My Story


I’m sick of my parents smoking pot and I’m sick of them thinking that I don’t know, like I haven’t known since as long as I can remember and I’m sick of the house smelling like pot and I’m in junior high school and I’m sick of making my friends piss in the back yard when they spend the night so that they don’t smell the smoke coming from my parents’ room and I’m sick of the lies. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of pretending my father is not an addict and I’m sick of pretending everything is fine and I’m in high school and I’m sick of being scared that my friends will find out the truth and I’m sick of waiting for the weekend to come so that I can drink again. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of people feeling sorry for me because my father died and I’m sick of pretending he didn’t die from drugs and I’m sick of the lies and I’m sick of college and I don’t know what I want to do in life and I’m sick of not knowing and I’m sick of being scared that I’m going to become a nobody and I’m sick of the classes and the classmates and the teachers. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of my mom and I’m sick of relying on my mom and I’m sick of feeling depressed because I quit school and I’m sick of my job and I’m sick of my new job and I’m sick of not having a job. I’m sick of therapists and I’m sick of medications and I’m sick of thinking the way I think and I’m sick of feeling the way I feel. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of the police and I’m sick of the jail cell and I’m sick of people telling me what to do. I’m sick of needing my mom and I’m sick of feeling sorry for my mom and I’m 27 years old and I’m sick of the alcohol and drugs and I’m sick of obsessing about my upcoming high school reunion. I’m sick of my friends and I’m sick of their lives and I’m sick of seeing how well they are doing. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of my mom and I’m sick of her bringing me cheap cigarettes in the mental hospital and I’m sick of waiting tables in restaurants and I’m sick of the get-rich-quick schemes that never work. I’m sick of my life and I’m sick of where I live and I’m almost 30 and I try to move to Canada but they don’t let me into their country those motherfuckers and I’m sick of failure. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of Washington State and I’m sick of the alcohol and drugs and I’m sick of the crack cocaine and now I’m sick of the homeless shelter and it’s been almost 3 months and I can’t stand it anymore and I’m sick of my mom telling me not to call and I’m sick that she changed her phone number, the same number since my dad died, since I was 18. I can’t believe she did that. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of the 5-day cross country bus ride back to Florida and I’m sick of showing up at my mom’s house unexpectedly and I’m sick of her getting sick and now she’s sick and she has pneumonia and I’m sick of taking her to the hospital and I’m sick of visiting her in Intensive Care and I’m sick of being drunk everyday and I’m sick of her being in a coma and I’m sick of being scared and she’s really sick and she’s really sick of living and I’m drunk everyday and I’m extremely scared and the nurses know I’m a scumbag because I only come to see her once a day and I’m all she has and she’s all I have and the nurses despise me and the nurses don’t even call to tell me she’s dead. Her friend does. I’m sick of it all.

I’m sick of drinking at her house, the house that is now my house, and I’m sick waiting for people to come by and offer their condolences when they never do. I’m sick of being alone and I’m sick of feeling alone and I’m sick of being scared and I should be scared because without my mother in the world my life is about to get much worse. I’m sick of it all.

And all I want to do is die but somehow I don’t.

My name is John T Strasser, and I am a graduate student at Columbia University, studying Indian religion while learning to write in the memoir form. Following a lifetime of lies and a multitude of tragedies, I’m now practicing the art of honesty and living with relentless purpose. For years I lived in misery, both literally—in jails, mental hospitals, and homeless shelters, and figuratively—in depression, hopelessness, and regret. In 2007, however, I entered a Salvation Army rehab, and since then, my life has been utterly different and progressively better. I am passionate about sharing my past with others, currently as a volunteer at New York City’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility and within a psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital

Please check out this piece featured on Freshly Pressed: My Father Was Like Philip Seymour Hoffman  or for something lighter Sexually Deranged Bathroom Love or The Betrayal

56 thoughts on “My Story

  1. My 21-year-old son is about to celebrate his one-year sobriety date. I want to believe the nightmare is over but I’m afraid of getting too hopeful after the six year hell we lived through. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story…by the way, I’m in an Exec Ed program at Columbia – the Senior Leaders Program – and am loving being on campus a week out of each month. Good luck with school and I look forward to reading more posts from you!


  2. Mrs. Hate

    Wow, wow, and wow. I rejoice for you in your new life…it sounds like you were ready for it, and the Salvation Army was there to support and encourage you and be a lodestone of sorts.
    Looking forward so much to reading your posts. The years I worked with my patients were some of the top years of my life, and I hope your volunteering at the two above-mentioned facilities gives you the same fulfillment. Thanks for following me!!


  3. Dear One,

    I don’t know how you found my blog, but I am profoundly grateful that you did and that you are following me. Thank you for bringing your little world into mine.

    I read your story. You have much to offer people-your work and profession does you credit. It takes a lot of strength to do what you do-and a lot of love. You are a needed voice. Though you have suffered, your soul has found its way to where it is supposed to be, and that is a good thing.

    Although our paths differ, there is a lot of pain, which resonates with my life. I have battled and still battle with depression. I have battled suicide and grief and anxiety-belonging; severe introversion-fighting my sensitive nature in a world that seemed to swallow me up. Punishing myself-denying my light; feeling unworthy of it. I was lost and in a spin…a dangerous downward spiral that came to a head at the beginning of February.

    I’m alive. Like you.

    I started this blog to cope, with the intent to heal myself and live an authentic life-one that could possibly help others deal with these things. This blog was a promise to myself and to my husband that I would try. One day at a time: Using my voice, regaining my voice, becoming my voice. I made that promise. This blog is a contract.

    I am getting better-it is a long journey. I am grateful for all of the people I have met here-and I am honored to have met another soul who is finding their way back into the light. On a path to heal others… and be healed in return. I look forward to reading more from you. I hope our paths will cross again.

    Much love and blessings to you.



  4. Dear John, It is very brave of you to share your story with the world not everyone can do it, even when they are on they road to positive realisation. May your journey of self discovery be blessed. If you find time do read about the ‘Speaking Tree’ (since you are studying Indian religion). It is India’s spiritual networking site, the articles are great… especially when one is looking for answers. Thanks for the follow!


  5. Very courageous of you to put it out in the open like this. And kudos to your new way of living. Not everybody comes out stronger like you did, and some turn their life around when it’s too late, like my Uncle.

    BTW, thanks for the follow.


  6. Hi John, first I would like to thank you for checking into things that I have written. Second thought is that you are a good writer and it is obvious that you have a very good mind, I believe that you can and will be able to accomplish most anything that you zone in mentally upon. It sounds like you have a lot of knowledge through experience that the average person will not have a clue about, There is a lot that you can teach people and I am glad that you are using this knowledge to help people right now, This help’s to show that you are a very good and smart person, I most certainly wish you well in your future life’s events.—Shalom


  7. Wonderful to meet you John! I haven’t read this kind of authentic, unabashed honesty in ….well, ever. Thank you for putting it out there for the benefit of all of us. I am extremely honored you are a follower of mine. I follow only a few people-wish I had time for many more- but you are one of them. May God bless you in your writing and may you come to know His infinite, life-sacrificing Saving Love for you- John Strasser. Warm regards from your fellow blogger!


  8. John,

    Thank you for choosing to follow my blog. I certainly hope you find some of my material of use. Your sentiment “to live with purpose and honesty” is beautiful. To do what you love, what you feel you were placed on this earth to do with total transparency must be a certain path to happiness. Do not hesitate to contact me should you have a question or just feel like a chat. Keep in touch

    Warm regards,



  9. Good morning. I hope you don’t mind me reading through your entries. Your story made me sad and hopeful, all at the same time…the universe is a funny place, isn’t it? Some people exist without ever knowing an once of real hardship and heartache. And then there’s those of us that get routinely dragged down the stairs by our proverbial ankles…I sometimes wonder how the hell it is that we can still get up and do it all over again. Anyways…wonderful, painfully honest writing. <3


  10. Hello John. I just wanted to drop by and thank you for following my blog. I also wanted to wish you the very best in your writing and say that reading about your story was very interesting.


  11. Hiya John –

    Another connection! You click, I look, We click! I was reading your About – and reached the end with something of a wow! And then saw this below: “Please check out this piece featured on Freshly Pressed: My Father Was Like Philip Seymour Hoffman “OR FOR SOMETHIMG LIGHTER” Sexually Deranged Bathroom Love or The Betrayal”.

    And that capped it for me. One sense of humour on display for all to see (and if that was not what you intended – my apologies). Good on you for picking up a keyboard and sharing.


  12. Hi John, Thank you so much for deciding to “follow” me. Unfortunately, WordPress seems to have led you to the wrong blog. I haven’t posted anything in “Learning to Blog” — the one you chose to follow –since early November. Now that I’ve learned, the active blog is at (“The Getting Old Blog”). I do hope you transfer your follow. I have looked over quite a few of your own posts, as well — and am impressed! I look forward to coming back to catch up. :)


  13. John, thanks a bunch for the follow. Your story has brought tears to my eyes. So brave of you to put yourself out there for all to see. You should be so proud of how far you’ve come with what you went through. A true testament to that fact that if we set our minds and hearts to it, we can pretty much overcome anything. Not that it will be a fun, easy, or even straight path, but with determination, and sometimes a little help from people you find in the strangest places…you can persevere and begin to live again. The fact that you choose to ‘pay it forward’, so to speak, and now help others who may have had something equally tragic in their lives, speaks volumes to your character. Kudos. Keep on living life to the fullest!


  14. This is quite a story! Practicing the art of honesty and living with relentless purpose is something many people never reach the point of committing to. I think your struggles have served you well to reach this point of commitment. Your memoir would be an inspiring read!


  15. Hi John,

    Thank you so much for the blog follow. It has led me to your inspiring blog, which I am now following.

    I love your philosophy of “practicing the art of honesy and living with relentless purpose. Those are definitely words to live by.

    I wish you much success as you continue on your journey.



  16. Hi John, thanks for stopping by my blog. And thank you for this powerful post. It is quite inspiring to read about your tremendous turn around. Huge! I can totally relate to living the lie and for me honesty was the only way out too. Congrats, and keep moving forward! Hugs.


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