The dark side of acceptance
by Jordan Redman
Your drug dealer doesn’t care whether you live or die. They don’t care if you end up in prison. They don’t care if you lose your family, house, job or car. They don’t care about your health. They don’t care about you.
This may be a harsh realization for some of you. Many might think their drug dealers are their friends.
The Gayly interviewed a local dealer. His identity will remain anonymous.
His reason for being in bars differs from most. When he is out in the local gayborhood (there’s one in every city), he’s not there for socializing, he’s there for business.
“I see what my friends go through. I know the pain. Being an older gay man, I know what this community has gone through. We’ve watched each other die from everything from AIDS to suicide.
“I think we [the LGBT+ community] deserve a release. Some people get high to escape their problems for a few hours. Some people get high to live their lives. Some people just don’t like reality.”
He continued, “No one likes reality. That’s why Hollywood is a booming business. Some people like going to the movies, some people like doing a bump at the bar. It’s all the same thing.”
The mention of tragedies like the AIDS crisis and suicide prompt the question, what about the people that die from an overdose?
“The way I see it is, anyone can do anything in moderation if they have self-control. [Fast food restaurants] aren’t responsible for people that order five cheeseburgers and develop heart disease and obesity. They just supply the product. I’m not responsible for people who do five different drugs in one night. I just supply the product.”
However, most restaurants offer low-calorie options. There is no lower risk option for cocaine.
For him, it’s all about money. Business is business. But what happens when customers overdose?
When asked to explain his feelings about one of his customers potentially dying, he explicated “I feel the same as a CEO from a big cigarette company knowing millions of people die from smoking every year.”
No remorse. No concern. No apology.
Drug dealers aren’t your friend. They don’t care about your wellbeing. They care about your fueling your addiction. Your addiction is money in their pockets.
Addiction is costly. Paying for an addiction costs some more than others. Some lose their grocery money; some their car payment. Others lose their freedom.
Kevin Rule, a current resident of Lawton Correctional Facility, spoke with The Gayly about his struggle with addiction.
Rule began using drugs at an early age. “Cocaine was not my first drug of choice. I started smoking weed and drinking at age 12. Eventually moved to taking white cross’s and black molly’s (speed in pill form).”
He followed these with Quaaludes and reds, which are both downers. “By age 17, I started doing meth and cocaine.”
When using, he found himself in the company of strangers. Though when sober, he found himself surrounded by friends.
“When I used cocaine, I was out of my mind and ended up traveling in circles of people that I normally would not associate with. I have had multiple periods of lengthy sobriety, so when I relapsed I did not have close friends that use, so I ended up finding cocaine through someone I just met,” he said.
He tried to get sober multiple times. “At 23 years old I went to treatment for the first time. I stayed clean for six years and relapsed. I only used for a few months, but I get really sick, really quick and ended up losing everything. I got clean again and stayed clean for three years.”
The battle for sobriety raged on for many years.
“After relapsing again, I ended up going to prison for five and a half years. I stayed clean the whole time and remained clean after I got out. I ended up staying clean for 12 and a half years and relapsed, which again lead me to a prison sentence.”
Rule mentioned multiple times just how much he lost. Regardless of the direction, his life was going he always found his way back to his old lifestyle.
“I cannot say for certain what led to my last relapse. I had so much going for me. I had just paid off my loan for my restaurant I had opened four years earlier. I was going to meetings two days a week, I had tons of friends in recovery [and] I was speaking at meetings about my recovery. I had so many reasons to stay clean…”
Rule has had a chance to examine the weight of his decision while incarcerated. When asked if his addictions were worth the consequences he exclaimed, “It was not worth it!”
He is serving a 25-year sentence for robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Though his decisions cost him his freedom, he still has his life.
The ending was different for Storm Chaser’s, Joel Taylor. He was found dead in his cabin on the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship Harmony of the Seas on January 24, 2018.
Though an official cause of death hasn’t been determined, sources say Taylor died due to a massive overdose of GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate) and possibly several other party drugs.
Addiction cost Rule his freedom; Taylor his life. And for the drug dealer, it’s business as usual.
Recovery is possible. Rule has been able to stay clean during his time in prison. While cocaine is unobtainable, he says meth is “readily available.” He has been able to resist the urge to use again.
For him, the benefits of being clean outweigh the consequences of addition. “It takes a lot of work to get clean, but truthfully the benefits have always been worth it. I make really good friends, my family is at peace with me, I can have success in my work, I get to travel, I have no problem with the law, I have no financial problems and I am at peace.”
Robin Dorner, Editor in Chief, contributed to this story.
If you struggle with addition, you can find peace. There are several treatment centers available in The Gayly region. To find a treatment center in your area, visit www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
The Gayly. March 8, 2018. 10:57 a.m. CST.