My adolescence was marked with milestones of self-destruction. When I was 13-years-old, I was hospitalized for swallowing a bottle of pills. By 16, I had completed stints in in- and out-patient rehab programs for alcohol. My sobriety never lasted. As I walked across the stage for my high school graduation – just after delivering my valedictorian address – I had already been hospitalized three times for alcohol poisoning. And by the time I graduated Brown University at 22, I had abused a plethora of drugs, from Xanax to cocaine. Soon after college graduation, a light finally went on – a few weeks after intentionally running into New York City traffic after a drunken breakup – and I realized that I was probably going to kill myself, and soon, if I did not get help.
In that sense, my memoir "Shitfaced" is a retrospective; it is a description and exploration of my tumultuous relationship with myself, which - perhaps - I barely just survived. This is a story of a gay sexual awakening in the Rust Belt, and it is a story of my declension toward utter self-destruction.
I am not afraid to my bare myself; I openly lay out my experiences with depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders and sexual promiscuity. And while my story is dark and complicated – this I cannot deny – it is ultimately a story of hope, a story of resilience and recovery.
And, at times, it's funny; recovering from addiction and mental health issues also requires relearning how to laugh at yourself and live your life with a sense of humor.
As a 25-year-old, I can offer a different perspective that will speak more directly to the gritty recounting of my experience than the disconnected lecturing of an elder. In doing so, I hope to connect with the next generation of young people, in hope they can avoid many of the destructive behaviors that I lived out.
While I hope to create more dialogue concerning gay issues, and mental health – involving both addiction and depression – this memoir is in no means meant to be exclusionary to the gay or recovery communities. "Shitfaced" is universally relatable as I believe most people, especially in their teens, are faced with self-loathing and self-destructive tendencies that they must endure, confront and overcome.
Furthermore, I will donate a percentage of book sales to two nonprofits that work with homeless youth: Stand up for Kids and Safe Horizon (particularly their Streetwork Project: Youth Homelessness Program.) Had I not had been so fortunate in both the environment around me and familial support, I easily could have wound up in that position. I believe these adolescents deserve to be provided with safe places to stay that offer effective mental health services.
In September, I published a post on my personal blog about my experiences with addiction, and it was viewed over 15,000 times within the week. What startled me the most was the number of people who reached out and could relate to some part of my story, of my struggle.
You can view that post here:
The piece has been republished on Advocate.com, in India on The Scribbler, and – after being translated into Chinese – on an international Taiwanese online publication, The News Lens. In December, it will run in The Sunday, a weekly news magazine powered by the LasVegasSun.com.
A local news anchor in Syracuse recruited me to tell my in television format: http://cnycentral.com/news/local/excelling-alcoholic-on-giving-up-booze-at-age-22
Risks and challenges
All funds raised for this project go directly to editing, publishing, cover design fees and other necessary expenses directly related to the release of this book.
When I originally began working on this project, I planned to take the traditional route of publishing; I was going to try to woo a big-name agent who would then, in turn, woo a big-name publishing house. Certainly, there is a sense of security in attaching yourself to these institutions that can push your book along - as so many have been pushed before. Yet the more I read about self-publishing, the more it seemed to be a viable option - especially as I'd like to have this book published and in circulation by the spring.
And now I am working with Alan Rinzler, a legendary editor who has worked with such authors as Toni Morrison, Bob Dylan, Lorraine Hansberry, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, etc.
With Alan's editorial guidance, I am excited to undertake the challenges of self-publishing, and I appreciate beyond words any support you can provide.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)