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One thing I love about my life now is the ability to laugh about the tragic and seemingly hopeless situations that I have experienced. These experiences have contributed to making me the man I am today. I am not the victim of any of this. I am not resentful. I have done the work on myself to have what I am about to tell you just be a story.
I grew up with meth-addicted parents, chaos and a lot of dysfunction. At age 15 I was asked to leave home. (I would learn later in life that when using crystal meth, sometimes nothing else matters, not even kids.) After a brief stint of being homeless, I was legally adopted by a wonderful family. By 23, I had been around the world a couple times over. Singing and dancing had given me a life I only could have dreamed of. But something happened when I was 23 that would start to change the course of my life—I tried crystal meth.
One day, I chose meth over my job. I ended up in WeHo, 26 years old, homeless, jobless and unemployable. I was a mess. It was suggested I go to rehab. I had a couple brief stays at the Van Ness House but ended up relapsing. My friend David dropped me off at The Midnight Mission, Downtown at 4th and Los Angeles—skid row. I spent the next nine months there getting sober in an environment I can only describe as ‘prison like.’ I was doing well but still wanted to do things my way and not take suggestions. I relapsed after three and a half years off meth. My life one more time went down the toilet, fast. One more time I ended up in a hotel room using, and at one point I stopped and thought, This is all my life is ever going to be if I don’t stop this crap; this is it. So I called my family for help. I was going to have to surrender to rehab yet again. Thank god I did. I checked into the McIntyre House on March 1, 2010. I stayed there nine months and completed their very structured program. I learned many things about myself. We continually looked at things that made me very uncomfortable. Guess what? That’s called life.
And you know, I didn’t die. I survived. I wanted to run from there many times, but I stayed. I did what someone else told me to do. I am very grateful to Ed Kohler, the McIntyre House and all of the help I have had these past three and a half years. Sober since Feb 18, 2010, I am moving forward. Still singing and dancing, discovering my life, taking care of myself, being of service to my community. As a sidebar, sobriety has given me many things, including great relationships with my family. My mom and I are very close and I’m grateful for the life I have.
Aron Ross is a singer, dancer and actor who works at The Body Well in West Hollywood and volunteers for nonprofits such as Aid for AIDS and McIntyre House.