[Editor's Note: Brendon O'Rourke is the GaySocialites.com Substance Abuse Specialist. Each of his columns, like the one below, features editorial content from Brendon as well as a excerpt from a journal he kept while in his active drug addiction. Check it out below, and feel free to contact Brendon with comments and to find out how you can get treatment for your substance abuse problem. Make sure you come back every Thursday for Brendon's latest column!]
The following entry was written after we moved out of Tom’s apartment and into a hotel for a few weeks in Glendale. Erik knew how to work it and was always very good about getting people to give us free things like money, food and shelter. Erik had been homeless for about ten years and pretty much had a PhD in working people to get what he wanted. Erik somehow convinced Tom to pay for a hotel for us, for two weeks out in Glendale. Since we had been crashing on Tom’s living room floor for a few weeks, I’m assuming this was his best option at getting rid of us.
From the time I was released from my rehab, my parents had me set up with a company that would monitor my sobriety by having someone meet with me on a weekly basis. This meeting also included drug testing. Since I was smoking marijuana and drinking on a regular basis it was really no surprise to me that my drug tests began to come up dirty.
June 27, 2008
Well today was an absolute disaster. My parents were passing through town on their way back from a vacation in Northern California and wanted to meet with me for lunch to talk about some things. I knew this probably wasn’t going to go well. Erik wanted to come along as well, which probably wasn’t the best idea as my parents totally hate him.
I meet up with my parents at a coffee shop by our hotel and the first thing they bring up is my FAILED DRUG TEST! Not “Hello”, “Oh nice to see you”, “We love you.” But instead the failed drug test?!?! Give me a break! I told them that it was just positive for marijuana and it isn’t even a big deal, I could get a prescription for marijuana easily in California.
They didn’t care. I think they wanted and expected me to go back into rehab or sober living. Ha! That was DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! I asked them for my tax return money that my mother had and PROMISED to give me and guess what?! They REFUSED TO GIVE IT TO ME! I’m sure it was totally my Dad’s fault, he probably convinced my Mom to not give up the money. Soo fucked up! What’s their problem? That is my money that I earned last year and for them to keep it from me is ILLEGAL!!! Erik suggested we leave and we went back to the hotel.
About an hour later they called and told me they would like to have dinner with me and give me my tax return since it was technically my money and not theirs. I met up with them had a nice conversation and got my money! It’s still crazy to me how they thought that it was okay to keep my money away from me. But in the end I got what I needed. Thank God!
I was pretty good at getting what I wanted from my parents; much like Erik was great at getting handouts from strangers. Drug addicts tend to be master manipulators and are excellent at getting what they want. I was always great at negotiating with my parents to give me money for rent, bills, groceries, etc. They completely supported me up until I was 24 years old. The entire time they were doing this I was wasting my money away at bars and getting cash advances on credit cards to buy drugs. I was pretty spoiled and had huge entitlement issues.
However, when my parents suspected and discovered that I had been using crystal meth, they took healthy measures to try and get me the help I needed. They hired an interventionist and got me to agree to go into treatment for 30 days. While I was in rehab they attended Al-anon meetings and participated in a family program to get educated on how to properly deal with a drug addicted son.
When I refused to go to sober living at the end of my stay in treatment they told me they wouldn’t support that decision and would no longer help me out financially. In the long run this was probably the best thing they did for me.
I had relied on my parents help for so long. There was no way I could support myself financially on my own. If I was not with Erik at this time I more than likely would have followed their direction and sought sobriety. However, I had this boyfriend who had been able to survive for ten years from the kindness of friends and strangers without ever having a real job. Erik was a computer genius and many times would trade his computer services in exchange for a place to stay or a bite to eat. Erik was charming and knew tons of people throughout Southern California. He always seemed so confident in always being able to find a place for us to sleep or eat. So when my parents cut me off, I didn’t really flinch. I had already begun relying on somebody else to take care of me, and he did. Throughout the next six months I relied on Erik and his resources (consisting of drug dealers, addicts, con artists and prostitutes) to help keep us afloat.