gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

The Frogs Bottle ft. Charlie Gray

December 18, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin, Charlie Gray Season 1 Episode 116
The Frogs Bottle ft. Charlie Gray
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
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gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
The Frogs Bottle ft. Charlie Gray
Dec 18, 2022 Season 1 Episode 116
Steve Bennet-Martin, Charlie Gray

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Steve invites back best-selling author, Charlie Gray, to discuss his newest book, A Frog's Bottle, out now!

Check out his book now on Amazon, follow him on social media searching Charlie Gray or At Least I'm Not The Frog, and go to his website, www.atleastimnotthefrog.com

Head over to our Patreon family for our post-show discussion on cut content and spoilers, as well as getting steamy as we discuss his erotic novella, It Happened One EDC. Not a member, join today at www.patreon.com/gayapodcast

Stay sober!

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Steve invites back best-selling author, Charlie Gray, to discuss his newest book, A Frog's Bottle, out now!

Check out his book now on Amazon, follow him on social media searching Charlie Gray or At Least I'm Not The Frog, and go to his website, www.atleastimnotthefrog.com

Head over to our Patreon family for our post-show discussion on cut content and spoilers, as well as getting steamy as we discuss his erotic novella, It Happened One EDC. Not a member, join today at www.patreon.com/gayapodcast

Stay sober!

Support the Show.

Steve:

Hi everyone and welcome to Gay a, 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 the connections I'm making in recovery. As of this recording, I am 564 days sober, and today we welcome back friend of the pod and bestselling author Charlie Gray, to talk about his new book, the Frogs Bottle. Welcome back. Hi, Steve. How are you? Good. It's so great having you back on for those first listening or getting to know you. Why don't you introduce yourself?

Charlie:

Hello. My name is Charlie Gray. I am an author as well as an alcoholic. I have, I just celebrated two years and five months sober on the eighth of this month. First came across Steve on Instagram. Yeah. Is how I first came across you and listened to your content. Loved it. I was on last year talking about my first book, at least I'm Not The Frog. Mm-hmm. which has now. evolved into a trilogy of books. So I'm here today talking about the second one. Done a lot in my sobriety, traveled a lot. I take a rather untraditional approach to my sobriety, but I suppose we'll cover all that here in a short

Steve:

bit. Sure. And what inspired you after, cuz you know, when you wrote your first book, it was intended to be kind of a standalone. Yes. Yes it was. So what inspired you to write a second book or turn it into a trilogy?

Charlie:

You know what had happened was I wrote that first book and it opened up such a new world for me. It was such a cathartic experience that I knew I had to continue writing. It's like writing found me. It saved me, and so I knew that this was going to be a huge part of my life going forward, just as alcohol had been a huge part of my life, you know, in my past. It's like. It's not that I found a crutch, it's that I found a purpose. Yeah. And it was amazing. So published the first book, you know, it's Do, it was doing well and I was trying to write and I was like, well, I guess I'll write like a debut non or debut fiction novel. And I had all these ideas and all these stories I wanted to write, but I could only get so far before my mind would. almost pushed me to be like, well make them an alcoholic, write in a relapse. And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you doing? Like, do you just wanna write about alcohol? And around this time as well, it was about October of 2021, I had started to get a lot of feedback from people that had read the book and they were identifying and resonating a lot with relapse. And I was like, you. There's something there. There's more I want to say about relapse than I got to say in my first book. So, you know what? I'm just gonna write another book about drinking and I, I started off thinking like, what am I gonna, what am I like? I covered a lot of it in the first book. Yeah. You know, but there were things that I had purposefully left out just for space. You know, I didn't have the time to just ramble on and on, so, That's how I kind of came to the, this time of my life where I was in a rehab in August of 2019. And it was such a profound experience for me that I was like, that's it, that's what I have to write about.

Steve:

Yeah. And so one thing I really enjoyed, like reading the second book is like how you write about your, like re-discovery or like with writing and like how you got back into it by being challenged by one of the, the people there like to start writing again. So that was interesting getting to see kind of the start of it. It was like almost like very meta writing about writing.

Charlie:

I know. And actually, here's a little more meta, so. chapter three of at least I'm Not The Frog, the first book is what I'm writing. Yeah. In the second book. Mm-hmm. That's the first thing I ever wrote. So yeah, it

Steve:

was very meta That is really cool. And you know, while the first book took a center journey through your addiction experiences with treatment and recovery, this book sticks to like that certain time you mentioned in your life, like why that certain time.

Charlie:

you know, I settled on that time because I felt it was going to be the best way for me to really address relapse in the way that I wanted to. I had had this amazing experience and it just, it fit, you know, it was a small group of patients. It was this rather unique treatment center. So I was like, this is, this is kind of like what I have to settle on, and I felt that there. From what I was getting from other, from the readers that had reached out to me was really a need to delve deeper in relapse and kind of explore it in a way that wasn't. in almost an objective way, in a way to just present relapse without any sort of agenda of shaming it or even elevating it, just to present

it.

Steve:

Yeah, and I, I definitely think that you did good, did a good job with that, because, you know, you're talking throughout the book about like your desire to recover, but like at the same time you talked about how you were very self-aware that like this wasn't the end of your story. This wasn't like probably gonna be. Relapse. I mean, I, I know you talked in the book at length and people will read like how hard it almost was of being so self-aware with recovery, but like now that you're on the other side of it, h how do you feel like it's helped you being so self-aware of yourself?

Charlie:

Well, it's, you know, it's the only reason I think I was able to get sober. Mm-hmm. and I'm, I'm having such a joy right now writing on the third book because that's what I'm writing about. How did I get sober? How did I maintain my sobriety? And self-awareness is a huge catalyst for that. It was always around, I was always able to be self-aware. I think maybe that's something that was just inherent in me and. You know, I would go through life and I would know why I was doing the things that I was doing, but I didn't start to embrace it until almost far too late, you know, until I was like a gutter alcoholic. But yes, I can look back and see where having the awareness of, yes, you are afflicted with. Tormenting disease. Disease and it's, it's never gonna leave you. It's always going to be there. Having that awareness that my actions were governed under that mm-hmm. also allowed me, it made it a lot easier for me to forgive myself. Mm-hmm. the awareness that, It's not that I was waking up every day and choosing to live this terrible life. It's, it's that it was happening because of all these other reasons. So it wasn't that I was a bad person making bad decisions. Mm-hmm. And that really helped when it came time to get sober, to be like, oh, I really do forgive you for all that. Fucking nonsense, man.

Steve:

Yeah. And well, another thing in this book that I really enjoyed was like getting to know more about like the, the people that you were in recovery with. Because the first book was like very much like there were people that stood out like here and there but like, because it was a tra traveling through different times of your life, you didn't get to know them. I feel like as well as in this book when it comes to that, like how do you navigate what to share and what to keep private from these people that shared like these very raw conversations.

Charlie:

I am. So I, when I got your email and I saw that we were gonna talk about this, I was like, yes. Because I have been so frightened about. how people are going to react to kind of what I've put in there because it's, you pretty much get everybody's raw. Mm-hmm. graphic story as to, you know, what, what's happened to them and why they're there. And I was afraid people were gonna be like, how dare you just share these stories without, you know, like you can't just tell these gritty details of people's lives. So I was like, Ooh, I need, I'm so thankful to address this because I want people to know how extremely respectful and sensitive and careful I was when it came to. The conversations I, I wrote in these books, I mean, people are bearing their souls and divulging things that you only divulge when you're, you're in the company of another person and you trust them and there's love there and you're trying to heal. So what I did in setting out to write this book, fortunately, you know, Facebook is. we can say everything we want about how bad social media is and we're right, but it also has some of the most beautiful aspects to it too, because I've been so lucky to stay in contact with so many people that I've met over the years in treatment and detoxes. And so the majority of people I went to treatment with, I was able, I was already friends with them on Facebook or I was able to track them down on Facebook, and I just reached out to them and let them know. I'm writing this story about the time that we went to rehab together, and I would really like to use you, but. I'm gonna use you and I'm gonna smash like three other people in with you. Mm-hmm. So here's what I'd like to use from your life. Here's what I remember you telling me. And I, you know, would write out everything that I was gonna talk about that I had experienced in our conversation with them and let them see that so that they could say, don't talk about that, or, yeah, that's fine. If I, there were a couple people, there's a couple stories. You'll know Jackson and Kate. Mm-hmm. the story between Jackson and Kate. Jackson's like the younger guy and Kate was dating his sister. Do you remember that one? Yes, I remember that. Okay. Yeah, so that story was the only one that I could not track down anyone for that story, but the story was just so. Visceral to me when it was told and so impactful and just it showed the brutality of addiction and how it can rip apart so many people's lives in an instant. I was like, I have to get that out there, but I can't. Be disrespectful. So how do you convey the message of that story and the impact and the feeling without just taking someone's life and, and writing about it without their permission? So it was, I had to get very. because you gotta keep the truth, but you gotta like hide it and it's like you just, I had to get very creative. So changing a lot of sexes for people, changing a lot of physical locations, changing maybe, maybe it wasn't drugs, maybe it was a different substance that the person actually had done the act on. Mm-hmm. maybe the relationships between the people weren't exactly. You know, so I was like, what can I alter to keep it the truth? enough that if that person were to come across it, they wouldn't, they wouldn't be hurt by it. Mm-hmm. you know? Mm-hmm. So, yeah, that was, thank you for letting me talk about that, because there's a few characters that what they're saying did not actually happen to them. It happened to another person, and I put their story within that person, so, I wanted to be careful and respectful.

Steve:

Yeah. And what's it been like having these people then like get to, to read the book and like, has it given you the chance to reconnect to some of them? Yeah. Yeah,

Charlie:

a couple of them. A couple of them are just not in good shape right now. So that's been a challenge all on its own. Yeah. But one of them, It's just been a dream. Like she's, she's been one of my great friends since I left that treatment center and she was, because I was writing what would be in the first book when I was with her. Mm-hmm. So she's been on this writing journey with me from the very beginning, read the first thing I ever wrote, and it was just so beautiful because, and she knew, you know, a lot of what I was writing about and was there to hear some of those stories. And so it was such. A nice moment for her to go back to because she's in a great place. She's, she has stayed sober and so she was like, you, you made like the most beautiful movie of our time there. She was like, it felt like I was watching a movie of our time. And I was like, well, that's the best compliment ever. Yeah.

Steve:

And speaking of connecting or reconnecting with people from your past that you write about in the book has there been another chapter out there about Charlie and Aiden? Aiden.

Charlie:

Yes. We knew. We do need to discuss Aiden. Aiden is the love interest in the book. Yes. And we Oh, what a man. What a man. So Aiden, actually I didn't, he didn't. He that character. was not in rehab with me. Aiden lived with me in a sober house at the Welcome Foundation. Mm-hmm. before I went to rehab. So in the very beginning of the book, I have a note that basically where I talk about kind of what I've just talked about before. Yeah. Where I say everything in this book took place between, I think it's like late March and early, early. October and some characters have been smashed into one. So I took my experience with Aiden of us living in the welcome foundation. I plucked it from that and I put it into the book. But everything that we experienced was 100% true. We obviously didn't have like a little meadow that we would go to. We had a closet in the sober house, but it was a nice big closet up on the fourth floor that nobody used. And it was very fitting to like be in the closet.

Steve:

Yeah. But yeah.

Charlie:

Aiden and I, unfortunately no, Aiden, so I left the welcome foundation. shortly before I relapsed and would've went into the treatment center that I'm writing about. Mm-hmm. in this book. And I don't ever really know what became of Aiden. I don't know if he was able to stay sober. I don't know if he relapsed. Aiden didn't have social media. I had his phone number for a while, but that's no longer his phone number. And I've lost contact with him. And it was, you know, I tell a lot of people, like I. I've never really been in relationships. I've never really had a long-term relationship, so I, I always say like I've, I've never had one, but when I, and like being honest with myself, Aiden was definitely a relationship that I had in my life and I do believe I fell in love with him in that time span. And he was a great guy. And I think had we. Well, no. Had we stayed together, I would've relapsed and drug him down too. So it is best that we didn't Yeah, but yeah.

Steve:

Yeah.

Charlie:

It's, it is so bittersweet. But I loved writing it. I loved having two gay boys, you know, kind of, he was bisexual, but to have male, male romance at the forefront, I'm like, we, I've wanted to see this so long. Mm-hmm. a book like this, and I've said to write it. It was great

Steve:

fun. Excellent. And what part of the book are you most excited for readers to get to?

Charlie:

Oh my goodness. I'm, you know, I'm just so excited for them to read it. I'm really excited for them to read about Daphne's little escapade that she does. Mm-hmm. in the middle with, with her boy. And then Aiden and I, I'm excited to get the feedback on Aiden and I, but I'm just, I'm really anxious to hear what readers, if it, if it struck with them what I set out to strike with them in relapse. In that the, the main driving force behind my books is for, you know, addicts and alcoholics to escape to a place where they feel comfort. I, in all of my facilities, read. you know, so many novels when I would be in a facility and, and it was comforting for me and I loved to read about people going through addiction and recovery whenever I was sitting in a rehab. So to just know, just to have one person be like, Hey, I read it in rehab and thank you. I was able to like escape for a little bit. That's what I'm excited to hear.

Steve:

Yeah. And oh, you know, especially since this is your second book, like what has it been like getting that type of feedback or having people reach out after the first book's release?

Charlie:

It's, you know, words even as an author, words like, don't even describe it, the feeling that you get in your chest. Just knowing that it's like making me emotional now just because it's, it's so huge. to give someone that gift to say, Hey, I see you. I feel you. Everything you did wrong is okay. It's not even wrong. Let's just throw out that word wrong. Everything you did was fine and I'm here for you. It, it lights up my life. It, it makes me feel like. all of that time I spent alone and full of shame and scared was for a reason. Mm-hmm. that there was a purpose to it and, and I was able to make something from all of that pain and pass that on to another so that they can wrestle with their pain and come out, you know, stronger for it. So those. You can't, and you don't know. I didn't know that any of that was gonna happen when I was writing the first book. I hoped that people would read it and like it, but I didn't imagine that people would inbox me with these long, beautiful messages with these very clear. Descriptions of how they relate and why, and, and then it opens up. You know, I've made some great friends that I, that are just online with me now that I've never met in purpose, that they found me through the book and we've talked and it's just been amazing. Which I'm sure you have a, a very similar

Steve:

Yeah, I, I can, I can relate cuz like any listener review or any email or like the fact that I have people like reaching out to me. I want to be on your podcast just like it makes my days every day when I have something like that happen. So I can definitely relate. Yes. Because

Charlie:

we do it for you. Yeah. Like everyone listening like it is and it's, it's done with so much love and so much joy and it's great. Yeah.

Steve:

Yeah. And looking ahead you do mention clearly in this book that it is the Second and a Frog No More is coming out in May of 2023. Is that. Yes, that is correct. Excellent. A anything new anything besides that on their horizons that you're looking forward?

Charlie:

Yes. Well, you know, part of the reason why I decided to turn it into a trilogy is because when I was working, I was just like a couple chapters into the second book, it like hit me like, oh, you've gotta write a third one and this is what the third one's gonna be about. But then another part of me is like, I just wanna write something that's not so heavy. Yeah. So, yes, I know that after, cuz I've got, I've gotten a lot of the third book written already, so I know that once that's done and going through edits, I'll start on the next project and it will be finally the, the debut fiction novel. I have no idea what genre, what it's gonna be about, but lots of ideas of what I could write and I'll narrow it down. Just continuing to write and publish, and I feel like that'll just be my life.

Steve:

Well, that's awesome. I know that I love reading whatever you write. Like I'm not always the biggest book reader and like I forget that I like to read books until I pick one up and like by the time I had like your book in my hand on chapter two, I was done like within 24 hours. But it's just a matter of like picking up the book. Sometimes I'm like, I forget that. I like to read.

Charlie:

Yeah, we do. We do. Because it's like you think about it and you're like, oh, I don't wanna read that book. Like it's a process. Then you get in the book and you're like, oh my

Steve:

gosh. Yeah, it was, but thank you. That's a very nice comment. It was good read, so I definitely recommend listeners check it out. Where can they find the book?

Charlie:

So on Amazon? Mm-hmm. I'm only available on Amazon. You can go out there, type the frog's bottle. You can type, at least I'm not The Frog or Charlie Gray. You'll stumble upon me somehow. And the ebook is 2 99. Now I do wanna take a moment and talk about this because it is important because I do know that money, whew. It cost is a real thing for a lot of people. Yeah. And. what I've done, I've tried to price as reasonably as I can. So the e-book is 2 99. The paper book paperback is 8 99 and the hard cover is 1599. Mm-hmm. But what you can do if you don't have a lot of money to spend the Kindle app, which is just Amazon's like little reader, everyone knows what Kindle is. You can just go to your app store or the Google Play Store. If you have an Android, I think download the Kindle app. It's. and then you can buy the book for 2 99. Read it on that. Don't have to spend much money.

Steve:

Yeah, that's excellent. I'll be sure to link over to it in the show notes as well. And if listeners wanted to get in in touch with you, how can they find you? You can

Charlie:

go to Facebook, you can type in Charlie Gray, or at least I'm Not The Frog. You can find me there. You can find me on Instagram at his Majesty, Charles third. So, and it's like three. R d, it's a ridiculous name I know. Or you can go to TikTok, at least I'm not the frog. Or you can just go to, at least I'm not the frog.com. Just type in those words and you'll

Steve:

find me. Excellent. Sounds good. Well, thank you so much for coming back on. It's always a pleasure. Yes, of course. Yes. Thank you. And listeners, feel free to join our Patron family today. You can head on over the post show on our Paton page for some spoiler filled details coming up. Well, meanwhile, if you're interested in sharing your story or just wanna say hi, you can email me@gaypodcastgmail.com or hit me up on Instagram Gay podcast. Be sure you're following us wherever you're listening right now, so you can get these new episodes when they come out every Thursday. Until next time, stay sober friends.

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