gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

Love Will Turn You Around ft. Landon

December 08, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 114
Love Will Turn You Around ft. Landon
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
More Info
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
Love Will Turn You Around ft. Landon
Dec 08, 2022 Season 1 Episode 114
Steve Bennet-Martin

Steve welcomes Landon 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

Reach out to Landon at community@gayandsober.org or www.harlimmanor.com

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 Landon 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

Reach out to Landon at community@gayandsober.org or www.harlimmanor.com

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 ga, 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 this upcoming holiday season. As of this recording, I am 531 day sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome. thank you. It's great to be here. Yes. And I had the pleasure of getting to know you through gsm, but why don't you introduce yourself for our listeners who might not already know you? Sure.

Landon:

Hi everybody. My name is Landon. I'm an alcoholic. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I, I live with my husband, young. We've been together since 1999, so we just celebrated this year what, 23 years together. We got married as soon as it was legally an option. So, but uh, I still refer to him as my husband from even way back. But I live here in Knoxville where I attend meetings and take care of our rental properties and do all sorts of other things that sobriety has given me the option to do. Excellent.

Steve:

And what are some of the hobbies that you've found in sobriety to help pass the time?

Landon:

So in the very beginning of sobriety, I, I had that same question that a lot of people have when they get sober, and that's what do I do with all this time that I now have on my hands? Originally they told me to go to 90 meetings in 90 days, and. My initial reaction to that was, I don't have time to do 90 meetings in 90 days. Are you kidding me? But then I realized that just by quitting drinking, I had just freed up several hours a day, even more on the weekends. So I could still go to two meetings a day workout, and still not be investing as much time in my recovery as I had been investing in my addiction. So I first focused just on the recovery. But then I needed other ways to fill my time. And so at one point I got a hold of that little book called Living Sober, which is actually written by one of our gay pioneers in aa. That's, I'm not sure how many people are aware of that, but, but there are little tidbits in there that clue you. I heard that the man who wrote the book Share and a recording once and he said there's some stuff in there just for us. But I got ahold of that book, I read it and it was all about how do you spend your time in sobriety? And it was lifestyle kind of ideas and I didn't really. Any of those for myself at the time, but it kind of inspired me to look around for other opportunities. And one of the first things I did was I realized that I had a guitar in my closet. For years. And in my drinking I had no attention span. So I, I learned like one chord. I knew G and that was it. And I was like, you know, I could take that guitar out of the closet and I could start trying to learn some more quarts, So next thing I knew, I. I got a hold of a Dolly Parton song because I'm a huge Dolly Parton fan code of many colors. I only had to learn three or four chords to play this song. Maybe, maybe more than that cuz there is a key change. But I started learning how to play this song and then I learned another song, and another song and another song. And then at one point I got my sponsor to take his guitar out and come to the house and play with me. And then next thing I knew, I'm writing songs. Copywriting them. And then my sponsor and I and some other people in the rooms formed a band and we started playing shows. And that went on for a long time. It kind of fizzled out sometime before c but I'm still doing music. That's my favorite thing. And then of course I get to enjoy other things like. I'm really big into to real estate and I love to read. And now I can read books and remember that I've read them. I can see movies and remember that I've seen them. I remember before I got sober, I would go to Blockbuster to rent a movie and I would get home and my husband would say, why did you pick this movie? We've already seen it like more than once. And I would be mad because I would. Blockbuster should have a little alarm that goes off in their computer to tell you you've already rented a movie. It didn't occur to me that normal people don't need that. Most people remember what they've seen or what they've read, so I get to enjoy those forms of entertainment as well. I took up knitting at one point, which helped me quit smoking. But you know, the thing about sobriety is I get to try all kinds of things and I either stick with it or I don't. And it's fine either way. I just, you know, I get to enjoy life and taste all kinds of new flavors. Yeah, it's

Steve:

awesome hearing all of that. It's very inspirational cuz you're right, like when I first got sober I was like, what do I do with all this time? And then it was, I found things to do, like both with sobriety and the things that have become gifts of sobriety, so Right on.

Landon:

Yeah. Yeah. Why don't you tell us

Steve:

a little bit more about, you know, the usual, what it was like, what happened and what it's like.

Landon:

Sure. So so I, I was the baby of my family. I have three older sisters and I grew up in Upper East Tennessee. We, we were a lower middle class family. My, my parents worked my dad was a, a, what they called a, a bi-vocational preacher, which meant he preached in the church on the weekends, but he also like worked. He had a job at the hospital working in the store room, and then he went to work at the post. Where he made a little bit more money and we had a little bit more comfortable lifestyle. Then my mom was a nurse and so she started that at the same time I went off to school. And so I think I would have to say that my first day of kindergarten was my first really rude awakening in my life. Up until that day, I had sort of kind of coasted along, being taken care of and babied and nurtured and protected and all that stuff. I got to school and realized that I was terrified. I was sitting in my chair glued to it like I couldn't move, and I looked around and realized that. So many of the other children were laughing and playing, and they seemed like they were happy to be there. And they were like playing on the, the jungle gym in the back of the room. And I was just sitting there like, I couldn't understand why they were able to do that. And all I could do was sit and be terrified. And so that was my first clue that something was off with me. Like I, I wasn't. A regular person and I didn't know how to fit in. I did not know how to relate to people. So as I progressed through school and survived, I learned some coping mechanisms. First thing, this was a huge blessing that, that I survived on for a long time. I found out that also I was really good at school. I could follow directions, I could remember things and I could regurgitate what I'd been taught on a test and I could get straight A's. And so I got this validation for being smart. My teachers told me I was smart. And my classmates, even though they didn't all like me or accept me, they thought I was smart. And I was like, okay, I'm okay. As long as I can be the smartest kid in class, I'm. And then I also realized that I could be the class clown. I could make people laugh. I had a great sense of humor when I was a little boy, and I enjoyed making people laugh. And so that was my other coping mechanism. If I couldn't make you think I'm smart, I could definitely get you to laugh. And as long as you're laughing at my jokes, I'm okay. I'm finding some way to connect now. Looking back, I realized those things for what they were at the time. I just thought, oh, I'm special. This is great. These people really love and accept me. But I'm grateful for those mechanisms, but that's what they were, they were a way for me to survive in a world that scared the shit out of me.

Steve:

Yeah. And then what happened? That, you know, or.

Landon:

Yeah, so then I grew older. I got it through high school, and at this point, by this time, I had started realizing that I was attracted to boys and boy, that was not at all what I had planned. And I had been to church and had been taught that even before I really understood what the word gay meant. I learned that it was bad. I knew it was bad before I knew what it actually was. And then I started finding myself. Attracted to boys, and that was a real I don't know how to describe it, but I, I'm sure I'm not the only one. Remembers what that was like. Just praying to God every day. Change me. Don't let me be attracted to boys today. Let me find girls attractive. That's what I'm supposed to be. So in, in high school, I continued on with the smart and funny thing, I got into the band and that's when I first had discovered music in middle school and high school, which was also. Good for my survival. And I started dreaming about getting out of the house. I was watching all those great movies that we had in the eighties. That was my decade. I was all about the eighties and the the Brat Pack movies where they were always drinking and taking drugs and I could not wait to get off to college where I could drink and experiment and party. And that's what I. So I got to the University of Tennessee. I was living in the dorm. I had a, a roommate who was a junior. I had two suitemates who were juniors as well. And there I was again, the baby of the family. They were all older. I was the youngest. They took me in, they looked after me, and I felt protected. And then I learned another thing about myself. I was really, really good at drinking. So I, I really got off on that because I was living with these three straight, older, butch guys. And I could drink any one of them under the table. And I felt like that made them respect me. So unfortunately I was dead wrong. One of them used to tell me, he would say, Lilin, that's what they call me, Lilin. He'd say, Lilin, if you could see yourself when you're drinking, you would never drink. And I remember thinking he's crazy because he obviously has no idea what alcohol does for me. There's no way I would change anything because at that time, alcohol had become the solution that I felt I had been looking for my entire life. It put me at ease in all kinds of situations. I could talk to anybody. I loved mixing with people that seemed very different from me at. Superficially. I loved like showing up at art shows and talking about art, even though I really didn't know anything about art. I just loved pretending like I did. And I still do actually love art. I, I did love art at the time, but I don't have to pretend now. If I don't know something, I can ask questions and I can learn about it. But at that, You know, just anywhere I was, as long as there was alcohol flowing I was okay. Even though some of the consequences for my drinking had already started setting in. I was having things like sleeplessness, I was having depression. But the thing is, I didn't have hangovers. You know, I could drink all night and be up early, go to class. And so in some ways it seemed like I wasn't having that many consequences. And so the party was on for a long time, many years went by and I would you know, I'd be in the club every night of the week or going to Atlanta on the weekends. And so that lasted until about the early two thousands. And I Was still very much enjoy my drinking. Somewhere in around 2003, 2004, drinking started feeling more like a burden than a solution. And I wasn't drinking anymore to have fun. I was just drinking to survive. And I remember going on a vacation, I think it was 2000 five or. And I remember I was going to dry out on vacation, and I remember thinking I'm taking a vacation from my day job and my night job, because at that point, that's what drinking felt like. It was my evening job. And I did do that and I, I dried out. I wasn't very happy about it. And then in 2005, I decided to embark on what I called the summer of my sobriety. I got ahold of a book called Sober and Staying that Way. It was written by Susan Powder, who was like the 1990s fitness guru, stopped the insanity. And I thought she was really funny and and attractive. So I got her book. I bought all these supplements, and I changed my diet. And I, I followed it and I did not drink from. Memorial Day until Labor Day. And somewhere around June, I also ran outta the Xanax, which was, at that time it was all about alcohol pills, preferably Xanax and cigarettes. That was my Holy Trinity. Yeah, So then so I actually really was sober for a few weeks because I, I wasn't taking any pills and I wasn't drinking. And then in the fall my husband lost his. And I thought, wow, I can drink again because no one's gonna judge me. Look what I'm going through here. You know, a normal person's, you know, their spouse loses the job, and, and that's bad news for me, it was good news because it, it gave me permission to do what I really wanted to do because I had taken away the alcohol, which was actually my solution, but I had not replaced it with anything except for. This book, this nutrition, and telling anybody who would listen, look at me, what I'm, what I'm doing, you know, and they would feel sorry for me. And I really enjoyed that, like the. I felt like pity mixed with admiration was a really good form of, of approval. And so I did drink again and it wasn't long before I was worse off than I had been before. I drank for another year and a half and I became very depressed. My life became very small. My husband's life became very small as it had been even before that. And so my existence was all about waking up in the morning, puking, trying to scrape myself together to go to work, survive the day. And every day was the same pattern. I would say, I'm not gonna drink today. I'm not gonna drink today. And then somewhere around lunchtime, I would start thinking about, well, maybe I'll just have one or two glasses of wine. So there I was again, back in the same daily pattern, and it was never, ever, ever one or two glasses of wine. Not even one single time did I successfully have just one or two drinks unless something really, really big happened to interrupt my drinking what it was every night. It was. So much vodka I would drink until I passed out. And sometimes I would wake up on the couch and realize, you know, oh my gosh, I have to be at work in just like three hours or whatever, and I would be so frustrated and scared and just. Miserable, miserable. So I had somewhere along the way finished my master's degree in education because I decided that maybe a career change would be the solution to my life. So I was doing that and I had Started a teaching internship and I somehow managed not to drink too much during the, the week those first few weeks of the semester. That only lasted until about November. And I remember one day in the classroom, one of my students said, I smell alcohol, and I was horrified. I was like, oh my gosh, he's gotta be talking about me. But I held on until the end of that semester, and then I signed up to be a substitute teacher because I, I didn't have a full-time job. And so I was still looking for the full-time job subbing, but I could never take same day assignments. I could only work if I knew ahead of time so that I could sort of, Scrape myself together to get ready for that. And so somewhere around this time, I could check the dates, but I haven't. President Ford died and I was at home watching his funeral on cnn. And I like to say, you know, his funeral went. On longer than his actual presidency did, because it was several days and it was like Betty Ford was on the TV and they kept playing the video from her in the 1970s saying, hi, I'm Betty. I'm an alcoholic. And she'd smile about it and I was like, who is gonna say they're an alcoholic? And then smile about it. That's just bizarre to. But I was very attracted to something I was seeing there because they also talked a lot about the Ford's life in California after they left Washington. And I learned that President Ford had actually quit drinking even though he was not an alcoholic. He'd quit drinking in support of his wife's recovery and. That makes me emotional for some reason. Just the idea that somebody would do that because they love someone so much. It made an impression on me and it made me wonder what sobriety was really all about. And I kept drinking and I started taking ambi. In the afternoons because I learned that mixing Ambien with vodka would produce the same effect that Xanax had once produced. And it was a euphoria that I was looking for. And it also brought about some really strange side effects. Like one night I got in my car after taking Xanax taking Ambien and drinking vodka all afternoon. I decided to get in my car and go in search of this treatment center that I knew existed in the next county. So that's what I did. I drove over to Blunt County. I live in Knox County and it's, I don't know, about 30 minutes. I wasn't gonna try to like check myself into the treatment center. I just wanted to see if I could find it and I. And I found it. I turned around and I drove home and I remember the lines on the road were moving and I was somehow miraculously got home without killing anyone or without even being pulled over. And the next morning my husband said, what did you do? And I was like, what did I do? You know, it freaked me out. It really scared me to death and. So I was like, wow, I gotta do something. I still drank for another day or two after that, and then that Sunday it was Super Bowl Sunday. I didn't drink all day. I took my husband on like a tour of the UT Campus where that was my that's where it all started. I wanted to show him the. The scene of the crime, so to speak, and I don't think he understood what I was doing, but he went along for the ride. And then later that day we came home and watched the Super Bowl. We're trying to eat barbecue sandwiches and I couldn't eat. I, my hands were shaking. I was smoking cigarettes or trying to but it was hard to hold him in my so I told him that I would go to a meeting the next day and I. Woke up the next day and I was having second thoughts already. He was off work for some reason, and we went shopping at this market where they have the boots, you know, with like craftspeople or whatever. And I had told him, I said, I'm not gonna go to a meeting today, but I will go tomorrow. I just needed another day to prepare myself. So we're in this market and over the PA system. I hear Love will turn you around by Kenny Rogers, and that was a song I'd heard a thousand times in my life, but, I started listening to the words of it and internalizing it. Love will turn you around. It's your heart that keeps you where you are. It's your mind that talks you into believing every time. And I don't think the lyrics of this song are about recovery at all, but. At that moment in my life, they very much were about recovery. And I, and I was thinking about, I actually met him one night at a gala. I staggered up to his table drunk in my tuxedo, and he was very gracious and kind, and I was listening to him in that moment and I was thinking, love will turn me around. So I started like crying. I lost it, and then I went to find my husband and I said, we need to go home because I have to get to this meeting. If I don't go today, I may never. So we came home. I don't remember anything. Leaving or driving. I just remember arriving and I walked into this room and it was filled with smoke. And even though I smoked at the time, it was too smoky for me. But the people seemed really happy. They were laughing and talking and that really made an impression. I was like, what is the deal? This is not, I didn't expect this to be such a happy place. And so I went up to the D guy at the desk and he's like, well, if it's too smoky for you in here, you can go over next door. There's a non-smoking meeting, and I looked over there and there were just a few people and they looked pretty solid in comparison to the smokers. So I wasn't sure about that, but that's where I went. And then that room filled up also with very happy people, and they started having a first step meeting for me that just changed my life. I heard everything I needed to hear. Especially the things that stood out are this old lady looked at me and said, I don't know how far you've gone, but you don't have to go any farther if you don't want. And I sat in my chair and said to myself, I don't want to. And so I listened. I listened. I hear people say all the time that they don't remember their first meeting. I remember so much about my first meeting and they said to come back the next day. That was my most important meeting, and I thought, of course I'm coming back the next day. Are you crazy? I felt like I was at home. I know that's not everyone's experience, but that was my. I was a person who couldn't go one single day without drinking. And from that day forward, I never had another drink. So far, knock on wood, I'm still an alcoholic. I'm not cured, but I'm recovered. I do not drink today, and I don't see alcohol as a solution. I have the capacity to, again, if I don't maintain my program but I, I did come back. I took their suggestions and the ones that I didn't want to do turned out to be the best ones, including getting a sponsor and actually working the steps for real, cuz I had. I decided the night before my first meeting, I, I logged on and I read the big book online and I decided I'd just go ahead and knock my steps house. I, I checked off one, two, and three. I opened a spreadsheet and started my resentments and all my resentments that night were people I blamed for my drinking, you know, so when I actually did get a sponsor and I actually started working the steps for real, and, and not just checking off one, two, and three, because I, I came to realize that even though I never would've, I didn't believe in God. I didn't really believe that God was gonna do anything for me. It never even occurred to me to ask for help with drinking. You know, I, when I prayed, I always thought it was, the way I prayed was, hi God this is what I need you to make happen for me so that I'll be okay. You know? And the idea of praying for God's will and meaning it that was brand. and step three was an awakening in that regard because suddenly the idea of turning my will and my life over to. My higher power, and I do use the word God, I use the word God freely because you know, when I say God, it, it means so many things to me. It means the God of my religious upbringing, which I didn't even want anything to do with at the time. But it also means the universe and science and the laws of physics and chemistry and nature and connections with people and rooms of people in recovery, it means so many different things. And so Bill's story in the big book was really helpful with that because he describes a lot of different terms for his higher of power. And so working the steps for real changed my outlook on God. It taught me that I'm not alone. When I can see my part in situations that are causing me suffering, that's when healing begins. And then I got to step five and. I told my sponsor, this man that I admired so deeply, I told him all my shit. I got everything I could get out that day. I did not hold anything back. He told me, start with the thing. That you wanted to take to your grave. And so the thing that brought me the most shame actually had to do with I hit a girl in school. I, and, and I was kind of acting out a little scene from a movie that I'd seen and I was trying to be funny, I think, but I don't really know why I did it. But obviously she did not like that very much. And, and I remembered it. And, and I don't even. I have no idea whatever became of her. And so it's, and it's not like I've ever felt a need to look her up and try to make an amends for what happened when we were children. It, although I have to be willing to do it if, if the opportunity ever comes along. But that was something that I had carried around, like, why did I do? I'm not a violent person. Is that true? Are there other times when I, I was, but the point is I did get everything out that I had to get out that day. And after I was done, he looked at me and said, I'll be really surprised if you ever drink again. And I remember thinking, if this man believes I can stay sober, I can believe that I can stay sober and. That was the deal. I started believing that I could stay sober that day and so I went on through the rest of the steps and continued to live them. There have been ups and downs over the course of 15 it'll be 16 years in February 5th. And are different chapters of my sobriety, but it's, it's like anything else. You know, the, the more I put into my program, the more I get out of it. And just recently I've been on a 90 and 90. I came out of the pandemic. I started going back to in-person meetings and I kept saying, wow, I, I'm not feeling connected to the fellowship the way I used to. You know, I was sick of Zoom. Although I, I have to say I'm really, really grateful we had them. But going back to in-person meetings and feeling. Sort of disconnected and finally I was like, you know, I could try to actually do something about this instead of just complaining about it. So I decided to take on a 90 90, which I'd heard people with long-term sobriety doing before, which didn't make any sense to me. I was like, why would you do that? You know, I was down to like three meetings a week and that was on a good. So I'm, I'm like just less than two weeks away from finishing that. And it has really, really recharged my program a lot. So I'm super grateful that I did that. And so what it's like now is just I am, I am enjoying my sobriety and it's filled with possibility and, and gratitude. It's, it's really miraculous how much like a newcomer I feel right now at 15 and a half going on 16 years of sobriety. I feel like a newcomer and it's awesome. That

Steve:

is awesome. I mean, I was able to identify so much with your story, but just the one thing that I could really feel and sense was the, the gratitude you have for this program. Right on. And so, yeah. What's so many gifts? What would you say is one of your favorite parts of being sober?

Landon:

Honestly, it's just the freedom, the options that I have. I get to, I get to explore so many sides of, of me and getting to know the, the man that I am, the man I want to be. And when I do that, I get to connect with people, you know, I get to learn to love. which I had always gotten, this idea that loving me was, was not a good thing. Like it was selfish and bad. Somehow, in the program, in sobriety, I have learned that loving me is a good thing because it, it enables me to love you better. It, it, it, it gives me the, the opportunity to really experience loving you and to let you love me. Yeah. When, when I'm lovable and you're lovable. And we are lovable, you know my gosh. That's why we're here. You know? I think that's why we're here. We're here to learn how to love each other and it's really all there is. Yeah,

Steve:

for sure. And one thing that I was able to relate to, especially in your share was like how being younger, like realizing that, you know, we're, we're different and you know, we have attraction to the same sex, but like as your drinking, like progress and continued. How do you feel your sexuality played a role in your

Landon:

addiction? Well, it propelled it like it was, it was it was gasoline on the fire because, I always thought that when I found my gay people that I would fit in and I would feel accepted and loved and everything would be okay. But what really happened was the opposite of that. I found my gay people and all, and I thought I was supposed to feel included, accepted, fit in, you know, normal. But what I felt was that same old feeling of everybody got the guidebook, but me mm-hmm. and it was really, really acute, like, to be among people who were supposed to be just like me, and to still feel that way. It was heartbreaking and terrifying. But my good old friend, alcohol and drugs, they were there to help me through that. And when I was drunk and high, I, I didn't feel that way. I. I could talk to people, I could, I could I could get somebody to go home and have sex with me, but I never even cared much about sex until the alcohol ran out. You know, it was last call. That's when I started looking around to see who was still available. So I, I had a lot of regrettable sexual experiences just because that wasn't what I went to the bar for. I went to the bar to get drunk and, and dance and just feel normal for a. But without the alcohol and drugs, it was not happening in that atmosphere at all. And then so I think the sexuality played a huge role in my addiction because it, it, I needed that to cope with not fitting in. But also I used my sexuality as an excuse not to get sober because I was like, I've already got a label. Nobody should have to be gay and an alcoholic. So, you know, screw you. Sobriety. I wanna be gay. and being gay means being a partier. At least that's what I thought.

Steve:

Yeah, and I mean we, we found on the flip side that that is not the case. Right. What's it been like getting involved, you know, with GSM and like having like a gay and sober kind of group and fellowship?

Landon:

So the first week of my sobriety, I went to my first meeting, which was a mainstream meeting. I had seen that there was one gay meeting on the calendar for my city, Knoxville, and I it was called How Gay aa, and I had no idea, but it was their first meeting of the week. There had been another gay meeting before, but this was like a revival of it and. By the end of the week, I was like, eh, I don't need to go to the gay meeting because I, I'm finding what I need at this regular meeting. But my husband's brother was living with us at the time and he was over from Indonesia. That's where, that's where my husband is from and his family. And so sweet Lang my brother in. He worried a lot about my drinking and he very much wanted to see me get sober, and he was so happy to see that happen before he went back to Indonesia. And he's really the reason I went to the gay meeting because he, he wanted to go and he was gay. He's gay too. So we went, me, my husband, my brother-in-law, we showed up at this gay meeting and there were like two women there, the women who started it. But that's what got me started in gay recovery. And then time went on and that meeting started to grow. And I had my little sober family. You know, I had, I had my people there were. I don't know, 6, 8, 10 of us that we ran around on weekends, we hiked and we did all sorts of fun things in sobriety and we were all pretty much newly sober. And one day we were over in Asheville, North Carolina hanging out at a coffee house and we had sort of stumbled into to a an AA convention in Gatlinburg, I think it was. So we were reflecting on that. and somebody, I don't know, maybe, maybe I was the one who said this, said I wonder if they have gay ones. Mm-hmm. Do they have like gay AA conventions? So I started Googling and I found out that there was something called a Roundup, you know? And so okay, it's on, we have to go to one, we have to go to one. And the one that worked out with my schedule was Western Roundup, which is also called Living Sober, the Roundup in San Francisco. And. I didn't know this at the time, but it turned out to be like the biggest one, maybe even the first one. And so a group of us went to that. We went to San Francisco to, to attend this roundup. And I was sitting there in a workshop in the hotel there in in, in San Francisco and something inside me said, take. So I opened my mouth and I forced myself to say words and that's what began a connection with the gay Roundup. And those people were just amazing. Like the whole weekend was just life changing. We stayed over for the 4th of July because that's, that's when they had the roundup back then made some friends that I'm still in contact with today. They, they took us in and they just. Showed me how warm and loving that, that this gay community and recovery can be, which was a huge change from what I had experienced before sobriety. Yeah, and, and I don't even mean to say that the gay community is an unkind or unloving place. I'm just talking about my experience based on where I was. You know, this was all. What was wrong with me and, and what was no longer wrong with me. Yeah. So that was the beginning of my life going to gay roundups. Should I talk about the GSM thing now?

Steve:

Sure. I mean, we'll get more into it for sure in the next episode, but, you know, how did you find and get involved with that?

Landon:

So, okay. It was 2016 and I had been to a few of the gay roundups and had great experiences and I had mediocre experiences. A lot of what happened with me at Roundups had to do with how much I was bringing. You know, how much did I put into it? And so I had really enjoyed some of these. But in 2016 my father got sick and died very quickly. Like he, he went from being well on a Wednesday to being dead on Sunday, and it was just shattering a life shattering experience. And so I was dealing with that and feeling really unexpected. I felt like I had lost my best friend because he was gone and here I was, me and my sisters and my mom, and feeling just super like. I actually wrote a song about it and, and one of the lines in the song is, you know, how can you be gone? What planet am I on? And that's how I felt. I was like, I don't know this planet anymore. I don't know this world that no longer has my dad as an occupant. And So sometime that fall, I came across a listing on Facebook for the Gay and Sober Men's Conference, and it just grabbed me, the graphic, I was attracted to it. And the idea of a men's conference just grabbed me because I felt like that's really what I needed at that moment in my life. I wanted to be around my sober brothers because one thing I had always wanted in life was a. And when I first got sober, they said, you're gonna find in sobriety what you were looking for in the bottle. And I remember thinking, well, I know what I always wanted. And that was a brother, you know, and that's what I've had. You know, after my fifth step, I had my sponsor and I had, next thing I knew, I had like three other guys that I could talk to about anything. Being a, a, a boy who grew up and just always feeling more comfortable with girls and wanting to learn how to relate to, to other guys. Sobriety had started to give me that already. So here in 2016 when I'm still processing the, the loss of my dad, the idea of going to a conference with sober men just really appealed to me a lot. So I got on the phone with some of my people and, and. Made it happen. I was like, we got a plan to go to this thing June of 2017. So that was my first gsm. Excellent.

Steve:

And, and no matter how we get sober, we all generally find like one or two quotes or mantras that we love to live by. Do you have any of those that you'd like to share

Landon:

quotes or mantras to live by? Okay. The 23rd Psalm has become really important to me. So that's more than a, a mantra. It's like a meditation. Mm-hmm. That was something that, it was funny because it was in the gay meeting, a guy who's not religious at all said that he, he liked the 23rd Psalm as a meditation and. So it was before my dad died that I started using that and, and I still use it every day. It's a, it's a meditation for living. You know, I had always been to funerals and they always read the 23rd psalm, but now it's a meditation for living and it talks about abundance and guidance and being renewed. And it's just, it, it really still speaks to me very much. If I had to pick one, I think I would go with that one. But it's, it's really, really hard to pick one. All

Steve:

right. You know, I understand. And that's why I love, like every episode someone gives one of their favorites and there's plenty to choose from or to discover. Yeah. So thank you so much for sticking your, I could talk with you all day long and we actually will continue this conversation in the post show. So before we get into that though, how can our listeners find.

Landon:

So well, you can find me a couple of ways. You can find me at community gay and sober.org. Mm-hmm. because currently I'm serving as a board member and executive secretary in charge of things like community relations and we'll talk more about that, but that's one way. I also have a website. My personal website where I write about my experiences is harlem manor.com. H a r l i m as in Mary Manor, m a n o r.com. And you can always reach me through there as well. Excellent.

Steve:

I'll be sure to put those in the show notes for our listen. But yeah, stick around. You can join our Paton family today to continue this episode. Head on over to the post show on our Paton page to hear more about Landon's experiences in sobriety. And be sure to tune in next week as we dive into our work with the GSM Conference. Meanwhile, if you're interested in sharing your story, getting involved with the show, or just saying hi, I'm an email away@gayapodcastgmail.com or on Instagram at Gaya podcast. and follow us wherever you're listening so you can get these new episodes when they come out every Thursday. Until next time, stay sober friends.

Podcasts we love