Chick's Story Part I
People have been asking for more information about “Stand Up And Win,” the book I have consulting for my spiritual growth. Specifically, people are asking about the author, Chick Healy. Who is he? Where did he come from? What’s his story?
Fortunately, Chick himself provides the answers in his introduction to the book, which I am reprinting in excerpted form.
From “Stand Up And Win!”
Your Eleven Step System For Personal Growth, Getting Rich, Finding (Heterosexual) Love, and Getting Into the Best Shape of Your Life While Eating Whatever You Want!
The holding cell smelled like a combination of body odor, urine, and vomit. There I was, former All-State striker for my high school soccer team, former magna cum laud Ivy League college student, former marketing consultant for a Fortune 500 company, sitting among the drunks, addicts, and degenerates that populate our nation’s prisons. Even worse, my overwhelming feeling at that moment wasn’t “I’ve got to turn my life around,” but instead a weary, “Here I am again.” In fact, I recognized several of the other prisoners. “Hey Chicky,” said a three hundred pound drag queen. “Hi, Aurora,” I said to “her.”
Yes, there I was again. For the fifth time, to be exact. I’m not proud to say this, but I was arrested (again) for soliciting sex with an undercover police officer. In other words, prostitution. How did a young man with so much potential end up as a “strung-out” drug addict committing unspeakable homosexual acts for money?
One thing I’ve learned about addiction in the years since that night is that addicts follow a million different paths to arrive at the same destination, a destination I call “The Dead End.”
The Dead End is that bleak place the addict finds himself where he can go no further. It’s a big brick wall spray painted with the most horrible graffiti that tells you in no uncertain terms that you are a failure, a loser, no good, a miscreant, and beyond redemption. Talk about “reading the writing on the wall!” Once you reach this place, there are only two options:
Dead or End.
Dead is just what it sounds like – lying in a pine box with nobody mourning at your funeral. Yes, The Dead End is the final stop before the Final Stop. Aa lot of my fellow addicts that night probably wound up making that choice because when confronted with the alternative, being dead probably doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Because the other option is even scarier:
End the destructive behavior that got you here to begin with.
In my case, ending meant:
End the drugs.
End the booze.
End the pills.
End the glue sniffing.
End the cough syrup drinking.
End the other kind of glue sniffing (huffing).
End the stealing.
End the assaults and attempted assaults.
End the prostitution.
End the binge eating.
End the anorexia.
End the cutting.
End the loneliness.
End the despair.
End the obsessive behavior.
End the blaming others (specifically black people) for my problems.
As you can see, I had a lot of stuff I needed to cut out of my life before I could begin to get better. Sitting in that jail cell that night, however, I had no idea that I was about to begin my journey from Sitting Back to Standing Up!
Believe me, my immediate concern that night wasn’t creating a revolutionary system for personal growth that would allow everybody in the world to get rich, find love, and get into the best shape of their life while eating whatever they want. Far from it. No, in that moment, all I wanted was a fix.
Flashback to 1986. I am in the eighth grade, just a normal suburban kid. My soccer team has just won the county championships, and we are all out celebrating at the local ice cream store. I’ve just finished devouring a banana split when one of our assistant coaches tells me he’s got a special trophy for me in the back of his mini-van. I go with him out to the parking lot and, unsuspectingly, climb into his vehicle.
Coach follows and before I know what is happening, he’s stroking my hair and kissing my mouth. What is happening? How could this be happening? Even worse, why am I enjoying it? Never mind that Coach is a handsome seventeen year old high school student with a washboard stomach. Never mind that I had dreamed of this moment and shamelessly flirted with Coach throughout the season in an effort to make this very scene transpire. The fact is, this is wrong and I know it!
But instead of telling others about what Coach did, I buried my shame for the next five years, five years during which Coach and I continued our shameful relationship. I even went so far as to found a Gay Pride Club in my high school, “came out” to my parents when I was a sophomore, and allowed Coach to be my date to prom! The fact that I was voted Prom King did nothing to diminish my shame. When I graduated, it was Coach who stood clapping the loudest and Coach who then broke my heart when he told me he’d fallen for one of his professors, an older African-American man who taught Comparative Literature at the local college.
That’s when I turned to booze. The booze was like a drug. Technically, I know that alcohol is a drug, but I mean the kind of drug that people normally think of when they think of drugs. The point is, I discovered that alcohol deadened the pain I felt whenever I thought of Coach. Within a few weeks I went from drinking half a beer to downing a gallon of vodka at a time, chased down with a fifth of scotch, a few margaritas, and several of those drinks they make at TGIF that have booze mixed with Oreo cookies and ice cream. Yes, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I was on my way towards abusing alcohol.
And abusing myself.
To be continued…