True LGBTQ Stories: One Gay Man's Struggle with Meth (VIDEO)

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I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.

John W. McLaughlin once struggled with a severe drug addiction. Seven years ago, John dove into the world that crystal meth opened up for him:

I became a prostitute and became a drug dealer and all of that stuff that crystal meth allows you to do and be.

The addiction, he says, is no better than suicide caused by depression:

Drug addiction, self-loathing, suicide, self-hatred... I think it's all connected. I remember being in that place, and being so addicted and so lost and so outside of myself and so outside of who I really, intrinsically was, and just praying at the end of the day to not wake up, and wanting to be dead. The level of drug addiction I was at is equivalent to suicide.

Thankfully, before John reached death, he reached for the phone and called his dad when he was at his lowest point:

One morning I woke up in some seedy hotel in downtown L.A. and I had no idea how I got there. I couldn't move my legs, and I didn't know where I was. I looked over and saw my phone in the corner, and I crawled over and picked it up and called my father in Medway, Maine, and said, "Get me home or I'm dead."

Within 24 hours he was back in Maine, being taken care of by family. After two weeks of being there, his boyfriend, also a meth addict, called and said, "I'm done with this. Can I come be with you?" John responded with an ultimatum:

"If you leave the crystal in L.A., you can come be with me anytime you want." In a few days he was there. We stayed in the freezing cold for an entire year, and got fat and ate and loved and laughed.

After returning to L.A. and staying away from meth, things continued to improve:

I got well, and all these amazing things started happening. I got married to the love of my life after 14 years. A dear friend who is a filmmaker contacted me and said, "I want to tell your story in film." I have this abundance of stuff, of things, of good things, of good-quality, meaningful, important things in my life.

In looking back, John can hardly believe where his life has taken him:

Wow, that's where I was, and wow, look at me now.


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