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Surrendering To The Darkness of Addiction Brought Light Into His Life

David Vincent

David’s life was an emotional rollercoaster. And he loved every minute of it.

Smoking methamphetamine, he felt powerful. Normally shy, with severe social anxiety, the drug enabled him to let his guard down. In his mind, he became the person he always wanted to be.  

“When I smoked meth, I was energetic and talked a lot,” he remembers. “I became a great philosopher having these really deep conversations with people. I’d be awake for 36 hours.” But the high wouldn’t last and coming down was horrible. “I took Xanax to cope.” Yet, David admits he was addicted to the emotional extremes. 

“I always wanted to be ‘popular’,” David says reflecting now on the experience, which also included hooking up with random guys on the gay app Grindr, advertising himself as someone who wanted to “parTy”—a cloaked signal that he liked mixing drugs and sex. “Overall, it was an escape for me. Boredom was a big trigger.”

David grew up in Westbury Long Island, New York. His mother, born in Naples, Italy, took care of her parents who lived with David’s family. “Very European,” David says. He was very close with his mother and older sister, but his father was another story.

“My father was extremely judgmental and critical about everything—either I didn’t wash the dishes correctly or I held my fork wrong at the dinner table—there was always something.” 

It didn’t help matters when doctors diagnosed David with a non-verbal learning disorder, which resulted in him switching schools a lot and working with tutors. This fed his severe social anxiety. 

At age 12, David’s math tutor raped him. “I never told anyone,” he says. “It was confusing. I had watched porn, but obviously at the time didn’t know how to process what happened to me.” Then his mother learned she had Stage 2 cancer. “I watched her go through chemo and felt really helpless. I was overwhelmed with the thought of her dying and didn’t want to be left with my dad.” Luckily, his mother survived.

As David entered high school, he says his life started getting darker. He came out at age 16. “I wanted to live my truth. I had a friend who’d already come out and said he felt happy and free, but I knew it would piss off my dad.”

David had also started smoking marijuana, and was drinking heavily, and taking Xanax when it was convenient. “It all helped cover how I was really feeling.” A bright spot seemed to be the new friends he made after coming out (one, Alissa, he is still close to). He planned on going to his high school prom, but school officials caught him with a joint on campus, so they banned him from both prom and graduation. “That sucked. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right.” But this didn’t stop him from using. He attempted attending a local community college but dropped out. “A lot of people hinted that I wasn’t college material, which didn’t help my confidence.”

Between the ages of 18 and 20, David’s existed on pills, weed, and drinking. It was a vicious cycle that eventually included methamphetamine and sex. “I remember getting ruffed at a New York City gay club. I woke up in hotel room, very disoriented. There were people there doing drugs. I had no idea where I was or what happened, but I suspected I had been raped again.”

Again, this only escalated his destructive behavior. He started shooting up meth. “That’s when it got serious—I became a great liar. At one point my mom found some used syringes, but I lied and said it was a friend’s who had diabetes. But when she found them a second time, it was then I broke down and said I needed help.”

David said he needed help, but he was far from surrendering. Over the course of almost a year, he went to seven different treatment centers. “It was craziness. I got into a pattern of going for 30 days, then relapsing,” he remembers, “I faked trying to kill myself to get out of one of them. Toward the end though, I was so mentally ‘done’ and depressed, and I wasn’t showering or getting out of bed.” 

“The last treatment center I was at recommended Inspire Recovery after I had asked about a place that worked specifically with the LGBTQ community.” David entered Inspire in January 2018. Still after a month and half, David says he was still really depressed, a shell of a person. Then Larry arrived and things changed.  

“In the next couple weeks, I started opening up more,” he remembers. “Inspire took us to the Alcoholics Anonymous Round Up in Miami, and it was the first time I felt really happy. I’m not the type of person who can hide how I feel. The more I fell in love with Larry, the more I wanted to work on myself. I wanted to start living again.”

The Spirit Animal OracleFor the most part, David says he enjoyed Inspire’s holistic approach to care for LGBTQ individuals needing treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction. “The hippie stuff like tai chi, meditation with gamma breathing, and the angel cards—I love that kind of stuff.” 

“Living with transgender folks was eye-opening. I suppose there was some judgment on my part at first, but after hearing their stories and experiences, the more I empathized.” 

David successfully transitioned to IOP at Inspire and found his first steady sober job at an upscale restaurant chain. 

“I got out of Sober Living and Larry just bought a condo in Lake Worth Beach. He invited me to live with him. The first time I left work knowing that I was going home—to a real home—was a big moment. A chapter of my life finally ending.” 

Since then, David says he continues to work on building his own self-esteem, although at times he admits to what he feels is a bad habit of comparing himself to Larry. 

“It’s totally unrealistic since he’s twice my age,” says David. “And I often wonder what he sees in me, but he told me ‘You’re the sweetest, most loving person I’ve ever met.’ I’ve learned to love myself.” 

Post COVID, David is now working as a pharmaceutical sales rep. “I’d eventually like to do field sales, then move on to medical devices.”

He has a future to look forward to one day at a time. “I’ve learned to love myself.”

David and Larry

What potential risks are associated with using hook-up apps, particularly for individuals in recovery?

Using hook-up apps can pose potential risks for individuals in recovery, as these apps can provide a temporary thrill or satisfaction that may mimic the effects of substance use. Just like how indulging in junk food can bring instant gratification without long-term health benefits, using hook-up apps can provide a quick dopamine hit without fostering meaningful, lasting connections. This could potentially lead to a transfer of addiction where the use of these apps replaces previous substance use habits. For individuals in recovery, this could present a significant challenge as they may inadvertently substitute one harmful behavior with another, hindering their progress towards overall wellness and stability. However, we do understand that it may not be a reality to stay off apps like Grindr. We understand this and will be able to help you to learn how to stay away from drugs like Meth, even while using apps like Grindr.

How can individuals in recovery foster connection and intimacy without relying on substances or hook-up apps like Grindr?

Individuals in recovery can cultivate connection and intimacy by embarking on a profound journey of self-discovery and introspection. By delving into their own fears, insecurities, and past traumas through therapeutic practices, self-reflection, and step work, they can develop a deep awareness of their inner selves. This inner work enables individuals to confront uncomfortable emotions, heal from past wounds, and nurture a genuine understanding of their own experiences and feelings. As they come to acknowledge and embrace their authentic selves, they gradually eliminate the urge to seek external validation from substances or hook-up apps. Building a strong connection with oneself paves the way for meaningful relationships with others based on authenticity, mutual understanding, and emotional intimacy. By actively engaging in self-care, seeking support from a recovery community, and prioritizing their inner growth, individuals in recovery can establish sustainable and fulfilling connections that nourish their well-being and support their journey towards lasting recovery.

How does the use of hook-up apps like Grindr affect ego development and intimacy?

The use of hook-up apps like Grindr can have a profound impact on ego development and intimacy. These apps have revolutionized the way individuals interact by offering a vast array of potential partners at the touch of a screen. However, this immediate access to casual encounters and gratification can bypass crucial stages of ego development, potentially leading to a sense of emptiness and regret once the digital connection ends. Users may find themselves craving the quick thrill and dopamine rush these apps provide, much like consuming empty calories that satisfy momentarily but lack long-term nourishment.

For those in recovery or dealing with underlying pain and trauma, the allure of hook-up apps can serve as a temporary escape from facing internal struggles. The fear of rejection, particularly prevalent in the LGBTQ community, can drive individuals towards seeking solace in these apps as a way to mask feelings of shame and insecurity. Nevertheless, the true path to fostering genuine intimacy and connection lies in self-reflection, therapy, and healing past traumas. By delving into the depths of one’s self and exploring uncharted territories, individuals can cultivate a more profound sense of connection and intimacy with both themselves and others.

In essence, while hook-up apps like Grindr offer immediate validation and temporary fulfillment, true growth in ego development and intimacy comes from embracing the unknown within oneself and building meaningful connections through introspection and healing.

How has the landscape of LGBTQ culture changed with the introduction of dating apps like Grindr?

The landscape of LGBTQ culture has been significantly impacted by the introduction of dating apps like Grindr These platforms have provided a new avenue for individuals within the community to connect with each other, facilitating the exploration of intimate relationships and personal connections in ways that were not as accessible before. However, this increased connectivity through apps can also bring about challenges, such as feelings of isolation despite being part of a larger virtual community. In the context of recovery and self-exploration, the presence of dating apps can present a dual opportunity and challenge. On one hand, they offer a space for individuals to engage in intimate connections that may help them discover unexplored aspects of themselves. This can be a powerful tool for fostering self-awareness and personal growth. On the other hand, the reliance on these apps for validation and connection can sometimes perpetuate feelings of inadequacy and fear, particularly in the face of societal prejudices like homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. To navigate these complexities, it is essential for individuals to prioritize building a strong relationship with themselves first. By engaging in practices like therapy, reflection through journaling, and working through personal trauma, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of their own fears and insecurities. This internal work can ultimately lead to a sense of inner fulfillment and a reduced dependence on external validation from dating apps. Overall, while dating apps like Grindr have undoubtedly changed the landscape of LGBTQ culture by expanding opportunities for connection and intimacy, it is crucial for individuals to strike a balance between engaging with these platforms and prioritizing their own self-discovery and healing journey.

Why are people still consuming Grindr despite feeling regret after using it?

David’s candid reflections shed light on the multifaceted reasons why individuals may turn to platforms like Grindr despite later feelings of regret. It’s not just about seeking external validation or fleeting connections; it’s also about grappling with inner struggles and seeking moments of excitement and release from the pressures of reality. In acknowledging these deeper motivations, David’s journey underscores the importance of introspection, self-awareness, and addressing the root causes that drive our behaviors, even when they lead to outcomes we later wish we could change.

If you find yourself continuing to use because you can’t date and use Grindr, call us today at 561-899-6088 for help.

Are you or is someone you know addicted to drugs?

Call Inspire Recovery today at 561-899-6088 for a free & confidential consultation.

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