Tag Archives: Methamphetamine

Color Them Blonde

My brother and his wife became “tweakers”.

“Meth” or “Crank” came very close to ruining their lives and the life of our mother. There were radical changes in them. Physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual changes. Disturbing, dangerous and despairing. Life changing events followed. There was no one left without scars.

He had always been somewhat into the “drug scene” as were many people in the 70’s . Drugs were rampant in those years. First came weed. Later came “Benni’s” or “cross-tops”, short for little white pills, which were actually Benzedrine, or uppers. Truck drivers were known to use them for sleepless long haul periods. Diet pill prescriptions were sought after as they were similar in their effects. I remembered hearing about “pink hearts” and “black beauties” among other upper type pills in my high school years.

The 80’s gave way to “speed” and “crank” or meth. It was crushed and snorted through a straw. Felt instantly rather than waiting for a pill to dissolve it was an immediate rush. It was somewhat of a social drug then in our circles. It was fun for a while, then it changed. Somewhere, somehow the drug itself changed. Not that it was ever good, but it’s chemical make up somehow changed and became not only a drug that sped you up and made you feel good, but also a psychotic drug. An evil drug. I swear that the devil had his hand in that one, every bit as much as heroin if not more so.

By the 90’s the “meth face” became easy to spot. A long term user’s facial features seem to become shaped different, I believe it is the skeletal frame of their face that changes. I know it does eat away at the bones that hold your teeth in place, and rots out your teeth also. There is something similar in the shape of a meth user’s face, at least I think so. You can spot tweaking behavior as people walk down the street. Their exaggerated movements in simple things like brushing their hair, or talking on the phone. Even the way they wear their pants up too high, or hold a cigarette in between their lips can tell the tale if you know what you are looking for.

My brother and his wife were no exception. They were living with our widowed mother in her house at the time. They got into the meth heavier and all the changes I have spoken of took place.

Once they colored each other’s hair the same exact blonde. They looked identical, it was freaky. They wore their shorts too tight and too short. They painted each other’s toe nails. They became freakish looking . They were spotted at all hours of the night and wee hours of the morning traveling around the valley, almost skulkingly so, either looking for meth or selling it or both. They fought physically, get down dirty fighting. Police were called many times. They screamed horrible, ugly things at each other and at our mother, even at me.

The atmosphere at around the house was disturbing and violent. Furniture was dismantled and broken. Holes were in the walls. Bizarre writings left on paper. There were other disturbing things that I won’t mention. These gave me nightmares and trauma feelings just seeing it. That was when I knew I needed to get my mother out of there.

My husband and I packed up her bedroom and moved her out and into an apartment down the street from our house. She mortgaged her house and lived off some of the money, while we warned my brother and wife that they had to leave as we were selling the place. We knew it was the only way to get and keep them away from her. As long as she had that house, my brother would think it was his home and would not leave. We put it on the market and gave them $5,000 of her mortgage money to leave and began fixing up her home to sell. Basically, we bought them out.

They left and lived in an apartment for a few years. They would come to her house just before payday and do some schmoozing and it usually worked. She would help them from time to time with rent money. They were too dependent upon her. Eventually, she stopped this altogether as her money ran out. They talked her into moving into an apartment next door to them. She heard more fighting and carrying on than I want to talk about. Eventually, they talked her into moving in with them. So she was paying the rent then.

That did not last. Too much fighting and weirdness went on. Finally in order to get out, my mom moved into a foster home, then eventually in with me. She is still here with me. We have had our share of ups and downs, but not anything like that.

They were in trouble with the law. They went to drug court and got counseling, and cleaned up some. They still dabbled in the dope though, fooling themselves that they were clean. They lost their apartment and lived in their car and motels. Eventually, I think they just got sick and tired of it all and cleaned up. Plus, they grew older. They are doing so much better now. Two different people that you can actually have a conversation with and have some fun as family members. They were extremely lucky as it does not usually happen like that.

For the first time in years, I think I can safely safe that my brother and his wife are clean and sober. They have some gray mixed in with their hair color, but it is not blonde. The abuse has taken it’s toll on their health in some ways, namely their teeth. Their teeth are very bad, and there is no insurance to fix them. Their brushes with the law have an effect on their driver licenses also. Considering all that I saw and heard, I still believe they are one of the “lucky” ones. They are no longer “tweakers” and I thank God for that because I never thought I would see the day.

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Sasquatch Man

Written and contributed by Girlswithoutshoes

 ©Sheila Smart

©Sheila Smart

I saw him today walking down the street. I now think of him as Sasquatch Man. It made me catch my breath and clutch my heart to see him like this. It made me cry to see the shadow of who he was. I cried for him and for myself, as I miss my old friend.

He is a very large man a little over 6 ft tall and probably weighs 350 lbs. He lumbers down the street, wearing his stocking hat that looks like it belongs to a lumberjack. He has taken to even wearing it with his shorts in the warmer weather. The Birkenstock sandals are always there, as they always have been, come rain or shine.

He walks everywhere now, as his license was taken away. I believe his motorcycle got sold for his and others’ safety. That alone is probably enough to make him want to die. He practically lived on it. You would see him weaving down the street, like a child does on their bicycle, just loving the feel of it.

Quite a unique individual he was. Strong and powerful in many ways. Extremely intelligent, with a very high I.Q., to the point of being almost a crazy genius. He had a very twisted sense of humor, and loved the shock effect it had on people. Folks would either be horrified at his bizarreness or laugh themselves silly. There were plenty who actually hated him, and more who loved him. He could drive you practically insane if he wanted to, by pestering you to death for attention or for drugs when he was out. That was what he always referred to as “The Malaise”. After a 40 year meth addiction, I would imagine it felt like malaise to him.

He is a product of the 60’s. There are many who spent their teens and early twenties dabbling with all kinds of drugs during the 60’s. Not just pot, but L.S.D. (acid) was popular then. It was the Hippie Years and he was no exception, but almost the rule. He lived the bizarre life then in the city. He later moved to the mountains to escape that which he ended up bringing with him.  He desired a better place to raise his family and found it.

He changed from City Hippie, to Organic Hippie, to Hippie Journalist and  Editor.  Later he became a professional in the field of Law. A brilliant, self-taught professional. He was at first scoffed at, then held in high esteem by some, and disdain by others. He was called a maverick and a lunatic. Many reasons were behind all of this. He was a “horse of a different color”. He had heart. He stood up for what he believed to be right and just.

He was right much of the time, but pushed things more than to the limit. He would push them way over the edge. His creativity knew absolutely no bounds. All of this was due not only to his nature, but to the cranked up beast raging inside of him. He was husband, father, friend, philospher, professional, and a drug addict. An amazing man in so many ways.  A doomed man in others.

Years went by, with the same behavior continuing. His family felt the ill effects of the drugs raging. His friends felt the effects. His employees felt the effects. His career felt the effect.  His mind felt the effects as did his health.

His family life became more and more strained.  Love gave way to stress and hopelessness and embarrassment.  His relationships at work became more and more strained. Trust and respect gave way to disrespect and embarrassment. His career ended in a hugely scandalous way, devastating his family, his employees and co-workers, his friends and himself.

He was never the same after that, but steadily went downhill. At first his nervousness and devastation were calmed some by tranquilizers. His mind had already been slipping for the past few years. What one would have thought was just early aging and forgetfulness turned out to be dementia. I believe that at least some of the dementia was caused from the holes that the meth had put in his brain over the years.

His drug use and the consequences were not only felt by him, but by his wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and co-workers. The consequences were huge and life changing to all concerned.

Eventually each one dealt with the stress and strain and devastation in his or her own way. We all moved on and left him behind. We left him behind trapped in a body that did not operate in the same way that it had before. The body that now walked similar to “the thorazine shuffle”, as it is known in mental wards. The eyes that did not have the same intelligent light in them as before but looked blankly into the beyond.

Confusion is written on his face. The sadness in those eyes haunts me to this day. The sadness, I believe is a little glimmer of awareness in him that is left. The awareness of all that he has lost. The huge strength and power that he had once exuded is now gone.

Yes, I saw Sasquatch Man today. He used to have another name, but now I cannot make the name fit him anymore as he is a different person. It made me catch my breath again. It made me clutch my heart again, to see him like this.  It made me cry once again to see the shadow of who he was. I cried again for him and again for myself, as I will always miss my dear old friend who is no more.

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