I stood outside the car at 3am, staring at a row of ranch-style houses, my gaze fixed on the brick one with red trim. The winter blackness fell on the desolate street, seeming to muffle sound. It was the kind of silence that buzzed in your head. For a meth addict, that kind of constant buzz tended to be eerily soothing. It is as if the brain yearned for anything consistent to anchor the disorder of obsessive thoughts. I had enough to obsess about, though. Someone had stolen cash from me, and I was going to get my money back.
I opened the passenger door and slid into the cold car. The abruptness of my getting back into the car startled the guy in the driver’s seat (let’s call him Dax). His body jolted, making him drop the phone he had been fixated on. Nothing was said, because this kind of instance was normal between meth addicts; spontaneous jerks from loud noises or being mindful that sudden movements could trigger a wave of paranoia. I had only been out of the car for a few minutes, but that was enough time for him to lose himself in Grindr.
Without looking up from the phone screen, Dax asked So, what’s up? I’m freezing.
I’m about to get it done. Just a minute. I had bribed him to drive me here with the promise of free product. At this stage of my active addiction journey, I had elevated myself from drug user to drug supplier. This was the result of a downward trajectory sparked by being fired from a job for the first time in my life. The guilt and shame fossilized my heart and I had become calloused and bitter. What Dax didn’t know about this trip was that the guy who lived in the brick and red-trimmed house had stolen a pile of cash from my nightstand and now I was going to execute my plan to steal his beloved dog for ransom. I didn’t have weapons nor did I know how to use them, so my “collections” approach tended to be psychological (and debolical) in nature.
My body was beginning to convulse a little, a nice blend of extreme nervousness, freezing air, and coming down from the previous high. I took a deep breath and the both of us used needles, which gave me the jolt I needed to spring from the car. I knew the hiding place of the spare key and also knew he was partying across town. The little Yorkie was already standing at the door yapping loudly at the sound of an intruder, so all I had to do was scoop him. I raced back to the car, jumped in with the dog and screamed GO! I’ll never forget the look on Dax’s face; it was a perfect mix of confusion, fright and disbelief. He sat staring at me as I wrestled the wriggling dog.
Damn it, I said GO! Dax finally started the car and we were on our way to the pet-friendly Super 8.
We got back to the room, and I really don’t know which of the three of us were more panicked. My head was pounding in cadence with my heart. I was partly scared, but also charged by the thrill of getting away with it. It was the same kind of adrenaline high I received when I would walk through the doors of Target with a cart full of stolen merchandise. These were the instances in my life that I created to feel some semblance of being alive. Dax. on the other hand, was 100% freaking out, pacing in circles and mumbling. The dog had taken refuge under the bed.
I sat down to begin my series of threatening texts to the man who lived in the brick and red-trimmed house. Then I noticed Dax packing his belongings.
What are you doing?
Man, I’m out of here. You are f—ing crazy.
I told you, he stole cash from me. You have any other ideas?
Dax stopped scouring for his belongings long enough to stare at me wild-eyed. Who the hell are you?
Oh I just love it when other meth heads try to judge me.
There’s something wrong with you man, and I’m out.
I recall the sinking feeling in my stomach as he was leaving. The realization of what I had done swept over me followed by the despair in thinking I would again be alone and stranded–now with a dog. I grabbed his arm at the door and with tears rolling down my face I distinctly recall my words. Look, everything about ME has been stolen. I don’t have much left, and I’ll be damned if I let anyone steal another thing from me again.
At the time, I really didn’t comprehend the profoundness of that statement. All I knew was that my life had fallen apart and I was desperate to cling to anything or anyone who could give it meaning. It was either my dramatic performance or the promise of free drugs, or both, but Dax ended up staying. I had given the man in the brick and red-trimmed house a deadline of noon, to which he complied by Cash App, and was given the address and room number at the Super 8 where he could find his dog.
Please understand that I am not proud of this story, and I hesitated to make it public. But, I feel it illustrates just how lost and broken I had become and an example of how Meth takes over brain function. Methamphetamine is the most intelligent and evil drug available on the planet. It instinctively knows where one’s weaknesses are, the vulnerability areas, and preys on those spaces in order to exploit and transform an otherwise good person into a shell of their existence. Meth knew that I lacked self-confidence and would literally whisper in my ear if you do this, you’ll feel powerful, you’ll be someone, you’ll be accepted.
At 415 days sober, I’ve discovered the depth of liberation in my dramatic plea for Dax to stay. I had lost every part of my soul, but the deterioration began long before I first tried Meth at age 39. Through healing work, instances of losing parts of myself have been revealed as far back as pre-verbal. Throughout my life, I allowed parts of me to be taken, or I would give them away, until finally there was only a fragment of my identity left. I never really knew who I was. How can you love someone you don’t know? After forty years of this, I found what I thought was the solution; a drug that magically filled in all the missing pieces and made me whole. It was if Meth had possessed my soul and taken over all my functions, mentally and physically. And I was an easy target since I had lost all sense of hope that I would ever be truly accepted by anyone.
The dark place I had arrived at when I stole a dog was triggered by the loss of my tangible life. I had lost my job, then my car, and my condo was within the eviction process. It was the physical loss that brought it all home to me; I could try and fake my way in the world having lost my inner soul, but now my outer world was crumbling. In the end of active addiction, I was left with only one black bag to my name, and when that was lost, I gave up. But, this was also the beginning of my healing journey. The first year of my sobriety has been about sorting through the previous years of derailment. By sharing my experiences with Meth, I pray that others feel less ashamed about their past, less isolated, and more hopeful that they can rise above the grips of this demonic chemical.
With that said, I feel a calling to change the focus of my blog. Yes, I was addicted to Meth for a time in my life, but that was only a small part of the overall picture of being Dallas. Instead of a hind-sight look, Memoirs of an Addict, I’m going to begin charting my journey forward. I am on a mission to reclaim all those parts of me that had gone missing. And through this assemblance process, emerge in the world a transformed being. Being Dallas is finding out who I am at my core and loving that person unconditionally. You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising. –Rumi