Saturday, October 29, 2005

Good Sleep, Bad Blogger, and a Return to the anti-Meth Campaign

Thanks to having the new CPAP, I slept 15 hours last night, until well in the afternoon. The only times I awakened were when the telephone rang. Even Alex didn’t wake me up, which is strange because I arose from bed well past his breakfast time.

I had intended to post a couple of pictures I took of Alex this afternoon—Alex investigating my CPAP & Alex enjoying a very late breakfast—but I cannot get blogger to upload the pictures. Damn!

I’m back on my anti-methamphetamine crusade again. I had little contact with Candy for a while. Then she assured me that Mark, the guy with whom she trades sex for drugs, was out of her life and she was drug free. That was hard for me to believe, but I hoped she was telling the truth.

For several days we got into a new routine: I’d arrive about 7:00 a.m. to drive her son to school; return about 2:00 p.m. to pick him up from school; and go to the motel in which she stays to eat dinner with them in the evening. I admit I was conscious of looking for signs of Mark and drugs. Until I found those signs, that short-episode felt to me like we were a family again.

Then I arrived at 7:00 one morning to find Mark leaving the motel, carrying his overnight bag. I confronted Candy and she at first denied that Mark was there. Later she said he’d come to return some of my things—Cds and DVDs—that she’d put outside the room by mistake when she kicked him out and to pick up some of his things he had left. I tried hard to believe what she said, even when I again encountered Mark leaving a couple of days later.

Two days ago, when I picked up her son for school, Candy gave every indication of having methamphetamines in her system. She was talking non-stop and not making any sense; she was on edge and yelling at her son and me; she acted angry and paranoid for no reason. After dropping the boy off at school, I confronted her. She claimed to be drug free and began to act so paranoid that I backed off. I again wanted to believe her, but my doubts were growing stronger.

Later that day, after we had picked her son up, she wanted to go shopping for a coat for him because the weather here is turning much colder. In the motel room, while waiting for the boy to change from his school clothes, I noticed two things: (1) both ashtrays that I had emptied the night before were overflowing with cigarette butts—Candy smokes less than ten cigarettes a day—& (2) Mark’s DVD player had replaced mine by the TV.

After I purchased the coat for the boy and some jeans and a shirt for Candy at the Salvation Army Outlet Store (the only place I can now afford), Candy asked that I buy her some more cigarettes. I responded, “Let Mark buy them; he smoked the two packages I bought for you yesterday.” Candy said nothing. When we arrived at the hotel, she just got out of the car and she and her son went in. Later the boy called and asked me to bring him his book bag, which he had left in my car. I drove over there, knocked at the room door, and handed in the book bag and two packages of cigarettes I had purchased on the way over. I left without entering the room.

I heard nothing from Candy until this evening. She called, acting as if nothing had happened, and asked me to rent some DVDs for her and her son. I refused. She ended up screaming at me and threatening me with the dismal consequences of what would happen if I didn’t financially support her and her son—i.e., she would be forced to prostitute of make money. I hung up and did not answer the phone when she repeatedly called back.

I have read that less than 5% of people addicted to methamphetamines recover. Those odds do not sound promising for Candy. I also have learned why I sometimes see no indication that she has used meth:

Methamphetamine addiction has three stages: low intensity, binge, and high intensity. The binge and high-intensity abusers smoke or inject meth to achieve a faster and stronger high; the patterns of abuse differ in the frequency in which the drug is abused and the stages within their cycles.

The binge abuse cycle is made up of these stages: rush, high, binge, tweaking, crash, normal, and withdrawal.

Rush (5-30 minutes) -The abuser's heartbeat races and metabolism, blood pressure, and pulse soar. Feelings of pleasure.

High (4-16 hours) -The methamphetamine addict often feels aggressively smarter and becomes argumentative.

Binge (3-15 days) -The methamphetamine addict maintains the high for as long as possible and becomes hyperactive, both mentally and physically.

Tweaking -The most dangerous stage of the cycle. See section below.

Crash (1-3 days) -The addict does not pose a threat to anyone. He becomes very lethargic and sleeps.

Normal (2-14 days) -The abuser returns to a state that is slightly deteriorated from the normal state before the abuse.

Withdrawal (30-90 days) -No immediate symptoms are evident but the abuser first becomes depressed and then lethargic. The craving for methamphetamine hits and he may become suicidal. Taking methamphetamine at any time during withdrawal can stop the unpleasant feelings so, consequently, a high percentage of addicts in treatment return to abuse.

High-intensity abusers, often called "speed freaks," focus on preventing the crash. But each successive rush becomes less euphoric and it takes more meth to achieve it. The pattern does not usually include a state of normalcy or withdrawal. High-intensity abusers experience extreme weight loss, very pale facial skin, sweating, body odor, discolored teeth and scars or open sores on their bodies. The scars are the results of the abusers' hallucinations of bugs on his skin, often referred to as "crank bugs," and attempts to scratch the bugs off.


The most dangerous stage of meth abuse for abusers, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers is called "tweaking." A tweaker is a methamphetamine addict who probably has not slept in 3-15 days and is irritable and paranoid. Tweakers often behave or react violently and if a tweaker is using alcohol or another depressant, his negative feelings and associated dangers intensify. The tweaker craves more meth, but no dosage will help re-create the euphoric high, which causes frustration, and leads to unpredictability and potential for violence.

A tweaker can appear normal: eyes can be clear, speech concise, and movements brisk. But a closer look will reveal the person's eyes are moving ten times faster than normal, the voice has a slight quiver, and movements are quick and jerky. These physical signs are more difficult to identify if the tweaker is using a depressant.

Tweakers are often involved in domestic disputes and motor vehicle accidents. They may also be present at "raves" or parties and they may participate in spur-of-the-moment crimes, such as purse snatchings or assaults, to support their habit.

SOURCE: OKDHS Faces of Recovery

My concern for Candy and her son continue to plague me. I realize I can make no choices for her; she must make the decisions. I am ready at a moment’s notice to help her admit herself to a drug treatment/rehab. program. I will not assist her in her habit by providing food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.

I wish the police would arrest Mark. However, I also realize that, if that happened, Candy would just locate another drug pusher.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. You need to get the son help, and let her find out what life will be like without you taking care of her. That might scare her into getting cleaned up. But she may never clean up and just spiral downwards until she dies and that is just reality and you cant do anything about it no matter how much you want to with every part of your being. I have lived through this. I know what your going through, I am sorry you have to make these decisions. They are horrible and heart wrenching. If you want to talk, you know how to get ahold of me.

    Take care of yourself first. Try to help her son second. And just let her bottom out because like this, she will never stop.

  3. It’s good to know you can sleep again!

    This Candy who is on methamphetamines reminds me exactly of a woman who once lived in Tucson. If they are anything alike, you are correct in saying that doing away with her drug supplier will not help. She’ll have a new source before she even misses the old one.

    I agree with jessicrabbit. Take care of yourself and, if possible, help her son.

  4. SFG: I feel the sadness. I know Candy and her son well. She has great potential she is wasting and he is being short-changed in many ways, not the least of which is living in a one-bed motel room without any kids his age around. Besides which, I suspect that when his mother exchanges sex for drugs, he is forced to sleep on the floor

    Jessica: Again thanks for your input. I did try to make contact with you on Yahoo this afternoon, but failed. There are a few things I really need to check out with you.

    Mike: Thanks! I appreciate your concern. We may be talking about the same person if the woman are you speaking of was/is a stripper. “Candy”—that was her stage name—lived in Tucson until about 3 years ago.

  5. that stuff really scars me. i dont think there s any around school. i wish my brother was home from iraq id ask him

  6. I am positive you are involved with the same woman I was in Tucson about 3 years ago. She has 2 other kids besides the boy with her. When I first met her she was a dancer and was involved with narcotics, but not methamphetamines. I know the dude who turned her on to the speed. He’s still turning on young women and is bad news. I had hoped that “C” had escaped him and the drugs. She’s really a shy girl who went through a lot with her ex-. I am emailing you more at the email address listed for your blog.

    Good luck. Remember to take care of yourself.

  7. Jody: Meth scares me, too, and I actually knew very little about them until I met Candy about 18 months ago. Do you know how much longer your brother is going to be in Iraq? I understand from what you write how much you miss him.

    Mike: Thanks for your information. Yes, it appears than the “C” you knew in Tucson is the same “C” I have known here.

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