Asheville, NC

Patrick: I was born in Southeast Texas in the swamps. When I was 10 we moved to Saudi Arabia. All my relatives lived in double-wides and stuff so it was a really big change. It was a good thing because I got a really good education over there and I got to experience a multi-cultural environment. 

I went to college in Austin. Right after I graduated from college, I started using heroin, which didn’t pan out to well, as you can imagine.

BW: How did you get started using heroin?

Patrick: You know, I got my wisdom teeth out when I was 17 in Saudi and they gave me codeine to start out with and it didn’t do anything. I was in so much pain, so, my dad golfed with a doctor there and got some Percocet, which is Oxycodone. I should have known at that point that I needed to be very careful with opiates cause that stuff worked well for me. 

But, I kind of ran the gamut of the whole drug thing but starting to use heroin was a big turning point for me. I was on a path to success and my life quickly became this downward spiral of failure. It’s such a terrible thing to get into.

BW: I can relate. I sabotaged myself for years. Deep down, I didn’t feel like I deserved anything good so I’d screw everything up.  Why do you think you chose that path?

Patrick: Yeah, I get that. I get that. You know… I’m gay. I kind of tried to come out when I was 10 years old. This was right before we moved to Saudi and they weren’t having it. They told me, “No don’t act like that. You’re just going through this faze.” So, I’ve kind of had that feeling deep down inside of me for a long time, that it’s not acceptable. Even though, since that time period, I’ve experienced nothing but acceptance. I think that might be part of the self-loathing, which is ridiculous to me. I don’t understand it. 

But man, I’m happy now. My life is pretty dang good. I just moved to Asheville about a month ago and I just got a job today, actually. It’s at the Goodwill, but it’s a job. 

BW: I’m glad you got a job. They aren’t easy to come by in this town, from what I hear. Are you still using heroin?

Patrick: No, absolutely not. I haven’t done heroin in six months, so it’s been a while.

BW: How did you kick it? Cold turkey?

Patrick: Yeah, I actually ended up going to jail in Austin. I had no choice but to go cold turkey. When I was in jail, I made the decision that I needed to leave Austin. It’s not like I can run from drugs. There’s drugs everywhere. But, everybody in my life who cared about me had been telling me I needed to get out. I ignored them for five years but I finally listened. It’s been really positive, man. 

I’ll tell you what, it’s great to wake up in the morning and not feel sick and not have to worry about where I’m going to get money to get well again. Every morning I wake up and thank God that I’m not addicted to that stuff anymore. 


Part of these collections: Coming Out  + Opiate Addiction