Convicted meth user talks about the consequences of his addiction

Written by: Mike Puccinelli

Mike Adams is a trained construction worker. But there's no mud on his boots these days. That's because Mike has been locked up in the sterile environment of the Shelby County Penal Farm for nearly four years; the reason, Aggravated Robbery. You see, Mike needed cash to feed a fifty dollar a day crank habit. "Whereas cocaine is kind of a cool little buzz, with crystal you're wired, like that." Wired and desperate for money Mike tore open and bloodied a man's face with the butt of a pistol, before robbing him and stealing his car. "I don't know what made me think that would be a good idea. Using guns wasn't my thing." Mike's thing was crystal meth. His long affair with the drug began in high school. But what started as a casual relationship eventually became an obsession, the drug something of a chemical mistress. And like it's flesh and blood counterpart, this mistress destroyed Mike's marriage. "Because of the way I was behaving my wife said she wasn't going to put up with it and we got a divorce. " The divorce included total separation from his daughter. But Mistress Meth wasn't done there. Soon, in quick succession, Mike lost his home, truck, job and freedom. Before he picked up that pistol and left a stranger needing stitches in his face, Mike had been wired on crystal for three straight days. "When you stay up and high for three days you crash and it doesn't matter where. So as dumb as it sounds I was found asleep in the car I had stolen." But now half way through an eight year prison term, Mike has come to see his discovery in the car that day not as an arrest but as a rescue. "If I was still out there doing what I was doing I could be dead. That's something I keep in mind to try and keep me from going back to that way of life." He also reads recovery literature, takes behavior modification classes and heads up one of the prison's alcoholics anonymous groups. "That was half the battle realizing what I was doing was wrong." The other half of the battle will be fought outside the prison's walls after Mike is released. That's when experts say mistress meth is almost sure to come calling once again. But Mike says he's confident he can conquer his crystal cravings with the help of a half-way houses structured environment and strict set of rules. And besides this addict knows all too well, his freedom is at stake. "I won't have anything if i'm not sober. The minute I get high it will all be gone. I'll be right back here."