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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

not just monkeying around

terry oldes is a chicagoan whose path has had some identifiable similarities with many people i interface with as well as my own. he found himelf being sucked under the whirlpool of addiction and meth abuse and has made it back to the surface. his ability to ariculate his adventures and tales puts him in a very lucky category. it becomes easy to say "there's another horror story on meth". this may have true elements, but it does not make the reading or the telling of that story worthwhile. the mere fact that another person has made it through the hell of methamphetamine with the stamina and the cognition to produce a book may give others hope that ceasing their current dalliances with the drug may be worthwhile.
Interview with SX News-Sydney, Australia

Dancing With Tina: A Memoir of Co-dependency is the true story of Terry Oldes's struggle with sexual identity, co-dependency and Crystal Meth. This very personal and sometimes graphic account traces the diverse relationships impacted by a drug that is horrifically affecting the gay community in both the United States and abroad.

The forthright and humorous manner with which Terry Oldes tell his story will hopefully discourage those who have never used Crystal Meth against the drug and inspire those who are currently using to find hope at a time when it is difficult to see.

We spoke with Terry about what motivated him to put his story down on paper, his aim in writing about such a topical issue, his road to recovery, and the media frenzy surrounding the use of Crystal Meth in the gay community.

Tell us about yourself?

Well, I'm 42 years old, was adopted as an infant in a rural Iowa community in the U.S. , and went to college in New York City to study music and acting. I came out at the age of 21, was a Mr. Gay Iowa, lived in Nashville , TN for a number of years as a singer/songwriter then moved to Chicago in 1994.

"Dancing With Tina" takes place in Oct. 2003-Oct. 2005, a period when I used Crystal Meth and had one of the most intense roller coaster rides of my life. After I walked away from the drug I started writing. By putting my meth adventures down on paper, I knew I could go back to it time and again to remind myself why I needed to stay away from Meth. Two months into the writing my therapist suggested I try to get it published since he thought I could possibly help other gay men with my experiences. By November, 2005, I had a 700 page manuscript, found a publisher within three months, began editing it down to 300 pages…and here we are….

What was the response of loved ones and friends to the writing and release of this book?

My friends were extremely open-minded and supportive. Perhaps they all viewed this as some "phase" but nobody ever judged me amongst my friends. I credit them with helping me walk away from Meth as easily as I did.

My family, however, was another matter. There is really just my father, my brother and myself and I haven't been emotionally close to my family since I was 14. There was plenty of bigotry and close mindedness throughout much of my childhood and from an early age I knew there was nothing wrong with my being gay. My brother and nephew both read my book, to my surprise, and they impressed me with how supportive they were. It wasn't exactly their can of worms, of course, but they were respectful of the piece and said they were proud of what I was trying to accomplish.

My father and I are, unfortunately, estranged. One Christmas Eve I called to wish him a happy holiday and my step-mother said, "He doesn't want to talk to you anymore". While it was certainly a shock, I can't say it was too big of a surprise, and after about a minute of feeling lost it was as if a huge rock had rolled off my back. Drug abuse is never about the drug itself, it's almost always about something deeply emotional and psychological within the user. With me it was co-dependency, which was a product of the abandonment issues I had as a child, coupled with my own natural need to pull away if someone wouldn't let me be who I wanted to be. Although I'm not necessarily happy about the scenario, having a close family just wasn't in the cards for me. This may sound a bit Pollyannaish, but I truly do feel it's a waste of time to cry over what I don't have and that I need to celebrate what I do have, which is actually quite a lot.

you can read the rest of the interview at terry's blog. a barrel full of monkeys

today's sound choice is a relatively newer single by the gossip. they have a definitive sound established and it resonates with the alternative side of my nature. their first big single "standing in the way of control" had a very similar quality to this song, i think. i like their sound and i like the tongue-in-cheek homage in the video. here is "heavy cross" by the gossip.


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