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When You're Addicted to Drugs, You Know You'll Eventually Push It Too Far

"You can't really fuck with Mother Nature for that long."

Amy Dresner

The following is an excerpt from MY FAIR JUNKIE: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean by Amy Dresner, with permission from Hachette Books, a division of Hachette Book Group.

I was absolutely mesmerized by the drugs. You know those tiny little tins of Tylenol you can get at 7-Eleven or the airport? Well, I had taken one of those and removed the red and white paint with paint thinner. I lined the inside with holographic sticky paper and glued a small tin skull on the front. I knew I was addicted to poison, to death, but why not make it a little stylish?

My drug habit was expensive—at least $170 every two days. My "sorry, I misbudgeted" wasn't flying with my dad anymore, so I started selling speed. I bought a tiny scale and some plastic bags. Meth is cheaper in bulk, so I'd buy a teener (one-sixteenth of an ounce) or an eight ball (one-eighth of an ounce), sell enough quarters (quarter-of-a-gram bags) to break even, and then have the rest of the drugs for myself. I did have a stream of weird raver kids knocking on my door 24/7, but it was a small price to pay to get high for free. I was always up anyway.

As my parents sensed me deteriorating both physically and mentally, they each called me daily to urge me to go into rehab. I always refused, but I could feel the ride was ending. I'd heard an old druggie adage: You know why there are no old speed freaks? Because they're all dead.

My mother came to visit, but I knew she was really on a recon mission. The day she arrived, I hadn't gotten high in two days, and I was bedbound and gray. My mother stocked my refrigerator and cleaned my little studio apartment, which I gather was beyond disgusting. Tweakers are notorious for getting high and cleaning things or tinkering with electronics. A few lines in, they're taking apart stereos or feverishly scrubbing the grout in the bathroom with a toothbrush. I've never been into cleaning, and that didn't change when I got high. It turns out that being raised by maids, as I was, doesn't make you grateful and neat. It makes you spoiled and messy. So I was the dirtiest speed freak around.

As soon as my mother flew home to Santa Fe, I was right back on the pipe. One afternoon, I was in the market a few blocks from my place. I had been up for about five days straight. I grabbed my dietary staples—a large bottle of Mountain Dew and a Caramello bar—and headed toward the register. That was the last thing I remember. Next I knew, I was on a gurney in an ambulance.

"What the fuck?" I tried to sit up, but I was strapped down. "Calm down, miss," the paramedic said. "Can you tell me what day it is?" another paramedic asked me. "What?" I felt confused, foggy.

"Can you tell me who the president is?" "Of course," I snorted. "Who is it?"

I drew a blank. "Have you done any drugs tonight?" "Yeah . . . obviously some really shitty ones, because here I am!" I said defiantly. And with that, we were off to the hospital. Doctor's guess: a massive seizure. They did a head CT scan, made me choke down some charcoal for a possible overdose, and released me. When you are a drug addict, you know that you will eventually have to pay the piper. You can run for a while, but there will be a point when you have pushed things too far. You can't really fuck with Mother Nature for that long. Eventually, she'll take your head and slam it to the ground and remind you who's boss in this game called life.

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