When I was in high school, I lived with my mother, her husband, and his daughter Brittany. Fuck using a pseudonym cause this is the only person in the world whose death I actively hope for. She was the worst human I’ve ever personally known, and I almost wish there was a hell just to know she’ll be going there.
was is a complete trainwreck of a person. The day I met her, when she was 13 years old, she screamed at her dad for forgetting to buy a carton of cigarettes when he was at the grocery store. Nevermind it was the day they were moving in with me and my mom, and that my mom would’ve slapped me silly for attempting any part of that, Brittany didn’t give a fuck. She wanted to be a badass. She dated men that were never younger than 17, and sometimes up to 24 years old (when she was 15).
She also did a lot of meth.
That’s where this story comes in. When Brittany was on meth, or perhaps when she was in need of meth (having never done meth, I couldn’t say which it was), she was such a fucking cunt. She once threw a glass at me while I was eating cereal and I had the audacity to ask “just wakin’ up?”. Because I had no other power over her, I’d regularly sneak into her room and steal her meth, place it in an envelope, write “look what I found” on it and place it on my mom’s pillow.
She’d been placed in rehab programs several times over the course of those few years. That worked out to her advantage, because it gave her a face to put on and say “see? I’m all better now!”. While I saw through it, my mom truly believed in her and would occasionally scold me for remarks about “yeah, let’s see how long this lasts”.
This was high school, though. I experimented. My friend Shaun, a year older than me, was starting to smoke weed on occasion. One time, he came over and showed me some homemade pipe he made. Though everyone claims this when it’s not true, he actually did ask me to hang onto it for him.
A few weeks later, I smoked weed for the first time with a different friend of mine. It wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t really like it that much. But, when Brittany went snooping through my room one afternoon and found that pipe, I suddenly regretted having to lie about “never smoking weed”.
My mom was disappointed. Brittany was up on her high horse. She was so fucking happy that she had something on me. She told my mom that I should join her for her next NA 1Narcotics Anonymous meeting, so I could “see the dark road I was traveling down”. When my mom agreed, Brittany smiled at me and mouthed “got you!”. I almost hit her, but I had to stay cool lest my mom think I’d gone fucking crazy.
My mom took me to Brittany’s counselor/sponsor (either? both? I don’t know), who gave me a drug test. Afterwards, I sat in a room with him and he said “so.. when’s the last time you did meth?”. I was floored. I recall asking him if maybe it was a false-positive – like something about eating poppy seed bagels tests you positive for heroin 2which isn’t true, but this was pre-Google. I was so confused. I’m not even sure what I said, but at some point – while I was crying – he said “no, no, we didn’t even run the test. I just wanted to see. Brittany says you act like a meth addict”. I started to argue, and tell him about Brittany’s history, and he said “please, please.. this isn’t about her. this is about you. I need you to come to a meeting”.
So I’m at this meeting. Just like they show in the movies. Dark room. Everyone sits in chairs in a circle. Everyone’s smoking (myself included). The leader – who was also the aforementioned Brittany’s counselor/sponsor — says “you’re new here – why don’t you share why you’re here?”. I said “I don’t know”. The room groaned. The leader continued “can you… tell us about your drug problem?”. I said “I… don’t have a drug problem”.
That’s where shit hit the fan. People were jumping up, yelling “DENIAL!”, the guy next to me said “you’re pathetic!”, Brittany was smiling like a bitch. I tried, in vain, over the shouting and groaning, to plead my case. No one was listening.
Finally, the leader said “okay, okay.. let him explain”. I said “I’m.. here because of her..“, which got another room full of “PROJECTING! PROJECTING!”. I couldn’t win. I sat back and felt helpless. I finally just shouted “I SMOKED WEED ONE FUCKING TIME AND SHE WANTED ME TO SEE WHERE THAT LEADS!”.
They finally shut up. They applauded me for my “bravery” to come see the dark side of what could happen. The leader hugged me. Then a few others hugged me. It was so uncomfortable that, for at least a year after, I refused to hug anyone.
I went to a few more of their meetings, outings, and parties over the course of maybe 4 months. Every single time, at least 1 or 2 people would come up to me in private and confess having done their drug of choice recently, and that I really need to just get out there and explore the drug world. One woman, who was a little too unattractive for me to accept her offer, said “I can get you some good weed and we could have a helluva time!”.
I know people will defend these 12-step programs to their dying day, and I’m genuinely glad it’s worked for them. But, for me, all I saw were people looking for a new mask to wear.