Sunday, February 8, 2009


Suggested soundtrack for this post (click play on the video and then start reading my post; it is also recommended that you finish listening to the song if you're done reading before the song is over -- thanks, Two Blue Eyes, for the corny idea).

I am an avid watcher of VH1's Celebrity Rehab and Sober House.

They hit home in a very real way. You see... I am an addict.

I've just been sober all my life.

I know in a very real and sacred way that I would have turned to opiates/narcotics in an attempt to bandage the pain that was the past seven years of my life.

Stepping back into the Bishop's office a few weeks ago triggered that need again. A need I've never fed, but it's still there in the back of my head, itching -- finding any excuse to convince me to use.

Hearing, "... you're broken... you're broken... you're broken..."

Being treated like "... you're broken... you're broken... you're broken..."

Knowing my friends and family think "... you're broken... you're broken... you're broken..."

It all summons the demon.

I fear this demon in the most gut-wrenching way possible.

I am terrified that if my family rejects my future husband, if my family rejects me (as the actual definition of marriage is merging two as one; therefore, if my family rejects the one to whom I am married, my family rejects me), then the demon will be able to use that initial breakdown and pain to convince me to use for the first time.

And then I'll have destroyed everything.

Trust me, this isn't just some frivolous fear. This isn't just some small, "It could happen."

The disease is constantly trying to find any excuse to feed.

It is uncannily haunting to hear the addicts talking on the aforementioned VH1 programs and to understand completely what they're saying -- even though I've never used.

Okay... that's technically a lie. A few months ago, my mom had some work done on her teeth (in preparation for her mission). She was prescribed Lortab but wasn't taking it (she didn't like the side effects).

I convinced my mom to give me her unused Lortab prescription by telling her I just wasn't able to sleep and that the Lortab helped.

Emotionally, I was in a really good place. There wasn't anything that was triggering the need... the drugs were simply there, I knew I could get them, so I got them and licked the walls of the metaphorical gingerbread house of my disease.

Talking with my bishop triggered the desperate part of this disease, the part that demands, "Screw this, screw them... you need me."

The pain caused by my family rejecting me... there's a scary chance I would agree with the above.

And to delve even more deeply into what is painful, having my homosexuality being compared to this demon... to hear them preach that my being gay is a disease... well, it's really the only thing that truly offends me.

The demon of addiction is a black hole and a means to simply cover up and hide pain.

My homosexuality, I have found, is something that fosters a genuine happiness and light in my life. It doesn't cover up or mask, it heals.

To have my family not want me to pursue a husband and a family is a statement to me that they do not want me to heal... because it offends their belief in God as dictated to them by the leaders of the LDS Church.

If I am truly healed by a husband and a family with him, if such truly brings me joy, then the Brethren are wrong. And if the Brethren are wrong, then where does that leave the Church?

It threatens their testimony that the Brethren are basically god figures here on Earth. And it easier for them to sacrifice me than these idols.

Harsh? Exaggerated?


idolise: love unquestioningly and uncritically1
To them, if the Brethren are wrong, then their entire belief in God is wrong... because they worship the Brethren; they revere what the Brethren say as equally as they revere what God would say.

There's not a more honest way of putting it. Sure, I could perhaps couch it in terms that would infer such while sounding more polite... but we need to start being honest here.

Completely and bluntly honest.

So, to prevent them from seeing me being healed as I pursue a husband and a family with him, they would shut me out to protect their testimonies of their idols.

For their gods, they will sacrifice me. That's what they demand from on high.

Do they not see this? How could they not see this?

Part of it, I'm sure, are the lies.

Homosexuality is a gateway to polygamy, to incest, to pedophilia, to bestiality. Children are damaged when raised by gay couples.

Of course, those each are completely separate posts in of themselves.

What I'm trying to emphasize here is that I don't think I can handle being nailed to the cross they've erected with my name on it.

I really don't think I can.

In all admission, right now, my demon is tempting me, "I do not threaten their testimonies; I would not make them uncomfortable -- the Brethren are right about me; I'll ruin your life -- not like homosexuality. Homosexuality is too threatening to them; they'll never accept you as a happy, healthy gay man as one with a husband, raising happy, healthy children. They wouldn't dare allow that, it's too scary, it goes against their gods' preachings. They'll shut you out if you take that route; however, as a broken druggie, there's safety. You wouldn't even need to hide it. They'll be there for you... and you wouldn't need that actual healing; I'll keep you numb... I'm really the only thing you need.

"Besides... they're going to reject you if you seek out happiness and healing... and you know you'll be too weak to resist me anyway. There's really no other ending here. That cash you have in your wallet... give it to me..."

And, so, for the sake of their gods, I am tempted to destroy my life. I am really... well, I'm scared.

... because my family would rather hold to their idolatry than to their son and brother.

And there's no way to compete with gods.

Seeing the hell it is to be a using addict and knowing my family, some of my friends, and the LDS Church would be more comfortable seeing me struggling through rehabs and sober houses and relapses than as a happy gay man providing a caring, loving home for children who are begging God every hour for a family -- because the former conforms to their beliefs while the latter would require adjustments... it's... well, there isn't a strong enough word to explain what it is.

Suffice it to say that it makes the world a very ugly and undesirable place to live. A place that begs to be numbed out and shaded away.

1Idolise. WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. (accessed: February 08, 2009).


  1. Andrew:

    Part of me wants to put an arm round your shoulder and say I get it, I understand, I SO agree with you that I don't feel "broken" or "burdened" I feel lighter and happier having finally accepted that this is part (part, mind you, it's not everything) of who and what I am, and I resent the constant drumbeat of soft pejoratives that suggest I should feel otherwise.

    Another part of me wants to give you a(n affectionate) whack on the side of the head if you are seriously thinking about recreational substances of any kind. Dude you are smarter than that. You know they are nothing but a mask and are probably going to create rather than solve problems. You say so yourself. I don't mean to minimize the potential pain or difficulty that family rejection can cause, I just want to give you a big cyber-shake by the shoulders to remind you that substance abuse is like swallowing poison and hoping somebody else dies. Won't change them, it'll only hurt you.

    If what you describe is really how your family thinks then I agree you may be in for a rough go. But don't even write them off completely. You may be the means whereby their faith finally matures and they learn more of how to embody and reflect the pure love of Christ. Ever thought of that? If they "worship The Brethren" as you describe, then something or somebody has got to come along sometime to wake them up and show them they're wrong.

    And if you can't quite muster any of the above right now, then let yourself be fueled by the more visceral "I'll show them". Give yourself the fun of generating such cognitive dissonance for them that maybe somebody in your big family will finally awake from what you've described. Like Pres. Obama said, be the one you've been waiting for. Hang on and don't give in, even if the only thing that keeps you going is imagining how fun it will be to see them squirm when they can't reconcile the happy, productive, successful family man Andrew with the prejudices they've been thinking are gospel. Odds are that at least one member of a family the size of yours won't be able to keep that up forever, and your example could end up changing more than one life.

    And if that doesn't work? OK, this should. If I ever hear of you playing with any substances I am gonna come up there and whup your arse. And you know I could do it.

  2. @Alan... LOL You tell him.

    Andrew, it's not easy, but you already know this--you've got to do things for yourself. You are a smart man, and you know your heart, as does God. Trust it. Don't allow yourself to fall prey to things that you don't need. You don't have to change anybody--even if your family rejects you, you're planting seeds, and someday they will bear fruit, just like how missionaries plant the gospel, even if they don't baptize.

  3. Hey Andrew.

    I tend to take the more sympathetic side because I know well the temptation to do so. When I was depressed, I did delve a little into alcohol abuse. Ultimately, however it hurt more than it healed. It hurt my spirit because of the effects of the alcohol and it hurt me physically via the hangover. I thought I could crush my unhappiness. But no...sure, you can numb it for a while. But ultimately, your difficulties remain. The only thing that could happen is that they might become exacerbated by the drugs.

    As you yourself have expressed in your posts, God gave us an independent mind and spirit. God has given you a pure and beautiful heart. Don't throw all of that away. Don't listen and abide by Satan's insults and discouragement. Rather, look to the One who, as He says in His word, has overcome the world. If Christ can overcome the world, He can and will overcome this.

    I hope this helps, even a little. My e mail is always available.

    *BIG hug*


  4. where have these thoughts been all these years! you and i are so incredibly much alike that it is almost creepy. andrew i want to spend more time with you because i genuinnely love and respect you and want to be a part of your success. not because i can't find my own but because seeing others achieve and grow and expand beyond themselves is truly amazing to me! you andrew are amazing to me! thank you for your thoughtful, and cynical views... i adore it!

  5. Andrew, I too adore your views! We all have our moments of despair and our moments of pure clarity from God directing our path. We just have to cling to those moments of clarity and not let the adversary get the best of us during the other times.

    I hope you know that we are always here for you if you need us. Our home is always open to venting without any sort of judgment. Consider a call, email, or a visit to us an alternative to lortab or something worse.

    I hope you know that we care a lot about you. I really enjoy reading about your journey, and especially your spiritual and scriptural insights.

    Hang in there!

  6. Alan: Bring it ;). I do have family members who are supportive. I'm being a brat and wanting it all. Okay, so I mostly just want my parents to not reject me.

    And, to be completely honest, I know down the road they won't be able to deny what is true...

    ... but I still worry about that initial pain in the beginning. I'm quite impulsive.

    Ezra & ABrooks (& more Alan): I won't lie and say that I've no intention of using. It's in the back of my head. I know it's dumb. I know I'm smarter than that... but sometimes, I'm tired of being smart and strong and happy. Yes, sometimes I tire of being happy. In this I am damaged -- and I frankly have only the LDS Church to thank for this broken part of me.

    beaux: I'd hang out with you more often, but we all know where that leads...

    Sarah: Thanks; as always, you're an inspiration.