volume four

sexuality and sobriety

cw: alcohol use before my sobriety

Good fucking morning! 🌈

This past weekend I celebrated Pride here in Montreal. After missing it last year due to pandemimoore, even on this smaller scale, one thing felt clear -- I was home. Pride is something I never celebrated until moving to Canada, it is something my friend Natalie took me to in my first year in Halifax and I was so overcome by the emotion of pure joy, acceptance and excitement that I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Each year I head along to whatever celebrations I can make it to, and support queer artists and performers and scream and cheer and dance with my community. QUEER ALLIES: please support queer artists and performers that you may discover during Pride year-round, we exist 364 days of the year. The other day is spent at our annual conference in another dimension that is only accessible through a portal at the end of a rainbow and only to queer people and it’s very cool and exclusive, sorry. Yes unicorns are real.

This year for the parade, I met up with a new friend for the first time. She and I met the old fashioned way, in Florence Given’s comment section. It was a lovely day and my face hurt from smiling.

As mentioned in volume one, I got sober this year. In some ways it was a long time coming, in others, it was something that happened suddenly, but the thing that is consistent is that it was the best decision I have made. Since my last beer in April, I have found it surprisingly easy to not pick up another. I’ll get to that, but quite truly it was just time. It wasn’t just something I needed but also something I wanted.

For the first time since, this week, during Pride, I had the sudden temptation to be holding a beer or six. It first happened earlier in the week as I was walking through The Village in the afternoon. The sun was out, the patios were bopping and there were drag performers and performing artists and life drawing sessions and more activities lining the streets. I felt like I needed to join in by planting myself on a patio and ordering a pitcher, instead I kept walking and went home.

The next time it happened I was once again in The Village. This time it was Saturday night. The place was alive with music, dancing, laughter, bright lights and even brighter outfits -- it was dreamy. I felt myself believing that I was sticking out like a sore thumb. Why am I dressed like this? Why didn’t I wear something cooler? Do I look queer enough? Do people just think I am here to latch on to Pride and leave again for the year once it’s done?

I again soldiered through. I had a non-alcoholic apple cider with a pal and sat back in a patio lounge chair among other festivity goers, gazed up at the stars and took some deep breaths and enjoyed a lovely evening albeit on the edge of my seat. I then went home to think (aka journal) about it.

I came to the conclusion that Pride and alcohol have always gone hand in hand for me because the desire for a drink was not one of negativity, I was clearly in a very safe and beautiful situation. The desire came from the squashed down doubt and imposter syndrome and fear of not being queer enough that comes with my sexuality, that each year at Pride, and at each queer event in between, I resorted to liquid courage in order to take off the edge and relax and make friends with some hot, cool, queer people.

I have known I was bisexual since I was around 10 years old and I dreamt I had a girlfriend and loved it so much, but was terrified G*d would hate me. I have accepted I was bisexual since I was around 20 years old and finally made some queer friends. I have been out as bisexual since I was in my mid-twenties, slowly but surely slipping it into conversations and comedy sets. 

What is newer on my journey of sexuality is the discovery of my demisexuality. I plan to do a whole damn newsletter on that eventually, but for now, I will give you my definition, which is my script adapted over time, to suit how I best feel:

Demisexuality means you do not feel a sexual attraction to someone unless there is an emotional connection. That doesn’t mean an emotional connection will equal a sexual attraction, but it does mean that it is a pre-requisite. I have since gone one step further to say, that for me it is not even for sexual attraction that I require that connection, it’s for physical attraction. As something as seemingly simple as a handhold or an arm around me can send me into a state of panic. Demisexuality is asexuality until the stars align in the exact way I need them to.

The pandemmy, as stated in volume one, has helped my personal growth so very much. I have deep-dived into my demisexuality and have come out on the other side more confident in what that is and what that looks like and what that means I want (and don’t want) in my romantic life. Once I was able to sit and reflect on this, I knew the desire for a drink in order to feel comfortable at Pride was nothing but a reflex, a habit, a security blanket I had created for myself before I knew myself.

For all of you questioning, or discovering or for any reason unable to come out, I promise you it gets better and I am here if you want to use me as your security blanket instead.

Fast forward then to Sunday, where my new friend Aud and I hit the parade and I laughed and cheered and danced my heart away, with nothing but my water bottle and a virgin margarita that I let melt and forgot about because I was having too much fun.

Earlier this year, right before putting down the drink, I was already having thoughts about it. I knew it was taking over, I knew I was relying on it for too many reasons, I knew my life was quite literally being wasted by losing chunks of time both drunk and hungover. I slowly cut back, not with any real plan, but just instinctively after a particularly drunken event that had followed several drunken events my entire life, which involved drunk dialling my grandparents, hysterically crying to my neighbours I bumped into on the stairs and not remembering a thirty-minute walk I took late at night, just to give you the sugar-coated, short version.

My cutbacks were natural and fueled by my dislike for what and who these drinks made of me.

One Sunday, I sat with friends over several hours on the one beer, and I haven’t picked up a drink since. In the weeks leading up, podcasts I listen to often were all of a sudden having sobriety conversations (or was I just noticing them now?) and everywhere I looked and read things were sticking out to me and giving me the messages I needed. I was taking Issa Rae’s Masterclass and an assignment called for a story made out of 5 random objects. I used a random object generator on google and my story painted a picture of the person I had become week after week after week. The story came to me so easily without brainstorming at all, and I do also believe my higher power sent me those random objects to inspire it on purpose because they were pretty on point. You can read it here. It is very personal, so please be mindful of the topic and the vulnerability of the story before proceeding.

I will likely talk more about my sobriety in time, in future newsletters. I am still relatively new to this and each day I learn more and more -- both from myself and from those wonderful people in my life who have been on this journey longer and share their wisdom with me. For now, I will leave you with my list of things in my life that are infinitely better, or that have surprised me since putting down the drink.

  • While I knew I would have to feel all the bad days without numbing them, and prepared myself for that as best as I could, I didn’t think about the fact that I would also get to feel all the good days without numbing them too. Before getting sober it was a drink on a bad day because ‘ugh’ and a drink on a good day because ‘yay’. I don’t celebrate with a drink now and because of that my happy or proud or ecstatic butterflies in my stomach elevate me to such a level of excitement that I wasn’t prepared for and I ride that high for hours. My heart is lighter and my pure joy is felt and experienced in ways that truly feel like Christmas morning as a child. I haven’t felt happiness like this since I was young, since the last time I thought the world was a magical place.

  • My creativity is through the roof. No more wasted days being hungover. Instead of being in slow motion, with no motivation, no energy and no lust for life and doom scrolling, I am imaginative, awake, moving my body, exercising my writing muscles, excited and determined to create, create, create!

  • Sundays have always been my favourite day. Sundays were always my day to sit on a patio with a drink, or watch live music with a drink, or go to brunch with a drink and then from there, the day was a write-off of continued drinking or napping. Sundays are different now. Sober Sundays have been spent doing things like hiking, watching the sunset, seeing the symphony orchestra, going to museums, seeing live shows, writing short stories, going on picnics, thrift shopping, buying new plants, eating in a new cafe and devouring the deliciousness of a fresh pastry with a hot coffee in the sun, journaling about my dreams and ambitions, writing letters, creating in many ways or sitting on my balcony which is engulfed in the top of a tree and watching the squirrels and the birds play while I read a good book. Sundays are still my favourite day but now for such a different reason.

I love you.

Lauren

xoxo

Three things I struggled with this week:

  • Going back to work. I took this week to set all of my priorities in line, set out some work goals and take some much needed time away after 17 months of sitting in my apartment in front of my computer at this job. It’s not the job’s fault, it’s the pandemilovato, but I had to really talk myself into having to go back to doing that for 8 hours a day. The priorities and goals helped.

  • Is it just me or when it’s hot out like it has been, do you also just lose your appetite, only for it to come back in the later hours once the temperatures cooled down then you are so hungry you just grab whatever is close? I am all for late-night snacks, I am not for substituting a nutritious dinner with some candy.

  • The general state of the world and not just one thing? Ugh, every week I feel more and more hopeless. The struggle is reminding myself that while I can of course feel however it makes me feel, this isn’t about me. Hopelessness never helped others, so I need to feel my feels but do my bit wherever I can. No help is too small.

Three blessings from this week:

Three goals for the coming week:

  • Set out my intentions for back to work and come back to them whenever I feel like the dread of digital life is taking over.

  • One thing I have loved about my staycation is the freedom to get out and explore the place I live. My goal is to set aside one evening per week for exactly that -- no phone calls, work, writing or Netflix. Just something like a walk to a new part of town for ice cream or picking up some fresh flowers for my apartment.

  • On my week off I clocked 111,625 steps according to my phone! Obviously that is easier to achieve when you have nowhere to be but wherever your heart desires. This just goes to show that the 1000 or less a day I have been averaging the last year-ish is not due to laziness, it’s due to lack of motivation and the fact that I cannot pull myself away from the computer on workdays to get outside. The goal is to get more fresh air! Do you have any tips on how to pull yourself away from work for this? Let me know, please!

What I am enjoying this week: HORNY OFF MAIN POD! Katie-Ellen and Amitai are two wonderful, kind, funny, sweet, delightfully entertaining humans. It’s the podcast they’re proud to be embarrassed by and it’s perfection.