I imagine that we all have vices. In fact I wouldn’t believe someone if they told me that they didn’t have any. For some people smoking could be a vice. For others it could be the twenty cups of coffee they drink each day. As for me… well I’ve had many vices over the years and still do. On occasion those vices have developed into something more and this is what happened when one of them did.

On discovering alcohol at age fourteen I soon began drinking regularly as many teenagers do. I was a drunken state most weekends and by the age of eighteen I was consuming about ten triple vodka and Red Bulls each Friday and Saturday night. I would end up not being able to walk and getting into some serious scrapes. At the same time I was also going out during the week with ‘friends’ and drinking about ten pints of lager each night. It was those people who introduced me to a little pill called Ecstasy.

I was seventeen years old at the time and had a weekend job as well as going to school during the week. I wasn’t very popular due to being perceived to be gay. My only friends were other ‘freaks’ and I felt lost. I was desperate to be liked and to be popular. All I wanted in life was to be part of a cool crowd. One day that happened. A couple of lads I worked with, and looked up to, invited me out one evening. They said that I seemed alright and they wanted to show me what they get up to at night. The young homosexual in me was hoping that I would be getting some action as they were pretty hot, but actually it was all about drinking beer and shagging women. I wasn’t out to many people at that point and being desperate to fit in with people I thought were cool, I joined in with their nightly drinking sessions.

One night we went to a dodgy pub which is well known for drug dealing and taking. My friends went to speak to a guy who looked like a dealer and I guessed what was going on. I come from a council estate which is straight out of Shameless so deem myself to be quite clued up. It didn’t stop me saying no when a pill was offered to me though. I declined at first, but when one of my friends said “go on, be one of the lads”, that was it. All I had wanted was to be one of the lads and fit in. So I took it. The next night I took another. The night after that I took another one. And it went on like that. I knew that I was doing something wrong, but I thought that it was what I needed to do to have some cool friends.

As the months went by I was consuming an increasing amount of alcohol, taking a growing amount of pills, yet still going to school and my weekend job. It was beginning to take a toll on me though. I wasn’t doing as well as I had been at school and was making mistakes at work. I was beginning to look rougher and my personality was deteriorating. I had started to become reliant on Ecstasy because I felt it helped me get through life. It was no longer just about fitting in.

One night it all came to a head and it would turn out to be the last time I ever took a drug. I was at a club with my so called friends and I remember dancing to Missy Elliot. When the song finished I walked off the dance floor and the next thing I remember is being woken up in my friend’s garden. It wasn’t a simple waking up though; I was face down in a bag of chips and being kicked as I wasn’t waking up. I came around, got up and was helped into bed.

The next morning I realised that four hours were missing from the previous night. Between walking off the dance floor and being woken up in the garden, I had no idea what I did. To this day I still have no recollection of those four hours. My friends said that they had been looking for me and were worried as I had been “caning it”. I had consumed a lot of alcohol that night and I am unsure what else I took. I looked at my work shirt that I had worn that night and it had sick on it. I had to go to work that morning and buy a new shirt when I arrived. My manager looked at me with disgust and I felt disgusted in myself. It transpired that 23rd March 2002 would be my rock bottom date. I haven’t taken any drug since.

After that I stopped associating with the people I thought were friends. They weren’t cool and I didn’t belong to that kind of crowd. I reconnected with my ‘freak’ friends and I am still connected to them now. I am also comfortable with being an outcast and a freak myself. It took a long time to get there, but it all turned out alright in the end. As for vices, my main ones are chocolate and Haribo Tangfastics. Not good for the waistline, but better than other stuff I used to consume.

I’m not going to preach about how drugs are bad and you should just say no. As an adult you can make your own mind up. But if your vice is taking drugs, just keep a check on it. Don’t let it get out of control and ask yourself why you are doing it. I did it for all the wrong reasons and it really messed me up. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.

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If you are concerned about your drug taking or the habits of someone else, you can find support by clicking on the following link to the Antidote website. They are the UK’s only LGBT targeted drug and alcohol service. If you’re outside London, click on the Talk To Frank link.



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About the author: Daniel Brown
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.