Let me level with you; getting into recovery is a bitch. There was a time I fully believed that I wasn’t an addict and didn’t need help. I completely underestimated my addiction. Even when I began sticking myself like a voodoo doll I didn’t believe I had a problem. It is estimated that 30 percent of LGBT struggles with some form of addiction. The three most problematic words that can come out of an addicts mouth are “I got this.” Convincing yourself that you don’t have a problem is the greatest con game. Only 10 percent of addicts ever seek out treatment. Self-deception is the barrier to getting into treatment. On the flip side, the three most empowering words an addict will ever speak are “I need help.”
Eventually, you have to wake up to the reality that your drug use negatively impacts your life. You can’t continue to be a chaos agent wagering your life on denial. You are like a tea bag, you are in hot water. When your use begins to spiral out of control, and it will, prepare to go from Park Avenue to park benches. It’s not my intention to sound mean, it’s just that I mean business. I am fully aware of drug use in gay culture and I encourage anyone who regularly uses to seek treatment. Guilt, shame, and remorse keeps you out there in your addiction longer. Admitting you have a problem is a scary prospect, but it's a better option than an early engraving of ‘dope fiend’ on your tombstone. It is a sad, startling reality that few addicts make it. I’m not trying to sound like a doomsday prophet, but it is my hope to help others survive the odds. That hope starts with treatment. The thing is, if you go into treatment for anyone other than yourself, the shit won’t work.
Overdose deaths within the LGBT community are at epidemic levels throughout the United States. Dope sprees, binges, and chem-sex have infiltrated the scene taking too many promising lives into full blown addiction and even death. Buy into recovery through treatment, don’t buy into getting high, the drugs don’t give any fucks about you. So do you want the red pill or the blue pill? It is your choice alone.
We all have a past, now hold your head up. Going into treatment for drug addiction is a chance to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. You have to be a beast to recover, but when your future is on the line you can find motivation in the fight. For a long stretch of years, I had almost completely given up hope in having the future I had always dreamed of. Being an ‘atomic cowboy’ who doesn’t play into societal norms and being so open publicly about my life seemed to be deep strikes against me. Add into the mix working through past traumas that have occurred in my life, most of which ‘normal’ people wouldn’t have survived, led me to believe that I would never get the family life I so desperately hoped for. My ultimate future is the ‘white picket fence’ and when I found myself once again seeing this life as a possibility I began to seek out treatment as to not miss out on the possible. So, delete your ‘hook-up’ apps boys because you won’t find your husband on them.
All I know is that we can recover. Addiction is a cunning habit that, after the momentary emotional numbing, leads your further and further away from your purpose. You lose your way. Just take the suggestion to go into treatment. The decision is fully on you. If you are at a crossroads and recognize that using and addiction are not how you want to live then it's time to seek out help. You cannot become what you cannot define. It’s like a rabbit hole prayer with God. I found that it won’t help on the scale that I know I am capable of unless I make it into recovery. I must live a life of significance and make a difference in the world. What do you want out of your life?
Reaching recovery will be a milestone. From that point on my social media posts should read ‘haters wanted’ followed by the wink emoji. It will be the most prideful accomplishment of my life. I consider myself to be between addict and recovery, I don’t plan on being stuck there. I want to be the resource. I want to be the fury. There is no shame in admitting you are battling an addiction and to those who say otherwise, well that is on them. By now, everyone should gleam that stigmas are ignorant and ignorance has zero standing. Fresh out of treatment, I have never felt more alive or hopeful. Sober feels good, but my second chance at the life I have always gunned for feels even better. It is empowering to surrender the con of denial and find a treatment program that will be the foundation of your recovery.
Instinct wants to thank C.L. Frederick for sharing his open and honest piece on addiction and rehab. Discussions need to happen, truths need to be shared and sharing personal accounts like this is a great beginning. For help, check out these resources:
C.L. Frederick is an internationally published columnist, reporting on social issues affecting the LGBT community. His articles have been published by numerous national and international publications. A few of the outlets he has written for include The Phoenix Newsletter (Kansas City), DNA Magazine, Prism Magazine, Homoculture, Impulse Group, The Dallas Voice, and The Windy City Times (Chicago). As a writer, he is known for sharing his personal experiences dealing with being a HIV positive gay man and for documenting his journey from addict to being in recovery. He has had several featured acting roles on t.v. shows such as; Modern Family, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, LA Hair, and Empire. As a male model, he has been featured in campaigns for Joe's Jeans, Quarter Homme, and Andrew Christian. He is single in his personal life, but has his Dimaggio. His greatest dream in life is to have a family and he will build that 'white picket fence' with his own two well manicured hands if he has to.