A Lesbian in Recovery Sits in this Chair
By Cary Kelley Wright, Volunteer Facilitator, SRF Support For LGBTQ+
“My name is Cary Kelley Wright, and I am a 57-year-old lesbian in recovery from alcohol use disorder.”
There were so many times during the years when I was drinking excessively that I felt like I was unworthy of love and belonging. Many of those moments led back to my young teenage years when I discovered that I was attracted to women. I remember being outed in high school when someone taped a note to the back of my desk that read “a lesbian sits in this chair.” I was mortified.
That was probably the beginning of my efforts to escape reality and the constant barrage of exterior judgment and ridicule.
I tried very hard to live who I felt I was, but I was unable to stand against conforming to what was expected of me as a young woman being raised in the South.
As I think back about the origin of my alcohol use disorder, I can see that it began as I reached the drinking age and started frequenting local gay and lesbian bars – in an effort to step a little deeper into my truth. At that time, those bars were predominately where “we” met one another. They provided a safe environment where I felt accepted for who I was.
Having a safe place to connect with other LGBTQ+ people meant everything as I struggled to accept my sexuality.
Oddly enough, that safe haven was also the place where I learned to use alcohol to escape. From the moment I began drinking, I almost always drank to excess. I believe that I struggled to feel safe in my sexuality because of the stigma and how others responded to people who lived openly as gay or lesbian. I drank to avoid my feelings of fear and shame.
Over the 40 years since that high school experience, my acceptance of myself and my sexuality has shifted profoundly. Today, I feel strong in living the truth of who I am.
I am proud to be a woman and a lesbian in long-term recovery sitting in this chair.
Today, I use my life experience as well as my coach training to create spaces where other women can connect with their truth and claim their right to live it. I am grateful to recover out-loud and share how my greatest weakness led me to discover my greatest strength.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cary Kelley Wright, CPRC, CPC, SRCD, BSc (Psychology)