August #115 : Kicking Crystal - by Lucile Scott

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Table of Contents
 

Bite The Bullet




Gazing into Our Genes

Touch That Dial!

A New Med for Old HIV

Doctor's Diary - August 2005

Haart-less and Healthy

In the Swim

A Summer's Day

Block Those Rays

Lipostylin'

What, Me Sue?

Getting Out on the Job

The Bad Seed

The Sperm Cycle

Condom Wrap-up

Think Kink

Meet Our POZ Personals Catch of the Month

Ask The Sexpert-August 2005

Got Zen?

We're All Living With Nuts

Oh, Daddy!




The Real AIDS Vaccine

High Risk Offensive

Follow the Leader

Crime Blotter

Earthwatch

HIV 411: What's Hot and What's Not

Mentors-August 2005

My So-Called Afterlife

Doctor Feel Good




Editor's Letter - August 2005

Mailbox - August 2005



 
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV



email print

August 2005


Kicking Crystal

by Lucile Scott

How one HIVer found the courage to escape from meth prison and return to reality

Brent Pendleton
34
Houston
Diagnosed 2001


I started using crystal at Gay Pride in 1995. Over the next seven years, I filed for bankruptcy, lost 10 rotted teeth and two serious boyfriends. I woke up in a hotel bathtub on Christmas after three blacked-out days. With meth pushing my inhibitions, I went on long binges of anonymous sex, using condoms about 10 percent of the time. You don’t think about HIV when you’re high. You feel invincible. Part of the problem may have been prevention burnout: People get sick of hearing they have to use condoms. Crystal lets you forget about HIV—until you get it. After I was diagnosed, I felt disgusted with myself and like I was going in circles. But finally, I stopped doing 360s and did a 180. My last high was December 31, 2001, seven months after I tested positive. —as told to Lucile Scott    

5 Steps to Clean, Sober and Safe

1. Get Smart
“I realized I’d die if I didn’t quit, and as an addict I thought it should be from something more glamorous than HIV. I had 200 T cells, lost 35 pounds and had HIV meds to take—which I knew I would forget on crystal. So I stopped cold turkey—no detox clinic, no horrible withdrawal. Quitting crystal made me lethargic. I slept a lot, had nightmares and lost more weight. But every day without drugs made me want to stay clean more. It doesn’t have to take getting HIV to quit, though.”
For more on detox, check out the info to empower people to quit at Life or Meth, www.lifeormeth.com.

2. Get Support
“I went to Crystal Meth Anonymous [CMA] once I felt confident saying I was an addict in public—and that I could help others. It was a mixed group with men and women, gay and straight. Finally, it seemed like I wasn’t alone. I could talk to other people dealing with issues like how to socialize without being pushed to use. After a while, I was nominated to be group leader.”
Find your local CMA 12-step meeting at www.crystalmeth.org.

3. Get Healthy
“I’ve adhered to my meds 100 percent. I’ve gained back the weight and am undetectable. I get counseling and hit the gym to regain pride in my body. Going to work every day and having a reason to get up in the morning and earn money like everyone else helps me mentally. I feel like a functioning member of society again.”
For more on adherence, fitness and jobs, visit the Body, a comprehensive guide to HIV, at www.thebody.com.  

4. Get Sex Confidence
“During my first sober relationship, I had so many flashbacks of drug-driven sex that I couldn’t function sexually. Now, I’m comfortable with myself and discuss meth use, being positive and having safer sex with potential partners. Most people thank me and ask questions. I’ve never had anyone say, ‘You were a drug user? I’m not having sex with you.’ I ask guys who seem high to leave my apartment.”
Find pointers for positive dating at HIV Stops With Me, a site about HIVers preventing infections, (www.hivstops -withme.com).

5. Get Active
“My addiction led to activism and that’s what I take pride in now. I’m the prevention supervisor at Montrose Clinic in Houston. I work out of the clinic and go to gay bars and bathhouses to talk about prevention and harm reduction. I can walk up to johns, prostitutes and junkies, and there is a connection and trust. They know I come from the streets. I feel good when people come up and say, ‘Hey, it’s been three weeks since I’ve picked up.’ It keeps me strong.”
Contact your local ASO for activism information. And get involved in the Campaign to End AIDS, www.campaigntoendaids.org.


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