Moving past meth

Published 4:11 pm Friday, April 2, 2010

Every day for nearly eight years, Jane seemed to lead a relatively routine life.

She would wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, converse with her coworkers, return home to her children, eat dinner and go to bed.

But Jane also incorporated something into her daily routine few of her friends, family members and co-workers knew about. Day by day, Jane was falling deeper into the pit of addiction, and it was slowly transforming her life into a jumble of chaotic thoughts and actions.

“I first got into meth through a friend I had met,” said Jane, whose name has been changed at her request. “I was going through a divorce, and once I tried it, I felt like superwoman.

“Those first few months, there was no down or crash time,” she added. “But after a while, it just grabs you and won’t let you go.”

Jane, 45, smoked crystal methamphetamine every day for nearly eight years, until her addiction landed her somewhere she never thought she would be.

Three years ago, police arrested Jane during a campaign to crack down on meth manufacturers throughout the county, which resulted in Jane being placed on probation.

The man who produced the drug and sold it to Jane is currently in the Shelby County Jail.

“I messed up two times right at the beginning (of my probation),” Jane said, explaining she was sentenced to jail time after she took the drug while on probation. “I learned real quick that I didn’t want to be in jail.

“Once I made up my mind that I didn’t want to go to jail, I luckily didn’t struggle with the drug too much after that,” she added. “It just wasn’t worth it.”

Because Jane had not been convicted of manufacturing the drug or committing a violent crime, she was able to complete the Shelby County Drug Court program.

Through the year-and-a-half program, Jane said she was able to face her past mistakes and break free of the addiction.

While many people who are addicted to methamphetamine face severe depression and many dental and medical issues while on the drug, Jane did not see the negative effects until after she stopped smoking meth.

“I am facing the fallout now. I am having problems with my teeth chipping, and it has aged me a lot,” she said. “That’s bad stuff you’re putting in your body. We all have consequences for what we choose to do in our lives.

“I faced most of the depression part while I was coming off the drug. It took me about three months until I wasn’t completely exhausted,” Jane added. “I feel pretty good now, but it was hard to get through that. It’s a very bad drug.”

Jane said the drug gave her a euphoric feeling, and her daily use helped her avoid meth’s withdrawal effects.

“My life was complete chaos. It was very unmanaged,” she said. “I have children, and I am paying for that now. My son is actually going through the drug program now because he was addicted to heroin.

“I feel really lucky, because they say meth has about a 1 percent recovery rate,” Jane added. “Between drug court and giving my life to God, I was able to overcome it.”

Having experienced the drug’s effects firsthand, Jane was able to offer a few tips for those struggling with meth addiction.

“The main thing is that you have to get rid of it from your life completely. Remove everyone from your life who is involved with the drug,” she said. “You’ve got to change your lifestyle and the people around you.

“Meth is a dead-end road. It leads to nowhere but jail, and eventually you can die from it,” Jane said. “Life is so much better without it, you just don’t know it when you’re using it.”