Like many of the gay boys in California, my roots are in the conservative Midwest. I realized I was gay in high school but decided it was not an attribute that was going to make me very popular, so I learned how to suppress those feelings. I tried to fit in by dating women. Like all gay boys in a similar situation, this activity was just one more complication to an already confused emotional state. While my straight peers were busy exploring their newfound sexual identities, I was busy running from mine and burying it ever deeper in my psyche. Rather than partaking in the dating rituals that help form a mature adult, I was creating a being with a decidedly stunted sexuality.
When I finally left home and made my way to the mecca of Los Angeles, a whole new world opened up before me. I never dreamed I would have the chance to have a real part in the excitement of having a full selection of desirable mates. However, I’d already invested so much effort in keeping my sexual feelings under control that I still felt very intimidated in acting on those feelings. There was a whole new world of experience that was just beyond my reach.
I went to my first Circuit party, the White Party in Palm Springs, while still in this inhibited mode. It was a complete revelation. The first night I took my first hit of ecstacy, I was filled with an incredible feeling of love. I felt like I had found heaven. The fantastic music, the mesmerizing lights and the beautiful collection of men were like nothing I had ever experienced. There was a sense of community, and I wanted to be a part of this community more than anything I had ever desired. Finally, I had found a dating ritual of which I could be a part.
I jumped into the Circuit headfirst. I went to as many Circuit parties as I could afford (and to some that I couldn’t afford). I had a lot of fun, had a lot of sex and did a lot of drugs. The drugs were a key part of the ritual because they removed all those inhibitions that kept me from being my true sexual self.
A year into this adventure, I tried a new drug - crystal/crank/tina. Suddenly the party moved to a new level. Crystal gave me the opportunity to experience a party weekend like never before. I never missed anything on those party weekends because I never slept. I barely even ate. I had extraordinary confidence in myself - I knew I was looking good, and I had more sex than ever.
Unfortunately, crystal kicked my ass in less than a year. I now needed crystal to go out. Gone were the days of choice where I could take it or leave it. I was sliding downhill and I was sliding fast. The party was losing its fun aspects. Somehow, this rite of passage had turned into a terrible nightmare. I couldn’t stop using crystal, and I no longer had fun when I did use it. I had become an addict.
One day, I went to my best friend’s apartment. I hadn’t heard from him in two days, and I really missed him. I let myself into his apartment and knocked on the closed bedroom door. When there was no answer, I opened that door and discovered my friend hanging in his closet from a telephone cord.