gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

Fearless & Thorough Ft. Danielle

January 19, 2023 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 121
Fearless & Thorough Ft. Danielle
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
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gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
Fearless & Thorough Ft. Danielle
Jan 19, 2023 Season 1 Episode 121
Steve Bennet-Martin

Steve welcomes Danielle 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

Find Danielle on Instagram @dc_and_rosey 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 

Until next time, stay sober friends!

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 Danielle 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

Find Danielle on Instagram @dc_and_rosey 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 

Until next time, stay sober friends!

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 LGBT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-martin. I am an alcoholic and I'm grateful for our newest Patreon members, Candace and Mark. As of this recording, I am 596 days sober and say we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome Danielle.

Danielle:

Hi everyone. Thanks for having me. My name's Danielle, and as of this recording I have 1077 Days of Sobriety, and I am a proud and recovering

Steve:

alcoholic. Excellent. Congratulations on that. Thank you. And tell us a little bit more about you and maybe some of the hobbies or interests you found in sobriety.

Danielle:

Sure. So the, the best hobby I've gotten back in is really something I've gotten back into in sobriety is running running for me. Started shortly after I graduated college and I stopped playing soccer and I recognized like, Ooh, I need something to kind of. Keep me in shape and keep me happy. And then I kept with it. And then towards the end of my drinking I really was really far away from that. And in sobriety, it has definitely been something that's not simply for physical health. It is absolutely, I say to people all the time, it is my mental health as well. That's, that's been really good. And then really, I don't know if this is a hobby or not, but just being present, like really sitting with my morning coffee and just being available to the people that I interact with. I have two children, so just doesn't really feel like a hobby, but you know, and then just getting outside more hiking you know, just kind of getting back to. Speaking of dog, my dog is barking. You know, just getting back to who I felt like I was on the path to be before I went down the, the rabbit hole of, of drinking.

Steve:

Excellent. And then why don't we jump into that rabbit hole and tell us what your experience with alcohol and addiction was like.

Danielle:

Sure. Yeah, I I came to drinking late in life. I had a parent who identified as a drug and alcohol addict growing up, so I kind of grew up with the education. I was part of the say no generation education wise. So I grew up with the education of like alcohol. And other drugs are bad. And so I'm a kind of a dorky rule follower. And so I was, between that and, and watching my mother's struggles, I was really like, I don't, I don't think this is for me. And then somewhere through col I went to college and wa and didn't drink my first year in college. And that was an interesting experience. People didn't really know what to do with that or make of. But then, you know, it, it's hard to kind of bump up against that. And so I did start drinking a little bit and then you know, it was okay-ish for many years. And then as life got difficult, I like painfully ironically, my drinking really took a deep dive after my mother passed away. And that was really difficult and my marriage was struggling. I had a new child, so all, you know, all these things just sort of crashed together and that's really, that's really when it started and it was, you know, Not great, but manageable. And it was really hard for me to understand coming from this mental place of like, alcohol's a drug and it's a depressant, and what am I doing? And I used to always say like, I feel like I'm playing with fire here, knowing that you know, addiction is or from what I understand it can be genetic. So you know, I kind of lived in that world for a while. My marriage didn't, my first marriage didn't end up failing. I got remarried. That relationship was, had its own troubles. And I, and I drank at them and I, and I drank to, to numb out and I drank to escape. All of that, all that emotion. And I knew, so for me, It wasn't the frequency and it wasn't the amount of alcohol towards the end. It was what my, where my mind was. It was really gonna get emotional It was really dark. Mm-hmm. It was really scary. And my bottom wasn't involved in actual drinking. My bottom was when I really started to, it really scared me. It really started to. I think maybe my kids would be better off without me here. That was my bottom. Mm-hmm. And I, it, it, like, I think many people had this experience. It, it it shocked me. It scared me and I was, I'm grateful I was in therapy and my therapist has many years of sobriety. And the other thing that alcohol does, which I didn't realize that this is a common experience is. we're we totally isolate. So we just we're so ashamed and we're so angry and, and we just retreat into this really, for me, it was a really scary place by myself. And I had a very sweet, gentle therapist who happens to have my mom's first name as well. So that always feels like a funny, like, cosmic thing. And she very gently and very kindly asked me to consider going to aa. And no, and I didn't wanna, I'd see my mom go through this, my memory of being a child in like dingy church basements, a lot of people crying as I just did. And now I see like people could have been crying about hope. People could have been crying tears of like, I'm free, I'm, I'm, I'm getting there. I'm having a breakthrough. I'm not, I'm handling things, but, you know, so like, it's, it's sort of mind blowing. to be on the side of it now. But my therapist. very gently. And, you know, she knew me really well and was like, you know, maybe aa and she really, she got me to get into the rooms of AA because she wanted me to make friends. Mm-hmm. she's like, I really, I think you could make some friends with people. You could get a community of people that, that aren't, you know, you could meet people to go on hikes with, to go on walks with, to go running with, to walk your dog with like, that, that, you know, drinking isn't the central social part of what they're doing. Mm-hmm. So. So I, I considered that, you know, I was really at the end of my, at the end of my rope. And the thing is that, you know, everyone, you know, people have said to me like, you know, the elevator goes all the way to the bottom and you can get off at any point. And so I, I'm grateful that I got off before you know, things in terms of my actual, like drinking and you know, getting into trouble that way. But, you know, it was, it was still very scary. and I walked into my first AA meeting on Valentine's Day. Mm-hmm. and I just love that happenstance the meeting I go to I, I live in Western Mass and the meeting I go to meets every morning at 7:00 AM and I'm happy to share they're, they're, they went to Zoom in the pandemic and they still are in person and in Zoom and it's a great meeting. It's got a lot of folks with a lot of years of recovery. So I'm happy to share that, that link with folks. It's mostly local folks, but we have a couple from the UK that zoom in and mm-hmm There's a woman who used to live in this area who lives in South Carolina who zooms in, so it's a very sweet community. But they, on Fridays they do chips and anniversaries and so my therapist also knew like, come and see a celebration. It's not doom and gloom, it's people, like I said before, like it's people getting back to life. It's people. Celebrating this thing that, like, you know, in, in the rest of the community, there's a lot of shame about sobriety and there's a lot of, you know, calling yourself an alcoholic is like, you know, people have judgments about that. But she, you know, she wanted me to see. the other side of it. So yeah, on Valentine's Day of 2020 I walked into my first AA meeting and then the pandemic hit And so I got the three in-person meetings. Before the pandemic hit. I actually went, once I find out there was, you know, there's incentives, there's coins monthly, and you know, I kind of I don't know if it's my athletic background or whatever, but I was like, Ooh, prizes. So on March 13th, 2020 you know, the world was like on the brink of, of shutting down. And I was like, I am getting to this meeting. I am getting my one month coin and I went to the grocery store and bought like 10 pound bag of rice and all the beans and, you know, like mm-hmm. toilet paper and all the things. And then things switched to Zoom and that was you know, that was a whole nother layer, but it, a lot of people have said to me like, how'd you get, how'd you get sober in the pandemic? And honestly, I think it was a blessing for me, right? Like my second marriage had just failed as well. And my ex-wife literally moved out two weeks before everything shut down. So here I am, like I don't have to worry about the jealousy piece of like, what's she up to or what's she, no one's going out, no one's inviting me to go out. I'm not having to say no to social events. I'm not having to like, You know, and I've got all this extra time on my hands. So again, like I got back to running, like I didn't have to commute to work. So suddenly I have 40 minutes at the end of my day back that I could just like put on my sneakers and run out the door. In that April of 2020. I work at a college and the campus rec department did a run a hundred miles in April Challenge. And I signed up and then immediately did the math and was like, I can't do that there's no way And then you know, one of my daughters, they're teams and one of my daughters like, you can do it. And. I don't know if you have a, if you have kids, you know, like you, especially getting sober, you wanna show up for them and you wanna sh you know, you wanna give them something to be proud of. And so I was like, well, if my kid says I can do it, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do it. And I did. You know, and they met me out you know, out on my final run to hit hundred miles and yeah. So, you know, it was, it was terrible. I'm grateful to have gotten into the rooms. I know AA doesn't, doesn't work for everybody, but I, I do encourage folks to give it a shot. It's just, if you can find the right meeting and, and try a bunch of different meetings you know it, if you can find that community. You know, and I know for a lot of people it's the higher power and religious piece that, that turns them off. And there are meetings that you know, don't, that have a lot more variety of people that, that have found higher powers that are, I have one guy in my meeting that I go to his higher powers love. Mm-hmm. like, how can you argue with that? Like, you know, it's just, and he's such a like, you know, and he's been through the ringer. He's, you know, and so you know, so what it's like now is just, like I said before, like, I'm, I'm present and every day's not wonderful, but I manage things so much better. And for me it's just you know, just, I don't, I don't have to it it the dec the decision to not even have to decide whether or not I'm gonna. going into weekends, going to social events. Like, it's just a, it's a, it's a non-issue for me. And it just feels like such a blessing every time. And I've been able to, now that we're sort of back into the swing of things, like I've been able to rehang out with the friends I used to go out drinking with and, you know, we've gotten together for breakfast. Never in the 15 years we've all known each other. We're all moms together. We just would go out drinking cuz moms need a glass of wine. Moms need, you know, we drink beer, but, you know you know, and, and they're, they're all on this journey with me too. They still drink and, and it's, it's, they're, but they're so supportive. I got together for one with a walk and she's like, why have we never done this? I was like, yeah, I don't know. You know, when we went out to breakfast, we've never gone out to breakfast. So they're sort of embracing this new way of socializing together. And but you know, one hosts two keg parties a year, and I've been able to go to those and. I realized no one cares if I'm not drinking. They're all drinking, they're having a good time. They don't, they don't I don't care what I'm doing and I don't care what they're doing. You know, I'm, I'm living my I'm living my life. And it's, it's just been a real blessing.

Steve:

That's excellent. And looking back, how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addiction?

Danielle:

Yeah. I love that question. When you, when you sent me the list of questions, I was like, oh, that's, that's really good for me. You know, I mean, I think I realized very, very young that I was gay, that I was different. And you know, in, in some ways I can look back and be grateful that I didn't dive into alcohol at a young age to deal with that. So that's, that's definitely helpful. But both of the women that I found myself in relationships with and eventually married, had been predominantly. Hmm. And looking back now, I can see that there was, there was a mismatch in both relationships in very different ways, and that did definitely, I drank at that uncomfortableness of like, I think I'm in the wrong place. It also created social circles that were in the wrong place. Like I found myself, even though I was married to women, I was still living a very predominantly. You know, and especially becoming a mom like I was just in these social circles, like I just. Marrying somebody who was predominantly straight and had no connection to the gay community. I, and this is on me. I, I take the responsibility for this. Absolutely. That I didn't keep up with my queer community. I didn't keep going to pride. I didn't keep you know, we had some gay friends, but it just, I don't know, it was different. And I. you know, and then I found as a mom, like there's all, it's just so heteronormative and like, so those nights out drinking with my friends, it was like I wanted to talk. I mean, and even this isn't even necessarily queer based, but like I wanted to have like engaging conversations. And I know it's very globally thinking, but I just found myself in social circles where it was like, oh, especially as we got older, like, you know, oh, I've got gray hair and wrinkles. And he was like, all this like heteronormative. Conversations and I just never felt like I fit in. And I can see now, like I just keep the beers coming because I can't, I don't, there's, I'm not in the right space. I'm not in the right. So that was, that's been very eye-opening and, and in, in sobriety. I, am definitely taking a vested interest in getting back to my roots of of being gay and being prideful about that and being out.

Steve:

Yeah. And what's that experience been like, kind of rediscovering your place in the community sober?

Danielle:

It's been really, really eye-opening. Yeah, I I have approached my sobriety in the same way I approached my my queerness in that I'm very out about it. I'm out about both because I really, I, I part of my coming out story has to do with a, when I was a sophomore in college a woman that lived in my residence hall was murdered. Just broad daylight carjacked, like, just horrendous, horrendous. And I, I just realized at that point like, I need to come out like I need to be me because if, you know, I was 19 and I was like, if, if, if this is the world we live in, like I'll be damned if I'm not gonna live out as me because if I can be plucked off this planet at any minute, I just, I'm just gonna be as comfortable as I can. And I also recognize like I have the ability and the comfort within myself to do that. And that other people need that. Other people need to see a role model. And that's what I did for, for many years. And again, like that's, I stepped away from all of that and was so uncomfortable. So in, in sobriety, I'm kind of getting back to my gayness and getting. and being really, you know, by doing something like this, I'm being really out about my sobriety because if it can help or save or make one person, one, even one single person feel less lonely and less, you know you know, kind of isolated in that way. I'm, I'm more than happy to give, give of myself. So it's been really great and I've been able to you know, make queer friends that are in recovery. I actually just went to a local in-person L G B T Q meeting last night and I was telling people I was recording this today, so you might hopefully maybe get a few more followers on your, on your Instagram account. So it's. It's been great. I really feel like I'm starting to get back to having, having a community.

Steve:

That's excellent. Yeah. Yeah. I can certainly relate. I know that beforehand when I was drinking, even when I was like in the community, I didn't feel like I was like part of the community or were in the right place in the community, and like something about like sober and queer together, I'm just like, yes, like those two make sense and they go well together.

Danielle:

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I feel like. Yeah. I just, I feel like, although on the other hand I'm thi you know, I think there's, there is a heavy dose of alcohol consumption in the queer community. You know, I do think about as we get out of the pandemic, like, you know, I'm definitely middle-aged, but I'm still like, I wanna go dancing. I wanna go to a club. Like I wanna go out and I, and I, I. Done it quite yet, and there's part of it that's an age thing. Like, is this gonna be what I want it to be and what I remember, but there's part of it that's a, that's a drinking thing. I was like, am I, you know, in on the night that there is actually something happening in town, am I gonna feel solid enough to go and do this and feel. Safe in my, in my sobriety cuz I won't, if I, you know, if there's a night where I'm like, ugh, I don't, I don't think I can, I can handle this, then I'm, I'm not gonna do it. I'm not gonna do anything that's gonna threaten my sobriety. Yeah, for

Steve:

sure. And when, what are some of the things that you do to help keep you grounded in your

Danielle:

sobriety? That's also an awesome question. I mean, I, I do, I try to get to a couple meetings. I have a sponsor through aa, so that's somebody that I have. You know, again, because of the pandemic we do a weekly phone call check in you know, and I just you know, I. I consume that. I consume the, the AA literature. And again, you know, like just this mor in this morning's meeting I went to you know, it's a, a cart, right? Like it's, you don't have to, you don't have to take it all, and you don't have to believe it all. But if it's something that you can, that you can hold onto that will keep you keep you sober and grounded and I've been trying to embrace gratitude and have, you know, have a daily practice of just you know, because again, like the, the mind shift. when drinking is so negative and it's so dark. And so to grasp, like, okay, I could sit here at the end of the day and think these are all the things that went wrong. This is all the stuff that's crappy about my life. But wait a minute. Like I, you know, this happened and this person sent me this sweet email and this person texted me out of the blue. And like, so there are people that are thinking about me and I am engaged in the community and, you know, so just trying. and some days it feels really desperate. Like I'm really trying to like, grasp at anything that positive that went well. You know, and, and some days are, are better than others. Yes,

Steve:

certainly. And if someone was listening and they're curious about getting sober and newly sober and struggling, what kind of advice would you give a newcomer or someone dipping their toes into

Danielle:

it? Yeah. I love every time I'm like, that's a great question. I mean, I think the word curious is right in there, like you just said. I think stay curious. Like, I think it's important. I was just thinking about this this morning. You know, It doesn't, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing. And it doesn't have to be a forever. And you don't have to identify as an alcoholic and you don't have to, you know, if that feels like too much of a word. And you don't have to, you know, like I said before, you don't have to get all the way down to the bottom of the, you know, the elevator to have it be to really. Examine your relationship with alcohol? I think there are a lot of people that especially now, I think there's a lot of sober curious, there's a lot of people sort of embracing that. Like, wait a minute. Like even though I may not have a problem per se, it's not a benefit. Mm-hmm. I don't feel better. I don't feel good in the morning. I don't you know, so I. you know, just, just stay curious and, and give it a try and see how you feel. You know, and you might enjoy sleeping better. I know for me, the first couple of months of sobriety falling asleep was such a treat and recognizing that I was enjoying it, I would just lay in bed and like, didn't have the bed spins, didn't have like that. I feel like my brain is eating itself inside my skull because I'm dehydrated. And you know, and just like letting myself drift off to sleep. So, you know, there's, there's things that maybe you don't associate with drinking that are benefits of not drinking. And I just, you know, I think it's, I think it's okay to be curious and to, to give it a try and to not, you know, and just be gentle with yourself. And find somebody that you can talk to about it and who's not gonna be judgmental. In terms of, you know, like I said before, the word alcoholic and, you know, alcoholism. It doesn't have to be this whole big thing, but just, you know, and, and I have a, you know, I have a, a core group of friends too from college and they're on this journey with me Too, and one texted me and she's doing dry January. Mm-hmm. And I don't know if that's gonna be you know, a thing for her for the future or if she just wanted a reset. But I know she knows she can come to me and I can support her. And I'm also not gonna be like, yes, and here's all the a literature, and here you could do this. It's like she's just trying join January. She just wants to see if this is, this is helpful for her and you know, and then maybe it's gonna. something that you know, is just a once a year thing just to reset. And I think, you know, I think it's about being gracious with yourself and showing yourself a little compassion.

Steve:

Yeah, for sure. And no matter how we get sober, but especially in the rooms, we tend to love our quotes, traditions and sayings. Do you have a mantra that you love to live by?

Danielle:

I have a couple. Yeah. I think one thing that has always stood out to me The, the reading, the, the mor the meeting I go to in the morning, they read the chapter five, how it works, and the words fearless and thorough. Like from, from the very first time I heard it, I was like, oh, fearless and thorough. Like, I like that. And, and I actually, each year of sobriety, which I'm coming up on year three I buy myself a t-shirt that kind of has like a, a theme or something. So I found one that says fearless, but not as one word. It's fear less. Mm. and that really like, yeah, it, again, it doesn't have to be all or nothing, it's just which leads me to another one, which is progress, not perfection. Right? Like, it's not every day is not gonna be perfect and you're not always gonna get it right. And you're, you know, you're work in sobriety, you're working through all the ways that you can see, the ways you manage things. Before that didn't, didn't work for you and didn't work for the people around you who were trying to be loving to you and caring for you or weren't. But you were, you know, you were owning your part. And then I feel like I had one other yeah. One day at a time. Yeah. And I, every time I, every time I come, I, I follow a lot of different sober, sober folks on Instagram and I I just, you know, I always write O D A A T, like, and that's actually, I have like a list of like, tattoos I'm thinking of. And that's definitely one, because that's, that's, to me, that really probably is the one, right? Mm-hmm. because it's like you just have today. and I try and it's, it's, it's definitely a work in progress for me of not living in the regrets of yesterday and not living in the fear of tomorrow, because all I have is today and that's, I'm just gonna do the best I can today. And I hope it's good enough at the end of the day. And I can rest my head tonight and say like, okay, I did a, I did a pretty good job today, or I did a crappy job, but uh, tomorrow I get a new try.

Steve:

Yeah. Excellent. I love that. And any last words of wisdom or advice for our.

Danielle:

My biggest piece of advice is like, kind of like what I said before, like find someone you can talk to whether, whether you're in investigating sobriety and not drinking, but even just in life, like it's important. And this is one thing I got away from, I didn't have a trusted friend that I could say the scary stuff out loud because once you let that out, once it comes outta your. even if it's still there, even if you're, you're scared or you have a regret or you did something, you know, horrendous. Just letting it out so it's not rattling around in your brain is just going to, it's going to ease the discomfort. So much. I. and you're not alone. You know, like I think that's, to me, the scariest part of people that struggle with, with alcohol and addiction is that you just feel so alone and that's the addiction in your head being like, you know, pointing that finger at you and then you get, and that's why I encourage folks. I mean, maybe there's other groups for in besides aa, but to me it's like you start to hear these other stories and maybe people have done things way. wild than you have. Mm-hmm. or, or different. But the, the, the themes are the same. And the, you know, that feeling of like, okay, I'm, I'm not alone in this and I'm not, you know, I hate the word, I don't like the word crazy. Mm-hmm. You know, but I'm not, I'm not the only one that feels this way. And, you know, once you can kind of embrace that and that there's other people on this path with you and there for you, I. you can start to forgive yourself and you can start to love yourself. And that's, that's a gift.

Steve:

Perfect. Yes. And if someone wanted to follow the sobriety path with you by following you on Instagram, how would they do that?

Danielle:

Yeah. I am at DC which are my initials and like underscore and, and then underscore Rosie, r o s e y, which is my dog. Mm-hmm. So if you like pictures of running coffee and dogs, and sobriety that's my life. I do have, like I said before, I do have children, but I don't post a lot about them because they are teenagers and kind of want their their, their stuff off there. But yeah. My, my account is closed, but if I see that you liked this podcast, I, you know, I'll double check and I'm happy to have people follow me if they want some inspiration and I'm certainly happy to, you know, talk offline with anyone that's struggling and needs a little assistance. And like I said, I'd be happy to share my. Home group Zoom link cuz it's a great strong, there's like 50 to 60 people on there every morning at 7:00 AM Eastern standard time. So it's a

Steve:

great group. Wow. That if I was a morning person I'd be interested but it's hard enough for me to get to work by eight 30 most days. Yeah. No. But yes, progress, not perfection.

Danielle:

Oh yeah. Well, and, and to, to know that about yourself, right? Yeah. Like, you know, there's no right or wrong morning person, night person, you know, like middle of the day person are just never in the mood person. You know, like

Steve:

my homegirl there's is at like 9:00 PM Eastern time and I talk to people and they're like, oh, that's too late. Like, I'll be in bed by the time it's over. So to each their own, the beauty of Zoom is that there's meetings all day, every day, all day.

Danielle:

Yes. There.

Steve:

Excellent 24 7. Thank you so much, Danielle. Stick around for the post show on our Paton page. Great. Listeners, thanks for tuning into another episode of Gay, a podcast. You can join our Paton family to hear that post show episode by heading over to patreon.com/gaya podcast. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram at gay podcast or email me@gaypodcastgmail.com. And be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes every Thursday. Until next time, stay sober friends.

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