Shannon, a 28-year-old student, wrote to spiritual life coach Iyanla Vanzant asking for help with his crystal meth addiction. He began experimenting with drugs at age 16 but has since become a full-blown addict, and now his life hangs in the balance unless he can get clean.
In the above video from "Iyanla: Fix My Life," Iyanla gets to the root of Shannon's drug use. He says he grew up in the middle-class suburbs of Ohio, where the ethnic composition was mainly white. "It was probably 90 percent white, five percent black, five percent other," he says.
"So you were one of five percent," Iyanla says. "Okay, so that's just at the surface level. But at the deeper, internal level-- this 90 percent of people who didn't look like you -- they were straight and you were gay."
Shannon explains that at 16 years old, he was outed by a friend. His coming out was not on his own terms, and his parents were hurt, upset and unsupportive.
"Twelve years later, when you look back at that day, Shannon, that was the day you were emotionally abandoned," Iyanla says. "Until you get clear about that, you're going to have this fantasy going on that's going to cost you your life."
Iyanla continues, delivering a hard truth. "You are a crystal meth addict," she tells Shannon. "You are closer to death than life. I'm here because you called me. I'm here because I love you. I'm here because you're at a crossroads in your life. I'm here to give you a hand, but I don't want you to take this hand until you are ready to say 'My name is Shannon and I'm a crystal meth addict, and I hate myself because I've allowed it to go this far.'"
Iyanla says there is hope for Shannon, but he has to let go of anyone holding him back. "Anything that threatens, hinders, obstructs, denies, delays your capacity to stand fully up for yourself, within yourself -- take it down," she says. "Now I'm willing to do that, are you?"
Shannon doesn't respond. "That would be a no," Iyanla says.
But eventually, Shannon takes Iyanla's hand. "No, I'm ready," he says. "Because what it is if I don't, I'll end up dead."