The state’s first 12-step fellowship specifically for crystal methamphetamine addiction is now part of the recovery resources available through Hope for New Hampshire Recovery.
“BB” runs the meeting, but calls doing so “a selfish thing.” She is in recovery from crystal meth addiction.
If she’s in charge of the meeting, she said, “I have to go and I have to participate.”
It’s also a form of penance.
“I had a hand in contributing to this problem,” said BB, who is 39. “There are people that I introduced this drug to. There were people I supplied this drug to in order to fuel my own addiction.
“I felt a strong obligation, now that I’m not a slave to it, to help them find recovery.”
In her earlier years, she walked away from cocaine and later heroin. Kicking meth has been more difficult, she said.
Methamphetamine triggers a huge burst of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, motivation and reward.
“I can’t even describe it,” BB said. “You don’t have a care in the world.”
But the lure of the drug is also its danger.
“There’s no need to eat, no need to shower, or go outside. You are in such a chemically induced euphoria that there is no need to care for anything or anyone,” she said. “All is right with the world while you’re sitting there. And it’s falling apart around you, and you don’t see it.”
“I remember there were times I would say, ‘I’m hungry. We either have to find some more drugs or some food.’”
Before long, the sleep-deprived delirium that goes along with heavy meth use leads to paranoia and fear, she said. As a result, she said, “You make a lot of reckless and impulsive and dangerous decisions because you’re not in your right mind.”
Meth abuse eventually reduces the body’s ability to produce its own natural dopamine.
Some of her friends died by suicide, BB said, “because they had absolutely no dopamine left in their system, and the meth stopped working. And there’s this state of despair that comes with that.”
BB is worried about reports that a potent form of crystal meth is finding its way here from Mexican labs. “That is the recipe for disaster,” she said.
She encouraged those who want help to give her Crystal Meth Anonymous group a try.
“The value of empathy from one addict to another is without parallel,” she said. “Just being in a room of like-minded people, people who understand the struggles that you have, people who seem to have found a way to figure it out, is really encouraging.”
Crystal Meth Anonymous meets Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery in Manchester. For now, meetings are online.
For a link, visit: www.hopefornhrecovery.org/meetings/