I awoke on the morning of February 3, 2003, after being asleep for approximately two days and decided to make my last sale.
I had considered this for some time, as I had become alienated from every true friend and family member, not for any specific bad deed but for what I was doing to myself and what I represented.
I traveled no street, saw no back alleys; I didn't even drive my own car. I led a Studio 54 life. Traveling from party to party, house to house, mansion to mansion, I needed nothing. Crystal meth, ecstasy and GHB were plentiful, and all of the 5HTP, vitamin concoctions and super drinks were available to take the edge off.
My story is not unique. People like me were in constant danger of killing ourselves—and potentially others—as there were few wake-up calls and fewer consequences for our actions. People in my circle dropped like flies from dehydration, overdose, kidney failure, even heart failure. There were no limits in the wealthy drug underground.
I was 120 pounds, 30 years old, and the lines were beginning to show. I knew internally that my body would fail someday, perhaps soon. Falling out from GHB was a typical and daily occurrence.
Drugs started out as fun, everyone liked me, and I liked everyone. At the end, I was bitter and paranoid. I had become a shallow, cunning, quick-witted and very angry person. I had sober moments where I saw clearly that I had become a whore to drugs and to the people I served. I used to be an intelligent, dignified, respectful and an honored human being. How fast things turn on their head when you become addicted.
The thought of getting sober in a big city was scary. I didn’t know if I’d be strong enough to deny the peer pressure that pulled on my coattails, forever pleading with me to come back to the drug world.
I found the resources that I needed not only to stay sober but live strong in body, mind and spirit. Today, I run a nonprofit for high-risk adults and youth in rural Arizona and volunteer in San Diego.
Very recently I was on “Recovery Row” at L.A. Pride and was presented with the opportunity to get involved with The Tweakers Project in Los Angeles. I had followed West Hollywood’s recovery community for some time, but little did I know how well-supported everyone is that’s recovering or struggling with addiction in L.A. Engaging with my sober brothers in L.A. has been a heartfelt and genuine experience I’ll never forget.
With 10-plus years of sobriety, I am still amazed to see such support, love and caring for those in recovery in our urban centers.
Brandon Bennett is the founder of Back to the Basics Please, Inc., Generation Y 2000 Diversity Center and a longtime member of The Tweakers Project.