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My Thinning Years by Jon Derek Croteau


My Thinning Years by Jon Derek Croteau“I knew now that I wouldn’t be able to hide it from anyone anymore, least of all, myself. I finally had to face the fact that the “demon” inside indeed was homosexuality. I believed I needed to rid myself of it, at any cost.”

Each year, countless men and women struggle with their own sexual identity. The decision to keep this knowledge private, burying one’s true self underneath feelings of inadequacy or fear of rejection from society, family, and friends, can trigger an internal war for the individual with potentially dangerous results. Quite often, suicide and self-abuse become the only escape from the emotional stress he or she carries. This toll was all too common for Jon Derek Croteau, EdD, author of MY THINNING YEARS: Starving the Gay Within (Hazelden, September 2014, $14.95), who took his suffering to the ultimate level.


Starving the Gay Within

By: Jon Derek Croteau

In this candid and moving memoir, Jon describes his turbulent childhood and rocky relationship with his emotionally abusive father, who regularly imposed his will on Jon to do things that would make him “a real man,” like play football and baseball. In his teenage years Jon starts realizing the truth about himself: “I was petrified that everyone would know what was ‘wrong’ with me, as if some sort of plague was marked on my head or they would be able to somehow see it in my eyes that I was gay,” and he becomes increasingly alarmed when he develops romantic feelings for his friend Chad. The confusion of his thoughts and feelings drives Jon mad, eventually pushing him to the edge. He cannot handle “the thought of being gay,” and his self-hatred causes him to attempt suicide, only to be saved by a family member. Like many homosexuals in denial, Croteau attempts to suppress the urge to be his true self but is unable to do so.

Jon then makes a decision that only compounds his anguish. In MY THINNING YEARS, Jon sharply details his growing obsession with his physical appearance and fear that he is “too fat.”

“What I saw in my reflection, and what was forever imprinted in my mind, was a pear-shaped chubby person. I loathed my Humpty-Dumpty figure, the one I’d inherited from my dad—skinny legs and an oversized, flabby torso.” He soon develops a deadly routine of starvation, exercise, and running to the point of withering away. Yet his anorexia has another disturbing purpose—to starve the “gayness” out. Jon is so disgusted and ashamed of who he is that he feels compelled to punish himself and force the thoughts and feelings out by physical exertion. He tortures himself because he believes he deserves it—and has no intention of stopping.

MY THINNING YEARS: Starving the Gay Within by Jon Derek Croteau is the emotional journey of a man who battled with his own sexuality and spent most of his life trying to win his homophobic father’s approval. Despite punishing himself to the point of starvation, Jon always maintained hope, and, ultimately, accepted himself and found true love. This inspiring true story proves that people can learn to embrace who they are and have the happy endings they deserve.

Jon Derek Croteau ( is a consultant, educator, speaker, and writer. A Huffington Post contributor, he is the author of three books on leadership and numerous journal and periodical articles, as well as poetry, essays, and short stories. He is also executive producer of singer-songwriter Will Dailey’s fourth studio album, National Throat. Jon is a sought-after speaker on resilience, eating disorders and recovery, leadership and talent management, and LGBTQ issues. He has served on boards, committees, and councils for Emerson College, Point Foundation, his own COURAGE Foundation, The Home for Little Wanderers, Boston University, and The Trevor Project. In 2007, Jon married his husband, Justin, and they enjoy the arts, traveling, home design, gardening, skiing, and the outdoors. They reside in Vermont.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Texas, the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children’s program, and is the nation’s leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery.

My Thinning Years:
Starving the Gay Within
By Jon Derek Croteau
Hazelden Publishing
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN-13: 978- 1616495091
ISBN-10: 161649509X
Original Trade Paperback/E-book
Price: $14.95
Pages: 240 pp.