In 1999, I took my last drive out of San Francisco as a “gay” man. After a particularly hard night of sex and partying, I was vomiting up blood and thought I was near death. Somehow, I got into my car and headed North over the Golden Gate Bridge – towards home; more precisely, my parent’s house in Napa County. Just off the Bridge, on Highway 101, my car went under “the rainbow” at the Waldo Tunnel – I felt like I just passed the last exit to “gay.” I didn’t know why or how, but I knew that it was over. More than 10 years before, I had taken this same road into San Francisco as a somewhat naive and highly impressionable 18-year old boy looking for any man to love him; I was a head-strong and hurting boy, hoping beyond hope that another man would make everything okay; somehow wiping away the uncertainty and pain of all that came before. Now, at 29, I was not naive anymore, I wasn’t impressionable, and, after being with hundreds of men – not one of them made anything go away. In fact, I was worse off than when I started.
How did I finally figure this out? I didn’t. Like the “prodigal son,” I just opened my eyes one day and saw that I was living with swine; and, I knew that things were not going to get any better for me – only worse. At that point – I had few choices: leave this place and have a chance at life, or stay where I was and die in the mud. With the last little bit of strength that I had, or, helped greatly by the Lord Himself as the Good Shepherd, I somehow got up and went home. I brought with me – nothing; all I had left was a battered, bruised, and bleeding body. I was starting over, and I knew it.
St. John Paul II saw the “prodigal son” as: “That son, who receives from the father the portion of the inheritance that is due to him and leaves home to squander it in a far country ‘in loose living,’ in a certain sense is the man of every period…” In my own life, I was never alone in the pigsty; for whatever reason, all of us lost boys had left home thinking that happiness waited just beyond the horizon. As a kid, I took seriously everything The Village People sang, so – when I reached 18 and got out of high school, all I wanted to do was “Go West.” For a while, things seemed to go very well; I was drunk on myself, for the first time: the skinny fag boy that no one wanted around got all the attention; men that I had only dreamed about in gay porn wanted to take me home. Only, my stay at the top lasted just a few short months. Nearing 20 years old, I was not as in demand, and, therefore I had to be willing to do more to get the same amount of notice that I used to get. In the process, I burned myself out. I tried everything, even checking out for a while and staying away from the whole mess in a weird sort of duel exile with one other guy. But, every sex act became a type of masturbation; always finishing off with our hands in order to climax. We went through the full arc of a heterosexual marriage in less than a year; from hot newlyweds to post-menopausal and finally octogenarians. Being so young, we had little else to hold us together. Finally, the entire thing became a sham – eventually inviting in a third and a fourth, just to make the sex palatable. So, I went back.
In my mid-20s, prospects were fewer: I could forget everything, become HIV+ and take my chances with the new antiviral drugs that were apparently keeping everyone alive; at least then, I would be a permanent member in the viral cabal of semi-underground “gay” men who endlessly had sex with each other and never worried about it; I could make another stab at “monogamy;” or I could just die. For a while, I chose nothing, I just became comfortable with existing. For years afterwards, I felt like I was simply going through the motions: going out, dancing, drinking, getting picked-up, starting to get rejected; after all this time, I was beginning to believe that I knew everyone and knew no one; also, in a sad way – the pathetic sissy boy from my childhood, the kid I tried to smother and kill, was coming back; after abusing my body, I often got left behind again – “gay” was turning out to be just as rejecting as Little League. As a result, I got desperate; towards the end – there was nothing I would not do for someone who showed me any sort of kindness. One day, I semi-lucidly found out were that got me; I hunched over and vomited. This went on for hours, until the only thing left inside me – was me; after that, I barfed up blood.
At 29, my life was over, and I more or less understood that; I was okay with it. I had hitched my whole life to the “gay” star; although it took me awhile to figure it out, deep-down I knew it was a bust; but, I was who I was, I was “gay,” and I had nowhere else to go – so, I was going to crash along with everything else. Over the years, I had watched while most of those I knew went to the grave: Why should I be any different? Only, it didn’t happen. For an instant, I realized that there was something else: a way out. I could go home.
Next, I had to almost literally crawl out of San Francisco: I had nothing, and I was nothing. I was stripped, battered, and bloodied. I didn’t bring anything with me, I didn’t ask for anything, and I didn’t make any demands; I just wanted to live. Because I was in so much constant pain, I don’t know why I wanted to see another day – but I did. Taking pity on me, Jesus Christ lifted up my flesh, threw me over his shoulder, and carried me out.
So many years later, I have come to one realization: the only thing that saved me was my desperation. I am hard-headed, and always have been; and, even in the midst of so much death – seeing young men die in their 20s, I still couldn’t see “gay” for what it was; I just couldn’t; to that poor frightened and lonely little boy, “gay” had come to mean so much – it meant my life; and I would not let it go. Consequently, I rode it till the whole thing collapsed under me. The impact and shock of the fall blasted me out of that sleepy nightmare for only a few moments, and, finally I could see what was around me: I was wallowing in filth. Now, I realize why I lived: because I had nothing left – not even dignity. After all, beneath the surface of the all the physical and emotional hell I was going through “is concealed the tragedy of lost dignity, the awareness of squandered sonship.” I had gambled, and I had made the choice, and I lost – big time.
My complete loss of dignity, when I became nothing more than a pig, was, in a very real sense: a revelation. The path I chose, I followed to the end; and what I found there was not what I had been promised; what waited there – was only death. Perhaps, some, who have a lower threshold for humiliation, who prefer not to endure senseless pain, or who are not filled with as much pride as I am, would stop at some point along this road to ruin; when, for the first time, we have to kneel before another man, when we get on all fours, when we dirty ourselves, maybe, for some – that’s enough. For me it wasn’t, because, especially in the beginning, all this emasculation is mixed with unbelievable pleasure and an immovable sense of acceptance and security. Only, it never lasts; and, later, sex becomes progressively laborious and, if not done right, infantile and increasingly subject to soiling. When the body inevitably fails, in order to show any sort of physical love, you are repeatedly relegated to the position – your head buried in someone’s crotch. Then, the meaning of dignity becomes irrelevant.
On this walk away from the Father – towards “gay,” anywhere, we can simply make the decision: that I am not going to do that, I am keeping my dignity, and I am going home. The choice is always ours. The only danger is this: the further you travel away from the true safety and love that is found with Christ, the darker things get, and the longer the road back will be. As for myself, I reached the end of the world; I could not go any further; in front of me, was the abyss. I turned around, and could only make out a dim light, but it was something. Now, I headed back; and – you have to do the same. First, drop everything, because all of that, most especially your attachment to “gay,” has failed you. You will get back to Christ much quicker without it. But, if you insist on taking “gay” with you, it will only weigh you down, and, you may never make it. Return to Jesus Christ – with nothing. Bishop Fulton Sheen once said: “There comes to every human, at one period or another, the discovery of his nothingness…But this crisis of nothingness which comes to everyone…does not mean life is to be mocked. One has not hit the bottom of life, but only the bottom of one’s ego.”
Thank you for this, Joseph. It was tough to read, but it was worth it. Keep proclaiming the Truth of Christ, boldly, no matter the cost! It will all be worth.it in the end.
God bless you,
You know, you have written about your story a few times in your blog and it reminds me of how I was dealing with the pain of my divorce. I had to verbalize it, think about it, rehash it metaphorically, etc. The pain had to be expressed so I could keep on healing and learning from my experience. My experience took a whole chunk of time to heal on my own instead of reaching out to my friends and family as well as those who have nothing and no one. It's been 6 years and I don't have to retell my story. I have to live in the present so I can look forward to my future. God bless you, Joseph.
Joseph, you have done more to help me make the correct choices lately than anyone ever has before! I love and appreciate you very much! Oh, how I wish all struggling men would listen to what you have to offer.
“The choice is always ours. The only danger is this: the further you travel away from the true safety and love that is found with Christ, the darker things get, and the longer the road back will be.”
This is my favorite quote from this gut-wrenching post. Thank you for saying what others won't: the truth. Your blog is a ministry to many.
Please pray for me . Joseph your story is promising. I am desperate I am trying to get out of this lifestyle. I married to women. I know this is a sin. I am plagued with abuse memories and 30 years of this lifestyle. I do not want to die.
I had a homosexual tendency, but now I have changed, I am a new person.
I am a 28 year old man and I want to share my experience to give hope to people with homosexual tendencies men and women who are looking to get out of this situation many times with desperation.
Since I was a child I had this tendency, and in youth up to the age of 24 I entered this world, sometimes it seemed that I was going to fulfill my desires and searches but everything ended up being like a mirage, I did not find what I was looking for.
From the age of 7 I was immersed in a very religious and spiritual Catholic environment in my family, so God was always present in my life to this day.
When I fell into masturbation, pornography, chats; I felt very bad afterwards, because according to my faith it was a grave sin and it seriously offended God. Even so, I continued to fall because they were already ingrained habits and I did not have enough fear to offend God. I was always going to urgently seek confession with a priest in any church, even if it was very frequent.
Then in a moment I was further away from God than at any other time by a person who seemed at first to be the best thing in my life, but later it began to look like a falsehood. Although I tried to seek God by asking forgiveness for getting away from Him, that situation was quite strong and I was letting myself be totally dominated by that.
In the university academic part I was not having the results that I expected after years of effort and suffering, this was something that was tormenting me. So at that moment I began to feel very much the presence and action of God in my life because I could not do anything else.
Then my brother invited me to a spiritual retreat, I had already attended many things of God: retreats, congresses, groups, prayers etc. But in this retreat like never before, Jesus revealed himself to me in a very strong and profound way, although I did not see him, I strongly felt his presence and that He loved me very much. In the end I saw the Virgin Mary in a slightly fuzzy way.
After that I could not be the same, it was something that marked me a lot. I changed my life radically. I moved away from all the people related to my previous life, especially those that could lead me directly or indirectly to follow the homosexual tendency and I eliminated my Facebook account. I did not know very well what I should do, I just know that I had to change my life totally. Then I began to pray a lot, ask God for forgiveness, thank Him, ask Him to heal me and free me from all bad things, and make the effort not to offend Him more at all costs.
The experience that I had lived in the retreat gave me great fear of offending God, so even though it was almost impossible, I did not fall again into masturbation, pornography, chats, etc. I left the television and movies that although they were common and current, when there was a man character I was in danger of allowing the homosexual tendency in my thought. When I had a thought of that kind or some look I rejected them immediately and energetically with prayer.
Time passed and things became difficult, worse than before in the academic part I had to lower my head a lot, learn the virtue of humility, and in a very special way trust in God. A trauma of my childhood, which I will explain later, had much to do in this situation as in others. I had no other choice but to make myself like a helpless child, in the hands of my God father, in imitation of the Child Jesus.
Trust Him so I would not understand, and despite the difficulties that seemed to get worse. This lasted two and a half years, in that last half year something very strange happened to me. At least the idea that I was a man came to my mind, and this was trying to take over me completely. Although by common sense I knew it was, I did not feel like one.
It was a very complicated situation for me, that could not fit, at that moment I felt anything, unless I was a man, I really felt someone very weak and helpless, very hurt, like a small child. When I got the idea that I was a man, that lasted me one day and then I rejected it because I felt it as an unbearable and incomprehensible burden for me. This same event occurred a few times more approximately every 3 or 4 weeks. And always I ended up discarding it.
Each time these events became stronger, and I began to feel and have some small visions that The Sacred Heart of Jesus was the author of this. I consulted in the Word of God constantly, and it told me very often that I should forgive, and love and love me. I had to accept that God had already forgiven me, accept and feel that He loved me and forgive me, love myself and my body, that is indispensable.
I started going to a psychologist, by recommendation of my brother and my mother, the same person who had seen me when I was 11 years old, is a Catholic believing psychologist. I had three queries, and he told me to write down on a piece of paper everything I remembered about the difficult events of my childhood, because when I was 10 years old I had a very difficult situation: from one moment to the next I did not want to go back to school, I was very anxious and scared, I just wanted to be in the house with my mom and that nobody asked me anything about why it would not bother me. I started to Somatize diseases, my mom did not know what to do etc. The next year I tried to go back but I could not. Up to a year and a half or so I was able to go back to another school. I never understood what happened to me, I had some symptoms but I did not understand the causes. That had consequences in the rest of my life until recently etc. Then on two occasions I tried to do the task that the psychologist had given me to remember that time of my childhood to see what new I could find, but I just could not remember anything new , and those two nights I could not sleep almost nothing. But at least a little after going to the Holy Mass (I went daily and now I do) I arrived at my house and began to see things like that in my childhood: a rape a very strong wound in my being as a male (I have known that when you have a trauma the mind can forget it as a self defense mechanism). Immediately and as always I tried to forgive that person with prayer, and then I began to feel as if something was taken from me, and with great vehemence I regained my identity as a man. Another day after praying the Holy Rosary, I began to have another small vision of that same time of my childhood. As a result of my constant prayer and struggle to please God at all times, I received inner healing throughout my life. The love or rejection and wounds that are received from the mother’s womb during childhood and later throughout life affect and build each person in their integral being. In my personal case I had situations of abuse in my childhood, rejections and ridicule of people. Some of these situations were hidden in my memory, even so I had the symptoms: anxiety, anguish, panic attacks etc. Through prayer I was able to remember and heal these things, and these symptoms began to disappear little by little.
It is necessary to realize the existence of a world not only material but also spiritual. In my process of spiritual liberation that goes hand in hand with inner healing, I could through prayer, discover other elements that affected me since I was in the womb: curses and witchcraft of people close to my family and me etc.
In addition to prayer, and trust in God, it is also necessary to have a constant attitude in daily life. I lived in trauma and in sadness and I did not overcome that state, the opposite is to forgive, to love everyone and enemies as well, to try to be happy always so the opposite feels, humility etc. Do not let yourself be overcome by anxiety, anguish, sadness, pride, hatred, etc. Jesus is our only way, He is our joy.
Although it has been a difficult path for me, it really is worth it. The amount of wounds and difficult moments in my life was so strong, huge wounds and wounds in my self-esteem but especially in my being as a man, in my masculinity. Jesus has healed me, gives me strength and above all the love I so much sought, in prayer, in a very special way in the Eucharist and also in devotion to his Blessed Mother, who is also my Mother. I feel that the old thirst to look for another man is extinguished, I am that man that looked so much, I recovered my lost identity !!! I love God first, I love myself and I love others as myself. I have forgiven myself and I have forgiven others.
People look at me differently: they respect me and take me into account much more than before. I feel better. I also feel now a healthy and true attraction to women, not uncontrolled or forced, something natural. I have also received many other enormous blessings in my work and study.
It is not something magical, it is something of struggle and above all of having a lot of faith in God and not accepting defeat never, never, ever. Without God this process could not have been carried out, it is Jesus who has done it all, the only thing I have done has been to let myself be guided by Him and trust Him. I asked God for help from the bottom of my soul and He he listened Of course there are blessings, but there will also continue to be problems and difficulties. I have to stay united with Jesus to keep me on my feet. I can not do anything, and I am nothing without Him.