gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

Marriage ft. Brandy Joe

September 29, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 104
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
Marriage ft. Brandy Joe
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Steve welcomes back Brandy Joe to discuss the topic of marriage- including drinking married, finding sobriety, and growing independently while growing with your partner.

Thank you for listening. Please join our Patreon family for the post-show, along with more exclusive content at www.Patreon.com/gAyApodcast

Follow Brandy Joe on Instagram @brandyjoeplamby 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 G B T plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennett, Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for the amazing sushi I just had for dinner this evening. As of this recording, I am 450 days sober and we're welcoming back previous guest scream, queen and friend of the pod. Brandy, Joe. Welcome back.

Brandy Joe:

Hello, Steve. Oh my God. It's so good to be back as always unhappy. Belated birthday. Thank

Steve:

you, bellybutton birthday. Thank you so much. and what's been new in your life since our last episode.

Brandy Joe:

Oh, my gosh. I think the last time we met was like right before summer, maybe mm-hmm I wanna say, so I produced or directed this fun show called you've got mail. That was like a gay romcom musical parody, mashup mm-hmm which was a lot of fun. And then this PA a couple weeks ago, I went on. AA. Men's kayaking trip. That is the it's the fourth year in a row. I've gone. I went like the first sober summer I had, and I've gone every summer since, and it's really cool. I mean there's only two gay boys among all of us. So it's like a was very scary at first, like being around a bunch of straight guys that always kind of freaks me out. But they're really cool guys. It's fun to kayak. And I went with a friend that I was able to reconnect with. We've just, we had sort of, you know A length of time where we didn't talk. And it was a good chance for us to like rekindle our friendship. And he just means a lot to me. So it was a really good chance for us to do that. And we, we stay in a tent together and drive together. And so, yeah, it was just, you know, sobriety, bringing people together. That's

Steve:

awesome. And also one thing that's been new is I created a patron page and you were the first person to join. What made you decide to join the patron? Oh, my

Brandy Joe:

God. Well, I was listening to your episode. You mentioned that you had one and I, I was in my car driving, listening, and as soon as I got home, I pulled it up and I, I subscribed because I know I say every time I'm on here, but I admire you. I look up to you so much, and I think you do so much for our community. And it was like the least I could do, plus like the more I can hear of these episodes of these guests, the better. So I love that after the show there. An additional episode, it's like a bonus. And I love that. And it's just a chance to dig in even more with the people you talk to, which is just so cool. So, I mean, it's a way for me to say thank you to you and for me, selfishly, to get more out of what you, what you do. Excellent.

Steve:

And what I not to too my own, but like what, what, what a bonus content have you really enjoyed? So,

Brandy Joe:

Let's see. It was after your GSM. Yeah. That that was the main one that I have listened to. And then I've started a few other ones that got sidetracked, but that one, that episode all around was really cool. I really, it makes me want to go so badly. I really want to check that out. I immediately, after that episode bought two of their fans well the one I wanted to buy, they didn't have, so they just sent me a different one and I was like, oh, I really didn't want this one. So then they sent me a different one. I wanted the one day at a time, I think, or keep coming back. Yeah. That's the one I wanted and they sent me a, any lengths and I didn't like, that was like my last choice. Yeah. So I was like, oh, and then they sent me the one that said sober bitch. So I took both of those sober bitch and any lengths to our kayaking trip. And let me tell you this straight men got a good little chuckle out of our rainbow GSM, sober bitch fan

Steve:

I'm sure they did. And coming back, why did you choose to pick the topic of marriage?

Brandy Joe:

You know, I, because I mean, I've been with my husband, like we've been together almost 20 years and you know, we've been married for 12 and it just, you know, he's a huge part of my life and was a huge reason for me to get sober and has been an integral part of me staying sober. So I just thought that that would be a really good topic to talk about and touch on because it's, it's very important in my.

Steve:

Yeah, well, let's dive into it then. Why don't you tell me what you're kind of dating up to your

Brandy Joe:

marriage was like, Sure. So my husband and I met in San Diego, we were doing these porn star plays as they're called they, the titles were like 10 ACN men sleeping with straight men, making porn. They were these silly comedies that they'd get a. Porn star or two to come out and be in them. And, you know, people would pay a dramatic amount of money to come see, like, you know, at the time Matthew Rush was like the big porn star to come see like Matthew Rush in a play called making porn. And of course he would get naked and swing his Dick around a little bit. So Joe had been touring with this. Company for a while. And then I sort of hopped in kind of to take his place, but we ended up meeting in San Diego at, I immediately had a huge crush on him and it took him a couple weeks to realize hi that he had an attraction for me as well. And then we were together two weeks and then we got sent out on the road together as a couple sharing, a one bedroom sublet in an apartment. It was like, make or break. And we were together 24 7. So it was like, okay this is either gonna work or it's gonna, you know, crash and burn and, and it worked. And he's from the Detroit area and he wanted to come back here and he wanted to start a little gay theater cuz there wasn't anything like that here. And I was like, well I'd rather do that than go back home to Wyoming. So can I like tag along? and we came back here to start a theater that took a few years, but now that's been going we're in our 16th season and And yeah, so we've been together a while. We were together seven years and I really wanted to get married. And so it wasn't legal yet in the country, but that I didn't care about that. I just, I want it to be like this thing where we make it like official and we have a big party, a celebration of our partnership and. We did this show, this Christmas show together where it was just the two of us. And we each had like one part and then we did a curtain call like a bow together. And I told all of our friends and our family that were local, that I was doing this and they all bought a ticket. So like there was like a hundred people out there and the audience of people that knew us and loved us and all knew I was gonna propose. At the end, he normally did this little speech and I sort of like hijacked it. And then I was like, I have something else to say. So I got down on one knee and asked him to marry me. And then I put the engagement ring on the wrong hand and whatever. And then like a year later, maybe not even about eight months later, we got married. In our theater. And it was just like a production. I mean, we did a dance to start things off like a dance to walking on sunshine, not like, you know, some slow thing, but it's all choreographed with like our friends. And we had people singing songs and doing monologues from movies and. It was just a, a gay, old time. It was, it was a really, really special day and just sort of simple and, and fun. Just kind of like we are, we're not real big lavish Queens. We, it doesn't take much for us to, to enjoy the best outta life. Yes,

Steve:

certainly not. But, but with that, how did the drinking and drug use affect your marriage?

Brandy Joe:

well, you know, when we first got together, I was about six months off of a crystal mint, meth, like binge that I had done in Chicago. And I sort of was like, I need to take a break from like hard drugs for a while. And so that's when I met him. And I sort of was honest about that. But when we got together, I was a big stoner and I had, I was a stoner for all, like the whole time we were together truly. And I would, I was the partier. Like I would be the one to, to go out to the parties to, you know, Close and lock the night, lock the doors at the end of the night, when we'd have them at like our theater and things like that. And he was more the type to stay home and like read a book and go to bed early. And so I was the party kid and he was okay with that. But like once I got into like my Adderall addiction which was when I went to grad school I mean, that was. I don't know good 12, 13 years into our marriage. And I started doing Adderall a lot to like deal with, you know, all the school work and my, my workload and everything. But then of course it turns into like so many other things you don't really focus on those things. You're you're know you, you get sidetracked and essentially was just like turn into a speed freak again. And so. I just retracted more and more because I didn't want him to know about these secrets I had, and I didn't want him to know any of the stuff that was going on with me, that I was staying up for three days and things like that. And so I just retreated and then it got worse and worse. I quit my job and I didn't tell him. And, you know, I, I started staying at the theater more and more because it was just a way for me to like pull away from him. and I felt less guilt for not paying the bills and things like that because I wasn't staying at home, which I mean, it's ridiculous. But like somehow in my mind, I, I made it make sense there. And I also just retracted from a lot of people in my life when I had cuz my, my heavy usage, my heavy drug usage was like a whole like with people that weren't my friends, like it was with, you know, no one that was close to me knew what was going on. So I would, I would hide it. I would hide it. And one way to do that was to just stay as far away from people as possible. So I, as much as I could, I would not be around my husband because I didn't want to tell him what was going on. He knew there was something happening, but he didn't know what. And so it. You know, on a legal, not a legal sense, but on a financial sense, it really affected us because I just wasn't doing my part. Our, our relationship has always been built around over each of us paying half of everything. I get a meal, you get a meal, we split the bills down the middle. Like that's how we've always been. And all of a sudden I was just sort of putting all the burden on him. I never looked at myself as a selfish person. Like I would be the last word I would use to describe myself, but I look back at my behaviors and like, I was so incredibly selfish and I wasn't realizing it. I just, I was just knee deep in it. And then it turned into crystal meth because Adderall and crystal meth are very similar beasts. If like you don't need Adderall. There, they just, one can so easily turn into the other. So I just, I, I really retracted from him. I kept things from him and I didn't contribute to our relationship. And I, you know, I didn't, I didn't look to him for our friendship because I was just, that was like, what always the glue to our relationship was like, what good friends we were, what good friends we are. And, and I really just pulled away and it was it, it was sad. It was, it was a really dark time.

Steve:

Yeah. And how did he respond when he finally found out about everything that was going on and like, how was that transition from having the problem to getting sober?

Brandy Joe:

So. I had some friends who sort of pulled me aside eventually. And this was, I, I kind of was like a, I turned back into a meth head for maybe like a couple of months. And I had like one like truly bad month where I was doing it a lot. And then I had some friends who sort of were like, are you okay? Like, do you need help? And I I've talked. I think I've told this story on previous episodes, but like I knew that I did, I had the wherewithal to. if I didn't do something now I was gonna lose everything. I was gonna lose my theater. I was gonna lose my husband. I was gonna lose the life I had here in Detroit. I would lose my, my family back home in Wyoming. I would just lose everything. I just knew that somewhere inside me. Like I felt it. And so when I had some people say like, do you need help? Like we know there's something going on. I just had the honesty to say, like I do. And I think it helped like, cuz Joe. My husband is Joe. And there were multiple times. He was like, what's going on? Like he knew there was something, but like, I just, I could not tell him. And there was just something I think in these two friends who just sort of were like, Hey, what's going on? We know something's horrible. Do you need help? Like, there was just something in, in that delivery from them that just made, and it might have just been that moment. I just reached that peak where I was like, I gotta, I mean, I remember prior to this, there was an episode where I was up for like seven days straight. Like, I mean, things were not good. mm-hmm and, and so when they said that, I was like, yeah. So I went away to a rehab, like three days later, I was at a rehab center. Again, I wasn't, I didn't call Joe and say, Hey, I'm gonna go away to rehab. I. Scared. I didn't wanna tell him I was a speed freak. I didn't wanna tell him how bad things were. And so my friend, the mutual friend who sort of, you know, was like, well, my brother's been in rehab. I know how to connect you. And I know how to get you in. And he called Joe and said, you know, he's gonna go to rehab in a couple of days. Can you like go take him to find out where he's gonna go? And so Joe took me to rehab. I was there a week and he was able to come visit and I was like gonna tell him everything. And he came and he had a friend of ours there with him and I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. So he left in like that whole next week in all of my meetings. I just talked about how I needed to come clean to him. Like, that's one of the things you realize is you write, you're keeping track of all these things and all these things you've done and all these people you've hurt and it's all just coming. Like it's becoming more clear in your head, like all this shit that you have done. And, and I knew. Get anywhere I had to come clean to him more than anything. And so he came to visit me like a couple days before my two week stint was up there and like, I just knew I had to do it. And I just told him, I was like, I've been doing crystal meth. I've been doing Adderall for years and it was so hard. Like, I didn't think for an instant, he would be like, well, we're done. I'm outta here. But he's like, I had no idea. Like I thought you were in rehab because you smoked too much pot I was like that. I don't think that's a thing. Maybe it is but most people don't go to rehab just for, you know, being a big pothead. But, but I know it can also, you know, I was down, I was a shell of the person of the soul that I was like, I, the person he met, I was not that guy anymore. I, I didn't have that same spirit. So I think that automatically, you know, explained a lot. I'd been arrested earlier in the year for like this car issue I had, but they found Adderall my car. I didn't tell him that part. So I just came clean about everything. And I'm so glad I did cuz like right when I got outta rehab, a detective had contacted him cause they were looking for me for not paying, not coming to court for this Adderall charge. I had. Because I wasn't reading the mail and I thought it got swept under the rug. I truly was like that ignorant and, and this detective like reached out to my husband and was like, we're looking, you know, for Brandy, Joe plan back, like, you know, do you know where he is? And so two days outta rehab here, I am thinking like, everything's great. And Joe's like, by the way a detective called me, they need you. And I, then all of a sudden I was worried I was going to jail. So I'm so glad I came clean because I was able to speak openly. And honestly about the court issues I had, which were plentiful. But, you know, I just did the right thing and I was already on my way to recovery and it really, all the court stuff worked out my favor. I was supposed to be on probation for two years and I only was on probation for one. And it was I think, a good first year to spend. In sobriety, wasn't being on probation, you kind of are forced to do the right thing or else you are going to prison. And and I made it out and I, I mean, he was very supportive the whole time. I didn't have a car for a while. He drove me to my, you know, the first day I was at a rehab. He's like, you're going to an AA meeting. I know that's what you need. You need to do 90 and 90. So he was just like a huge proponent of my sobriety and just anything I needed, he was there for me that way. Yeah.

Steve:

That's awesome. And H how would you say your relationship and your marriage has evolved? Since getting

Brandy Joe:

sober. I mean, we reconnected, which was huge because I mean, being in grad school, especially like a theatrical grad school, like I was like, I would go down there at like nine in the morning and get home at like 11 at night. So like, we were already disconnected just from that alone. No less like add in an Adderall addiction where I'm doing that a lot as well. And therefore spending time, like away from him. So. We reconnected. And we were able to cuz there were so many times where like I seemed to be looking for these connections elsewhere when I had this like great connection right in front of me living. Right, right with me there all the time, like who had my back completely. And I just sort of lost touch of that. And by no fault of his, it was all me and I, but I think I don't blame grad school, but that's sort of where it started that disconnect and it just sort of continued from there and. Over like my time in sobriety, we've just had a chance to get to know each other again. And I think that that has been a, a huge thing. After our last episode, I sort of realized, like I hadn't made an amend to him. Like when I got outta rehab, I said, okay, I know I haven't been paying my bills. I know that I was crappy. I know that I did this and this and this. Like, how can I make that up to you? Which was like, kind of an amend, but like I was so early, I didn't know what a proper amend was. And after we recorded one of our last episodes, I knew he listened to it. And I just, I was in a meeting and someone was talking about an amends and I just like realized I had it. I knew I had it made an amend to him, but like, I just was like, you need to do that. And like now is the time like, he just, he didn't know some of the things I talked about in our episodes. So he listened and he was like, wow, I didn't know this and this. And. So like, I, I went downstairs after this online meeting and I was like, I need to talk to you. And so, I mean, it was hard cuz men's, aren't easy, especially with someone you love with all of your heart. But I made a true and proper amends to him and he was just as gracious and, you know, loving as the first time where I gave sort of a half-ass amends. But to do it properly and to really talk through some things felt so good. So I think. I mean, and I've been sober for four years or something. Like, I mean, it took a long time to do that amends. That was the most important one mm-hmm And so things only get better because I get to, I get to spend time with him. I mean, you understand like you and your husband, like are super close, you have similar interests, you have a podcast together. Like you guys are so adorable.

Steve:

oh, thank you. Yeah, but I mean, if anything, like all of that, like made like doing the immense process with him, like even. Nerve wracking, like, because we have this whole life together. Like, one thing that I learned in my spray was like, if something didn't work out, like it wouldn't be like the game over end of the world that I once thought it was when I was like drinking and using, and basically just like relying on him to take care of me. But at the same time, I was like, I want our life to work. And like, I'm doing all these right things right now. And it was really interesting because like, he was very big. You know, he, he he's like, I know most of the things that you've done piece he's like, I don't want your amends to be like a list of like every specific single thing, because he's like, I don't wanna like relive it. I don't need to know all the he's like, I know enough to like, not need to know more. So it was very much more like I, and I had worked with my sponsor and like how to like talk about it, but like, it was very much more just like, Me kind of making almost like vows, like wedding vows of like, well, I promise I'm going to do this today. And every day going forward, like I promise I'll do this. Like I might not have always done it in the past. And even that like any, he responded great and it was healing and like, needed to be said. But I, I like, I feel like even with the broad strokes of the apology, it was like really rough. I can only imagine if one day he's like, you know what? I do want to hear it all. I'll be like, oh no.

Brandy Joe:

and you know what happened? I, I love all of. Because I, I feel it in my bones. Like, I, I, I really do. I find lots of these things, especially like men's or like doing the right thing. I feel like you feel it in your gut when the time is to do something. Mm-hmm And you have to grab it. It's like, it's like going around on, and this is so old school. I don't even know why I know of this, cuz I've never seen one, but like those old school, like Merry go round or fair Merry go rounds. And there's like a ring and you're supposed to like reach out and like grab the ring in the middle. I've read about it in stories. I've never seen one. Okay. But it's a, it's a thing like you reach out and if you grab the ring, you get like keep it. I think, I don't know. It's such a weird example to use. But I've heard about this and it that's sort of what it feels like that moment when you're supposed to do the right thing. When you have a phone call, you should make, when you need to make an amend, when you need to make an appointment, when you need to take care of something, that's just hanging out in your brain. So you gotta grab it and do it. Otherwise it just festers in it. And then you'll forget about it. And then eventually it's gonna like haunt you in your dreams again. Mm-hmm And so I, I find. When those moments come, the important thing for me to do is grab 'em and actually like handle them. Yeah. It's been a huge part.

Steve:

I couldn't agree more now I'm like episode title, just grab 'em Now, if a listener is struggling in their marriage and sobriety, like what kind of advice would you have for someone?

Brandy Joe:

I mean, I, it sounds so simple, but I mean, communication, I think is huge. It's. I lost track of in my marriage and why it got so rough. There is I wasn't communicating because I mean, secrets, they just like turn into like ugly weeds in your head. And then they turn into like ugly monsters. And I mean, it's just, that's not good for anyone. So you just got to handle them and. if you need to first talk to your sponsor, like you talked about or a therapist, like about what you want to speak about. I think that can be helpful if it's something you're scared. Like, I don't know how I'm gonna talk about this. I promise you talking about it and getting it out of your head and taking that like. Coat of like barbed wire and like unwrapping it from your soul is just going to make you feel so much freer. So that communication I just think is, is so, so huge. And I mean, I'm not like an expert in anything truly, but like, if you, if you're struggling your marriage. Again, talking to someone because maybe you're not with the right person. If you're with someone who's not being supportive of you, who's bad for your sobriety, then maybe you don't need to be with that person. But I mean, again, I'm not saying like, if you're in a bad marriage, like you should leave right now, but you should examine that with someone who is somewhat of an expert and find out are, you know, You may know in your gut as well. Like I was talking about that gut feeling. You may just know, like this, person's not healthy for you. And so I think communication is great, but also just like trusting your gut and doing what you need to, to be your freer best self.

Steve:

Yeah. I, I couldn't agree. And lastly, while we've talked in general about marriage, most of the episode, if someone's in generally struggling with their sobriety, do you have any new or. Hobbies or things you're doing that help keep you sober that you wanna share?

Brandy Joe:

I mean, for me, it's been reconnecting, like I talked about my friend James, we reconnected recently and, and I. What was so great, there is, there's like this sort of community that comes with our friendship. There's this group of people that James he's really great about community. And he has just like this whole group of great friends. And when we sort of disconnected there was that, that void in my life. I didn't have a bunch of sober friends again, because I just didn't want to. It felt weird. It sort of felt like, you know, divorced parents and like, you know, picking aside and things like that. I didn't want anyone to feel like that. So I just removed myself. It was like what I was talking about, like when, in my active addiction, like, but within our friendship and it's just been so great. We've reconnected because, you know, we both were just like, we're friends. Like what, what the hell's going on here? We talked things through and. And, you know, reconnecting going on this like kayaking trip together. Even last night, we just went to downtown Detroit. There were like nine of us. And everyone was like sober all in the program and we just like wandered around and just like tried to find a place to eat everywhere was fall, but it was just so fun. We just like wandered around the city together. And so like, again, that sort of communication, I feel. If you're struggling in sobriety to find someone to talk to, to go to meetings, if that's the one way to find a friend, to find a sponsor, to find someone that, again, getting out of your head and being around and talking with other people can be especially people who know exactly what you're going through, because you may think no one can understand what I've gone through, but I guarantee you that's not true. I guarantee you that everyone has shared not everyone. A lot of people. Have shared very similar experiences to your own. And so finding people to relate to you and to be able to get things out off of your chest and it just, it takes such a load off. So I, I think communication talking and sharing what's going on in your life is huge.

Steve:

Yeah. Excellent. And just a refresher for our listeners who are just turning into this episode for the first time, where can they find. I

Brandy Joe:

mean, probably the main place is Instagram. Yeah. You might tag me in this post, but my account name is Brandy Joe plan B, which my last name is Planex. So it's just shortened, but it's B R a N D Y J O E P L a M B Y. And if you like horror you can also follow. On Instagram scaring is sharing all one word or find us wherever you podcast, along with gay AA podcast.

Steve:

Yes. Perfect. Excellent. Well, thank you so much to stick around, cuz we're gonna head over for our patron family after show.

Brandy Joe:

Oh, my God. It's gonna be so juicy. And can I just say yes, I would strongly encourage anyone listening to join the Patreon. It is awesome. There's like different levels. It's fantastic. And this after show is gonna be fire.

Steve:

So excellent. Well, you can do that by heading over to patreon.com/gaa podcast. It, meanwhile, if you're interested in sharing your story or following me on Instagram, I'm at GAA podcast. And be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out each Thursday. And so next time stay sober friends.