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It’s Time to Revive Crystal Darkness

The year 2013 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Emmy awarded to Crystal Darkness, a documentary about methamphetamine addiction in New Mexico. Its production began in 2006; in 2007 through 2009, the documentary was broadcast throughout the Southwest—in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada, as well as in California, Oregon, Arkansas, and even in Sonora, Mexico. Maybe it’s time for a revival.

The documentary resulted from a mother’s despair about her 26-year-old daughter’s methamphetamine addiction. Linda Peña described the anguish she felt about her daughter Darlene Vigil’s use and her attempt to stop it with tough love—kicking her out of the house in the hopes that she would come to her senses and get well. Peña prayed to God for His help and promised that if He helped, she would spread the word about her daughter’s addiction in a heartfelt attempt to help others.

After a nine-year struggle for her daughter to get clean and stay clean, Peña contacted a local television talk show and offered to appear on the show to discuss the horrors of methamphetamine. Her appearance resulted in a documentary, produced by a company called Global Studio and financed by a nonprofit community-based organization called Secret Witness.

Secret Witness is still active today, but the website for Crystal Darkness looks like it hasn’t seen any action in a few years. This is a puzzle, especially considering that its initial broadcast was a series of concerted events called a media roadblock, meaning that when it was broadcast in specific cities, all the local stations in the given city agreed to run it at the same time. It was successful, too; in Arizona, it resulted in over 1,200 people requesting help for addiction after its airing.

Besides her involvement with the video, Peña became involved with Parents Stop Meth, the New Mexico State District Office of Mothers Against Meth-Amphetamine (MAMA). MAMA was formed by an Alabama woman whose 22-year-old brother died from his meth addiction.

Despite the apparent inactivity of the Crystal Darkness website, MAMA is still operative and offering a wealth of information and encouragement for people who want to achieve recovery. A video called Meth Inside Out shows us a young man who states that what he now craves is his recovery. Other recovering addicts make the point that struggling with relapse can indicate a person’s healing, that he is beginning to recognize the consequences of drug addiction.  

The video also shows how the brain can heal once methamphetamine use is stopped. Neural receptors and transporters regenerate within a year, and brain scans performed on recovering patients demonstrate cellular improvement. The brain’s level of dopamine increases, and people begin to feel good again without drugs.

It would be great to revive distribution of the Crystal Darkness video about two people fighting against methamphetamine addiction in New Mexico. Whether or not that happens, it’s encouraging to hear MAMA’s messages about what recovery means. It means going to bed wanting to use but waking up knowing you’re clean. It means setting goals—and reaching them. It means having patience with family members and regaining their trust.

One young lady says does not regret that she is an addict, because her addiction and her recovery have made her who she is today. She says she looks in the mirror every day and tells herself, “You rock!” It’s a feeling like no other, one that she wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s a feeling that every addict can achieve. For help with methamphetamine addiction contact Vista Taos Renewal Center at 1.800.245.8267.


Mothers Against Meth-Amphetamine, New Mexico State District Office. http://www.parentsstopmeth.org/gateway.htm.

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