In the regular world, everyone has a different tolerance for pain. Some can employ the “mind-over-matter” strategy and push themselves to excruciating limits. Others wince at the slightest pin-prick, scraped knee or muscle-ache. I like to think of addiction withdrawal as the great equalizer; the process that takes everyone, from the most tolerant to the most delicate, and turns them into screaming, helpless infants. There is absolutely nothing natural about drug addiction, so it stands to reason that one’s reaction to withdrawal would be completely unnatural as well. Having endured crystal meth detox twice, first on my own and then in a facility, I can tell you there’s no comparison. And to prove it, I haven’t had to endure it a third time.
If you were to ask me why I started taking crystal, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I mean, why does anyone start using drugs? I suppose it was a combination of boredom, stagnation, some level of grief and curiosity. Although I can’t really pinpoint the cause of my addiction, I can certainly identify the effects: dozens of failed relationships, job-loss, insomnia, splitting headaches, hallucinations and respiratory problems, just to name a few. It was like I was living in the footage of a Stanley Kubrick movie that was too weird to actually make the final cut. After two years, meth became more than I bargained for and I decided it wasn’t for me anymore.
The problem with “just saying no” is that you have to say it from the start. It’s very hard to just decide to stop taking a drug that you’ve taken every day for two years; and your body will let you know that. My first attempt at detox was a colossal failure because I wasn’t ready for the toll it took on my body. I was prepared for a few sleepless nights and some headaches, but the hallucinations, the dry-heaving, the migraines and everything in between nearly destroyed me. The worst part was that without someone there to help me, I had no idea when or if it was going to stop.
I relapsed after just a week. This is when I discovered that I needed professional help. After my relapse, I entered detox in Florida. The distinction was overwhelming. For one thing, it made 100 percent of the difference knowing that there was an experienced professional to guide me through the process. I felt protected and looked after in case of emergency and when my symptoms started to rage, they helped relieve them straight away. Detox was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my entire life-I wasn’t kidding when I said it reduces you to a baby-having someone to help me through it was a critical part of my recovery.
Thankfully my second attempt at detox was successful and I’ve been able to stay sober ever since. There are still clear indicators on my body that I used to do meth, but I’m working to lessen those every day. For now, I’m focused on living a normal life again. I never would have been able to take this first step without professional detox.