Jewell Cardwell: Local woman off meth, breaking bad no more

addiction-methIt’s hard to imagine that Apryl Miller’s 10-year, love-hate relationship with methamphetamine — a powerfully addictive drug that robbed her of her dignity and so much more — could possibly have a happy ending.

Yet it does.

Even harder to believe is that this Apryl was ever thatApryl, the vampirish young woman in the arrest photo, with thinning hair and skin lesions she couldn’t resist picking.

Today, the 29-year-old Green resident — now with a flawless complexion and a healthy head of dark hair — speaks openly about her rapid descent and her recovery. She will share her story with the public Wednesday at the second annual Meth Lab Community Forum.

By her own admission, Apryl was a you-can’t-tell-me-anything teenager growing up in Ellet when she began experimenting with the drug that would ultimately become her boss.

“I always wanted to do stuff I wasn’t supposed to do,” she said. “I did alcohol and weed when I was a freshman in high school. I wanted to be cool, or what I thought was cool. The party life appealed to me and I thought drugs were the way.”

She turned to meth at 15 “because I heard it helps you lose weight,” her immature mind reasoned.

What she really ended up losing was herself. “I was hooked by 17,using it on a daily basis,” she confessed.

“I would sleep in school. I didn’t apply myself in class. … I was high at my prom and my graduation,” from Springfield High School. “I would go to funerals of people I knew and I would be in the bathroom getting high. And I would get high before I went to church. How disrespectful was that?” she lamented.

By 17, she was living in her car. It was her choice, she was quick to acknowledge. “I could have lived at home but I didn’t want to follow my parents’ rules,” she said. “I came from a good home. My parents were divorced but I was close to them. I just didn’t want to follow their rules.”

At first, she snorted meth, moved on to smoking it, and finally was using it intravenously, “something I said I would never do.”

“But it was a whole different high,” she said. “By then, things were going so bad. I had lost my job, my apartment and my car.” When she was using, she would be awake two weeks at a time.

Crossing the line

Eventually, Apryl surrendered entirely to meth and turned to cooking and selling it with a partner.

“I went from needing it every day, from recreational use, to it being a job. … I’m not sure when I crossed the line,” she said.

Her boyfriend and partner in the meth business ended up getting charged with manufacturing, she said.

“But I never got caught,” Apryl said, still having trouble believing her luck. “I ran from the cops in the snow into the woods. And I run slower than I walk.”

Her parents ended up being her saving grace, especially her father, who was relentless. “My dad, who knows a lot of people, always looked for me when I was on the run,” she said. “He found me at different houses.”

Although she was never charged with manufacturing meth, Apryl spent time in jail. The first was a week’s stay on an assault charge: “I slept the whole time I was in jail. The other girls [inmates] would kick my cot to wake me. I couldn’t stay awake and I barely ate and showered,” she confided.

Once out, she moved in with her father, although her behavior didn’t change: “I told my dad I was doing him a favor because I was staying there.” At one point, she was coming down from a meth high and arguing with her father; he ended up Tasering her, and she went to jail for nine days on a domestic violence charge.

“I got all new [hiding] places to go after my dad found the me first two times,” Apryl said. “I didn’t care how I looked. … I would sleep in abandoned houses and take baths in the woods.”

Her third arrest proved to be the charm. Read more…

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