Addiction is a complex topic and especially when you’re completely free from the disease. Addiction is a bitch, and it’s nothing to take lightly. However, it wasn’t until someone asked me, “what’s life like after crystal meth,” that I almost had a panic attack. The question causes a panic attack because it reminded me that I was once engrossed in a world I no longer want to associate with.
My answer to the question is the main reason I was experiencing a panic attack. Life after crystal meth has been horrible and joyful all at the same time. How can one person experience so much joy when they still crave and desire a drug that nearly ended their life?
Yes, I still crave the drug at times and it’s a challenge. Sadly, the science behind addiction is so complex and varies from person to person that it makes it so hard for me even to attempt to answer the question about life after addiction.
In the beginning, my addiction to meth was caused by my desire to be accepted. As an African-American male who is attracted to white men, I experienced more racism than ever when I was using. I can say that because I was Senior Class President of a predominately caucasian high school where I can say racism did not exist. Well, let me re-phrase that, I was not affected by it if it existed.
The disturbing truth that I experienced so much racism within the gay community when I was nearly 35-years old is shocking and has taken a significant toll on me. Up until that time in my life, I remained accepted in many circles of friends of all colors and races.
However, something changed in the 2000s. Technology invaded our lives and changed how we communicated, but it also changed the dialogue of race. As an intellectual African-American male that technology change created the feeling that I was less than and no longer accepted by my white peers. In order to be accepted my desire to do drugs increased.
The gay community has changed over the years, and especially for me as a black man attracted to white men. Being black you can experience a lot, from the “I love black men” (aka the Mandingo fantasy). For those unfamiliar with “Mandingo,” it’s about a Louisiana plantation owner’s son who has an affair with a slave, and a slave who is blackmailed into having sex with a white woman who seeks to regain her sexuality. Role play aside, some guys in the gay community have even gone so far as to feel it’s acceptable to use the N-word in bed or post, “WHITE ONLY!” on their hook up profiles. I am not here to debate the “white only” postings because it’s an endless debate that will forever be labeled as a “preference” by many people. That might be an article for another time…
By this point, you are wondering, “what the hell does any of that have to do with his life after crystal meth?” It has a lot to do with my life after crystal meth.
I went from being an active and proud member of the gay community. I traveled with many friends of different races to the White Party in Miami, to Palm Springs, to the Black Party, and I NEVER experienced racism like I do today with Manhunt and Grindr. Out of the many hook up apps, Scruff is one I experienced racism the least. Although that’s a pat on the back for the men on Scruff, that’s not my point. As technology came into my life so did racism.
Now, back to the question; my life after crystal meth. It hasn’t been easy. Being part of a community using crystal meth and the increased racism I experienced changed my view of the gay community. During my drug addiction, I met some fantastic guys, but those feelings were overshadowed by other horrible men who made me feel like a black object instead of the intelligent black man I am.
The choices I made and the men I chose to associate with are partly my fault but life after meth has opened my eyes to the darkness our community faces. We fight for equality but we’re still struggling internally with racism.
To answer the question, “how has life been after crystal meth;” it’s been lonely, but it has also been rewarding because out of my addiction I launched a business, I learned so much about myself and others. And importantly, hooking up or negotiating sex (without thinking about using at the same time) and acknowledging that racism exists so much in our community has been the most challenging.
I conclude with this. Life is still better than ever without crystal meth and I’m confident that my skin color, whether I do drugs or not, should never be the reason I’m accepted into a community.