gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

Put Yourself First ft. Wes

September 15, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 102
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
Put Yourself First ft. Wes
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Wes 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 Wes on Instagram @lifeofweston and follow us while you are at it @gAyApodcast

Also, check out Wes' podcast, Two Bottles Deep, wherever you find podcasts!

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 Bennett, Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for my sponsor. As of this recording, I am 448 days sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome Wes. Hey, how's it going? It's going well. I am so glad we got the chance to connect and get to get to know you better now. Yes. Thanks for having me. Yeah. Why don't you start with telling us a little bit about yourself.

Wes:

Absolutely. Well, I'm from Illinois originally. I grew up in a really small town, so kind of coming out was kind of hard so to speak and, but since then, it's been really, really great. I went to a great university, had great fraternity brothers. That's kind of when my partying started. Then I've lived in Chicago, Austin, Texas, and now Nashville, Tennessee. I, I do real estate. I have a podcast as well that bridges the gap between the gay and straight communities by just having great conversations and Yeah, that's that's I guess a sum, a summary of who

Steve:

I am. excellent. Well, sounds great. And why don't we then just jump right into it then, and tell me more about what your experiences with drugs or alcohol were like.

Wes:

it was all alcohol. And as a child in that small town, I, I didn't drink, I didn't have the crazy high school experience, but I did have the college experience. And even though I was in a fraternity, it actually started before the fraternity days, you know, I was 19 moved away from home. It was kind of peer pressure. I never really liked the taste of alcohol. It was just something that I did. So, and then I enjoyed drinking. I was a shy kid, so it brought me to this whole nother level of, I could talk to people. And at that point I was like, I can meet girls and, and all this, you know, trying to pray the, the, the gay away. But but alcohol. You know, thrusted me into this popularity being big man on campus and just being really popular. Cause I'm. Very social person, but that just really kinda broke down some walls of people. I never would've talked to joined a fraternity. I probably never would've joined, which I'm, I'm super glad I did join it. I have some, a lot of those guys are still really, really close and accepting of me. So all in all it turned out really, really well, but honestly, Steve, I just never really liked to drink. It was just something that I did. And that was 20 years ago, you know, I'm 40. A little over, I'm gonna be 42 this year. And I'm like, God, for the last 20 plus years of my life, everywhere I've went, I've had a drink in my hand. Every picture I took, I had a drink in my hand and there were a lot of nights I don't remember. So that just kind of, I just wanted to stop one day.

Steve:

Yeah. And especially like when you first start like stopped, hold on one. So like when you first stopped, how did you do it? Did you use any sort of extra daily practices or anything to kind of help you along the way?

Wes:

It was a, you know, I don't know if anybody else can, can relate to this, but I, I mean the last really five, six years I've been here in Nashville, I have not wanted to drink, but real estate in happy hours. I'm on two boards of directors for nonprofits. I have a podcast called two bottles, deep for God's sakes. Like I, I was just around it and it was just a norm. It was my life. It's all I really knew for the past two decades. Plus. So I was for the past six years, I just didn't want to drink, but I still did it. I still did Sunday fun day. I still, and even though I drank a lot less, I was just kind of going through those motions. I always, you know, I'm an early riser, but I love to hike and, and just be in the outdoors and kayak and do fun things. But. One day, I just woke up. It was October 18th, 2021. So I'm 303 days in as of today. And I, I was in the barber chair. My barber was doing a, a fast cleanse thing and he had this gallon of water there and he spun me around the chair and I saw myself and I looked horrible. I wasn't drinking water. I, my skin was bad. You know, it's such bright lights in those barber shops. I just, I looked at myself and I said, no more. And, and so I did like lot of my friends were doing the 75 hard challenge, like two workouts, a day gallon of water. I don't really like to workout. So I did the gallon of water a day and the no liquor and read 10 pages a day. So I started doing that kinda like a 75 soft and the end of it was new. Year's. And my birthday is December 30th. So I'm like, well, maybe on new year's day, I'll have my celebratory drink downtown Nashville. Like we always do January 1st come around. I'm like, no, I wanna go one more day. And here we are 300, three days later. So that's how I started, you know, I have an uncle who's a drug addict and I've seen the struggles. I'm very fortunate. I I've had a lot of struggles. His struggles have been a lot different than mine. I have a lot of friends that struggle with alcohol, so I think we can all relate to each other, but then each person's journey is very unique. So I don't wanna make it sound that it was easy that I was just sitting in a chair and said, I didn't wanna drink. Cuz there has been a lot of challenges. I've lost friendships, but yeah, that, that's how it happened. But every day is it's a choice and I could have stopped my cleanse. But I just, I don't need that in my life anymore.

Steve:

That's excellent. And what would you say some of your favorite parts of being sober?

Wes:

not being cloudy. Like there's times at work. I would just not remember what I was doing. Yeah. And, and I struggle because it was only a couple drinks, but it was every night. So I was drinking a lot every week. Right. And it adds up. So I don't realize once I got sober. I realized how much more clear minded I was and less confused I was. And better energy level. You know, like I said, I've always hiked and kayak and love going to movies. And I live in music city. So I love going to concerts and shows and, and ride rounds. It's just, I'm clear minded now I'm happier. I never really had a lot of anxiety until the pandemic and now there's, there was a ton of anxiety and a lot of that's gone now, you know, so there's just so much there's just so many positives. That have come out to non-drinking and it just doesn't make it worth it. When you look back at it not only the money you spent, but just all the fake relationships you have, and those just surface level relationships you have at a bar, those aren't deep, those aren't meaningful. And although I've, I've made a lot of friends, I don't want it to sound like those friends, or if they listen to this, that they're grouped into that category, cuz they're not, but, but a lot of. Those people that I, that I drink with, I'll never see again, cause that that was our bond. Right. But I have a lot of great friends who still partake in drinks and they still invite me and I still go, I still can be around it. I just choose not to partake in it. We still have great relationships my close friends anyway.

Steve:

Excellent. And how would you say looking back that your sexuality played a role with your drinking and your addiction?

Wes:

I think, you know, I refer back to college when I started to drink. Yeah. I knew I was gay. Oops. I knew I was gay in fourth. But you know, I hit it. I dated girls in college and just out, out of college. So to me, drinking, just kind of masked it. I was a different person. Even after I came out and everybody accepted me family came around and accepted me. I still was a different person when I drank, I was still that fun person, but I was still just a different person. And so I think I was just trying to mask. Mask who I was and those, those feelings of being gay. And back in those days, I was late nineties, early two thousands when I was in college that I'm like, God, I need to hide this. You know? So, so I, I really honestly did it to fit in and to, to kind of just suppress a, a part of my life.

Steve:

Yeah. And what would you say now that you've been sober? Your relationship like with the community has changed?

Wes:

Yeah. Less, I'm less in the gay community. Honestly I have a lot of gay friends. A lot of straight friends, black friends, white friends. I mean, it's just the, the, the range is still there. It's just. It's less in the gay community. It's just more centered around drinking and, and bars. And, and even, like I said, for the past six years, I haven't wanted to go to bars. I haven't wanted to drink, but I still did it just because my friends were doing it. I was single. I maybe I would meet someone. So I just kind of went with the flow rather than take charge and take control of myself. I didn't have any self control. I, I left that up to everybody else and the alcohol. So it it's, it's changed a lot. I don't know if that answers your question.

Steve:

Yeah, no, it, it certainly does. And what are some practices you use in your daily life to help keep you sober?

Wes:

Practices in my daily life. I still, I, I read a lot more that takes up more time. I live downtown Nashville, so I love to get out and walk. Work keeps me busy nonprofits, keep me busy, but those are things I love to do. And when you find that passion, then, then you don't, you almost real. I don't miss what I didn't. You know, there's a quote that says once you ch once you choose it and have it, you're less inclined to give it up. And I chose sobriety and I have sobriety and I don't wanna give that up. So I can still like my butt at one of my best friends, my cohost on the podcast. He had his birthday party on the drag bus here in Nashville. And I went, we, we had a great time. I was around it, but I was still like trying to, you know, support my friends. And I know alcohol's a big part. Our society and I know I'm gonna be around it and I don't want to judge others, but I, I chose this and no matter what environment I'm at, I'm happy with myself. And I have control over myself now where I never did before. So, so that resonated a lot with me. And it's, at times it's not easy, but it's worth it. So it's kind of like if you're on a diet or you're trying to give up soda, or you're trying to give up chocolate or, you know, or, you know, Someone who becomes a diabetic, you have to hold change your, change, your life around. And we choose that it's not easy, but it's worth it. And I think you just have to kind of have your eye on the prize every day. And then that's what gets me through.

Steve:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And if you could give one piece of advice to someone who is sober, curious, or newly sober, what would it be?

Wes:

Hmm. So there's, there's so much running through my head. I guess from my experience, I was that group. Think what is everybody doing? I never, ever, ever put myself first. And, and I think being gay, we always put other people in front of us. We put their feelings in front of our own. What are they gonna think when we come out? Am I gonna be disowned? When I come out? Am I gonna be homeless when I come out? So I did that with liquor. It was just kind of you know, parallel to those feelings of when I was struggling with being gay back way back in the day. It's like, am I. We're gonna have friends. You know what, if you, if you lose those people, you lose those people. And lucky for me, the ones I've lost. Weren't, weren't close to me. I'm invited less to those parties and those dinners and those Sunday fun days, but everything I've gained, I, I, I don't worry about what I've lost anymore. Cuz I'm gaining. I have a whole world in front of me and I was worried about. 20 people. you know, it's kinda like when you break up with an X there's millions of men out there, but you're focused on this one little part. Mm-hmm it's like focus on all the beauty that's in front of you, because all those people held you back that nobody needs to hold you back. And, and you're responsible for that. I was responsible for that for all those years and, and I'm thriving now. I feel great. It it's just, the reward is, is much greater than kind of sticking with status quo. Sticking with that friend group and, and drinking or what, whatever your drug of choice

Steve:

is. Yeah. And I'm curious to see cuz from what I understand, what came first, the podcasting or your sobriety podcasting.

Wes:

So yeah.

Steve:

How has that changed your kind of persona on, on the podcast?

Wes:

well, we call it two bottles deep for a reason. Yeah. We. We have long story short. My friend STIA her and I met at a bar here in Nashville. We had both just moved here eight years ago and she come up with the idea, my buddy Philip and I he's one of the funniest people I've ever met. We wanted to. Bridge the gap. He's a gay guy as well, but we wanted to bring the communities together. Right. And we were around Stasia's. We were at her house for a little campfire and we were having great conversation. And she's like, when y'all are two bottles, deep is when you have the best conversations. So our podcast is named two bottles deep because of her. And we started we'd each have a drink. And then we'd start recording. We'd talk about coming out about relationships, about. Cancel culture, Morgan Wallen. And I mean, we're still going we're two year two seasons in. And when I stopped drinking, it was interesting. Our dynamic changed a little bit because, you know, once you have a little liquid courage, you're gonna say some, some things like, like we all have done. But honestly I was really, I'm really honest on that, on that podcast. So it, to me mentally, I it's changed me. and the way I approach things in, on air off air. I'm I'm more quiet, you know, so I have to really ramp it up because I'm actually a really shy person, but I go to a lot of networking events. I do at a lot of nonprofit work. And if I don't have that wine in my hand, which I haven't for the past 300, three days, it's harder to talk to people. Yeah. It's so it's changed the dynamic. My co-host is super funny. We've had some great, great episodes and we're, we're loving it. It's fun for us. But. But yeah, it's changed it a little bit. So I'm, I'm learning to speak differently and I, I, I can think clearer mm-hmm but it's like, I miss having that liquid courage just to catapult me there. mm-hmm, taking a shot and going on, so it's, it's been really difficult. It's been challenging.

Steve:

Yeah. Well, we'll certainly dive more into some of the challenges in the post show, but for now, how can our listeners find you and your podcast?

Wes:

Absolutely. Instagram. I am life of Weston that's w E S T O N. Facebook west Schmitz. And the podcast, you can find it anywhere that you stream your podcast and that's called two bottles deep T w O bottles deep.

Steve:

Excellent. Well, thank you very much. I'll make sure to also put that in the show notes. So listeners can just scroll up and click on over. Stick around Wes. We're gonna continue this conversation. But I'd like to do it. Thank you listeners, for listening to another episode, you can head on over to our Patriot Paige and join the family today. Continue on and listen to exclusive post shows like the one we're about to record. If you're interested in sharing your story, getting involved with the show or just saying hi, you can email me at Gaya podcast, gmail.com or find me on Instagram Gaya podcast. Be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Thursday, until that time stay sober friends.