gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show

Fortune Favors the Bold ft. Blaise

February 09, 2023 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 124
Fortune Favors the Bold ft. Blaise
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
More Info
gAy A: The Queer Sober Hero Show
Fortune Favors the Bold ft. Blaise
Feb 09, 2023 Season 1 Episode 124
Steve Bennet-Martin

Steve welcomes Blaise 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 Blaise on Instagram @iamblaserino 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 Blaise 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 Blaise on Instagram @iamblaserino 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 podcast about sobriety for the LGBTQ plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-martin, I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for the cooler winter weather. As of this recording, I am 598 days sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome Blaze.

Blaise:

Hi. How's it going? Good.

Steve:

Why don't you start off by introducing yourself to the listen.

Blaise:

Absolutely. Hi, how's it going? I'm Blaze. I have been sober from drugs and alcohol for almost two years this April. I am the program director of treatment center in Massachusetts. And I am so excited for this opportunity to get to share on.

Steve:

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

Blaise:

I love going out, meeting new people. I like to travel, go to different places in my addiction. I was kind of like sheltered to Massachusetts for such a long. So I love getting out and seeing like more of the world. I thought that Boston was the entire world fabric.

Steve:

Yeah, I can imagine. And why don't we dive into a little bit more of like what it was like with your battle and journey with alcohol and addiction.

Blaise:

Absolutely. So I grew up like most kids in New England. I had like a very normal childhood. I. At a Friendly's ice cream. And I remember when I was working there, these girls would do these pills all the time. And so I got into Oxycontin at a very young age. I was about like 16 or 17, and I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but it slowly took over me. When I realized that I was like addicted to drugs, I was too ashamed and afraid to tell anyone, so I kind of just kept doing. I was about like 21 or 22 before it really caught up to me, and that's when I got into harder drugs like heroin. And at that time my parents, like their best idea was to send me away. I had like a real difficult relationship with my parents coming out and stuff like that. They weren't super supportive. So when they found out that not only was I gay, but I was addicted to heroin, their best thought was to send me to a rehab across the country. I went to Las Vegas. I was fresh out the closet, 21 years old, and it was like the best and the worst thing that ever happened to me. I definitely found who I was and was able to convince myself as a gay man out there. But at the same time, I found what grew to be my drug of choice, crystal meth, and that changed the trajectory of my life for the rest of my. I was out there for almost two years and while I was there I definitely like found out why they call it the city of sin. I got into like a lot of seedy things and found different ways to make money But it ended up with me being like broke and homeless in the desert. I burnt all the bridges with the people I'd met. I was probably like 115 pounds. Being, being homeless in the desert's, like a lot different than being homeless in the city. Mm-hmm. there's not like as much resources out there. So I did what I did best. I got like some old guy to buy me a plane ticket and I came back to Massachusetts. When I got back to Massachusetts, I thought it was gonna be like, I don't know. In my head, I remember being on the plane thinking like I was gonna come home and my family was gonna see me and see how bad I struggled and they were gonna be like, come back in, we'll take care of you. And that couldn't be further from what happened. I had gone out there like a, like nearly two years before and I had like some weight on me and I just looked very different than I did when I came back. When I came back, I had blue hair. I had. Like septum ring. I was like 115 pounds. And like my mother just was like, you can't, you can't come back here. So that like fed into this narrative I had in my head that like no one cared about me. And so when I got back to Massachusetts, I just like started doing what I was doing up there. And for the next five, six years, I was either getting high. in and out of detox in some sober house for a period of time, or I was in jail. I started getting arrested for stupid things and I could like never go to court because I would be stuck in this psychosis. So I'd be too afraid to show up. And eventually it caught up with me and I started having to do time because of it. I was in a really, really crazy abusive relat. With someone I met while I was homeless who sold substances. It was like a very physically, emotionally abusive relationship. And at that time in my life, I had nothing. I had nobody and I thought that this person was gonna save me. We were together for about three and a half years, and unfortunately, one of the, the last time I was in jail, he passed. He had overdosed and it was right before my birthday. It was right. It was March 1st, I remember. And he just stopped answering my phone calls. And so the next time I spoke to my mother, she had told me that his mother came up from Rhode Island and told her that some state troopers had found a John Doe with their son's fingerprints. And my whole world fell apart. Wanted to be Romeo and Juliet. Like I wanted to be like Bonnie and Clyde. And the thing was, is that they both died, right? And like, I'm stuck. I'm still here. Like, what a cruel world. God hates me. Everything sucks. And I just didn't know what to do. So that started my last run with narcotics. I was out on the street for like, probably like a month, a month and a half, and. I don't know. I was out there, I was alone and it was just different. And I wound up arrested back in jail. And I didn't know what to do. I was like stuck. Like I used all my best thinking to get there and I had nothing left. And I was tired and I was depressed and I was alone. And I ended up getting into some sober house and. when I got outta jail that time. So I did six months and I got out of jail in August of 2019. And I went to this community in Massachusetts where there was like a bunch of sober houses in around the area. There was a ton of young kids and Alcoholics Anonymous and I thought that I knew about it cause I'd been to places before. And I thought that like, I just was like, this isn't gonna work for me. This won't work for me. I've tried it, I've done this, I've done that. And it was kind of like, you have to do this. You have to go to these meetings. And so I started going and one of the fresh meetings I was at, I met this girl and she more or less told me that she was gonna sponsor me and told me she was gonna bring me through the work. And I was just like, I think I was in like that moment of desperation where I was willing to grab onto anything. And I was like, sure, if you got an answer then try it cuz nothing else works. And that woman saves my life, I remember being at a, like the first time I saw her at this meeting, she said, welcome home. And like in my head I was like, this is a cult. This is a cult. This is a cult. And. she told me to, she told me to stop praying and like that, like went across my ass sideways. I was like, I don't believe in God, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she asked me like, all these times you've been arrested. Do you pray? Like, do you ever pray to get out of it? And I grew up Catholic. So as a habit, like I would pray the rosary, I would do it all the time. She goes, wow, what, what an amazing testament of faith to pray to God you don't believe in. And I was like, oh, she's, she's got me, right? Like I do, I do this. but I didn't know what my relationship with it was gonna be. And I'm just happy that I didn't completely count it out. So I started praying. I started going through the work and something happened. Something amazing happened because from like this pitiful, hopeless, morally bankrupt person, person grew into like this man who carried himself with like dignity and. And for me, in my act of addiction, like dignity and respect wasn't a way I'd ever used to describe myself. I was pathetic. I was hopeless. I was disgusting. And like I had no self-respect. I had no self-esteem and I had no morals. Every line in the sand I'd crossed it. I thought there was really gonna be no hope for me. And so I got in. After getting into the work, I'd say that. I just kept going with it and I met like this community of people and I started making platonic relationships with people and that was something that I wasn't used to, although my relationships in my past were very transactional and having people who just wanted my company that like really helped me gain a sense of self and gain a sense of self-esteem. So I went through that and like I start in the sober house. I started like managing the sober house and that got me, got into my head that like, maybe I wanna work in treatment, maybe this is what I want to do. But at the time I wasn't sure about it. So I actually like, believe it or not, I started doing construction. I worked as a laborer for a construction group for a while, and that was really important for me too because I did something completely out of the box for me, something completely outta my comfort zone. And I did it and I. Didn't just give up when things got hard. I used to have this model like, don't be a little bitch. That's what I used to say to myself. Every day we'd be demolitioning houses and we'd be like ripping apart like all this stuff and I'd have to like carry a toilet, like all the way to this dumpster. And like in my head I just wanted to be like, Ew, this is gross. I'm not gonna do it. But I would like have this thing in the back of my head like, don't be a little bitch, just do it. And that kind of became something that I would tell myself over and over. because I remember being in like a, being in a meeting at that sober house and I was just so raw and so sensitive, and the guys told me like, they sat me down and they were like, what you need is to man the fuck up. And I was like, that's homophobic. You can't say that to me. And they're like, no, we're not homophobic. You're just being a pussy. You need to man the fuck up and stop being a little bitch because no one's gonna do life for. there's a whole world out there for people who take it. And if you don't go out there and take it, nothing's ever gonna happen for you. And that, that was like such an important, that one little moment that like seemed so insignificant back then is something I go back to all the time today. So just to speed it up I started working in treatment. I started working in recovery. And it was good. And everything was like going great and. I think I started getting complacent. My ego started getting really big, really outta control. And in April of 21 I went on vacation and I drank. And unfortunately I'm one of those people who like can't consume substances without getting arrested. So I went out, I drank one night and I was belligerent and I got arrested in middle estate. And I thought it was all over. And I remember sitting in that jail cell just like, it was like deja vu. Like, I was like, no. And like all these bad thoughts were coming in, like, this is what you deserve. This is who you are. You're a loser. You're a loser. And I just thought to myself, if I can get out of this, I'm not gonna mess this up this time. I swear I will not mess this up. So I came back and I. just started working my ass off. I didn't do what I always do because every time I was faced with adversity or there was a challenge in my life before I just throw a grenade at it and watch everything burn around me and say, okay, I don't need that anyways. I love to burn bridges. You know, in my active use I made so many enemies and burn so many bridges cause I couldn't deal with the things I'd done. And this time I didn't do. I drove right back into the work. I started working even harder at the place that I was working. And that job that I started out at, like a very entry level position in two years time I became the program director there. And I get to help addicts and alcoholics every day, and it's been such a beautiful experience in my life because, when I doubt if things are going right for me. I see these people who get to experience sobriety for the first time and I get to see them be proud of themselves. And like there's something about that first year of recovery when everything's shiny and you're so excited about it. And I get to see like that joy in people's eyes. And then I look at myself and I look at what I'm doing because like, this wasn't in the cos for me. This is all a bonus round for me. I'll have two official years in April of this year, and I'm very proud of myself for that because I always gave up and like the facts that I didn't let something just take over and ruin me. Shows like how much things have changed in my life. So it's a beautiful thing and like I get to, so at that treatment center I work like we really try to do it for the LGBTQ community. We try to be like allies and supporters and being able to have a company listen to my opinion and let me do my own thing with it is a beau like is a crazy thing to me. It's a miracle. Sometimes I wonder like, are these people crazy? But like I see all the people that I get to help and it lets me know that like everything that happened, all that needed to happen so I can be where I am now. So, That's really all, that's really my story.

Steve:

Yeah. Oh, thank you so much for being so vulnerable with us. Yeah, absolutely. And with all that being said, what are some of your favorite parts of sobriety and recovery?

Blaise:

So I'd have to say that like my favorite part of being sober. is getting to experience things that I had, like experiencing things for the first time, but that I had done when I was getting high because being able to be present for certain moments. I don't know how to explain it, but like little things like holidays and stuff like that. I had used to be, I would be there, but. I wouldn't actually be present for it. And being able to show up for people and being able to have people rely on me, that has to be my favorite thing.

Steve:

Yeah, that's awesome. And looking back, how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addiction?

Blaise:

So I'd say that my sexuality is, was the reason for my addiction at one point, because that's how I started getting. The drugs and stuff. I was in the closet. I didn't come out till I was 22. I had a ton of internalized homophobia. I hated myself and substances allowed me to be this other person. And then when I came out, substances allowed me to be this characterization of what a gay man was because I wanted to be loud and obnoxious and ostentatious, and substances allowed all that to happen. and because I hadn't like really come to terms with who I was and I had all this internalized homophobia, that's really what kept me high for such a long period of time.

Steve:

Mm-hmm. Yeah. And on the flip side of that, like how has that changed in, how has it been navigating the gay community sober?

Blaise:

So I'd say that in the beginning I felt like it was like this huge struggle because the community that I had, in my active addiction was like this subculture, right? Like, and like the tweaker community is very different than normal society in general. So when I had first got sober, I kind of stuck around heterosexual people a lot, and I think I needed to do that at first so that I could like build platonic relationships with friends and learn how to carry myself like a human being instead of just an object. I'd say that the gay community in Boston, definitely like when I was going through rough times that I went to gay meetings and like I felt like I was home and I felt like I didn't have to explain myself about everything. And there's been times that like those men have got me through. So I'm super grateful for it. That's

Steve:

excellent. And what are some practices that you use in your daily life to help keep you.

Blaise:

So I'd say that I try to use meditation a lot. I get, I have a job that can be very stressful at times and just taking moments to like breathe and center myself. and try to reset my day is very important because I used to be the type of person who flew off the handle all the time and when like dealing with people who are so early in recovery, I have to like remember what it was like.

Steve:

Yeah. And especially being that you work with so many people in early recovery, what's a piece or two of advice you find yourself giving over and over again that you really.

Blaise:

I'd have to say that it's just not that deep. Like it's just not that deep. That's something I say all the time because the things that used to stress me out in reality just weren't that important. I would think that the world was ending over a hangnail and not to take yourself too seriously. Like this is life and like you should be experiencing it and having fun. There's, if I got sober and was miserable the entire time, I would've just gone back to getting high. Yeah,

Steve:

for sure. And do you have any favorite mantras or quotes in addition to that, that you like to live by? Or famous words?

Blaise:

So fam, something that I like to live by is Fortune Favors the Bold. Mm-hmm. because getting so, so, like, especially once I got sober, I had all this social anxiety that I didn't know what to do with. And I remember like seeing fortune favors the bold. It was like something I used to, I used to draw all the time and it was something I would draw on things all the time, but I never really like, Thought about it. And then like, when I started putting myself out there and like pushing myself through these, through this anxiety and in these uncomfortable situations opportunities started opening up for me. And I went from being somebody who was like unhireable to like building a career out of it. But it all came from like pushing myself and making these grand statements. Yeah.

Steve:

Excellent. Well said. I like that. And any last words of wisdom or advice for our listeners?

Blaise:

I would just say to anybody who's struggling with getting sober or even thinking about it, if it's something that you think that you have to try to control, it's already by definition, out of control. So just like give yourself the time and opportunity. But remember that. You can't get sober by osmosis. It's a process. It takes action and it takes time. But if you give yourself this time, you'll have a beautiful life at the end of it.

Steve:

That is a beautiful note to end on. Thank you so much. So why don't you share with the listeners where they can find you and where you work?

Blaise:

So I work for Greater Boston Addiction Centers. We are G B A C underscore on TikTok and underscore G B A C on Instagram. You can find me on Instagram at Im bla reno, b l a s e r i n o.

Steve:

Excellent. I will put those in the show notes so you can just click on over. Thank you so much bla stick around cuz we'll have the post show. But in the meantime it was great getting to know you.

Blaise:

Thank you so much. This was amazing.

Steve:

Yes. And thank you listeners for tuning into another episode of Gay a. Feel free to head on over to the Paton page and join the family today for this exclusive post show episode we're about to record as well as new ones every episode. And if you're interested in sharing your story, you can find me on Instagram at gay podcast, or email me@gaypodcastgmail.com. Until next time, stay sober friends.

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