In our continuing series Voices of Recovery, we continue Danny’s true story of addiction and recovery. Danny, was an upper middle class kid whose decent into drug addiction started with alcohol and marijuana and morphed into full blown addiction to Crack Cocaine and Crystal Meth. Today, we follow Danny’s slide from using and dealing drugs, into eventually living life on some of Los Angeles’s toughest neighborhoods. Click hear to read part 1 of Danny’s Story.
It was probably about the time I was in the 6th grade when I started getting into drug dealing.
For some reason as a kid, the “drug using party guy” characters you would see in movies like “Up in Smoke” and “Caddyshack” appealed to me. It was like this carefree lifestyle with people having fun and what not. And then there were older neighborhood kids who were using and dealing and they were knew me, and they were actually nice to me. So here I was this kid in the 6th grade hanging out with these older kids who weren’t picking on me or stealing my lunch money but having fun and letting me hang out with them to drink and use drugs.
At first I was just selling pot, maybe getting some alcohol here and there, selling acid, and later that grew into cocaine and mushrooms. I was using pot and acid regularly so I always had something around to keep me going. I went to an intermediate school that was 6th through 8th grade which meant the older students would come to me to buy drugs. At this time I was taking acid as well and it was a unique situation in that as the young 6th grader, I was able to get all sorts of drugs the 8th graders could not get. I was probably the most popular 6th grader in the school ever.
I also had a friend whose mother was mentally ill, and his house was kind of like the party house because she was in no position to stop the drug use going on in the open. So I was hanging out over there a lot and doing any and every drug I could. I thought that house was the greatest thing in the world and my friend was lucky. I was jealous that he could sit in his living room and do drugs in front of his mother. Funny, looking back how misguided that notion was.
In what turned out to be a bit of an Irony…
I was taken in by some mafioso type gang members who had some serious drug connections. They taught me a lot about high level drug dealing, but at the same time they looked down on drug dealers who actually used drugs. At this point even though my drug dealing was growing by leaps and bounds, I really cut down on my own drug use. They liked me for whatever reason and stressed that you can not be a big time drug dealer while at the same time battling drug addiction, and if they caught me using would kick my ass or just give me crap about it. So while I got to be a much better drug dealer, I had to hide my own use and be much more secretive about when I could use which limited the amount of time I would actually spend using drugs. Eventually, I got plugged in with and connected with bigger and bigger drug dealers, and pretty soon this white beach kid from Hermosa was spending the majority of time in these neighborhoods of LA where gun shots were ringing out all the time, I was completely out of my element and out of my league. But my addiction to crack cocaine was so powerful, it obfuscated my abilities to realize the apparent.
I was still in High School at this time..
and even though I was dealing drugs, using drugs, and drinking daily I still managed to graduate. At that point, I was using tons of marijuana and alcohol and only occasionally cocaine and methamphetamine. They were still around and I would use them off and on but in some way because pot and booze were my main drugs of choice it kind of justified my addiction. I was still far away from finally seeking out help from a California Drug Rehab center though, as a matter of fact my journey into drug addiction was just beginning with the next several years of my life getting progressively worse.