A Baptism of Fire: From Zero to Hero In The 2010's

St. Andrew
Sunday, January 10, 2010

 “There are but a thousand days preparing for a thousand years…”

One week. One full fucking week. January 3rd, 2010 to January 10th, 2010, I haven’t had a drop of alcohol, a hit of weed, a sip of caffeine, or a drag of nicotine. After 3+ years in indulging in all four. And, I feel… like myself. Or do I. Who is that, anyway?

You see, I spent the first 7 years of my life in a household with a shit father and a hurt mother. Daddy was a real shitshow, a functional alcoholic with a ton of degrees who, on paper seemed like the Messiah but was more his total opposite in the flesh. Mom grew up in a similar grief-stricken household, and probably subconsciously gravitated to a man who reminded her of her equally emotionally abusive mother. That’s how those things go right? Fuck that.

After “the divorce” (I’m sure many of you reading remember those days), Mom and I moved to an apartment on the other end of Philly. Life was calmer, but the damage was done. I was an absolutely menace to my private school dual-degree teachers. Acting out, “looking back in anger”- all of the above. While well-liked by my classmates (as I remember; they might’ve thought I was a complete fucker, because I was), those first few years certainly took their toll emotionally, and I acted out to fight back at someone – Dad? Mom for not being “strong” enough? “The system?”. Fuck knows. Got kicked out of private school and spent first year of high school at the local public school. The most positive thing of that was probably meeting my best friend (to this day).

At 15, Mom marries a guy, a White guy, from online and we move to the Nation’s Capitol. Good old Washington, D.C. The land of opportunity… right? RIGHT? Hell to the nah. Things go from bad to worse. He and are having fistfights everyday ‘cause I don’t like this White man coming into me and Mommy’s relationship (this is how a teenage Black kid growing up in Philly from the 90’s thinks), and the house is a dump as it is being renovated. To say nothing of stepdaddy’s own off-the-rocker-and-in-the-pond kids. So I barely get through high school. And I am depressed – the entire fucking time.

18 rolls around and I squeak by into Morehouse College, prestigious and well liked. By now, though, shit’s hit the fan- I fall deeply into addiction (psychological, and maybe even physical) of marijuana, smoking at times 3-4 blunts a day. It’s all I can muster as my classes and my life pass me by. I don’t like school, I don’t like Atlanta, and I can’t get girls. Welcome to my life at 20 years old.

I get arrested in my dorm with weed and beer after a random party we through, and am sent home. Enroll in community college – smoke more weed, fuck it off. I can’t even think of the days, months, and years I blew off with that shit. Loads of money. Wish I could have it back. Ha.

21 rolls around, and I kick the weed habit for the legal drugs of choice… (cue drum roll) “cigarettes and alcohol”. I feel cool for like a year straight. I start sarging weekend in and weekend out with my best buddy. I experience some real fucking success in something for once in my life (other than my rap skills, accrued from months in my room avoiding my parents, recording track after track)… and girls begin liking me. Egotism ensues.

But… something darker lurks on the horizon. I begin to mirror my father’s alcoholism. Going out for nights on end, walking in the house at 3 a.m. almost every night… drunk as all hell. Fights begin occurring with old friends. I get arrested for pushing (not punching) a fucking girl (never done some shit like that) in the middle of the street one night after the bars. I punch – yes, literally punch someone operating a motor vehicle - friends of mine driving me home two separate times. Girls that I hook up see me blackout (where any number of alarming behaviors occurs), and never want to speak to me again. Entire social circles are lost. My family life is wrecked… but I keep going – deriving some weird sense of self-worth in my ability to game chicks when I go out (with alcohol of course).

It all comes crashing to a head Christmas 2009. A girl, a straight 9-9.5, one of the hottest girls I’ve ever even flirted with, and I hook up. It’s been months in the process, we’ve lived hundreds of miles away from each other for a long time, but still managed to stay in touch. We meet up in my birthplace of Boston, Massachusetts, and I’m fucking pumped. And it goes down. We hook up. But I get attached. My mind starts fucking racing. My life for the next few days becomes DEFINED by our next interaction. You know how it goes… “This is the best, we are meant for each other, blah fucking blah”… and…

I black out. We go out, and my nerves get the best of me (after meeting her best friend, family, etc.) and I drink maybe more alcohol then I ever have. And I black out (literally) for the first time in my entire life. I come to in her car with everyone silent. I have committed the unthinkable… I am informed that I’ve been cussing her out for the last 30 minutes in front of everyone, completely embarrassed her, et. Al. We go back to her house, and more fighting ensues. I end up crying my eyes out, apologizing profusely, and trying to make things better. Maybe not romantic anymore, but at least having a connection with this person. Nope. Done. Good night and good luck. One of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. And with someone I really could have at least had a genuine social bond with. Eh.

We’ve never spoken again.

This spurs me on. I decide that for 2010, I’m done with all this shit. No more drinking, no more cigarettes, no more fucking caffeine. I will learn who I truly am, where my true energy comes from – what’s really sleeping in my soul. I drink until the Sunday (Jan. 3) of that weekend (because it was New Year’s in New York, etc.), and head back home for what I hope is a new life.

This is being written exactly week later. I haven’t touched a damn thing since then. I think I had two sips of some caffeinated tea at a Chinese restaurant the other day, but essentially, I’m fucking done. I went out this week/end, to the bars, restaurants, movies, etc. as usual. Just like my old drunken self. Friday and Saturday at the bars – I saw the absolute abandon under which so many live. I watched people get in fights, friends fight with friends, girls crying, guys passing out, bums throwing up on the train. To what end? To what fucking end. I spent maybe 10 bucks the entire weekend – 5 in transportation, 5 for ginger ales, etc. at the bar. And I walked home a man. I’m fighting the good fight.

This is me now. This is who I am, who I will become, and what I was always meant to be. No tabs, no lighters, no fucking empty coke cans. Just Andrew.

Join me, brothers and sisters. Let’s find out who we really are.

The Saint
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