Posted by: Angela | September 26, 2006

Says the recovering meth user

Paint the State entry, Whitefish Montana

“That doesn’t help”  says the recovering meth user in my life, my oldest younger brother, when viewing the pictured artwork from the opposite street corner.

“Why?”  I asked.

His answer scared and intrigued me.  “Because of the colors, mainly.” 

What scared me was that colors and idea of meth tempted him.  What intrigued me is that he isn’t the artist of our family and I would have not thought that colors would be associated with his memories of meth.

The artwork above is an entry in the Montana Meth Project’s Paint the State contest.  I don’t know who painted it as the artist’s name isn’t mentioned anywhere and I have no idea if the artist has ever been a user.

If you follow the politics of meth prevention at all, I am sure you have heard of the Montana Meth Project.  There are many opinions of its effectiveness.  You can read about the Project’s opinion at their site.  Another well written opinion can be found here at the Missoula Independent.  I am sure there are many more to be found, but that really isn’t my point.

My brother and I continued to talk about the painting and the Montana Meth Project.  I asked if he had seen their billboards driving to my house and he had.  His thoughts on them is that the pictures were realistic but that they would not work.  When I asked why he confirmed what I have always thought, no one believes they will be the messed up addict.  What more, he was very messed up, had been for a long time (since about age fifteen) but still presented a pretty good face to the world.  He graduated high school, would have long periods of no using and then sink back in, all the while totally rejecting help and making my parents’ life a living hell.  But many of the facets of using meth are true in his life.  Now that he is clean, he says that he can’t think as quickly.  His health is comprimised to an extent that is unnatural for a someone his age (20 something), he gets every cold that comes along.  His teeth are still in his head only because he is obsessive about brushing them and meth only enhanced those obsessive tendency.

When I asked him what he would say about meth use and preventing someone from using, he said this “Using meth means the rest of your life.”  It’s a life commitment in his mind because now he has to try to stay clean, if he had never done it, he wouldn’t be thinking about avoiding it now.  As his sister, it still breaks my heart because he now has a life long burden of his own making.  In that way, the Montana Meth Project has it right…Meth, Not Even Once, that is the truth.          



  1. God bless you for sticking with your brother through all of this. That is so important. Even though I was never a meth user or a sibling of one, I’m sure it would be so easy to give up. Major props to your brother for being clean. You will all be in my prayers.

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