Born as the son of exemplary broadcast journalist Bill Moyers, William Cope Moyers had a bright future ahead of him until alcoholism and drugs shattered his life.
"Broken: My History of Addiction and Redemption" tells the story his fall from grace. Moyers takes readers back to his childhood, his descent into the depths of addiction, and his many attempts to get back on track.
William Cope Moyers survived with the help of spirituality. Now, he shares his struggles.
There was a sharp rap on the door, followed by a muffled but unmistakable command from a voice outside in the hallway.
"We want the white guy, just the white guy. We know he's in there. He comes out now and there's no trouble for anyone later."
I was the "white guy." I knew in that instant that my family's desperate search to track me down had ended at this decayed two-story apartment in a violent pocket of Atlanta's inner city. Terrified, I rushed around the room, trying to warn the other crack heads to sit still and keep quiet.
"Don't panic," I whispered. "They'll go away." But nobody was listening because everybody was as high and as scared as I was. We bumped into one another as we tried to find a way out, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. We were like wild animals trapped by a wind-whipped forest fire.
Who was out there banging on the door? Was it my father? My mother? My wife? My mind flashed back to the morning four days earlier when I left my house in suburban Atlanta. I remembered kissing four-month-old Thomas and two-year-old Henry good-bye. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I told Allison I needed to run some errands before dinner. I drove to the parking lot on the corner of Boulevard and Ponce de Leon, approached a drug dealer with a thick scar running from his left ear to the corner of his mouth, and paid him one hundred dollars for six marble-sized rocks of crack cocaine. I held them in my hand and thought, "These will keep me going for a day or two." They were gone in four hours.
The knocking became a relentless pounding that shook the door frame. I thought about escaping out the back porch door to the vacant lot and just running, running, running. But where could I go? They would find me, just like they had in Harlem and St. Paul. I'd been running for five years. Now I had run out of options.
I sat down at the old wood table in the kitchen, the place where the deals were made, the pipe was fired up, and the crack was consumed. I couldn't run anymore -- my legs felt weak and shaky. I couldn't hide -- there was no place left. I couldn't think, but I could still react, and with the instincts of the addict I did the only thing that was left to do. I reached into my sock and pulled out the cellophane cigarette wrapper with the rocks carefully stored inside like precious stones. My hands were shaking and I noticed for the first time that the tips of my fingers were scorched and blistered from lighter burns. I loaded the pipe, flicked the lighter, and inhaled deeply.