Steve welcomes on Mitch, the Conference Chair for this year's Gay and Sober Men's conference, to discuss the upcoming event.
Register for the conference today: https://www.gayandsober.org/registration
Download the app and use code GSApp before June 1st for discounted tickets!
Or join us for Pride celebration on Sunday here: https://www.gayandsober.org/celebration.
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Hi everyone. And welcome to gate a, a podcast about sobriety for the LGBTQ plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I'm grateful for all the fun that I'm having in my sobriety. As of this recording, I'm 352 days sober and say, we're welcoming Mitch to talk about this. Year's upcoming gay and sober men's conference in New York city. Welcome to the show.Mitch:
Hi, thank you so much for having me, Steven. I appreciate it. And congratulations on 3 52.Steve:
Yes. Thank you so much. Why don't you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself to get to know you better?Mitch:
Sure. So my name is Mitch. Last name initial I'm an addict and alcoholic. I have been sober this June will be six years for me. My sobriety date is 6 26, 20 16. I got sober on what was gay pride Sunday then.Steve:
Awesome. Well, congratulations. Yeah. Thank you. And what is the gain sober men's conference?Mitch:
So the game Silverman's conference is an annual conference we put on it falls into the umbrella of GaN sober, which is an M a, which is an umbrella group whose mission is pretty simple. It's to provide a safe, fun and enriching experience to the sober LGBTQ plus community. And our primary purpose is to encourage unity and enhance. As part of that, we have an annual men's conference that takes place in New York city over pride weekend where we host important workshops. We have a keynote speaker. We have various efforts to help enhance one's sobriety through. I'd say like probably non traditional ways, you know different workshops that you normally wouldn't see at roundups around the nation. We also have really fantastic. Nightly activities like standup comedians performers you know, fun social activities during the morning and throughout the day. And of course we cut it all off with marching in New York, city's pride parade, as well as having a sober cruise on the Hudson river. As the pride fireworks were taking place.Steve:
Excellent. And so for our listeners who are not sure of when pride is this year in New York city, when is the conference.Mitch:
The conference is the weekend of June 23rd. So the 23rd is that Thursday. So it's up to the 26th here in New York. It's always the last weekend of June in New York.Steve:
Excellent. Yeah. I remember being like freshly sober this time last year when I saw all the fun being had on social media from last year's conference. It just was really inspiring because, you know, I think a lot of us, when we first get sober, struggled with like, will I ever be able to have fun again? And I was able to look at the pictures and be like, yes, yes, they're having fun. So I knew that I definitely wanted to come and participate this year, but how would you say the conference has evolved over the years?Mitch:
So since day one, we've always I asked our participants, like what they've thought of the conference, where we can do to improve it. So we, we always like go back with surveys and, and, you know, check in to see like what things work, what things don't work. And so from a program perspective, we've always changed our content to reflect the needs of our audience. So, you know, we normally won't just have a bunch of 12 step workshops that we repeat on an annual basis. But rather we try and develop some pretty innovative and unique workshops that starts some some timely conversations like this year you know, we've, we finally managed to to, to get a pretty good presenter to talk about like silver sector. Has relates to like S and M and BDSM and kink, for example you know never presenter. Who's going to be talking about silver dating, which is actually a workshop that we repeated because it's become so popular amongst our participants. You know, we also have a workshop on diversity, racism, ethnicity differences within Sabrina. Workshop on body dysmorphia and age-ism, and also financial recovery as well, which most people usually don't get to these wouldn't get into debtors anonymous until way, way, way past, you know, their time in AA or.Steve:
Yeah, that sounds exciting. How did you get involved with the conference? So,Mitch:
like I said before, my my sober date was was a pride Sunday back in 2016. And when I was coming up on my first year, I was looking for a way that I could sort of celebrate my sobriety, but also be involved. The local price celebrations in a sober manner. My addiction had usually kept me from joining like the big marches in New York and such and I would and usually whenever I, before I got sober that weekend, I would usually just stay at home and it felt kind of sad and lonely. And so I started out at at GSM as a local volunteer and as a local delegate. And then I volunteer to work on managing the raffles that they have here. And then started meeting them raffles and after a couple, and then after a couple of years of that, and I was asked to be the chair of the conference.Steve:
Excellent. What's been your favorite theme you've had so far?Mitch:
I have to say, okay, so I'm. It's totally me, but I have to say for me, it's rock and roll. It's this year's theme because I'm such an avid avid music fan. And and for me, I think that theme is closest to my heart.Steve:
Excellent. Tell us more about what we have in store for us then with this year. So,Mitch:
In terms of the theme you know, I can't reveal anything that's too big, but we are going to have a big, I think, surprise at the hard rock cafe on that Saturday night planned after our big meeting. One thing that I think in terms of the highlights for the workshops and daytime events is that we have we have morning yoga sessions scheduled as well as runs in central park. Which I think is a fantastic way for. Out of towners to get to know New York as well to do so. What there, but some gay fellows like I said before, sober dating and sober sex workshops, as well as the workshops on diversity, age-ism financial recovery. We have a fund that we have a fantastic keynote speaker planned. Terry gate would have blue tiger recovery. He's going to talk about his journey in sobriety and also about issues around sexual addiction and sexual anorexia. You know Come to find like an, a lot of our a lot of surveys that we found, like a lot of folks said, you know, we'll know how to stay sober, but there are these other issues, these other like gray area issues that would like to address. And one of them was around where sex takes place in a recovery. So yeah, I think that should that should give hopefully plenty of folks. Oh, and I should say we also have some fantastic events planned that need then. Well,Steve:
tell us some more about the evening events. Okay.Mitch:
Like I said on Saturday night we have a surprise. I can't reveal the hard rock cafe. On Thursday night we have a fantastic comedian, Dwayne Perkins booked to perform for us. We also have rooftop parties on Thursday night at the AMC theater across the street from the hotel with a, with a DJ. We also have on Friday night. A rooftop pool party with lifetime fitness, which is located just down the street from like from the Western hotel where we are we were there last year and it's a phenomenal way to enjoy the city into the sea, the city scape. And you get to be at a really fantastic pool in New York city and, you know, pools outside pools, as I'm sure you probably know are rare. They're winter thing that around here And then amongst amongst those other things, we also have three fantastic speakers books you know, and and one of them I I'm personally proud of because we also asked a former international Mr. Leather to come speak as this year's theme has like a rock and roll bend to it. Like I mentioned too, there's also some elements. We're weathering kink fit into our programming. Because we found out that that was a pretty big a pretty big issue or area that a lot of our audience folks wanted toSteve:
to address. Yeah. I can imagine I recently recorded an episode on sex and sobriety and just how difficult it can be for some people, especially when sometimes their drug of choice, you know, revolved around sex or their behaviors revolved around sex that, you know, learning how to do with that. It can be a struggle, but it's very rewarding when you find what works.Mitch:
Exactly. Very much. So. Very, very much so.Steve:
Yeah. And we've talked about how the conference coincides with New York city pride. What are our plans for that?Mitch:
So, as I'm sure folks can imagine pride in New York is a pretty, it's a pretty phenomenal time. It's it's if you've never been to New York for pride I encourage you to do so before you can't. It is one of those. Truly magical, magical times that when you can experience it amongst literally thousands and thousands of people who are all marching you know, for the rights that we fought for the identities that we fought for them and strive to have. So with that said gain sober always has a place to March in the parade. We have a double Decker. Huge banner on the side that says Dan sober like the big floats. We usually have a DJ as well. The show be Karen Ward looking forward to hearing her spin. She'll actually be on the on the top of double Decker bus with her wife. And we have you know, we invite not just participants in the conference, but anybody who identifies has queer and sober to come March with us, you know, we're not. It's an open door policy for us that way to come March with us. And then later on that day when the dance takes place off the Christopher street, piers, the fireworks take place. We also have a sober cruise in which we also invite anybody who wants to join us to please do so, you know, you don't have to be you don't have to identify as a gay man. If you just want to come in and participate and be with our fellow. On a sober cruise and have a safe space to enjoy some really fantastic fantastic S more tuned spun by a great DJ of San Francisco. Derek.Steve:
Excellent. Yeah, I'm very much looking forward to this year's conference. I already have my tickets, but how can people get tickets if they don't know?Mitch:
Well, it's great thing to hear that you have your tickets already. Yes. If so, right now we anticipate the conference will sell out. But we don't want you to, we don't want people to sort of, you know, get too frenetic and wave. So we're offering a discount for those folks who download arcane and silver app which is located in either of the Android or apple stores when you do so, if you go to gay and silver.org/events you can find the registration button there and then just use the code G S M a P P to receive a discount. That's going to be a limited discount on, I believe it brings it to $195 and included with that is tickets for all of our events as well as, and that includes the cruise on the river. For those folks who want to go on the cruise only we do offer those tickets as well. And for that, you go to gay and sober.org/cruise. Those tickets are priced out at $75 a piece.Steve:
Excellent. I'll be sure to include that in the show notes so people can just click on it. And like myself. I can imagine many of us are traveling from outside of New York city to get to the conference. I know you mentioned the Western hotel. Can you tell us a little bit more about the accommodations?Mitch:
Sure. So for those of you who don't know the Western hotel, it's been our it has been our partner Four games silver for a couple of years. They're, they're really phenomenal, phenomenal folks to work with. All of our conferences workshops will be taking place there. In terms of the accommodations they're offering us discounted a discounted rate right now we're getting just kind of re room rate of $289 a night. And you'll need to register for the conference. Before you can actually book that room. Just, you know we do offer the ability to get paired up with a roommate as well, in case you want to split that. Just so folks know outside of New York, 2 89 for a hotel room during gay pride in New York is pretty much unheard of. Yes.Steve:
I was very pleased with that.Mitch:
And right now we are asking people to please reserve their room by June the first. Yeah. And I do have to I do have to apologize. I could not remember Derek's name on top of my head for the cruise, so I just want to give a proper shout out and cause I'm sure I won't hear the end of it. If I, if I miss out on saying, is Nate.Steve:
Well, we wouldn't want that. No. Well, thank you so much for sharing this information. I'll be sure to publish this as soon as possible so that you can get the word out in time. If people want to learn more about gay and sober men's conference, or just getting sober in general, w what's the best place to get that information?Mitch:
If they want to learn more about just the organization in general, go to gay and sober.org. If you want to learn about the conference, go to gay and sober.org/events. One thing to note too, is that we also have a pretty fantastic meeting directory. It's an international meeting directory. Folks to find meetings around the world. You can find that on our conference, sorry, on our website as well. You know, in case you know, of any meetings locally that are changing to, to as like we come in and out of the pandemic, just let us know on our website. And if anybody wants to send me any direct questions, they can always reaching a chair. C H a I R S K and silver doctor.Steve:
Perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming on. It was a pleasure getting to know you better and getting some sneak, peeks into what I have in store for me next month. Thank you listeners for tuning into another episode of gay. If you want to hear more information about how gay and sober got started, you could check out one of our first episodes titled gay and sober, where we had Christian on. But I want to thank you all for listening. Please rate and review. If you found this information help. If you're interested in sharing your story or getting involved with the show, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes and they come out every Monday and Thursday until next time stay sober friends.