Life After Meth

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With so much negative news about the war on drugs, once in a while ,  it’s  nice to hear about someone who has won their battle with them.
David  Hamberlin, 48, of Quanah, Texas has been clean for nearly three years. That’s  no small feat since he has been addicted  to  meth since the age of 19.
Hamberlin  was introduced to meth by his best friend, who did not snort it or smoke it but shot it. His first time was in his arm. Hamberlin said that after that he never quit unless he was in jail. It is his opinion that people with emotional problems become addicted
“It helps with what they are running from, I think,” said Hamberlin.
Hamberlin was spending $60 to $100 a day on meth. He got money for this by stealing ATM machines, for which he was sentenced to prison three times, totalling 12 years.
When asked when he decided to quit and why, Hamberlin said “It just sort of happened. Using became monotonous. Failed relationships, jail, prison, friends ratting on eachother or dying. It just got to the point where the normal life didn’t look so bad.”
He had tried court-ordered rehabs, but they never worked. He quit by leaving the state and staying with friends who didn’t use. Then when he came back home, he moved away from everyone he knew and got into church.
“This really was a winning combination and key to my sobriety,” said Hamberlin. “The only real changes I made was moving to another state away from my ‘friends.’ I think that’s the single most important thing you can do to start and keep clean. But you can’t hide from drugs. They are everywhere, in every community. I meet druggies often, but I don’t befriend them. The catch is, if you are willing to move away from everyone you know, then you’re probablyat the point in your life where staying clean isn’t gonna be that hard. It’s taking that huge step alone that’s hard.”
Hamberlin thinks that most addicts are ashamed of their addiction, so they avoid family members.
“Except my dad, he was a biker and I was always up front with what I did,” he said. “He was the only one who stuck by me. The rest of my family I avoided except around Christmas time. I felt obligated to make a showing then.”
Hamberlin was also a pretty popular guy in high school but as he got into drugs, friends slowly fell away.
Asked about regrets, Hamberlin had this to say:
“I’m not the type of person to feel regret, really. You mess up all the time being an addict, so you learn to move on and forget it. But I guess BMX is my regret. Not once did I not place in the top three in every race. I always trophied. But I couldn’t be an addict and race. I loved riding so I got into riding ramps and pools. I dropped racing, but could still fulfill my love of riding and not be around crowds of people watching. But I could have went much further in my pro career had I not used.”
The biggest change in his life has been how other things are more important now.
“Before, scoring dope was everyday’s main focus. Now my main problems are like wondering if I should stand in line to get a TV on Black Friday or pay someone to stand there for me,” he said.
Asked what keeps him from using now that he is clean, Hamberlin said “It’s hard to say. I’ve pushed the memories of that lifestyle so far back that I don’t even think about that part of me. I just focus on work, hanging out with my dog and getting back into BMX riding”
Years of meth use have taken a toll on Hamberlin’s health.
“My heart is kind of worn out. Overworked. I take two different kinds of meds. I’ve lost three friends this year alone due to heart attacks. All who were ex-users in their late 30s, early 40s.”
Hamberlin also had this to say about giving advice to young people about drugs:
“I’m sorry to say that I don’t think there’s advice you can give. All kids know the risk of using drugs now. It’s taught in school now and on TV. So most kids that use now have an underlying issue that none of my advice is going to make any difference. But any attention is good attention, and I’ll always be there to help anyone who’s willing to listen.”
“In closing, I’ll tell you that drugs will only wreck any dreams you have. Your friends will be drug addicts, too, so not only do you have to worry about the cops getting you, you gotta worry about your friends getting you, too. It’s a dark world, where there is no light. You’re in that tunnel, but you will never find light at the end until you get clean. People Facebook me often for tips about a loved one on drugs, and I am always there in that area because I know what can happen when there’s not.”

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David Hamberlin in a mugshot(left) before becoming clean and after at work(right)

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Hamberlin in mid-air

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Hamberlin and his best friend Yogi.

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11 thoughts on “Life After Meth

  1. Jana Easley-Bridges

    I love you David! Your amazing and God is great! I have known David most of our lives since childhood. We both were involved in the drug scene and had a conversation a few years ago (which we hadn’t talked or seen each other in over 30 yrs) which he was telling me his situation and how he didn’t want to live like that anymore. The route I took almost 9yrs ago was AA and the 12 steps which led me to having a relationship with a power greater than myself which I call God. It doesn’t matter how we find that power what matters is surrendering your own self will for a power greater than yourself.

  2. David came up with the idea for the story, but I think he was half joking at first. I had to come up with a Feature Story. I thought about it and thought…Why not?. When I told him I was writing a story about him I think he was half surprised. I knew if there was an honest story to be told about drug addiction, I would get it from him. When I turned in the assignment I was kind of nervous that it was not what the professor was looking for. When I got the grade back, I was relieved…but also excited because the professor said it was one of the bestvin the class and the next class he told the whole class that he was mesmerized from the first word to the last. It was a real story about a real person with a real battle and a real victory. Most of it was his own words, as only he could tell it, since he was the one who lived it. It was honest…something you rarely get from people these days.

  3. FANTASTIC DAVID!!! You did’nt mention if you attend 12 step meetings. I know for myself i need a meeting every day, sometimes two! Meth took everyone and everything that I loved and cared about,all that i worked hard for! Wasted 18 years of my life! Its all good because now my life is playing out like a country song played backwards …. I got my lively hood back, got my car back, got my home back and this year i will get my kids back! Lol! Life is good after Meth! I have 2 years and counting! I stay in the day and in the moment so i dont get to over whelmed ! Just For Today David! Keep up the great job!

  4. You were the first person to ever stick a needle in my arm…….I took it from there. But I don’t blame you old friend, I made that choice and Ida done it eventually. In fact, I am thankful that I was with a friend as I look back. You are absolutely right about the whole getting away thing. I interstate compacted after my ten years and as much as I would love to visit home, I know I can never go back.

  5. Awesome!… my son has been battling heroin addiction for approximately 9 years now, drug court, jail, half way, three quarter houses…rehabs. Now newly married with 6 yr. old step son. Doing better, struggling, believing Once an Addict, Always an Addict. With GOD, All Things are possible. Keep moving forward…Life truly be beautiful as long as you have the ability to laugh at what was, and look forward to what’s ahead!

  6. Marion

    So parallel to my brother the same age! 2 weeks out of being locked up and already relapsed! I had truly given up as it’s been 30 years and he has nothing but the chlothes on his back. He is an amazing, brilliant, handsome, never saying bad word, God loving man when sober! I’ve been thinking it might be easier for him to go on to The Big Guy upstairs and get us all off this roller coaster. I have an inkling of hope after reading this but still will remain with those thoughts from afar. Jail prob x 20. Rehab prob x 40. Nothing is working! The ONLYthing that has finally stopped me from being codependent, going to bed often in tears, and waking up like it’s a horrible nightmare is my 2 girls! He’s so awesome clean! As one NA friend described him…. he’s burnt more bridges and walked back over them than anyone the guy has ever known. Yes, the manipulation and charisma is poison for an addict but it’s also his kind heart that gets him back over those bridges!!! At a loss!!

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