Health - Coming to Grips with Crystal Meth

The small meeting hall is full, almost all men, and the general anxiety level approaches something between last call and the bar lights coming on. The metal chairs were apparently designed to keep your mind awake and your ass asleep.
I’ve probably slept with someone in this room. Or worse. Note to self: you might be an addict if you can’t decide if his arms look familiar from the gym or from shoving a syringe in one of them at some point, you know, just as a favor.
It isn’t my first meeting but it might as well be. No one has heard the sound of my voice, since “sharing” would involve actually addressing this pack of burned-out losers. Their troubles stem from being sloppy and reckless. It’s obvious from their stories and it’s totally unlike me. I drive a nice car and have great hair.
Someone is explaining how important it is to identify our genuine feelings. Let’s see. I spent twenty minutes choosing the right tank top to wear to this freak fest and now I’m feeling pissed that no one has cruised me. Done.
“Sharing” might at least be good marketing, help me get noticed if I care to chat up somebody afterward. I begin a mental scan of my drug-related dramas, considering something to spill. Like calling up funny stories at the family picnic, but with crystal meth and paramedics involved.
My previous boyfriend once fell from the sling and cracked his head, but I got that secondhand since I was partying in the next room and was too busy to check up on him. That might rate some gasps or maybe even sympathy. Or the guy – names are a luxury a tina queen cannot afford – who liked paying me with drugs to have sex with him. That might do the trick. I wonder if barebacking is provocative enough. Probably not, I wager. Not any more.
My mind wanders off to a recurring dream and I follow it with trepidation. I’m digging up the ground with my bare hands. Mounds of dirt grow enormous beside me and I work feverishly, scooping one handful after another. I know exactly what I’m unearthing.
I find my buried treasure just as I left it. Carefully I wipe the dirt from an exposed limb, an arm, and then with more work the body reveals itself. I brush everything away from the face, my previous face. It is without tension or guilt, as opposed to the destruction evident in mine now.
I want to hold the body and weep.
“You ruined me, you arrogant asshole,” it calls out to me suddenly. I’m stunned by the words and the vindictiveness in the voice. My voice. “You told me not to worry. You said you could handle it…” I can’t speak. “You make me sick.”
The eyes are wide and the face is damp with tears. It spits the words. I can feel flecks of mud splattering me. “I trusted you and you made me a whore, Mark.”
I scramble backwards to get away, grabbing fistfuls of dirt and throwing them back on the body, covering, covering. It does little to muffle what is now screaming, half buried, furious and mournful. “Do you remember your self-respect, Mark Steven King? You destroyed it, all of it! Is the AIDS activist now a loathsome drug addict? Please let me answer for the two of us, okay? YESSS!”
My head lurches up from my private torment, and my hand is raised. In the front of the meeting someone is pointing to me, nodding, smiling helpfully.
I scan the room, and my eyes are filled with resentment for everyone there and for the very existence of this place. I hate them all.
My gaze is returned with comfortable but curious glances, as if they see something peculiar they recognize. “There you are,” they seem to be saying. “We saved that seat for you.”
I lower my hand and briefly touch my face, as if brushing something away, and then I begin to speak.
(Mark King is a longtime AIDS activist living in Ft. Lauderdale and can be reached at For help, contact This article does not express the opinions of Crystal Meth Anonymous, nor is it endorsed by CMA.)

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