Addiction is a complex topic, especially when you fight the craving every day. Addiction is a bitch, and it’s nothing to take lightly. It wasn’t until someone asked me, “what’s life like after crystal meth,” that I had a panic attack. The question prompted the panic attack because it reminded me of the time I was engrossed and dependent on the drug.
Honestly, I have two responses. Life after crystal meth has been horrible, and joyful all at the same time. I ask myself daily, “How can one person experience so much joy when they still crave and desire a drug that nearly ended their life?” Yes, I still crave the drug at times, and it’s a challenge. Sadly, the science behind addiction is so complex and varies from person to person that it makes it so hard for me even to attempt to answer the question about life after addiction.
My addiction to METH, in the beginning, was caused by my desire to be accepted. As an African-American male who is attracted to white men, I’ve witnessed and experienced more racism in the LGBTQ community than I want to admit. I grew up thinking and believing that racism did not exist. I was Senior Class President of my senior class, a highly predominately caucasian school, and I never felt an ounce of racism. Let me re-phrase that statement; I was not affected by racism if it existed.
The disturbing truth experiencing racism within the gay community was shocking and took a significant toll on me. I had many circles of friends, all colors and races but not much in the gay community. The community I wanted to be accepted the most. In the 2000s, my life changed, and the lives of many. Technology began to overrun our lives. It changed how we communicated. It also changed the dialogue about racism. And with the introduction of hook-up websites, and eventually apps, I began to feel bad about myself.
The things, I turned a blind-eye toward was apparent and more difficult to ignore. I began to feel a tremendous division from my white peers. I began to feel less accepted; I was not muscular or white enough. I quickly learned how to feel accepted. If I had drugs to offer, I became more desirable to white gay men. The eagerness to do drugs manifested.
As a black gay man, you encounter and hear a lot. From the “I love black men” (aka the Mandingo fantasy), or “I don’t date black men!” The list is long. However, do you know the back story behind “Mandingo?” The story is about a plantation owner’s son in Louisiana who has an affair with a slave, then blackmailed into having sex with a white woman, it’s a slave story.
Then there’s race-play, another issue. Strangely a handful of white and black guys in the gay community find it acceptable to use the N-word in bed or okay to post, “WHITE ONLY” on their hook up profiles. I am not here to debate “whites only,” because it’s a debate that will be labeled as a “preference” forever by those who do it.
You’re asking yourself, “what does all this have to do with his life after Crystal Meth,” a lot.
I went from being an active and proud member of the gay community to a disappointed and disgusted LGBTQ member. Although, I allowed guys to treat me like an object from my need to be accepted. The choices I made and the men I chose to associate with are partly my crime. Life after meth has opened my eyes to the darkness the gay community faces and what haunts us. We fight for equality, but we’re still struggling internally with racism.
To answer the question, “how has life been after crystal meth,” it’s been lonely, and I have relapsed a handful of times, but better than ever now.
Out of addiction, I launched a business. I learned so much about myself and others. Hooking up or negotiating sex without thinking about using has been the most challenging part of recovery. However, it’s a process. Life is getting better without crystal meth. Accepting myself is the gift I gained out of addiction.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, it’s possible to stop! If I can do it, you can do it.