I Am Who I Am

Tell me about your addiction at its worst.

I reached this point where I had done so many bad things. I had become this person I never wanted to become. I was completely hopeless. I thought I’d never be normal in again. Even articulating a sentence was difficult, because of the drugs. I knew I was gonna die, and that was always on my mind. I had lost my kids, I didn’t have hope for the future, I didn’t believe I could create any more good memories. My life had stopped. It was hopeless and dark—that’s what it was. It was incomprehensible.

You’re clean now. Have you looked for a cause of your addiction, an explanation?

Oh, yeah. But I’ve realized that where I’m at is where I’m supposed to be. Everything that’s happened in my life has been necessary. I could’ve got clean five years ago, but what did I do? I had to go through what I have in order to experience this clarity. I’ve gone through some horrible things the last couple years, but I had to. I think every time I judged someone I became that.

I used to think I was an addict because I was molested when I was young or because my dad was mean. But now I wonder if it’s a genetic predisposition. Like, my whole life I had this feeling of not fitting in, always feeling different, always hating authority. So what does someone like me do? I could’ve been the Prince of Bel-Air and still turned out the same way. It doesn’t matter. Some people say they’d love to relive life knowing what they know now. But I believe, for me, the outcome would be the same. If I started over, I’d be standing in the same place I am right now, doing the same things, even if I started with this knowledge. I’d have to go through the bullshit again, which I never want to do (laughs). No, thank you!

That’s been a huge awakening for me: I am who I am. And whatever God is, he’s not mad at me. I don’t have to beat myself up anymore. I don’t have to worry anymore. I’m content right now with who I am and where I’m at because I don’t have to worry about that part of my life—not the drugs and alcohol part—but that gnawing hole that always needs to be filled with something, whether porn, food, sex, or drugs. It’s funny how many things I try to lean on—even now, in sobriety. Like, the other day my phone died so I couldn’t listen to music or call anyone, and then traffic was terrible and I wanted to vape but the batteries were dead, and I started to have a panic attack.  Then I said, “God, thank you for my life.” And I just said that over and over, and the feeling went away. That proves that I just hate being in my damn head. It’s not about circumstances; I want to use when I wake up and breathe. I always tried to control my life through externals, always tried to have a back up plan. Your bottom isn’t even external. Your bottom isn’t sharing a cell with Bubba; it’s when you reach a point of spiritual emptiness. Bottom is when you truly realize “the drugs I’m using aren’t working anymore. I can’t change reality anymore.”

What’s your plan for moving forward? How are you going to proceed?

Well, as an addict, you’re always searching for instant euphoria. But in real life you’re gonna be sad sometimes, or depressed or angry, and I’m realizing that’s ok. So instead of thinking “I need something. I need a woman to hold, need someone to talk to, need a fix,” I’m realizing that these are emotions. I’m learning to live in them, and let them pass.

Also I’m trying to avoid people and environments that make me feel guilt or shame. I don’t want to get into that rut of doing what other people expect of me. It’s not about running from people, it’s about not living in their sickness. This is really hard with people you love, but I’m trying to set boundaries. Like, I know what’s good for me and I’m trying to be clear about that with loved ones. . .

It’s good for me to surround myself with other people who understand what I’m going through and try to connect with them intimately. Before I would know things about people, but now I want to get to know people. It’s about connection. Connecting with other people has helped me to trust God. And there’s a difference between having faith in God and trusting God. When you trust God you can be like, “Why don’t I give this to you. Here, take it.” And when you do that, you no longer have to worry.