114: The life of the party without the booze – Erik Svendsen
What happens when you grow up a good little Catholic boy, who as a young adult gets sucked into the gay scene in South Florida? You drink, you drink, and you drink and realize this is the way you connect, until the day you screw it up. And then, screw it up again, and then again! Red, blue, and gay...and not in a good way. That's what we are exploring today, is when your addiction takes over your life, and you find yourself more lonely and disconnected than ever as a gay man.
I am a 42 year old gay man living in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL. I grew up in upstate NY and had a great upbringing. Going to Catholic School from Kindergarten to 5th grade was something that has stuck with me for years as a gay man.
I remember my first kiss in 3rd grade when I kissed a boy in the bathroom at school. In 5th grade i can recall my classmates asking what team i would be on when there was a project that was boys on one team and girls on another. After 5th grade, my Catholic School closed and i went to public school which was an eye opener. Shortly after high school i moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL and became immersed in the gay culture. After about 5 years I moved back to NY to start college which I completed in 4 years and the day of graduation i drove over to Los Angeles, CA where I started a phenomenal career in video production for a Trial Consulting Firm.
In 2010 i got my 1st DUI, which is when i started to think i had a problem with alcohol. During that same year, i moved back to Fort Lauderdale which was paid for by the company i was working for as their main office was here in South Florida. 3 years later, i got a 2nd DUI which devastated me and i thought i could be a "normal drinker". I tried moderation for 5 years until 3 weeks after my 40th birthday when i got a 3rd DUI. These past two years i have been working on becoming the best version of me through different recovery programs such as AA, Refuge Recovery, and Recovery Elevator with a whole lot of therapy and a 30 day inpatient treatment program sprinkled in there as well.
I've learned that i can still be the "life of the party" without the booze!!!!!