“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I received an email yesterday from a reader who asked me how I quit crystal meth. It made me wonder, have I never mentioned that? I can be very scatter-brained so it’s very likely I haven’t which is shocking, yet not shocking hence the scatter-brain.
There is no simple answer to the question and it’s much too long to write up in one day, so I’ll answer this in a series, today being part one.
Denial to Acceptance
Knowing you have the problem is step one, I know – how very cliché. But true! I was in denial and made many excuses for a long time before realizing I had a crystal meth problem. I feel fortunate because I used meth for what I consider a brief moment of my life, which at it’s heaviest, lasted over two years. There are some people who have used for much longer, even decades.
I would assume, the longer the use, the tougher it will be to stop using meth. Having said that, what helped me may not be as useful to another – there are many dynamics in our lives and no two lives are the same.
Awareness of Feelings
The initial euphoria and energy boost from crystal meth wore off quickly for me, then turned into a ridiculous amount of paranoia, fear, dishonesty, and self-loathing. I began to ask myself if the negative emotions were worth the short-lived euphoria. I wish I had asked myself that question earlier in my meth use!
I knew without a doubt my happiest moments were of those when I was sober no matter how bad a week I was having, it was still better than meth related effects and emotions.
Make a Choice
I chose to be happy over afraid and I was never afraid when I was sober so it was a logical choice. I took a look around and I noticed what was right with my life. Did I want my family and friends or did I want the meth? I didn’t want to live a lie and use meth when no one knew about it and pretend to be okay when I was with friends.
I definitely wanted to be a better person, a better friend, a better partner, a better son and brother. I wanted to be happy! I started asking myself questions.
- What made me happy?
- What made me unhappy?
- What defined happiness?
- What defined successful?
- What was the point of being a better person?
- What could this do to people who love me?
This is how it started, I thought about these questions often before I could make more progress. When you ask yourself these questions, it’s important to be honest! Don’t fall back into denial, you are the only one who will hear the answers so don’t lie to yourself. Have respect for yourself or you won’t find it anywhere else.
Next I’ll explain how my association with different people hurt and helped me.