gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

There is a Solution ft. Mario

December 22, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 117
There is a Solution ft. Mario
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
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gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
There is a Solution ft. Mario
Dec 22, 2022 Season 1 Episode 117
Steve Bennet-Martin

Steve welcomes Mario 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 Mario at chair@gayandsober.org and follow Gay and Sober everywhere @gayandsober

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 Mario 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 Mario at chair@gayandsober.org and follow Gay and Sober everywhere @gayandsober

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 Gaya, 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 how well may Thanksgiving gratitude episode turned out. As of this recording, I am 535 days sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome. Hello, Steve. How are you? I'm doing well now. I had the pleasure of getting to meet you over this past year's GSM conference, but why don't you introduce yourself to everyone who might not already know you?

Mario:

Sure. My name is TA Mario and I hail from Houston, Texas vintage 1962, if that's important to anybody. And I have at this point, what did they say? Sixty two hundred and forty one days sober, 6,241 days. Which are just wow. That number amazes

Steve:

me. Yeah. But that's an impressive number. And before we jump into the thick of it, what are some of the favorite hobbies you found in sobriety?

Mario:

Mostly relaxing with reading or watching Netflix as much as I can. And it's funny because I try to watch series shows and then by the third episode I'm like, ah, okay, I'm not done. So I'm constantly searching for something new to watch. But my, my favorite genres are ume, anything animated superhero related or science fiction. So I try to, I try to keep up with some of that.

Steve:

Yeah. And while watching anything good lately,

Mario:

I actually did last night. I got a chance to watch. Don't look up. Oh, that was very

Steve:

funny.

Mario:

It, it was funny and thought provoking. Mm-hmm. and also kind of sad too. Yeah.

Steve:

Yeah. Certainly it, you know, it ended the one, the way one might think it might, but at the same time it was still sad. It was still sad. Yes. Yes. Excellent. Well, tell us a little bit about what your journey with alcohol and addiction was.

Mario:

I know like many of us, I started pretty early in my high school age, which is right around 1979. I graduated 1980. I definitely was by then smoking pot and drinking. And I joined the navy, ended up in California for a while, which it could only be drinking cuz of the, the drug thing and everything. At that time, the prohibitions against drug use. But once I was out of the service, It remained steady, steady until about the nineties when I was introduced to a little substance called crystal meth. And, and just to, to qu qualify or, or clarify, even before the crystal meth, if you had it, I would use it. You know, so whatever you had, I was gonna use, I was gonna try everything, right? I was gonna try everything. But that particular drug really set something off in me, and it was off of the races at that point in, by 2003 I definitely was in a tail span. I was. Hovering between making rent and being evicted and trying to feed myself and three cats at the time. My partner at the time, Alan overdosed from crystal Meth at the time. And that was, that was an experience to go through, but I still didn't stop. I still didn't stop. I I didn't call it quits until October of 2005.

Steve:

Okay. And what prompted you to, to get sober?

Mario:

My moment of clarity is we like to call it, so some of us like to call it I used to have a habit of getting high, watching myself in the mirror, getting high, watch my little eyeballs to tulu, you know, dilate and stuff. I, I thought it was kind of neat. And the only way I can describe it is that I felt the pull of my ancestors. It was it was almost as if I heard them in the room with me that. They didn't do everything they did for me to do this as, as I was living my life. I come from a very strong female dominated family. We are my generation of cousins and everything, we're all first generation Americans and a lot of them, We know our family history pretty well. A lot of the women in my family, they were everything from midwives to they owned stores to, they pulled their family through depression and stuff, and, and it was literally like, I, I felt them tap me on the shoulder and say, you need to stop. You need to stop. This is not what we sacrificed everything we sacrificed for to you to be doing this. And I listened. I listened to that. I had, I listened to that inner voice that said, mm-hmm this is it. I'm. Yeah.

Steve:

Oh, that sounds very inspiring. And what or how has your life changed since getting sober then? A lot.

Mario:

a lot. I had always wanted to get into nursing and I actually did at 18 have a scholarship at the time for a local college and, I fritted it away because I was too busy chasing boys and beer at the time. We could drink at 18 at the time in Texas, and so I was too busy chasing boys and beer and I was unfocused and I, I came back to Houston, started my sober journey in 2005, and by 2007 I was like, I gotta do something with my life. I just gotta do something. Why not go back to medi medical career? And mind you, I had. Have done I have done, I have done just about everything imaginable except jump out of a cake to make a living in my life. I have, I have cleaned houses, I have cooked, I have managed restaurants. I have run a computer system. I have trained people to use computers. I've done sales and hospitality. I've done marketing. I've done legal work. I've done administrative work. I mean, I've done just about everything. I was like, well, let, let me just try this venture. My, my local community college had a program of nursing associates program and I started with zero and zero college credits to my name. And I did it in 2013. I graduated my associates in nursing top honors and I was surprised at one cuz I was 51 at the time and I was one of the older, oldest people in my class. It was not the oldest one, but I was one of the older people in my class and that I did so. You know, and then I managed to stay focused in sobriety and in that journey, in that, in that timeframe I had a boyfriend and we broke up in 2011 cuz of his relapse. And that was not something I wanted to even add to the layer cake. And you know, securing a job. I had a really supportive boss. I was managing a hair salon at the time. No hair. I don't do hair, but I was managing the stuff, the appointments and the product and all that stuff. I was lot of support from my family at the time. They still support me, but a lot of from the family at the time and, and my boss. And it was a wonderful experience and I, I, I did it, but I really had to put some thought to what am I gonna do now that I'm like, you know, some 20 years from retirement age, what am I gonna do? And I was like, well, nursing's there. And as far as career goes, I am now a charge nurse at a small ER in Houston. A very busy. In Houston, I've been doing er work for five years in, in general nursing for the balance of my I'm in my 10th year of nursing.

Steve:

Congratulations. Inspiring the gifts of the sobriety.

Mario:

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I could not have done it and, and I definitely know, like I mentioned, I was 18 when I tried to do nursing because of everything I've gone through in life and then the principles and the guiding. Wisdom I have from the program I work, I'm able to handle some of the stressors of nursing and the ER work and dealing with colleagues and dealing with difficult patients and difficult colleagues and just, just life in fucking general. You know, I'm able, I'm able to juggle all that because the principles that really set down and I'm glad. It wasn't until 2000 eight that I started that journey. So it 5, 6, 7. I really solidified my program and got my, my, my feet grounded so that I could, I could take that journey.

Steve:

That's really cool. And how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addictions? Wow.

Mario:

Definitely I know that I, I drink and drugged because everyone else around me was, at the time, I mean, I came out in the late seventies as a kid and you. You wanna smoke some pot? Sure. You wanna get a blow job? Sure. That's, that's just how we rolled at the time, you know? And yeah, yeah, the, the intro card, the, the, the social lubricant of, of being gay at, at that time and growing up and being young and silly was definitely drugs and alcohol and, and, Certainly sport fucking was part of it. And how many people could you get in the weekend at the bathhouse, you know? And if you had to barter for some drugs at some time with sex, then find whatever. That's what it took. I, I definitely did my share of all of that. So my sexuality definitely plays a part in, in my addiction, and it plays a big part in my sobriety. Yeah. Tell us

Steve:

more about how it's impacted your sobriety.

Mario:

I I'm so lucky. I'm so lucky in Houston. We have a fabulous Lambda Center, our gay and lesbian AA center, and we welcome all, all folks and allies and of, of all things. One of my sisters is Jehovah's Witness, but she was very, very kind and loving and she did research and she had a packet of information for me when I, when I came to Houston. And one of those resources was Lambda Center. Full disclosure, I'm about to open another closet door here. One of the group meetings that they have, they're on the regular, is a positive sobriety meeting for people with HIV and their supporters. And I was like, I, I gotta go to this meeting. If anything, I've got to make that meeting at this place. And Lamberson became my home base for, for sobriety and recovery. I am surrounded. Vast community of loving, wonderful people and have learned to give and, and, and give back to the center in many, many, many levels. In d in different ways. A little, a little what do they call these things? So box soapbox. My first sponsor, he was my sponsor for 15 years, and we're deep, deep close friends. We've gone past being sponsor Sponsoree but he is in his eighties, in his late eighties, and I've taken it upon myself. We, and we agree, we discuss this, we discuss this and everything, but I'm now his medical poa. I do a lot of his appointments and everything. And it saddens me. That not as many young, younger folks in sobriety step up to the plate for some of the older folks in sobriety. Which is something that was modeled to me in my family of origin. You know, you take care of your elders. And so like I said, it's a little bit of a soapbox for me that, you know, gosh darn it, if they're 80 and they don't drive anymore, take, go pick'em up. Mm-hmm. take'em to meeting, take'em for coffee. They, they need that as much as you do to have that service work in. Something I, I've learned to do at Lamb Center and I've been very involved with their upcoming roundup. I've done several of their skits and sobriety shows that they do. I always wanted to be a star. Mm-hmm. So yeah. I've been very involved with the Lamb Center at that level and helped out with several of the entertaining things they do from drag shows to fundraisers and things like that. And, and certainly the roundup play too. Yeah. That's

Steve:

fabulous. And that's definitely some excellent advice for our younger listeners as well. And what are some other practices you use in your daily life to help keep you sober?

Mario:

There's an excellent, at the same center a six 30 in the morning meeting that happens Monday through Friday. They call it eyes Wide shut. Mm-hmm. and Man, there's some good sobriety in those rooms. there's some good sobriety in, in those meetings. And when I can, I make myself go to that meeting, I find that I really work best especially during my down times from nursing to have that soap that, that. Focus in, in the morning and some time to organize my thoughts. You know, page 86, 87 and 89 were very in 88, 89 were very important to me in my early sobriety so that upon awakening, we turn our thoughts to our creator and ask for guidance, blah, blah, blah. And I find the meeting does that for me. I find the meeting gets me set up on the right path. I have a chance to, to listen to what's going on inside, to listen, what's going on outside. And get and get some good direction, good orderly direction as they call it.

Steve:

Yeah, I can imagine. I wish I was more of a morning person, but I learned to sleep quite well in my sobriety. Much better than I did before, so I'm just enjoying that part for now.

Mario:

baby cakes, I could too. I could too.

Steve:

And what's one piece of advice you often find yourself giving newcomers or people who are curious about sobriety? Give it a chance.

Mario:

You know and, and I've been honest about this in, in recent months. When I first came in, in 2005, I honestly thought it'd give, you know, five, six years of, of either abstinence or learning how to handle my drugs better and shit like that. And that I, it'd be okay, it'd be be, and then as I stayed in and, and did my routine of meetings and, and things like that and worked with. I really saw that it's true. There is no going back. If I'm truly, and I am, if I'm truly an addict, alcoholic, there is no going back. There is no, well, just for the weekend there is no, this time only this friend celebration. My 60th birthday was just this last year, this last march. There, there's no, there's no picking up for me for. And I can only speak for myself. So I know that to be true cuz I've seen it. I have seen other people live that experiment one more time. And I have lost several, several really good people in my, in my 17 year

Steve:

journey here. Yeah, that's excellent. I, I know a listener reached out when they were in the very early days. They were like, why, how haven't you relapsed yet? And I was like, it's listening to the stories like of people like, who share their experience about what that was like. And I was like, I don't want that for myself. I want to

Mario:

stay sober and to be sure I know for myself mm-hmm. Before I came in and did it. And, and I'm not a one ship wonder. Cause I didn't even pick up a desire ship. I didn't know what that, that was. I didn't, I didn't figure what that was until like my second or third week I was Oh, that's what that was. So so I didn't pick up a desire trip to be honest, but, Even pre sober days, there were many, many attempts at like, like the some of the literature describes as, you know, only this, not that, only during these times, never during the holiday, only during the holiday, et cetera, et cetera, etc. I tried all the different ways. I mentioned one person that died. I've also lost another lover in 89 to h to aids, and we had been together six years in for both when both partners in, in the respective timeframes. I stopped for 30 days. I was gonna be a good widow and I stopped for 30 days, right? Mm-hmm. And I was just, I couldn't wait till day 31. Mm-hmm. I could not wait, you know? So I, I did my relapsing before I came in the room. True, true. To be true and honest in my journey. I did my relapsing before I came into rooms cuz I thought I could do it and. Definitely I needed the help with the, of the collective wisdom of AA and cma. That's my other, that's my, that is my primary fellowship, crystal meth anonymous. I needed that collective wisdom to get me through those, those early times and go, you know what? This, this definitely is, is not an experiment any longer. I definitely have to live the real lab to live the real have today.

Steve:

Yeah, I can relate. And what's been your favorite mantra or quote to try and live?

Mario:

Oh, there's so many. Of course. There is a solution. Mm-hmm. that whole, that whole page. Is it 25? Cause I'm not, I'm not a, I don't memorize pages that way, but, and it's for myself. It's got a really interesting connection and one of my first private duty nursing is always getting ready for the boards. I answered an ad for family looking for weekend. For a child with disabilities and he didn't understand a word I said. Right. You know, we, his, his mentality was just enough that we could watch cartoons together. And I enjoyed it too. I mean, cuz I love cartoons, right? But there were times we would be doing his little exercise bike around the neighborhood, and I would be repeating out loud, there is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self surging, the leveling of pride, the confession of shortcomings, which the process requires for successful consummation, et cetera, et cetera, etc. And I memorized that. and you know, if it put to the test, I could probably do it still, but I, that, that, that, that has become my mantra. I love that. The solution, you know, because it's like that if, if you're really truly if you remember the gro through that passage stranger in a strange way, and we walk through that whole, just really absorb what that three paragraph page is saying, you know, It doesn't matter what's going on in my life, there is something that will work. It may not always be the thing I want it to work. Mm-hmm. there is, there is a solution. I just have to be humble enough to be open for it. Yeah. That's my favorite mantra, to be honest. Yeah. Yeah, that's definitely

Steve:

a good one. And we're gonna get more in our next episode into your work with gsm. But in the meantime, how can our listeners find you if they wanna reach.

Mario:

Oh yeah, I'm on Facebook. Mm-hmm. Memorial. A Marino. I use my middle initial cuz there's a bunch of us out there, apparently So I'm in Houston. And since you mentioned gsm, my professional for that, for that organization is chair@gayandserver.org. You can always drop me a line through that. Or you can reach out through me at Facebook. I'm part of the Gay and Sober men's Facebook page. I, like I said, I have my own profile page, so by all. If you have questions, look me up. It's definitely, I guess the other mantra, the other fair mantra is our primary purpose is to stay sober and help the other alcoholic and addict to achieve sobriety. Yeah, those, those two are, are truly my mantra. That's what I live by. There is a solution, and my primary purpose from here on out is to help the other alcoholic or attitude.

Steve:

Yeah, I'll be sure to add them into the show notes. So thank you so much. Stick around cuz we're gonna continue our conversation over on the Patreon page. You want to con hear the rest of this conversation. Join our Patreon family today. Head over to the post show on our page to hear more about Mary's experiences in sobriety. And as we hinted at, stay tuned next week for a whole episode where we dive into our work with the GSM Conference. If you're interested in sharing your story or getting involved with a show, you can email me at gay podcast. At gmail.com or follow me on Instagram at Gaya podcast and follow this podcast wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Thursday. Until that time, stay sober. Friends. Thank.

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