THE CAPRA DIARIES – “EVEN A DADDY NEEDS HIS DADDY”

“How’s my little monkey?”, he used to say. I remember running as fast as I could,  jumping into my Dad’s arms. He would swing me around in his arms and tussle my hair. All the other kids would stare in wonder at him.

He stood 6’4”, and was well over 220lbs. Like a giant. He dwarfed most of the other children’s fathers. And his personality made him even bigger. Deep, bellowing laugh. Charismatic. And, he had swagger. A true New York Guido. With the hairy chest and the thick gold chain, and the Cornicello (Italian horn) hanging from it. He drove a 1980 blackT-Top Camaro.
And, my Dad was always there to back me. I remember when I joined a pee-wee soccer league, both my parents would attend the games. My Dad was literally kicked out of one of my games by the referee, for cheering to loudly for me. He was my biggest cheerleader. He was my hero. I suppose every 7 year old looks at  his father, like a God.
My Ma used to mutter under her breath,when we hosted parties at our home, “It’s time for the Joseph show, again.” I would giggle. He made me laugh with his loud mouth, and macho banter. Women swooned over him. And, I wanted to be just like my Daddy, when I grew up.
Every other weekend, he organized family soft ball games with several other Italian families. I remember my first bicycle. My Dad taught ride it. First, with training wheels. And, when I initially tried to ride my bike without the training wheels, and crashed..My dad picked me up. He spit on my elbow to get the dirt off. Then, he said to me, “Get back on that bike, and show your Dad how a big boy rides his bike.” And, I did. I felt like I could accomplish anything when my Dad was there to guide me. It was such a wonderful time in my life.
Until the darkness came…
Something shifted. In my Dad. He started taking work trips, for days at a time. Apparently, his work trips weren’t exactly going as he explained they would, to my Ma. I remember listening against a closed door, as my parents yelled at one another, My Dad was desperately trying to lie his way out his infidelity. He owned a high end hair salon, and he had told us that he was traveling to San Francisco for a hair convention. My MA had credit card statements, from a honeymoon suite in the very city we lived in. They documented every purchase he made while he was on his supposed trip to San Francisco. Nothing was ever the same in my family, from that day forward. Nothing was ever the same between my Dad and I, either.
Without going into a detailed narrative, (I’ll save that for the memoir) I will say that my father’s presence in my life became sparse.
The after school video game arcade trips. The weekend softball tournaments. The family outings. They were gone.
I still had my Ma. And, please don’t misinterpret my words. My Ma is my world. She has never been an absentee parent. She always made me feel loved. And, I am aware of how blessed I was to have a parent who was always there for me. I do know how many men and women weren’t fortunate enough to have even one of their parents present in their lives.
But, this is my story. And, for a 7 year old child, who grew up with a Dad who was very demonstrative with his love. Who was always present in his life. Then gone. It was earth shattering. He didn’t pack his bags and leave. We were all still a family. But, a very broken one.
My Dad had begun a love affair with cocaine. It was the early 80’s, and cocaine had become a huge part of many people’s lives. My Dad had also started an affair with the manicurist, who worked for his salon.
Now, hindsight is 20/20. Having this knowledge as an adult’s helped me to understand what was happening at this time in my life.
My Ma was trying to protect me, as best as she could. It’s not like she ever sat me down and explained to me, (at 8 years old) “Don’t freak out. It’s not you. Daddy is fucking the manicurist and snorting large quantities of cocaine.” That wasn’t a conversation that ever came up, if you know what I mean.
This was also a time, when divorce was just become a “thing” amongst married couples. Kramer VS Kramer has just premiered 3 years prior, and sparked the “divorce revolution”, amongst American families. And my Ma, coming from a Sicilian Catholic upbringing,was still trying to find some sort of way opt salvage some sanity in our insane household. Shows trying to find a way to salvage a functional “family unit” for me to grow up in. But, you can’t fix broken.
And, there is nothing to find, once something is gone. And, my Dad was gone. Long gone. As a recovering drug addict, myself..It’s not difficult for me to relate to what the disease of addiction was doing to him.
But, for a hyper sensitive little boy…All I knew was that my Daddy was gone. He was no longer at my soccer games. He was no longer at any of my elementary school functions. He was no longer present in my life, whatsoever. There was no explanation given to me. I concluded that I had done something terribly wrong. I would lay awake at night, wondering to myself, “Why doesn’t Daddy love me anymore?”
By 1984, the cold war in my home, between my Ma and Dad shifted to a full on World War. Frequent arguments. Yelling. My father breaking things. Looking back, I would imagine that he was most likely in a cocaine induced psychosis.The yelling between my parents scared the shit outta me. I would be huddled in my bed. Door closed. Blaring Culture Club. My hands over my ears. Crying. Trying to drown out the screaming and slamming doors. When the front door would open and slam shut, I would timidly go to my bedroom window, which faced our front driveway. When my Dad’s Camaro would go flying up the street, I would finally be able to breathe again. The monster, whom I once called “Daddy”, was finally gone.
I’d come out of my bedroom, and curl up in Ma’s arms. She would hold me and rock me, as I cried myself to sleep.
And, that was the way things proceeded. Me and Ma. Dad gone. And me constantly wondering what I could do to win back my Dad’s love.
By 1985, my parents were barely speaking, When they did, they were usually cursing, accusing, and pointing at one another. I was becoming more and more distressed. Anxious. Frightened by my Dad’s rage. And, deeply depressed. Despite every effort I made to win his love back…I had failed. I blamed myself completely for this mess. I would spend school functions, locked in the bathroom, crying. Everyone wanted to know where me Dad was. I had run out of excuses.
My 11th birthday was the breaking point. It was 1985, and Chuck E Cheese was the new, cool place for a child to have a birthday party/ (This was long before the franchise became notorious for gang shootings and brawls)
I had invited many of my classmates, friends, and their parents to my party. Despite the disharmony, which had become the dark, corroding thread woven through my families existence..I was hoping that this birthday party would somehow give me a few hours of family bonding, without the yelling, or pain.
I was dressed and ready to go. Ma had just finished putting on her lipstick and she looked radiant and beautiful, as always. I went through the house. looking for my father. I walked into the living room. There heat, on the couch. Unshaven. Untoward. In his bathrobe. I began to grow a bit nervous. I ran to him, and jumped in his lap. “Daddy. It’s almost time to leave. Ma is out of the bathroom now. Are you going to get dressed?”
My Dad looked past me. He wouldn’t look me in the eyes. And, he said nothing. I began to panic. I threw my arms around his neck and whispered, “Please, Daddy. Please get dressed. Everyone will be there. And, I was hoping we could play ski ball, like we used to! And, air hockey! And, make great big sundaes together.”
My Dad finally looked me in the eye and said solemnly, “I can’t go, Son.”
I shudder, writing this now. Remembering the sinking feeling in my 11 year old heart, when I heard those words.
The tears spilled, uncontrollably down my face.
“But, why?? What did I do wrong? Whatever it is, I did wrong. I’ll make it better. Please. Please, Daddy! Please come to my birthday party.” I was growing hysterical.
Out of the corner my eye, I remember seeing my Ma enter the living room. My Dad had just begun speaking again…”Your mother doesn’t want me there.”
My Ma quickly swept me off of his lap, pulled me upright to my feet,and took me by the hand. She faced my Father fearlessly, looking him square in the eye. She said, “No, Joseph. Not this time. You will not put this on me. And, you will not lie to our son.”
Before he could even answer, Ma had taken me outside the house, onto the front porch. She took a tissue from her purse, trying to dry my tears. But, I was inconsolable. I ran back int to he house, and threw myself at my Dad. “Daddy, please. I’ll do anything. Please don’t leave me on my birthday!”
I looked into his eyes. They were vacant. There was nothing there. No sadness. No remorse. And, I felt helpless. Ma came back in to the house again. She scooped me up to my feet, once more. And, she delicately led me out of the house. Down the driveway. And, into the passenger seat of her car. She dried my eyes. She kissed my cheeks. And, she told me in the most convincing tone she could muster, “We are going to have the best birthday party ever.”
But, her words slipped through me. A mantra of sorts was repeating itself in my mind. Like a drumbeat. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”
Those words weren’t directed towards my Ma. And, they weren’t directed towards my Daddy, either. They were directed towards myself. I hated myself. All I could think was, “What kind of a Son could make his Daddy, no longer want to be his Daddy?”
TO BE CONTINUED.
img_2542

THE CAPRA DIARIES – “The Dollhouse”

Let me preface this piece with a sincere thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send me messages, emails, and PM’s, while I was absent. I apologize to each of you for being so unresponsive over the past four months.

Most of my close friends were keenly aware of how out of character this type of behavior is, for me. And, many of you who have come to know me through my posts and more so, through my writing…were aware that I was in distress.

As I mentioned in my last piece, I was prescribed a medication called Klonopin. It was prescribed shortly after my ex lover committed suicide in 2013. Though, my psychiatrist was weary of prescribing a powerful narcotic to a recovering drug addict, I had already been hospitalized twice from debilitating panic attacks. I also mentioned in my last piece, how controversial Klonopin is, in the recovery community, due to its addictive components. My sponsor, as well as several close friends, were aware that I was taking the drug. My sponsor referred to it as “a very nasty drug.”  I was just grateful that it was preventing me from having any further panic attacks.

So, let’s fast forward to this past April. I had just come back to San Diego, from a month long work trip to NYC. I was dating someone who operated on what I would call a very low frequency. He was constantly whore shaming me, and seemed quite jealous of the attention I received, publicly. He was the least of my problems, though. I had come home from NYC extremely sick. I had developed a lower GI infection. Anyone who has ever suffered from this, already knows how painful and gross it can be. But even that, was the tip of the iceberg.

The 3 year anniversary of Tony’s suicide was quickly approaching. (He died May 7, 2013) And, I was beginning to, as I do every year since he died, to unravel. Being in a miserable relationship.  Experiencing terrible physical pain from the infection, and dealing with unreconciled grief and guilt over Tony’s suicide, was tearing me apart.

My sponsor was reaching out to me. Friends were attempting to contact me. Yet, I was recoiling further and further from my support group.

This is not an unusual story for any addict in recovery, who may be reading this. I stopped going to meetings. I stopped contacting my sponsor. I stopped communicating with close friends. And, I stopped writing.

It’s not hard to guess what happened next.. I had forfeited every tool, which provided me a daily reprieve from my addiction. Sinking into a sea of sadness, emotional, and physical pain. And, there was a bottle of powerful narcotics (Klonopin) sitting in my kitchen cabinet. And, I wanted an out from all this pain. I wanted it all to stop.

I took a handful of Klonopin, and I slowly sank into a cloud of nothingness. I was numb. The pain was gone. And, I had relapsed.

There’s no candy coating this story. I didn’t have a “slip”. I didn’t “fall off the wagon”. I made a conscious decision, and I had a full blown relapse. This was the first week of May. In 48 hrs, I had gone through a month’s  worth of Klonopin. I had sunken into a vaporous hole of nothingness. Taken In large quantities,  Klonopin completely wiped my brain. And the moment I realized that my prescription was out, I wanted more. Klonopin isn’t the easiest drug to find on the street. But, being the resourceful dope addict that I am, I found other drugs in the benzodiazepine family, which were readily available. 10mg pills of Valium (blues) and 2mg bars of Xanax.

The vicious cycle had begun. I purchased 100 Valium and 25 Xanax, bullshitting myself into believing that the amount of pills I purchased would sustain me for the next 3 1/2 weeks, til I would refill my Klonopin, and just go back to being sober again. But, there was no turning back. I was moving forward. Downhill. Fast. The 125 pills I had purchased to last 3 1/2 weeks, lasted 5 days. And, I was purchasing more, and more. This went on for months. I would black out. Days would blur into one another. I would regain consciousness on the floor, in my living room. I even “came to” one late afternoon, on the floor in my kitchen. It was tragic.

And, I was alone. Ma was gone. My friends were gone. My sobriety was gone. And, I was gone. Long gone.

I don’t think it’s productive to sit here and drone on and on about the disease. However, I do feel that it is necessary to qualify, in case anyone reading this story might be thinking that pills are the answer to their problems.

So, what happened? What was “the moment of clarity” for me? This is not something I wanted to recount, but this is what happened…

In late July, I was still fucked up on pills, unreachable to my friends, and a complete non entity. I called my best friend, Chicken Titty, while I was in a blackout. She told me later, that I insisted she come pick me up because I was hungry. I do remember getting in the car with Chicken Titty, and I recall her driving us out of my complex. That’s all I remember. Several days later, I called her up and asked her, “Where did we go eat dinner, and when did you drive me home? She replied, “Drove you home? You drove yourself home! You were complaining that I was driving too slowly, and you drove my car back to your house, at over 100 mph. I have no recollection of me driving her car, to this day. That was it. I had put my best friend’s life in jeopardy, along with my own. In a complete blackout on pills.

I had to get clean again. I wanted to get clean again. More than anything.  I was terrified of the physical withdrawal, that would be inevitable…coming off benzos.  If you’re not familiar with this class of narcotics, benzodiazepines are the only class of drug which you risk death, detoxing from. A grand mal seizure is usually what kills people, who are trying to kick benzos, “cold turkey”. I was scared out of my mind. But, there is something inside me…Call it stubbornness. Call it utter determination. Call it stupidity. But, once I decide something…it’s done. And, I’ll die, fighting for it. And, that day, I made the decision to get sober, again. To save my life, again. Death was the only thing that could have stopped me.

I called my psychiatrist. The same one who had prescribed me the Klonopin. I told him everything. The amount pills I’d been taking. The amount of time I’d been in a relapse. All of it. He had me come into his office the very next day. We met. I confessed. And, what I appreciated most about that visit…the lack of judgement. And, his genuine concern from my safety. OF course, he told me I could never take Klonopin again. He suggested a 10 day medical detox, which would help me to avoid the physical symptoms from the benzo detox.   On July 29th, I began a 10 day medical detox, taking a muscle relaxer called Flexeril. By Day 5, I was down to half the original dose of Flexeril. And, by Day 11, I was weaned completely from prescription narcotics.

I need to add that halfway through my med detox, I decided to fly to Pompano Beach, Florida. Against my psychiatrist’s advice, I went. I needed to remove myself from the apartment I had mad my tomb, for so many months. Florida turned out to be the best decision I could have made. It was tranquil.  There were no familiar faces to influence me. It was ideal. A beach front high rise. Time to get back to basics. Staying with a buddy who was sober, and who knew the predicament that I was in. He never left my side.

I would like to add that during this period, one person from the industry reached out to me. Because he’s in a 12 step program, himself, I’ll leave him anonymous. Of course he said to me, “You stopped doing your sober day count on social media. You stopped posting anything at all, on social media. For addicts, that’s a telltale sign.” He wasn’t accusing me. He was approaching me with genuine concern. And, I told him everything. He listened, and he responded with something I won’t ever forget. He said, “I had multiple years sober, and I relapsed. My sobriety today, is better than it was the last time. Because my approach to my sobriety is different.”

That gave me hope. Enough hope to reach out to a few more of my sober friends. Another buddy of mine, who lives in NYC, told me, “You don’t need to tell the whole world right away. It’s your life. You do it when you’re ready.”

That took so much pressure off of me.

You may just see me as some mouth breather, who shoots skin flicks…fair enough.

I see myself as a little more than that. Over the years, I have actively used my platform which was created from the porn industry, to reach out to others…through sobriety..And more so, through my writing. And, if I can hold myself accountable to the public for my success in sobriety, than I feel it necessary to share my struggles, and setbacks, as well.

I should be dead. And my best friend should be dead, by my hand, as well. I drove the two of us at over 100 mph in a complete blackout. But, we survived. I survived. I survived a detox from a class of drugs that has killed other addicts, who have tried to come off, “cold turkey”.  And, I believe I was spared because I still have shit to do, in this life.

A little time has passed since that fateful night in July, when I so recklessly out myself and Chicken Titty in harm’s way. I’ve opened up to more people who are sober. And yes, I’ve also been approached by a few members in San Diego gay recovery community with their patronizing bullshit.

At the gym, someone with a few years sober came up to me and said, “Are you done this time, for good?” My response:

  1. A) Go fuck yourself.
  2. B) I’m done for today. So, hopefully I’ll be done, again tomorrow.

I’d love nothing more than to say, “I’m never falling down again.”  But, I’m no demigod. I’m not a guru. And, if I fall again, I’ll get back up, and keep fighting. That is all I can guarantee. I will never stop fighting, until I die.

Before this relapse, I took my sobriety for granted. I did believe that I would never relapse again. I know now, that I am NEVER immune from relapse. I will never “fake it, til I make it”, either. There are so many things I didn’t say, when I was in pain. Fear of judgement. Fear of being seen as  ‘weak’.  I can’t afford to let those fears burden me, today. My life is at stake.

And, all the things that were suddenly gone, while I was loaded on pills. They are slowly coming back again. My Ma.  My friends.   My self worth.  It’s all coming back to me.

And yes, I realize the haters will come to. “Poor little porn star. Poor little bleeding heart.” They come out of the woodwork, like roaches. But, it’s cool. Bring it. There is absolutely nothing anyone can say to hurt me, that I haven’t already said to myself, while I was loaded.

I know that My true friends are here with me, til the wheels fall off. And, my true fans…they get me.  They aren’t going anywhere.

I’m so happy to finally be publishing this piece to the public. Now, I can let it all go.

Last, but certainly not least:

To my friends, fans, and followers…I’m sorry if I let you down. But, I can’t be your “sober champion”. I’m an addict, just like every other addict. Trying to make it through each day, clean.

I will continue this fight. And, I will continue to write my stories. And my hope with this piece, (as with all my stories) is that one more man or woman, who is out there…Who thinks they have lost the power of choice..They will read my little story. And, they will decide to fight for their lives, as well.

I know what it feels like to look into a starlit sky, and see only darkness. I also know what it’s like to be swallowed by the darkness, and to find my light, once more.

I hope you can find yours, too.

blog-2\

blog-1