Carole was a client of ours who needed substance abuse treatment to be in accordance with her court probation. She was a freshman at a university in Michigan where she entered not long ago and met John.
John and Carole were so smitten with each other and it was not unusual to see them holding hands and laughing as they walked on the school campus. After a week of classes the first goal was to have fun and be with each other. Feeling very fortunate, their next goal was to live their lives together.
It was together that they attended and participated in all of the school activities planned, especially on the weekends. One weekend John and Carole were at a private party when someone passed a marijuana blunt around the room and Carole received it first. She looked to John who smiled as he encouraged her to try it.
“Go ahead” he said, “it won’t kill you.” John had smoked before in high school, but Carole never used any drugs. She was raised in a home of faith and prayer and was understandably apprehensive, but then John took the marijuana and demonstrated what she should do. “It’s only a blunt” he claimed. Carole slowly drew the smoke into her lungs. Little did they know that the marijuana was laced with crystal meth (methamphetamine).
How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Brain?
Methamphetamine or Meth is commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories. Other chemicals mixed into the ingredients add a higher potency during the cooking process of the drug. Methamphetamine increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to high levels of that chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine’s ability to rapidly flood the reward regions of the brain with dopamine produces the euphoric “rush” or “flash” that many users experience. Repeated methamphetamine use can easily lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, Drug Facts Revised 2014)
For John and Carole, the euphoric high made them feel like they wanted to party all night long.
Drugs soon became their primary objective. They each failed to complete their requirements to advance in their studies. When Carole’s parents came to school to take her home, she didn’t want to leave–she was not ready to stop using, and it was easier for her to find drugs with John. She begged her parents to give her another chance and she would make up her classes and work hard to stay on track. As their only child, she was persuasive. They agreed to let her stay because they knew nothing of her addiction to marijuana and crystal meth. Later, they admitted that they knew in their hearts something was wrong, but they wanted to trust Carole, and God. They have stated since that they think they let their daughter down by not listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. John, of course, was glad that Carole would stay after all.
As long as Carole’s parents believed she was making her grades they would continue to help her financially, so she paid friends to take her tests for her and assist her in passing her classes while she continued to use drugs. John, on the other hand, decided to drop out of school and live with Carole. He didn’t work and did not have any communication with his family. Substance abuse was in his family origin. His father was an alcoholic and had been abusive to his mother and the two divorced when John was only nine.
John developed a relationship with the dope man and didn’t need to go to parties to get that euphoric feeling anymore. He and Carole changed in many ways. Their eating habits changed and they started losing weight. They exhibited poor hygiene and didn’t have relationships with their friends, except for their dealer, that is.
God will stop you in order to get your attention
Meeting with the drug dealer had become routine for John and Carole. Sometimes they would smoke as they drove back home and that was the case as Carole drove home and the state police started following them. Blowing sirens and flashing lights panicked John who hid his drugs under the seat of the car. After being stopped they were both removed from their car on suspicion of possession of a control substance. John denied possessing any drugs when the police told him that he had been seen talking to a known drug dealer.
It became difficult for the couple to remain calm. When the officers from the back-up unit searched the car they found an ounce of the marijuana and methamphetamine mixture that John hid. The police asked who owned it and John stated that he never knew the drug was in the car. The officer asked who owned the car, “The car belongs to me,” responded Carole.
After interviewing both at the station later, the police released John and charged Carole with possession and transportation of a controlled substance. She was facing up to four years in jail.
As Carole was being held she remembered John’s words: “Go ahead, it won’t kill you.” But, Carole would later observe that it had killed her dreams and aspirations and she was incarcerated, being held over for a court hearing. Many nights even while getting high she had cried out to God to help her, but she didn’t realize that God will stop you in order to get your attention. She enjoyed the high but soon she realized that her life was a roller coaster out of control and she needed Him to step in and help her.
In so many of our counseling sessions we encounter individuals who have substance abuse problems and who need Narcotics Anonymous and other support groups. One aspect that we have in common with one another is that you must turn to a higher power to correct the substance abuse problem. We pray before and after each counseling session, allowing the Holy Spirt to manifest His power through us to help people understand God’s love for them, His desire that they become whole again and fulfill His purpose for their lives.
Carole understands now that she had become addicted to marijuana and crystal meth. Her world crashed, but her life was not and is not over. She is on the road to recovery and is currently preparing to resume her classes with an online school. Her priority, however, is to maintain her program to recovery. She was able to take an Incomplete in her classes as she worked on getting control of her life. She never saw John again.