Updated: Jul 15
This is a difficult topic for me to write about, partly because it is somewhat embarrassing and partly because many in my family are not aware, although I’m sure they had suspicions.
As the last half of my senior year in high school had started, I had only one goal; to play football in college. In fact, my decision on where to go to college had nothing to do with academics or what I wanted as a career after college. My decision was solely based on where I thought I could play football. Even though I thought I had a solid final season of high school football, no college scouts were knocking on my door offering scholarships. I was 5’7” and 155 pounds. My only claim to fame was I had the second most tackles on our defense. Second to a good friend (to this day!) who received a full scholarship at a division 1 school.
Even though the school I was going to be attending was a division 3 school, I knew I had to get bigger and stronger if I was going to be able to compete at this next level. I decided to start taking steroids. I knew I had only a little time to get to where I wanted to be physically, and this seemed like the perfect solution. I had joined my first gym about a year prior and I
was training almost every day. I was making progress but not nearly as fast as I needed to.
Acquiring steroids was neither a problem, nor were they expensive. This was the late 1980’s and possessing steroids wasn’t even a crime yet. In fact, it wasn’t until 1990 that steroids were designated as a schedule III substance, making them illegal to distribute and a misdemeanor to possess.
When I graduated from high school in the second week of June, I was about 160 lbs. By time I stepped on the football field for my first practice in late August, I was about 185 lbs. 25 lbs. in about 75 days, and it was solid weight. Mostly muscle. I was bench pressing about 300 lbs. while still in high school. Pretty good for my size. When I got to college, I was benching 365+ lbs. I got bigger and stronger quickly…like I wanted.
I was a maniac on the football field. I practiced intensely all the time and played the games like a wild dog. I played a lot for a freshman. A couple of the coaches loved me. All the while I was still lifting weights nearly every day and still taking my “vitamins”!
What I could not do was concentrate. Remember, I was a 18-19 year old kid in college, pumping myself with synthetic hormones, eating like a pig, and drinking alcohol. A terrible combination, and recipe for destruction as far as studying and grades go. The studying I did do was literally painful. Headaches. I slept a lot. I skipped class a lot, especially early A.M. classes. Needless to say, my first semester of college was a disaster, and my second semester wasn’t much better. Football went great! More than likely, I was going to start on defense the next season! Unfortunately, there wasn’t going to be a next season. I was done at that school and so was my college football career.
To finish this long story, I went to a community college for the next two years, still taking my “medications” but not as much as I had prior. My grades improved (they had nowhere to go but up), and I was super fortunate to get a state job, which I worked at for over 20 years and retired. I stopped taking all synthetic hormones once I started working for the state. I had drug tests to take. I don’t think they were ever checking for steroids but no need to take a chance. Plus, by this time, steroids were considered a controlled dangerous substance; illegal to possess unless you had a prescription.
I was very lucky. I was inches away from being arrested several times when I was taking that stuff. Steroids and alcohol do not mix! A few of us had a saying that we felt “10 foot tall and bullet proof”.
Looking back at it now, I know I was an asshole to my girlfriends back then, I was an asshole to my friends sometimes, and worse of all I was an asshole to my family, especially my mom and dad. In fact, it was only a couple years after I got off that shit that I realized how much of an asshole I was and how much I regretted ever putting that shit in my body.
So that’s my story. I was lucky to meet who would eventually be my wife and several years later have a beautiful daughter. I was scared when my wife was pregnant. I had no idea what those hormones had done to me, and I prayed it would not affect the health of our baby. Again, lucky. She is now 19 years old and going into her second year of college. She is way smarter than me!
I have been going to a gym for over 35 years. I have known many, many people who have taken steroids and human growth hormone. My story and my distaste for those drugs has NO reflection on how I feel about anyone. I do not judge. Whatever people do for whatever reason they do it is their business. I was very young when I did that stuff and we had no idea what we were taking, how much to take, and how to take it. There was no internet back then. Now, it seems like a whole science in itself. Even though I still don’t think we know what the long-term physical affects will be, the people I know seem to be very responsible and knowledgeable. I hope they reach the goals for which they are striving!
In 2014, I entered a bodybuilding contest. It was the first show I had entered in 25 years! 1989 was the last and I was on all kinds of stuff! The show in 2014 was a “natural show”, meaning no drugs for at least 7 years. You were polygraphed before the show, and you had to take a urine test if you won.
I was nervous for the polygraph.
The first question was your name.
The second question:
“Have you ever taken anabolic steroids?”
“When was the last time you took an anabolic steroid?”
Me: “25 years ago.”
That felt good.
Peace to all,
The Beast Life