Tuesday, May 15, 2007


May 1, 2007
Loosening Meth’s Stranglehold

By Christopher Murray

Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction:
An Essential Guide to Getting Clean
Steven J. Lee, M.D.
Marlowe & Company, 2006

Darryl does New York City’s Black Party every March. The 32 year old cutie flies in from his Midwestern home town for a long weekend, gets a hotel and basically stays in chaps for seventy two hours, dancing his pretty little toochis off. This year, though, he never even made it to the party because he spent the whole weekend with his new girlfriend, tina, otherwise known as crystal methamphetamine.

“I had done tina before,” Darryl said, (using meth’s camp diminutive, drug dealer shorthand lingo: crystal became christina, became tina). “But it was mostly just here and there, but this time, it scared the shit out of me.” Darryl had only snorted the potent stimulant before, but on Black Party weekend he smoked it out of a glass bowl that one of the men who he hooked up with online brought over to his hotel room. “What really freaked me out was when one guy took out a needle,” he said, referring to injecting the drug, or “slamming.’

For Darryl, his lost weekend was a warning to stay away from Tina, its potential to erase normal boundaries too intense for him. Darryl not only never made it to the Black Party, but he also had unprotected sex. “Frankly, I’m comfortable giving a blowjob and taking a load here and there. It’s hot, everyone I know does it, even if they don’t talk about it. But I let a guy fuck me with out a condom and I fucked another guy without one.”

Even though Darryl paid for one of the pricey viral load tests to determine that he remains HIV negative, the whole experience freaked him out and he’s decided to part company with Miss. Tina for good.

It’s become kind of a truism that methamphetamine has darkened the circuit scene since the millennium approached, turning feel-good all night grooves into edge-y, teeth gnashing marathons. And most gay men on the coasts know more than one close friend who has crashed and burned on meth, moving too fast from just trying it to missing work and brunch or finding addiction or an HIV diagnosis.

Unfortunately, meth, as a cheap, fast and long-lasting high that intensifies sexual scenes and dulls concerns about sexually transmitted diseases is probably going to be with us for a while. So, for those who have crossed a line, or are concerned about someone who has, the best new resource in print is New York-based gay psychiatrist Steven Lee’s Overcoming Crystal Meth, accurately subtitled An Essential Guide to Getting Clean.

Lee’s book, though not exclusively targeted toward gay men, spends a lot of time laying out the groundwork for what attracts the homos to the drug, noting how it puts people in a kind of sex zombie zone where they aren’t feeling any inhibitions whether bad ones like traces of internalized homophobia, or potentially good ones, like sensible boundaries on rougher sex.

Overcoming Crystal Meth has chapters on the nature of the drugs itself, on how addiction works, how to figure out if you have a problem and get off meth, and once off, how to stay clean. The book recognizes that a lot of people have gotten tripped up on meth, but isn’t preachy or prudish.

Meth “gradually became a party drug for certain middle- to upper-middle class gay men in urban communities, who used it to fuel their energy in all-night, dance parties called circuit parties, in which some people would dance for twelve to eighteen hours,” Lee writes. Hmm, guilty as charged. But he goes on to say that the “favored drugs at these events enhanced the profound emotional experience of bonding and freedom,” that is, until tina showed up. He notes that 90% of guys at circuit events use anywhere from one to seven drugs according to studies and that the “highly addictive nature” of meth led to it’s quickly taking over as a problematic compulsion for many men.

The book also has a valuable section on so-called “special topics,” including how to deal with relapse, crystal and HIV disease and helping a loved one who’s all messed up on the drug:

-Stopping meth is in some ways like quitting smoking, in that many people fall off the wagon before they give it up for good. Lee teases through how to proceed in the event of relapse, without setting yourself up for one, noting that “high hopes are not the same as impossible expectations.”

-Lee acknowledges that for many gay men, the specter of HIV has made sex a high anxiety event. For those who have the virus, Lee explains the ways that partying with meth can really run down the immune system and how to lessen the impact of continued use by putting limits on how long you’ll stay up or simply staying hydrated and remembering to take your medication.

-If you suspect a friend or lover is fucked up on meth and slip sliding away, the book also has good advice for what to do, (consult a professional or check out a group like Al-Anon for advice on setting boundaries), and when to broach the subject, (probably not when they have been up for three days and are completely tweaked out).

Overcoming Crystal Meth is a soup-to-nuts guide that lays everything about the drug out in a clear easy to read format. It has an extensive resources section to follow up if people need to consult with a local gay health organization, or find help on the web or check out drug treatment options.

So if Miss. Tina has overstayed her welcome and your DVD player broke from all the Crisco on the disks and you haven’t taken that dildo out of ass in two days, or you’re concerned about becoming a load-seeking cum dump and getting HIV or some other nasty bug, give Overcoming Crystal Meth a read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a website you may find useful. http://www.addicted.com is a site for friends, families, and those who suffer from various addictions.