gAy A: A LGBT+ Podcast About Sobriety

Keep It Simple ft. Klay

May 26, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 81
gAy A: A LGBT+ Podcast About Sobriety
Keep It Simple ft. Klay
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Klay to share their experience, strength, and hope with you, along with advice on getting and staying sober.

Find Klay on Facebook @ Klay Montgomery and follow us while you are at it @ gAyApodcast

Thank you for listening. Please rate and review if you have found this information helpful.

If you are interested in sharing your story, getting involved with the show, or just saying hi, please e-mail me at gayapodcast@gmail.com

Or Follow Us wherever you are listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Monday and Thursday. Until that time, stay sober, friends!

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Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to gay. A podcast about sobriety for the LGBT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennett, Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for the spring weather, even though in Florida. It'll be summer before I know it. As of this recording, I am 335 days sober or 11 months to the day. Uh, and today we are welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome to the show.

Klay:

Hi, uh, thanks for having me and congratulations on 11 months. That's huge.

Steve:

Thank you. Why don't we start by introducing you to the listeners. Tell us a little bit more about you.

Klay:

All right. So I'm Clayton. I am an alcoholic. Um, as of right now, I was like three, three years. And about like six months, I think of sobriety. I was born and raised in South Carolina. Um, moved out to the Midwest about six years ago, found, um, a, the other trust at programs, rehab, everything in Nebraska. Um, about five years ago, six years ago. Um, and then three and a half years ago, it kind of clicked and just. Work in a steady program since then. Excellent.

Steve:

Well, let's uh, why don't we then dive into a little bit more about like what your journey with alcohol and addiction was like, you know, and then what happened and what it's like now?

Klay:

Yeah, for sure. So what it was like, um, I was kind of thinking about it earlier today and I think one of the big key things I kind of realized, um, was. Alcohol has always been in my life or, um, I did grow up with a addicted family. Um, and then they dabbled in a lot more hardcore things here and there. So there was always some kind of like stimulant depressant, whatever, whatever lingering around. Um, I grew up in a very unconventional. Household. I was actually raised by my grandmother, majority of my life until I turned 18. Um, my mom was there until I was 12, and then she sadly passed away from chronic diseases. Um, and unfortunately she was an alcoholic. I never seen her practice, her alcoholism, but it was, there was a thing. Um, and it never really clicked for me until I got into the programs and rehab that like, this is a very hereditary disease. This is a very, um, insidious illness that like it could potentially affect every part of your family. And for me, I have noticed it nowadays. I have noticed it, but yeah, my, my dad was an alcoholic as well, even though I never knew of him. I knew about him more than I knew of him, or we never had a relationship, but he was known as an alcoholic, unfortunately. Um, he did lose his life to, um, Sickness, but one of the big, main factors was alcoholism did take a chunk of his health. Um, but even growing up like alcohol was around the, the party and was there. And so I kind of knew like from a young age, this is what adults do to have fun. To, you know, to grieve, to whatever, relax. And this was always like a magical elixir type, the situation for me, where it was like, I can't wait until I can actually do that. Um, and I remember growing up and like sneaking beers and stuff like that at like 14, 15, um, sneaking shit. Stuff like that. And I just thought that was, that was it my head, I had found my meaning. You know what I mean? Like, um, things just started to like click. I thought I was the funniest person in the room. I thought I was the smartest person in the room. I thought I was the most attractive, like all those things that we tell ourselves, alcohol brings us, um, all those things that. We tell ourselves that we can do when we have a drink or I can't wait to have a drink so I can relax or talk to this person or go do these things. Um, and it kind of re, um, was rewriting re wiring my brain, even at those young ages where it was like, can't wait for the next time. Can't wait to go to the next party. Um, and even when I was like, 18 and not binge drinking in the later years. Um, the more insidious part of my addiction, I was still, um, grasping onto any and all alcohol that I could have for that moment. Uh, And then it got really bad when I moved out, turned 18, got away from my family and my whatever freedom plus time. Um, which just wasn't a good equation for me. I met somebody we got in relationship and it was probably like leading into a couple more of your questions and I'm sorry, but my first gay relationship was how I came out to most of my family. Um, so it was like, Uh, I couldn't tell them, but I'm going to show them. And there was some people that I did tell, um, but majority of my family didn't know. Um, And then there was like a couple of instances with some family members that didn't like it. I know my grandmother, she was one of the ones, one of my uncles that I spent a short summer with actually tried to get me into, um, a very watered down conversion therapy in South Carolina. Um, as bad as that sounds, I don't remember it a lot, cause it was so quick and short. I kind of knew, like, um, tell them what they want to hear. Don't tell him any big facts. Like they found certain things on my computer and that alarm them without, you know, I was just experimenting. It was all just for show, nothing big, whatever. So I breezed through that. Um, but it was still a very Rocky like relationship with my family. Um, a couple of years ago when I actually did get sober. Um, but yeah, when I was in that relationship, I was binge drinking all the time, every day, um, hard for like, wouldn't eat, didn't want anything to eat would kill my vibe. Um, things like that. anyways, um, it wasn't until I got into the program, I kind of realized all those things, um, And I am not quite sure when my relationship kind of hit that alcoholic alcoholism stage because I can't diet most anybody else. But, um, they do, they did show signs of. Alcoholism, they couldn't go without a drink. At least one drink a day. They couldn't go out without a bottle in the freezer, stuff like that. Um, and then with my genetics, it just was all downhill from there. Um, we parted ways about two years after the beginning of the relationship and that kind of took a toll on. My alcoholism. That's the first like big relationship I was there. And that was the first, like out in proud moments for me in, um, conservative South Carolina. Um, but then I, I kind of fell back on my family. Cause some of them were very accepting, stuff like that. Um, so I was bouncing around from place to place after that. Partly because, uh, I moved out of my apartment and at that, because I couldn't keep a job, I was losing jobs, um, that that's another sign of my addiction. Um, and then just bouncing around from house to house, family members, family member, until I was at my aunt's house one night, she got fed up with me, kicked me out. I, uh, started calling everybody in my phone that I was friends with. They would let me stay on their couch, like for a night or two. Um, still couldn't stay sober. Still was drinking justice. Um, I wound up in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is only about a 30 minute drive from my hometown. So it's not that big of a distance, but that was the first time out of my hometown. Um, just like alone. Um, the friends on my cap on, I was the friend on their couch, but there was never really like a solidarity. It was like, they're doing me a favor. Um, so I manipulated my way from couch to couch and Charlotte, um, binge drinking just as much because I'm 30 minutes away from home. My family doesn't want to talk to me, whatever, whatever. Um, just a big pity party for a couple months. And then I moved out to Nebraska via my alcoholic. Um, kind of manipulated one of my friends out here and letting me stay, but it was also like they were reaching their hand out and I took the opportunity as well because, um, I did think like a lot of us, a GA geographical change will solve all my problems. Um, and when I found a job got sober for a couple of weeks, then it just all fell apart. Again. I couldn't stop drinking. Started bouncing around from couch to couch from all the friends that I made over here in Nebraska. Um, and the. Of course, the people that I, the friends that I made out in Nebraska, I had to make sure that they were, um, party, years. They had alcohol, they had a stash, things like that. Um, and then that just wasn't healthy either. It got to the point where I was in and out of, uh, like a detox center. Um, I was like a part of a crisis center a couple of times. Um, Like I would get sober for a couple months, check myself into rehab. Um, do like their detox programs, stuff like that. Um, until, uh, three and a half years ago, I went to rehab one last time after not, um, being able to control my drinking, woke up in my. Empty apartment. Nope. The lights were off. Cause I guess I didn't pay the bill had a barely enough charge on my phone to start calling people no money. Like that's where my alcoholism takes me. Every time is the absolute bottom of the barrel. No food, no money, no shower. Um, all the, all those things. I finally called somebody that I knew from one of my previous stints in sobriety and rehab, they call it the cops. They got me into our detox center. One last time from there, I went to rehab again and then something just clicked. Um, I guess it was one of the conversations with the Metro. Um, providers at a rehab and they just had to tell me that God's honest truth one day and was like, you are probably one of the worst cases that I've ever seen. And she's worked at this rehab for decades on decades. And I needed to hear that honestly, cause like I have lived that experience and that wasn't the first time that I've been told something like that, but it was like the first time that it actually. Made it through my brain. And that was the first time. It actually, like if I don't stop, I'm going to die. Um, so I completed the rehab program, um, shout out to the bridge. Um, so if anybody's in the Nebraska area, highly recommend sliding scale fee, all those good things, nothing but positive feedback for that place, nothing but a positive, um, experience there. Uh, and I actually volunteered to stay in there as long as I could. Um, I racked up a large bill. I did not care. I knew I was fixing my life. I knew I was getting better day by day. And I got to incorporate a more sober friends or more sober time. Um, all those things into my life until I got into a sober living situation, um, which I've been in ever since, uh, the couch I'm sitting on, um, is in the sober house that I help, um, manage right now. I'm just sitting president. I go to meetings. Um, there's a collective and Lincoln of around 13, 14 houses of just sober, sober people that, um, live together. We go to meetings together, we sit down and eat together and we just really incorporate principles and the spiritual aspect of the programs that we go to into our living situation. Um, I don't know if there's Oxford houses in Florida. I'm pretty sure there are. There's 3,200 of them. I found out the other day. Um, my city has 14, like I said, and just been staying sober ever since then.

Steve:

Yeah. And what would you say some of the positive changes have been in your life since finding sobriety?

Klay:

Everything honestly, like when alcoholism took into the, the Hells gate, like knocking on death's door. And so anything in sobriety is better than the nothing I had in addiction. But I, I, I don't want to brag, but I really have transformed my life and a complete 180. I have a 401k now I have a stable living environment. I have friends that check on me. I check on friends, my family calls me, I call my family of, yeah. I get to see the things that programs and, um, other. I've pulled me that I can have, and I'm giving to see it.

Steve:

That's excellent and very inspiring. Now, looking back, how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addiction?

Klay:

Um, well I grew up in the south, so. That automatically puts a target on anybody's back. Like if you're not following the strict Bible belt, um, morals and, uh, religious doctrines that most of the south is still being ran by. Um, it puts a damper on anybody that wants to be different. Um, I do remember at a young age, realizing that like being gay was a thing. I didn't, I didn't have words for it, but I knew I was different. I remember like the first crash and wondering if something's wrong. So I remember the first religious sermon, um, bringing any homosexuality, anything, dealing with the LGBT, bringing that up and condemning it. And I remember. Hiding certain things like mannerisms. I wouldn't raise my voice, a certain pitch. I would tuck my hands into my pants. Um, I, I wouldn't make direct eye contact with certain people when they were talking about certain subjects. Um, and just kind of basing every decision I made in the south off of fear. And it was. Necessarily fear of, um, just being queer. It was just the fear of being different. Um, because I also, um, because of all the religious trauma realized that I was going to be an atheist at a, at a younger age than some. And I do remember being 12 and kind of praying the gay away, remember all that stuff, but I never really correlated, um, sexuality to addiction. Um, until I finally got sober and, um, kinda realized that like I do have. Like a queerness about me that is never going to go away. I drank to hide it. I drank to bring it out. I drank to connect with other queer people in the community. Um, and I think when I was in active addiction, the, the moral of my drinking or the end game of my drinking was to just be accepted. And to, um, be a part of a community and getting sober. I found out that I can have all that without a drink, without a stimulant, without, uh, a depressant. Um, and it's just such a blessing that even Nebraska has at least one gay 12 step program. And it that I get to be a part of that accepts me, that wants me there. And it really teaches anybody that walks through the door. Um, that being different, isn't a disability or a handicap, uh, even in, uh, Nebraska. And I I'm so glad to get to be a part of that nowadays.

Steve:

Yeah. I mean, have you found with that, like a new kind of community, would you say with your sexuality and your sobriety?

Klay:

Oh yeah, for sure. Um, I, when I got sober, it was a main focus to just incorporate those things. I tried to hide into my daily life and so. Um, the first six months of being sober in my sober living home, I, uh, wanted to do drag and I got to do that. And my roommates came out and supported me and, uh, things like that.

Steve:

Yeah. And what are some practices that you use in your daily life to help keep you sober?

Klay:

Nowadays, I, I kind of incorporate everything I've learned, um, on the spiritual level, those, um, spiritual ideals that the program kind of teaches us like honesty open-mindedness willingness. Um, I kinda incorporate that into everyday life. Like if I. Uh, didn't do the dishes or something like that. I at least try and tell my roommates, Hey, I'm so sorry. I didn't do the dishes when I get home. My amends to you is I will clean up the kitchen. Um, or I'm just honest with everybody around me. Like I, I just, um, subconsciously do it nowadays. Um, and even just the other week I had to be. Upfront and honest with my job and had to tell them that, uh, I will be leaving I'm quitting. This is my last shift. Um, I wasn't comfortable watching some things, some business practices, and it's really affecting my integrity as a sober person, as somebody that works in the recovery community. What did I saw? Wasn't right. And I, I feel proud of. Who I am today. Cause I, I think I incorporate honesty and all the other principles into my daily life. Um, I always try and talk to somebody sober at least once a day, somebody in recovery, um, reach out, um, and just check. Check in with myself, check in with other people and really be a part of life. I think that's what I've gotten out of recovery is that I get to be a part of life again, even though it's not perfect.

Steve:

Yeah. It certainly is not, but it's something that we learned to live with. And if you can give one piece of advice to someone who's sober, curious, or newly sober, what would it be?

Klay:

I would say. Let's see, that's a really good one. Um, I would say, what is the worst that can happen by trying to, um, and then I would, I would, the formal way of saying that is don't leave before the miracle happens. Um, And I truly believe that I try and sell that to the newcomer as much as I can. Um, because if the program has worked for me, if sober living has worked for me, it could definitely work for anybody else that puts even a drop of, um, willingness into it. And, um, yeah, don't leave before the miracle happens.

Steve:

Yeah. And that's always a good one that I love to hear. Um, and it, just to that, I mean, in recovery, we generally love our step traditions and sayings. Like the little pieces we hang on to. Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that you like to live by?

Klay:

Keep it simple is, is definitely a big one. Yeah. Um, when I. Want to overanalyze, why somebody said something to me or how I'm going to react to a certain situation. I just have to keep it simple. Like how do I know? Certain things that are going to act out a certain way, unless I asked somebody or unless I do something and things like that. So I got to keep life very simple. If I don't drink today, it might be a good day and the chances are even better than having a good one if I don't drink. And I just kind of live by that.

Steve:

Excellent. And tell the listeners, if they were interested in finding you are following you on socials or anything like that, what would be one way to, to find you?

Klay:

Uh, so yeah, um, I will blow my anonymity out the water I am on Facebook Clayton. Um, or if you search clay with the K Montgomery I am on there, I'm always posting. Random funny things. I'm showing that I can have fun in sobriety. I'm on Facebook all the time. I do have a tic-tac account that I, I want to start out using and correlating some more sobriety things into it. Um, at O N G clay, I am on Instagram under the same handle. Um, but yeah.

Steve:

Excellent. I'll be sure to include those in the show notes for people to find you. Thank you so much for joining us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better.

Klay:

Thank you so much. Good one.

Steve:

Yeah. Thank you. And thank you listeners for listening to another episode of Gaye. Uh, please rate and review if you found this information helpful. And if you're interested in getting involved with the show or guesting and sharing your story, you can find me on Instagram at gay podcast, or email me directly@gateapodcastatgmail.com. And be sure to follow us wherever you're listening. So you get new episodes when they come out every Monday and Thursday, until that time stay sober friends.