gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

A Power Greater Than Ourselves ft. Reace

August 18, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 97
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
A Power Greater Than Ourselves ft. Reace
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Reace 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 the post-show, along with more exclusive content at www.Patreon.com/gAyApodcast

Follow Reace on Instagram @more_reace , and follow us while you are at it @gAyApodcast

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

Until next time, stay sober friends!

Support the show
Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to gAy A a, a podcast about sobriety for the plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I'm grateful for all the amazing guests I've lined up over the coming weeks. As of this recording, I am 440 days sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome to the show. Hi, I am so glad you reached out to my little recruitment post that I did on Instagram and that we get to connect love

Reace:

Instagram. Yes.

Steve:

And so why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about you for the listeners.

Reace:

My name is Maurice. I go by Reese a lot like Reesey's pieces because I melt in your mouth. Wink, wink I am 37. I just celebrated three years of sobriety on July 22nd. I live in Denver, Colorado. I'm a professional yoga instructor and drag queen and I'm gay

Steve:

as fuck. Excellent. Well then you'll fit right in with the podcast and listeners. excellent. Well, why don't we dive into the thicker things and why don't you start with telling us what your journey with alcohol and addiction was like?

Reace:

right off the bat too. Just like, Hmm. Yeah, no loop, no loop. Love it. Yeah. I love it. My relationship with alcohol began as early as I can remember growing up in Florida and Tampa, we would say tra yes. And I would be like, Teased by my family as a young kid, like we're talking like 10, 11, 12, 13. If I didn't grab like a beer to go to the beach new year's Eve, I can remember drinking champagne with my aunts and uncles and puking when I was like eight or nine. And then probably by like, I'd say easily 11, 12, like early, early on. I was the kid. Partied really hard. Like I was known for being a really good kid, like never got in trouble, but was the first person that was drinking the most partying. The most I was working in nightclubs like gay Tampa, Florida, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale night clubs when I was 15 doing massive amounts of ecstasy and hanging off the walls and a go go boy and touring with drag queen. Like I just, I don't even know, as an, as a 37 year old adult now, like. I even see youth and I'm, I'm baffled that adults could ever even have been around me. And not only cheering me on, but influencing that kind of behavior. So that's, it's really where it, I think started started. Yeah. But then of course, by the time I was in high school, I mean, I, yeah, I just, I always drank, I always partied, I always did drugs. I always smoked weed. I knew it was an issue. Because my whole family had an issue with it. And I just knew that because I got straight A's I worked three or four or five different jobs. I was in the entertainment industry. I just always knew that it was normal to me. Drinking was normal. And even though it was bad, it was normal. And so that's kind of what. Stayed with me forever through a couple of pretty long relationships that didn't end very well that I, of course looking back can attribute a lot of my disconnect to my alcoholism. A lot of sexual behavior just like completely wrapped up in alcohol and, and, and partying and lifestyle. And then I'd say that it got really rough. In my thirties. So I went sober in 33. I was living in Los Angeles. And for those, for those last few years, I was traveling and performing at music and yoga festivals. So my job was to be in front of thousands and thousands of people and the, you know, everybody wants the person that's right there in front of them to be as drunk as they are. So they would hand you a drink or buy you a shot, or, you know, do you want some of this? Do you want some of that? And it just, I was applauded for being able to be so. Seemingly sober mm-hmm and then the most fucked up in the entire roof. Like, no one they're like, are you sober? I'm like, nah, I've had like five hits of acids, six bottle of that. And I just would brag about my alcoholism. I'd brag about it. And then, yeah, so that, that took me up to like July of 2019 when I was probably on like a three. Bender. I'd say I was like real, real distracted and was hired to go to Cuba, to host a retreat, a world retreat that I had 60 people from all over the world. And my job was to teach yoga in the morning and then be the entertainment. So I was parade around Cuba. Dancing on pianos, partying with everybody. Everyone was cheering me on I'm smoking cigars. And yeah, that kind of brings me to like, what happened. So do you want me to pause at all or

Steve:

no, go right on into what happened. Okay.

Reace:

So that while I was in Cuba bender, probably a four day long, consistent like Cuba, rum streets drinking, and that evening we went out to dinner and. Gone. And my producers were like, yeah, we have to send you home from this dinner early. We're gonna send you back to the hotel. You're too drunk. And you're embarrassing us. And I was like, we were just doing shots 45 minutes ago. Like, did, did you think I was too drunk then? Because I just don't. I didn't get it. Yeah. You know, like I. I was faded, so I don't even fully remember a lot. I assumed something happened where I made a fool of myself. Yeah. So I of course like any true alcoholic in blackout stage did not take that very well. So I went back to the hotel and continued to drink, which allowed for me to walk the streets of Cuba by myself drunk, which had not happened yet. And we were in Havana and it was not good. And somehow I. Got picked up by a prostitute and I've come to block out, come to literally being taken advantage of mm-hmm at least as that's what it felt like when I woke up, cuz I don't remember any of it. And I started, I started freaking out. I pushed the guy off of me. He wanted money from me and I'm like, Never paid for sex in my life. What are you talking about? Like, absolutely not. And he was trying to steal my bag. They had bars on their windows, like this was low. And so I remember running away back to the hotel, made an absolute scene, woke up the next morning on time to teach yoga at 8:00 AM, knowing something bad had happened, but my producers were like, yeah, we're putting you on an early plane to go. I was like, yeah, that's probably smart. And you know, pointing fingers, I've known these people for six years, never had an issue. They're pointing fingers in my face. You're an alcoholic, get sober. And I just remember saying to the woman screaming at me, I was like, listen, I can't get sober for my mother who has begged me. So what, what do you, this, this isn't working. So why don't you just put me on the plane? Let me go. And I will deal with it. I'm so I'm so embarrassed. I'm so sorry. That you had to be in the wreckage. Of my alcoholism, but this stuff happens to me and I don't know what you want to say. It already happened. So I go to the airport, I order two beers immediately. I open the first one and spit it out because it tasted so much like tin piss. Like I remember the visual in my brain of like, yeah, that must be piss and a can. I'm gonna open the other one. So I open the second. Same taste. And I laugh to myself and I go, oh my God, is this really the last sip of alcohol I'm ever gonna have? And I just got like chills at my body cuz I can remember this moment. Yeah. And I go to Miami first, before I come back to Denver, I walk the beaches and I pretty much did like step one through four. Without knowing any steps. Like I talked to God, I wrote an inventory list. I like held over to a higher power. I passed like 50 different bars and I would just go, yeah, no, I'm just gonna keep walking. No, I'm gonna keep walking. Went home that day called a friend. Who's like a he's a, he's a life. He is a life coach focusing more on men's health. Men's work just like men's circles. And I was like, yo, I, I need. Like, I think I'm gonna go to AA. I need you, cuz I'm gonna need someone to talk to. So I got back to Hollywood, woke up, went to the very first meeting I could go to, which is at 7:00 AM, which I went to that meeting every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 AM for quite a while. And that was it. I never looked back Yeah.

Steve:

And how has your life changed your improve since you got.

Reace:

How can I count the ways? I just always tell people it's the sexiest thing I've ever done for myself. To me, how my life has changed is I. For example, on my three year anniversary sobriety, I called a friend of mine who I would always call when something went wrong and she wasn't able to answer. So she texted and she's like, is everything okay? And I was like, yeah, funny enough. I haven't had to make one of those phone calls in three years. Mm-hmm so. That was a, I literally just heart opened at that moment because I was reminded of where, where I was and where I had come from and how much actually has changed. I don't call people anymore with the sky is falling. Mm-hmm I don't feel that the sky is falling. I mean, bad stuff happens. Challenging stuff happens. Change happens, but nothing like what I used to do to myself that was literal. Physical abuse, mental sabotage So that that's one. I mean, I think my state of mind two would be the rewards of financial abundance. And it's not the cliche. Everybody thinks that it's oh, you spent all your money on drugs and alcohol. And then when you don't do that, now it goes to you. It's different than that. It's like I, as I said, I teach yoga for a living. So money deals with your root CHRA, the color is red deals with family and money and security and health. And so that never had any substance to it. And now I feel grounded. So money. Grows rather than completely depletes, no matter what at all times. So I'm able to buy things like art and fashion and trips and all of it and little things like enough soap to go in my shower. I used to rely on one bottle of soap till the end. Mm-hmm I have like six different flavors, lack of a better word, you know? And then I think, yeah, I. I don't know what else on top of it. Honestly, it's really just mental state of mind and the, and safety and just all, all around happiness. I, I think like for the most part, I just feel normal. That's like, I just feel normal. Like my emotions are. Not super high or super low, they just, just kind of normal things are a little boring. Yeah. As Seymour Hoffman would say,

Steve:

I can relate to that. Cuz like that was the thing to realize in sobriety is like, oh, you can have days that are just okay. Like it's not always the best day ever. Or the sky is falling. Like you can be whatever, the closest thing to normal that we can get. right. Yeah. Now, especially since. So, so many of like your gay experiences, like started off when you were drinking, what's your relationship to the LGBT community been like since getting sober and how has that changed?

Reace:

I think that sober people are very scary to alcoholics that are not sober yet. So there's a lot of intimidation, especially in my line of work, which is literal nightlife. Most of the time when I say when people are trying to pour shots down my throat, like, no I'm sober. They always just go good for you. I, I feel that in, I I'm not tempted at all. Mm-hmm so it does no part of my sobriety. God is, is a lifestyle of, oh, I wish I could, like, it's completely gone the cravings, the desire, all of it. And I, I don't know if that takes time or if everybody is different. I hear a lot of people talk 30 years in they're like, oh, if I could just have one more drink. So for me personally, being around gay people was only ever in a club mm-hmm was it? So I, I don't really. I don't, I don't really enjoy being in nightclubs, to be honest. Mm-hmm around all the alcohol, cuz I don't like to see what happens when people go down that road. And then also of course, like I don't feel like I'm able to stand up and support them the way that I want to while we're drinking in the daytime. Very different. I have a lot of like queer representation in my yoga classes. I, I see a lot of people in drag, outside of drinking. I have a lot of queer friends who are also, they're not sober, but they don't drink a lot. So I relate to them a lot. But yeah, as far as my relationship to drinking and partying in the LGBT community It's it's honestly hard. It's really hard because it's so sex mm-hmm sex is so wrapped up in alcohol. I can remember before. If I needed to hook up with someone. And I say that literally, if I needed to hook up, not even wanted, like I was horny was drunk. I needed to get off. Yes. I would have another drink or I would drink more or I would get even more drunk in order just to have sexual intimacy. So now, like I don't there, there's never really alcohol or drugs involved in any of the sex from the other person. And if they are even remote. Too drunk. I have to completely disconnect cuz I'm like, no, no, I can't. I can't taste Jameson on your tongue. Yeah. Ugh. Yeah. I don't know if that answered the question you're asking, but I think they did.

Steve:

Yeah, it certainly did. And you know, especially seeing as how you work in performing, how has that changed since like getting sober with

Reace:

work? Oh my God. I think the best part about it is. The memory mm-hmm, being completely. available to all of my talent and skillset and vulnerability rather than it being by chance or by surprise mm-hmm it's, I'm, I'm completely in drive and control of my machinery. And so all of my active choices of performance are, they're just, they're they're more real. I have more presence. I have more timing. I have more I'm more captive. To my audience, I have, I have more of a connection to them. And then also it used to be as well. The second I got off stage, I was a cannibal for alcohol. Like if you, if I didn't get a shot, as soon as I got off stage, it was game over the whole performance didn't matter. And now everything's more about the real thing that's happening, which is the performance.

Steve:

Excellent. And what are some practices you use in your daily life to help keep you.

Reace:

I buy things when I want them. Mm-hmm little things, nothing big little things, coffee, a nice lunch. I always rationalize it in my brain too. Still to this day in my head. I'm like I would've spent 30 bucks on a couple beers and a cheap meal, so you can go and spend $11 on a sandwich because you want it. Mm-hmm Don't think about it, go do it. Yeah. So buying myself things that I want in the moment, I think that helps. I talk about my sobriety a lot, like a lot. Mm-hmm I bring it up a lot to other people. I think I'm one of the. The the I'm, I'm kind of like a, a, a star point in my friend groups. I'm a Leo, I'm a performer. All eyes are on me constantly. I'm a leader teaching yoga everywhere. Like I'm always gathering people together. I'm a party, you know, leader. And so I don't think anyone would've assumed I would've been the, the only one really to go sober and let alone the first. And so I just talk about it a lot. Yeah. I do really communicate about it. Yeah,

Steve:

it's become such like a big part of my life, at least that like, it's hard to have a conversation without bringing up like, you know, the program or that like, people are always talking about drinking, like at work and I'm like, Nope, sober. Yeah. Or like the friends that you've, you meet along the way. So I definitely relate to that. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is sober, curious, or newly sober, what would it.

Reace:

Newly sober would be if you're comfortable going to 90 meetings and 90 days, mm-hmm, the consistency of something like that. Hearing other people talk about something, then the rest of your friends, how they talk about drinking all the time is just, that was crucial. I think it's, I didn't, I didn't stick with program. It wasn't necessarily the best for me. And then we went into COVID and it got messy anyway. Yeah. I would say brand new sober, go to meetings. Yeah. A hundred percent sober, curious. I here, so here's my, here's my relationship with sober curious. So when I was sober, curious, I would take those month. Breaks mm-hmm I would take a month off. I would do dry January. I would, you know, and then I just felt that my alcoholism came back with a vengeance and those breaks were done. So that's what that's honestly, what July was. I took a break in June of, of 2019, and then July was like so I it's hard for me, sober, curious, It's this isn't like a one foot in one foot out kind of an adventure. This is both feet in whole body and committed. So I would just say, take your time with it because when you're ready to say you're done, you're gonna feel it. I have journal entries from the time that I was young until 33. That would just be I'm 25. I wish I could give up drinking 27. Wish I could give up drinking 31. Wish I could give up drinking. So I never didn't think about it. So if that's you. You know that it's gonna, like, eventually something's gonna break. And mine wasn't even that bad. I didn't get fired. I still work for that company. I was safe. I went home. I mean, granted waking up the way that I woke up was a little terrifying, but mm-hmm, I'm homosexual. I've had way too much sex. So it wasn't that scary. Yeah. But you know what I'm saying? So I don't know. So we're curious, maybe go to a meeting. Yeah, I get. you know, go, go with a friend, go by yourself. And, and yeah, take don't drink red bull vodka. That would be if you're sober, curious, maybe cut out red bull vodka start

Steve:

there. Yeah. Yeah. Just stick with the red bull. exactly. Yeah. Now in recovery, no matter what method we use, we generally find ourselves loving our steps, traditions, and sayings. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you like to try and live by?

Reace:

out of the book itself. Personally, step two is the only one that really stays with me on a daily basis. Mm-hmm and just the idea that a power greater than myself returned me to sanity because I didn't quite understand that I was in a insane behavior pattern until I went sober and I was able to return to my normal. Act like an act, not even normal, just like that. I was not any longer acting in a crazy, insane pattern. So for me, I just, I relish in that one. I, I just like that a power greater than I myself returned me back from my insane behavior.

Steve:

Excellent. And as you mentioned uh, near the start of the show, like you do yoga, how has that changed or evolved with your sobriety?

Reace:

It's always a little hard for me just to talk about it because I don't ever want anyone to judge me. Yeah. And that's what this space is for. So towards the end of my, you know, I've been teaching for almost 13 years. So towards the end of my party lifestyle, I'd be out really late. I'd have early classes to teach. I wouldn't go to. I would be like doing cocaine in the bathroom or going still drunk. And of course, again, my friends are cheering me on for this, like, oh my God, I can't believe you could do that. You're so cool. I would never know. And so that was, that was shocking to me. That was a part of my crazy behavior. So now, I mean, how is it changed? Like teaching it. I just am again, just like performing I'm available. I'm vulnerable. It's easier. I'm more connected. I'm relaxed, I'm happier. I'm, I'm just more connected in general to who I am, which then lends myself to being much more of a poetic and grounded and expressive teacher. That's there to help people. Yeah, I would say I was more spiritually connected when I was on a lot of drugs and alcohol mm-hmm just cause I was able to really like, you know, I don't know, be, be connected to a very fake world in my mind. But a lot of my meditations that are like really powerful have been when I was not drinking. Yeah. Or, or park at all. So

Steve:

I can certainly imagine. And if people wanted to find you or your yoga studio or where. socials. How would they find you?

Reace:

What's the best. Instagram is where everything is. Yeah. So it's at more M O R E underscore my name Reese, R E a C E like peace, but within our, yeah I've got online classes. I have free classes. I do live stream classes every week that are stream from the studio. I do a lot of events. I travel and teach at different studios in other places. And. Yeah in Instagram would be the number one place.

Steve:

Perfect. I'll make sure to throw the, the handles in the show notes so that people can just click on over when they listen. Thank you. Thank you for joining us and for being on it was a pleasure and stick around because we're gonna be going over to our Patriot feed to talk more about your experiences in sobriety you can join the Patreon family by going to www.patreon.com/gaa podcast. Meanwhile, if you're interested in sharing your story, like Reese here, getting involved with the show or just saying hi, you can email me at GAA podcast, gmail.com or find me on Instagram GAA podcast. Be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Thursday. And until next time stay sober friends.