Delinquency starts at home, not in the streets.
Growing up, I saw my mother, on a nightly basis, drink herself to shame with all-night, loud parties filled with men.
Things didn’t improve much after my brother and I moved in with our father. It was with him and his male lover where I first encountered drugs. (It’s my opinion that the man who lived with us for 10 years was his lover. However, to this day, my father will not admit to that nor has he come out. As I told him a few years ago, if you’re gay, be gay, be happy. Don’t hide who you are. To my knowledge, he has not taken my advice.)
One day when I was a freshman in high school, I found cocaine in one of my father’s drawers. That same year, his lover started offering me drugs and was very aggressive about it. He told me that I should try them with him so that someone else wouldn’t take advantage of me. He practically shoved them in my face, but I always resisted. I saw what substance abuse had done to my mother.
My resistance lasted until age 18 when I tried marijuana. And then when I was 21 or 22, during a Mike Tyson fight, I started taking drugs with my brother. It began casually, only while watching the pay-per-view Tyson fights. But soon it escalated to every Friday night after work at my brother’s business, where we would talk about the hardship of our childhood.
After my brother was murdered when I was 27, I didn’t grieve for four years. I was numb. And then reality hit, I realized I was never going to hear from him ever again, and the tears and heartache began.
In a misguided attempt to get through the pain, ironically, I turned into my parents. I imitated what I had seen at home and started abusing drugs and alcohol. I also associated drinking and drugs with the good times I had had with my brother, so in a twisted way, when I was abusing drugs, I felt closer to him.
Drugs and alcohol numbed the pain for a while, but took much more from me than they ever gave. And like every recovering addict knows, you have to hit rock bottom in order to climb back up to get your sanity and get hold of your life again.
Today, I can honestly say that the party is over and it is time for me to grow up and face life. I look forward to future opportunities to share and help people who are struggling with chemical dependency.
The complete story of my alcohol and drug addition will be in my memoir.