gAy A: A LGBT+ Podcast About Sobriety

The No Matter What Club ft. Sandy

July 14, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 92
gAy A: A LGBT+ Podcast About Sobriety
The No Matter What Club ft. Sandy
Show Notes Transcript

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

Thank you for listening. Please join our Patreon family for more exclusive content at www.Patreon.com/gAyApodcast

Follow Sandy on Instagram  @silentwhat and Twitter @FTSGooen, and follow us while you are at it @gAyApodcast on both!

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

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Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to GA a, 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 learning to love myself and my sobriety. As of this recording, I am 400 in seven days sober and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with. I am so excited to introduce them to you all. I had the pleasure of meeting them at this year's GSM and they definitely made the back end of my trip. I'm so happy. I got the pleasure to meet them and I can't wait to hear more about their experiences. Welcome to the show, Sandy.

Sandy:

Hi, thank you for having me. My pleasure.

Steve:

Well, why don't you introduce yourself for the listeners of my intro? Wasn't detailed enough for you.

Sandy:

Oh sure. I was just gonna say that I'm also an alcoholic and my name is Sandy. That was, that was what I was about

Steve:

to say. Yeah, that works. You're you're on the right podcast then I would

Sandy:

say that, but I'm like, you're kind of doing it for me and that's good. Yeah. Yeah. That's alright.

Steve:

Well being an alcoholic, why don't we just get started with all the good stuff? Like what was it like in your active addiction and what was your experience with alcohol? Like?

Sandy:

Sure. So. Today is five years and 10 months sober for me, which means my date. I always start with that. That's just how we do it here in New York. We start with our date September 9th, 2016 is my date. And I got in a solid 12 and a half years of drinking and using before I got sober, despite the fact that I am young. I started young as well. I had my first drink when I was six and a half and I, you know, made it here fairly early because I hit it pretty hard. I basically used as a tool to express myself, breast myself, cuz I just like my, my sponsor puts it. That I'm a person who's like a addicted to being comfortable. Mm. like I needed to like numb and be like, stable through the most unstable of sources, which is like alcohol and drugs. I regulated my feelings that way. I like took uppers to be up and downers to be down mostly uppers because I like am a workhorse who likes to be up. Yeah, the, the disease kind of has made me feel like I owe everyone something. And in order to do. I was like setting this very unrealistic expectation that I could only fulfill if I was like using a ridiculous amount of like artificial, like life almost. And I'm, I'm doing better now, but that's where it was. yeah.

Steve:

And what prompted you to start your recovery?

Sandy:

I was just kind of falling apart. I got sober about a week after my birthday. I was starting my second year of college. I had failed math. I was having all these physical. You know, issues that came up because of my drinking and using, most of them have gotten better. My neuropathy unfortunately is permanent, but that let that be a lesson kids. I manage it pretty well, but yeah, there are some permanent consequences. And like, but also it was a spiritual, emotional, like feeling lost thing and finding that there was a program where I could kind of get my bearings was really what prompted me to change. Cuz I knew that there was a way to get better

Steve:

almost. Yeah. I remember in my experience, I did a 12 step program that was court mandated and it just, I was not ready or like willing at the time to hear it. But when I was finally ready to hear the message, I heard it loud and clear, and it's been a huge part of my recovery since then. I mean, what is life been like for you now that you've been sober for this long.

Sandy:

Oh, yeah. I mean the first year, cuz I know that you just got a year, you know what the first year is like for you? For me, I like did a lot of the things you're not supposed to do in the first year. And that I had like a bunch of life changes. I came out to my family. I like got out of a relationship and I. I, I moved for a little bit and came back. I just did like so many of the nos. I didn't sponsor anybody. I didn't, start a relationship, but I did most of the things you're not supposed to do in the first year. And then I started feeling, you know, more steady, I'd say after the first year. And also like after five people talk about the dip that you have and like, I definitely have that fatigue for a little bit. And then I've really doubled down on my program to stay afloat after five, cuz five is sometimes scary for people both step five and year five. And now I have a sponsor and a sponsee and a wonderful group of people I've met and it's a greater understanding of what it's like to be a person. I think. That you get from sobriety and recovery and all those tools you get really?

Steve:

Yeah, it it's, it certainly has been a game changer for me working through the steps and starting this journey. I would say I've grown more this past year or 13 months now of sobriety than like I did in like years and years of active drinking and using. And what would you say is your favorite part of being.

Sandy:

Oh my gosh. My favorite part of being sober is that I. Get to show up fully. Yeah. Pure

Steve:

yeah. Being present. I know. I, wasn't always able to be there for the people around me. Kind of relied on them more to take care of me than to be there for them. And so I definitely see that like being present and like being there in sobriety's been a blessing. And how do you feel your sexuality and gender identity played a role in your addiction?

Sandy:

Hmm, so. I think that substances also, one of the things they gave me was like this false sense of courage. And I was definitely trying to find ways to like express myself and be myself, but I was. It wasn't coming out right when I was using, like, I ended up people are very surprised by this. If they've only met me in sobriety, but I was super violent. I thought that masculinity was about getting loaded and being violent and being at. Asshole. I was actually more of a toxic guy than actually living as the guy, which is very funny and confusing to people. But I was, I was finding myself while also hiding and like trying to compartmentalize and substances helped me do that. I like definitely think also, like that's how I would say that's how using had to do with my gender and sexuality sobriety. I would say has given me the opportunity to, you know, find spaces where there are other cuz like a lot of the L G B T community does center around drugs and alcohol. Right. But like, There are spaces where there isn't the sex bathroom, the cocaine bathroom. There is, there are spaces forced over people who are also queer to like find ways to marry those parts of themselves and be comfortable. And I've gotten to do that.

Steve:

Yeah. I mean, speaking of that, I mean, at this point I need to get like residuals from gay and sober, but we got the chance to meet at this year's gay and sober conference. And that definitely was a safe space. I mean, sure. There was still the sex bathroom, but there wasn't any cocaine in it.

Sandy:

Low cocaine, not even a little bit. Yes. I mean, oh, I was gonna say that unless. unless it's something that you're particularly struggling with. There's nothing bad about sex. I mean, my sponsor and I are very opposite ends of the spectrum dealing with this, but like unlearning shame is like, Something that whenever I do four and five, I like literally the first time I did five with this current sponsor, I stuff my mouth with cookie do. So we couldn't hear my sex inventory and it's like, get over yourself, honey. we have all done things and you're gonna be fine.

Steve:

yeah, I know that, that, that was definitely like a highlight as just like seeing how many people were, were free there and free without the use. I mean, what was your favorite part of the conference?

Sandy:

Oh, my gosh. Okay. So this is like maybe not the most PC thing to say, but I'm gonna say it go for it. When I first walked in, I was very overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed for most of it, but like throughout the entire weekend, there was like a process of nods that came up. I go into most spaces and it's the terminal uniqueness of the disease. Right. I go into most spaces cuz a lot of my spaces, a lot of my meetings are sober gay meetings, including gay and sober. And like I therefore assume that there are not going to be any trans men mm-hmm but by the end of the weekend, I. Was able to do some, some fellow shipping and some nodding and some understanding. And there were at least five you know, and that's something that doesn't have to be like, I don't have to be like this person and this person cuz like anonymity and all that in general. But like that recognition of you can think you are alone, but there is never a time at which you were alone, which is also something you learn in sobriety generally.

Steve:

Yeah. That is awesome. And. What are some practices that you use in your daily life to help keep you sober and accountable?

Sandy:

Ooh, I like this one. I talk to my sponsor a lot. I talk to my fellows a lot. I go to meetings. There are a lot of really good meetings here in the city. And then some on zoom. I do a lot of like the 10, 11 twelves, but then I also try to keep doing the steps. I'm back on the steps. The third time right now. I do spot checks in the middle when I'm not doing the steps actively, I do service. The thing that really keeps me sober though, is to like, remember, to like make time for the people and things that make time for me, like, like making sure that I don't lose sight. Of what I have, like the gratitude aspect really is what

Steve:

helps. Yeah, for sure. And I always love when I ask that question and people like give their answer and I'm like, check, I do that check. I do that now. I feel really good and special too, but yes, those are all really important things, you know, in recovery and to help keep us connected. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is sober, curious, or newly sober, what would it.

Sandy:

Oh, man. My advice is that you're not always gonna feel the same way and stay willing to evolve. That means that if you're on a pink cloud right now, you might have some really crummy times, or if you're freaking out about being sober, you might not always be at the same level of freaking out there's room for things to move around, let your tools grow with you. Make room for things to change and you don't have to be ready for everything today. You just start by putting down the, the drinking and then like you don't, you don't have to be ready for everything today is basically,

Steve:

yeah, that that's good. It kind of goes hand in hand with that whole one day at a time thing, which is something I still struggle with. You know, I'll have a, a bad day at work and I'll be like, I need to completely redefine my life. And I'm like, no, I can just get through today. And tomorrow will be better. Hopefully. and in recovery, we generally love our steps, traditions, and sayings. Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that you like to live by?

Sandy:

I do. There's like three that I'm really obsessed with. There's the easy does it, but do it. Mm-hmm There's the no matter what club as a code for being sober. And then there is keep coming back, but specifically my sponsor frames it as coming back within a day or within a meeting. Like if you catch yourself falling out of mindfulness to keep coming back in a moment.

Steve:

Yeah. I, I like all of those and it's interesting cuz so oftentimes I hear easy does it. And then I was finally like reading the literature where I think that came from and it has, but just do it. And I'm like, I should have read that a year ago cuz so many things. I was like easy does it, which means like I don't have to do it at all, but like it really is just like not an excuse for, for laziness or for putting things off and procrastinating. It is just, you still need to do it.

Sandy:

I'm. So I'm Jewish. Right. And there's a very similar parallel in our text. That's like, you're not obligated to finish all the work, but you can't like avoid it entirely. Like that's a paraphrase from Hebrew, but like, that's the message. And I'm like, that's very easy. Does it do it to me?

Steve:

Yeah. And I, I know in a program where we, we take it one day at a time, do you have any like short term or long term goals that you're looking forward to?

Sandy:

I mean, I'm about to move. I am about to start grad school. I am doing a lot of things that are like long term planning things. And I'm just trying to like, navigate that and find a way to expand my recovery, cuz like. My, my sponsor always says, like, if your life gets bigger, your, your higher power and your program has to get bigger. Yeah.

Steve:

Excellent. Well, if someone was, you know, listening to you and was like, I need more Sandy in my life, how would they find you?

Sandy:

So I am at silent. What on Instagram and at Ft. S G O O E N on Twitter. All

Steve:

right. I'll be sure to include those in the show. So that people can go over and give you a follow. Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Sandy. It truly was a pleasure. Thank you. And I want to also encourage everyone to stick around or head on over to our Patreon page, where we're gonna have an after show. Talk more about how you've overcome those hard days and moments in your sobriety. If you're interested in sharing your story, getting involved with the show, or just saying hi, you can email me at GAA podcast, Gmail dot. And be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Thursday. And until that next time stay sober friends.