Ah the walking oxymoron… Pt. 1.
That was me for well over 10 years.
I studied Kinesiology in college and even earned my B.S. in Exercise Science while learning how to repair and build the human body. I worked in a top tier physical therapy department; ranked in the top 5% of clinics in the entire nation.
I worked out pretty much daily; primarily with intense weight-training but I also competed in triathlons for a period of time. I also watched what I ate and took supplements—more supplements than anyone would think humanly possible—but dammit I was “healthy” because of that and the fact I hand-prepared 90% of everything I ate.
I got my blood work done regularly to make sure I was as “healthy” as I claimed I was.
All in all, I sound like I have led a very healthy and productive life, right? Maybe there were a red flag or two, but on paper I look, well…let’s face it, impressive! So how was I walking oxymoron?
Well, I did everything I just listed with one dirty little secret.
- I was a full-blown drug addicted, alcoholic.
Yep, “Mr. Health” was getting loaded on a daily basis for an entire decade. I had brief stints of abstinence or controlled drinking/drugging, but for majority of that decade I was loaded.
Now I know my drug and alcohol use were but a symptom of something far deeper, of issues that plagued me basically my entire life, yet I didn’t know it at the time.
I strongly believe I didn’t come out of the womb a self-loathing narcissist, a procrastinating-perfectionist, constantly seeking and needing validation in some form or another because of an utter absence of anything resembling self-esteem, self-worth, with all of this resulting in utter-hatred towards myself while apprehending to an ultimate continual self-sabotage.
Somewhere along the lines, at an early age, I picked up those behaviors and they became engrained in me as a part of who I was. By the time I found drugs and alcohol I was already insane, yet, was unable to communicate with the outside world with what my struggle was. And that’s when I found out that if I got loaded, all that shit talking inside my head would lessen, and I could be, “ok” for a moment or two with who I was by escaping my reality.
So from 17 years old to 27, that’s what I did: I got loaded.
My drugs of choice changed over the years, as part of a way to justify my daily use to myself and to others, but the one thing that didn’t change was I liked to use multiple substances at a time. Obliteration was my only destination. I found out that the more combinations of substances I took, the quicker my one-way ride to “F----D UP TOWN” was.
A huge part of my disease came in the form of body shaming; which ultimately led to body dysmorphia. There were feelings of inadequacy, and feeling weak or downright pathetic. I was picked on a lot as a kid and something inside me clicked where I wanted to “show the world” I just wasn’t going to take “it” anymore.
I fantasized about being big and buff one day—like my GI-Joe action figures—and, although it finally took me a while to truly do something about it, I finally was fully introduced to the gym at nineteen years old. By twenty-one-and-a-half years old I worked out consistently and constantly. I read “muscle comics” like they were my new religion, and I took endless supplements because I believed all the ads that I read wholeheartedly. I believed that they would be the answer to my dreams, and as a result I still wasn’t happy with my progress…
Truth be told though; I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And most importantly I had already decided I wanted to be “cover model.” Ripped and muscular.
This was right around the time I’d just gotten my heart crushed. I felt as if I could no longer do triathlons because my bad knee was too beat up from all the running. As a result of 8 major operations, torn ligaments and tendons, broken bones, and a head injury, my body was beat! But, I needed something new to “show her” what she was missing. That’s when a close friend of mine told me that her friend had tried some steroids and the friend “knew a guy” who could hook me up. Without doing any research, without giving it any thought or consideration, without fully understanding what I was signing up for, I said “give me his number.”
I was indestructible dammit!
So I met with the guy who had the steroids, gave him way too much freakin’ money and he gave me a vial of steroids as an injectable testosterone “mixture.” He told me it was the stuff Barry Bonds used, and told me that I needed to quit drinking and start smoking weed more instead, and sent me on my merry way.
Now, I had no idea what I was doing so my friend’s mom, who was a nurse, taught me how to inject into my ass and got me needles from her work. I kept my vial in her fridge and would go to her apartment twice per week to inject in her bathroom for fear of having my parents find my stash in their house.
So, at twenty-one-and-a-half years old, when I should have been in the prime of my natural hormone production, with barely 2 years of training with weights under my belt, and now admittedly not knowing what the hell I was doing with my weight training and nutrition, with already a slew of injuries and surgeries… I blindly hoped on “gear” (aka steroids).
I told myself I would do one “cycle,” gain a bunch of muscle, rub it in the face of my ex-girlfriend who dumped me, and all in the world would be right again. I would have the body of my dreams, one where women would want me and men would want to be me. And I have got to admit…that’s basically what happened.
I gained at least 20-25 pounds of muscle. I got strong as hell and was able to lift more than double what I had been. I felt way more confident, and I got a lot of compliments too; along with some bad back acne. It seemed that all was right in the world.
During this time, I moved up North to attend college to “run away” from my past, and as I did so I was nearing the end of my first “cycle,”/ round of steroids. I was beyond bummed out because I’d become hooked on the “alpha feeling” I now had! I was beyond confident which manifested itself mentally, emotionally, and especially sexually.
I was pissed off more than anything, as I’d finally started to research and learned that most of my strength and ultimately muscle was going to disappear once I got off “gear.” I realized I didn’t have the proper drugs to use when I came off my “cycle” (Post Cycle Therapy – known as PCT). But, luckily I had a trick up my sleeve…
I had learned my friend’s friend who had introduced me to my steroid hook-up had some of his first cycle left over he wasn’t using. So I went behind my steroid dealer’s back (who had told me 12 weeks max for my first cycle or I’d mess myself up so that was all he would give me) and grabbed up this un-used supply too. I got oral steroid tablets and various vials of shit he didn’t remember what it was because I was too afraid to ask my dealer who had actually supplied them originally since I went behind his back!
Long story short, my addiction end when I ran out of “gear.” I went to a local supplement shop that was rumored to sell less-than-legal items out the back room.
I told the guy behind the counter straight up that I had just run test (test is short for Testosterone) and needed a “real” PCT. And in an attempt to make myself feel better about what I was doing I lied to him (and myself) making the comment, “Yeah man…I don’t think I’ll ever do another cycle though.” He just smiled and nodded but didn’t say a word in response to my fictitious statement. It was all too ominous of a sign that I should have paid more attention to.
The second I came off “gear” I started to obsess about getting back on. I felt like shit, my muscles seemed to deflate (I kept about 10 pounds of muscle off that initial 20-25 pounds I first had), I had trouble sleeping, my joints ached, and my strength disappeared. Not to mention that I only kept about 30% of my strength gains, too. Finally, because my physique had become my new identity this was a tough blow to my psyche.
Since I obsessed about having that “perfect body”, and now knew how to get said “perfect body” that “one cycle once” idea quickly changed to “two cycles per year of any gear only” changed to “two cycles of real gear only” then became “two cycles per year of real gear only but I can use other athletic chemicals in between.”
And so for the next several years I did a total of 6 “real cycles” spanning 27 months of traditional steroid use, not including other athletic chemicals/drugs.
I used 5 different injectable steroids, often times in a “cocktail” of multiple drugs at once, multiple various injectable “research chemicals” and insulin growth factors, a variety of oral fat burning drugs, and a whole laundry list of oral designer steroids called “pro-hormones” at the time, which I never counted as “real gear.”
I was obsessed with and addicted to being “on” and when I was “on” I looked to push the envelope with more and more aggressive cycles. And then when I wasn’t “on” that’s all I fantasized about.
During this entire time, I drank heavily and used more and more drugs, punishing my body on a daily basis. Because I had so many prior injuries to finding steroids and the gym, I got loaded prior to every single workout to mask the pain I was self-inflicting by lifting way too much weight in combination with the side effects of all the shit I was using. It was a viscous cycle; pun half-indented.
It appeared that I was living my fantasy life, yet I was beyond broken mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I couldn’t look at myself in the eyes while starring at the mirror. I wasn’t able to recognize the man looking back. My body dysmorphia was rampant and when I did my daily flex routine in the mirror I only focused on my “trouble spots”—namely my chest—instead of my strong points. I rarely took my shirt off in public despite all of my hard work. I had a hard time accepting compliments because I was somehow extremely insecure.
I had a very complicated relationship with food. I falsely assigned my sense of morality to whether or not I ate “clean;” and yes when you’re a routine blackout drinker/drugger, you’re going to eat a bunch of “junk.” But because of the drugs perhaps, or maybe for survival, I projected an image of utmost confidence and happiness. What I call it today was false-pride encapsulating self-loathing and I couldn’t let anyone know just how fragile I was internally. How I ALWAYS played the victim, how I NEEDED someone to validate me through anything; from a simple head nod, to sex, to flat out praise!
I couldn’t let people know how alone I felt, how much I hated myself, and how much I continued to fantasize of how my life was going to change for the better “next year.”
So as you can see…
I was a walking oxymoron in more than just one way, and all the torture that I put my body and mind through was about to reach a breaking point in more than just one way. But what ways were there to go from here?
My name's Marv and I'm an addict! Clean and sober today, but in past, to be continued...