PRYOR, OK — It was in a hotel. I fell in love. It was all I wanted.
This is how one local man describes the beginning of his methamphetamine addiction.
“It was the only thing that made me happy,” said John Doe, who asked to remain anonymous as he is now putting his life back together.
He said it all began in a hotel in Tulsa when he was 17 years old.
“I was bored,” he said this why he tried the synthetic drug the first time. “I was young, stupid and living in Locust Grove.”
He started off just using with friends.
He said the high is hard to describe.
“And what you hear about meth users having abnormal strength is true. I think it gives you the ability to try harder, be more focused,” he said.
“Then this guy from California that I knew told me I could make $5,000 per night. I said no way, then he showed me how to cook,” said Doe. “It wasn't easy to learn, but I got pretty good at it.”
At that point he did it all, using, cooking and selling.
“Once I started, I got as addicted to cooking it as I was to doing it. It gets ahold of you,” he said. “Then you start making more so you can sell more and use more.”
In a lifestyle he could only describe as “dark,” Doe said he's been shot at more times than he can remember.
“I got caught up with some devil worshipers. I would deliver to them and they'd try to rob me on the way out. I got in several shoot-outs over that,” he said, describing it as one of the scariest situations he faced.
For that group, he recalls, he made 2.5 pounds, which cost him roughly $13,500.
“That whole world is just a bunch of low-life thugs, I have nothing to do with them now. They're a bunch of cut-throats,” he said. “Real lost souls.”
Loyalty and friendship, he said, only lasted as long as the high did.
He said when meth had taken over his life, he had no idea how bad it really was.
“It took about 25 years of my life. Then I just got tired of it, I didn't want to be messed up with it anymore,” said Doe of the moment he wanted to get clean.
Sobriety didn't come before serving time in the state penitentiary. He was charged with manufacturing four times, but convicted only once.
“Essentially I served six years of a seven year sentence in the state pen, for manufacturing and for having residue that counted as possession,” he said.
He described prison as a “human warehouse,” somewhere he never wants to go again.
The world of meth, he said, has changed.
“Now they cook with cold packs and lithium batteries, they call it shake and bake. They get maybe a gram out of that. But that's not how I did it, I cooked with iodine crystals, that's the only way I knew how,” he said.
He said the regulation of pseudoephedrine sales have slowed the problem, but can't get rid of it all together.
“Restricting pseudo helps, but I could make a lab in any house in America, with stuff they already have,” he said.
Doe said he's heard of the television show “Breaking Bad,” that shows a high school chemistry teacher make pure blue meth popular, a trend that has carried over to real-life drug cooks.
“I can make it pink, I can make it blue, I can make it yellow or I can make it white. It's not a big deal,” he said. “It just depends how you manipulate the chemicals, altering the acid or base levels. To make it yellow you just gas it longer.”
Now, he's gotten out of the game. He's been living a meth-free life since 2000 and says he “doesn't miss it at all.”
When asked if he thinks the drug had any long-term effects on him, he thought for a moment.
“I'm sure it has affected my memory. It probably knocked my edge off at some point,” he said.
Now a family man, Doe said if his children ever approach him about drugs he'll tell them, “that's a dark world you don't need to be a part of.”
“I never gave up on God and he never gave up on me,” he said. “We all make mistakes, some are just harder to bounce back from.”
Editor’s note: The Times is running a four-part series about methamphetamine over four consecutive weekend editions.
The project covers the subject from various angles, including both ends of the spectrum - law enforcement and the addict. It also includes interviews with health professionals and counselors.
Most of the arrests in Mayes County include methamphetamine, leading to the highest number of incarcerations.