“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.
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:
- A) Go fuck yourself.
- 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.