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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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Conquering Meth Addiction: Carren Clem's Story

How one young woman fought her way back from meth addiction to become a mom and help at-risk teens.
By Carren Clem
WebMD Magazine - Feature

I never expected to become a drug addict. I grew up in rural Montana. My dad worked as a narcotics cop, so my siblings and I knew how bad drugs were. I played violin, had my own pony, did well in school, and went to church.

But in sixth grade, I started having social problems. I was teased and excluded by the other kids, especially girls. When I got to high school, I was determined to make friends, so I jumped at the chance to skip school with an older girl and go to a party at her friend's house. Unfortunately, the friend was an older boy who gave us beer and ended up raping me. To deal with the shame, I started drinking, skipping school, and hanging out with "bad" kids.

The next year, I went to boarding school. But even there, I struggled and eventually was sent home. I took a job working for a local telemarketing company and partied a lot with the other workers. One day one of them offered me a "pick-me-up" because I was tired. As it turned out, the "pick-me-up" was methamphetamine, or "meth." I smoked it all weekend. The high was so intense it was unbelievable. I felt like Superwoman.

Meth Addiction, Meth Recovery

I was hooked right away. In fact, within a week, I was using four or five hits of meth a day to stay high. Within a month, I was arguing with my parents so much I had to move out. I would do anything with anyone to get drugs -- steal car stereos, have sex, whatever. Often when I woke up I didn't know where I was or how I had gotten there.

I hit bottom when I decided I no longer wanted to live. My "friends" tried to help me commit suicide by giving me a huge amount of drugs and alcohol. I didn't die -- but when I woke up I was so sick I finally knew I needed help. I called the youth pastor at our church. He called my parents and they got me into a treatment program.

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