Dec. 3, 2022 –  She was on a neighbor’s back deck, sipping wine and smoking cigarettes. Lauren admired her neighbor, another military wife, who displayed such boundless energy, raising two teenagers in a spotless house, well-known for her volunteer work. “I don’t understand how you do it,” Lauren told her.

The woman led Lauren into the kitchen and poured a small pile of methamphetamine powder onto the countertop. With a credit card and a practiced hand, she arranged the drug into lines. Lauren, 24 years old, took a drinking straw cut short at an angle, plunged one end into her nostril and inhaled. Her sinuses burned. The space behind her eyeballs hurt. “Why would anybody do this?” she recalled thinking.

Soon, though, she felt a surge of energy race through her body. That night, she hit the bars with friends in her mommy group. She guzzled cranberry-and-vodka cocktails. At 4 a.m., Lauren cleaned the baseboards of her house and imagined her next hit.

Meth delivered a feeling Lauren would pursue again and again, through tragedy and despair, a sensation that reduced to an afterthought her son, her husband, her health, her freedom and everything else that had once mattered.


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