I’m from Glassboro, NJ.

Satellite overhead image of New Jersey from Google Earth 2022
I’m from Glassboro, NJ.

Two years ago I started a really long and arduous battle to reclaim myself.

Two years ago I broke down in front of my parents and begged them to fix me.

I walked into an office after New Years Eve – after the last of what I had stashed away was ingested. After the last drops of any reservation I may have had dissipated into the lining of my stomach. I walked into an office with my mother and sat down, dazed – hung over – red eyed – wheels in my head spinning like they were rocket powered. The very next day after my breakdown – my third breakdown… or my fourth breakdown…

It’s hard to keep track of the breakdowns – it’s hard to keep track of the years. Of the faces. Of the names. Of the places that you wouldn’t be able to name if you had to point them out on a map to a police officer, but that you recognize INSTANTLY if you ever catch a glimpse.

You see glimpses of people in the trees – of strange shadows in the windows at dusk – and it’s all your brain showing you what you want to see. And all you want to see is your madness – your sexual repression – your indulgence – your insanity becomes your closest ally.

The only one you’ve lived with all these years. The only one you’ve convinced yourself will EVER love you…

I sat in the office and the woman behind the desk was clearly incredibly religious – something had gotten a hold of her in her earlier years and gave her hope. And I thought “more power to her” – but if you really asked me what was going through my head at that moment, I think that woman behind the desk knew better than I did. I barely knew where I was, I was so fucked out of my mind. And as for WHO I was… I’m still figuring that out.

But she set me up with an intake and my first “class” – to teach me how to live again. On my own. Without alcohol, without drugs – something on the way to becoming who I always was.

And that was the thing – two years ago, I discovered WHO I AM. And he was still that boy from the before-times. Before I thought coming out and being gay would fix me. Before I said “no, I don’t want to wear that… but if you want me to – if that will make you like me and talk to me, I’ll do whatever you say.”

“I hate this music, but if you will talk to me if I dance to it – I’ll do whatever you say.”

“I don’t want to be slutty, but if you will hold me if I am – I’ll do whatever you say.”

“I don’t want to put that inside me, but if it will make me feel whole for a second – I’ll do whatever you say.”

“You mean, I’ll feel better about ALL of this with a powder? With a liquid? With an inhalant? Well then… I’ll do whatever you say.”

I’ll do whatever you say…

Two years ago, I learned that this is NOT how you live your life.

Two years ago, I began to learn that you are not here for ANYONE else but yourself. That you’re first line of defense is something called “a boundary.”

Two years ago, I learned that I don’t HAVE to like people to LOVE them.

Two years ago, I stepped into an office with a group of people… and I told them… I AM AN ADDICT.

And so it began…

Two years ago, I came back to life. I rose from the dead for the second or third or fifth or tenth time… BUT IT WAS FOR THE LAST TIME.

Two years ago, I decided to LIVE AGAIN. And more importantly, that I had a choice… and I wanted to learn the things I never learned. To live the life I had up to this point, never lived.

To be loved like I’ve never been loved and to LOVE like I’ve never loved.

To SEE the world in some new light. To become a SURVIVOR.


And today… I’m still learning things. I’m still moving through the shit of what I did when I was DEEP, DEEP, DEEP in denial and addiction. The people I tried to please.

I was raped. I was sexually assaulted. I lied. I stole. I cheated again and again. On good people, too.

I never gave some people a chance to get to know me.

I grew paranoid and suspicious… but, in my defense, that happened LONG before I ever put a drug or some unclean stranger inside my body.

We’re not just working on ten years of substance abuse – we’re working on YEARS of tortured memories.

We’re working with a scared little boy who needs to grow up and realize tomorrow is never promised… but RIGHT NOW is what you make of it.

I picture him often… and I talk to him. And I tell him that I love him – I try to teach him patience and the art of trust – and I hold him to me and say:

“There are lessons you still need to learn… before you can move on.”

And he looks at me like he knows.

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