“You know I’ve been sober for over twenty-seven years now.”
"For many years after getting sober, the whole idea was to be over it...I did get to a point where I accepted it."
"I say look, you know, this is directly related to the abuse...I have to talk about it because it's part of the story."
"What happened to me...isn't who I am, even though it's a part of me."
"There's all this talk about, you know, do you forgive the abuser? Do you not forgive the abuser?"
"I knew I liked girls. I had a girlfriend or two before the abuse happened with this guy."
"People can't understand that, you know? And that's probably the hardest for me."
"All of the sudden I knew...I understood why I was using all those years."
"He had this way of making me feel like he was my friend...even though I didn't like what he was doing."
"She says you always say that you put him in jail...You didn't put him in jail. He put himself in jail."
As a young boy, Andy excelled at sports. But when he was 14 Andy was groomed by a neighborhood predator and sexually abused for three months. The predator also manipulated Andy into smoking pot, a habit that would become an addiction.
The predator was sent to prison, and Andy believed that the prolonged trauma was in the past. It was not to be. Through his teenage years and early 20’s Andy condemned himself for not, somehow, escaping the clutches of the predator.
Smoking pot and drinking turned from habits into something darker. Athletic aspirations over, Andy could not get through a day without getting high.
Then, at 23, a prosecutor called. The predator was out of prison and being prosecuted again for sexually abusing three boys. They asked Andy to testify. For the first time he saw with pristine clarity that his addiction was rooted in the sexual abuse. “It was at that moment that I knew. I can’t let that guy control and have power over me any longer.” Andy testified at the predator’s criminal trial 10 months later – clean and sober – in a courtroom packed with supporters from 12 step meetings he attended.
Today, 27 years clean, Andy helps others who are struggling along the same path to live drug and alcohol free. He has a beautiful wife and daughter, and he has found his way back to sports. An avid cyclist, he rides throughout the New York City area, and he is an amateur boxer. Andy has transformed himself, from being a victim to a survivor and now a fighter. He is not afraid to enter any ring and fight for what’s right.