"Deb, I'm done with all of this shit. Francisco and I are both meth addicts." I said in frustration and anger to my sister Deb as she played mediator. Between myself and my now deceased ex partner of 18 years after a fight and heated exchange of words on a family camping trip at Joe's Valley Reservoir in July of 2016. The entire family was shocked and in disbelief as nobody knew much of anything other than Francis and I were on rocky ground.
It's funny how 10 years prior, a first of what was to become many meth fueled one night stands would quickly turn from a simple casual fun experimentation to IV meth drug use multiple times a day just to get through the day in a matter of months.
A year later, diagnosed with HIV, performing yearly STD screening would have been a warning shot across the bow to steer clear of meth. No, the ice kept falling. I went from casual use once every three months to every month, then scheduling business trips just to get out of town to take care of business with a little PNP (Party N Play). Tina slowly and gradually took over. High functioning addiction is the worst. Nobody seems to notice: the bills get paid, you show up to work, seem normal, but deep down inside life is tearing you down. Only the ice can seem to mend you and keep you in the game. It eventually turns into a weekly and then morphs quickly into a daily routine, going from relying upon others to supply the party to becoming the guy that has the party.
Tina, the icy bitch, took away my job, my house, my friends, my husband, my son, and my life.
The recovery road since July of 2016 has not always been easy. It's taken time. Lots of battles
internal and external. Being humble, honest, and willing to have hope for something better has kept my head in the game. I am grateful for: My Sister Deb - who is my worst critic but truly helped me get the ball rolling. My loving, kind, caring, and honest NA fellows who received me with open arms and loved me until I could learn how to love and care for myself.
Steps's recovery in Payson helped jumpstart my recovery and get me to where I am today. My sister Sue and her husband that took me in once I left Steps and started fresh.
The brutal honest truth is that I was hurting deep down inside, a lot of emotional baggage and PTSD from some family trauma and an alcoholic father. Hear this though, "I don't blame my dad." Shit happens. It's my little, five-year-old brain that developed some pretty f'd up coping skills: lying, cheating, covering up feelings, codependency, fear of abandonment, perfectionism, chameleonism... and the list goes on. I was a walking pile of bullshit. The worst part was I didn't know how f'd up I was and my mind kept telling me I was a "perfect, good, little boy." When that was challenged, my mind scars would do anything and everything to not want to reveal the true feelings of hurt. Thank God for finding some truth and honesty in the rooms of NA and countless hours of one on one and group therapy sessions. The scabs were peeled back so the wound could drain so that healing could begin.
It hasn't been easy as a 50-plus-year-old man to undo everything I have learned. I have had to start over and become a new person changing everything about myself. Some of us don't make it out. Regrettably, in my addiction, I drug my ex partner into the ice melt with me. I'm sad to say he struggled with relapse, remorse, and regret and took his life in January of this year. It saddens my soul knowing that he didn't make it out of the ice. I wish he could have! My son misses his other Dad, Francisco.
Don't give up on yourself. I'm here to tell you that recovery is indeed possible! It takes open mindedness, willingness, strength, honesty, sincerity, courage, and action. I'm no longer a flashy, married, spineless executive shell of a man dancing with Tina in an effort to masquerade my way through life.
Today I am a humble, simple, accepting, recovered addict sharing his story to help others. I
have my life back. My soul is intact and I have a very strong relationship with my Higher Power, God. I have my son back. I'm a gay man, married with a house, a white picket fence, three cats, three dogs, four turkeys, and 50 chickens.