Day 1 without METH • We’re walking this journey to Easter together

Triggers: Alcohol, porn, Facebook messenger, and more

My dear brothers and sisters on meth (and everyone who is worried about them and loves them),

On Palm Sunday I wrote to you all in a letter (A love letter to my brothers and sisters on meth) with a plea for you to become sober in time for the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil) this week. I provided some information about what you generally can expect on this week-long journey, especially for those who have never tried to get sober longer than a day.

Today, Holy Monday, would mark the first day of the journey, if you did throw away the pipe and needle yesterday. By the way, you didn’t need to have quit on Palm Sunday to follow this journey. Follow this journey from whatever day you read this and take the courageous step to quitting methamphetamine use.


The first 24 hours:

According to The Recovery Village, “The first one to two days of withdrawal is the ‘crash’ period. This period includes a sharp decline in energy and cognitive function. Depression is common during this phase, and in some cases, people will experience hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety.”

A 2010 study published by the National Institutes of Health states, “Withdrawal symptoms have been linked to a propensity for relapse to drug abuse.”

Allow me, a recovery meth addict who went through this, to help you to unpack this information.

The first two weeks without meth are the hardest. The first day is the easiest to relapse. It hasn’t been that long since you last used. The drug still is in your system and has hardly metabolized. Unless you left wherever it is you were staying and shut off your phone, both your physical and virtual environments are filled with meth or meth triggers within your reach. It is a recipe for relapse.

You will want to use. As you fight off the urge, you will want to make things easier for yourself by going to sleep and letting your slumber dictate your arrival at Day 2. But, you can’t. There’s too much meth in your system and your heart rate still is elevated. Don’t worry. As the hours go by, your body will flush out more of that meth and your system will start to prepare you for what I call a hibernation period. That’s when you’ll be asleep for two, three, even four days.

Before you get to that point, you’re going to have to rough out this first day. You’ll likely get headaches. Drink a lot of water and fluids with electrolytes, like coconut water or Pedialyte. You’ll twitch and slur more than normal and your dexterity will be clumsy. Bide your time. That will go away after the first week.

I wouldn’t recommend looking in the mirror. Reality has a way of setting in on that first day, and mixed with your long-term lack of nutrition and hygiene… let’s just say you’re not going to be as pretty as you thought you were when you were high. Your appearance will improve as soon as you’re hydrated and you replenish your body with nutrients. That takes a couple weeks of sobriety.


Here are the most important things for you to do in these first 24 hours, aside from what I described above:

  1. If you live in a place where there are other users around, or where meth is available or will be available, go somewhere else. If you have no where else to go, try to distance yourself from the others. Lock yourself in another room if you can. Before that, tell everyone else that you don’t want to use and that if they’re really your friends, they will not offer anything to you but water, food, silence, prayer, and support.
  2. Turn your phone off. That’s where all the action really is. Before you turn your phone off, delete the following apps: Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messenger, Snapchat, Tinder, Grindr, and WhatsApp. If you can, change your number and don’t give it to anyone except people who do not use drugs. I don’t need to explain this. Users should know exactly why this is critical to the first few days of sobriety.


Stay away from triggers:

Every addict has different triggers. Different kinks. Inhibitions, a sense of morality, and barriers come down when using meth. Long-term meth use often brings about a total change in character. The good boy or girl next door often becomes promiscuous and engages in risky sex. Married people who use meth start to sleep around with other meth users. Family men are kicked out of the house because they could not control their addiction to pornography when they were high. Women leave their children with their parents or siblings or even friends and strangers so they can feed their compulsion to gamble when they’re using. People who never cared for alcohol before will binge drink in order to deal with the effects of a “down.”

The first 24 hours of sobriety bring about the greatest risk that you will fall when triggered. On top of getting rid of the drug and its associated paraphernalia (pipes, syringes, tourniquets, bongs, aluminum foil, lighters, torches, baggies, etc.), you need to resist the temptation of engaging in behavior that your brain and your groin directly link to meth use.

For me, my meth addiction had a symbiotic relationship with porn. Meth would cause me to go into a depraved spiral of porn watching. Porn would cause me to want to do meth. Alcohol also would weaken my inhibitions and cause me to think about using. These are common triggers for many meth users I knew. The problem is that not many people are comfortable saying so.

Porn addiction probably is harder to shake off than meth. And that’s a big problem if it’s your trigger, because even when your brain and your body are not craving meth, once you think about some pornographic scene, it will trigger your desire to use. After years of using and spiraling through porn, it’s very difficult – indeed, impossible – to control those scenes coming out of your memory index and to the front of your thoughts. It takes months, even years for those images to fade away and for your triggers to lessen.

In the first 24 hours, your brain is still very much wired to want your body to feel the pleasure you felt just 24 hours prior, and for all the years before that. Don’t give in. Think of something unpleasant to look at (I swear I have so many jokes here that I gladly would pen if I wasn’t trying to be a good Christian). Or, better yet, think about your family. Think about all the people rooting for you. Think about Jesus.

Don’t have a drink of alcohol. It will only make your headache worse. It may very well lower your inhibitions and cause you to think, “Fuck it, I want to use again.”

You’re supposed to shut off your phone after reading this (and turn it on again tomorrow but only to read Kandit’s Day 2 article – always good to shine the light), so you won’t have to worry about your achak’ma calling you to get into trouble with him or her or them. But, in case they come knocking on your door, don’t let them in if sex is another trigger for you (translation: if you associate sex with meth use). It’s common. Most meth users will understand this.

Whatever triggers you, stay away from it. If it’s something that comes to mind, shirk it off. Count to 10 or 100 or 1,000. Play soft music. Watch a funny show. Pray.


Now, mark the first 24 hours of sobriety. Congratulations. Day 1 is done. On to Day 2.


  • Although this is good, heartfelt, advice, most addicts 1) won’t read it, and 2) pay no real attention to the advice it contains.

    It is only when an addict Hits Bottom and/or is incarcerated does the person begin to wake up. But until then, they live a life of intoxicated denial. Too bad.

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