RICHMOND, Ky. — ...will you try me or not?
It’s all up to you.
I can show you more misery
than words can tell.
Come take my hand
let me lead you to hell.
Today, Miss Belle (a nickname) is enjoying her tidy apartment, thriving at her day job and scrambling to get ready for the holiday season.
She recently rappelled for the first time, put on about 15 pounds and people tell her she looks better than ever.
She rubbed her Boston Terrier “Max” as she sat in a chair at her kitchen table. With a smile and determined eyes, she tells a story that some have never lived to tell.
“I’ve been clean for a year now and there’s no way anyone could ever get me to touch meth again,” she said while pounding on the kitchen table to emphasize her words. “I feel wonderful now, like a whole new person.”
Reaching this point in her life has been a long, hard journey from rock bottom.
“ ... Just try me once, I might let you go. If you try me twice, I’ll own your soul ...”
Belle and her husband were introduced to methamphetamine two years ago through a mutual friend.
She snorted meth the first time, then moved on to using it intravenously.
“You can snort it, shoot it, eat it, drink it and smoke it,” said the woman who lives in Richmond, Ky.
Belle was addicted the first time she tried methamphetamine.
“I have an addictive personality,” she said. “I’ve tried cocaine before, but meth is the only drug I’ve been addicted to.”
Her husband eventually learned to make the drug himself, which led to even heavier use.
“Your money went toward buying stuff to make it,” she said. “People don’t realize that everything you need, you can buy over the counter.”
Out of all the ingredients for meth — which includes ephedrine, lithium batteries, hoses, Coleman fuel, table salt and tape, just to name a few— Red Devil Lye was the most difficult ingredient to find.
“Everything used in it is poisonous,” she said.
Recent laws to curb availability of meth ingredients, that include putting Sudafed and other medicines containing ephedrine now must be purchased from behind the counter. The laws have helped a little, but they are not good enough, Belle said.
“It’s not going to stop it,” she said. “The only thing that will is to take the stuff off the market.”
“ ... If you try me, be warned, this is not a game. If I’m given a chance, I’ll drive you insane ...”
“People don’t understand what meth does to your mind,” she said. “You hear things, see things that aren’t there ... you flip out.”
Just after two weeks of using meth, Belle began to experience mental side effects.
“One day I took my dogs for a walk and I was positive that they were telling me we were being watched,” she said. “I would look out the window and see things that weren’t really there.”
Belle stayed awake weeks at a time with no sleep and very little food.
“That’s when you started seeing stuff, and when you crashed, you crashed.”
After the two-week high, meth users are known to fall into a two or three-day deep sleep.
“You get some sleep, your appetite comes back and you eat a little, then you’re back at it,” she said. “It was wonderful. You stayed up, you had energy, you were invincible.”
Belle admits that the high she received was not worth the aftermath.
“Yeah, it’s fun at first, but if you go as far as we did, it takes everything you’ve got,” she said. “I lost a brand new Harley, lost a home, lost a husband and a son.”
“... I take your children, and that’s just a start ...”
Belle recently watched as her son and husband were sentenced to three years in prison on meth charges. She and her husband are separated, but she said it’s her son she can’t live without.
“This is my first Christmas without him and this is my favorite time of the year,” she said. “It’s killing him and it’s killing me.”
Her husband was caught making meth and her son was with him at the time, therefore, he was guilty by association and charged with conspiring to make methamphetamine.
Her husband was sent to a prison in Manchester and her son will be going to a prison in West Virginia. He currently is lodged in Lexington.
“When he was staying in Lexington, I saw him every Tuesday,” she said. “Now, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Belle is concerned how her son will cope with the three-year sentence. He has a history of having behavioral and mental disorders. She worries about him sitting in a jail cell.
“I convinced him to get his time over with and start over again,” she said.
As a parent who has had a child using meth, Belle serves as an excellent source for other parents who want to keep close watch on their teens.
“Watch for mood swings and notice their appetites,” she said. “If they go in and lock themselves in their room and don’t want to come out, they may be ‘geeking.’ That’s what they call it. Check for dilated pupils. Also, they can’t sit still. They’re constantly trying to find something to do.”
For parents who are aware of their child’s meth addiction, the tough-love method is the only sure bet, Belle said.
“Call the cops on them. Turn them in before it’s too late. You may find them dead one day.”
“ ... I destroy homes. I tear families apart ...”
Everything was fine in Belle’s household until the meth ran out. Her husband would get angry and abusive when he was “coming down,” she said.
“There was a lot of yelling and screaming, tearing up their trailer and beating each other,” she said.
It wasn’t until her husband threw her out of the house to make her realize she needed to make a change.
“I ended up sleeping in a car and I thought to myself, ‘I’m better than this,’” she said. “I eventually realized that I’m stronger than that and that I needed to pick myself up and move on.”
She began staying with friends, was able to get a job and relocate to an apartment.
“I’m stronger now, and I’m moving on,” she said. “I don’t want to experience what my son and husband are experiencing. I couldn’t stand looking at those four walls.”
Belle no longer wastes time worrying about where to get her next fix.
“I’m too busy shopping for Christmas presents and working,” she said. “I’m doing a lot of things that I haven’t done. You have to be a very strong person not to want it and do it. I’ve come a long way. A long way.”
* Excerpts at beginning and throughout the story were taken from “Meet Mr. and Mrs. Meth,” an anonymous poem.
Ronica Brandenburg writes for the Richmond (Ky.) Register.
Woman overcomes horrifying addiction; pays a steep price
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