first hit, I was hooked. It's true what those cheesy anti-drug commercials say -- it only takes one hit to get addicted to meth!
I can't even begin to describe how amazing I felt. I remember looking out of the window at the night sky and feeling so full of happiness that I thought my heart would burst. All of my insecurities, worries and anxiety flew right out the window. It was unlike any drug I had ever experienced. I couldn't believe how amazing I felt, and I wanted to feel that way for the rest of my life.
We stayed up the whole night smoking and talking. When you're on meth it can feel like you're really connecting with people and having "deep conversations," when really all you're doing is rambling on about nothing. We all became best friends within hours. Drugs have a funny way of forming bonds. Too bad those bonds only last as long as the drug does.
That night was only marred by one thing; Vicki, who was the least experienced with drugs, apparently smoked too much. Her pupils became completely black and she went into some sort of shock for about ten minutes. We were about to get Selena's parents and take her to the hospital, but thankfully Vicki snapped out of it. Of course that only scared us for a few minutes, and the rest of the night we continued to get high. Vicki left, and never did meth again. At least one of us learned a lesson from that incident.
From then on I had a new love. Meth was the ideal drug in my eyes; it made me feel energetic and happy, and best of all I didn't think about eating or food. I had been struggling with bulimia and binge-eating for years (see my story on that here: http://www.antipornography.org/my-bulimia-eating-disorder-story-how-it-harmed-me.html), and meth seemed to erase that problem. Of course, meth came with its own set of problems...
I would disappear for days at a time, staying up smoking and hanging out with Karen and a meth cook named Mike in their sketchy neighborhood. We'd stay awake for three or four days in a row, until we started hallucinating. I remember seeing what we used to call the "shadow people." I'd be walking by an empty car or window and I would see imaginary people staring at me. We'd get paranoid and spend hours staring out of the peephole, hearing and seeing non-existent people that were "out to get us."
Another memory that sticks out in my mind is when I was at my parents' house after a meth binge, and I started hearing Karen and Selena outside of my window, laughing at me and mocking me. I kept peeking out of the downstairs window and muttering, and my parents couldn't figure out what was going on. They didn't know anything about meth, so they had no idea why I was behaving so strangely.
During my meth use I couldn't hold a job for more than a month. Smoking was my number one priority, and my jobs just got in the way. School? I couldn't be bothered. I honestly have no idea why my high school let me graduate. I rarely showed up during my senior year and I didn't do any schoolwork. As far as I was concerned, I didn't need school. I totally idolized strippers and porn performers and was planning on becoming a porn star. What did I need school for? And now, thanks to meth, I was "thin enough" in my mind to work in "adult entertainment." So I thought I had it all figured out; turn eighteen, start stripping and get a porn agent, and then achieve instant fame, fortune and validation.
Things didn't exactly turn out that way. While I did end up in porn and stripping soon after I turned eighteen, I didn't continue doing meth long after my eighteenth birthday. I wish I could say that I realized I had a problem and went to rehab, but what really happened is that I simply couldn't get my hands on meth anymore.
For whatever reason, Karen and Mike stopped talking to me. Selena had gotten pregnant and quit meth the second she found out. I had no other way to get meth, since I didn't have my license or a car, and therefore I had no way to get to the "bad" parts of town and look for it. In a way, my fear of driving (which had prevented me from getting my license at sixteen), and my extreme shyness, saved me from falling deeper into the meth trap.
I went through a terrible withdrawal. I felt extremely low and depressed, was hungry and tired all the time, and just wanted to die. But after a few months my mind cleared up and I started to see how I must have looked to other people when I was on drugs. I finally saw how paranoid I had become in such a short time, and how horribly I had treated my best friend Stacy, who never touched drugs. I saw that Karen and Mike had never been my real friends, and that we had absolutely nothing in common. Our all-night "deep" conversations seemed more shallow than a puddle when I examined them from a sober viewpoint. All of this made me want to never do meth again.
Sadly, though, I fell back into bulimia. I may have kicked meth, but I didn't get to the root of my issues, so I just went from one addiction to another. It would be years before I faced my inner demons and truly freed myself from all of my addictions and addictive behaviors.
I thought that because I had gotten off meth by myself, that I was fine. In retrospect I see that I should have gotten help to see what made me do meth in the first place. (As well as turn to other drugs and to bulimia.) But covering up my issues and lying to myself was typical for me back then, and it was something that I did for quite awhile.
Now I am owning up to the harmful things that I've done to myself and others. I'm looking into why I did drugs, why I was bulimic, and why I let myself be degraded in the sex industry for so many years. It's hard to be honest with myself sometimes, but the results are worth it. I don't need to make excuses and hide behind destructive behavior anymore, and that is a wonderful thing.
I highly recommend to anyone who has engaged in self-destructive behavior in the past, or who is doing so in the present, to consider getting help, and to start facing and dealing with your underlying issues. It may not be easy, but I know that ultimately you'll be glad that you did.
POSTSCRIPT #1: I heard from Selena a few months after I got off of meth. She told me that Karen had called her and had let her know that Mike had been recently been shot, and that he later died from his gunshot wounds. Karen had moved away and had had her baby, (the baby came out healthy, as far as I know), but she was still having trouble quitting meth. Their stories served as a bleak reminder of what might have happened to me if I had continued down that very unhealthy and dangerous path that I had been on. I was incredibly lucky.
POSTSCRIPT #2: To be clear, it was not easy at all to get off of meth. I'm aware that it may seem that way due to the fact that I did not go to rehab, but there is more to this story, and I will elaborate on my meth use, withdrawal and recovery in my upcoming memoir. It will cover my childhood and teen years growing up in a drug-filled, over-sexualized society, as well my seven years working in the destructive sex industry.
*The names of all living people in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to see the truly horrific damage that meth can do to people, and what might have happened to me if I wasn't fortunate enough to have kicked meth use, check out the shocking mug shots of meth users below, taken over a series of years, in an infographic created by Rehabs.com. Also, if you are a meth user and need help, please visit their website and contact them, and/or find a treatment center near you. You'll be glad you did, because your life is worth saving!
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Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexualitytakes an unflinching look at today’s porn industry: the stories woven into the images, the impact on our culture, the effects on us as men and women, the business machine that creates and markets porn, and the growing legitimacy of porn in mainstream media. Above all, PORNLAND examines the way porn shapes and limits sexual imaginations and behaviors.
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"Pornography is a marketing device for sex trafficking: It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and uses the bodies of real women and children as objects. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the roots of the words themselves -- porne means females slaves, eros means love -- so pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination, not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to separate pornography from erotica, and to disentangle violence from sexuality."
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