gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

Whatever You Want, God ft. Jameson

November 03, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 109
Whatever You Want, God ft. Jameson
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
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gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
Whatever You Want, God ft. Jameson
Nov 03, 2022 Season 1 Episode 109
Steve Bennet-Martin

Steve welcomes Jameson 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 Jameson on Instagram @biscuitsandjamo 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

Listeners, I NEED YOUR HELP! This podcast is growing rapidly, and I want to make sure we can all grow together, so take this survey and let me know what I'm doing right and where I should focus my attentions going forward to provide the best podcast for YOU possible! CLICK HERE!

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Jameson 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 Jameson on Instagram @biscuitsandjamo 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

Listeners, I NEED YOUR HELP! This podcast is growing rapidly, and I want to make sure we can all grow together, so take this survey and let me know what I'm doing right and where I should focus my attentions going forward to provide the best podcast for YOU possible! CLICK HERE!

Support the Show.

Steve:

Hi everyone, and welcome to gAy A, a podcast about sobriety for the L G T plus community and our allies. I am your host, Steve, Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for my lifelong best friend, Laura. As of this recording, I am 460 days sober, and today we're welcoming you guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome

Jameson:

Jameson. Hi. Thanks for having me. It's great to be, Yes. And

Steve:

I'm so excited to get to know you better. Why don't you start off by introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about you?

Jameson:

Sure. My name's Jameson Rivera. I will be 37 years old next week. My pronouns are they then theirs, and I live in New York City and I have, I'll have four years of sobriety on January 2nd. I have, so I. 1,337 days of continuous sobriety. That's

Steve:

awesome. Excellent. And what are some of your favorite hobbies or things to do in sobriety?

Jameson:

You know, my hobbies have changed in sobriety. Life has changed since I got sober. Over three years ago at that time I was pursuing dance. So my answer would've been dance. But I'm not dancing much nowadays. I still am very active. I love working out. I love the outdoors. I'm a cyclist, like a road cyclist. I ride my bike a lot. I love going to the beach, hiking. I like going to shows. I've started to become interested in theater for the first time. Mm-hmm. Which maybe I'm a bit of a late bloomer as a 37 year old queer in New York City. But that's something that I've started to do a bit more of. I love food, I love movies, tv, I don't know, kind of basic

Steve:

No, not at all. That's awesome. Get just getting into theater. What have been one of your like favorites that you've

Jameson:

seen recently? Strange Loop is amazing. If you don't know about it, look into it. It's a show basically about a queer black man that is writing a show about being a black queer man. And it's just really important theater. You know, the representation in it is really needed and profound and. Funny. It's powerful. The music's great. I don't, I don't, historically, I don't like musical theater like music, and I love the music in this. Yeah, it's, it's fantastic. I just like was enthralled start to finish. So definitely need to see it again. I might get to go see two of the performers in it at a kind of dinner theater performance on Monday, so I'm excited about. Cool.

Steve:

And why don't we just jump right in now that we know each other a little bit better, and to tell us what your journey with alcohol and addiction was like.

Jameson:

Well it's been a long journey. I started drinking when I was about 14. It wasn't something that I did often, you know, in high school I started drinking socially and smoking weed socially. I didn't think I had a problem by any means. Looking back, I've always had an addictive personality, whether it was caffeine, exercise, food college, it progressed. I was grappling with being a closeted, what I would have called in homosexual at the time. I am identify as non-binary and I use they them pronouns and so. Looking back, you know, gender was part of the issue. But yeah, at the time I identified as, as gay and was struggling to accept my sexuality and that really came to a head in college. I fell in love with my best friend and I was a born again Christian from a, a non-Christian family that had a really strong faith, but kind of had this, you know, the typically what I'll call perverted. Version of Christianity that, you know, considers some sexuality, not that's ideal, so to speak. And so I, I really struggled psychologically at the time, and my drinking and drugging definitely increased a lot in college as a result I started to have consequences around that time. You know, I noticed it was getting out of hand. I would wake up and not know how I got home the night before. And then in grad school, it just got worse. I went to grad school to become a physical therapist right after college. And I should also mention that I became addicted to Adderall when I was 15, and that actually is probably my drug of choice. And basically became how I. Operated in every capacity, whether it was school, socially, sports anything. Adderall was the tool I used and it worked for me for a long time. But in grad school I started to not be able to Really spend time like doing those Christian activities that kept me kind of centered around my faith and school was so consuming that I kind of allowed myself to just accept my sexuality for the first time. And I started to explore being queer. So I would abuse Adderall, drive to DC on the weekends from Delaware, go out to bars. Drive back the same night. You know, there were countless times that I caught myself falling asleep at the wheel. You know, my higher power has looked out for me so many times. I fell asleep at the wheel once on 9 95 and hit a speed limit sign and woke up. And my car was totaled in terms of damage. I got arrested, my dad had to come pick me up from the State police at 3:00 AM and yet I still didn't think I had a problem. From there, I got kicked out of grad school after calling out sick a few times when I was hungover from partying in DC on the weekend. And Ended up moving to New York City and deciding that I wanted to explore, you know, the different interests I had, I've always had, which was dance. And also just kind of be somewhere where I could explore my sexuality. And New York is amazing for that, but it is also, you know, an epicenter for all sorts of drugs and Tory and well, maybe that's not the word I would use, but all sorts of drugs and I quickly fell into discovering crystal meth which is, you know, took things to a new level. And my meth use was kind of controlled in the sense that I was able to limit the come downs and kind of compensate for those with my Adderall. So, you know, it was just this insane mix of all these different drugs all the time and pot and alcohol. 24 7 and, you know, I started doing meth once a week. But after about a year I did start finally dancing and fell. With dance, I was going to be a I wanted to be a backup dancer. Brittany Spears was the goal. So I do, I did more commercial dance as it is called, and hip hop and street jazz. And I fell in love with it and it became my higher power. I was able to stay away from meth for a good seven years as a result, and I was super focused. But I continued to drink every night. And abuse Adderall and smoke weed four times a day. And I was just this, like, what I would call high functioning addict. And I knew I might be an addict, you know, I was living very habitually and, and consuming these things on the daily, but it was working for me. And again Terrance was my higher power for a long time. But eventually, That changed. I ended up day drinking one day and after a, a dance performance where we had a day party to celebrate it and I ended up just saying, Fuck it. Went on an app, found somebody to go party with. And meth entered back into my life. That person became who moved in with me and lived with for me for a year. and that relationship didn't work out. Big surprise. Mm-hmm. And after that I started, I started using to cope with those feelings. And after five or six times, you know, I, I wasn't getting anything out of it. In fact, I was just kind of disappointed by like the connections I would make and very sad to see where this drug was taking people in their lives. People that I was starting to, you know, connecting with and. But realizing there was no opportunity for a real, authentic relationship. So I, I told a friend and I said, if I did it again, that I would go to a meeting and both of those things at Kirk. And in my first meeting, I, I got a sponsor, an interim sponsor who was my sponsor for some time, and was told that I would have to stop drinking. And smoking weed if I wanted to work with them longer term, but I was not ready. I was willing to go to meetings and I committed to give that a shot, giving those things up in January cuz I had done a, a sober, sober from alcohol January the year prior. And I came into the program in November of 2018. So Yeah, January rolled around. I did a few days sober and I had already fallen in love with Fellowship and the program. It immediately felt like home and I, I, I knew I was in the right place and I knew none of these things were serving me, you know, everything, Nothing was going any better as a result of any of my using. And yeah, I, and since it was, I was able to give, Everything for a few days. I, I just said, I'm gonna stay.

Steve:

That's awesome that you did. And what has your life been like and how has it changed since getting sober?

Jameson:

It's changed a lot. I've changed a lot. And I didn't think I would, I thought, you know, I was so, and thought I was so authentic and. All of these things when I came in and I certainly had done a lot of self development type work prior to recovery, but I think the biggest that has changed is the honesty in my life. I would've said that honesty in the past, I, I would confuse vulnerability with honesty in the past, and I, I thought I was a very honest person because I was very open and willing to share. But My actions weren't always honest and authentic. And I wasn't on about the motivations behind a lot of my actions and behavior. And that awareness has developed over time and it continues to develop. You know, I'm still beginning to see more often, like I may do something and do it. I think I'm doing it because you know, I wanna help somebody, but really it's cuz I want them to like me. You know, and before I would just say I'm doing it cuz I want to help somebody, but now it might be because I want, I might recognize that it's, there's a different motivation behind it. And that's the kind of honesty that recovery has allowed me to develop, start developing. Yeah, like I said, I stopped dancing. I, you know, the pandemic hit. I'll be 37 next week. I have a lot of different interests. I have a medical background and I decided that it was time to figure out what's next. So last fall I went back to school. I decided I want to become a physician assistant, and. I started, I enrolled in school last year, so I am, today was my second day of biochemistry for this semester. So I'm still kind of reeling from that a few hours ago. School is different in sobriety, but it's better. You know, and I, I should mention one. Biggest changes that has occurred is I, I did wean off of Adderall in sobriety. You know, and I was on that drug for 20 years. I didn't stop. As soon as I got sober, I began weaning off with the help of a psychiatrist and I did outpatient at the LGBT T center in Manhattan. And over the course of 18 months, I, I slowly weed off of Adderall and it's taken years for my brain to recover. And you know, I'm very grateful. I'm actually probably a better student than I was. You know, I had so much fear that, you know, I wouldn't, I relied on it for everything. So I really had a lot of fear about what I would be capable of. And you know, I, I think it might work for some people. It might be appropriate for some people, but I don't think I need it. I still struggle with a d d, but I've never been such a good student, honestly. So that's been really great seeing that change and you know, I, I, I've had the greatest relationship I've ever had in sobriety with another person that is in recovery. And you know, that has been very beautiful overall and something I'm very grateful for. The relationships I've developed have been the best I've ever had. I've struggled with. Relationships being based on recovery and, and kind of grappling with yeah, just what fellowship means and relat, you know, and relationships with fellows. I struggle to sometimes value them as much. I'll, I'll think that they're maybe not as deep because it's based on recovery, but you know, those relationships Are honestly like the best relationships I've had. You know, the, you know, the fellowship is there for me when I need it and yeah, I don't know if that makes sense. I just, it's, it's a different type of relationship than the friendships you make with Norm Me's quote. But so valuable, you know, I consider Fellows family and you know, New York City, I'm sure you've heard. Incredible recovery. Yeah. And I love, be grateful to be here for that.

Steve:

Yeah. My home group is based out of New York City. It's just on Zoom. Oh yeah. My sponsor lives in New York City. I've been up there like twice for it. I was a GSM this year, so

Jameson:

I really group. Can I ask what, what's your home group if I may have? Oh, mustard seed. Oh, great. Love mustard seed. I've only been a few times, but yeah, there's so much. So much over here. It's just incredible. It's hard to think about living anywhere else because nowhere has 80 meetings a day.

Steve:

Oh yeah. No, I joke with my husband. I'm like, If you ever leave me like I'm starting fresh in New York, like I'm just moving up there with all my sober friends and family.

Jameson:

do you know what's up? Yes, totally.

Steve:

And you, you shared a little bit, like when you were talking about what it was like, how your sexuality and gender identity played a role in your addiction. How has your relationship with that changed since getting sober?

Jameson:

Thank you for asking. That's, you know, only a minor change. Mm-hmm. Yeah. No, it's been huge. I. Came out as non-binary this last year. I've questioned it since I was two or three years old. You know, I, I, it was kind of confounded by questioning my sexuality as a teen and there wasn't the language for different gender identities. You know, I struggle with what people think of me, and I, I have struggled with people thinking maybe I'm just jumping on a bandwagon cause. So many people are identifying as non-binary and transgender now, and it's, it's because people paved the way. It's because people before me, you know, created the space and I'm so grateful for it. You know, it's, someone said that it's like getting a diagnosis when you have a disease and I hate to compare it to a disease, but it feels. Similar to the relief you probably have when you finally get an answer or, you know, a label for this thing you're experiencing. So it's been confusing. It's a process. You know, I've, I've, my pronouns have changed. I use they, them, their pro, there's pronouns now and I don't know where I'll find myself as I continue to explore my gender. But It's been really amazing this weekend. I was a, I'll say VAs made in a wedding in Florida and you know, got to rock a beautiful dress and yeah, I saw you look fabulous. Feel really supported. Thank you so much. I felt fabulous. And it's hard, you know, people don't understand family who loves me. You know, they don't understand completely, but some of them want to, which is the important thing. And I try to be patient with myself and the process, it's gonna take time. And I'm definitely, I try to be patient with others, you know, people misgender me all the time and I, I try not to take offense at a certain level because every, you know, it's new for everybody. And As long as people are making the effort, that's what I, that's what matters to me. Yeah, but that's been a huge change and a new change that I only could do because I'm sober. I mean, I could, I can't imagine really understanding my feelings the way I do and really diving into my thoughts and feelings the way I'm able to in recovery. Because I, you know, previously I was, doing everything I could to feel good all the time. And that doesn't allow you to understand yourself fully. Mm-hmm.

Steve:

Yeah. And what, what are some practices you use in your daily life to help keep you sober?

Jameson:

I go to meetings. That has changes a lot in terms of frequency throughout recovery. You know, I've been going through a hard time recently and I've been going to more meetings, you know, it's a go to tool. I've had service positions since I got sober. I've always had at least one service position, which keeps me going, you know, accountable to going to meetings. I don't necessarily take the most, you know, commitment the hardest service position, so to speak. The most time commitment. Of a service position, but doing something that requires you to go to a meeting, I find, you know, it's good accountability. I used to pray every morning. I have fallen out of that habit, but I, I find myself praying spontaneously lately. But that helps so much. You know, my faith returned in sobriety. I'm not, Committed to like it being a perfectly understood faith theologically, but my higher power is Jesus and I live the way he lived. And I but I, I, I, I'm not one to say that my faith is the only faith and the right faith. And I think faith can change and your higher power can change and whatever works for you. You know, Britt Spears is definitely my higher power points. Mm-hmm. So meetings, I have a sponsor. I do step work. Right now I'm on step four and I've been stalled out on step four for about a year. I got up to step seven with my first sponsor. I switched sponsors. I may switch sponsors again, you know but step work has been huge. I make my bed every day. I'm big, I'm really into routine. Mm-hmm. you know, just the way I was kind of an addict. I'm very routine in my addictive behaviors. I'm also all about routine for the positive behaviors. I go to the gym six days a week. Physical activity is huge for my recovery. Just psychologically it's really helpful. And just like physically, Regulating my emotions, I think by being active is really helpful. I'm all about gratitude lists. I love gratitude lists. They're really helpful. They can be annoying, but they're really helpful reaching out to other addicts. Like I said, I've been having a really hard time and I have been reaching. As much as I need to, you know, to other, to other fellows just to like talk about it. I'm very, very blessed in that I don't have a hard time sharing and expressing myself. You know, lots of people struggle with that and yeah, I mean, I'm just grateful that that's something I, I don't struggle with cuz it really helps. I also have a therapist on that note and I've been doing for a few years and I think that has been hugely helpful. I, I did. Procrastinate in finding a good therapist and being willing to actually like, drop money in, in therapy. And, you know, I was stuck with a therapist I wasn't getting much out of, but it was covered. So I was staying with them. And then I, you know, finally made the investment in pay for therapy now, and it's been, you know, wildly different and, and wildly more valuable. Go figure. So yeah, I think those are all. Integral tools in my recovery for

Steve:

sure. Yeah, those are definitely great tools and no matter how we get sober, we all tend to find, like quotes, lyrics, something to live by. Do what's your favorite mantra?

Jameson:

You know, I, I wish I was cooler and could give some like profound mantra. You know, I thought about this question and. Honestly, lately I've just been saying whatever you want, God. And I don't know if that, you know, makes it a mantra cuz it's just a phrase I've been saying, but it's my own personal take of like, that sure will be done in God. And you know, the Serenity Prayer to an extent. So whatever you want, God, I, I am such a controller and. Such a particular person and I know what I want at all times, and I go after what I want and that can be good and bad. And it's, it's, I have a really hard time when I'm not getting what I want sometimes. So that's, you know, been huge for me. Previously for most of my life, it was a Bible verse. It was first Besson five 16 and it was be joyful. Pray continually give thanks in all circumstances for that God's will for you in Christ Jesus. And I you know, I'm hesitant to like push scripture cuz it's very triggering and there's, you know, people have very problematic relationships with its religion and Christianity, understandably. But it really is just the serenity bearer, you know, essentially. And. So, and I also struggle with that one because it's like, shit can be bad. And it's not like, there, there is bad, there is bad shit in this world. You know, racism, stuff like that. Like, I don't want somebody to like be in slavery and say, I'm gonna be joyful. This is great. Like, you know, I'm, I'm hesitant to ascribe to it and those kind of things. But essentially it's what keeps us sober. The attitude of, you know, being grateful and. Relying on your higher power. So it really is a great recovery quote, so to speak as well, I would say. Excellent.

And before we go, Jameson, if people wanted to find more of you, where can they find you online? Yeah, absolutely. I am at Biscuits and jmo J A M O on Instagram. And yeah, that's probably the most heavily trafficked social media app I use. Perfect. Well, thank you so much. I'll be sure to throw it in the show notes for all of the listeners.

Steve:

thank you so much for joining us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better, and I'm sure you've helped someone listening. Stay sober today.

Jameson:

Amazing. Thank you so much for having

Steve:

me. Yes. And stick around because in a moment we'll head over to our Patreon show. You can follow us over there by going to www.patreon.com/gaa

Jameson:

podcast.

Steve:

If you're interested in sharing your story or giving, hitting me up, I'm on Instagram at GAA podcast And follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every. Until next time, stay sober friends.

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