Recover In The Trans Community
Three local trans women, with various lengths of recovery, on their journey being clean and sober.
“I don’t think trans women have a harder time staying sober. I think we have a harder time not sexualizing ourselves for money—because of society and the way we are treated. It’s harder for us to get out of the house and get a job—but we all have our challenges. If I can be sober, and go to school and have a job, then that’s possible for anyone. Before it was all craziness and chaos, but my life is amazing now that I’m sober… I pray everyday that I’m sober for the rest of my life. I have no desire to go back to using.”
—Madalyn Ambrosini, sober since November 11, 2015.
“I think trans women have a harder struggle in sobriety. We struggle to get acceptance by society. I come from a very strict Catholic household and growing up in Mexico was not easy… I did not feel I was loved growing up and that became an excuse for my alcoholism. Being transgender women who don’t feel acceptance, it is common for us to think that if we have bigger breasts, or 20 plastic surgeries, that we will get that love… I’m okay with who I am today as a woman. It’s okay not to be perfect. Today I love myself. I have integrity. I also know how to love unconditionally. I didn’t have any of that before sobriety. It’s a miracle and a gift.”
—Claudia Estrada, sober since May 15, 2008.
“I don’t think being trans and sober is a special struggle. I believe the only reason why I am sober is because of my Higher Power. I have a God who I have a relationship with, who is keeping me sober. What happens is a lot of trans women devalue themselves, because of society, or family, and a lot of them live in shame. They identify with their physical bodies and they don’t have much worth unless they’re sexual beings 24/7… When you devalue yourself, any person can come along and ruin your self-esteem. There are conversations that need to take place. We can’t just keep talking about condoms and tit jobs. We need to feed the spirit, not the ego. We need to talk about shame and fear and address our self-loathing. Then you have the African American issue, where young trans black women feel rejected and feel shame, so they need validation from everybody. It’s a merry-go round of insanity and the only conversation we’re having is, where did you get your butt done? We need to do the internal work, because trust and believe if you’re not willing to trust in a God of your own understanding, you’re not going to be happy. We need to start talking about spirituality and have a better connection with God.”
—Octavia Hamlett, sober since March 18 1995.
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