Dear Dr. Archer,
Since you're kind of my only hope, here goes.... I'm 54 and started getting high when I was 8 by huffing paint, which I continued until I was 12. At 12 I started drinking alcohol and smoking pot, while occasionally huffing paint. At 14 I started acid, like mushrooms and coke, all the while still smoking pot and drinking.
About 20 years ago, I got involved with meth, staying up for sometimes two weeks, then more coke. At one point I stopped coke when I shot up too much and thought I was going to die. I'd do it when I was really depressed. Believe it or not, I've been depressed for many years.
One day in 1974, when I was in 11th grade, I was walking home from school and had a feeling of such joy; it was a wonderful feeling and lasted for about half an hour, and I've never felt it again. I've often wondered if that's how some people feel all the time. I had no drugs that day, either. Hell, drugs couldn't make me feel that way.
I've had low self esteem my whole life, and I'm sure I caused it by trying to hang with the big dogs -- friends I always had and have today are druggies, but they don't seem depressed. I'm afraid if I say something around normal people I will say something dumb, so I try to remain quiet. I'm worn out from the new high from the bath salts. Sorry to tell you all of this, but it feels pretty good.
Life sucks, and I'm sick of people telling me to smile and be happy. All of my teeth are rotted because of the meth, and the dentists are way beyond what I can afford. No one takes payments and my credit is shot. I'm told I make too much for welfare, and see what I mean? My life is hardly worth it.
I wish I could smile, but, oh yeah, the bad teeth. Now, you tell me I'm not a complete wreck. For 30 years I've been a body man and painter and I don't have a dime to show for it. My boss can't get over how many times I've asked for an advance. I tell him it's to pay bills which is sometimes true, but mostly it's for more drugs.
He threatens to garnish my wages for the money I owe him. I need to stop. Wow! Is there anyone else that can be worse than me? And I've only told you part of my story. I always tell myself that no one said it's going to be easy, and I remember what my dad used to tell me, that I didn't know my head from a hole in the ground. I know what he meant, now.
You have a serious addiction problem, and unless you seek help I wonder how much longer you’ll live. Does that get your attention? You really need help, because you cannot do this on your own.
I must say, as I was reading your letter I thought you sounded like Amelia in Getting Drunk Is Fantastic. You are responsible for your own actions, Doug, and I have no idea if you're going to take my advice, but here goes.
Methamphetamine is one of the largest drug problems facing America. It's easy to get, cheap and extremely addictive. The same thing can be said about bath salts. Bath salts have become the latest trend in drug use, and although the ingredients are legal, because of the abuse, the DEA has banned the main ingredients used to make the salts.
You are truly playing with fire, Doug, as it is reported that the ingredients to make bath salts are more powerful, more addictive and more dangerous than cocaine, heroin or meth, and may have deadly consequences. Bath salt abuse in a region leads to a marked increase in the number of psychiatric admissions, as the drug gives a high similar to PCP.
My advice: Get help now! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator to help you find assistance to become clean. Narcotics Anonymous chapters are everywhere, google to find one near you and go to a meeting today! You can also check out New Life Recovery and Narconon which offer low or no cost treatment for addiction. There are others, but the onus is now on you. I can’t make you go but I hope you do. I'd like you to read Jamie's letter Is It Depression Or Withdrawal From Drugs as she discusses becoming an addict to mask the pain she was experiencing in life. Drug free for 35 days, she was compelled to write. It starts with determination and Day One, Doug.
You can do this, and I sincerely hope you consider yourself worth the effort. Please reach out for help. Take care