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Letters From Family & Friends of Meth Addicts

  • Jan

    The Consequences of Meth Abuse

    I am 25 years old. I really don't understand the appeal of meth. I'm just glad I never tried it. I got pregnant with my oldest daughter when I was 16. I used to go to my boyfriend (now my husband's) house on the weekends. My father-in-law was and still is a meth dealer. So pretty much all his friends were tweakers. Everyone was happy for us that we were going to have a baby, but at least half of my father-in-laws tweaker friends had lost their parental rights to their children. My husband and I moved in together when our baby was one month old. At that time my father-in-law was about to lose his house, so he sold it. Even when he had his house, he didn't have any hot water or electricity so my husband's sisters and brothers would come over to take baths and just to spend time with us.

    My father-in-law was arrested while he was moving out of his house and my mother-in-law only took care of the kids on and off. For the next 4 years we had to take care of my husband's brother and sisters on and off. For the first 9 months we lived together we had everybody staying with us in a one bedroom apartment. Can you imagine being 17, not really ready to be a mother to your own child, and then having an extra 3 children to take care of? But, with my in-laws I didn't really see the transformation. By the time my husband and I got together, his family was already falling apart. I really experienced the pain and rejection that my husband and his sisters have gone through.

    Then some of my family members started using meth also. My younger brother wasn't the only one who was using, but he is the one who really got into meth. I think he started using when he was 16 or 17, by his 19th birthday he was completely out of control. He lived with and worked for my dad. Even though he was working he started robbing houses, maybe it was partly out of boredom. He would steal all kinds of odd things, but he mainly stole guns and traded them to his dealer for meth. Everybody but my parents saw what was going on. He was arrested in April 2001 right before his birthday, but was soon released while he awaited sentencing and everything. He didn't stop using until he went to prison in December. He served about a year and he got out on probation in January or February 2003. He did well; he worked hard and paid back all his restitution so he was able to get off probation after only about a year instead of 2 years.

    He started smoking pot again right after he got off probation. He even closed on his first home last summer at the age of 22. I saw signs, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. By the end of December it became pretty evident that he was using again. He admitted to me that he had started using again last July. It only took 5 months for him to turn into a different person. He hasn't come around much since December. His utilities were cut off at his house, he is about to lose his house and car. About a week ago he got really weird.

    Last Sunday he was saying all kinds of crazy stuff to my younger sister, he was almost picked up by the police for acting suspicious, but my sister vouched for him so the cops let him go. Tuesday, my mom (who lives with me) called me at 10 am because a police officer had picked up my brother and he was all disoriented not even wearing shoes or a shirt and had broken into someone's house. No charges were pressed. I left work to be at home when the police brought him over. He had no idea where his car was and told me he had just woke up from his vision quest. I told him I would either drive him home or help him seek treatment. He opted to have the police officer take him somewhere for treatment. But, he did not stay at the Mental Health detox center that the police officer took him to. He showed up at my house at about 6:30 pm with a loaded rifle. He did not threaten us; his plan was to trade the weapon to my husband for his car. My husband calmly took the gun from him and unloaded it and put it up somewhere.

    We agreed to give my brother a ride somewhere, but we were stalling while we decided what exactly to do. I was supposed to be leaving to go to school and I did not want my kids to be anywhere around my brother while he was talking about how the world was about to end and he had solved all the mysteries of the universe. My brother got tired of waiting and just got in my husband's car and started it up and took off while we were right there telling him he could not take the car. I even yelled at him while he was leaving that I would call the cops. My husband could have probably dragged him out of the car, (the meth has really taken a toll on my brother's body in just the last few months); but my husband did not want to cause a scene in front of our children and all our neighbors.

    So instead of going to class, I stayed home waiting for the police so I could file a police report. I reported the car stolen and turned in the rifle. We got the car back later that night. My brother had taken the car less than a mile and parked it in someone's driveway. Then he went and tried to steal my mother-in-law's car. To add onto the stress of this incident, some of my family members were mad at me for turning the gun over to the police because they did not want my brother to get into big trouble because he is a convicted felon.

    I am so tired of everybody covering up for him and making excuses for him. He is an adult, he knew the possible consequences. I did not betray my brother, he betrayed me. He is not a teenager giving into peer pressure. My mom looked for him all week, trying to piece together who he hangs out with and where he might be. My younger sister did not talk to me all week. One of my brothers said he was disappointed in me. Then yesterday my younger brother called, he had been picked up on Tuesday or Wednesday and had been in the hospital for almost a week. He wasn't even mad at me for calling the police. He was released from the hospital yesterday and he is supposed to enroll in a drug treatment program today.

    Now that everything has calmed down, no one is mad at me anymore, but I am mad. I am tired of this. I am tired of the way my family deals with problems and I am just tired. I am not responsible for any other adult's actions. I only need to take care of myself, my husband and my kids. Yes, family comes first to me, but my family comes first, my kids, my household. And if anyone tries to disrupt my life and get in the way of my goals and my priorities, I will take action against them. Yes, it's hard to watch someone going in the wrong direction and destroying themselves, but you cannot help someone unless they want help. Addiction may be a disease, but everyone has the choice to seek treatment for the disease. It does not give them an excuse for stealing from their loved ones or leaving town and leaving their kids with whoever or being intoxicated at their grandchild's birthday party. My advice is to set boundaries. Don't let the addict in your life walk all over you.

    Ruth H, Colorado Springs, CO, US

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