In May, Paul* was holed up in a hotel room injecting as much as $225 of drugs daily. Now, he works lights full-time and spends 12 hours a week at Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings.
Two months after kicking meth, he hovers in the delicate balance between recovery and relapse.
Paul was one of three men whose experiences with meth were the subject of a July CL story, "Faces of Meth." The story followed Paul as he morphed from a 24-hour tweaker to a DeKalb County inmate facing felony drug charges. The story also described Britt, a former pharmacist and recovering addict, and Brian, a Georgia State professor studying meth's power to destroy.
After serving 135 days in DeKalb County jail for possession of meth with the intent to distribute, Paul says he's remained clean. He works with a sponsor who's helping him through the 12-step program, which focuses on sharing experiences with other recovering addicts. It was through that process that Paul met Britt -- three months after the story featuring the two men was published. "The meetings are very spiritual," Paul says. "Talking about my experiences with others who've been there makes me realize how lucky I am."
Both men face hurdles in their efforts to resist the little white powder that crosses all ages and socioeconomic groups. The relapse rate for meth is particularly high because the drug strongly affects the brain's pleasure mechanisms. GSU's Brian, the third subject of "Faces of Meth," is interviewing meth users in order to better understand the drug's draw and find ways to better treat meth addiction.
Paul says that despite the odds, he's adamant about preventing a relapse and staying sober.
"Life has never been better," he says.
* Paul isn't the real name of the man described in CL's stories. His name was changed to avoid influencing the criminal case against him.
GET INVOLVED: To get help through Crystal Meth Anonymous, visit www.atlantacma.org. To participate in the GSU study, call 404-651-3409. To read "Faces of Meth," visit atlanta.creativeloafing.com/meth.
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