Going to the dentist is hardly ever a joyous occasion. No exception is the trip my friend Coony Raccoon will soon be taking to have a number of teeth extracted—his last few. I asked Coony during a recent online chat why he has such bad teeth, and he confessed it is the result of years of drug use, including meth. Coony doesn’t use drugs any more. He’s been clean for years. I’m grateful for that, as is he, of course.
We got to talking a bit about drugs. I’ve never used them, so my knowledge on drugs is limited to what I see on TV or read. How did you do it, Coony? How did you manage to quit such a hard drug as meth? His answer inspired me to interview him for this article.
Before understanding how Coony got off drugs, it’s important to understand who he is. So, a bit of background. Coony is 43 and living in Orange County, California. Though currently unemployed, he is an auto mechanic by trade. He’s on his second marriage and is bi, with a furry boyfriend named G-Hyena. His wife knows about this relationship, and it has all worked out so far.
The oldest of three brothers, Coony was born and raised in southern California. His father was a truck driver and his mother a secretary. Coony suffers from ADHD and was teased a lot in school (for being the “one red-headed kid with big ears,” recalled Coony). He was picked on, beaten up. Coony further related, “I believe [the bullying] was [because] I didn’t have the right clothes or that I wasn’t one of the cool kids with all the nice things. And possibly the shyness. I was quiet unless I knew you, and where I lived in Huntington Beach there were a lot of bullies.” He remembers, too, walking the long route home—an extra 5 to 7 blocks—to avoid the bullies. “Walking home the long way wasn’t the thing I liked doing, or looking over my shoulder all the time, which I did a lot.”
He added, “Even the girls picked on me. Had some girl twice my size; her name was Roechelle. After she bullied me, I began calling her Cock Roachelle…. I’m glad I can laugh at that now.”
He didn’t have too many friends, but did have one really good one. “I would say he’s more of a bigger brother to me,” Coony reflected. “We have been friends for 34 years. It’s too bad he doesn’t live close to me. He’s been a life saver to me a few times. He’s the only one that really helped me out when I was homeless.”
School wasn’t the only problem. At home, Coony was abused and molested by his father. Not a happy childhood, to say the least. “I would say we struggled,” said Coony, “but Mom was always trying her best. I give her a lot of credit for putting up with me and my middle brother before the third brother came along. But, yes, Mom worked hard for us. As kids of the ‘70s we weren’t angels, unless Saturday morning cartoons were on.”
Coony spent junior high living with his father in Tustin. “It wasn’t easy. School was okay; the first time I had a real girlfriend (laughs). Turns out later … she became gay as well. She was a good looking redhead, too.”
By the time he was at Ocean View High School, Coony was put in the special education program because of his ADHD. At this point, he was also realizing his sexual attraction to boys: “In gym or PE I would get caught looking at the others, [but] it wasn’t like I acted on it. I just kept to myself, trying to stay out of trouble,” he confessed.
High school was another miserable experience for Coony. “I got tired of all the B.S. [by my junior year] that went on in the preppy school. Public preps, snobs, that’s what I saw. The few friends I did have were loners. I’m still friends with one; she’s still good friends with me…. I quit school and ended up moving to Garden Grove. Mom put me back into school there, but I didn’t like the Garden Grove Unified School District head of the schools there. He first met me and my mom and made one bad joke; didn’t like it one bit, but I ended up going to Garden Grove High School, and they wanted me to go in at grade 12, but with 8 hours of classed it didn’t sit with me. I ditched a lot until I dropped out. That’s when I moved in with my grandmother in Riverside…. I believe I was 17 at the time.”
Printing hats and T-shirts, as well as cleaning out horse stalls for a living, it was at this time that Coony had his first real homosexual experience. “I found a gay friend, and I was a bit hesitant, but I found I liked what it was I was hiding from: my sexuality. I had done and experimented with drugs in the past, but it didn’t catch me at that time. But as I found other gay males, I found one I really liked a lot. He was into meth, and our time together became awesome. He would pick me up and he had scored our drugs and I would spend the weekend with him getting high and having awesome sex. It seemed to me the gay scene was awesome. But I couldn’t let out my secret to anyone….
“The drug use was off and on, ’til I found my first wife when I was about 22. Her aunt and uncle were our drug connections.” Coony got heavily into drugs at this point, but for about 20 years managed to stay out of trouble with The Law, until what he describes as a “crooked cop” caught him. “Being my first time with this mess, I pleaded out and paid my fine.”
Coony attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings as part of his plea bargain, but keeping away from drugs only left him wanting them more. “Even after I was done with my court-ordered tasks, I still wanted to do them.”
Life struggles continued, including a period when he was homeless and a time when, at age 24, he almost died from pneumonia.
Divorcing his first wife in 2001, he married again in 2003. His second wife wasn’t doing drugs at the time, but “she wanted to try them, too,” recalled Coony. The two of them were then using. The NA meetings, attested Coony, didn’t help him. He tried just quitting using will power, with limited success.
Then came a turning point in 2009.
“My oldest daughter came to visit me for a week,” Coony recalls. “She draws anime, and I supported her in this, so I did my research on anime drawings, and that’s when I found the furry things I didn’t know about. I found it very interesting. I have always had a creative side hidden in me. My imagination was full of things, and this thing called ‘furry’ was something that just sparked in me. I was very intrigued about it. I wanted to know more and more. This was awesome! Others being in a costume, and bouncing around all crazy like, this being what I saw at first. Now it’s not a costume to me; it’s an extension of oneself. It’s not a hobby, it’s another life, one that no one can touch.
“So after my daughter left for home, I took this a step further and found furry websites, and I began to talk to others, and then I found someone that went to the Prancing Skiltaire [the big monthly furry party held in Garden Grove at Mark Merlino’s house, also called the PS party].”
Coony became so enthralled with furry that something wonderful happened.
“I began to take that extra money that I would have been spending on drugs … and used it to buy furry stuff.”
I asked Coony why he chose a raccoon as his fursona. He laughed, “Well, at the time I was still getting off my drugs, and as they call meth users tweekers, I was a big tweeker. I was very good with my hands at things, but in a way I just seemed to relate to [raccoons] more than anything else. They are smart and sneaky and good at what they do.
“But when I found my fur,” he continued, “I had to come up with a name, so I did more research on e621.net (just a chance place I found), and saw a lot of raccoons, but most all looked like average coons. So, finding a coon to be me, I first had to name him. Took me about a week to name him, but I came up with a good name: Rocky Racoco Raccoon. The middle name came from a character from an old [comedy troupe] Firesign Theater album. Racoco was a bad guy, so it stuck with him. He began to develop in role playing as I began to write small adventures with him in chat sites like Yiffstar (now sofurry).
“But as I began to create him, I found I needed more than just an idea. I needed more. I needed him to live. So the money I would use for drugs became the money to put forth into my furry. I put drug money to furry money. It changed me completely. Furry became my new addiction and obsession, a turning point in my life. Rocky was my new creativity in life. He made my life a whole lot better.”
Coony continued, “The person I used to be I didn’t like, and Rocky didn’t either. And the coon was the better person than I was. Took me a while to change my behavior, and the way I saw other people in the world. Bad influences and the way I was towards others. He changed me for the better. I became obsessed with being more like him every day.”
By August of 2009, Coony was attending his first PS party, but he was still shy, and it wasn’t until the October party that he worked up the courage to start mingling with other furries. Meanwhile, he saved his former drug money and bought his fursuit in January 2010. “I put everything towards my furry side.”
By 2010, Coony was completely drug free. “I do not have any wish to go back. Coony would not approve.”
The happy transformation to the furside is now complete. “I have nothing but thanks to my furry, Coony, as he is called now. He is every part of the well being in my life. I give him full credit for helping me get away from drugs. He is the reason I am here. My furry is the reason I am still here and living. If it wasn’t for my furry, I do not know what or where I would be today. I thank the furry gods for this huge change in my life.”
I asked Coony what he liked most about being furry now. He replied, “Being the creative fur that I am and being able to put a smile on others’ faces, to feel my Coony come out and be himself. The meeting of other creative furs in the fandom. We all have a part of being creative, and when you put them all together, awesome things happen.
“And one other thing—being a furry has taught me one important thing: there is no racism in being a furry. We are all alike, no matter what our fur color is or species, we are all the same inside. That’s what I was taught by Coony and other wise furs, and I am proud that I have seen the better side of me. As a person out of character, I still strive to be Coony. He is the better fur than me. He has come to life in me and I love him for it.”
Before I concluded the interview, Coony wanted to add a couple more important things that are close to his heart: “No matter who you are, there is a furry in you, just find him or her, they won’t treat you wrong, and the best thing of all: I LOVE MY MATE, G-HYENA. He has been an awesome supporter of me!”
I’ve only known you for a couple months now, Coony, but this bear is very proud of you and what you have accomplished, thanks to being a furry.