On Trashing ALL Paraphernalia (Including the Fancy Torch You Love So Much)

Some do it as soon as possible – after finishing or flushing that last bit of meth. Some wait for months after quitting. Regardless, it’s one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to quitting successfully: trashing all your paraphernalia.

That’s right. Trash it ALL. And as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better.

Let’s say, you’re still coming down, wide awake, and have made the decision to quit. You’ll be ahead of the game if you can clear your living space of all using paraphernalia before you crash and sleep for a few days. The trick, of course, is making sure these things get into a trash receptacle that will be empty by the time you wake up. If you’ve got all your pipes, syringes, and used baggies with crumbs stashed in your kitchen trash can, waiting for you to grab them in a moment of weakness, you’ll do yourself little good.

Go dump this crap in an outside trash bin that you can’t easily access. Choose a bin that’ll be emptied before you awaken. Choose a bin away from your home, at the back of a grocery store or large apartment house not your own. (If there’s no needle exchange program near, before trashing, put all syringes and points into an empty Gatorade bottle and seal the top. You don’t want to accidentally stick someone who might be going through the trash bin looking for returnable bottles or food. Be thoughtful.)

If at all possible, don’t do this job alone. Have a sober friend or family member with you. It’s easier to throw your old stuff away when you have support in doing it.

An addict I know who recently did just this (and it took him two weeks into his quitting to do it – a very dangerous delay) told me: “Packing everything up and saying good bye to my paraphernalia was really hard. It was like saying good bye to an old friend.” But he went on to say he realized that, by keeping some of his most treasured paraphernalia, he had actually left a backdoor open to using again, to relapse. Once he realized that, he knew it all had to go.

I suggest you throw away everything associated with your using. Toss that favorite torch-lighter you used. (“But it’s from Williams & Sonoma and I’ll need it if I ever make creme brûlée,” an addict once pleaded, like I was born yesterday. Really. What can you do but laugh?) You must toss the fancy torch, along with that ultra cool stash box, the empty baggies, straws, pipes, and anything else you associate with using. Wipe out the drawers you kept your drugs in so there’s no chance of coming across stray crystal chards or crumbs. Use Windex or some other household cleaner. Give that stash drawer a freshly-cleaned smell. Don’t forget to clean out all those secondary stash spots, like backpacks, overnighter kits, or car glove boxes.

Paraphernalia means anything you used in your using rituals. If you used a particular CD case on which to crush your crystal, or a certain small mirror, toss that, as well.

Here’s the motto when it comes to deciding what is “using paraphernalia” and what isn’t:

When in doubt, toss it out!

The less reminders you have of your using, the easier it will be to move forward with quitting. The sooner you can get your home clean of paraphernalia the better.

Of course, some of you will do this after you awake from your initial crash/sleep. Or some, like the fellow mentioned earlier, may hang onto certain paraphernalia deep into quitting. The smartest thing is to trash it today regardless. (And better late, than never—always.) Just make sure you do it as soon as possible, before the urges and cravings for the drug return in full force.

This will make your recovery a lot easier.