Profiles in Recovery
An Englishwoman from a privileged background, Myers came to America on an Ivy League scholarship — and graduated with honors from Brown University. Her journey took a grim turn when a boyfriend introduced her to crystal methamphetamine.
Myers’ rapid descent into addiction left her emaciated and covered in scabs from compulsive scratching — a hallmark of chronic meth use. To finance her habit, she resorted to “dumpster diving” for valuables and later stole a van in Los Angeles while high on meth. Myers was released from a California women’s prison after she agreed to promptly return to England.
Today, thanks to lifesaving treatment, Myers has achieved 12 years of recovery. The London actress often speaks publicly about the dangers of meth and is the author of “Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story.”
London-based actress and writer, casting associate
What I lost to addiction:
My humanity. I was really living in a highly animalistic way, a victim of my impulses and compulsions. I had no concern for the welfare of others. I also lost my mind and was on the way to serious mental illness, hearing voices and experiencing extreme paranoia.
My drug of choice was crystal meth so I stopped eating, or rarely ate and I would stay up for 4 day stints. This had a negative effect on my health and contributed to Premature Ovarian Failure at age 37.
At my worst, I was:
Paranoid and insane, with drug induced anorexia. I kept getting into serious trouble with the law as I had lost my morality and humanity. I was a broken wreck of a young woman of 25, wracked with self hatred, guilt and shame.
What worked for me:
I am a Nichiren Buddhist and that has supported my ongoing recovery with regular gatherings and individual support if needed (find more on Nichiren Buddhism at http://www.sgi-usa.org). I also work with a psychotherapist.
Advice to my younger self:
Trust yourself and acknowledge your intuition and creativity. Listen to others more but be selective about who you listen to; listen to your true self and recognize when you have lost your center and been swayed by others. Most of all, love yourself, encourage and nurture yourself.
Rules I live by:
“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated” ~ Confucius
When cravings come:
I use my Buddhist practice which involves chanting morning and evening, a form of voice meditation.
Best advice for newbies:
Be gentle and kind to yourself. In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
What I value most in recovery:
Maintaining personal dignity and self respect. Helping others become happy, or happier.
Stigma I faced:
A lot of my old friends in the UK, from school days mainly, were not understanding of the depths I plummeted. I believe they were frightened by me and my experiences which is understandable. But it was hurtful and I created a whole new life, which included new friends, for the most part.
What I learned about myself:
I made some very poor choices, but I am not my choices. I am a work-in-progress and that is okay.
How I get through the holidays:
I make lots of plans so I don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for myself. I also volunteer at an animal rescue center; I find animals very healing to be around, as well as walks by the sea.
When my book, ‘Tweaking the Dream: A Crystal Meth True Story’ came out in 2009 about my addiction to crystal meth, I felt I had created value out of a very negative situation.
I had also started raising awareness in the UK since 2005 and spoke publicly on TV & radio about the dangers of the drug that was new to the UK. It was also classified as a Class B drug (not harmful) and I like to think my voice contributed to its re-classification to Class A (highly dangerous).
Follow Myers: http://cleamyers.com (includes a link to “Tweaking the Dream”)
Shed the Stigma:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].