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How Art Saved a Gay Addict

How Art Saved a Gay Addict

The writer of Class A, a play and upcoming short film about substance abuse, shares his battle with addiction.

When I spoke to my therapist today I finally acknowledged the darker side of my past. I did things I didn't want anyone to know about. Even as I write this, I am thinking, How brutally honest can I be? Will it affect my career? Isn't a little mystery a good thing? But I need to share my truth.

I struggle with addiction, and from that addiction comes my art.

I still find it hard to admit that I have an addictive personality. I'll say to myself, Well, I pretty much stopped drinking and doing drugs, so I'm no longer addicted to anything. I've worked through The Road Less Traveled, The Artist's Way, Marianne Williamson talks, Deepak Chopra. My bookcase looks like the self-help aisle at Barnes & Noble.

I've been to all sorts of 12-step meetings, and they have pulled me out of some dark places. I could always relate to others' stories, but I still have a sort of shame or guilt about admitting that, yes, I am Cameron and I struggle with addiction.

So where to start? How about a Party Monster montage: I started partying at a young age, 14 to be exact, with a fake ID, a forty of White Lightning (cheap British cider), and I was good to go. I was exposed to ecstasy, mushrooms, and cocaine from the older crowd I hung out with. I am not blaming these guys in any way (or should I?) but this formed patterns at a young age, telling me taking drugs was the norm.

I grew up on an island -- it's five by 10 miles and mostly countryside -- so there isn't a whole lot to do. One of the regular activities in my teens was sneaking into the abandoned bunkers to smoke weed and drink Smirnoff Ice.

During my art foundation at Kingston University, I'd continue to booze it up and experiment with mushys (you could buy growing kits at off-license stores and tourist shops -- under the counter, of course), poppers, and other stuff. I had a brief stint working at a gay bar on Old Compton Street called the Village, which got me free drinks at other bars and free entry to the clubs. A dangerous combination.

At Cambridge a year later, I'd go up to London on weekends and hang out with Gareth Pugh and other artists where "K" was popular. At Cambridge, I met Grace, an American girl with wild curly black hair who was notorious for being a coke addict. Expelled for drug use, she popped back into my life a year later when I moved to New York. She'd come round to my place on 46th and Lex with bags of coke. I had this triangular lazy susan glass table I found on the street that you could swivel round to pass the coke to the next person. It was then that we came up with some ideas for writing together. Our friendship fell apart after her mum accused me of being a homeless troublemaker (totally unfair!).

Somehow, the writing I did while on God-knows-what continued, and that is how Class A was born. It's a play about four addicts who each take a different drug that becomes a character in the flesh. It was staged at the Gene Frankel Theatre in New York with four classroom chairs, a blank stage, and some killer costumes. We had full houses every night, and when the theater owner had double-booked the space one weekend, she got us two nights at Theatre 80, where one of the cast was friends with Natasha Lyonne, who came. That made me happy.

Audience members came up after the show with praise and stories of their own battles with addiction. Class A was a cathartic piece for me, and I immediately wanted to make it into a film.

Which brings me to now. I'm currently in pre-production for the short film version. I've partnered with the nonprofit Gay & Sober to raise awareness of these issues in the LGBTQ community. Gay & Sober is sponsored by the LGBTQ members of Alcoholics Anonymous, where "all are welcome." The organization throws an annual conference and provides opportunities for fellowship throughout the year.

My journey with addiction has brought me here, to a place where I can reflect and create something that may help others. And for that, I can only express gratitude and love. (I don't have all those self-help books for nothing.)

I'll end with this. I believe everyone struggles with addiction of some kind. It may be the gym, work, doughnuts, or a TV show. If addiction is hurting you or someone close to you, go to a meeting, contact an organization, or pick up some self-help shit that works for you. It can only get better.

Cameron-moirx100CAMERON MOIR is an actor and filmmaker of Class A, a short film about LGBT addicts currently in pre-production. To support Class A, go to And for more info on Gay & Sober go to

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