Long Term Recovery
With summer in full swing, we asked some folks from the recovering LGBT community what their life is like after achieving ten years or more of continuous clean and sober time.
BY PAULO MURILLO
I wouldn’t have anything right now, if not for my sobriety. Ten years ago I was living in a house that was uninhabitable, I was not able to keep a job. I thought the idea of a nice dinner was shopping at a Rite-Aid. I didn’t have any close friends. I didn’t have any skills beyond breathing and barely eating. Sobriety and working with other alcoholics has given me the courage to grow and become a functioning member of society. I learned how to love and be loved—I never knew how to be loved. And I learn to resolve issues in my life without slamming a door or walking away. Today I am of service to others, and even when I’m exhausted, life is good.
—Danny Schurr, sober since September, 2004.
My life is completely different from where my life was 10 years ago. Things are much simpler. I thought my life was over and I thought my life would not be any fun after getting sober, but my life is much bigger than I ever imagined. Amazing things happen on a daily basis. It’s not about property or prestige, it’s about who I really am as a person and being okay with that and loving myself completely and being able to love others… that’s what ten years has brought me.
—Patrick Marks, sober since December, 2004.
My experience at 12 years of recovery is that my choices are clearer. I’m enough today. I’m enough for me. I don’t need anything to enhance the moment. I’m more committed at enjoying my recovery. Each day I fall more in love with this concept of being clean and sober. I have discovered intimacy. That has been the key to my recovery—not only sexual intimacy, but just intimacy from all angles of my life. I never realized how I was missing all of that. Those are the things that keep my sobriety alive, but the things that support it are, I go to meetings, I have a sponsor, I have sponsees—those things support my being clean and sober. I love it. I’m not ashamed of anything in my life today.
—Glen Hill, sober since July, 2003.
I’m amazed at achieving 10 years of recovery. When I first started this journey, I just wanted to get a year and to prove to myself that I could do this, and then my life just got better and better, so I just kept doing it and one day at a time turned into ten years. Ten years ago I was living a seedy hotel/motel in the hood, I was hungry, I was dirty, I was tired and I remember being so miserable and so done and having nobody left in my life and I actually welcomed death into my life. My life is so different today.
—Eric Stanley, sober since, August, 2005.
One of the most difficult—yet most rewarding – moments in my life was when I acknowledged my drinking problem and decided to do something about it. By remaining sober for the 29 years thereafter I have been blessed with many friends who are genuine and life experiences that are unforgettable.
—Phil L., sober since June, 1986.
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