Category Archives: Guest Posts

These 5 Things Keep Me Clean

In the 4-plus years of this blog, I’ve published only 3 guest posts, including this one. I don’t edit… raw… real… and some great advice.

By Peter Lang

I’ve been addicted to nearly every substance imaginable including heroin, cocaine, and every prescription medication you can think of. I’ve been homeless—living on the street of Philadelphia and the beaches of Maui for the better part of a decade. I’ve been in a wheelchair after drinking both my hips necrotic. And none of that was as destructive to me as crystal meth.

I’ve used meth at various times in my life, but it never got as bad as it did the last time. Four years ago, I was put on methadone. I had legitimate pain issues that were a result of having double hip replacements and a femur replacement following a car accident, but I also had a history of heroin use and prescription painkiller abuse so they put me on methadone. Continue reading These 5 Things Keep Me Clean

Next time you’re feeling negative about your addiction, consider this…

 

Culled from Quitting Crystal Meth‘s Facebook page and other sources, below are some of my favorite videos and feature articles.

First, My Fav Vids to Watch…

Satan Explains Addiction

South Park, Satan and Addiction — need I say more?


 

Davey Wavey Followed a Recovering Meth Addict on the AIDS Ride and Finished Strong

Luke is a recovering crystal meth addict who had been off the drug for 12 days after a relapse when he allowed vlogger Davey Wavey to follow him on the AIDS/Lifecycle ride and chronicle his journey. They had been planning the trip for some time, but hadn’t counted on the relapse.


 

Rapping About His Relapse

The smash hip hop rapper Macklemore presents his hit song about relapse. The song’s title: Starting Over.


 

On the Power of Vulnerability

This is the TEDTalk that, if you’ve not seen it before, I really encourage you to see it soon. For those of us that believe the opposite of addiction is not sobriety — the opposite of addiction is intimacy and connection with others — Brene Brown’s talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” is a must see video.


 

“I’m Triggered!”

Oh, yeah. I think this comedic bit about getting triggered is falling-down funny. But my best friend (and fellow meth addict) shrugged a “meh” when I showed it to him. But me? LMAO — really.

 

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And Here’s Some of My Favorite Articles/Posts to Read:

 

24 Celebrities Who Are Celebrating Their Sobriety


 

Why the Myth of the Meth-Damaged Brain May Hinder Recovery

Methamphetamine is widely believed to cause brain damage and cognitive impairment in users. But this claim may be wildly overblown, according to a new review of the research. Read more…


 

Kody Christiansen / Via HeartbreakDreams.com

From Destructive Substance Abuse to Sober Success

Kody Christiansen’s story. How he went from the Hollywood high life to the New York City homeless shelter system and the inspirational return to life. Read more…


 

From crystal meth to Olympic glory: the recovery and rise of Luvo Manyonga

Three years ago Luvo Manyonga was a crystal meth addict. Now he is an Olympic silver medallist. This is his journey from the tik-addled townships to Rio glory, with the help of an Irish former street-sweeper turned strongman. Read more…


 

And, finally, as promised…

Meth-Addicted Puppy Reunites With The Cop Who Helped Him Get Clean

Bubba the puppy has had to endure more cruelty in his young life than any animal ever should. But despite all he’s been through, his is still a story of hope — and, as you’ll soon see, immense gratitude for those who helped him through it. Read more…

 

You Are NOT Your Addiction

Guest Post by Alexandrea Holder

Facing the road to recovery and sobriety is a challenge most don’t understand unless they’ve faced it themselves. The path ahead is rarely straight and never smooth; it’s dotted with pitfalls, obstacles, traps and detours, all tempting you to turn back to the familiar and deceptively tantalizing den of misery that is your substance abuse disorder.

These moments of vulnerability and despair are dangerous as, left unchecked, they can lead to relapse and possible death.

People in recovery for substance abuse disorders need encouragement and understanding during the low points, especially if they come from someone who has been in their shoes. They need to hear that their disorders don’t strip them of value and that addiction does not have to be the end. This reassurance can come from members of their support group, a sober coach, or even concerned friends or family members with a history of substance abuse. But what if you don’t have that?

Well, you can turn to Hollywood.

Below is a list of the figures who rocked the world before, during, and after their battles with drugs, alcohol, and even other mental and physical disorders; they prove one very important truth: you are NOT your addiction.

Daniel Radcliffe

At just 11 years old the British actor took on the role of Harry Potter, the star in the film adaptations of the ever popular children’s book series written by J.K. Rowling. At the time, no one involved with the initial film knew just how incredibly popular the films and books would become- Rowling hadn’t even finished writing the story. For the next decade, Radcliffe and his co-stars would be thrust into a fast-paced, stressful, and ultimately rewarding life with high demands and even higher payoffs.

However, as history has demonstrated time and time again, a child growing up in the spotlight can equal trouble. By the age of 18 and the filming of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Daniel was spiralling out of control with nightly binge drinking sessions and an increasing dependency on alcohol. The actor even admits to being drunk during filming- though he does say he never drank while on set. In 2010 Radcliffe realized he needed to take control of his drinking problem and has abstained from alcohol since. The young celebrity now enjoys a relatively quiet life mostly off the radars while continuing to act in theatre, TV appearances, and movies.

Samuel L. Jackson

Suprise, motherfu-…. you didn’t actually think I’d say it, did you? Though Sam L. is famous amongst his fans for his use of the experlative (which, fun fact, he began using to counter a stuttering problem he had as a child), few recall that the charismatic actor began his career in a very dark place: straight from rehab for alcohol, crack cocaine, and heroin. Jackson’s drug use can be attributed to his incredibly rough upbringing during a time of unrest in the country. He was raised primarily by his mother and grandmother and only met his father, also an addict, twice in his lifetime.

Sam was an actor, a civil rights activist, and studied marine biology and architecture all while struggling with substance abuse. When he finally entered and completed rehab, director Spike Lee casted him in “Jungle Fever” as a crack cocaine addict and Jackson has said the role was cathartic for him, helping him in his recovery. From that moment Jackson’s career would take off and it has not stopped since: the iconic role of Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction” was written just for him. His latest blockbuster reprised his role as Marvel’s Nick Fury in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and he is slated for movies into 2017.

Stephen King

Stephen King: master of horror, literary giant, and… recovering alcoholic and drug abuser. The horror author is known for his impressive writing credits, including “It”, “The Shining”, “Carrie” and “Misery”- all of which would be adapted to film and terrify generations. He also wrote “Cujo” but he says he doesn’t recall any of it due to his substance abuse. King admits he spent much of the 80s in a drug and alcohol induced haze, even following a few near-death calls that stemmed from his addictions.

Thankfully a family intervention got through to him and he sought help in rehab and has remained sober since. He still actively writes and his latest series of releases included a continuation of ‘The Dark Tower’ series, which is a favorite of his readers. He also contributes to entertainment sites and manages his own along with podcasts, book tours, and touring with his band The Rock Bottom Remainders, which is entirely comprised of writers.

Oprah Winfrey

The queen of daytime television, driving force behind the OWN magazine and TV network, and humanitarian is often celebrated by women everywhere as a beacon of hope, inspiration, and guidance. Despite officially retiring from television in 2009 she remains a force to be reckoned with in everything she touches. However, the billionaire media mogul had a rough start: her childhood included sexual abuse, a pregnancy in her early teens that ended in stillbirth, and drug abuse.

On her talk show Oprah has opened up about both her sexual abuse and drug use, siting them as things that helped build her character and make her the phenomena she is today. The abuse at the hands of men in her family lead to low self-esteem and bad choices- one of which was her relationship with a man in the 80s that introduced her to crack cocaine, which was then called ‘freebasing’. She has never given details about her recovery or when she quit, but she has said she was more addicted to the relationship than the drug, leading some to interpret that her use ended with the split. Her achievements since then have been well documented and she continues to be a true inspiration for all those facing hardships.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

These two get listed together because it was their love and devotion to each other that helped them overcome their demons. Angelina and Brad may still catch some heat for the way their relationship began (behind the back of Pitt’s then wife, Jennifer Aniston) but they have since proven their love genuine and deep- a rare thing to witness in the movie industry. Before they met and fell in love, both admit to hard partying ways: Angelina says she tried just about every drug she could gain access to while Brad says he thought his drug use had done irreparable damage to his life and body. They were both struggling to cope with darker feelings of inadequacy and despondency.

The newly married couple credits each other as their inspiration to find sobriety, as well as their love for their six children. Together they have become vocal humanitarians, generous donors to various charities, and beautifully understanding and supportive parents. Brad and Angelina have each said their lives were in danger due to their substance abuse, but following their recovery they have given back to thousands of others in need.

Britney Spears

Britney’s fall from grace was the center of a media circus the likes of which have not been duplicated since. The pop star’s risqué and alarming antics between 2004 and 2007 led to concern among fans, criticism by the media, and rumors circulating through Hollywood that the singer was not only suffering from an unknown mental illness, but abusing drugs (possibly heroin and crystal meth) and alcohol.

Her now infamous head-shaving incident occurred after she left rehabilitation center after only one day in treatment. Her now former publicist has said the incident was because Spears feared a follicle test would reveal her drug use during her court battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline. Other brief stints in rehab followed before a final intervention: Britney overdosed on amphetamines and was taken into medical care in 2008 where she was evaluated and placed under the continuing conservatorship of her father.

Since then, Spears’ career and personal life have been improving, including a stronger relationship with her children, effective co-parenting with Federline, and a successful residency in Las Vegas. The singer has said she’s happier with this quieter lifestyle and the success she’s had in recovery.

Demi Lovato

Like many former Disney stars, Demi Lovato has had some trouble since her time as a child star. She has been exceptionally vocal about her battles with substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm. Lovato was able to function while under the influence of cocaine, alcohol, and other illicit substances which made it easy for her to hide the extent of her use from family, friends, and fans. She admitted during a 2013 interview that her addiction reached a point where she could not go more than an hour without cocaine. Finally, following rehab and soul-searching, Lovato freed herself from her demons but she does still experience moments of vulnerability.

Demi has made it her life’s purpose to encourage communication among teens and young women struggling with self-esteem and body image issues as well as encouraging sobriety and recovery from substance abuse disorders. She advocates mental health causes and has recently launched the “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health” campaign which has received tremendous support across social media. She credits her success thus far to those in her support system and wants more avenues for support and information available to everyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

Robert Downey Jr.

The enigmatic man behind Marvel’s cinematic portrayal of Iron Man has a past to rival Tony Stark. Early in his life and career RDJ dabbled in several drugs and drank heavily. He has said he began drinking as young as eight years old and his drug and alcohol-fueled escapades lead to legal troubles. He was arrested twice on drug-related offenses and went into rehab repeatedly before he would find success. One alarming story tells of a night his neighbors arrived home to find him passed out in their 11 year old’s bed after an admitted “blackout.”

Downey has said his decision to get sober came from a particularly disgusting burger from Burger King and a sense of impending doom. He claims he immediately drove to the ocean and tossed all of the drugs in his possession into the ocean and finally committed to living a sober life. The support of his wife helped him through his darker moments and now the couple is supporting their son, Indio, while he battles the same demons his father once faced.

Today Downey is so committed to his sober journey that his contracts include a clause stating he will receive 40 percent of his pay after filming has ended- something that began during his early days in recovery to keep him focused. With iconic roles such as the aforementioned Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes, and Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder Robert Downey Jr has definitely come a long way from the dark path he once travelled.

 

About the Author

Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. Through her work with Harbor Village Rehabilitation in Miami, FL she has garnered valuable insight and experiences which she applies to her work and personal life. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.  Read her blog at Harbor Village Rehab’s website here.

 

An Open Letter to Crystal Meth (guest post)

 

Well, after all these years, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs, finally it’s all come down to this moment. Am I such a fool to think that I can actually end this relationship we share, somehow find my way back home without that endless string being somewhere attached to my body, to my soul, just waiting to tug on me in some future that soon enough becomes the past, all the while nothing has really changed.

Even when I’m away from you, I can feel you close, closer yet still, waiting for me to seek your never-ending embrace, of warmth, of mindless sense of purpose, of circular cascading thought, of peaceful chaos within. Do now I see the truth of what you really mean to me, or am I only trapped in a lie among lies, a story within stories, where the next chapter is never the last chapter, and the hero never comes home.

I have to end this relationship. I can’t go on living the lie, a lie that exists both while clean and while using. A lie that allows me to believe I can walk away, only to find myself back again soon enough. A lie that I can manage this, even though I feel like shit, my priorities are totally fucked, and I ignore and avoid my family and friends. I know you don’t make me feel good. I know that staying up all night focused on endless mindless shit that isn’t real, isn’t any good for me either.

Why do I see you as a companion, a treat, a source of warmth, peace, serenity, focus, purpose, when the reality for each of those words you are in fact the opposite or a path that leads away from where I know I want and need to be, not toward it. How long will I cheat on myself with you, letting you take my days and nights, my weeks, into nowhere and nothingness, letting you rob me of my hobbies, my natural interests, my on balance view of sexuality, my physical ability to enjoy it.

How long can I let you convince me that the emptiness I feel with you is actually happiness, that the void in fact is contentment, that the purpose is in fact without meaning of any nature I can comprehend. Am I such a fool to believe that I can actually walk away forever? Is there such a thing as forever with you, or apart from you? The seemingly endless banter and needless chatter that run together forming something perhaps only you can understand. That racket, this noise in my head, the pounding, the feeling alone when I’m with you, alive when I’m dying, awake when there’s nothing left of me.

Can I really walk away, or am I doomed to repeat the story, a story that’s been told so many times by so many souls over so many years, but it never seems to get old, old enough for them to wake up, for them to take notice, that the grand lie you so elegantly and faithfully execute exists nowhere outside of their self-inflicted minds. That the hallways lead nowhere, the sun isn’t really shining outside, the feelings, the pacification, the show you put on for those around you, the stunning sense of how you must appear to them, almost as if you are outside of yourself, removed from soul, alone in the shadows of a former sense of self.

I can’t permit you to make be believe that one more will ever be enough. That keeping the run alive is actually living. That I’m anywhere near as alone as I feel. That turning towards you leads to pleasure when in fact it only leads to pain. That I can hold it together with you when in fact I’m falling apart. Why must I be forced to admit that freedom from you is finite, just as life with you has become.

Somewhere, sometime, somehow, I will have to stand up to you, be forced to betray myself against you. For I know that the only real strength I have, I have when I’m not with you. That the further I dare stray from your gingerly grip, the easier it becomes to forget you. Then why do I return to the warmth of my torturous existence with you, over and over again, like a horror movie that endlessly loops, luring you in while appearing amenable, only to terrify you over and over again.

Today is the day, when my twisted relationship with you must come to a close. I have no choice as I simply cannot find, pursue, and become my destiny, exercise my true purpose, achieve my true greatness, while I permit myself to even consider you a valuable crutch, a worthwhile treat, a much needed escape. I can no longer allow myself to cheat on myself with something/someone that I know deep inside only exists within me. This inner struggle has no end, and yet I hardly recall the beginning.

The realization that you are part of me and yet I must remove you from myself, feels like I could be self-amputating a limb, killing my best friend, killing some part of myself forever. When in fact I know deep in side that the truth, the lie, the comprehension of your existence within me, only can exist because I allow it, only because I choose to say yes, to a lie you once told me, that I never stopped believing, and now I must forget, if I’m ever to rediscover my true and genuine identify, purpose, place in this world, conscious, alive, awake, at peace, eternal.

(written by and anonymous guest who submitted it to the site)

Guest Post: My 9/11

 

Today’s guest post is by Don Miller, a recovered crystal meth addict and life coach. For more of Don’s wonderful writings on recovery and life, I encourage you to check out his new website LifeMeansSoMuch.com. Back to my regular posting next week. For now, enjoy…

My 9/11 by Don Miller

It would either kill me, or change my life forever.

Mistakenly, I had believed I had a choice.

And until this moment, I have spoken to no one of the two weeks of my life that eclipse in importance all others.

My first glimpse of any hope or lucidity came at some point on Sunday, September, 11, 2011. Bedridden, unshowered, unshaven and in my pooled sweat for a week, I had awoken from week-long hellstorm of hallucinations. No idea if it was day or night…it didn’t matter anymore. Blinds and drapes had long since been drawn in preparation. Once the busiest front door in town, it had been unopened for a week. Voice and text messages were gathered in such numbers on my chargeless phone I scarcely cared to plug it in again.

But I was awake. And it wasn’t the kind of awake that I’d been accustomed to for so many years. I was awake and I could feel.

I knew I could feel because I had just turned on the television thinking I might catch up on what had transpired during the past week. I had been alone without a single visitor. The world could have easily ended escaping my notice. And fortunately for me, in a very tangible sense, it had.

The TV images were predictable for that day. The tenth anniversary of the terrorist bombings in New York and other points. Services, memorials, reflections of survivors. Not exactly the kind of programming to watch after a week of crystal methamphetamine withdrawal. I had not cried during the prior week but I could see I was entering that next phase and the TV news of that morning was to be the divine catalyst.

Lucid was probably an overstatement. However, something had changed. The fevered stupor of my addiction was breaking and I could actually reason from one thought to the next in succession. Despite this glimpse of hope though, it was ragingly apparent the worst of it was yet to come.

Two weeks prior, I had been wearing an orange jumpsuit and was confined to a hard metal cot in a large room with hundreds of very creepy men. I had little hope that my environment would change any time soon. A week before that, my arrest and subsequent discovery of my habit by my family and friends had been a forced hand thank you to the detectives and swat team that raided my hotel room, home and car after months of surveillance. The confiscation of thousands in cash and even more thousands in drugs of all kinds was undoubtedly their biggest bust of the week—perhaps the month—according to the detective who had first cuffed me at the elevator of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.

In total, I had saved around $23,000 cash, the remaining profit of what had been a highly lucrative illicit drug sales business from the past few years. But after the denied theft of my cash on hand by the arresting detective team and the documented $5,100 cash taken from my home during the raid by the S.W.A.T. team, I had about $15,000 in cash and other hiding places which I reserved for such a day. As I watched the footage of the 9/11 memorial events on the television, reality had begun to hit me as I started tallying the immediate rest of my life. It was the first hopeful thought I could muster.

The money situation had taken over my selfish mind for the moment, but as I watched the tragic recollections of the events ten years earlier, I was overcome by a reality more important. I put the pad of paper and pen down at my bedside and as I watched, I was overcome with feelings of loss and grief I had never before experienced. I no longer cared about the money. I didn’t even care about the future. The present, for all intents and purposes, was irrelevant. I had become fixated on the past.

The program host on the TV was doing a segment on the orphaned children of 9/11 whose fathers and mothers, police and firefighters, had lost their lives in acts of heroism and compassion on that day. The children, now a decade older, were recalling the fond memories of their parents with pride. It was that moment when the tears came. I wish I could say it was for those children of 9/11 pictured on the screen in front of me, but it was for my own.

I would have rather rewound the week and returned to that sweaty, hallucinatory hell than to have to face what I knew was the most profound loss in my life of addiction. The stories of the noble fathers and mothers, selfless in compassion, bold and courageous in their efforts, was as far away from my self-image as the east is from the west. The stark contrast between who they were, many posthumously, and who I had become as a parent, sickened me. I vomited myself. The hardest thing I had to face from here on out wasn’t going to be the possible 25 year prison sentence for eight felonies and a high level drug trafficking charge. It wasn’t what attorney to choose and how many thousands I didn’t have to pay him or her. It was how I was going to again face my own three children.

The moment of my arrest should have been a foreshadowing of this. I vividly recall the moment the undercover officer called my name, grabbed my right arm and cuffed me at the east elevator entrance. My second thought (my first was an obvious two words,) was “Andrew.”

Andrew is my youngest and my only son.

Now a vibrant, genius level student in his first year of college, he and I had remained closest during my addiction. My two oldest were already on their own, smart and perceptive women, who otherwise might have caught on more quickly to the secret I’d long been hiding. I had kept them, and my extended family members, at a distance. But my son was a minor still and custody arrangements with my ex gave me a couple days a week with him, more if I wanted. I rarely exercised that privilege.

In every father, there is an instinctive paternal concern to be with, care for, protect and support his children. I had never lost that instinct. Rather, I daily subdued it and pushed it down in deference to the drug, rationalizing that I was managing my dual lives quite well and without having raised any particular curiosities from my family. My son, I thought, was perhaps the easiest, albeit most vulnerable, of the marks of my deception. I still went to Boy Scouts with him on Monday evenings, often high, but he never seemed to know. I picked him up from school, shared a meal, a drive, a movie or some other activity to buffer against what might otherwise be detected by him until it was time to return him to his mother’s home and race off to make my next drug deal or host a drug party that would likely last for the next couple days…at the very least.

More than once, having suddenly remembered my commitment to him that afternoon, did I race to shower, dress and get out the door and shoo my guests so that I could meet him in time to have a nice, unsuspecting, quality encounter with him.

I vomited again.

The recollection of these kinds of deceptive events were now coming in waves and the steady progression of shame I felt through my tears was punctuated by an occasional glance at the TV to hear yet another story of a proud son’s word’s ten years after his father’s heroic death.

I had been no hero.

I believe it is a paternal instinct for a father to want to raise his children to think heroically of him.

Worse, I was not-only a non-hero, I had become the enemy from which fatherly heroes rescue their children and theirin, become heroes.

I cried alone for hours, maybe days. It was still dark. I awoke crying. I cried on the toilet. I cried in the much needed shower I finally brought myself to take. I am crying even now as I recall this reality.

It would either kill me, or change my life forever.

The truth was, and still remains, that the choice for an addict must be both. The want to die to self and to drugs and addiction and the want to have a changed life are inseparable desires for recovery to be sustained. Singly, it is one of the greatest epiphanies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting to date.

Now, clean, sober and two years later, much of the healing has taken place with my children and family. Much is still left to accomplish. I’ve learned how to be a father once again. Unfortunately for me and my children, we both missed and cannot ever recover those years. Many important events happened during my addiction for my daughters and within my family. And when they come up in conversation, I am embarrassed without recollection of them. I simply wasn’t there. And even if I had been, I still was not.

Without having had a lifetime to build up resistances, mistrusts, walls and resentments, children can be quite forgiving. Mine have been when they didn’t have to be.

But the knowledge of the walls I created within them that I still am working to tear down make the tumbling and crashing of the twin towers of September 11th and the proud but fatherless children of heroes who also remember that day…vivid, visual reminders which will always make me contrite and somber and thankful, especially on that anniversary.

Today is September 12, 2013.

I am very glad it is.

I am very proud to be a father of three incredible heroes who survived my holocaust.

 

Again, thanks to our reader Don Miller for this guest blog post. His blogging can be found here at Life Means So Much. I encourage you to check out his site.