So how did this all start? I wasn’t raised with bad parents; I didn’t grow up in a trailer (no offence to those who did… Just sayin’…). I grew up in a very middle class suburban neighborhood. The crime rate was almost nothing, and of course, I’m in Utah. In general, until you get into the nasty underbelly of the city, it’s a pretty “not much happens” place to live. I was not a child of divorce, or parents with a low-education. My dad had several degrees and was a life-long student, not quite sure what he wanted to be, but during this crazed time in my life, was the Network Engineer for the Salt Lake Library Systems.
My mom was always a teacher with a master’s degree and when I was in about the 6th grade, became the state president of the teachers union. Once that was over, she ran for Congress in the second district.
Ok, I like to brag about by parents, but I also want to dispel questions that have come my way for years. I don’t think that people that are raised in trailers become shit-head drug addicts – I guess I just wanted to push to the side the general assumptions about what lowly roots one must have come from to become a junkie. I had no such roots. I had a wonderful childhood! My parents were very attentive, my dad helped me learn baseball when I joined little league. My mom was a soccer mom, and made juice and cookies for the other kids on my team. I always felt loved, I could not sleep unless they came in and read me a story and sang me a song. I usually fell asleep while one of these activities were going on. I had family all around me – so what happened?
From about first grade till last week, I have been teased about my weight. I was a chunky little kid and my weight has gone up and down for my entire life. People assume everyone starts drinking beer, then tries pot and then eventually bridges over to the harder stuff. I on the other hand, being as impatient as I always am, had to jump right off the cliff into the big stuff… But I kinda didn’t know it was the big stuff!
Around 15 or 16 I started working in fast food. I worked at McDonalds for a short while, and then went to Burger King, mainly because when I stopped by there for lunch one day (I love fast food, but one month at McDonalds and I needed to eat something that didn’t smell like work), I found it generally empty. I figured if they paid the same and I’d only have to work about half as hard, life would be better… I found that there was this awesome shift called “closer.” It meant you got to clean the whole restaurant after it was closed and get it set up for the next day. You wouldn’t know it by looking at my house, but I really do actually enjoy cleaning things until they look like new again. I like things to be orderly and in their correct place. The problem is, I generally lack the motivation. I also like having millions of dollars in the bank, but I lack that motivation to do more than save about $1000 at a time, and that generally disappears when there is a sale at Kohl’s.
My motivation here was that when it was done I got to go home. But until then, we got to have the whole empty store to ourselves, and we’d turn the music up and talk and laugh and I loved it! I had a few friends in school, but I never felt exactly popular… But here, everyone thought I was cool – or at least it felt that way. We’d finally have everything done about midnight and then my work friends would decide to go out to Denny’s and drink coffee and continue talking and joking for another hour or so. They would always ask me to come and I always went. I loved being up until all hours of the night! Problem was, I would end up getting home about 3 and need to be up by 6. I was still in school, and doing just enough to get the credits I needed to graduate.
The friends I worked with had not finished high school and they were doing great! Meredith the manager pulled down over $1000 a month and she didn’t finish school! I felt like that was all I’d need in life. I’d be very happy working in fast food as a manager making enough to pay for a small apartment and a cheap used car. Who needs school? The one thing that I consistently got at school was the wonderful opportunity to feel bad about myself day after day. But I didn’t dare tell my mom the educator of educators that I didn’t want to finish. I felt like I could at least finish high school for her but her plans of me going to college were definitely not going to happen. But how to operate off of 3 hours of sleep a night? Well first, there were plenty of classes to sleep through. Mr. Barney didn’t care if you slept. He always said, “It’s your education, I can’t care about it for you…” So there was at least an hour I could get in each day. But I still needed at least another 3 hours! I would often “catch-up” on my days off, but it still wasn’t enough. Finally I found the answer! At the Metro Mart down the street from my house they had Mini Thins (sometimes called cross tops). They were like $3 for a bottle of 6 million, cheap and plentiful. Someone told me it was like super coffee in a pill. It was!
I started taking a few a day as I’d get sleepy during class – I’d still allow myself to nod off in Mr. Barney’s science class, but the rest of the time I’d stay up with my mini-lovelies. After a month or so, they weren’t working so well though. I had to jump up the dose. Every few weeks I was taking more and more. One of the other girls at work that was also using them took 20 at one time and got so over-wired she accidently slammed her hand in the drive-thru window and ended up throwing up everywhere and had to go home. It hit me… Maybe I shouldn’t be taking these! I told Meredith that I didn’t think I liked them anymore and I might not be able to close any longer. She said, “Well… I have kind of a super-mini-thin if you want to try it!” I was for sure interested!
After work we went over to her house and she took out a small bag of powder. My eyes widened and I got really nervous. “Oh! Ummmm, Sorry I don’t do cocaine…” I smoked, but that was the only thing I’d really done much of (other than the mini-thins) and I was not about to start doing drugs. I had seen a movie with Scott Baio and saw what happened when he got addicted to pot! I knew this was like 100 times worse!
“HA! It’s not cocaine! What do I look like? A drug addict?” It’s true – she looked nothing like any of the drug addicts, or dealers I’d seen on all the after-school specials. She didn’t have a chain in her nose, or the liberty spiked Mohawk, or anything like that. “…this is called ‘crank.’ I met some guy that makes it in his bathtub. I guess it was kind of a big deal in the 60’s but died out. But here’s the awesome thing! It’s like Mini-Thins but without the side effects – it works a lot longer! You can stay up for days and never be tired! It also makes you not want to eat and speeds up your metabolism. You’ll drop so much weight, just like that!” she said with a snap of her fingers.
“You don’t snort it do you…” I was still hesitant. I’d never heard of “crank,” but I knew powder you snorted up your nose was cocaine and I had heard you could become addicted using it only one time.
“No! I mean… I guess you can, but I just eat it.” She poured a little into the palm of her hand, and opened a 7-Up. She licked her hand and then drank a huge swig of the soda. Her face wrinkled up and she stuck out her tongue. “YECH!!!! It tastes awful, but it works!” Ok, this wasn’t cocaine… This was just something some guy made at his house… It wasn’t being imported by drug cartels or anything – it must be ok.
She poured a little mound of powder in my hand and I copied exactly what she did. When it hit my tongue I thought, “I’ve tasted this before…” It tasted like mini-thins. I was a little let down, as I thought maybe she as just kidding me, and it was just the same thing. However, I didn’t feel anything after 15 min like I normally do with mini-thins. I normally would get a little stomach turn and start to get really jumpy. I didn’t feel like that – I just felt like I had a story in me that I really had to get out. We sat down and started talking. I’d never talked so fast or so much! My conversation was all disjointed jumping from one subject to another without any kind of conversational conjunction to link the two, but it all seemed to flow with sense. She was telling me stories too, and it felt like we were talking at the same time, but I was still absorbing everything she said. Some people that know me would say, “And this is different from you how…” I don’t really know, but it was different. Our stories had nothing to do with one another, but weaved into an amazing tapestry of drug-induced chat that I swear I could have actually wrapped myself up into and stayed warm forever.
I asked her how much this awesome stuff cost! She said her friend was giving her tons of it to pass around and try and find people who wanted to buy it – and if I helped her find more people, we could just have as many “samples” as I wanted! I really didn’t want to find anyone else – not out of decency but out of laziness… But agreed and there started several months of free meth, and the beginning of my addiction.
A few months later I actually learned more about Meth as they started to talk about it in school – I had never heard then talk about it before, but it was just a little late. And the damage that really happened was I started thinking, “Wow! So this is the life of drugs. It’s not nearly what they made it seem like in all the warning movies. It wasn’t like what they said it would be in school once they actually started talking about it.” I realized that they were lying. There was a wonderful secret of drugs – they were fun and not harmful like we’d been taught! They were trying to scare us from actually having fun. Months later I tried pot. I didn’t want to walk on the edge of a building like Scott Baio had… And it didn’t make me never want to get out of bed again. A few days later I got some acid with my friend Ethan and we both had our first “trip” together. He fell asleep, and the walls waved and music would bend in my ear canal, but no smurf’s danced across my field of vision. I didn’t think I could fly. I never actually saw anything that wasn’t there, just everything seemed more liquid and electric than normal. The more I tried new things the more I found I had been totally lied to. Years later, I really did feel like if they had been more honest in school maybe I wouldn’t have set out to challenge it anymore. This whole situation must be their fault. Even though Meredith knew about as much about this as I did, she gave it to me, so it must be her fault. I found out my dad smoked pot a couple of times in the Army – he knew this secret and kept it from me – it was also his fault. Again, it was everybody’s fault… Everybody but mine.