gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

Feel It Now, Feel It Later ft. WT

August 25, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 98
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
Feel It Now, Feel It Later ft. WT
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes WT 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 WT on Instagram @witmac, 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

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Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to gay a, a podcast about sobriety for the LGBT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for getting to enjoy another sober birthday. This month. As of this recording, I am 442 days sober. And today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome to the show WT!

WT:

Thank you. Thanks for having me

Steve:

today. Yeah, I'm very excited to get get to know you better. So why don't you start off by introducing yourself a little bit more and tell us something about you?

WT:

Yeah. My name is WT. I am 20 years and four months sober. Wow. Actually five 20 years, five months sober. I am an educator and a theater maker in New York.

Steve:

Excellent. That is so inspiring for, especially like us with a little bit of time under our belt to hear such long term sobriety from someone. So before we get into what it was like, just because feedback I've gotten is like, it just jumps right into the darkest stuff. Why don't we start off by going into what some of your favorite hobbies and things to do in sobriety? I,

WT:

you know, I'm sort of a boring, boring old lady at this point, but I have dogs who I spend a lot of time with. I watch a lot of TV and movies and read and draw. And I really love massage, which I do a lot of massage trading with friends. Awesome. Excellent. Well, good life. It's a good life that we live.

Steve:

Yeah. We let it. It is, you know, I know so many times people like say boring, like it's a bad thing, but I like, I love how, in some ways like boring, my life has gotten like in sobriety because beforehand it was always this like roller coaster of things being great or horrible. And as it got on the more often than not, it was horrible. And so it's nice having just like a nice level life.

WT:

Yeah. I feel like I've earned the right to have structure and routine and repetition. Yeah. That sort of, I sort of longed for a life that felt metered and controlled and consistent. It's taken a long time to build something that felt that way. Yeah. Well,

Steve:

before you found this structure, why don't you start now that let's jump into what it was like before you got sober with your journey.

WT:

Oh my goodness. I was raised by addicts. My whole family were, were deeply addicted and sort of careening off of cliffs my entire life. And I, I think that my addiction snuck up on me, you know, I, I would say every adult in my family was in rehab at least twice in my lifetime. Never stuck, but I, you know, I sort of grew up around program. I grew up with program language. I grew up going to like, you know family visit days and the, the one day teen program for recovering families. And, and I think I thought that my, the wisdom I had gleaned sort. Made me different. Right. I thought I was terminally unique to use some pro program language for us. Yeah. But I, when I moved to New York, I came to study theater and dance. I, I was burning all of my candles at all ends. Mm-hmm you know, I did three degree programs in four years. I was a solid student. I had jobs and was working in my field before I even graduated and partying every night, all the time. No exceptions.

Steve:

Yeah. And I, I know at least in my experience because things were going so well and like I was achieving all the things that I wanted to achieve. I felt at the time it was hard for me to kind of realize that I had a problem because I was using like, look at all the good things I have going on as kind of justification for the fact that every single light I was just blacking out.

WT:

Right. I mean, it's that, you know, I'm, I'm not like those people because I have X, Y, Z, and a yeah. You know, look at, look at how together I have my life in all these ways. Please look at that. So you don't have to look at all the ways that my life is falling apart. Like, look over here. Look over there. Yeah.

Steve:

exactly. And what changed where you, you realized that you might have a, a problem or an issue? Oh,

WT:

I, I got something called Rado dialysis. Mm-hmm which is where the alcohol and drugs dehydrate you to a point. Your kidneys, fill up with proteins and nitrates and can't, can't move them through your system. And so your kidneys shut down. So I had complete renal failure, four heart attacks, and spent a lot of time in intensive care on dialysis. And the, you know, what's funny about dialysis in particular, is your kidneys shut off and then some people recover. Mm. So, you know, I think I'd been in the hospital at least 30 days before I started to really have clear, conscious thought and, and realized sort of in that process that people were, they weren't sure whether I was gonna live yet, you know, to be in the hospital for so long. And they're like, you might live, you might survive this. So that was sort of the beginning of my path to sobriety. It was, it was a real eye opener, but I still. I still laid in the hospital for months and said, oh, I don't have a drug problem. I just had a really rough night. Mm-hmm like, I just, I just hit it too hard on Friday. And, and I was dating a guy who was a club, a promoter, and. We, you know, nightlife life was, was how we were living mm-hmm and I got out and sort of said, oh, this is fine. Like I can recover and get healthy. And, and I won't, I don't have to like give this up. I just have to moderate mm-hmm and we, I don't know, we'd had a, like, particularly rambunctious. and he disappeared with my ATM card. Mm-hmm and I was, I was going to physical therapy every day, cuz after the hospital, I think I weighed 92 pounds. When I got out of the hospital, like I was the muscle atrophy was insane and I was trying to get back to dancing and circus and. So I was going to physical therapy every day. And I went into physical therapy that day. And my physical therapist said, I don't know what you're doing. Like, I don't wanna make any judgements about what's happening outside this space, but he said, you're not making gains. Like you should be. And if you keep doing this the way you're doing it, you're never gonna dance again.

Steve:

Mm-hmm Yeah. And then, and then what happened 20 years and five months ago that like finally it stuck.

WT:

I mean, that was the moment. Oh, that was, he said, you're never you dance again. And I was like, well, that's non-negotiable. So I went home a big fight with the boyfriend, where have you been all of these things? But I was like, we gotta change. And so we started going, we went to our first 12 step meeting that night mm-hmm and I did my 90 and 90. I went through a couple sponsors. I did the steps three times in the first year. And co through them. My first sponsor was like, we're just gonna work through the steps. She's like, it's gonna be awful. It's gonna be ugly. You're gonna think it's stupid. And I'm gonna keep you moving through them, which I thought was really amazing. I, I was really grateful to her for that. Cuz then like as soon as we finished, she was like, great. Now you can really do them.

Steve:

Mm-hmm Yeah, I can understand that. I know that it, it took me a little while longer, but I did finish them right around my one year. And so now we're going through another piece of literature as kind of a palette cleanser before we go into redoing them again. But I'm gonna, you know, go through them again. I'm like, okay, now I know what I'm doing as I work them.

WT:

Yeah. You know, it's like layers of an onion. Yeah. You know, every, every bit that you get. Clearer and healthier. You find more mm-hmm yes. And when we talk about, when we talk about the disease being insidious, like all of that language, you know, there there's like always another set of defenses and traumas and bullshit that you have to work through to really be present in this. Yeah.

Steve:

And what has been being present in this life? Like how has that changed your life over the past couple decades and being sober?

WT:

I like every way. Yeah. In all the ways. I mean, you know, I think I. Like I said, sort of in our intro, I've really gained the, the right or the, the gift of being able to have a life that feels sort of steady mm-hmm which then makes adventures or crises or, or, or, you know even trauma is like, I have so much more foundation to stand on and I have this great set of tools. You know, I feel like the serenity prayer is like EV every day, all the time. Yeah. Whether it's from my ingrown toenail or like my really awful complicated relationship with my father. It's, you know, I, I just keep rooting back to this sort of moment of surrender and really using that tool. Like, can I change this? What does that. If I can't, how do I accept it?

Steve:

Yeah, it's definitely one of my favorite things I've learned over the past year and a half or so. And how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addiction and recovery? Definitely

WT:

in my addiction, mm-hmm, you know, my guilt and shame around being gay and being queer and being not male in the way that. Been raised to be mm-hmm you know, my sexuality and my gender, where there was so much shame and I am I'm really sexually expressive. I love sex. I think it's like the most magical thing that we were ever given. And, and that shame, like the, the combination of like wanting all the time and desiring and having a rich fantasy life and being what I call a sex adventurist mm-hmm And feeling like I shouldn't, and like I was bad and wrong for wanting to like that, that shame and guilt was killing me. Yeah. That, you know, I was drowning it and, and, and like using drugs and alcohol as a way to make space for, for behavior that I couldn't give myself permission. So in terms of, in my sobriety, You know, it, it really became clear to me through step work that I had to define a moral code for like what, what actions intimately felt. Right. Mm-hmm for me, right. That I had to like really actually dig into what's negotiable and what's nonnegotiable. And what as being morally slutty and morally, sexually expressive. And morally non-monogamous what does that look like for me? Yeah.

Steve:

I know a friend recently recommended the book, the, the ethical slut. And so I know, like that's something that's on, on my kind of wish list that I'm gonna recheck out eventually, just because so many, like questions have opened up about like my sexual preferences and things like that since getting sober that like, before it was like I was having the sex, I thought I was supposed to have, or like the sex that I could get when I was already like half in the. Oh,

WT:

my God, that sex we thought we were supposed to have is like, it's not even great sex. No, it was not. That book is so good. It was really You know, that book came into my life pretty long after I started to really live in a way that feel, felt authentic to me. And I had this, there was maybe a year of my life where people from every area of my life, from like my sort of queer sex partners to. You know, straight friends that I worked with, I kept having people be like, you know, I just read this book that made me think of you. It's called the ethical slut. And I didn't I didn't really know much about the book. Yeah. But after about the 10th person said that to me, I started to have this little crisis self-perception I was like, why, why does everybody think of me when they read this SLU book? Like, is that, am I cool with But I, I am cool with it. Yeah. I sort of like pandemic was really interesting cuz a lot of my friends came to me to talk about non-monogamy mm-hmm they were like, oh, you know, our relationship is changing and you have all of this language for this and now I want to think about it. So let's, let's talk about it.

Steve:

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

WT:

oh meditation mm-hmm journaling therapy, keeping my sober community in my life, making sure that I don't keep it to myself. You know, those, those thoughts get rearing. And I, I know that I need to say it to somebody else.

Steve:

Yeah, certainly. I, I, I don't know what I would do without my sober community. yeah. And

WT:

gratitude, like really a gratitude practice goes such a long way. Yep.

Steve:

Excellent. And if, if you could give one piece of advice to someone who is sober, curious, and, or newly sober, what would it be?

WT:

Ooh, sober. Curious. I feel like you'd give this advice a lot, which is, if, if you're curious about being sober, then something needs to change in your life. Mm. right. And, and 12 steps are a framework that will help you make change in your life. Right. They just are, they don't, I don't, I don't, you know, I don't have any feelings about whether people relapse or whether people are California sober or whether, you know, like the shape of your sobriety actually. Doesn't I don't, I don't think that gold standard anything matters, but I think. If you're asking whether you need to make changes in your life, it's because something's out of place and there is a community and a framework that has worked for people that will make your life better. Yeah, it will unearth. What's true. So like give it, give it a full, a full college try. Yeah.

Steve:

Excellent. Yeah. That's so well said. And in regard to someone who's newly sober, what kind of advice would you give to help them kind of stick on that?

WT:

oh, I, you know, it, it will, it will get easier. Mm-hmm I think that's the advice I always want to give. Like I just, it will get easier. Stay honest, stay honest with yourselves, stay honest with your community. And if you think you're being honest, get more honest.

Steve:

Yeah. Honesty has been something that I've always struggled with in my act of drinking and addiction. I think a lot of us have. And so learning how to live in honest life has been definitely it it's helped make it easier. And you know, it doesn't mean that bad days or bad moments don't happen, but I feel like I just have more tools in my tool belt now to be able to get through them safely and soberly.

WT:

Yeah, you can become buoyant. Mm-hmm. Right. You're you're just, you know, the wave's still gonna crash up over you. It happens. Life is, is a rough journey. It's challenging being a human, but you build these better tools and you're like, oh, I've, I've got floaties now. Yeah, exactly. I have a life reserver and floaties mm-hmm

Steve:

yeah. Yeah. And no matter how we get sober, we generally find a couple sayings or quotes that we like to try and live by. Do you have any favorites?

WT:

I, the two that like really stuck with me the most one is family knows how to push your buttons. They installed them. Mm-hmm which has often helped me through moments. Just recognizing that those patterns were built in mm-hmm and that I don't actually have to respond. Yeah. And the other is, well, feel it now feel it later. That's the whole saying, right? Yeah. That one helps me, you know, sometimes I, I have a real tendency to want to run from my feelings. Yeah. And so just that idea that you're gonna feel it, maybe just like do it or do it now, or you can do it later, but like make a space for it. Mm-hmm

Steve:

yeah, I agree. That's good advice. And I'm similar where like, most of my drinking and use was about escaping from feeling things. And I'm like, now I get to feel things and sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not so great, but I get to do it no matter what, there it is. yeah. Yeah. And I found you on Instagram where you also share how you're an artist. Can you share how, like your art and your sobriety have kind of affected one another?

WT:

Yeah, I, you know, I thought I had an answer to this question when you've sent them forward and now being an artist is all I've ever wanted to do. Mm-hmm you know, and, and it's taken so many forms. In my lifetime, but I, I think that before I was sober, that part of me was chaos. It felt surprised that part of me was chaos. Just like everything else. Yeah. You know, it felt out of my control, Mm. And I, I feel like sobriety brought so many ways of ordered thinking in my life. And one of, one of those was that I developed an ability to have process, you know, to sort of work through the, the strains of, of technique and the challenges of not the right idea or not the right vision. And, and to be able to apply the same kind of methodical. Thinking and actions to, to create product which, and I've, I've been blessed with just a, a really fun and wonderful and fulfilling career.

Steve:

Excellent. And if a listener was interested in finding more of you or your art, how would they find

WT:

you? Oh, they can find me on Instagram at Whitt Mac, w I T M a C. A lot of the, the R a feature there is mostly sort of erotic pop art.

Steve:

Sure. That'll go over very

WT:

well with our list. No, nobody likes that

Steve:

stuff. no, we all love it. And so I'd like to thank you for your, your interview. It was great getting to know you better. Yeah, thank you. It was fun and stick around and Patreon listeners. Make sure you head on over to the Patreon page so you, we can talk more about WTS experiences in sobriety. You can join that or head on over to patreon.com/gae podcast. If you're interested in sharing your story getting involved with the show or just saying hi, you can email me@gaapodcast.com or find me on Instagram at GAA podcast. And be sure to follow wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Mon or no 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.