Editor’s Note: The following submission is from Zac Chambers. Have an LGBTQ+ related experience or story to share? Having your article published on this site will automatically enrol you into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Submit an article today via queerdeermedia.com.
My name is Zac, I’m 24, identify as gay. I’ve known I was different as far back as I can remember. I was born and raised in a rural, lumber area of Northern Michigan.
I would like to start this off saying, that Substance abuse in the LGBT community is real and isn’t something to judge nor hate on because you don’t understand.
Myself have struggled with substance abuse/addiction for 12 years. Half my life… It’s something a lot of people don’t or want to understand for various reasons. I can only only provide my own life experiences.
First I would like to give a little detail about my household. I lived with my mom, dad, and younger brother. I grew up in a religious household. My dad broke his back and disabled him permenatly in 2001 and was put on opiates amoung many other types of drugs, forcing my mom to work multiple jobs, and go to college full time, so my brother and I were left with our dad must of the time which wasn’t good for either of us, in the long run it did damage to us both.. He had become a hardcore addict, which also led to severe mental illnesses.
Fast-forward, age 12, I had already developed severe anxiety(multiple forms) and depression, amoung other mental health issues. I was deathly scared to let my family know I was gay, however they did find out when I was 13-14. The pre-teen era was the hardest for me, I hated everything, but hated myself the most for not being what my parents expected or wanted. I was a sin that they thought they could fix and that didn’t help matters. I remember it like it was yesterday, I wanted to die, and with my dad having pills everywhere, I stumbled apon an Oxycotin 80mg(12-13yrs old) took it of course. It let me in a way leave my life, to escape all the depression, hate, and feeling of worthlessness. That began my addiction into opiates. Which went into high school and present day. It didn’t get to be a serious problem until I was 19-22. I was hooked, I had to have everyday, it threw me right into a pit of darkness. Those few years were the most miserable and wouldn’t wish them on anyone. So many bad things happened during that time, being homeless, sitting in jail, going through the court systems, and during this whole time a part of me knew I needed serious help. I was in-out of Community Mental Health, Substance abuse treatments, rehab, hospitalizations, was even in a “safe house” for trying to commit suicide. I did finally get some stable pillars in my life, got an apartment, went through the Methadone treatment for 2-1/2 years completed successfully on my own will. Started going to groups like AA, NA, ACOA, and even a couple LGBT AA/NA groups which helped. In the end I am thankful and blessed by GOD to be here today able to tell a bit of my story. It’s been a long,crazy roller coaster of a life already, but life is good, I’m working on myself which I neglected for so long, and it feels amazing to finally care about me.
The point I’m trying to make here is that mental health, substance abuse, and being LGBT a lot of the times go hand in hand, and I just ask that people sit and think. Try to understand what all this does to child’s mind, thought process, emotions, etc. Be kind and love each other because in the end we are ALL HUMAN. None of us are perfect.
I do hope if you’ve read this, that you were able to follow along, but most importantly to understand the struggle of so many LGBT people that have also walked in the same shoes.