gAy A: The Super Soberhero Show

Do it for Yourself ft. Elle

March 09, 2023 Steve Bennet-Martin Season 1 Episode 130
gAy A: The Super Soberhero Show
Do it for Yourself ft. Elle
Show Notes Transcript

Steve welcomes Elle 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 Elle on Instagram @sobersoulfood 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!

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 am grateful for my ability to remain calm in stressful situations most of the time. As of this recording, I am 609 days sober, and today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom, and hope with you. Welcome. Hello. Hi. So ex, my name's Al. Yeah. I'm so excited to get to know you better. Why don't you introduce yourself?

Elle:

Yeah, sure. So my name's Al. I'm an alcoholic. I'm gay and I am sober. So yeah, happy to be here.

Steve:

Excellent. We're happy to have you. And tell us a little bit about what your favorite things to do.

Elle:

So I'm really into escape rooms at the moment. Mm-hmm. Which I do with my girlfriend. We love them. Definitely a lot easier as well when you're sober. And I just have so much fun doing them. I love to solve puzzles, so, and going on long walks, pretty cliche really, but watching TV shows mm-hmm. all of that. Yeah, that's probably my favorite hobbies. I'm trying to get back into the gym and I will get there soon.

Steve:

story of my life. Yes, Excellent. And why don't we jump in then and tell us a little bit about what your journey with alcohol and addiction was like?

Elle:

Absolutely. Yeah. So I live in England, so I grew up in England and. I'm 26 years old, so when I was younger it was quite, it was quite the cliche to sort of go out with your friends drink, you know, about 14, 15 years old. And, you know, it, it was just quite common. Lots of house parties and I think that, That all felt quite normal. Nobody really raised an eyebrow, especially family and friends. It's only then when it goes into your twenties, mid twenties, that then you realize, hang on a second, you know? Something's not quite right here, you know, it should have slowed down a bit. So I think for a long time I sort of just in my head thought, oh, I really like to drink. You know, a lot of people do. The culture is as well, you know, after work drinks or everything's a celebration, even baby showers, which I've not really understood the point of because the bride can't even drink. But there's just booze everywhere really. So I've got quite an addictive personality as well. So I sort of. It really got hold of me. And then I think when I was about sort of 20, which is quite young, to decide that I want to slow it down or stop, I tried and I couldn't. And then there was the whole sort of, oh shit moment, you know, I can't, I can't stop. So from, from about my twenties, early twenties to the age I am now, I've been trying to slow that down. Stop. And in the end, Realize that moderation is never going to be an option for me because I simply can't do it. So that's where I am today. In regards to the difference, it's, it's, it's a crazy, crazy difference. It's the most positive thing I've never, ever, ever regretted trying to, or being sober. Whereas you. You know, in the past I thought, you know, it was gonna be the hardest thing in my life, and, oh, I'm gonna be boring. I'm not gonna have fun. But actually I've got such amazing friends now I've got an amazing girlfriend, a great job, and you know, I'm, it's just my life is amazing without it so. you know, it wouldn't make sense for me to try and moderate when I, when I can't

Steve:

Yeah. And I mean, after spending so long trying to moderate what kind of happened or made you realize that you, you can't, and that abstinence is like the only way to avoid it.

Elle:

So I think it, you know, it's like with the dry January, I don't think, you know, alcoholics and non-alcoholic, you know, people, a lot of work colleagues, they'll try and do dry January and then after about two or three weeks something will come up and then they won't be able to do it. And I think for me it was almost like I couldn't go a week. You know, three days was, was hard. And then a week, you know, it generally after about a week, I would then fall back into it. And. You know, and then the other factor as well, the main factor when I was trying to moderate you know, after taking little breaks, I'd say to myself, okay, you know, I'm going out tonight. I'm gonna stick to singles, not gonna go for the double vodkas. And you know, and I'm gonna stop after three or four drinks, but, I just couldn't do it. You know, and, and I know that perhaps maybe even non-alcoholic, you know, it's like, oh, you know, yeah, let's have a few and, but I would always be the last person standing. You know, so it, I just realized that there was absolutely no way, ba put it this way, I mean, after six years of trying to moderate, I have never successfully been able to stop after two or three drinks ever. Which is absolutely crazy. you know, It's just, I, I just can't explain it, you know? Well, I guess we can't, we're we're our colleagues, but yeah. But yeah, so that, that's sort of when I realized, oh no, I've got a

Steve:

problem. Yeah. Excellent. And how do you feel your sexuality played a role in your addictions?

Elle:

So, in regards to that, I think, I think personally, so Tinder, I use Tinder a lot. I'm, I'm a feminine lesbian and I'm attracted to feminine G women. That can be quite hard, especially when you are out and about. You know, if I see a girl, I think, oh, you know, she's good looking and I'll look at her. The likelihood is, is if she's not gay, she's gonna think, what the hell are you staring at? Mm-hmm. And then also there's the whole nervousness of approaching someone. So in terms of meeting someone organically, even though it is the 21st century, it is quite hard to work out okay, who's gay, who's not, or bisexual. So I did spend a lot of my time on Tinder. It's quick, it's easy. But in regards to then dating, you know, what do you do when you go on a date? It's always, oh, let's meet for a drink. Now Elle can't have one drink, Elle can't have two. She's gonna have, you know, eight or whatever. So I think that, you know, and on top of that, with dating you know, obviously you get nervous, don't you? So you're, you're generally gonna drink more anyway. So in regards to my sexuality, I would say that you know, a l mostly all of my dates started. in a bar, you know? Whereas I've got some friends and, and they don't necessarily do that, you know, they, they, they might go to the cinema for a first date, which I always think is crazy cuz I, I wouldn't wanna sit in silence for two hours next to someone, I don't know. But there you go. But yeah, so I probably say that and then obviously as well, you know, in terms. Potential rejection as well. You know, let's say you're going out, you're, you're having a few drinks and you try and maybe hit on someone that you thinks gay. I think it that you're more likely to get turned down as, as someone that's gay and out and about than someone that's not, because, you know, I think it's very, people call it beer goggles, don't they? People, heterosexual people will sleep with everyone and anyone, but I think it's quite rare to sort of meet someone that. The same like you, you know, like you spot water someone and you're like, oh. But yeah, so I've, I've definitely had quite a few rejections when I've been out and about, so I do think my sexuality did play a part in that when I was out drinking as well.

Steve:

Yeah. And how has that changed since getting sober? What's it been like dating, sober and getting connected to a community?

Elle:

Honestly, it's been incredible. So my, my girlfriend now, I've been together with her now for coming up just over a year and a half, but honestly it feels like five years Mm-hmm. she's been absolutely amazing. I wasn't sober at the beginning of our relationship, but I was trying to be, and, you know, she's so supportive. I, she's not a massive drinker herself, which obviously I, I don't think I would be able to be with someone that is mm-hmm. but just being able to get to know someone, know all the ins and outs of them, remember the conversations that you've had, you know it is just been absolutely incredible. And my confidence has grown as well. I don't feel like, oh, I need to have a drink to feel more confident about, you know, a, B, and C. I'm just so. you know, I'm just completing myself. And she said the same as well, where it's like a different person. You know, which, which is amazing. And we trust each other as well, you know, our trust has got better. So yeah. And, and she's got two young children as well. So it just wouldn't have ever been feasible for, for me to to continue the lifestyle I was having. And be able to be a, a, a great girlfriend and, you know, be around her children. So it's, it's, it's been amazing. That

Steve:

is awesome. And what are some things that you do in your daily life to help keep you sober?

Elle:

So, definitely I read my big book, the aa mm-hmm. I go to AA at the moment, I'm actually doing 90 meetings in 90. which I've never done before. So meeting every day. That, that has just been incredible. I know when I first started going to meetings, I, I was very unsure. I went in person to begin with, but it was probably all the more daunting. Mm-hmm. And I just found, you know, I was thinking, oh, I don't belong here. You know, everybody introduced themselves by saying, hi, my name's, you know this and I'm an alcoholic. And I thought, oh, you know, this was, by the way, about five years ago when I first ever went to a meeting. And but I just found myself every meeting nodding along and it could be complete. There's, there's such a wide variety of people. It could be someone elderly, someone young, male, female, you know, a, a high social status, you know, or maybe someone that's a bit lower status. And I just found myself nodding, nodding, nodding. And I realized then that this is incredible, the power of aa because for whatever reason, there's just a sense of community. every time I walk away with a message or with a tip or with something that makes me think. So yeah, AA is really important to me. And I think that's why I perhaps didn't do as well when I tried to stay sober a few years back. So definitely Walks, I can't underestimate how important exercise is. You know, it gives us those natural chemicals that we get when we drink, so endorphine dopamine. So I love my walks and as well as that, I, I, I'm, I'm, I'm more open. with people. You know, I say when I'm struggling, I used to think beforehand that if I did say, oh, I feel a bit triggered today, or, or I felt like this, then people would straightaway assume, oh, great. You know, she's going down that path again. But in reality, I'm not. But I think it's so important to be open with your feelings and have someone that you can trust so that they are aware, you know, it's, it's not a case of, oh, I'm. you know, screw up. Now it's just a case of being open with someone because I think a lot of our colleagues or addicts we do dwell on our problems and we've been so used to then drinking to, to, to get rid of that instead of talking to someone. So once you remove the drink, it's not healthy for you to bottle that up anymore cuz you will explode in the end. Mm-hmm. So definitely talking to someone has helped. But yeah, and having fun as well. You know, be, being sober is an all doom and gloom. You know, if anything it's, it's better, you know, like I said about the escape rooms, I would never have been able to have used my brain like that before. I would've probably thought, oh, this is gonna be so fun. Have a few drinks before, but, you know, it's, it's in, it's incredible now, the things that I enjoy and the intellect that comes with that, and watching, you know, TV shows and having fun and just remembering everything, you know, not waking up thinking, oh, there's gaps, there's amnesia. What did I say? What did I do? Who did I upset? So yeah, definitely creating a life that's, that's worth living. Is, is, is my sort of. There.

Steve:

Yeah. I love that so much. And if you can give some advice to someone who's newly sober or sober curious, what would

Elle:

it be? So, I think something that I would give, which is something that I didn't realize, and perhaps this is gonna sound negative, but I really don't mean it to come across negative, is that it's not easy. Mm-hmm. And if you're coming into it thinking, you know, This is gonna be easy and this is gonna be you know, I'm gonna just be able to do this and I'm not gonna have troubles. I mean, I dunno about yourself. You've been sober a lot longer than me, but I'm sure there are times when you can feel right. This is really hard at the moment. Last Tuesday, oh, there you go. So I think, I think if you sort of remove all expectation, you are not gonna be disappointed when you don't. Feel as great as you intend to feel. And it is just one day at a time. And it sounds so silly, but it literally is one day at a time because those days add up, boy do they add up. So just taking it one day at a time, throwing yourself into AA if that's your thing. I know it's not everyone's thing. And if not, you know, just making sure that you are keeping your brain. you know, occupied and thinking about sobriety because it has to be a priority. I'm probably given a bit more advice now, but the one last piece of advice I'll give as well which has helped me this time around immensely is do it for yourself. Yeah. Do it for yourself because if you're doing it for anyone else, which we are all guilty of to begin with, subconsciously, we're not ready yet. But everyone around us is saying, you know, you are, you're sinking and what can we do? And, and you think, okay, fine, I'll, I'll do it. But unless you actually want to do it for yourself, you're not gonna do it because you just won't.

Steve:

Yeah, I can. I can relate. I definitely went to my first couple meetings because it was suggested by other people in my life. And so like at first I like when I was dipping my toe in, I might have been doing it for them, but like a month in like I realized like, oh, it's not for them anymore. Like it's for me now. And that was a big shift. Absolutely excellent. And no matter how we get sober, we generally find a quote or a mantra or a song lyric that we like to live by. Do you have any favorite.

Elle:

Yes, I do. So I think my favorite, and it's always been my favorite quote before recovery and definitely during, is this too shall pass. Mm-hmm. And that means that no matter the day that you are having, no matter the awful things that may pop up in life, it will pass, it will get better. And you know, I think of that a lot, especially because, I was someone that drank all my emotions. It's very important for me to tell myself, this situation is gonna get better no matter what. It always gets better. It may take, you know, a few hours, a few days, weeks, months, or maybe even a year to get to where you want to be, but it will pass. And I think that's quite a comforting quote to, to, to take away.

Steve:

Yeah, certainly. And any last words of wisdom or advice?

Elle:

I would just say again, as they say in aa keep coming back. You know, even if you don't fancy it. That particular day, you know, just have a look online, look at those quotes, follow those sober accounts, you know, because you never know when something might pop up and you might think, oh, you know, just keep it if it can't be at the front of your brain in early sobriety, at least have it in the back of your brain, but have it with you every day because, you know, it's just, it's all about consistency. But yeah.

Steve:

Yeah. And speaking of sober accounts, are you interested in sharing your.

Elle:

Absolutely. I'd love to. Yep. So my sober account on, I've got one on Instagram, it's at sober soul food. I created. A name actually a while back when I started and it was gonna be just for me. And then since then I sort of shared quite a lot of advice. And I'll be completely honest, this is a secret there you go to put on your podcast. Mm-hmm. quite often I'll go back and look at my own account and read my own posts because as much as I write and I'm good at giving advice, like we all are, I also suck at taking advice. Yeah. Especially my own and my account has done its purpose and has actually helped me. So yeah, check out. Paige and give me a follow. And I'd like to interact with my followers as well, so you can always drop me a message.

Steve:

Excellent. And do you have any other favorite sober accounts you'd recommend for people as they're scrolling and adding? Oh,

Elle:

gosh, I should have prepared this. So many, so many All right, one, one, there is one YouTube account, which I would like to say, and it's it, he, it's a gentleman called Craig Beck. He's English and he's called the Stop Drinking Expert. And he does very little short YouTube videos. And they are really good. So check that out. But also if you wanna find some great. Just look at the accounts I'm following because all of those ladies, men, and everyone, you know, they're, they're incredible.

Steve:

Excellent. Well, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure getting to know you better, Al. thank you. It's been

Elle:

great to be

Steve:

here. Yes, and stick around cuz we'll head on over to the post show in a moment. But in the meantime, thank you listeners for tuning into another episode of Gay a. If you're interested in sharing your story or getting involved with the show, I'm gonna email away at gay a podcast gmail.com. Or on Instagram, like l I met at Gay, a podcast. If you'd like, head on over to our Patreon page and join today so you can continue to hear our post show as we dive more into L'S experiences in sobriety. And until next time, stay sober friends.

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