I woke up today to the news that one of my best friends died last night.
Gregory Feazell was found dead in a cheap hotel room in Acapulco after overdosing on heroin.
He was 38-years old.
I first met Greg on a Facebook group, when we got into a very “spirited” debate about Acapulco, where I was about to move to and he had lived in, on and off, since relocating there from Texas with his mom at the age of 12.
The debate ended with us agreeing to meet in person when I arrived, and Greg, along with his girlfriend Lou, would be my unofficial tour guides.
He went on to become one of my closest friends, and I looked upon him as a little brother.
However, because of his addiction, just like ALL of Greg’s relationships, our friendship would prove to be demanding, difficult, challenging, and at times just downright unbearable.
Greg’s childhood had been volatile and chaotic, to say the least, and by the time he was 13 he was already living on his own, in a house down the street from his mother’s place.
It was around this time that his substance abuse started, and Greg went on to develop a full blown, raging heroin addiction.
When Greg was sober (and by that I mean not using pills or heroin — he always presented as being fine on just alcohol) he was one of the smartest, funniest, sweetest, kindest, loveliest and most engaging people I have ever met (and as my circle of friends proves, I know a lot).
But, when Greg was using, every positive aspect of him was stripped away — and his dark side became so extreme and so evident that it was, in all honesty, terrifying — and it led to him doing some truly appalling and unforgivable things.
But, I understand addiction only too well by now, and I know how much it changes and destroys its victims.
So, I am able to separate the actions of “addict Greg” from “sober Greg” and know that even though some of the things he did when he was high were horrific, it’s addiction that’s to blame for them, not Greg himself.
I could tell immediately if Greg was using — before he even opened his mouth and starting slurring, or before he began falling over and breaking everything around him.
It was all in his eyes — they would literally go completely black, and it was like looking into a hollow void of nothingness. Total shark eyes.
But then, I guess, that’s the appeal of heroin to so many — the ability to blackout and remove all emotion and feeling.
Greg tried to get clean many times — some were genuine attempts, others not so. About five months ago he went back to rehab yet again — this time in Texas, and after he left he told me he was going to start studying again to finally finish the law degree he had started, then quit, years ago.
The last time I spoke to Greg was yesterday.
I knew immediately that he was high, despite him swearing to me that he wasn’t. He went on to leave me a series of ever-increasingly bizarre voicemails in which he alternated between random singing and slurring total nonsense.
After having spent literally hours upon hours upon hours counseling him and having exerted every effort I could during our friendship, including even moving him into my home at one stage, in a bid to try and help Greg get clean, I was just “over” his “bullshit”. So, I sent a message back telling Greg not to contact me again when he was high and blatantly lying to me.
Just hours later he was dead.
I’m not admitting this because I need reassurance from anybody — I don’t feel any guilt at all, genuinely. I know that I did everything in my power to try and help him, but ultimately, Greg just didn’t want to live. And some point you have to force yourself to step back, or it will destroy you too.
My primary emotions right now are utter heartbreak and raging anger.
I am so fucking broken-hearted that this bright beautiful vibrant engaging smart funny kind and wonderful man is gone.
Greg is gone, forever.
And I am so fucking angry at addiction and how it completely destroys millions upon millions of people’s lives each and every day.
If you’ve managed to suffer through my ramblings long enough to get to this point, PLEASE do not tell me, “sorry for your loss” (that’s right up there with “thoughts and prayers” for me when it comes to hollow platitudes).
This isn’t about “my” loss (although, yes, I am feeling it). This is about Greg’s parents’ loss, Lou’s loss, his kids’ loss, his many friends’ loss.
Ultimately, It’s about everybody’s loss, because, despite Greg’s addiction issues, the world is most definitely a sadder and duller place without him.
Rest in power and peace amigo 👊🏾
And fuck addiction. Fuck heroin.