Battle to stay clean fought every day

Casey Peterson can't remember how he knew he'd been without sleep for 14 straight days. But at that point, the former Carson High School wrestler decided he was through with methamphetamine.

"On Aug. 9, 2005, I decided I'd had enough," Peterson told the hushed audience of 250 at Carson Valley United Methodist Church.

He called his brother-in-law, a Carson City sheriff's deputy, who took him to jail.

Peterson, who turns 21 next week, said he fights every day to stay off the drug that turned him into an addict the second time he used it.

He told his story for the first time Thursday at the Partnership of Community Resources community meeting on methamphetamine.

"It's the roughest battle I ever had," he said. "I struggle every day. Sometimes, I just lie on my bed and cry."

As difficult as it is to stay clean, Peterson doesn't see any other option.

"When I became a meth addict two years ago, I weighed 190 pounds. I dropped to 130 pounds in four months," he said. "I was homeless. I wasn't sleeping in my car but there was a different couch every night.

"There was violence. I was stealing and doing bad things."

At the end, Peterson said he was using marijuana and alcohol to counteract the effects of the methamphetamine.

"I was hallucinating. I saw people standing in trees," he said. "By the grace of God, I had someone to reach out to."

Peterson spent time in jail and has a felony conviction with a three-year prison term hanging over his head if he violates probation.

"I know if I mess up, 'Prison, here I come,'" he said.

He had to pay off his drug dealers who he says are "on every street corner, in the rich houses, on the golf courses.

"I had to change friends. I left the drug dealers in debt, but I paid them off and said, 'Get out of my life.'"

Peterson said in his recovery he has re-established his relationship with his family and his girlfriend.

"I used to be very friendly. Meth made me a monster," he said.

He now lives in Dayton, attends college and works two jobs.

"I'm learning how to hold a job. I am taking 12 hours of college credit at Western Nevada Community College," he said.

When he was in third grade, Peterson said, he could read at the eighth grade level.

As a college student, Peterson said he only reads at a ninth grade level after the damage methamphetamine did to his brain.

"It's not worth it," he said. "Methamphetamine will eat you up very quickly. Don't try it the first time. You won't be able to say no the second time."


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