Upon my Lady Friend’s (I guess this will be her official title on the blog?) suggestion, I borrowed her Husband’s copy of Beautiful Boy, a memoir from a father about his meth-addicted son. She’d read it because she’d just complted a film (which the Husband wrote/directed) about a heist by meth addicts gone wrong. I’ve been interested in meth as a sociological and cultural part of the fabric of America (oh god, I’m that girl) for a while. I grew up in a state that boasts top 3 status of meth addicts in the nation. Although I went to a very sheltered high school and lived a very sheltered life in a good neighborhood, when I was 15, a house exploded two blocks from my house. There was a basement meth lab.
I read a book called Methland a while ago, and was completely intrigued. Meth is unique and uniquely influential drug. First of all, it came to prominence for a few incredibly logical reasons– with the rising economic troubles in middle America, people had to work harder, for longer hours, for less money. Meth is a serious upper. It allows the user to have huge reserves of energy. One could work for hours straight with great speed and efficiency, and without rest or hunger. Laborers could work hard and fast, stay-at-home parents could keep on top of all their chores, and women could get skinny. Plus, it was able to be manufactured at home with just a few household chemicals. It was cheap, easy, and worked fast. These are very logical reasons for generally straight-laced citizens to try drugs.
The real problem, though, is what the drug does. Meth affects the “pleasure” neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. The high is strong, quickly acting, and lasts long. A user gets an effective high without the quickly dropping low of cocaine or heroin. However, the drug actually damages these parts of the brain. A user will need more and more meth to activate those “pleasure” receptors. Very quickly, meth becomes the only thing that actually can activate those receptors. That’s why the drug is so addictive. It is still unclear whether a meth addict can ever experience pleasure in the way non-addicts can. That’s why the recidivism rate of meth addiction is over 90% by most estimates. It’s a nasty, nasty, nasty drug.
This evening, I took a walk to the organic grocery where I bought my first kombucha in months, then to Rite Aid for TP, soy sauce, and some clearance lip gloss and blush. At the register, I eyed the cigarettes behind the counter. I have never smoked a cigarette. Not even a puff. For a long moment, I wanted to buy them. Just to see. Maybe it would help.
I didn’t buy the cigarettes. And I will never touch methamphetamines. And I drink, but not heavily, and I’ve smoked pot, but not much.
My drug is food.
I went for a walk tonight because I had binged. A big one. A bad one. The kind I could have avoided if I had the energy or willpower or wherewithal or whatever to do the work it would require mentally to prevent it. I didn’t. I binged. But then I went for a walk. I cleaned up the kitchen. I drank a kombucha and I put on some lipgloss. I dealt with it like a champ.
Sometimes my ED feels like the end of the world. I hate the way it monopolizes my brain space. I hate how it makes me hate myself.
But it’s not killing me. My body is fighting through admirably, and so is my mind.
I experience plenty of happiness without my “drug” of choice. I’m getting better at isolating that happiness. I’m going to be fine.
For once, in a very real way, I’m grateful for my ED.