By Andrew Miller
I was dancing at a little club in Seattle with two guys I'd just met, and one said, 'Do you want to party with us?' I didn't actually know what he meant'I figured they wanted to have sex. Back at his downtown high-rise one guy put out this long, fat line. I thought it was coke and snorted it up. The next thing I knew the sun was coming up: we had had sex all night long. I could not get enough. That was the first time I did crystal meth.
My life began so different from where that drug took me. I come from a Southern Baptist family in Charlotte, N.C. My father was a factory worker and my mother cleaned houses. I'm 35, the youngest of four kids. My mother had such a wrath and no patience for behavior outside what she deemed acceptable. My brother was a problem child, and she beat him a lot'he had a rough time of it. I became a good kid'out of fear.
We went to a fundamentalist church. Women weren't supposed to wear pants, and dancing wasn't allowed. My family didn't buy into all of it, but we went every Sunday to get a dose of fire and brimstone or to hear that the faggots were going to hell. When I was 6 and my sister was 16 my mother discovered my sister was a lesbian and threw her out of the house. I had always been shy, but the terror my mother inspired made me even more introverted.
In the sixth grade I realized I was gay. I kept it secret for 16 years; I was so afraid of being discarded like my sister. I only had sex in tearooms and parks. In 1991 I graduated from college and got a corporate job. After three years I married my college sweetheart. I left her a year and a half later. I didn't find the courage to tell her why for months.
I got a job in Tampa, Fla., and started going to gay clubs openly. I would get ripped then drive home drunk. I'd have unprotected sex, or wake up next to guys I didn't know or wouldn't want to have known sober. One weekend I visited a friend in New York City and loved it. I had always wanted to get out of the South, so I moved there a few weeks later.
Within a few months I found a great apartment and a well-paying job: a financial analyst for a big entertainment company. I met a really sweet guy. We did boyfriend things'movies, vacations. That New Year's Eve I went to Twilo and took ecstasy for the first time. I thought, This is how I want to feel all the time. But my boyfriend wasn't a drinker or a drugger. I wanted to go out and do more drugs and I felt like he was holding me back, so I broke up with him. It was a shitty thing to do.
Then I started using ecstasy every weekend, sometimes with cocaine and K. I went to Roxy, to Twilo, to some circuit parties. I went to the gym. Soon I had a really great body'I fit in. And on ecstasy I could talk to people; it took the filter off my mouth. Being high freed me to be honest with people, to dance, to take my shirt off, to not worry what everyone was thinking. But even though I was muscled and cut, I never thought I looked good enough.
I got into a series of fucked-up relationships with people I met while high on ecstasy. You think you're in love, and then the drug wears off. One guy I was seeing just stopped answering his phone. It wrecked me: I felt rejected for the first time in my life. Drugs became a substitute for love and intimacy. They made me feel connected to another person.
And I was having a good time taking them. I came back from Seattle and kept going out every weekend. That's how I met my next boyfriend: at the White Party on Valentine's Day, 1999. Then in March we went to the Black Party and did crystal, and we had the best sex I've ever had. On crystal or ecstasy he and I would become really close, but once the drugs wore off we would shut off from each other. I didn't understand why it couldn't be like when we were high all the time.
For more of Marty's story, pick up the October issue of Out.