Meth — it’s out there and it’s addicting. What would your life be like if you were consumed by the drug? Looking through the eyes of an addict concludes NTV’s special report on Meth in Nebraska.
Licensed counselor Juanita Rodriguez said statistics show only four percent of all meth addicts recover. However, she never gives up, saying miracles can happen, no matter how far gone they seem.
“I reached my bottom; there was nowhere else to go but up,” said 12-year recovering meth addict Crystal Lessert.
Thirteen-year-old Lessert went to a party with some older kids. It was there the opportunity arose to try meth.
“I wasn’t thinking about the ramifications of my actions, you know. I was barely an adolescent at that point and I was trying to fit in with the cooler and older kids,” explained Lessert.
At her worst, she weighed 96 pounds with open sores called meth mites covering her face, arms and chest.
“Everything you stand for, stood for before, doesn’t matter,” Lessert added. “You become a person that will do and say whatever you can to get what you need.”
Things really went south at the age of 17, when she dropped out of school.
“I ran out of stuff to sell, you run out of stuff to steal, so the next option is to start dealing so that you can support your own habit. Then the next step from there is cooking,” said Lessert.
She can remember the exact moment she realized she had a problem. At 18 years old she went on her own accord to in-patient treatment for the first time, after spending seven months in a Geneva jail.
“Life was so destitute that I had lost everything: my home, my family, my son, my life pretty much.”
“One — we’ve got to do a good assessment on what it is that they need, and then two — you got to have a swift plan,” explained Rodriguez. “You got to know who your resources are and know how to get them what they need when they need it.”
She adds addicts have to work day in and day out to fight the urge to use.
“By the time they leave my office there is a game plan in place,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t let them walk out with nothing to do — they usually have someone to go see, places to go and then they report back immediately. The more that I can get them to come in frequently, the better off they are.”
The first year Lessert was sober she put $4,000 into fixing her teeth. As meth abusers have to fix their outside appearance, there’s a lot to be worked on inside as well.
“Most people think if you just remove the drug you’re okay,” said Rodriguez. “That’s only 10 percent of the problem. The other 90 percent of the problem is dealing with life on life’s term and having a good support system to help you maneuver that.”
“You know, to be quite honest with you, for an addict, the sky could be blue and that could be an excuse. It’s really just a mindset of where you’re at,” Lessert said.
For her, it’s about being honest. “I’m at that point in my recovery where I know I’m on the edge or know that I’m not right, I can pick up the phone to make those phone calls that I need to work through those problems.”
She now instills hope in others battling addiction.
“The ones that are recovering, they are inspiration, they are hope. You know that it can happen, so that’s what I try to be.”
Crystal Lessert has no pictures of herself from when she was on meth because when she left to get help, she only had a laundry basket of possessions. She adds it’s hard to look back and think about the person she was and the things she did, but is currently working towards a license in addiction counseling. Article Link…