Crystal City (2019) - full transcript

New York City's LGBTQ community is experiencing a resurgence of crystal methamphetamine addiction. "Crystal City" explores the epidemic through the eyes of recovering addicts as they attempt to overcome their chemical dependency.

Crystal meth, obviously,
it comes in little rock forms.

You know
what you're getting.

Majority of the time

it will be my younger
appearance and willingness

to do whatever they want
that will provide me
the drugs.

So what I do is I take this
and then in the baggy.

Good.

I've had periods
of sobriety, you know,

within
my five years of using
I've had eight months,

I've had six months,
I've had a little three months,

two months, you know,
a few weeks, month.



I don't use every single day,
sleep, and then keep using.

I know
that if I do that that
I'll be dead in six months.

At some point I have
to be realistic, you know.

For me
this is suitable enough.

In 2008, when I started
using crystal meth,

I was in a bar called Detox
down in the East Village

and I had the most extraordinary
head rush that I had ever had
in my entire life.

Like, I felt like I
was gonna die on the spot,
it was so intense.

Wow, it was like--
it was like--

it was like dying
and going to heaven.

Freedom. Meth--
meth, it's freedom.

Like no other drug took me
to that type of oblivion

like where I just
didn't give a fuck.

It's an exit door.
I wish I had an exit door
out of my life.



It made everybody
seem weirdly equal

and it also made me
feel like no matter who I am
or what my experience was,

now I'm kind of like in this.

I just knew like there was
this incredible sensation,
like I need more of this drug.

Methamphetamine really impacts
every sociological class,

every kind of person
across the board.

We're seeing meth use
among gay men
in New York City

rise three and four
hundred percent.

Over the last
twenty years we've seen meth
only get stronger.

It's becoming more pure.
We're getting newer
synthetics on the horizon

and it's something that's
increasing in our society
as a whole.

So I think this is a tidal wave that we just can't close our eyes and ignore.

There's a sense
that if we come out publicly
about this epidemic,

it will remind everyone
that we're deviants.

This epidemic
needs to be addressed
more clearly.

Dishwashing
is always with it,

but when you have a dishwasher,
it saves your time and energy

and washes your dishes
hygienically clean every time.

All the unpleasantness
of the chore is done away with.

You know, what's important
to understand is that meth

is only the latest iteration
of amphetamines.

My mother's generation
were actually being
prescribed amphetamines.

Mother's Little Helper,
you know what
Mother's Little Helper is?

It's meth.
It's Dexedrine and Benzedrine.

My God,
this house is so clean!

In World War II,
it was used by all sides.

Think about
the kamikaze pilots
who were using methamphetamine

and think about
the recklessness,
the impulsivity.

Studies
have shown that a lot
of the friendly fire accidents

are actually caused by people being up too long on stimulants.

But it really was
the first of these synthetics.

There's a trend now
on almost every drug class
to have synthetics.

So we're seeing, for example,
heroin being gradually
replaced by fentanyl,

which is synthetic.

No one had any idea
the destructive
potential of the drug,

and it's very hard
to control or regulate.

In the late '90s,

dealers out west
had been trying to break
into the East Coast market

because
of the fundraising scene,

the party scene that was
going on at the time.

They realized it was
through the gay community.

That was the way
to break into the East Coast.

It was something
that they began marketing

as a way of staying up
longer on the dance floor.

I met a guy
named Mado Neivelli

and he was young
and Italian and gorgeous.

And I was no slouch,
I was the cute guy

but I didn't have that high
of an opinion of myself.

But this guy wanted
to hang out with me,
and I was like, hell, yeah.

I remember him saying
"Do you smoke?"

And I'm like,
"Well, no, I don't."

And I thought he was talking
about cigarettes.

And he's like, "Well, have you
ever tried 'Tina'?"

And I really wasn't sure
what he meant by that.

And he holds up this pipe
and he said,
"Take a puff of this."

And he told me how to do it.

I'm thinking, "Well,
if this is what I got
to do to play with this guy,

then I'm gonna do it,"
and I did and I remember
the rush of it.

I'm feeling that rush right now.

So my name's Kristian Becker.

I was born and raised
in New York in the Bronx.

I live life
how I wanna live life.

I have been a crystal meth user since I was nineteen.

You know,
when I did it the first time,

I was in Miami
and I was on Grindr

and I was talking
to this dude, six-foot-two,

beautiful,
light-skinned Cuban guy.

During the messages
he asked, "Do you parTy?"

It's like a capital T,
and I was like,

I didn't pay no mind to it
'cause I had never
heard the term before.

And I was like,
"Yeah, of course, I've been
partying all night."

He sends me his address,
so I take a cab there

and then when I come in,
I see a mountain of stuff
on his kitchen counter.

Turns out he's a dealer,
but it's like a mountain,
mountain of it.

And he hands me the pipe.

Every once in a while
you get that response of,

"You don't look
like a crystal meth addict."

Because crystal meth
still does have that stigma;

one, of it being just some
trailer-trash drug that's made
in a lab in the Midwest.

But I feel like now
people are really starting
to see what it's about

and how it's used
in metropolitan areas and,
specifically, among gay men.

The skinniness,
the ability to have sex,

you know, the hyper focusness,
it's a perfect storm
for gay people.

So chemsex is
this whole idea of using drugs

as a way to enhance
the sexual experience.

So meth is a really
effective way to numb,
as I mentioned.

I think that a lot
of that is a result

of what in the literature
is called "minority stress",

where people who have
experienced a lot
of discrimination and stigma

based on who they are experience a lot of mental health
and addiction issues.

I've had a lot of clients
who have never been
comfortable with gay sex

who felt for the first time
using methamphetamine

they can celebrate being
gay and having gay sex

in a way that they never
experienced before.

There are some estimates
that one out of four gay men

in major urban areas
in the States

are semi-regularly
using methamphetamine.

It's at epidemic levels
within the gay community.

I knew when I
was probably seven or eight
years old that I was--

there was something
different about me.

I knew that I liked

men.

I also knew that it was not
what I was supposed to like,

because boys were supposed
to go with girls,
men married women.

I remember being attracted
to my best friend
who lived across the street.

And, but always
keeping it quiet.

Everyone else knew
I was gay before I did,

or like before I was able
to say it out loud.

It was funny
to make fun of gay people.

I remember growing up
and I would say like
"That's so gay," you know.

That was just like a thing
people said.

And then I came to NYU
and it's like the gayest
school in the world, so.

Many gay men find it difficult
to create connections. Why?

Because when you come
to New York or any city
or anywhere really

you're told
that you have one
of two things to offer.

You're either gonna go
on an app and have sex

or you're gonna go
to a bar and get drunk.

So I think we have the apps
like Grindr and Scruff

that have made it
tremendously easy

to facilitate the sort
of party and play culture.

And I think that's really had
an impact on fueling
the use of chemsex.

I was what they would call
a weekend warrior.

Monday through Friday
I would behave,

and then Friday night
I would log on the apps
and the websites.

I probably had about six
or seven different
profiles or accounts.

And just start
what they called out the hunt,

which is look for the hottest
guy with free drugs

and pretty much pursue that.

So some
of the identifying factors

on the apps
include a lot of shorthand,

like "PnP," standing
for "party and play."

If I am searching for drugs,

then I'll look for parTy
with a capital T, PnP,
cloud emoji,

a little Japanese
party popper emoji.

These phrases
that to the initiated

are recognizable
in terms of what they mean.

They're willing
to both hook up for sex
and to use drugs as well.

The thing
with crystal meth and me
is I never had to buy "Tina".

In the party community,
you know,

there's very few young people,
you know, who party.

Um, and gays, you know,
they're always chasing
the young ones.

So you'd show up,
throw stuff at you
to get you as, you know,

as high as you wanted,
um, hotel rooms.

Especially in big cities,
I think meth is
a great equalizer.

So you have a lot
of older guys with money

and younger guys
who can provide sex.

And a lot of it was power
because usually I didn't
have the funds to do it.

I mean I needed
something from them,

they needed something,
you know,
from me and we get that.

We know how that works.

Being wanted
and like getting high and,

like, that-- that
doesn't seem bad.

So I'm gonna get paid
to do that, too?

Great. I needed
to pay my rent.

At that point in my life,
why would I say
no to that, you know?

So the first
time I tried crystal,
and it was like holy shit.

All the issues were gone.
Like me having
no money was gone.

Me not making it musically
where I thought I should
have been was gone.

All the ex-boyfriends
in my head were gone.

Like, all of the issues,
I just got to completely
turn off the world.

My name is Jimmie and I'm
twenty-six years old,
turning twenty-seven.

I think maybe for the longest
time I was known
as like the shy, quiet kid,

and took me a while
to come into my own.

I have these
impressions of myself

as like this innocent guy

who got corrupted
by these greedy men

who just wanted what
they wanted. But I really
did want it, too.

You know I can be
three sheets
to the wind tomorrow,

even tonight, who even knows.

Once you're doing crystal meth, it takes all of those
extreme things about you,

even those assets,
and it amplifies it.

There's not a lot of,
you know, things
that I'm insecure about,

physically
and-- and emotionally,

but it didn't really too much
matter in that moment when--

at least when the high
was going on.

But, like, once you calm down,
then it all comes crashing
back down even worse.

Methamphetamine works
on a part of the brain

called the limbic system
or the reward circuitry.

That was designed to help us
survive as a species.

So we have what are
called natural rewards
like food or sex,

all those things
that give a little
natural burst of dopamine.

There's been careful studies
of those where food is
hundred and some units,

sex is two hundred,
nicotine is actually more,
two twenty.

So we see
that methamphetamine
has about thirteen hundred,

and so that makes it
really highly addictive
to almost anybody.

Addicts
have the experience

of having tried
to solve the problem of living

by applying drugs
to their pain.

Outside the circumscribed world
of the addict,

people are doing
the same goddamn thing.

The non-crystal meth addict,
overeater, the person
who's in the marriage he--

he or she absolutely
does not belong in,

who has had kids that they are
no manner, shape, or form

psychologically
and spiritually
prepared to raise,

on and on
and on and on, you know.
This is a human condition.

Damn it.

The reason I'm drawn to fantasy art a lot of the time

is because I like
the escapism aspect of that.

So when I'm really
delving into a painting,

I feel almost
like I have this power

to create a world
of my vision, my liking.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed
by the real world that I'm in

and at least this one
I can control it.

So, video games
were my first addiction.

Like, the thing
about the video games is

I enjoy the escapism
so much that once
I'm invested in a world,

it becomes
more interesting to me
than like my everyday life.

And there
have been times when I'll
wake up in the morning

and just play
till the sun's
coming up the next day

and like I've barely
left my chair except to eat
and go to the bathroom.

The way I play video games
can be scary at times

because it's that lack
of impulse control.

It's-- it feels very
much the same as when I
would use drugs like I just--

rather than do what I
need to-- need to, I do
what I want to in that moment.

With this, for example,
I was working
on my book cover recently

and then this game came
out and I just, like,

was so excited
for this game that, you know,

all-- all desire to work
on the cover just sort
of faded away

and I was like,
"I might as well
just finish that video game,

so that way I can put
all of my attention
to this piece."

So this is in HIV release.

It's a special release
designed by the AIDS Institute
in New York State

to allow for the releasing
of information around HIV,
specifically.

And I'm going
to write limitations
to what can be shared, okay?

So any changes that might
impact your mental health.

- Okay.
- Okay?

That way it's limited.
I just can't receive anything.

So if I snapped,
they're gonna give you a call?

Well, let's try to prevent that.
Alright? Okay.

-What was
your primary drug of choice?
-Meth, crystal meth.

- Alright.
Um, how old are you?
-I'm forty-one.

Forty-one. And how long
have you been sober?

-Two years.
-Two years.

The 15th of April 2015.

You know, for--

Since I was fourteen,
fifteen years old,

like, drugs, particularly meth,
has been like everything.

It was, you know,
how I got places to stay.

And then as I got older,
it's how I made my money.

And just like my entire
life is like wrapped around,

you know, sex, fucking,
you know, high and--

And now I'm sober
and it's great, but I'm
a little disconnected.

I don't know, you know,
and I'm not sure
where I fit in yet.

- Okay.
- Does that make sense?

Absolutely. The normal
world might even
not be chaotic enough,

it might be too calm.

-At times.
-Okay.

The recovery sounds
like it's stable
for the most part,

it's really about adapting.

-Yeah.
-Okay.

Yeah, pretty much I just paint
and try not to get myself
in any trouble.

Everything comes out in my art. That's my free space.

That's like--
that's the one time
I don't have to...

Count anybody, I can just--
it just comes out.

That's why I get
frustrated or I get mad,
like, when I think about it,

I-- I try to analyze it
or look at it, like,

that's not
what I'm doing it for,

what I'm doing it for
is the time
when my music's going

and I'm doing
my thing and I just--

It's one thing I can do where
I don't have to worry
about what anybody else thinks.

I don't-- I can just--
I can just, like,
I don't even have to think,

I don't even have
to plan, I can just like go.

I was born
in Grand Junction, Colorado.

My mother, she was crazy,
she drank a lot, did drugs.

Tried to drown me
in a bathtub, like,
set the house on fire,

left me in there,
like crazy, crazy shits.

So I said, "Fuck it." I left.

I was 14, Valentine's Day.
That does it. Never went back.

Obviously, I was young,
like, new me.

Like people were--
I was, you know, learned
how to hustle sex right away.

That's the first thing,
I learned how to hustle.

When I'm in my addiction
and I'm getting high
and I'm living that life,

it's all about, like,

trying to feel okay
or not feel at all,

just trying to be okay
in this space that I'm in.

You know,
it's very important
to know the balance

between when someone
begins to reveal
too much of themselves.

Many times because of that
it becomes overwhelming,

it can be really traumatizing.

And sometimes prevent
them from coming back
to get the services they need.

So,
he was very forthcoming

and very open to revealing
much of what it is
he experienced.

And I'm sure there's
a lot of time ahead of us

where we'll be able to get
to the root of everything
it is he needs to share.

I'm Guy,
I am a clinical social worker
slash psychotherapist.

It was not until I admitted I
was an addict that I really
understood addiction.

Although
I'd studied addiction,

I was dabbling
in a very managed way
with drugs on and off.

I'll see you later.

-Love you. Bye-bye.
-Love you too.

- Alright, take care.
- Bye.

Before being the therapist,

I think there's just built-in
arrogance and, you know,

I-- I did my best to be
empathic and compassionate,

but deep down inside
I was always curious

to know why they
couldn't control their drugs
and I thought I could,

and there was an element
of judgment in that, right?

So, I think, clinically,

I am much more able
to see myself

as the same as a therapist
as the people I treat,

which I think is
a really useful tool for me.

There is
a culture now that I love

about being queer and,
you know, social justice

and we all have a story
and a history
and we all have our types.

It's a subculture.
It's a fully formed culture

that I had a lot of anxiety
about entering into.

But what crystal meth
did was it took all those--

no one-- no one asked me who
I was, no one asked me, like,

where I went to school,
no one cared about, like,

whether or not I was
married before, certain--

no one certainly cared
about me being HIV positive.

And-- and what I have discovered
is that most people were.

Some estimates are
that as many as fifty percent
of gay men

who are using meth will
ultimately seroconvert,

get HIV
and often Hep C as well.

So when I was diagnosed
with HIV in 1998,
it was still stigmatized.

It was not something
you wanted to have.

It certainly was not something
that you wanted to have

if you wanted
to be sexually active.

So, so methamphetamine
and-- and HIV have
a real interrelated history,

especially in a place
like New York.

From the-- the mid '80s to about '95, '96, HIV was a death sentence.

People were dying
all the time.

On the streets in the village
you would see people
with really severe dementia,

thin, thin guys with canes.

My own AA recovery
support group lost
eighty percent of its people.

So I think it just was
a dreary time.

All of us were
scared to death.

No one spoke
about having HIV.

Most of us had it
and were free
to talk about it.

My brother had already
converted and my mother
knew about that.

And I was very
determined for her

not to had to carry the burden
of worrying about two
of her sons dying.

I would call people
shortly after meeting them

because I'd want to go out
or hang out with them

a second time
and they'd be dead.

Somebody would answer
their phone and say that
they had just passed away.

And a lot of people
were going on disability
at that point in time.

One of the things
we were doing at work

was helping everyone go
on disability

so they can enjoy
what was left of their lives.

It's like I grew--
I grew up with HIV.

I-- I grew up
on the streets with HIV.

I planned on dying.

I expected, I'm like, "Okay,
I have five years to live,"
20 years old.

Full throttle.

I can still remember thinking
to myself and repeating
over and over,

"I'm damaged goods.
I am damaged goods.

No one's gonna want me.
I'm untouchable."

So I think in the social
context of the HIV epidemic,

especially those--
those early dark days,

I think people
were just looking
for a way to check out.

And I think methamphetamine,
because of its very
powerful punch

in terms
of the dopamine it releases,

it was kind of a natural for people to use at that time.

So people were maxing out their credit cards, people were partying their asses off.

I think the culture
began to change.

Clubs started to die out.

People weren't working,
so they had way too much
time on their hands.

And the only way
to spend your day were
to go to like some sex party.

Around '95, '96,
when protease inhibitors
were introduced,

we really had a change
in the mortality rate.

So people sort
of stopped dying.

And by that time a lot
of people were on disability

but they saw the opportunity
to just kind of celebrate.

And I think meth came along
and people felt like they were gonna live again.

After a while, like,
you are not dead

and now what you've been doing
to survive has become
a habit for you.

You know what are
you gonna do?

Like, run out and I don't--

I didn't have an education,
I didn't even
finish high school.

So I figured, you know,
I think I could do
was sell drugs.

Alright,
let's go guys. Come on.
We're gonna go for a walk.

Come on here.
Let's go. Come on here.

Let's go.

So my sober job
is walking dogs.

I was an escort
for seven years
but I kept relapsing.

So I teamed up
with a couple of guys
from my twelve-step program

who already did
dog walking and I
joined with them and...

Come on, guys.

It's like money I would feel better about earning than through prostitution.

You know, they can be
a handful sometimes.

This is Ollie,
this is Aya.

They're like
my craziest dogs but they're
behaving at the moment, so.

Aya, no. No.

Sit. Sit.

I pick them up, I walk them
for about a half an hour,

make sure they do
their business,

play with them a bit,
take them back,

and it's on to the next one.
It's a pretty busy day.

Structure is really important
for an addict.

It makes me more, you know,
accountable, more responsible.

I don't have as many windows
of opportunity to go
and try and get high.

If I don't show up
for work, my friends are
totally screwed over.

Let's go, lady.

- Sorry.
- It's alright.

With adulthood
came some challenges.

So now I'm doing
a lot of things
to keep myself busy.

Guardian Angels
is a volunteer
safety patrol organization

started in 1979 during
the height of crime
in New York City.

The most notable thing
is we do the subway patrols.

And there's different chapters
for different boroughs

in different districts
within the borough to do
a patrol on the train.

We'd like
to make our presence known.

And we don't carry weapons.

All we have is
the self-defense training

and we do our best to subdue
whatever threat is apparent.

In a big city like this, you
need all the help you can get

and just someone's
presence is enough
to kind of deter things.

- So when did you join?
- Last month.

Last month?
What do you think?

You can hand them to people

to try and put them in the slots
in the ads thing. Thanks.

Even if I don't feel
like going today,
let me get up,

take the train, let me get
these flyers together,

hand them out and, like,
really start doing it.

At the end of the patrol,
you know,
it's always a good feeling.

Do you want me to do
this moment really fast?

- Yes, please.
- That's high--

That's high.

If you're in New York City
and you're, you know,
living off of your creativity,

you're already winning.

It's already like,
okay, you're not--

you're not dead and you're able to make art and you're okay.

Like, in terms of a professional
music career and where I'm at,

I'm doing, you know,
logistically, pretty well.

I'm not-- you know,
I'm not Madonna
but I'm making money,

I'm supporting myself
only by doing music.

I think drinking
so long and the culmination

are just like always
being kind of in a fog.

I wasn't performing as well
as I do now that I'm sober.

That's for sure. But I felt
like I was, you know.

I think even the things
that I was writing about

weren't coming
from the mind of a clear head.

They were coming
from the mind of someone
who was really sick.

So, those songs
and that work, obviously,
wasn't going to have much life.

You know. It didn't have
much to offer other people.

A full-time job,
that-- that's not me.

Because, you know, working
a full day and then counting up,

eight seventy-five or,
you know, nine dollars or
the nine seventy-five,

and then taking away the taxes
and be like, "Shit,

this evening I made
sixty bucks and exhausted."

But why am I gonna,
you know, keep doing this

when I can go
to some hotel room,
people would pay for it?

Just spend time with me,
you know.

Celebrities,
billionaires, businessmen,

these people
are so, so sad. So sad.

They have to hire me and like,
I'm their therapist.

I had five years sober
at one point, five years.

They were good years and I had--

I mean I had a lot--
a lot of-- everything--

I remember driving up the
street in my car
at my little 5.0 thinking,

you know, "Fuck,
I have everything
that I've ever wanted,

everything
I've ever dreamt of."

Like, I was in school
getting like A's and shit,
you know.

I never imagined
that I would be there.

And I really believed
that I would not use again.

And what happened,
I got an argument
with my lover at the time

and just for a flash
it was okay to get high.

I was, you know,
and-- and that was it.

Once the needle was in,
that was-- that's game over.

And I know now if that--
if I get high now, game over.

I'm-- I'm not coming back.
I'll go till I'm dead.

I am definitely
scared of needles.

Every time
when I see the nurses
or doctors or whoever,

I would like half
the time faint, you know,
and get my blood drawn.

So enough of these syringes.

Okay. That's the units, CCs.

Heroin in the Hollywood
make things look much faster.

Some people will use
dirty hands and not even,
you know, wipe--

you know, use the--
wipe their arm before

and there'll be stuff
floating around and they
will have fucking lumps,

you know, all fucking
like golf ball-sized
lumps in their arms

and their veins will be gone.
And I'm not perfect.

But after the first few months
of other people slamming me
and me looking away

and having, you know,
there'd be a few times,
you know, they fucked up,

I learned what I needed
to learn and started
serving myself.

Some people are able
to do just like that,

just a damn boop,
boop, boop, and off they go.

After eleven years of crazy,
crazy, crazy sex

and unprotected sex
and the needle sharing

and the purposeful,
you know, sleeping
with positive guys,

I'm so surprised--
I'm so surprised
that I am not HIV positive.

Basically gives you
this animalistic primal

sexual carnal energy.

And that's
the main energy, you know.
That's fantastic.

I just slammed and I feel
so fucking good.

It's gonna go
on for a good while,
a few hours.

So I'm gonna be
fucking used by fucking men.

So this guy,

he said he's gonna
wear me down like a property
and-- but I know my place.

Then he asked, you know,
what's the craziest thing
I've done,

and I sent him my Social
Security Number,
Social Security card.

I enjoy my partying,
you know. I don't want
to stop my partying.

When the DEA came to the door,

they pounded on the door
and said "Police."

My partner actually is
one who answered the door.

They started trying
to knock it down.

And my partner said to them,
"Well, would you like
me to just open the door?"

And they're like, "No,
we're the fucking police."

I wish the hell I'd been here.

I would just love to have
just gone, click, whoop.

They-- they busted the deadbolt,

they knocked it off
to the wall here,
bent the metal here.

I covered it with wrapping paper
for Christmas

and just left it on there
because it looks so badly.

But we're used to it by now,
but it's still a reminder
every time you look at it.

And it's-- it's not something
I need to be reminded of.

It'll always be there.

Eventually, the money ran out

and it just seemed
like a great idea

to go to my dealer and say,
"Hey, would you loan us
a little extra

that I could sell
so that I could not only
pay for what I want

but also
keep the gravy train rolling?

You know, move-- move
a little product for you

and, you know,
pay for my habit."

He was hesitant
but then he said yes.

And we were off
to the races.

And having the drug
in the apartment all the time

was perfect
for getting high all the time.

I can't remember
many times when I wasn't high.

To sell three or four
ounces a day is normal.

I mean I would be sending
out to California

at least twice a month, thirty
to forty thousand dollars.

I would run all night
long on rollerblades

getting five-hundred-dollar
money orders all over town

and I would go to FedEx
and I would put them in a--

in a FedEx envelope
and I'd send them out
to California.

By the time I got home,
there was a message
on my machine

from someone
and he identified himself
as a worker from FedEx.

And he said,
"Dude, I don't know
what's going on

but the DEA was just here
and they opened up
your envelope.

They took pictures
and they closed it and they put it back in thing."

He said, "I don't know
what's going on."

And I-- and, of course,
you know, that's scary.

So I immediately got a hold
of my person in California
and I told him the situation,

he said stop everything, get
everything out of your house,

blah, blah, blah.

Like, okay,
and then which I did.

So I was living
my life normally, you know,

as normal as I could be,
you know,
not selling any drugs,

not talking
about it on the phone,

and my supply, which was
quite extensive
for me personally,

was starting to dwindle.

And, for me, my--
my brain kind of first
stops thinking after a while,

you know, we call it
selective thinking.

I forgot all about
that I was being watched.

And my friend called me,
said, "Listen,
I'm gonna call California,

and get something
sent out,"

and I-- and I said,
"Me, too.
Give me two of them,"

because I was getting low.
I forgot all about it.

And then when it showed up
at his house, he called me
and said "Come get it."

And I forgot all about it,
and when I walked out,
they got me.

One of the things
that you learn about

in the underworld of drugs
when you're a dealer

is that there are
addicts everywhere,

there are addicts
from every walk of life,

there are addicts in the streets
who can't afford anything,

who will offer you a blowjob
for a quarter of a gram.

And I had clients who order
by large volumes

who were
major business executives

in the entertainment business,

um, movers and shakers,

and it's all walks of life
from the gutter
to the penthouse.

So at-- at a certain point
that story gets old.

It's not interesting anymore.

You start to grow up like, "This
isn't going to actually
get me anywhere."

I remember, like,
going to like a deli

and trying to order a sandwich
and I couldn't even
order the sandwich,

I was so fucked up.

I had also told
my little brother, like,

"Yeah, I smoked meth," like,
"I don't know why I keep..."

Yeah, he's like,
"You should stop that."

I was like, "Yeah, I know,"
but then I kept
going back and doing it.

And all those, you know,
walls were crumbling
slowly around me and,

you know,
the whole illusion, you know,
shattered on itself, so.

There's all kinds of physical
health ramifications,

stroke, heart attack,
liver and kidney failure.
It's devastating.

When my friend came and got me, it was an Ash Wednesday.

It was so weird.

And I remember walking around,

like, so just like
tweaked out of my head

and seeing all these people
with like crosses
on their forehead

and being like,
"This is too much."

And she took me to a meeting
and she found a meeting
at the center.

Many addicts aren't
inspired to change

until things get so bad
that they have no alternative.

And I think that's often the point at which people

get into twelve-step recovery
and can begin that process.

Hey. Hi.

-How are you?
-Good.

- So what are we doing today?
- Step seven.

Alrighty.

So...

The concept of giving away
to keep it is
the most important thing for me.

Like, I have worked with sponsees since I had a year

and they're telling you
all their deepest,
darkest secrets.

They're confiding in you
every night, you know,

or, hopefully, or they are
making connection with you
that's so powerful

and all you're doing is telling
them what you did and guiding
them through a book that exists.

At first glance, step seven
may almost seem
an afterthought to step six.

And there's a need to practice
spiritual principles

in the place
of character defects.

Sponsors are not hired,
they don't get no money,

they are not required to do it, and they do it

because it's part
of their last step,
the twelve step is--

is I couldn't
get totally sober
without giving this away.

So number one, which
of my attitudes have changed
since I've been in recovery?

My attitude about CMA
not working for me has changed.

I now believe it can help me
if I open up and let it
into my life.

And have I asked my sponsor
for guidance?

-Yes.
-Yay.

When I decided that escorting

was no longer a good job for me,

for my sobriety,
and I got a sober job
walking dogs, so.

Okay.

So, example of letting go
and trusting that escorting

wasn't what my higher
power wanted me to do.

Like each addict has like
a heart and a soul that was
destroyed by this drug,

and just asking questions starts
to like-- like a boil, you know,

one of those pimple-popping
videos you see on YouTube,
you know, it like all comes out.

And then once you get
that out, you know,
they start to heal.

And what do you think
you're trying to suppress
when you act on it?

I think
I'm trying to suppress the--

the possibility
that I may be wrong

because that's, you know,
I don't want to be wrong,
that's embarrassing.

And, like with--
with escorting, for example,

I kept holding
on to this idea that I--
I can do it, I can--

I can be a prostitute
and stay sober, even though
I continually kept relapsing.

And that wasn't my-- but that
was my whole livelihood
for years.

So, to admit
that that may be wrong was
very scary because that meant,

"I can't do that
at all anymore,"

and it was very much
my safety blanket for every--

you know, my income,
self-esteem, different
things like that.

So it felt like you were trying
to take that away from me.
And...

That was what I didn't know
how to do in the past.

I used to think
that sponsoring
was just, you know,

telling someone
to go to a meeting
every day, you know,

and, you know, reading a book

and having them write,
like, grids down.

I didn't realize that it
was actually like listening
to someone and--

and asking
the questions that will
lead them to heal themselves.

So, there are really
many avenues to recovery

once someone understands
that they may need that help.

The unifying factor that they
all have is some kind
of social format.

I think it's not
something we can figure
out by ourselves

and that's something
we can do in isolation.

I've had a couple of sponsors
that I loved dearly.

One of them I worked
with him for like two years

and then he went into a spiral
which he has not
been able to get out of,

of using.

But I haven't had
to push him away or,
you know, I have--

I don't feel anger
toward him.

His humanity is just
so clear to me.

Yeah,
I should throw them out.

I'm gonna throw out
a couple of old syringes

that I probably
used on my last relapse

just because they shouldn't
be in my bag. So, here we go.

I can't get off this well,
of course, and I don't know
what to do.

But at least I took
myself to a meeting,
and that ended the run.

But I still have fellows who are
texting me and who are out

and know that I'm struggling
with this and are texting me,

"I have an abundance of stuff,
why don't you just come over?

Why don't you-- why don't
you just come hang out?"

And it's just like, I don't
know, and that started--

we can have two-week relapse
where I used every single day,

I was using more
than I've ever used before.

Normally, I would use
once intravenously

and then be good
for a couple of days.

I was using intravenously
three times a day
for two weeks straight

knowing that I should stop
after like the second time
of shooting up

and telling myself
as I am preparing
for the third one

that I really
shouldn't be doing this.

I was really hallucinating.
I was already going crazy.

I was really thinking
that people were
trying to kill me.

But I am sitting there
about to do it again.

It could easily be construed
that people are using you,

but you're letting
them use you.

-Yeah.
-You know, you're letting them.

I'm allowing them.

You're allowing them to do
that to actually to degrade.

You know, you're actually
letting them turn you

into a resume that
your value is in your youth
and your beauty,

and it's not. It's not.

You know,
I'm 71 years old.

If you are-- if you--
if you are lucky,

you're gonna
be seventy-one someday,

you're gonna-- you don't keep
counting on your resume.

Yeah.

It doesn't work.
It doesn't work today.
It's a shitty way of life.

-Do you actually know
what I am saying?
-I do.

Yeah. It's nowhere.

But-- but I know because
I've been there just like you,

"Hello, my name is
Rick, I'm an addict,"

I-- I know the scene.

And sometimes I've
heard you say things
that are just like, you know,

"My God, this kid just needs
a little guidance here."

Yeah.

Maybe a little bit more
than just a little guidance.

It's-- it's probably, you know,
it's probably not that
much more than a little.

-Yeah.
-You know.

Rick has years as sobriety.

So, like, when I look at him,
it just like

maybe it's possible
to get sober because,
you know, for a while

I just feel like there's no way
that someone can stay sober

from using crystal meth
for so many years
and just like stop using.

Like that doesn't exist,
it's a fairy tale,

it's a lie, everyone
goes back to using,

like, and if you don't,
then you, clearly,
didn't use meth the right way.

But, you know, I've heard
of Rick's story

and he's used meth
the very right way

and he's able
to not go back to it.

- Why don't I take your phone number?
- Yeah, definitely.

-You got it?
-Yep.

Okay.

-Shoot me a text.
-I'm gonna shoot
you a text right now.

It really is a beautiful day,
it really is.

So there is still
this dynamic interplay
between HIV and crystal meth

and that a lot of the people
were saying coming
into care right now

for HIV services
happen to be crystal meth
addicts as well.

The irony of a lot of gay men
having survived HIV only
to succumb to crystal meth.

And so I think there is
this kind of urgency
to-- to address it.

Um, so some other things.
Are you undergoing healthcare?

What is your medical
situation like? You said you
were HIV positive.

Yeah, I've been positive
since I was fifteen actually.

So, I mean, a long time.

-From the beginning.
-Yeah. Yeah. Back when--

back when people still--
still were getting chaos
and dementia and all that.

-So this was in your teens?
-I was, yeah, I was fifteen.

So what was that like being
a teenager being diagnosed

with something that back then
was considered terminal?

It's just such
a huge piece of who I am

and what's built me and made me
and challenged me and hurt me

and, you know,
getting sick very young.

I had-- I had like, like,
in Children's Hospitals,

because I didn't have
a family and they did
biopsies on me and shit.

-It was terrifying.
-Have you had
opportunistic infections?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

Yeah, I've been--
I spent-- the worst one,
I spent six months,

like,
and tubes and I couldn't eat.

So we're dealing with another
layer of trauma, the addiction,

the child abandonment abuse,

and now a major,
major medical ordeal.

-How are you doing now?
-I'm still here.

Right.

The other side
of the intersection
of meth and HIV

is for people
who are already HIV positive,

it dramatically affects
adherence to medications.

So, they can develop
resistance to their drugs.

When I was using,

I would sometimes not take
my HIV medication all the time.

You know, I would
go out on a Friday,

I would bring the pills with me
but then I'd be so high

I would like forget
to and you know,

surprisingly,
I never became resistant
to the medication, luckily.

And I take Truvada,

Prezista and Norvir.

I've-- I forget I have
HIV all the time

because it's kind
of like having diabetes now

and that's, you know,
not something I have said,

it's something
my doctor has said. It's--
it's a chronic thing.

But, you know, my viral
load is undetectable,

so I would show up negative
on it if I were
to take an HIV test.

So, like,
I'm really at peace with it.

I keep this on my dresser

and I guess this is kind
of like a shrine in the sense.

Even though nothing really
will replace my mom,

it's just a reminder
that she's always there.

Me and my mom,
our relationship was complex

because she was really
one of the only people

who would ask me directly
about my sobriety

because she understood
what that was,
what that life was like.

I'll say that what contributed
to her passing was
her own addiction.

She was addicted to crack.

And she was
trying to fight it, I think,

in-- in little spurts,
but ultimately it took her down.

So that's something that I
have to remember like always.

I have a real reason
to stay sober.
I owe this to her, you know.

The day off where I'm
at my sister's house,

one of the first things
she says and she's like
five-six months pregnant,

she was like,
"I can't have you relapse in

because I can't do
this all on my own."

My daily schedule,
everything is set up in a way

where it's really
inconvenient to use.

I'm kind of in the sweet spot.
I don't want it to be
any other way.

Of course,
there are signs everywhere
that say "Stay on the path"

and I completely ignore those.

I haven't encountered
in the path police, yet.

That is fucking awesome.

What is so cool
about this reflection

is that a lot of the way

something is reflected
off a glass
depends on the glass.

Each piece of it is not
as perfectly flat as you would
have with normal glass.

So what that means is
from a distance that it all
looks the same from here,

but the further you
get away from it,

the more the differences
in the way that it's
shaped are pronounced

and it looks like a Picasso.

And it's brilliant.

For me, the reflections
are a metaphor

for my experience in recovery

because when I was
getting high all the time,

I didn't see flowers,
I didn't see birds,

I didn't see the beauty
of nature or the beauty
of great architecture.

Those things were
like parting glasses to me,

you know, whatever,
it was there
but I didn't think about it.

It does make me reflect.

You know, it's funny.

When you're high on drugs,
depending on the drug
that you're on,

you can get pretty shaky,
you can get pretty
nervous and jittery,

and there's not a drug out there
that does that more,
I don't think, than meth.

And when
I stopped using drugs,

when I got off of the meth

and I started
using photography instead,

my hands stopped shaking
and my photographs got better.

I'm working with three singers
and songwriters right now

and we're starting
this thing called
The Emergence Collective

where we just get together
and we, like, help--
like, help build songs

like stack
harmonies or whatever.
So I wrote it for them.

And, yeah,
I just wanted it to be fun.

Right on, come up.
Here it goes.

It will go down there.

Go on.

The challenge for me
now has been, like,
what am I doing this for?

Like, why?

I've been playing and singing
since I was five years old

because I love it,
because it brings me joy.

I love the feeling of music
going through my body.

It's like it's better than--
it's better than drugs.

Singing in harmony is better
than any fucking drug
you can-- you can experience.

And I think people want
to feel connected to each other

and music makes you
feel connected.

So we try the whole thing? Okay.

There's this saying
in recovery that feelings
aren't facts.

So, that-- that to me
is what this song is.

It's like
I feel like shit right now

but I believe that tomorrow
it might not be this way.

And a lot of it's overwhelming
is what I am telling myself.

- Yeah.
- Bam.

Thanks, guys.

So one of the aspects of methamphetamine that make it particularly damaging

is that it's neurotoxic,
which means simply that

when meth-- meth molecule sits
on the dopamine receptor,

instead of being washed off
like it would be for cocaine,

it actually sits there
and destroys the receptor.

And so the implication of that is that while those transporters are being regenerated,

dopamine is not being adequately distributed in the brain
and that impacts mood,

so people can get
highly depressed,

people can get very impulsive,
people become suicidal.

That would be the hardest
thing about staying sober

is like sometimes really wanting
to escape and isolate.

Sometimes you get worn down.
You don't want your mind
to be idle for too long.

Typically, about ninety percent of people relapse
on the way to recovery.

Getting past the drug use is
really just the beginning.

Recovery
is really all about what--
what follows from that point.

Do I want to use?
That's-- that's funny, yeah.

Do I wanna get drunk,
do I wanna party? Yes.

Not all the time but, yes,
once in a while I'm like,

"I could-- I could go
for a joint, I could go
for a drink," all that stuff.

I did relapse on a Sunday
and I had to be
at work at-- on Monday

and I actually stopped using
drugs because I,

you know, as I knew I
had to show up for work
the next morning.

That was one
of the hardest parts
about it having to call them

and say like, "I've relapsed,

I'm really gonna try to make
it into work tomorrow but
I'm-- I'm in an awful state."

It was important to me
that I not let them down

and that's something
I never had before.

Okay, guys.

Relapse wasn't an option for me
because I was not
going back to prison.

Even if it was
like walking on hot coals,
I had no choice.

I'd put myself in situations
where I was fooling around
with someone

and he said, "Here, will you
hold my pipe?" and I held
his pipe for him.

But never did I say,
"You know what I could
take a hit of that."

I've had a few
relapses and I'm recently
coming back from a relapse.

You know I am able to accumulate
some months and then
I think I'm cured.

That's my problem. I think
like I can handle everything.

I think that I--
I got this down packed;

I think that everything's
fine and I'm normal now

and I can go have sex
and not think about meth.

And-- and sex has been
a huge, a huge driver
for my-- for my relapses.

And it's just because I
feel like I can have the sex

that I was having while I
was having on meth.

So if we do
one behavior like sex

and have a certain
kind of mental state
like being high,

if we do that enough
simultaneously,

those two experiences become
joined, if you will, fused,
in the same neural pathways.

I am thirty years old now.
I have never had sober sex.

Since I started having sex,
it's been poppers, alcohol,

coke, K, weed, Molly.

If someone gets clean,
when those two things
have fused,

very often their sexual desire
goes out the window as well.

So it's not uncommon
for people in recovery

to have no sexual desire
for a month or three months
or six months or a year.

There's a mourning period
that I haven't gone through.

Like, I have to mourn the death
of like this fake fa├žade
amazing sex

that I thought
that I was having
that never really happened.

I had to mourn that.

As gay men in the U.S.,

we're still learning
how to really socialize
with each other,

how to not turn everything
into sex, how to have
platonic gay friends.

Like, this is the first time
that I ever was
able to relate to gay men

without thinking, "
it would be nice to fuck him"

maybe sometimes, "But it
would be nice to fuck him"

or, "Was he interested
in me?" Blah, blah, blah.

That's certainly probably
the biggest single challenge

is that people relapse
because they're not
having any sex

and they feel they can't
have sex and then meth
gives them that opportunity.

I relapsed last year
in mid-October

and I think by that time I had
missed a couple of shifts
with Guardian Angels.

So, you don't feel confident
enough really to do it

and then that kind of stays
with you for a while,

and it shows
in your body language
and it shows everywhere else.

Everybody starts asking you
if you're okay
and shit like that.

And I hate that.

My using days
has helped me to,
like, be able to pick out

when somebody
is really strung out.

I can see that now.

I'm doing something
that's actually worthwhile

and I'm not taking up energy
and taking up resources

and taking up space
and taking up money being,
you know, a public nuisance.

So it's kind of like
I flipped a little bit

and now I can see it
from the outside looking in.

This junction is Newport.

If anybody wants
to parTy with capital T
and they hadn't yet,

I would strongly
discourage them.

Acting like a mom
about it and say,

"No, this is blah, blah, blah,
I'm not gonna be the one
to bring you into it."

And then I got to a point
where I realized,

"You know what, like, these are
grown-ass people,"

you know what I mean,
"They want to do it,
they want to do it.

They can make their own,
you know, decision."

I made my own ground decision,
you know, when I did it
the first time,

so they can make their own
ground decision.

So I've never had a boyfriend.
I burn the candle a lot fast.

You know, after a week
or two, ideally,

it would be a relationship,
you know what I mean?

Just-- there's no exactly, like, perfect way to describe it.

I can't like write it out,
you know what I mean,
like a perfect plan.

For me, again, I'm not
trying to live, you know
what I mean, some long life.

You know what I mean?
Or, like, trying to reach
like ninety, you know.

Whatever my life will be,
my life will be, you know.

Yeah, it will take
its course, yeah.

So when Shane was
healthy enough,
we used to take walks.

He liked cold weather.

He always called me a pussy
because I put so much on.

We particularly liked this area because it's all rock

and there's this huge part
of the rock formation

that's just out
over Park Drive.

From the time that Shane and I started seeing each other, we used something.

Meth was a huge part
of our relationship for the
majority of our relationship.

And that only changed
after we got arrested.

Um, I was-- we were both
required to stop using.

We were both monitored
by pretrial services.

Shane was a slicker
relapser than I was.

He figured out how to do it
and not get caught.
I was not as good.

There was a lot about his life
that was just torture for him.

How he landed on just
ending his medications

I don't really think
I'll ever understand.
That's a tough way to go.

But that's what he decided,
he decided to stop
taking his HIV meds

and he did that
in June of 2016.

Can you check
if my shoes are black--
my black shoes are down?

-Which ones?
-The one I was looking for
the last time.

- I don't know, it's probably--
-I think they are--
you don't want me to wear them?

I don't remember
which ones. So sorry.

I think they are,
you know, with the little
stuff on the top like--

I was traveling
for work and I had a day off
when I first got to Chicago.

And I spent that day
with the door closed
watching porn.

So I went online and I
started like emailing guys

on Craigslist
and on Adam4Adam.

And then a few months
later while I was away,

again Loic calls me
or texted me and he--

and he saw one of these emails
that was in my inbox

from these Craigslist exchanges.

It was like completely gross
and lewd and he was really hurt
by it obviously.

I called him right away and we
talked-- we talked about it
and I just-- it was like,

"Thank God he saw that email
'cause now he knows
I'm not perfect."

It just was
like a relief. I'm like,

"I don't need to pretend

that I'm not, like, still sick."

-Do you have the license?
-Yeah.

Okay.

I was on the phone
and he was worried
about some stuff

and I just said--
you were in France
and I was in South Carolina--

Yeah.

And I just said,
"Let's just get married."

And he's like,
"What?" I'm like,
"Yeah, let's get married.

-We'll be okay."
-Yeah.

And then it solved all
the problems and, logistically,

and so that's what we decided
to do. Wasn't very official.

Go inside the wedding area
behind me and I'll call you
by your name.

Alright.

You know I'm next.

-We are next.
-We're gonna be--
I'm your first husband.

How do you feel?

You're gonna be
my first husband.

You're gonna
be my first husband.

Thank God.

-I hope to be the last one, too.
-I do, too.

Marrying
Matthew and Loic.

I said to him,
"Do you want to get married?"

We had exchanged rings
a couple of years earlier.

I had given him a ring
and he gave me this.

And so he said yeah.

So I went to the chaplain
at the hospital
and had them draw up papers.

The doctor drew up the papers
that I could take down
to the marriage bureau

and we never got that far.

This is Shane's remains.

I had told myself this
was just his ashes,
this is not Shane.

It's such a small box
but it's heavy.

I don't think that I ever
felt more love for him

than when he was suffering.

So it's painful as those times
were as hard as they were.

I guess it was a way
for me to remember
that I was cared for him.

You know, he only
died three weeks ago and...

I thought I'd be further
along in my grieving,

but I realize
there's no timeline for grief.

I didn't want to feel the pain
of losing him, which I felt
was inevitable.

I didn't want
to feel the pain of feeling
that I had no hope.

In recovery
we talk about how, you know,

you don't get addicted overnight
and you don't recover overnight.

And grief is the same way.

I have had to admit that I am
powerless over my grief

and the-- the only way
for me to heal is
to surrender to it

and just feel what I feel
when I'm feeling it.

- Great.
- Left hand.

I'm your first.

This is yours, baby.

Love you.

-Okay. Let's go.
-All right.

Like if I start thinking,
you know, forever,
it turns into,

"No, I'm trapped
in a marriage,"
and I can't do that.

Like, I will-- I will
start to self-destruct if I
started to think of forever.

I'd to tell him like
two months in the dating him

that if you were to leave me,
I would be fine.

I have a community of people
who love me, I am connected,

he's not the reason
I am happy.

He hasn't fixed my life,
he hasn't changed my world.

That-- that came
before he got here.
All that was already there.

So when he showed up,
I was like, "Cool,
I'm ready for this."

And if he has to go
or if life changes,

I mean, I don't have
to control his love for me.

He can do whatever he
needs to do and I'm okay,
I feel safe.

And most of what we do
on a daily basis
with each other

is just goofy and fun
and it just makes time pass
in a more delightful way.

Navigating New York City
as a young person

who doesn't have
people here is hard.

And one of the best things
about getting sober

is now I feel
like I have people

and like if--
if shit hits the fan
or I don't have money,

like, or any-- any of that
stuff, you know, like I can at
least,

like, talk to people about it,
whereas when I was
on my own it was like--

it was impossible.

As of May 12th,
I am HIV positive.

Sometime between January
and a few weeks ago
I contracted HIV.

There you go.
It's alright, kids.

First or second day of May
or the last day of April

even in time linked up
with this guy
on one of the apps,

Grindr or Scruff
and went to his place.

Then out of nowhere
"Puff, puff, puff,"
I'm hearing this noise.

So they're busting ten guys,

full SWAT gear,
guns, gun to my head,

I'm butt-naked,
they cuff everybody.

The thing with me is I know
I can handle any situation
that I end up in.

If I end up in prison, I'll deal with prison, you know.

I'm just enjoying
this moment and that's it.

-Congratulations.
-Thank you.

-On new year.
-Thank you.

-Very proud of you.
-Good to see you.

So, tonight, is my watch.

What a watch is
is it's my one-year
anniversary of being sober.

It's my friends from recovery

and people
who have helped me
get to this point

all come out,
just chill till midnight

and then that's when I'll, like,
really officially have
a year and we'll celebrate.

And I've been struggling
for a long time,

so this is kind
of a big deal for me
and for my friends.

I am really happy
that my friend Jimmie

has like the exact same day
count as me coincidentally,

so we get to have a mutual watch and celebrate together,

sort of takes the edge off and,
you know, it's just like
more fun that way.

You missed him.

This is
a big milestone for me.

And everyone
is asking me how-- how--

how do I feel, am I excited?

And I just honestly I
think people are more excited
for me than I am.

But, like, it is--
there's something about it

that seems to come full circle.

There's something about
it that it really is--

it's kind of beautiful and it's
really just such a great show
of love and family.

You may have
like what I want--

what I was looking for
in the first place.

Yeah.

You know, which was
really just community so.

My sponsor, Michael,
has really helped me

get to this point just
by believing in me.

It's nice to have somebody
believe in you when you
can't believe in yourself,

and Michael was
that for me, so.

And I think that that's
what we come here for

is to come from a place
of isolation and desolation

to make connections
and to become these, like,
wonderful shining men, you know.

So I'm really appreciative
of you getting a year.

And I remember
when I met you, you know,

we were walking to like
the D-Train or something

and you were talking
about your life and you
told me "I don't have friends,"

like I just have me,
my video games, my art,
you know, and drugs.

And-- and I remember
being just so struck

because someone
so vibrant and so smart
and so handsome

and so able would have--
not have anybody in his life.

And now, like you see
tonight people really,

really are inspired
by you and care about you.

And-- and what a shift,
what a shift.

So, congratulations and--
to you both and thank you.

Having a support like this,
all-- all of this
is kind of overwhelming.

You know, hopefully this is
only gonna happen once.

And, Jimmie,
I just want to say that,
you know, there's--

it's really cool
that we got to do this together

and as, you know,
we came in around the same time

and we both been relapsing.

I don't know,
it's just-- there's no--

no one I'd rather
share a watch with.
So, congratulations.

Here it is! I didn't think
I'd really hit this point ever.

I didn't think I know what this
would even feel like.

Like,
it's been two years of this,

of learning lessons
and relapsing

and going for long stretch
of time of sobriety and,

you know,
getting kicked in the face.

So it's really
just a privilege to be here

because not everyone
gets to do it.

I know everybody says
that but, like, I understand
it's really true now.

- You made it!
- Congrats, guys!

Alright, now-- You guys
can have sex now.

Whoo!

Been waiting for two years.

Like, I am still very much
a crystal meth addict.

I could go-- I could--
I could go out tomorrow,
you know, or tonight even.

I don't want to,
but that doesn't mean
it couldn't happen

and I've just got to be careful.

Just because
I have a year sober,

it doesn't mean
I'm gonna be like totally
out of the woods, so.

This is not
just a gay problem it's a problem for our whole society

that we really need
to start to think about it
and address.

And the first step
really comes from someone
trying to identify

with what they
might have in common
with that gay meth user

as opposed to just simply
judging them and saying,

"Well, that's not me. That would never be me. Why don't they
just get it together?"

What are the similarities here
and what--

what vulnerabilities
might I share that I
see in another person

and what solutions have they
discovered that might be
relevant to me?

In much the same way that we saw
the-- the first traces
of the problem emerge here,

I think we're starting
to see the first traces

of a solution
emerge here as well.