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CrystalMethBC - Meth Information Website: Personal Stories

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Personal StoriesCabinet Favourite's Journey Through Addiction Hell To Redemption

He was one of the legislature's brightest young political staffers during Premier Gordon Campbell's first term in office: Smart, popular, good-looking, a sharp dresser and a sharper talker, Marshall Smith seemed to have it all.

Cruising the corridors of power with an easy confidence that belied his 28 years, he'd whisper advice to cabinet ministers one minute, spin a scrum of reporters the next, then crack up his fellow Liberal insiders with an always-ready joke.

"The Minister of Social Planning," they nicknamed him, because Smith was the guy who organized all the after-work parties. In any number of bars near Government Street, you'd find the ministerial aide whooping it up long after the legislature had shut for the night.

"I was on top of the world and having a blast," he recalls now, even travelling to Prague with Campbell for the announcement of Vancouver's winning Olympic bid. He was introduced to Henry Kissinger and hob-nobbed with Olympic glitterati.

Then it all came crashing down, starting one fateful night in 2004.

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Posted by cryadmin on Monday, June 22

Personal StoriesSpeaking up for the rights of one group invariably means stepping on those of another, as I was reminded following my recent column on the no-smoking policy at the new detox.

An old acquaintance of mine -- I'll call her Shelly -- phoned after the column appeared to tell me I was wrong to be critical of Vancouver Island Health Authority staff for prohibiting smoking at the detox.

She'd arrived for a stay at the new unit last month prepared to hate the prohibition, too, but instead quit smoking -- for the first time in more than 40 years.

She was proudly 28 days nicotine-free when I met up with her last week at the Pembroke Street stabilization unit, which is where people fresh from detox ideally get to stay for a month while they work out the details of a life without drugs. Shelly had gone to detox primarily to get off heroin, valium, alcohol and cocaine, but was delighted to have gotten out from under her cigarette habit at the same time.

"I brought a carton with me when I came, because the word on the street was that you could smoke in the bathroom," says Shelly, the fourth patient through the new detox after it opened in early February. "Then they told me no. I thought, God, I'm never going to be able to do this. I was asking for the [nicotine] patch within a couple hours. But then I did fine."

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Posted by cryadmin on Saturday, March 14

Personal Stories Treatment Centres Offer A Chance To Recover In Dignity

Kevin Craig sits in the living room of his new home at 512 Cecelia Rd., a room with fresh buttery yellow paint, newly restored woodwork and hardwood floors. He's far from one of the lowest points of his life just over a year ago, when his home was on the streets of Victoria, a prisoner of his alcohol addiction.

Craig, who once held a job in the furniture-making industry, looks at his work with pride. He refurbished the badly worn-out wainscotting while other recovering addicts took on the paint job and much-needed cleanup for the house, which for the next several months will provide what their counsellors call the "de-institutionalized setting" for their long road to recovery.

"Here the guys feel they are part of something. They feel part of a community, part of a brotherhood," said David Mitchell, facilitator and counsellor for the Vancouver Island Addiction Recovery Society.

The two-storey home is a new residential treatment centre for men, bought after a two-year search by the society in an attempt to ease the strain of a long list of addicts waiting for their turn to recover. It will add another 10 beds to the existing 18, which are located in two existing supportive recovery homes in Victoria.

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Posted by cryadmin on Monday, July 21

Personal Stories: TURNING POINT
Personal Stories Westville - Out of the corner of his eye Jeff can see red and blue lights flashing in his rear view mirror. A Westville police officer has his sirens blaring and is chasing the stolen vehicle at high speed.

Panicked, Jeff decides to pull the car over, but not before he gets rid of the evidence. Fifteen candy coloured pills could put the 18-year-old in jail for a long time. As he steers the car to the shoulder of the road, he fishes the ecstasy pills from the bottle and swallows them one by one.

"I don't know what I was thinking at that moment; I wasn't thinking," says Jeff, almost three years after the arrest he says changed his life. "I figured I had taken five ecstasy pills at once before, a few more won't be that much different."

But the high was different. Jeff was taken to the Aberdeen Hospital and treated for an overdose of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine ( MDMA ). After three years of being heavily addicted to the street drug ecstasy, Jeff had hit his rock bottom.

Today, Jeff is a different person. He has a daughter, a fiancee and is starting his life at 20. This former drug dealer and user has a message to parents who have teens living in Pictou County - ecstasy is out there and it's on the rise.

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Posted by cryadmin on Monday, May 19

Personal StoriesWhen an Okotoks couple found out their youngest daughter was hooked on crystal meth their world fell apart.

She was in her early 20s, working, living on her own and going to school part-time when a friend suggested she try something to keep her awake. She had no idea what she was taking was the highly addictive and highly toxic drug crystal meth.

It took more than a year of being hooked on the drug before her family found out what seemed like only an exaggeration in the woman's usual bubbly personality, was actually a potentially lethal addiction. It took her committing a crime before the truth was found out. After stealing from her employer to feed the addiction, the girl was arrested by RCMP and facing a lengthy court ordeal, she finally turned to her parents.

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Posted by cryadmin on Saturday, April 26

Personal Stories: I needed to use.
Personal StoriesI know that a lady is doing a lot in communities and often I get to read something new, like tonight. I don't know if it would be fair to say that I was Colleen's best friend. I suppose you can hardly consider any two people while surviving in meth city "friends".

It might be fair to say that we were very close and freequently together since the begining of both our meth addictions. There is no question that I was lucky to have survived where she passed on. In my addiction I used to consider how close I was to being in the car that crashed with her. I had been in similar situations with her several times before.

It really hit me at the time, as you can imagine, however the needed power to stop was not there. I needed to use. Nothing was going to stop me. That was some years ago now...nearly 4. I'm currently 1 and a half years sober from all mind altering substances.

The obsession to use meth has vanished from me. I no longer suffer from cravings. I don't need it anymore. I think there are misconceptions about crystal meth which should be announced. If a recovering meth addict gets angry, or out of control it is not a reaction to the effect meth has had on his/her brain.

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Posted by cryadmin on Friday, January 25

Personal Stories: I have lost everything because of meth
Personal StoriesI have lost everything because of meth, time with my children and family was the worst. I can never replace it like I can a couch or coffee pot.

I still slip once in awhile and I need help,I know I'm not alone.Ihurt those that I loved the most those who meant the world to me including myself.

My children were so lonely for me and I chose drugs instead, I should have listened to my intuition and went home but I felt like I couldn't.I am home now and regret everyday that I was gone.

Posted by cryadmin on Wednesday, January 16

Personal Stories: I told myself that i would never, ever, try it ...
Personal StoriesI told myself that i would never, ever, try it in my entire life, like most people do. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes people experiment once, and let that be it, bravo. But for me it wasn't so simple.

I first tried it when i was 16, i had previously been using many other drugs, but not meth. This is where i started the month long binge, that landed me in a woman's shelter, that landed me in the hospital on an involentary extended stay. i was alone at the shelter, i was the youngest there that's for sure.

All i could do was smoke meth untill my heart felt like it was being carved out of my chest. The pattern went that i would binge for 3-4 days and crash for two, typically. I did this for 5 weeks.

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Posted by cryadmin on Wednesday, October 03

Other Resources: Sharing lessons learned - Terrace BC
Personal StoriesCARMEN CHARBONNEAU spent the first half of this year speaking to approximately 1,200 mostly young people in an attempt to steer them in a better direction than the one she took.

A recovering alcohol and crystal meth addict, Charbonneau was a key member of a local Crystal Meth Task Force that visited students in schools from late elementary up to college and university.

The 53-year-old longtime Alcan employee and Terrace resident said despite her audience being a generation removed from her, their stories were the same as hers.

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Posted by cryadmin on Thursday, July 26

Personal Stories: Forced detox would prove to be lifesaving.
Personal StoriesOur son is 28 years old. We believe he has been a meth addict for the past 7-8 years.

XXXXX was a bright child, full of promise for a future of success in any endeavour of his choosing. He graduated from high school with honours, having been in the PACE program, completing international baccalaureate studies and accepted to UVIC. XXXXX was also well liked amongst his peers, having no lack of friends or social activities. In addition, he was a musician who formed a band, that become well known in the city as they performed professionally.

Rather than pursue his academics, he left home immediately after grade 12 graduation. XXXXX decided that he wanted to follow his musical inclinations and it seemed to us that he needed “time out”.

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Posted by cryadmin on Saturday, July 07