Some of you read about how meth addicts stole all of the possessions of another Cracked columnist and you were probably thinking, "Wow, methamphetamine must be some pretty awesome stuff to make somebody want it so bad they'd steal all of Brockway's furniture! I want to try some!"

Via Wikimedia Commons

Brockway's "furniture."

Well, I live in a rural part of the country where meth is the national pastime. Most people around these parts have family, friends or acquaintances who have vanished into Meth Town, winding up dead, in jail or just toothless and looking like their heads had been deflated. At this point, when I log onto Facebook and try to track down old classmates and find they haven't signed in for a few years, I just assume meth got them.

So for those of you who don't have as intimate a relationship with the drug as I do (no, that doesn't mean I'm on meth), let me run down some of the wonderfully unexpected side effects.

Goodbye, Shyness!

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Let's say that I knew a guy named ... "Bill." Sounds good.

Bill was always socially awkward. He was the kind of guy who just couldn't quite bring himself to get out that opening "hello" around women. But meth changed all that, baby!

After his very first line, Bill suddenly gained the ability to speak. A lot. He joined into conversations about everything, whether he knew something about the subject or not. Even if he didn't know the people he was talking to. And once he was in the conversation, he would continue to talk until every word that could ever be said about that subject had been exhausted. And then he would continue for twice that long.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Sometimes, Bill would just sit and talk to the radio for hours.

And people love being around a person who takes the burden of speaking off of their shoulders and just fills in every millisecond of silence with rapidly spoken, half-shouted words. It allows them to take a break. To just sit back and learn.

I once had to fix Bill's computer, and during the repair, he talked about the movie Waiting for three and a half hours. The movie itself is 94 minutes. It would have actually been more efficient for him to simply perform the movie instead of telling me about it, but this way I learned why each scene was the "funniest shit you will ever fucking see, I swear!" Because Bill explained it.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

I'm pretty sure he may have blown Ryan Reynolds at some point in his life.

And you know his newfound social skills must have worked, because the dude always had company. As it turns out, users stick together. They share the same interests and hobbies, all of which are meth. Bill never had to worry about getting lonely or bored at 4 a.m. and calling his meth-using friends. It was usually a case of them already being there from two days ago, still trying to wrap up the first sentence they started last Tuesday.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

"... so the fish couldn't suck inward because the cake batter was too thick, and ..."

My (totally hypothetical) friend didn't have to worry about being a good host and providing enough food, either. Or maybe he had to keep some extra pudding around just in case, since it's easy to chew. You see, thanks to meth ...

Losing Weight Was Never So Easy

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Bill had a weight problem in high school. At 6' 2", he would fluctuate between 170 and 300 pounds. For you non-American readers, that means he went from tall and skinny to tall and fat pretty regularly. But once he discovered meth, that all changed. That shit is a miracle weight-loss drug.

The last time I saw him, Bill was 130 pounds, and he achieved that 170-pound loss without a single minute of exercise. You see, meth gives you an unnatural amount of energy, so on top of his metabolism being skyrocketed into deity level, everything he did was performed three times faster than normal. One time, I watched him do the dishes so hard they caught on fire. Since it produces so much energy, the body thinks that it's been fed, so it stops sending out those annoying signals telling you to drop what you're doing and go eat.


Though I guess I should point out that not all of that weight loss was fat. Some of it was teeth. I don't know how much teeth weigh, but it's got to account for something, right?

Methamphetamines cause teeth to rapidly decay and eventually fall out. Meth dries out your mouth, which destroys your gums. It also makes you clench and grind your teeth, so much that they crack. Also, there is the fact that meth seems to turn off the part of your brain that worries about hygiene, period. As tooth-destruction methods go, it ranks right below "a hammer" and just above that Edward Norton curb stomp in American History X.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person
Via Wikimedia Commons

Yeah. That's some sexy shit right there, bitches.

Regardless, that was just one more thing he didn't have to worry about. Brushing teeth takes time, and when you're on a schedule as tight as Bill's was, you need every free second you can squeeze out of a day. And this is no doubt part of what kept him in such incredible shape. If you don't have the ability to take in the calories in the first place, it makes it that much easier to avoid ballooning back up to 300 and having to start the cycle all over again.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person
Via Wikimedia Commons

"Shit, looks like it's time to hit the ol' meth."

It Turns You Into a Chemical Engineer


Bill didn't graduate high school because overall, he was too fucking stupid to breathe on his own without illustrated directions and someone to read them to him (hypothetically). Obviously that means he never went to college.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

The last time he entered a school, they just tore the whole damn thing down.

But Bill found that he apparently did possess chemistry skills that take some people years of college level education to pull off. See, the great thing about meth is that you don't have to import it from Colombia or even try to find illegal plants to cultivate. You can make that shit with bottles of stuff you find at the hardware store. This means that the line between user and producer of this particular drug disappears, which means that addicts like Bill routinely attempt (while high) a chemical process that creates more than a dozen deadly gases as byproducts and spontaneously causes explosions. You can guess the type of hilarity that routinely ensues around these parts.


God, that gets funnier every time I look at it!

Now, you would think that a guy like Bill would be intimidated by the prospect of performing a task that even a professional chemist would only attempt with robotic arms operated behind bulletproof glass. Not to mention that his only equipment would be the random shit he found near his trailer. Fortunately, it's meth to the rescue!

See, one of the side effects of meth use is a sense of false confidence and inflated self-esteem, bordering on euphoria. Hell, he's probably way more explosion-resistant than those dumbasses who died last week!

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

The average meth addict envisions himself as the entirety of this group.

Are you grasping the recipe for Wile E. Coyote type shenanigans here? You're literally combining boundless energy, false confidence and explosive chemicals. Welcome to the meth party, baby! Shit's about to get loud.

You Get Shit Done

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At any point of any day, I could call Bill, and he'd be right there to pick up. It didn't matter if it was four in the afternoon or four in the morning. While you always find "insomnia" listed among the symptoms of meth abuse, that's a ridiculous way to describe it. I've had insomnia before -- tossing and turning for a night before getting a few fitful hours of sleep. Comparing that to what a motivated meth addict can do is like saying me and an elephant can both "poop a lot."

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Though I could probably take the little guy in a fair match.

Meth let Bill stay up for days on end -- we're talking three or four days straight at times. Which is much needed energy when you're spending your days and nights cooking up more meth. I'm assuming it's not something you can just walk away from while it simmers, like chili. You know, because of the explosions.

Of course the body still wants to shut down, and after a couple of days, the lack of sleep starts to fuck with your mind (if you stay awake long enough, you start to have hallucinations). But that's an easy fix. Bill could just stop taking meth, and he'd sleep like a corpse for a full 24 hours. An entire day that could have been bad just up and vanishes.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

But then you have to make your bed, so it's not without drawbacks.

But think of all the things you could get done in three days if you didn't have to sleep. You could watch Die Hard 40 times in a row. You could teach your kids how to make meth so they can carry on the family business. You could go back to college and have the entire semester's work finished in a week flat. Let's see you try that without meth. I'm actually surprised more meth users haven't become captains of industry.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Or maybe I'm just giving people too much credit.

Well, maybe the problem is the drug-induced schizophrenia ...

It Can Last Forever

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

It's suggested by some doctors that after doing so much methamphetamine, the chemicals pull of this neat little trick where they go into the part of the brain where schizophrenia manifests itself and flips it on like a fucking light. Then, it promptly breaks off the switch and throws it into a nearby lake so you can't turn it back off. Others claim that it's not true schizophrenia, but simply a mirror image of the symptoms. In other words, it's the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" of being batshit fucking crazy.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Either way, one thing they all agree on is that the symptoms can last for a year or more, even after you've quit using the drug.

That's right. Meth can chase your ass right through an inspirational "getting clean" story.

And we're not talking about simple nervous paranoia here, afraid that the cops are everywhere. We're talking about full on hallucinations, hearing voices in the walls, constant feelings of being watched or chased. Oh, and it's often untreatable.

5 Ways Methamphetamine Can Make You a New Person

Just ask Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.

But that's a good thing, right? The paranoia kept him on his toes. And he needed to constantly be in that state of mind if he was going to avoid prison. Fortunately for Bill, he (hypothetically) hung himself in his garage long before the cops ever busted him.

There were no doubt other factors, but there is also no doubt that meth helped him get there. Or rather, I should say quitting meth helped him get there. The drug commonly burns out the system that produces dopamine and norepinephrine, making it impossible for the user to feel any sort of pleasure unless they use. So when Bill attempted to quit, and crushing depression washed over him, he felt it was better to just check out early than to live with that monster.


Check out more from Cheese in 6 Things Our Kids Just Plain Won't Get and 7 Terrible Life Lessons Learned from 'The Neverending Story'.

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