This will not be the first time I’ve written about one of the incredible bonehead mistakes that I have made. For most readers, this piece will come across as terrifying, and over the top dangerous. Who in their right mind would allow their life to become so filled with insanity? For those of us who have the inept ability to pass through darkness and come out the other side unscathed, an event such as this one may only rate a 7 out of 10 on the [f****d up shit] scale. That being said, counting on my resilience to keep me alive has gotten old, especially now that I’ve passed the age of 50. I’m no longer willing to place my feet upon that path. Even so, I must own everything that I’ve done, even if it means showing you just how foolish I have been in the past.

Part I

Like all drugs, methamphetamine will destroy all that it touches. Following three years of drug use, I’ve been sober for nearly two years. There have been two periods of time in my life that I have used meth. Both immediately followed a divorce. That’s right; I’m not getting married again!

1998 to 2003
2015 to 2018

Twenty years ago, I became entangled within a series of entirely insane events that could have easily led to my incarceration or my death. If you were to do some poking around on Google and search the following information, you would undoubtedly find something that took place during the beginning of the new century.

Lake County Montana, the city of Polson. Department of Justice. A nine-month investigation involving multiple agencies and approximately 90 undercover agents. Multiple methamphetamine laboratories raided.

I showed up at the end of the investigation, just in time to nearly go to prison or be killed. Several of my friends went to prison for ten years or more. The man I worked for was executed, shot in the back of the head. I used to have a collection of newspaper articles detailing the events, but they’re gone now.

The year was 2000. After getting high for a couple of years, I moved back to my home town of Polson MT, hoping to escape my addiction. Of course, rarely will a change of geography offer any measure of help or hope. Within a few hours of arriving back home, I discovered that most of my old friends were using the same drug that I was desperately trying escape.

My hometown is located on a Native American Indian Reservation. Seeing that beautiful valley flooded with casinos, meth, and even more domestic violence than when I moved away in 1987 was more than enough to turn my stomach. Unfortunately, nothing was going to stand between me and my addiction, not even seeing some of my oldest friends sticking needles in their arms. Sadly, the entire area was experiencing a hepatitis-c epidemic from intravenous drug use of methamphetamine. As it turned out, I had made a terrible decision. Small town Montana turned out to be much worse than The City of Denver, Colorado.

Within 48 hours of my arrival, I met one of the local meth cooks. During the first week, I met several more. All of them were from out of state, mostly Idaho. They were all white guys with no hair and had been nicknamed [Nazi cooks with Nazi labs] by the locals because of their appearance, and the meth was snow-white.

Please check back for Part II

Joseph Shanklin

August 28, 2020

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