IN DEFENSE OF METH: A few points to consider:
I strongly believe that methamphetamine has entirely too bad of a reputation, considering it is a recreational drug which actually can aid the user who favours it in getting things done...and without fogging up the brain or inducing lassitude.
I would not deny that it - like ANY drug, licit or illicit:
- has its downsides
- is not for everyone
- should be used with care and respect, as opposed to merely blithely consuming it willy-nilly
- should be only used if the user can remember to take care of his or her body instead of taking the power feelings it gives for granted
- can sometimes, despite all cautions, cause more damage than good in some individuals
It also should be remembered that every person is a separate set of mental and physical conditions. Altogether too much advice about drugs - and health in general - is dispensed by well-meaning folks who still fail to see that what is medicine for one person can be poison for another - and vice-versa.
There are people whose lives are demonstrably improved by the use of methamphetamine: people with very slow metabolism, people who are narcoleptic or semi-narcoleptic, people whose creative impulse slants in the particular, peculiar direction of being aided more by state of mania than by more "evenminded" condition.
When a person takes a medication to attempt to improve his or her mental or physical health, s/he often has to weigh the pros and cons involved. Most medications have side effects. Some are very debilitating. Yet no one harshly criticizes the cancer patient taking a course of chemotherapy that is nearly always a "cure that's worse than the disease" - and all too often does not even knock back the cancer to begin with. That person is given sympathy. The person who takes a strong stimulant, though, to counteract conditions of sluggishness or "deadened mind" - that person is vilified, hated, made into a pariah. Why?
Because it is assumed - ASSUMED - that it is ALWAYS better to not take drugs than to take them. People have been getting propaganda-bombed with anti-drug messages all their lives now, to the point where this has become the opinion of nearly everyone I know, and likely also the opinion of everyone you yourself know, whoever you are, Gentle Reader.
I'd like to suggest a different way of thinking. If one can be happy and functional without drugs, then one will do oneself best not to bother with taking them. If one is unhappy and dysfunctional, and the situation can be improved or temporarily rectified by taking a drug, then that person's decision to use this substance should not only be tolerated, but completely supported...PROVIDED that the person in question is not in a situation where his or her drug use is going to pose an obvious danger to others. (The line here is unfortunately a fuzzy one, due to social domino effects, but it is possible to avoid the most egregious offenses against the welfare of others by using even a small amount of common sense and good judgment.)
AMPHETAMINE IN SPECIFIC
Myth: Tweakers are always paranoid.
Fact: Many aren't. It really does vary from brain to brain. I've met people who were more "sketchy" while on nothing at all than they are when tweaking.
Myth: Speed users never know how fucked up they are.
Fact: Most do, but just ignore it. (Not that this is good; there are better ways to deal with the problems than ignoring them.)
Myth: Speed use causes skin problems.
Fact: Speed use causes skin problems. However, most of it isn't the speed; it's the CUT that's in it. People who have used only pharmaceutical Desoxyn for years do not tend to have this problem.
Phillip K. Dick was mentioned as a writer who put his speed to good use. I daresay there are a great many others who simply never admit to using it. Ditto goes for musicians. How else is one going to keep up with the pace of a creative life, with all its strange demands on the body which run counter to the "normal" circadian rhythms, without a bit of assistance.
If you are a creative writer, artist or musician who has the wherewithal to do your "thing" sans accellerant, then thank your lucky stars that you've been endowed with this kind of biochemistry. But remember, just like good looks, "attractive" brain chemistry is not something everyone was born with, or can get through "natural" means.
TIPS FOR TWEAKERS:
disclaimers: a) Meth is illegal, so I don't advocate its use since that would be breaking the law. b) Doing the things mentioned here are NO GUARANTEE you will not suffer ill effects from tweaking; they MIGHT, however, help you stay a bit more sane and healthy than if you did not choose to follow them.
THIS IS ABOUT HARM REDUCTION. If you want to make absolutely sure you suffer no ill effects from meth, do not use meth.
- WATER IS LIFE. Drink LOTS of it when you are staying up for a while. Keep a bottle of water nearby wherever you are.
- BEER IS NOT WATER. Opinions differ as to whether drinking beer while on speed is a good idea. I don't think it is - just dries out the body faster - but I can see where it might help a different person by calming down the mind a little. Just don't drink it in lieu of water.
- FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE ESSENTIAL. Since speed does all sorts of things to make you not want to eat food, it's too easy to forget to do it. Beat this particular problem by making it easier to make yourself eat. Get some soft fruits (oranges, bananas, peaches, etc.) and cut them up into little bite-sized pieces. Put them into a bowl and while you're in "Mach Five" mode, periodically skewer one with a toothpick and eat it. That way, you won't feel the impatient hassle of interrupting whatever it is you're doing while you're "up". Get a juicer and make some vegetable juices to drink if you can. (They might taste yucky, but it is a lot easier and faster than eating them fresh and hard; and they're much better for you fresh than cooked.)
- LIFE IS NOT A SCI-FI NOVEL...VITAMIN PILLS ARE NOT FOOD. But take them in addition to the food. Especially Vitamin E and C. One of the previous Noders mentioned the mineral depletion problem. Those little packets of vitamins and minerals that are available at liquor stores are excellent for dealing with this.
- AVOID "LOOPING" SYNDROME. One reason speed users have such a bad reputation is that they tend to LOOP...to obsess on one thing, idea or thought pattern endlessly. BREAK the loop habit by learning how to divert your mind's attention to something else. But don't "try" too hard, or it will just end up being a catch-22 (DO NOT, I command thee, think of WATERMELONS! Now why can't you think of anything BUT watermelons? You're trying not to think of them now. 10 minutes later, though, you'll have forgotten this Node, and also the watermelons...but only after you stop TRYING to forget them.) Some adherents of "life in the fast lane" swear by yoga as a way to learn to stop this.
- NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THAT YOU ARE ON A DRUG and therefore will tend to overamplify the importance of some things. Don't take your mind and its wonderfully intense incredibly profound blitherings and babblings too seriously.
- OTHER PEOPLE WHO AREN'T TWEAKING DO NOT WANT TO HEAR YOU DOING IT. Keep it quiet when you are around them. Might seem hard, but trust me, it's a good idea for a great many reasons.
- HAVE AN ACTIVITY FOCUS. Having all that energy and nothing to channel it down into is what ends up "schitzing out" a great many of those you think of as "tweak casualties". Best not to use meth as a "party drug" for hanging around shooting the bull. Make the toll it takes on your body at least have a redeeming creative result that you and others can enjoy even later on. If one project becomes frustrating, don't tweak on it for hours trying to get it to work - take a break, do something else, or go take a walk for a half-hour or so, to get some circulation in your limbs...and also in your brain. Helps a lot!
- YOU ARE NOT A ROBOT. Eventually, you will have to sleep. Do so.
- "COMING DOWN" DOES NOT HAVE TO BE "CRASHING". If you've attended to the food and water business, that will help most of the problems right there. Recall that "high" can only be "high" if one has "low" in between to compare it to. If marijuana is helpful to you, have some around to smoke...but if it makes you paranoid, avoid it. AVOID ALCOHOL because in the long run it will make the crash even worse. Valium can be helpful, but NEVER use it on a daily basis for benzodiazepine withdrawal is medically dangerous and definitely not fun.
- DON'T USE NEEDLES. IV drug use dangers are legion...and what's more, intravenous speed tends to be less conducive to creative work than snorted speed is. (Harder, shorter "rush" vs. softer, longer heightening of capability, focus, mental recall.)
- THE ABOVE IS ALL SUBJECTIVE. I'd say it's probably good advice for just about any tweaker, but still, I feel I must again point out that no two brains are alike in their chemical reactions.
Brains are like assholes: everyone's got one...they're all different...they all have shit falling out of them frequently, but are also not only absolutely necessary for life, but they can and do have some potentially interesting alternative uses. (Smile)
Unsafe at any speed - so to speak - your mileage may vary from mine on any number of points here.
Listen to your own instincts. And if they make sense, don't forget to follow them, and not just give them mental lip service.