3 Days of Prostitution That Fed My Addiction.

Via Chris Grosso
on Oct 24, 2012
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“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” ~ Carl Jung

I’m a recovering addict. I’ve abused basically all drugs under the sun but my preferred drug of choice has always been alcohol, which has led me to do some horrific things in my life. Possibly the scariest of which is that I’ll never know all of those horrible things because I was a blackout drinker, but maybe it’s better that way.

Throughout my many years of active addiction, I’ve woken up time and again in emergency rooms, jail cells, people’s floors and beds often with little to no recollection of how I got there. Part of the insanity of addiction or my experience with it at least, is that these things were attractive to me. I was not only engulfed in addiction, but also severely depressed and in a very strange way, the more fucked up the situation I got myself into, or, the closer to death my actions brought me, the more alive I felt. In retrospect, those experiences, sadly, were the only time I felt any semblance of life coursing through my veins.

Today, I’m blessed to live a recovering sober life, but that doesn’t mean I am free from the disease of addiction. The most common misconception about addicts/alcoholics is that their problem is with the drugs and alcohol themselves, but that’s grossly incorrect. The addict/alcoholics problem lies within the mind. The disease of addiction is mental—it is an obsessive and compulsive thought disorder with drugs and alcohol merely being symptoms.

In both Narcotics & Alcoholics Anonymous, the disease of addiction is often referred to as cunning, baffling and powerful, and for someone who has lived through it, even that is an understatement. I had an experience with the baffling aspect last night as I laid in bed going to sleep. Actually, I deal with these baffling thought processes quite often. I find baffling to be an accurately descriptive word because the thoughts and memories I often experience regarding when I was active in my addiction, are nothing short of just that, baffling.

You see, a part of me is still attracted to the memories of those experiences, those dark times. It’s fucked up, but a part of me still feels connected in a way of excitement to going through withdrawals while hovering over a toilet bowl or leaving the emergency room only to go straight to the package store and pick up where I left off the night before, which happened on more than one occasion.

Going back to the memory I had last night as I went to sleep, however. It started with the last time I woke up in a jail cell, again, not knowing how I’d gotten there. I was broken. I’d been broken in life before but this was different. This was despair, depression, emptiness, self-loathing, all of it completely personified. I’d given up. I no longer cared what happened to me.

That morning, I was released on a PTA (promise to appear) for court as I’d been arrested for a DUI. I was stuck 40 minutes away from home as my car had been impounded the night before, and the only way I could get a ride anywhere was to agree with my mother that if she picked me up, I’d go to detox. So I agreed but truth be told, I really only did so because I had no money, and was feeling the onset of withdrawals kicking. Plus, from previous trips to detox, I knew that I’d get benzos (a narcotic sedative) that would at least knock me out so I could avoid the worst of the withdrawals.

I did my seven days in detox and was miserable. I missed my brother’s wedding while there, the wedding I was supposed to be his best man at (luckily, I’m blessed with an amazingly supportive and compassionate brother who understood). I’d been to that detox before, a number of times actually, but this time, this time it was different. I’d never experienced this sense of complete hopelessness. Like I said, I’d been to this detox before, having gone through worse withdrawals, but during those times there was still some glimmer of hope. It was often deep down inside, but I held on to it for dear life, and it got me through. This time however, the light had gone out.

My detox clinician found an inpatient treatment center in New Jersey, roughly three hours from Connecticut where I was residing, as she felt it was a good idea for me to get away from my surroundings for a while. The only problem was there was a three-day window between me leaving detox and a bed being available for me in their program, thus leaving me with nowhere to go for the interim, well almost nowhere.

During this time, I’d been staying with my parents after my ex-fiancé and I split up. My parents were all too familiar with my history of drinking and knew that if they let me back into their home for those three days, I’d end up drinking and make a complete mess of things. So the only two other options I could think of were either staying at a homeless shelter, or a woman’s apartment I’d spent some scattered drunken time at over the previous couple of months.

Now, remember earlier when I said I’ve done some horrific things in my life as a result of drinking, well this right here, this is definitely one of them. The aforementioned woman is a kind soul. We’d actually had a lot of deep talks about spirituality, quantum physics and things of that nature. Unfortunately, I was at least mildly inebriated for all of them, which she was unaware of, and she didn’t come to know the full extent of my alcoholism until probably a week or so into us seeing one another, when I drank myself into a blackout at her apartment.

I quickly saw that she was lonely and vulnerable, and my addictive and manipulative nature preyed on that. Even when she saw me for what I was, which was a complete train wreck who still somehow had a kind heart deep down, she didn’t completely write me off, and that’s exactly what I needed. She was very begrudgingly willing to deal with me, and my alcoholism, again, due to what I think was a sense of loneliness in her own life. It was the perfect storm. It did however run its course sooner than later as she was looking for something more and I just wanted a place to drink and lay my head. Yes, I was a complete fucking scumbag.

So it was roughly a month after my time with her ended that I found myself in this detox unit. I called her two days prior to being discharged and laid on the guilt that I had nowhere to go except a homeless shelter and how I’d really appreciate it if she’d let me stay with her. I really didn’t want to stay at a shelter, but I also knew that if I went to stay with her, it would be under the pretense of having sex eventually at some point. It’s not that she was unattractive or I thought I was too good for her, because God knows, at that point I was fully aware of the extent of my shit existence, and the complete mess I’d made of my life, but I just that I didn’t like her in that way. Again though, in my mind, it was better than a shelter and she begrudgingly agreed.

She picked me up from detox on a Sunday and I immediately asked her into stopping at a local pharmacy so I could pick up some necessities like a toothbrush, deodorant etc, but what I really wanted was to buy a couple of large bottles of brown mouthwash. You see, in Connecticut, when this was all happening, it was illegal to buy alcohol on Sundays (the law has since changed) so the next best thing for me was mouthwash. Yes, that’s completely fucking disgusting but it gets you drunk and that’s the level I’d reached in my life.

We got back to her apartment and I immediately found my way into the bathroom and began drinking, which would be the story of the next three days. It’s mostly all a blur. I remember convincing her to take me to a package store Monday morning where I bought enough alcohol to last a week, even though I only had two more days before leaving for treatment. In the back of my mind, I had a last minute plan to drink myself to death, though obviously, that didn’t happen. I really only remember little pockets of time while I was at her apartment. They were mostly when I’d wake up after passing out, which allowed my body time to sober up a little and are basically that of throwing up, having sex and trying to eat, but not really being able to stomach anything. On Wednesday, the third day, she dropped me off at the bus station in Hartford and I left for treatment.

I vaguely remember getting on the bus. Isis was playing on my iPod and I had two large Poland Springs bottles filled with vodka. That’s pretty much my last memory until I was picked up by a clinician assistant from the treatment facility at the bus station in NJ. I was told the next morning by one of the program heads that a cop had stopped the clinician assistant who was helping me stumble my way to the car. I was so fucked up that I could barely walk and the cop thought I’d possibly been drugged or was maybe being kidnapped. I was also informed that morning that I’d completely pissed myself when I arrived at the treatment center and was given a change of clothes. Addiction is glamorous, isn’t it?

The first few weeks of treatment was very tough. They put me back onto a benzo taper because I’d had a seizure in the past from drinking and they feared I may have another one from the amount I’d drank in just those three days after leaving detox. As the weeks passed however, I began to find a semblance of hope again. The light I thought had gone out actually hadn’t, it was just that there was so much darkness inside, more than I’d ever experienced before, that it made the light all but impossible to see.

About a month into treatment, I had a horrific realization. It was during one of our men’s groups while I was sharing the aforementioned story about staying with the woman for those three days, when all of the sudden, I realized I’d literally prostituted myself. Sure, I may not have sold myself for money, but I did sell myself for a roof over my head as well as a place to drink, and pass out. I knew walking in there, I’d be having sex, sex I didn’t want to have, not that it would be physically forced on me, but more of an unspoken agreement.

Over the next month in treatment, and still to this day, I work on accepting, and making peace with this realization. It’s a fucking tough pill to swallow though, knowing that my addiction brought me to such a low place in my life. I have not been able to bring myself to talk with the woman since the incident. It’s not that I hold any bad feelings towards her, but rather quite the opposite actually. I’m so ashamed of my actions, and the fact that I could do such a thing, that I just wouldn’t begin to know where to start. I actually did see her last year sitting across the room at a Kirtan we both attended, and my heart immediately sank while feelings of nausea quickly arose. I did my best to stay hidden and was able to leave without making any contact, though part of me wishes I did.

So today, occasionally memories of dark times such as these come to mind and the sick part of my disease is attracted by their chaotic nature. It makes me feel ashamed and completely fucked up, but I do my best to remember they are just residual thoughts and feelings, they are part of the disease of addiction that I live with on a daily basis. They also afford me the opportunity to cultivate compassion for myself, and all others who struggle with addiction, and any form of pain in general for that matter.

I do my best daily to rest in gratitude knowing that while I’ll be an addict for the rest of my life, I no longer have to live the scumbag ways I used too. I somehow managed to live through that experience, which is not the case for so many others and I have gratitude for life today. I think about all the pain that I not only caused my loved ones, but the collective pain experienced by all loved ones who are affected by addictions of any kind.

It’s almost overwhelming at times when I sit presently with it, but it is also a catalyst which inspires me to be a better person and help others in gratitude wherever I can. It’s the inspiration that gives me the courage to become vulnerable and write an article like this, baring the darkest parts of my life in the hope that by doing so, and showing that through all of it, I’m still here, that others can make a change for the better too.

I’m living a different way of life today, a life that isn’t perfect and always filled with happiness, but a life that is filled with a deeper sense of calm, serenity and connectedness to a Universal love that is far beyond what my limited vocabulary can describe.

So with all this being said… Fuck skeletons. Fuck closets. I am right here, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, all of it, and it is exactly as it is.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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About Chris Grosso

Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict and spiritual director. He has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, and more. Chris created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his books Everything Mind (Sounds True Publishing) and Indie Spiritualist (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). Follow Chris on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


38 Responses to “3 Days of Prostitution That Fed My Addiction.”

  1. I could say something trite and useless like "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" or some other bullshit like that, but I'll pass. Proud to be your friend and proud that you are sharing such difficult stuff in the hopes that it will help someone else. Thanks.

  2. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you Kate. I know exactly what you're saying. xo.

  3. Jenn Lui says:

    Thank you Chris for sharing this story of some of your darker times, and through this to help others move through the pain of their past as well. or even their present. Yes, fuck closets. There is love in sharing the difficulties of life. Thank you. Much love.

  4. Thank you for bravely sharing these difficult memories. I feel like I'm reading a cool boy's diary when I read what you post so take that as a compliment 🙂

    It's amazing how far you've come. From darkness comes light.

  5. Chris Grosso says:

    Thanks so much Jenn. Much love back.

  6. Chris Grosso says:

    Thanks Tanya and I love the "cool boys diary" comment, haha. I think I'm a nerd for life though 😉

  7. Mariah Charbonneau says:

    There's nothing I can say that can accurately or adequately describe what reading this made me feel – intense compassion, pain, heartbreak, sadness, joy at knowing your success thus far – those are the only words that I can say that even come close. This is so near identical to my sister's story, with the main difference being that you've made it further down the path of recovery than she has at this point in her life. My heart aches for the pain and darkness through which you've both walked, and if I could, I would wrap you up in a hug that makes you feel everything warm and comforting that you ever may have missed in that darkness. I will hold onto hope for you just as I do for my sister. Thank you for sharing this story – the fact that you are where you are now renews my hope that my sister will get there someday. I can tell you from the experience of being a loved one, and at times very deeply affected, by an alcoholic's choices, that the love is stronger than anything the alcoholic could do. Ever. While I do still sometimes experience anger, sadness, and feelings of betrayal over the choices that my sister has made (the ones, for instance, that put my children directly in harm's way) I am able to let those emotions go, even if it has to happen a few times before I banish them completely; and she will always have my absolute and undying love and support as she walks her path (judgement sometimes is a tricky little devil to put away, though, but inevitably I come around on that one, too) – and reading your story makes all of that easier for me – you ARE the light for people like me. Great love to you, Chris, and continued success on your journey.

  8. ashley says:

    Thank you Chris for sharing mine and countless others' story, your directness is inspiring.

  9. Chris Grosso says:

    Wow, Mariah. Your comment literally brought tears to my eyes. Words also fail me now to tell you how much what you said means. It is indeed a dark and horrific path for not only those of us directly in it, but people such as yourself who are dragged into it. You are an angel for not completely writing your sister off, especially for her to put your children in harms way but please know, she quite literally is not herself when she acts in such selfish ways. That's not to make excuses for her actions, but she is lost in the grips of addiction. A slave to it. I know, I was there. I cried countless times as I put the bottle to my lips as much as I didn't want too. Today though, yes, I've come out the other side and am blessed to be able to share things like this in the hopes that they'll reach those who are currently going through it, or people like yourself who is directly affected by it. My sincerest thanks for your comment, support and very kind words. Much love to you.

  10. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you for your kinds words and support Ashley. It is truly appreciated. Bows my sister.

  11. Angel says:

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your soul. It's beautiful.

  12. Chris Grosso says:

    My thanks to you Angel for reading it and leaving your kind comment.

  13. iambethanne says:

    Another great article. Thanks so much for being so honest and authentic about your experience with your addiction. I am sorry that you had to experience such darkness. I did a lot of dumb things while drunk and trying to numb my own darkness. Luckily (not sure that's the right word?) I didn't suffer that level of addiction, but I have carried around my own shame for a long time about the dumb things I did and bad situations I put myself in when I was drunk. Like a lot of people, for years I rationalized my "fun, drunk, promiscuous college days" as just a rite of passage, but I know the truth that I was trying to numb my pain, emptiness and anger. I was so lost. So yes I agree: fuck skeletons, fuck closets! And I also agree with Tanya's comment that from darkness comes light. xo

  14. earthsky23 says:

    aged 57 now, I also have suffered horribly from my addictive and depressive nature throughout … so have my loved ones … :~( … most recently I have committed to a practice which has helped me quite phenomenally … utube 'five tibetan rites' and have a look for yourSelf … I cannot begin to describe how marvelous this practice has been for me, and recommend it very wholeheartedly for anyone who wishes to feel better, on any of the many level … :~))) ………

  15. Chris Grosso says:

    Thanks so much and yes, yes, yes, from the darkness indeed comes the light. Each day I'm grateful to have made it through though sometimes it's hard to think about all the pain I caused others during those years, but I do my best to make a daily living amends each day by trying to do the next right thing. Thanks again for your comment and honesty as well! Bows.

  16. Chris Grosso says:

    Sounds like a wonderful practice and I will certainly look into it. Thanks so much for recommending it! Bows.

  17. earthwormbookworm says:

    In no way do I want this to sound bad, because I think your story is inspiring, but I am genuinely wanting this explained to me, when you think of prostitution, you tend to think of the both the prostitute and the person willing to use a prostitute as equally mentally troubled (maybe those aren't the right words, but I mean, they both have issues), but here I feel like in saying you 'prostituted' yourself, you imply the woman was equally as troubled as you, and somehow knew she could take advantage of you. Is that right? I am just curious, I am still young and I have an uncle who is an alcoholic and it is something I really struggle to understand, especially understanding the interactions between him and my parents. When you saw her afterwards did you not want to talk to her because you felt bad or because you felt like she had done something bad? Anyway, I think that you did a wonderful thing sharing your story and helping others who have been or are still at that place, and if you were here in my living room I would be able to ask you all these things! 🙂 x

  18. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much Chris, for being willing to share your story. Your essay brought tears to my eyes because I saw so much of myself in your writing. You have came out on the other side, so to speak, and learning that you have found such a such a sense of peace and renewed love for life truly gives me hope, in a way I can't fully express here. It is incredible to me that you can take such a dark time in your life and offer it up to others for a chance of connection, compassion and inspiration to others. You are a beautiful soul!

  19. Anon says:

    I am living with an Alcoholic and I decided to put the wedding and kids plans on hold. Sometimes I think I can manage the situation, living calmly and serenely with the A. Sometimes it is unbearable. Since half a year I am a grateful member of Al-Anon and am getting better, one day at a time 😉

  20. Chris Grosso says:

    Hi there. i totally understand what you were trying to convey. I think that yes, she had her own issues for subjecting herself to me and the state I was in. She was not an alcoholic, she actually rarely drank anything in the short time we were together. I view prostitution as essentially selling my body for a roof over my head an a place to crash for a few days. No physical money was exchanged but I knew going into it what was going to happen and I went anyways. When I saw her at the kirtan, I didn't say anything because I felt awful for what I had done, it had nothing to do with her at all. I have no resentments towards her. Alcoholism is particularly tricky because it completely un-inhibits us. Of course other drugs make us not ourselves but it's rare that someone on pot or heroin will do the things someone completely trashed would do. When were lost in addiction, whether alcohol or whatever, we really aren't ourselves. There's a literal chemical imbalance going on in the brain and it isn't until an addict is able to get off the drugs through treatment or whatever method works for them, and allows their entire being to heal that they return to a semblance of sanity. It's just so hard for everyone involved. I wish you, your uncle and your parents all the best in your situation!

  21. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you Nicole for your very kind and encouraging words. They mean a great deal. Bows.

  22. Chris Grosso says:

    Knowing what I put others through in my own addiction I am terribly sorry to hear about your current circumstances. It's wonderful to hear you've found Al-Anon however and are hopefully finding some healing there. Throughout my years of active drinking and using I was in various relationships and in retrospect, I see I was really just holding others emotionally hostage. It pains me deeply to know I've caused so much pain to others but I also have to recognize that i can't change the past. So today, I do my best to live right and help others, even if it's something as simple as writing this article. I wish you all the best in your situation. Just know his/her alcoholism has nothing to do with you and unfortunately, there's not much you can do to make him/her stop. Only they can decide that. Hugs.

  23. Sarah says:

    you're amazing, Chris. so powerful. thank you..really, thank you

  24. Rachelle says:

    I have so much repect for you writing this. Not only were you able to admit all this to yourself, you admitted it to the world. You showed your scars unhealed, without bandages. I am so glad you are doung better and that you only keep moving forward. Namaste with love.

  25. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you Sarah. That means a lot!

  26. Chris Grosso says:

    Thank you Rachelle. I truly appreciate that, so very much. Love.

  27. radiant joy yoga says:

    Such amazing honesty, thank you for sharing.

  28. Andrew says:

    I'm a few days late seeing this one but it's a beast. Honesty and openness is powerful not just for those of us reading but for yourself. You're not hiding it from the world or yourself and that alone gives up a lot of the memories negative powers I think. I commend you on having the balls to get it out there at all. As always, I certianly enjoyed it and seeing where you are now gives all kinds of hope for the future no matter what the past held.

  29. Chris Grosso says:

    thank you very much for reading!

  30. Chris Grosso says:

    Thanks so much Andrew. Your kind and supportive words mean a lot! Bows.

  31. […] characterization of recovering alcoholics as chain-smoking coffee addicts who subsist on an abhorrently unhealthy diet is not far off the […]

  32. Rae says:

    Eyes bugged out of my head as I read this. "You're not supposed to tell people we did these things!!" my addicted brain tells me. "Get busted driving drunk and barely remember the details? Drink mouthwash? Disappear with people we barely know just for a roof over our heads, so we could annihilate ourselves? Secretly yearning for that horrible train wreck of a life (if you could call it that) now that you're sober? If you tell them they will KNOW. They will HATE you. Don't say a word." Yes, I have done these exact same things, and worse probably, but this is not my story. I want to thank you for putting your story out there so the fuck-ups like myself still teetering precariously on the fence can see it in black and white and realize how fucking insane they really are. And how incredible it is that we can recover from a darkness that all-consuming and put our once-wasted energies towards something GOOD. You give me hope that I can continue on a path that does not just leave a pile of wreckage in its wake. We are more powerful than we know. I had no idea how many I was hurting when I put the bottle to my lips. But we can create ourselves however we choose, and transform even if the residue of deeds done may never leave us. Thank you again. My faith in humanity is renewed. Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and be a part of it again.

  33. jearuiz01 says:

    Alcoholism may be a type of disease, current research shows it is. But a "lifestyle disease" is a lot different than other diseases. It is not a disease like cancer, you can not possibly choose to stop having cancer. And I, at least, will always believe that you can possibly choose to not drink alcohol. It may be incredibly hard for many people to make that choice, but it is a choice as far as I am concerned. If I came up with steps one of the early ones would involve taking responsibility for your actions, just like everyone else is supposed to do for all the other things they do affordable rehab programs

  34. nod32 Keys says:

    I deal with these baffling thought processes quite often. I find baffling to be an accurately descriptive word because the thoughts and memories I often experience regarding when I was active in my addiction, are nothing short of just that, baffling.

  35. nod32 keys says:

    I vaguely remember getting on the bus. Isis was playing on my iPod and I had two large Poland Springs bottles filled with vodka.

  36. jstackerbridge says:

    Thank you Kate for bringing us Chris's story. Chris, your honesty just shows how strong you are as a being and very likely the reason why you were able to persevere over your addiction and come out the other side. Congratulations and may your future be filled with peace and joy.

  37. tlittelton says:

    Your honestly is very inspiring, thanks Chris. Too many others were not able to get to where you are today, congratulations. I hope this gives someone out there, the strength and courage they need to break their drug and alcohol addiction.