Ron A.

atheyDOB: 12/16/61; Groton, Connecticut. Raised outside of Los Angeles. Now lives in Hollywood. or Europe.

Love is something I never knew how to give back unless there was something in it for me.

I was raised by my grandparents. My mother has been in boarding care and mental institutions most of her life. So my family was Pentecostal religion and there was a prophecy on my life to be raised as a minister. So I had that pressure on my life. Also, I was raised in an all Black Mexican neighborhood, which made me feel extremely different, as I was the only white person in my school.

My addiction started when I was very young, I couldn’t stop. I was real shaky but I wasn’t hyperactive, and they put me on “valiums” four times a day. That just escalated some of the pain I went through, not having my own parents. So it always was difficult for me. When I was good I got everything I wanted at home. When I wasn’t good I got . . . I was threatened to be put in foster homes.

When I was fourteen my grandfather died and I feel I crossed the line at that point. I took like nine valiums and I didn’t cry. It just kept on going after that. I always took a little bit more than my recommended dosage of valiums, but then I just crossed the line and I didn’t care how much I took as long as I could stop the pain and I actually forgot who he was.

Also, I was very feminine when I was younger and that also set me apart from other people. Sometimes I feel like I think the grandness, thinking you’re going to be a magnificent evangelist, like at one point that had destroyed my whole life.

My reaction to that was that I wanted to be a scientist when I was fifteen, and I decided that there was no God. I hurt myself a lot physically trying to convince myself there was no God. I decided that I couldn’t pray to God any more. I put a pair of tweezers in a light socket and tried to like jolt God out of me.

I was so effeminate from just sitting around on valiums. I got pretty fat. So I started taking a lot of diet pills and valiums and I believe, you know, the religious suppression on top of that, I became very sexually perverted. And being at that age of fifteen and sixteen it seemed like I wanted to fuck everything in sight around me including a lot of disgusting things. I felt like I was the most perverted person on the face of this earth.

Sometime in the middle of this I wanted to be a scientist. I was studying in the summer and I discovered punk rock and it totally changed my life. Punk rock wasn’t just the music movement, it was a totally political statement I lived my life by and the destruction involved in it seemed like it suited me a lot. So I cut all my hair off, and pierced my ear, and my grandmother just got out of the hospital and she started throwing plates of food at me, telling me how ugly I was.

I left home when I was about seventeen and even to this day I still have never connected those members of my family. Pretty much from that point on it was really rough for me out there. First I moved out with a girlfriend, to get away from home, and the story of my first injection is real classical, like a lot of the experiences I brought into my life.

It was a huge barbecue kind of thing in San Diego. This one guy fell down this hill and scraped up his knee real bad. I remember being extremely drunk and seeing this bloody knee and I like dropped to my knees and started licking the blood off his knee.

Talk about being attracted to those kinds of people. And I went to an apartment with those people and shot drugs all night for the first time in my life. It was what I had always been looking for, that type of destruction. It totally went along with the overdone punk life style that I wanted to live.

Whenever I got into anything I just didn’t want to be a member, I wanted to be one of the people that invented it. And that’s what I did with punk rock. I wanted to be the most extreme looking person in the scene. I wanted to be involved in everything.

I have this feeling, I guess it could have been my conscience, it could have been some kind of humaneness that was still inside of me, but for a while I was running around with this guy we’d steal car batteries, shoot huge amounts of drugs. Whenever I do anything really scary drugwise, sexually, or like stealing, I get this like really creepy feeling inside. I hated that feeling and I spent the next two years doing everything I could to get rid of that feeling, until I didn’t feel it anymore. Then I realized I was jaded and I didn’t feel anything anymore.

I went through a lot of insecurity for years. At first there was points when I didn’t have anywhere to live and stuff. Then I got a job and I was living in the back of a car, working full time and stealing things, but I must say I tried to be an honest dope fiend. I never wanted to be a criminal. I never fantasized about making money illegally. I always had somewhat of a whore mentality. I always tried to hook up with men or women with money and ride on their scam. Whatever it took at that point.

I’ve always been suicidal too. When I was real young my way out of the house was to be accepted to college. When I didn’t get accepted to college I took a whole bottle of seconal and almost died. At various points I did that for attention or from feeling rejection, whenever I tried to kill myself a lot of ways. From that point on, living in the streets after I left that place in San Diego, I moved back to L.A. I drastically tried to kill myself in several ways.

The changes in my feelings that I went through after that, every year just got more depressing, and I believe I felt less and I was less excited about seeing bands and going out. It became more and more just taking drugs and also a big thing with me was that I could still dress up and look good even though I was just living to use and I had these things going on around me.

I went out to clubs every night for a long time and slowly I just ended up staying in my room and having my own little circle of people around me but I didn’t like go outside and live. I was lonely. I hated the part of me that was tender inside. I went to any lengths to shut my feelings down.

I thought for all that killing animals was good proof as a teenager that I didn’t respect life whatsoever and that I should kill a person just because it was an art statement. I was insane, my thinking was getting further and further over the edge. Kill things, destroy things, and all I was doing was taking it out on myself.

When I decided to conform, I started working a 40 hour a week job and I was working myself to death. The more I worked, the more I used. It wasn’t working anymore. I couldn’t tell you why I continued to do it. I didn’t know who I was. I was gay for six months, straight for six months, back and forth. Today, I have decided to say I’m gay because of the way I’ve treated women in my life. I don’t want to repeat that again.

I went away, I tried to kick heroin for it seems like a year. I went cold turkey numerous times, I went on methadone, I tried everything I could to stop. And I believed all of them would work, I thought all I had to do was stop. I didn’t realize that I had a living disease.

I went away and stayed with somebody in Las Vegas for a couple of weeks the last time I kicked and I didn’t sleep the whole time that I was there. And coming back to L.A. I was in terror, I didn’t know how I was going to stay clean here. I’m working for this man and kind of like fucking around with him.
I went to my first recovery meeting and I was real scared and could hardly stand up.

I hadn’t slept in weeks and I saw people there that I had used with actually and they were clean. I knew the program worked. I wouldn’t listen to the fact that people were praying. I had to try another way, so I hooked up with this man who I was working for and made him my Higher Power and I lived with him over the next year or almost a year, I couldn’t keep clean.

Somehow I kept from getting strung out. I just exchanged drugs. I started using different drugs and I was miserable. I realized I was dying from drugs that weren’t even my drugs of choice. I kept having relapses, like every two weeks.

I met this girl and she told me for six hours what you have to do to get clean when you are a sick addict. I started going to recovery meetings every day, reading literature written by clean addicts for clean addicts about recovery from addiction. I had two relapses after a nine day period. After that and from that day on I’ve been willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean.

I hurt so much when I was using and I even hurt so much more than that even before that I thought the damage was permanent I did to myself. I took so much hallucinogens and speed and just boring heroin run for about four years that I don’t know how I had any hope for living.

I kept going to recovery meetings. I tried to listen. I was in total despair. I wasn’t my own person. I had no sense of integrity. When I had about four months of continuous abstinence from drugs (clean), one night I was walking miles and miles home from a recovery meeting,

I was still living with this man who was supporting me, and looked up in the sky, it was a real clear night that night, and I started drawing lines between myself and the stars in the sky and I realized, for the first time in my life that I belonged here on this earth, now in this time and place, and that even if I don’t live comfortably right away I am still going to wake up and be here tomorrow.

What I found is that no one owes us anything and that is okay. I learned acceptance, that life can be hard but you can’t — I had to just get a sense of integrity for myself. I belong here and it’s up to me to take care of myself here. I have become more willing to respect other people and start breaking down some of those roles, of finding people to take care of me.

I moved out from the house where I was living with the man. I slept on couches for about four months after that. I never complained. I stayed in constant gratitude. I just got to know a lot of people in the fellowship, spending the night on their couch and talking to them. I realized I paid my dues.

And I got my own apartment after that. I felt so good about myself. It’s amazing. My first year clean a lot of it was real foggy. I stayed in service a lot. I had an obsession to use drugs for a long time, but I just — no matter what — I didn’t use drugs.

Right now I am not particularly enthused about my story. I degraded myself. All my morals went away. A few times I was reduced to snatching purses. I was just like a typical desperate junkie. After my first year clean from drugs, I was rejoicing in life. I was waking up. My senses were opening up. I knew I was home and it was really working for me.

An inside issue for me is that I am HIV positive and I found that out not longer after my first year drug free (clean) and I didn’t tell anyone. I felt like I’ve been evil my whole life. I finally get clean and this is my punishment, as if this wouldn’t have happened if I was still shooting dope.

I was boiling. I went out of town and went to a meeting and people were sharing about it out in the open there and I felt like I could come more to terms with it there. It wasn’t just happening to me. And I wasn’t necessarily going to die. It was recommended to come back and share about it from the podium at my home group meetings.

I am living in the solution. We are all going to die. Just people who have been exposed to HIV don’t have a license on dying. I’m not symptomatic at the time. I have a priority in my life and that’s staying clean.

And no relationship and no disease and nothing is going to stand in front of that because if I start shooting dope again the quality of my life will drop through the floor boards and don’t want to live like that ever again. And I am going to do everything I can to do it.

I didn’t get healed overnight. I just didn’t, couldn’t, turn it over to God. I was in a rage. I was pissed at God and I felt sorry for myself and I tried to stop those feelings. After a while I was ready to own him. I had to like snivel a little bit to people about sexual frustration, like my life is over. I didn’t realize any limitations I had I put upon myself.

If anything testing positive is like a catalyst to enhance my life. I stopped smoking cigarettes, started eating better. It’s made me polish up a lot of corners in my life. It’s made me work with people who have AIDS, work with people who are positive.

I feel like I’ve processed a lot of that with the help of God and the twelve steps and the fellowship, even though they may not be exposed to it, but I believe everyone is affected by this. Today it’s very, very secondary.

A while ago I was making myself sick, I was starting to get paranoid, and I realized I needed that more conscious contact with God, I needed to have a stronger contact with God, because I wasn’t living my life to the fullest. I was sitting around worrying about it too much. It’s made it one hundred per cent easier.

On Wednesday, September 7th, 1988 I’ll have two years clean and I don’t think I’m well but I am as grateful as when I first got clean, to have that relief, to have that place to go to where I can relate to other clean addicts, where I don’t have to have any secrets anymore, where I can learn to start loving myself and accepting myself.

Love is a key word in my program of recovery. Love is something I’ve wanted all my life. From the family I never had. Love is why I always have been in a relationship. Love is something I never knew how to give back unless there was something in it for me. Some kind of security.

I have a God in my life today. That God is healing me inside and out. I believe I’m being healed by healing other people. I’m twenty six years old. I lived my life hard. I wanted to experience everything that was obsessive and compulsive in every department. When I first got clean I hadn’t slept in weeks and I had diarrhea.

I’ve got a funny story. I was sitting on the toilet with diarrhea eating a handful of cookies, drinking a coca cola, reading a magazine, smoking a cigarette. This man who I lived with, who was normal, opened the door. I felt like a fucking hog. I had like this hole inside of me that was so huge. I didn’t have God at that time, I couldn’t fill myself.

Today most of the time I’m at ease with myself. Today my few brain cells click on and I’m studying computer type setting at school thirty five hours a week, and working about a twenty five hour a week job of sorts. A lot of hours working on myself now. It’s real rewarding because now I feel like I can handle it. I don’t feel it’s any threat. I feel there’s the right people in my life today.

Click Here for Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light


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