Thursday, June 12, 2014

Meth and exploring Darkness

An old friend came by a few days ago, someone from my past, before I experienced the very real spiritual regeneration inherent in the true Christian experience.  It seems like a dream when I look back on it, like something from another reality, something long ago.  But it wasn't so long ago.  

Kyle was my closest friend, and at the end, my only friend during the drug crazed days of 2008 to 2012, a time we affectionately referred to as the year of no-light.  It was a time when I worshiped at the altar of the tri-plateau tripping levels of the drug dextromethorphan.  If the human experience on Earth is disconnection from God, I walked in the opposite direction and explored the darkest night anyone could see.

I slipped into a deep dark forest, so dark I couldn't see a thing, and got lost.  But no one came to look for me.  And when I opened my eyes that forest had turned into a pseudo-spiritual yellow brick road.  It was highly convincing, and deeply intriguing.  One could explore such a forest their entire lives and never find all the trans-realities present, but absolutely none of them had anything to do with truth, or love, or peace.  Only pleasure, my own pleasure, and my own delusional god-less exploration of sensory warping.

Kyle had been there.  He saw how ugly it was.  Our mantra was always "Something dark is coming" a composition by Bear McCreary that haunted us every time we listened to it.  Maybe it was an addiction to being haunted, to feeling combinations of emotions, happy but sad, mellow but crazed, inspired yet perplexed, despairing and hopeful, magnificent and purple dark.   Maybe it was worshiping the darkness in the red room.

I had reached down for the bottom, the end all be all of mental anguish and on that rock, called upon Jesus.  How, why, I don't know, only that it wasn't me, it was Jesus, and I'm grateful to be step by step trudging on the Christian road, hopefully to walk one day through the thin door.  

Kyle continued in that dark scene, he did not have the spiritual experience that I did.  And I broke contact with him.  I tried to help him, I tried to introduce him to Jesus at first.  But I had just met him myself.  Not to mention, Kyle didn't care.  He just wanted to drink, and smoke pot.  No sermon could've been convicting enough, and no apologia reasonable enough.  So I broke all contact.

Fast forward to June 9th 2014, a few days ago.  And there he was, my old comrade in arms.  And he had a crazy story to tell.  A story that broke my heart.  Bone chilling.

He had fallen into the dark world of methamphetamine addiction.  I was shocked.  We had drank, smoked pot, and we had tripped endlessly on dextromethorphan.  But we never did crack, heroin, meth or the other hard drugs.  The "light" drugs had been bad enough.  

He told this terrible story.  His girlfriend left him and I broke contact right at the same moment.

In sadness he slipped off with a crazed meth addict named Anna to Minneapolis.  Halfway there he discovered he was transporting the meth king pin, codename "Dreamer" across state lines.  This "Dreamer" had introduced methamphetamine to the midwest in the 1990s.  From there things descended, and he ended up, after his first hit, cripplingly addicted to methamphetamine, a drug made by combining ephedrine, draino, battery acid and other household items, to make the drug.  

Poor Kyle.  This was the nerdy kid I ran the UW newspaper with.  This was the kid I used to walk with every night 2am to 5am talking about society, philosophy, and spirituality; during spring semester, carefully evading homework.  This was someone I deeply cared about, as a close friend and adviser.  

He told me he had met up with a transexual meth dealer, a man pretending to be a woman, and delivered drugs for him.  They had sex and became close.  He said one night he overdosed and called an ambulance, but when they came the police arrived as well, and caught him with drugs.  The police recruited him into a special task force searching out methamphetamine dealers in the Wausau area.  He became a citizen informant.  He wore a camera, got yelled at by police, manipulated, conned.  Eventually his information led to the arrest of 11 individuals and $10,000 of meth product confiscated by police. 

Oddly enough, he also said that some police officers assisted the meth dealers by giving them the names of informants.  The transexual guy found out about Kyle giving information to police.  Kyle had been found out, and the meth community, the subculture in the area were aware of him.  Kyle said for the past 6 months he's been smoking meth daily with the transexual drug dealer, making several thousand dollars a month as a driver.

Dark days.  And the things he described..  The children neglected... the drug dealers luring in girls in their teens, getting them addicted to "up" and then using them as sex toys.  The insanity of it all, the meth addicts shaking as they wait for the pipe.  The fights over the drug.  So very shocking.  

So very dark.

When I first started exploring darkness, it was like something in a dozen shades of dark, dark blue, dark purple, all in a black, murky sky.  Like a dark sunset.  And it was beautiful.  Even the pain was beautiful.  Isn't that always how it is at the beginning of some quiet, nasty pleasure?  Isn't that always how it seems, and what the road looks like at the beginning to entice us?  Yes, indeed it is.  It would be easy if these temptations felt terrible, but they don't feel terrible at first, they feel wonderful.  

It isn't until you're in so deep that you can't see a thing, that those beautiful colors fudge together into a brown black darkness, turning bright red and cutting into the soul with sharp blades.  That's where exploring darkness leads, the darkness indeed as they say, looks into you.  And later, it dismantles you, while tickling your fancies.. and at the end it finishes you off, and kills you spiritually.  And eventually it will cut you apart physically.  And you just fade away.

Kurt Cobain said it's better to burn out then fade away.  Maybe he was right.  But I'd rather be reborn, than burn out or fade away.  That's the lie of this society: Coke or pepsi, democrat or republican, mcdonalds or burger king, kill yourself or die slowly of drug addiction?  I refuse those options.  I choose the 3rd way, saving faith in Jesus Christ.  The option they never told me about.  I choose water, libertarian, organic food, and Jesus Christ.

They stole Kyle's dignity.  And the meth has turned my old friend into a monster.  Immorality, cussing, hours of manic "up-sex", as they call it, driving around drug dealers, working for the police, and abused and ridiculed by the police, some of whom work with the meth dealing community.  It's insanity.  

We were two middle class kids in the suburbs guzzling cough medicine, drinking, and getting into a lot of addicted trouble in the year of no-light.  But he's stepped into the hard drug world.  And I'm so afraid for my old friend.  Because I can just tell, he isn't ready to quit.  He knows he's addicted,  but.. he likes smoking the meth.  He likes what it does to him.  He's just not willing.

And I don't respond with judgment to that.  I understand how it is when you're addicted.  You just aren't ready.  It's so hard to summon the will.  If you're thinking about judging.. imagine never eating sweets again, or quitting television or the internet, or facebook.  Would it really be that easy?  No.  We are addicts as people, more than we might like to admit.  And the truth is, the drug problem in this country is something massive, expansive, and growing.  

On the eve of founders day, June 10th, today they officially legalized gay marriage in Wisconsin.  And this Friday is a full moon, Friday the 13th.  I spoke out against the gay marriage issue, and of course I was mocked and called ignorant and intolerant.  No surprise there.  Though it was surprising to have someone suggest that I must be subconsciously gay myself since I'm against it.  There's a new one.  

I reflect on where our society is moving.  Who could really be surprised by the growth of drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, school shootings, abortion, and on and on and on?  It's been invited in, perhaps even carefully orchestrated.  It's everywhere.  

And the class warfare, the attack on the middle class by corporate america pushes people down those roads in increasing numbers.  Couple that with the demise of the Christian message in the United States, and people have absolutely nowhere to turn when trouble rises up all around them.  This world has a million temptations and any one of them can run us ragged and put us on our knees before it's altar.  Time and patience is a powerful weapon of temptation. 

A lot of times in the Christian evangelical movement, I think we kind of exist in a bubble.  We don't see these things, even though they go on in the community day and night.  Terrible things.  I work at a homeless shelter remember, I get to see these things.  And I think my goodness, these are the people who need the Gospel message the most.  And I think churches need to be willing to engage, and put themselves in danger, to help people Jesus spent the most time with: the worst kinds of sinners.  We need to seek and save the lost.  We aren't doing that.  Not to the extent we should.  As Christians we exist in our protected churches, kinda staying there, and then we sit back and complain about the culture going to hell.  But what are we doing to stop it?  We think everything is fine, maybe.  But it's not.  I know.  I was there.  Evil is alive and well, growing, and recruiting people.  My friends.  But still we can't go?  Why can't we go?  Today?  

I would like to request prayers for Kyle.  He is in a dark place, he sees the extent of the chaos, but feels powerless to muster the will to change anything.  I will continue to encourage him, and tell him the things I learn about Jesus.  But please, pray, Please Lord Jesus, have mercy on him, like you had mercy on me, and had mercy on all of us sinners, one by one, helping us to the gates of heaven, one day at a time; in the same way show mercy and grace to Kyle.  Help him to call upon your name in his darkest hour.  In your name we pray, Amen.