It was the 90’s, I had divorced, lost my kids, lost my parental rights and then I came out and lost everything I cared about. At that time in my life I didn’t care much for myself. I was lost. I was a walking depression and one day a friend, or so I thought gave me some pure speed – 1 gram and taught me to snort.
Addiction experts will tell you that there are some people who can do hard drugs a hundred times in their lives and never become biologically addicted then there are those who try it once and will chase the dragon for life. They are hooked before the powder is up their nostrils, and well, that was me.
I lived in a house and rented half of it to a friend from the gay scene. At first I didn’t know what he did for a living until I was hooked and found out the brick in the freezer wasn’t puff pastry it was a pound of pure unstomped on speed. That pound would become 8 pounds once cut. As soon as I was hooked my so called friend asked me to take him to dinner parties and my private get togethers became his inroad to the side of the community that his maleness would never ever allow him access to. Unbeknown to me he was selling to all who wanted it, I didn’t care then because I would take some from the brick for myself for free whenever I wanted. Well, he left and I had to start paying for it myself. I, the gourmet European trained chef stopped eating regularly. I was almost anorexic for my height – under 190lbs at 6ft 4 inches. But I kept myself high.
Then June 22nd 1998 when I hadn’t eaten for 3 days, hadn’t scored for 2 I walked past a clothing store selling retro clothing I loved. Antique corsetry and 60’s clothing. It was my paradise. I started talking to the manageress Vicky. She bought me a sandwich and made me a cup of tea. I came back the next day. I still hadn’t scored. That day when I came back there was a sign “sales person needed” and the manageress name was Victoria. The store was owned by a benevolent group called “drug arm.” They sold clothes to raise money for rehab for those who needed it but couldn’t afford it? Hey that was me.
She sat me down and offered me rehab. I told her I wasn’t hooked. I could do it, stop anytime I wanted? “Really,” she said “what about right now.” Something in her voice, the caring she showed, the love for people suffering spoke to me so I said to myself she’s right why not now. She started coming to my house every morning and driving me to work. She quickly learned to see through my excuses and one minute at a time, one excuse, one day at a time I was climbing the wall and having every side effect in the book, but I wasn’t dying. I was learning to live again without chemical assistance.
So called friends disappeared, fell away. The invites stopped. I wasn’t their pipeline to primo speed anymore, but I had new friends. Sober friends and believe me I’m not talking about priests and nuns and celibates. These were and are crazy people but 14 years on they’re still here and more importantly so am I. It wasn’t easy. It isn’t easy. Six months after I got clean I almost fell off the wagon. I had emigrated and left Victoria back in Oz. At that pivotal time, I met Phillipa Barr, an addiction specialist. This 5ft nothing dynamo in running gear with a bullshit meter sharper than a Ginzu knife saved me again. She was there for me just like Victoria. What is about gorgeous short hot women? They are small but they are always there for me. And they still are 14 years on. If you’re jonesing today and you want to be here in 14 years find yourself a Phillipa or Victoria. If you’re LGBTQ in New York get your ass to the New York Gay and Lesbian Center. There is a center in all 5 boroughs and there are similar centers in most major US cities. There are services in most cities around the world. Local churches and Narcotic anonymous groups meet in church halls everywhere. It’s hard. You’ll puke, you’ll get diahorrea, you’ll sweat and you’ll do it all at once and in the worst possible times, but it will get better. You will get better. Look at your so called friends, stop the drugs, and see who sticks around. If they leave they were never really there. Surround yourself with your own Victoria’s and your own Phillipa because if they are half the woman my girls were the drug dealers would crap themselves before they ever messed with you. Become your true self, life is always better when the fog clears. It’s always better when you can remember it. If you need help reply to this story, send an email me and I’ll be your Phillipa or Victoria. Let’s start a movement and one that is not chemically driven. Live for you not for your next hit but live.