gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

Straight-Edge ft. Michael R

September 01, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 100
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
Straight-Edge ft. Michael R
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Michael 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

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Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to Gaya. A podcast about sobriety for the GT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennett Martin. I am an alcoholic. I am grateful for finding a new job that eliminates any sales pressure. As of this recording, I am 443 days sober. And today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome to the show, Michael. Why don't we start off by introducing yourself to the listeners. Tell us a little bit more about you and your journey.

Michael:

I am 33 in a master's program and working and living life. My issue in particular, wasn't focused so much on alcohol as marijuana and abuse of edibles because they tasted so damn good. Yeah. And realizing that. That was something that could become problematic, like the use of the substance, as opposed to it being quote like non-addictive or whatever other lovely words they like to throw around with pot. There's a history of alcohol is in my family. So I've always been like hypervigilant about alcohol and it never occurred to me that there could be an issue with a different substance that like it, that the substance isn't so much the issue as like the behavior around it. And that was an interesting learning curve over the last like year or.

Steve:

Yeah, I, I can imagine. I know that those were my top two quote unquote, like with it was drinking and if I couldn't drink, I'd be smoking pots, you know, or vaping it or how however I can get my hands on it. Yeah. And before we get a little more into what it was like in the thing, you know, in the worst parts of your addictions, what would you say some of your favorite hobbies in sobriety are to start off on a brighter tone?

Michael:

My hobbies. Aren't that much different in sobriety. So much as that, I actually indulge in them. Mm-hmm like I would get stoned and be stoned all day and pop an edible every couple hours and play video games all day. And while video games aren't inherently bad. all of a sudden four days had gone by and you're like, wait, it's Friday. I thought it was Tuesday mm-hmm what's time. So I think like it's not so much that I have favorite hobbies that I'm doing is what I'm actually doing. The hobbies that I have. Like I'm writing, I'm reading, I'm like going outside and hiking. Whereas the, my use of substances kept me very much a homebody and then created a lot of anxiety. So it was. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy of being anxious. So I stayed home, but I was staying, I was anxious because I was staying home, but too anxious to go out. And it was just like, well, I guess I better just like treat this and used it more as like a coping mechanism, but it had been the thing that made me need a coping mechanism to begin.

Steve:

Yeah, I can certainly relate with that. And so, you know, a lot of times we talk about how it was like fun at first and you know, that we, we certainly didn't stick with it because it was bad from the start. So like, oh

Michael:

no, it was great. I remember smoking pot here and there in my twenties, having the odd edible, having a lot of fun. I remember sex while high was amazing. Sex sober is good too. It just like, it was it just, you know, I like the alt I, like, I enjoyed the altered state when everything was going on. Cuz like I like the edibles cuz it was like a body high. So my limbs were tingly thing. Like you felt things differently. Mm-hmm and, but like I never had access to it. I always got it from a friend or, you know, someone passed a bag of like chocolates around at a party and you take one, but once it was decriminalized and then legalized in the state, I live in, I had ready access to it. So I would, and for a while, I was really good at limiting myself to having like one or two and putting like the container away. And then with COVID And either working from home or just not working you needed to do something to fill the time and that was there.

Steve:

Yeah. I, I believe that was a lot of our experiences with COVID kind of accelerating something that, you know, was a prob problem of course, beforehand, but kind of puts the magnifying glass on at all a little bit more. Mm-hmm and how would you say your life's changed now that you're sober? Not, you know, not smoking.

Michael:

So I actually, in March, end of March, decided to go a hundred days without using anything. And that ended on like July 2nd mm-hmm and then I tried to reintroduce it and realized after a couple weeks in July that just not something I can have. Yeah. And it's not like, so I guess I'm, re-upping on the bandwagon, but I, like, I remember, and this might be wording because like, I remember when I was growing up there was this whole movement called, like being straight edge mm-hmm meaning you didn't use substances and all that other stuff. And it was funny. Like I realized I have. I don't like the word sober. I don't like thinking about it in that regard, but using like a term like straight edge or something is much more like palatable for me. And it's just kind of like interesting. Yeah. I don't know. I think that's

Steve:

where I'm at. Yeah. I mean, what would you say your favorite part of being straight edge is?

Michael:

Oh God. Clarity clarity, like, and being able to like get stuff done, but also like if I'm choosing to just chill out for the day, it's because I made a conscious choice to do it. Not because I couldn't get off my ass mm-hmm not because there was like, not because I was too Dr. St. Tone to drive like that. I'm making a choice not to do it. And I feel like. When you're under the influence or when you're high or whatever, a lot of choices are taken from you because you've made a different choice. Mm-hmm like, and like, I look at my credit card bill and I'm like, oh, look at all the food I ordered when I was stoned. Damn it because like, that's, I think one of the, the other thing too, is like probably having a bit more money in my bank account. Mm-hmm not because of, it was not because it was necessarily expensive to get the substance, but because like, it was expensive to get door dash or to get something delivered because I wasn't, I wasn't gonna drive while I was under the influence, which meant everything had to be delivered. And I. Never a good planner. Like, I'd be like, oh, I should get ice cream. Let me have it edible. Wait, I should have done that the other way around. Yeah. So it's, I think probably one of the best parts is the clarity and then a little bit more financial stability. Yeah,

Steve:

I agree. And how would you say your sexuality played a role in your addiction?

Michael:

I think that at some point, the line blurred between like, Substance make sex more fun to, I need a substance to have sex. Mm-hmm even if it was just sex with myself. Yeah, because I enjoyed the, like I said, the heightened sensations, and I remember looking back on it and not thinking that it was problematic, but looking back now, I'm like, how did you not see that this was an issue where like I'd be horny and then I'd take an ed. I wouldn't just like get off or I wouldn't find someone to get off with, like, I would pause, get high and then return to it. And I'm like, Hmm. There was a, like, it was fun every now and then with an ex to like get stoned and then have sex, but we were never doing it to have sex. Mm-hmm we were doing it because that's what we decided to do in the a. and they happen to overlap, but at the line blurring between it definitely caused an issue.

Steve:

Yeah. And how has that improved since getting straight edge?

Michael:

You can say sober. It's fine. I just no, it just I don't know. I kind of, I feel like I have to relearn and I'm still relearning how to. Be in my body while horny mm-hmm because like you, I feel like I'm feeling things in different places than I did when I was high mm-hmm and that, like, I didn't realize how much of it was affecting my daily life and that and sometimes. How artificial the like horniness was like, get stoned, get horn, get super horny, but not actually be in the mood. Mm-hmm but you, you still like Jack off or have sex anyway. So I think it's a little bit more of like listening and honoring myself and where I'm at than what I was doing

Steve:

previously. Yeah. I can under understand that for sure. I know I went through a period. When, when I got like first sober where I didn't have like much of a drive at all for a while, but then when I finally did, like, it came back with vengeance. And so just like learning that, like, it's not always just like something that you have to be under the influence for, but being able to, to be present during it has been a, a nice experience in sobriety.

Michael:

Yes,

Steve:

definitely. And what are some practices you use in your daily life to help keep you sober and.

Michael:

Have really worked on not turning to something when I'm stressed or having a bad day. I go outside and go for a walk and sweat to death in the summer heat. And when it, like, when there's the urge, now it. I try to use it as a sign of like getting up, moving around or going out and making a point of like, not taking my keys with me because all of a sudden, I, in the past I found myself like halfway to the dispensary without realizing I was like driving there. I just decided to go for a drive. And then I'm like, No, you you're, some, some part of you decided where you were going. Mm-hmm you took a right out of the parking lot and not a left for a reason. And just kind of doing that sort of thing. I know that I can't have pot in my house. Yeah. I cannot be here. And like, I. I don't know. It's just, I have, I haven't experienced anything since like stepping away from it that where like a friend has it has offered it. And I honestly don't know what my choice would be in that situation, because I'm not like when I went for a hundred days, it was very much like I will stick to this. And as the number kept getting higher, it kept getting more and more. Like, I felt more better about myself and it was more interesting and kind of, but realizing that like, okay, like I stepped away, I did kind of like a semi controled experiment and then kind of stopped. I don't even remember the day I stopped for the second time. So I don't have like a count. I'm not like tracking it the way I was before. So. it's just like, I feel like I'm in a slightly weird place with that, cuz I feel like it'd be one of the things I loved about counting the days was knowing like it's been 45 days since you were high. Yeah. Like there's something good about that. And I'm like, do I really wanna restart my count? Like zero when I know it it's more than zero, but I don't wanna like guesstimate and I like it's a stupid problem or issue to have I realize, but. It's also, I'm like annoyed at myself for not remembering when I stopped using it. Yeah. Again, I'm like why, but I don't know. I kind of remember like blinking in July was over and I'm like that that's a problem. Yeah. That's a problem.

Steve:

Yeah. I been there before now. What, what's one piece of advice you would give to someone who is curious about. Eliminating a substance or drug or alcohol from their life.

Michael:

Throw it all out. Mm-hmm throw every little bit out. If it's a substance, do something to the substance that prevents you from using it. I found that to be really powerful. I had some edibles and. Dissolved them a nail Polish remover. And it was like disgusting. And, but like I did it specifically with something I knew if I reached in, it would hurt me. Yeah. Like, cuz like I filled up a jar of nail Polish remover popped all the edibles in, screw the cat back on and threw it out. But like it took me, I think another two or three days to actually take the bottle out to the trash. Mm. like, it was like out to like the dumpster or something like it sat, but I knew like I'm like, and be patient with yourself, I guess. Like I knew I had to like, quote, destroy it before I could throw it out. Mm-hmm and just kind of listen to yourself on that, but like but I think the first thing is like, whatever you have destroy it and get rid of any sort of. I get lack of a better word paraphernalia. Like if you have a shaker and if you paid like a cocktail shaker and you paid $40 for it, drive over it with your car, like get, make it go away, crush it. If you have like a bong, take a hammer and smash it because part of what's gonna happen, at least for me is like, I didn't wanna have to spend money. On things I had already bought, because like, it's sort of like, you know, you throw out your fat pants when you come off a diet because you never, you don't want, you have, and it helps keep you from like eating to buy that size again, because you already owned it. You were already there. And applying that logic helped me a lot. Yeah, I

Steve:

can definitely understand that. And in recovery, we generally love our like sayings and our quotes. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you like to try and live by?

Michael:

Not so much that I try to live by or anything, but I never really understood what one day at a time meant until I was going one day at a time. And that it really is about making a choice, you know? Can I make another hour? Can I make it another like three hours? Can I go another day? And that like a hundred days was a lofty goal for me at the time. And like, honestly, like having one of those like day counter things was super helpful because I was like, oh yeah, no, it's been like 12 days. Oh, it's been 20 days. And then like I feel like it gets easier the longer that you've been going, because at that point, like you wanna keep your streak going. Mm-hmm it's not even that. It's not that the cravings aren't there. It's not that you don't want to, like, for me, it wasn't that I didn't want to get stoned again. It was that I didn't wanna start over at zero again. And like, I don't know it was Al it became like a game or a challenge, like a quest in a video game. Like, you know, when I reach a hundred days, I level up or something, and that was sort of like the one day at a timeframe really made sense and stuck with me.

Steve:

Yeah, I can certainly understand. I, I joke like, cuz I, I use a 12 step program where at first, like you, you try to like learn your concept of a higher power. And I use like HP and like as like health points and video games as like my correlation to kind of make it all click. So I definitely mm-hmm, always relate to, to video game, you know, comparisons or metaphors when it comes to sobriety.

Michael:

Yeah. No it's it's great. And then One of the things I realized too, was that like I got to day, I think I got to like 101 days or 102 days before I tried it again. And it was like, I remember getting to a hundred days and being like, okay, no, like I need to go past a hundred. Like, whatever your goal is, once you get there. You, I felt like this really strong urge to be like, no, I can't do it on day. Like 100. It has to be day like 1 0 1 or 1 0 2. And then like, in retrospect, do I wish I had kept going and would've been on day, like 1 45 now. Yes. But live and learn.

Steve:

Yeah, I understand. And if our listeners wanted to, to find you or follow you somewhere, do you have an Instagram you would mind.

Michael:

Not at all. I go by witan online. W I T triple Z I a N.

Steve:

Excellent. I'll be sure to put that in the show notes. So listeners can scroll up and find you if they like. Sure. Thank you so much, Michael. Stick around, cuz we're going to be heading on over to our Patreon page to continue our conversation about your experiences in sobriety. So you can do that by heading over to patreon.com/gay a podcast. Also be sure to follow us on Instagram at GAA podcast and follow us wherever you're listening. So you can get new episodes when they come out every Thursday until next time stay sober friends.