gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast

Become Your Dream ft. Delano

October 06, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 105
gAy A: A Queer Sober Podcast
Become Your Dream ft. Delano
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Steve welcomes Delano 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 Delano on Instagram @theodorehuxtable 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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Stve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to gay a, a podcast about sobriety for the GT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin, and I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for my wonderful husband. Steven, as of this recording, I am 451 day sober. And today we're welcoming you a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome Delano.

Delano:

Hey Steve. Great to meet you. And my name is Delano. I'm an alcoholic and addict. And my sober date is March 10th, 2012. So I just celebrated 10 years, five months ago. So now I have 10 years and five months, which is super exciting.

Stve:

Yeah. That is exciting. They, wow. What an inspiration and what are some of your favorite hobbies or things to do in

Delano:

sob? So my favorite hobbies are pretty simple. I love going to the park. Mm-hmm I love going to prospect park. I live here in Brooklyn and one of the things especially reminds me of, I remember like the weekend before I was gonna leave New York to go get better. I like was emaciated and I walked to the park. I like stumbled to the park and I to barely get there. And I lay in Christopher street park and I. So, you know, I'm gonna be back and I'm gonna be healthy and I'm gonna go, and I'm gonna be able to like, enjoy the park, like regular people. Cuz I used to have so much resentment at people that were just like going to the park and like doing simple things and being happy with simple stuff. And now I go to the park and like with my book and it's the most simple thing, but it's the most like profoundly like thing that makes me the most profoundly happy. And I also like going to museums a lot. I'm an artist, but I used to live on the upper east side here in new. Around all the museums mm-hmm but I never, never went to them. Cuz all my life was all about like drinking and passing out and waking up at three, I would never go to the museums and now I live in Brooklyn, far away from them and I go to the all the time and it's just, it's such like those two simple things are so simple, but they're so not at the same time, you know, it's the kind of thing I always wanted, you know? Yeah.

Stve:

It's it's so oftentimes in my experience, like you look back and. Doing like normal day to day, things were difficult back then, especially like right. Once you had alcohol or other things going on, like it just made a difference. So, yeah. And like now if you're going to the park it's to like, enjoy some downtime, not to like figure out how to sneak a bottle, you know, in your pocket or something.

Delano:

Right because I had to do anything, had to be, I was going to a movie. It couldn't be a movie I had to sneak in some alcohol mm-hmm I was going to the park. I had to, you know, I love to travel, which is a big thing. The first thing I would do whenever I got to any country, I gotta look fi I gotta find out where the bars, you know, I gotta get drunk the first night and now it's like, let me just wander around and like, see Paris or see stock, stop going. And I don't have to do it drunk. And then my whole experience, isn't like a week and a half of just passing out the exact same thing I did when I was in New York.

Stve:

Yeah, well, looking back, why don't you share a little bit more about what it was like with your drinking?

Delano:

Yeah, absolutely. I can say I also identify I'm most definitely an alcoholic. Yeah. A long time, much more than to accept that I'm crystal meth at it. The alcohol was so hard. I drag kicking and screaming to, but I am an alcoholic. Yeah. Well, tell us about both stories. I will. So I grew up where I grew up in, in Massachusetts. I grew up in Western, Massachusetts and the Berkshires small town. I am black, black queer person, and the town is very white and it's very affluent. And my family is neither of those. My mom and dad came from Alabama. We grew up lower middle class. I grew up surrounded by people that had like million dollar trust funds. Got like Picasso drawing for their 13th birthday. That kind of like over the top, like, Hey crazy. Do you know? And I was dealing with this whole, like, you hear this so much in the rooms like this otherness and mine was the race thing, the socioeconomic thing. And then later with that more realization of like, my queerness is like that too, you know, and I desperately wanted to be anything other than who. You know, because I was so unhappy and in my mind it was the solution was, well, pretend if you could be anything other, if you could be like your white classmates, if you could be straight, do you know if you could be richer, you'll be happy. And, but I didn't know what happiness meant. And to my mind, it was also, it was required. Somebody else to want life more than I wanted it. If I could convince you that I had a great life, I'd be happy even though I wasn't, you know, happy. Yeah, it took me. I used to like, always, like, I didn't really get that thing where people were saying, I was always an addict because I didn't really start drinking until like actively until I was like in my twenties mm-hmm And after I was in the recovery for a while, I started to get it. I was like, oh, it's because there was that disconnect between my internal and my external, you know, it was always like trying to project. I was like the good. But inward, I was miserable and I was sad and I was depressed, but I was like, let me just convince everybody that I'm happy and I'm smiling. And you're saying racist things to me and wanting to pat my hair. And, but I'm just gonna smile because I don't want you to know how angry I'm in inward mm-hmm But all that did is it made me actually become angry at myself. Like, why can't you be real? Why are you letting these people talk to you? Like. Why are you just like trying to convince everybody that you are worth being lovable and worth being friends, as opposed to just being who I am, you know, but I also didn't really know who I was because everything that came out of my mouth was a lie, everything. What did I have for lunch? Tuna? I have chicken and my background and everything. It was like, I want people to think I was from a, my family had more money. I didn't realize until I came into recovery, how that was really the core that's, that's really, when shame came into my life, mm-hmm, you know, shame about my family. Like they have a Southern accent, they eat these kind of foods. We don't have that much money shame about everything who I am. You know, I like how Brene brown talks about the difference between shame and. Guilt is remorse about an action. You know, I've done, which, you know, in sobriety we can like, you know, oh right, I've done some bad things. And shame is like, I am a bad person. And I've internalized that. And I realized I'd internalize this idea that I was like, totally a bad person. And therefore I wasn't worthwhile of being lovable. Mm-hmm so I feel like, so I control. So I'm gonna lie because if I lie to people, I've somehow in control because I've controlled the truth that you. Do you know, you think this well, you know, it's really this. And so cuz if I allow you in and allow to connect with me, that's the absolute uncontrollability, you know, or, or I'm powerlessness I should say. Yeah. And I want, and if, and I'm scared, cuz I want friendships. I don't want connection, but I don't want to give like the real me because if I give it and then you reject it and I can't deal with that. So I'm gonna give you like this like big version of. Yeah.

Stve:

I, I feel like a lot of times like that kind of imposter syndrome, I, I in compulsive lying, I mean, I would lie about like this when, especially when I was younger and. Before I learn how to like lie better, I guess, which isn't like really a good talent to have, but I feel like it's something a lot of us come across in the rooms is like learning how to lie. But like, it used to be like, I mean, I would be crying and screaming at my mom when I was like five years old because I was telling her the grass was blue and she wouldn't believe me. And I'm like, but it is, I swear, it

Delano:

is right. And everybody knows you're lying and you're still lying anyway. Yeah. It was, you know, and even now I have to check myself sometimes to be like, no Delano and I can stop. So just. and it's embarrassing. Like, Hey, you know what, that's not true. And my friends can laugh and being like, wait, that's not true. I've never eaten that before. I don't know why I said that, you know, whatever lie it is. Mm-hmm, it's also a way for me to understand like, sobriety, isn't just like not doing the drug or whatever, but it's about like that emotional sobriety, you know? So that's a barometer for me, like or a little indicator of my spiritual condition when I'm starting to lie and be like, Hey, what else is going on in my life? You know, something else is going. Something else. Other part, something else I'm feeling out of control because I have to control this. Do you know? So let me check in and let me talk to my sponsor, my, my core network of people. So after like, after Massachusetts, I went away to, first of all, I reinvented myself. I started hanging out with this cool, the cool kids at this local college. So they didn't know my background. So I got to pretend I was like them, you know, and lie. Everything was outta my mouth. I, I had a rich dad in Brooklyn who lived in a brownstone. because I've watched the Cosby show. Mm-hmm people. What neighborhood? I don't know. They didn't say any neighborhood on Cosby show. So I don't know. So I just have to like change the subject. Then I went away to New Mexico to study photography and there, I just got to reinvent everything. You know, all of a sudden I'd gone to the prep schools. My friend had all of a sudden, my dad did this and there was this. I had friends, but there was this like moment where you, like, they kind of knew something wasn't entirely just. I wasn't really being myself and people know like subconsciously and because I couldn't let them like all the way in, because they're gonna find out that everything I've told them is bullshit. And then how do I deal with that? You know, so, and then I, I finally had this one really great friend and we became, he became so close and I told 'em things. I never told. Anybody. And he just, like, we told, like how much we love each other. And I was like, oh my God, this person I'm opening up to. And then he found out he had leukemia and three months later he died. And the night before he was his parents, he moved back to Oregon. And the night before I was going to leave, go to Oregon, when they knew they had a couple of days, that's when I met up with some guys and had sex and used drugs and just drank. And I was like, oh my God, look at this. I can escape grief. I can escape all of. Just by like the Kama sex and all this. And, and I don't have to like, think about this, you know, and I can put all this like stuff on the shelf. I can put all my anger about racism and like, I moved to AR New Mexico. And a week later I was in, or a couple weeks later I was on the street in handcuffs. And I like told myself that I was like, post-racial. And like, none of this stuff mattered. None of this says, you know, I'm just like everybody else, but I'm gonna put that traumatic incident on the shelf. Just like I. Being sexually abused on the show, just had to put all rage on the show and all this time, like the alcohol drinking was just spiraling and spiraling and it was going out of control. But at the same time I could loosen up and I felt like I'd connect with people. Soon as he died, I left New Mexico co cuz here's another geographic at move to New York. And I got into this like crazy life. And all of a sudden I was going to like the cool clubs and I was going to like fashion shows and hanging out with these people. I thought were my friends. And I met my friend crystal Webb mm-hmm you know, connected with alcohol. And all of a sudden alcohol had, you know, alcohol had made me loosen up in my body for the first time and felt comfortable and feel. Really good. And that voice had always told me, I was like piece of shit. Cuz when I was a kid, I'd go up in my bedroom and I'd slap myself cuz my bit, my wide nose and my big lips. And I thought I was ugly. I'd just say you're fucking piece of shit. This is an eight year old kid saying that to himself and slapping himself. That voice went away. When I started to drink the voice went away more. When I started getting into cocaine, when I moved to New York, cause I was in the restaurant industry and all of a sudden, but it was still like a little, like bit there than I did. Meth. I felt the sexiest I've ever been. I felt like I could like walk into a room and be the sexiest person. Fuck anybody out there. I felt I could like conquer the world. That voice was completely gone. That told me I was a piece of shit. It wasn't there anymore. And I was like, who is this person that I always wanted to be? You know? And I felt I could connect with people. And the first time I did it, I did it with two guys too. They're both white guys. They were. Upper middle class kind of wealthy. And in my mind too, I'll be honest. If it was like associated with like crack or black people, I probably wouldn't have done it. Mm-hmm because in my mind, crystal meth was like, oh my God, look it, I'm hanging out with an attorney and a doctor and Rhode down, you know, and this is associated with whiteness. And it's me being part of like this world that I always wanted to be part of. And it spiraled so quickly. And he, the guy I did with, he looked over at me, said, you know, You just, I can tell you right now, you're gonna go in for this real deep. I really tell you not to do this. It just fucked up my life. And I said, oh, that's bullshit. But that night, you know, I just felt so connected. He also told me, do you know what? You seem like somebody I could date. And that was the clicker. And the next day we went for a walk and we hold hands and we walked on the street with this dog and I was like, I want, I'm like fucking everybody in the city and doing all this stuff. This is what I really. This drug gave me that. And then it spiraled it spiraled, it spiraled the whole story you've heard. And like a year later I was emaciated and falling on the streets and my phone is like dying. And you know, people looked at me and said, I don't even recognize this person. I saw you cross the street. And I was like that, can't be throwing it. Cuz ode doesn't weigh, like, you know, is like 118 pounds. And I called that same guy that I thought was the love in my life. I did it with, he said, I, you dateable. And we have this twisted relationship. And he said, I can't come help you as you're like lying on the floor on the ground on hundred 25th street. Cause I have to go get a haircut, you know, but I thought, I thought he loved me, you know, but that's how, what I thought about myself, but I was so worthless and so I, everything I was about to lose my job I'd gotten kicked outta my apartment. I was still walking into my apartment, you know, every night thinking like, are they have, they like locked the door? If I got, have nowhere to sleep and I don't have any friends anymore. And I stolen like $10,000 to my ex-roommate cashing his money, he's given me spending on drugs. And when he looked at me, this person that loved me and is one of my best friends at the time, he said, who, what happened? And I just said, I don't know. I don't know who I'm in this person that would do stuff like this to. That are like close friends of mine. And so a couple weeks later, one day I just walked in. I looked around at the mess in my apartment. I looked around at the mess. That was my life. And it wasn't a slow realization. It was just like this moment of grace where I said, oh my God, this is my life. And I picked up the phone and I said, mom, I need to come home. And I couldn't add on Craigslist, got someone to drive me to new Massachusetts, the next. Thought I was sober because I thought I wasn't doing crystal meth. I thought I could still do alcohol. And so for two years I thought I was sober. I thought I went to Brazil during that time fell up a balcony in a nightclub in Rio was unconscious bruised up. Didn't have a pulse for a bit thought it was funny. Still thought I was sober. What I learned during that period is humility because I came back and I was working as a waiter in a restaurant. And I was the person who was most likely to succeed. You know, I was the one everyone thought I was gonna go to Harvard. I was the one that's gonna do. And then I was like, oh, nobody's thinking about me as much as I think they are. Do you know, I'm not the center of anybody's world. This is my truth. And so I got to confront and like shame and be like, oh, I'm projecting on them, but it's really about me. And so I, I, after two years I went back to New York and I started going to CMA meetings for crystal meth addiction. And after like a month or two, I, cuz I was sitting in the back, I wasn't connecting to people. I was scared of everybody. I was scared of this fellowship and people like connecting and being friends, cuz they're not gonna want to be my friend. And then I heard them say no drinking. And I was like, why are you fucking kidding? That's not the deal I can give up. Alcohol. Crystal meth is like dark and dreary and sadness and sex clubs. And alcohol is champagne and its weddings. Are you kidding? And then I was like, all right, I can do it for like one day. I can do it for a co a week. Cuz there, I was like, there's zero chance. I'm gonna do it for 10 years. That's not gonna happen. I can do it. And so I kept saying until a year I'll be better and I'll I'll head on out. But. I wasn't being honest with people. I was still doing the lying thing. I wasn't. When I came in 10 years ago, 12 years ago, it was much whiter fellowship. And I also had some of the same things that happened to me as a kid were happening to me. Some other rooms, people made jokes. Someone made a joke when we were at a fellowship and said, Hey, you know what? You know, there was some watermelon at this diner. You know, when the seventh tradition bag was being passed around one time, somebody said to me, you know, they don't take E B. So what's my option. Do I get like angry and a angry black person? And then it's like, you're supposed to come in and be vulnerable, but I'm also being vulnerable with people that sexualized me and objectified me and made fun of me. And so what do I do? I pretend I'm okay with everything, you know, and I finally got a sponsor, even though I didn't want to. And I started like this guy, I'm gonna tell him. Things. I've never told anybody and he is gonna look at me like I'm crazy. And he is gonna look at me like I'm disgusting. And I slowly started telling a couple of things and he looked at me like with love. And it was the exact opposite of what I thought. I thought if I lied and I bullshitted, then you're gonna love me. And I was like, oh my God, I'm starting to tell open up slowly. And this person is connecting to real. And I started to apply that to recovery. Cuz at the beginning I was like, I don't get this higher power thing, but I don't wanna admit to it. I wanna pretend I get it. I don't get any of this stuff and I'm afraid, but I don't wanna talk about that. So I'm gonna like project, like the, the I'm maybe the best sober guy out there externally, but internally I'm like afraid that this is gonna work for me. And then one time, you know, I had a year and a half and then my sponsor. I, I had a glass to champagne at new year's Eve at this like really posh restaurant I worked at. And somebody, when my coworkers said, you can't even have champagne on new year's Eve. And I felt like such a loser and they were shame again. And I said, I'm gonna have this half glass of champagne, but I'm not gonna tell anybody. And the next day I was telling a friend and sobriety and all of a sudden it came out of me. And I told him because I was like, I don't wanna go back to lying again. I said, but I'm not gonna tell my sponsor. And then I talked to my sponsor and I told him, and he left it up to me. I was like, I don't wanna restart my for like a half glass of champagne. He said, all right, Dylan, I'm gonna leave it up to you. What do you want your sobriety to be like? And I decided to restart my day count. I decided to be more honest in the rooms and that was the switch. That was the moment I finally said I could surrender. Yeah. It's nice. Surrender.

Stve:

Since then. How has your life changed and grown since getting sober?

Delano:

I've learned to be able to sit with emotions. I've learned to talk about stuff that I, that same sponsor that I loved, and we became amazing friends and he shared as much about his life. As I shared about mine, you know, at year six, he overdosed and died, you know, so I sat with grief over that. But I was able to sit with it and I was able to. See, like, oh, I'm grief happens to everybody. I'm connected to everybody through this grief. My dad has died, you know, a couple years ago is the hardest thing. And I was like, oh right. I can sit with this. And it doesn't mean that I'm the only person to have, like this type of grief. I'm the only person, but it, I can also honor it and sit with it and it's going to get better. And my life today is crazy. I was encouraged to go back to school. I'd given up on school and I had. Sober people, you know, encouraged me and held me up. And when I was working a full time job and in school and thinking I can't do this and I got into a good school I was like, I can do this one day at a time. I can do this one day at a time. And I graduated with a 4.0 and I discovered writing. And now I write about all the stuff that I've gone through. I talk about addiction. I talked about. I tell my story and I've written and I connected to people in ways. I never imagined for someone that was so shy that at school, they said like, you know, he was great academically, but he won't speak to anybody to make eye contact mm-hmm And now my life is like, wow. I talk about this stuff that I shame about and people are connecting a profound level. Do I get letters and emails and, and saying thank you for telling your story. So my childhood was been happy one, but I can also help other people talk about what they were going through, or maybe they're still going through. And I had like a group of friends that are the closest thing I've ever dreamed of and it's because, and it took a while to get there. Cuz I slowly, every year I open up more and become more vulnerable and. People I can talk to about anything. And I do talk to anything. They're all black, they're all queer. And we've started several of us including Chris, who I know you interviewed as well. Mm-hmm, started the Blackard collective. This, we just got nonprofit status official as of a week ago. And now we're gonna bring this this support network for black queer people. Being able to like all over the country can like access this and form community and talk about. Maybe don't feel comfortable talking about in the rooms I'm not shy or awkward anymore. Because I break down with the steps of like what's been affected. I'm not the center of everybody's world. I talk confidently. I'm a good person. Mm-hmm, I'm a happy person and I blown away at all the stuff that I thought crystal meth and alcohol would bring me. I've gone through like,

Stve:

That's awesome. A lot of times, at least in my experience, like I would like drink to kind of fit in, in gay areas. Right. And like, now that I go out and I'm finding these like sober areas, it's just such a different part of the community, but it definitely took some looking cuz like, I, I wasn't the type who wanted to like go back to like the bars on the clubs, although I know some people do. So like, what has been your experience in our community

Delano:

sober. To know, I find it's it's, it's, it's not about volume anymore before it was like, I wanna fuck as many people as I could. I want as many friends, even though if they're not real friends. And now, like I have a, a, a core group of friends who are like really dear for me. And I find that too, when I'm trying to go out to do things that I really want to be like a book reading or museum, and it's something I'm getting something out of. It's not just about meeting somebody and I have a lot thing I can talk to 'em about. I can talk to them about like art or books and maybe I'll make a connection. And it's not just like, I'm only here just to like meet somebody and date is dating hard. Yeah. It's fucking hard as a sober person. Because where do people go for the first date? They go on a bar and I have had people reject me for being sober. Sure. Have I've had people reject me for all kinds of stuff. If, if I want like a relationship and I do, I really do want a date. And I think I'm dateable for the first time in my life, as my therapist has helped me break down, you know, are you, dateable why, why not? Then I I've gotta keep going. You know, I'm, I've got 10 years of sobriety and a lot of people today say like, I can't believe you've got 10 years. You seem like one of the less likely people, at least likely people, you know, cause you sat in the back, you were so scared of everybody, but I kept going. My sponsor, my current sponsor just got married two weeks ago and he's been such a great example of like saying, I want a relationship and I'm gonna keep going for it. And no relationship is perfect and I can still like use these steps and I can use and talk about stuff and let go of this idea of perfection of a relationship or a person or life. So dating. It's one step at a time. And it's hard because like the apps and I go on the apps and I become addicted to that. And all of a sudden, my whole life is revolving around that. So I'm taking a break now, but then you, I feel disconnected to everybody else. Who's on the app. And I see a guy and my first thought and the gym is like, let me go on the app to see if he's on there. And it's like, but he's right there, Dylan though, you can actually just talk to him. He's right there. Mm-hmm but that's vulnerable and that's scary. And I'm like, I don't wanna do that. but if I want it, I gotta do it. You know,

Stve:

it's true. And what would you say your favorite mantra or quote to live by has been in sobriety?

Delano:

There's this Puerto Rican. I think he has artists DLA Vega and he, he, one of his tags is become your dream. Mm-hmm And I think of that, I'm becoming my dream and I think I'm becoming a dream that I never even knew that. I know that I am. I never thought I could be this person that inspires other people that I never thought I could be a person that like, I Spees that call and tell me everything going on in their life. And I hold that dear and I keep their confidences. I'd never dreamed that I could be this person who doesn't lie and is honorable and has earned the trust of his family and has people that love him and thinks he's lovable. And I don't that person that I, that kid that used to slap himself and call himself. Behind myself up here. I have a photo of myself at that age. And it's my way of like, I can't I'm the life I'm living is also by saying, reaching back in time and saying, hello, little kid and saying like, Hey, you know what, it's gonna be okay. You know, I'm gonna keep going. I'm gonna, I'm gonna keep going. I'm not gonna give up on you on us.

Stve:

Yeah, well, I mean your, your passion for sobriety, just like oozes through the microphone. And I love it. I could just talk with you all night long, but if for interests of time, we're gonna head on over to the post show. But before we do that, how can our listeners find you?

Delano:

My on Instagram my name is going back to the Cosby show thing. My Instagram name is Theodore Hux. Okay. And yeah, I talk about that with my therapist a lot. And also the black yard collective is also on Instagram at the Blackard collective. So that's the nonprofit and we just got nonprofit status. We have the website up soon and we're gonna doing some amazing stuff. So follow us on instant right now. And you can keep abreast of everything going on and check on me if they. Perfect.

Stve:

Excellent. And I'll add those to the show notes. Thank you listeners, for listening to another episode of Gaya podcast, you can head on over to our Patreon page and join the family today to get the after show with Delano, as well as all the exclusive bonus content that comes out every week. You could do that by going to patreon.com/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.