Drinking, Disability, and Sober Sex with Bethany Stevens

Episode 74 August 10, 2022 00:46:04
Drinking, Disability, and Sober Sex with Bethany Stevens
Alcohol Tipping Point
Drinking, Disability, and Sober Sex with Bethany Stevens

Aug 10 2022 | 00:46:04

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Bethany Stevens joins the show to share her sober story and talk about sex and disability. Bethany is a wheelchair using self-proclaimed nerd, queer sexologist, disability consultant & advocate. She is currently getting her PhD in sociology and is passionate about promoting disability justice, sexual pleasure, and sobriety. 

We chat about: 

Find Bethany: 

Instagram: @disabethany 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/disabledandsober/ 

https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsWhatDisabilityLooksLike/ 

Blog: http://cripconfessions.com/ 

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100 Questions to Change Your Drinking:  https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/100questions   

Dry Guide:  https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/dryguide     

10 Day Break:  https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/10dayholiday   

Mocktail Recipe Book: https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/mocktailrecipes    

Alcohol Tipping Point Blog: https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/blog   

  

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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Pod Bethany Stevens Deb: Welcome back to the alcohol tipping point podcast. I am your host, Deb Masner. I am a registered nurse health coach and alcohol free badass. And today on the show, I have Bethany Stevens. She's a queer sexologist disability consultant and advocate and an alcohol free, bad ass. So welcome to this show, Bethany I'm. I'm so glad that we gotta have you on and do this conversation. Bethany: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to talk about sobriety. I can't stop talking about it. Deb: Oh, good. Good. Well, can you just share a little bit about your background, like who you are and what you do before we start talking about your, your issues or struggle with Bethany: drinking? Sure, sure. So you talked about it in your intro, but I'm Bethany. And I have worked in the field of sexuality, sexual health for about 15 years. I focus on people with disabilities. I do all kinds of sexual education outreach with parents of younger folks with disabilities, but really focusing on people with disabilities and enhancing our pleasure. I'm in a PhD program now I was teaching in a university, but now in a PhD program to. Be that doctor finish the whole dream and I'm actually shifting focuses. It really wanted to, I really was into pleasure and now I'm really into the politics of sobriety. So my life may be taking a different path after we finish this degree. So but you know, I'm an activist by heart. I'm married. I live in Atlanta. I have a wonderful dog. Who's a Chihuahua pug. You may hear her coughing in the background and I'm a lover of books and lots of other things. I'm a big nerd and that's something that I am reclaiming. And so. Deb: Exciting. Oh, oh good. Well, I'm a, I'm a big nerd too. So Viva LA nerd. great. Well, let's start, like, what was your experience with drinking? Bethany: So I, I haven't figured out how to do my story in a really. Short narrative. But I basically, I was raised with a lot of fear around alcohol and had some I'd say violent people around who were drinkers. And so I was a super intense dare kid. I was born in 1980 just to date me. So I really never thought drinking would ever be an issue. And then I hit my adolescence and things were just more difficult than I anticipated and I wanted an escape. And then I moved in with my father who normalized it all. And. I was, as the people say in some recovery that I was off to the races. And so the whole thing was normalized. And then I went to college and drinking was just, it was also very normal. So from 15 to through law school, binge drinking was a completely normal experience. It was everything people were doing. So I thought everything. Normal to be drinking daily beer. And then alcohol became a part of my journey. I took the California bar in 2007, passed it, and that was my first moment of really breaking into unhealthy drinking because I didn't have anything to do after it for about a six week period. And so I just partied for all that time that I had to study. And then you have another gap. So that was 2007. And then I get married in 2011. I'm still just drinking beer, just being regular person I'm thinking. And a significant change happens. My wife has a health issue in 2016. I start graduate school. Things just, I started drinking whiskey and whiskey was the end of my drinking career. It took about a couple of years for whiskey to beaten me up. And it. Yeah. So I learned I did all the things that the stories say I did all the, I tried the rules. I tried moderating. I tried drinking only wine drinking, only three days a week, drinking only certain drinks, never drinking shots, never drinking alcohol or liquor rather. None of those things worked. None of these tools in moderation, as everybody says, they never worked. I was doing recovery work before. Admitted anything to myself about the problem. So I was listening to the podcasts and trying to figure it out before I really hit my downfall in 2018. And and then I don't know if the recovery section is different or if you, I go into it now, but I sh basically the first time I Googled him, I an alcoholic, I was 20 and I was 38 when I realized yes, you will die. And then it didn't, I wasn't committed to not drinking until 2020. And then, you know, what a great time to get sober. like I mean, it actually was because it insulated me. It kept me out of the bars and it kept me safe because I didn't wanna get sick. So, I mean, there's, there's beauty in that. And and I had some relapses that were brief, but they were only beer. No. Alcohol since 2020, I it's a remarkable change. I just saw a friend of mine. That's been friends with me since 2003, and she's never seen me in sobriety. And she says, I look, 10 years younger. That's just radical. How calmer I am. There's just so much to say, but I don't blame anybody except for big alcohol and dare not teaching enough enough about alcohol. Like I know plenty about meth , but I didn't know alcohol was going to be a dark demon that was going to slowly hurt me and like really slowly. Deb: So, yeah. Yeah. Well, I can attest you do look very young when you said you were born in 1980. I was like, what girl? That's only three years. Yeah. You're three years younger than me. thank you. Well, how did you quit drinking then? Bethany: Finally, so I, you know, I was, I was in a hospital. I I'm not prepared to tell the whole story yet. Cause I do wanna write a book, but I was in the hospital and I had a Ukrainian doctor. And I've been to Ukraine. So I, I, and I've been to Russia well before all of this Putin, anyway, that was 2015. But so the, the, the, the. Dry Eastern European, just truth that they drop with the, she was just basically like you will die. And I did not know that it was that serious, even though I had edema, even though my face had significantly changed and my eyes, my, my sweet little cloudy eyes and I was sort of blacking out a lot and it just, it gotten so bad. But anyway, so the doctor told me that. Going to die. And I stopped drinking. And semester not drinking came back, thought I could moderate cuz that's what we all think. After a little taste of freedom, like this is all checked. It's done. I'm cool. And I ended up right back in the drunken. Dystopic myopic sad. I'm going on a dog walk. I tell my wife, Sarah, and I'm gone for 45 minutes. She still looks at her clock when I leave. I mean, she's getting better to where she trusts me cuz it's been years. But so we got to the edge of 20 well, 2019 and I just was, I can't, I'm gonna end up dead. I realized, so I made a commitment to it in 2020 and getting a therapist really changed. Everything. I had done a lot of reading, like a ridiculous amount of reading. But reading about trauma and talking to a therapist about trauma are fundamentally different things. And so that really shifted things. So. 2020, January 3rd, I had my last shot of vodka and espresso martini and I thought I was good. And then I broke my arm before we had vaccines. I had brittle bones. And it really depressed me and it was my 40th birthday. So I was just a mess. I wanted a multi-city tour for my 40th and I'm an only child, so it really just broke my little heart. So I drank some beers and that's what taught me. The relapse is what taught me. I am a really, really bad alcoholic. Like, do I really wanna just stay awake all night and just keep drinking beers? Because once I start, I can't stop. Is that really how I wanna live? And so. I'm grateful for the relapse. It really shamed me. And now I hope that if I did have a beer, I wouldn't go through the shame spiral, but Well, anyway, it, it really just taught me. I can't do it. And now even when I'm, I want a drink to shut off the noise of the world, especially lately how loud everything is, how terrible it's. I just know drinking is not gonna be that solution. And I don't wanna give up my sobriety and I'll tell you, I've had some friend breakups and some of them gotten petty to where I've just been like, I wanna drink really bad, but. I'm so petty, I'm not gonna give it to you. So mm-hmm, , they're not gonna be my reason. And so it's really nice. I'm, I'm getting closer to 500 days which is really good. Deb: Well, that's fantastic. Thank you for sharing and congratulations. Thank you. I mean, Bethany: and it's really worth noting that. Of course, I wouldn't be able to do this without my spouse and my friends and all the friends are not good as we know in recovery. So it's really nice finding out which ones are. Deb: Yeah. Yeah. I can tell, like, you know, it, it's a big change in who you are and, and just accepting yourself and, and having other people accept you as you are. And just, Bethany: and how that changes when you're. Sober when you may be quieter, you may not want to go mm-hmm rage. It may be more about trees and quiet and some people don't wanna go on that journey. And yeah, it's really lovely. Deb: Yeah. I can tell that that touched a spot in you just talking about your friends and, and being Soaper now. Thank you for sharing. Bethany: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for handling my tears. I've been very teary even though I am. I don't. I really think it is old news. It's just been a lot. Deb: So, yeah. Yeah, the, I mean, and I, I'm glad that you said that like the world is heavy now and we don't need to drink at it. Like drinking is not gonna help. We need to sit with our feelings. We need to, the power is, is staying clear and focused. And when we drink, we give that power away. Absolutely. And it doesn't matter what's going on or who you're giving it to like You're just taking your power back and that's what we can do. We need to be strong and we need to fight and yeah, so it, it has been really heavy. It really has. And Bethany: it's much easier to community organize and support each other in solidarity. Deb: Yes. In solidarity for sure. Bethany: That's something that I have valued as much as being conscious literally is painful. There is something to being able to be there so much more for other people. And that's another one of those friend things of just being able to be so much more present mm-hmm to where yeah. You know, when things hit the fan, I'm not just checked out. So. Absolutely. Deb: Yeah. Yeah, just being there being present. Totally. It's a revolution. Well, this might be a little shift, but I, I do think it's important to address, you know, you are a wheelchair using person. And you come from you know, you're a disability consultant and advocate. And, and so I was wondering if you could share your perspective on that and any connections you see with like alcohol use or substance use. Bethany: Sure. And I didn't mean to say that with a. Negative tone. But so I am a disabled woman. I was born disabled. Grew up, I have brittle bones, so I've fractured a lot. I've had a lot of physical pain and I was raised basically on narcotics. So if. One more to figure out a, a addiction. I would think that it would've been that, but whatever. So in terms of the larger population issue we don't have enough data right now. So because, and you know, I've worked in public health and disability and disability and public health is still a burgeoning still developing. Part of public health, because we're just at the stage of understanding that disabled people can live well. And so that, that health and disability are not mutually exclusive. And so going into things like smoking secession and drinking secession that's, those are issues that are compounding. So there's more research on how disability causes or how drinking causes disability rather. With regard to the community. When I got sober, I noticed a gap. Right. There's a gap in looking for groups that are specific to even just mental health. And you know, and I, I, as I said, my timeline is 2020, so that was the time of digital meetings, which is great, cuz there's a plethora of them, but I couldn't find anything that was specific. And I was finding these digital meetings to be incredibly ableist. And just to define that. That just, it means discrimination against disabled folks, but it also means privileging non-disabled people and privileging and normalizing ability as like what we all prefer. So example, when I was in some recovery meetings and I was talking about how this pandemic that was happening or is happening, was making me feel afraid. Death. I was silenced. Whereas other people who, if they didn't mention disability, it wouldn't be because it didn't feel as much like an outside issue. Now that may be my whole issue with that recovery, some of the meetings. So what did I do? I started a group. I started a group for disabled folks to meet and talk. And you know, I think that. The, the bottom line message that I understand from this period is that recovery, there is no outside issue. It's all bullshit. And pardon? Pardon my language. But like, I'm sorry. But these reasons that are happening in the news are precisely root. The reasons that motivate people to drink racism, ableism, those are precisely reasons that need to be escaped. And so to deny that and tell people. Stop that talking. It just it's disturbing to me. And you know, I, I think all those systems of power make us want to escape the oppression for me, you know, I think it's a mixture of a lot of things. I, I know. For a fact through working with therapy, that staring was an issue and it comes up in my meetings too, that people didn't like staring. And so drinking can like admission. You don't notice the staring, there are things that is mitigating worse to where it changes social space to where feel like such an oddball. Okay. And then we have the game that I'm in. So I'm queer and drinking is like a side piece to queer community. I mean, I, I was telling my advisor, I went to the pride meetings in college. I went to a rugby game to meet queer women, which is horrifying. I don't like sports, but rugby is violent. And then I went to a bar cause where else am I gonna go? So, I mean, there. There are so many issues that bring us together around alcohol. But I think there is so much shame that we silence around all kinds of different kinds of bodies. And I mean, the shame it's, it's even hard for us to explain it, cuz we feel guilty for saying it out loud in the groups cuz it's exactly the thing that we're trying to fight against an activism. Just like feeling ashamed of our bodies, but like, I keep reminding them cuz I'm the annoying professor, but again, this is why I shouldn't. Facilitating groups, cuz I should let people feel I, why am I trying to teach them? But I'm just like, we internalize these systems. It's not our fault. It's not like, this is not, it's not us. So I, I, you know, I've taken a step back from those meetings also because of therapy has taken a lot more of that, but you know, we need that. And I. I wanna, when I'm free from my dissertation, I, I will be writing about this. And one of the things I wanna write about is just dreaming about what do we want a real, like, not a real, but a good recovery, an inclusive recovery. What is our dreams to recovery space? Because I think that's where we start. Imagining the possibilities for growth. And in somewhere we can start building those things. Some of those things are tangible to do now. And so I always am always pushing the idea that recovery is political because it is there's so much money to it. How could it not be political? I mean, and you don't need to read, quit like a woman or books like it to start getting mad and in. You know, and it's taken me time to separate getting mad at big alcohol and drinking as a culture and separate people from that. That's, that's still something I'm working on. And I think that's a, that's a process, but Deb: there's yeah, well, I'm, I'm just like marinating in what you said there, cuz there was so much so in. In some of the recovery communities and not feeling heard and being a person with a disability it, and that kind of, and I I'm just projecting here. Like, I, I think that this. A per people with disabilities are ki an unseen population. It's ver it's not visible. Let alone like that someone with a disability would also have like a drinking problem like that. I think. Yes. Bethany: Yes. Totally. No, I'm, I'm, I'm people always think I'm a freaking angel because I mean, I am precious. Right. gorgeous being a brat, but I'm small. I'm three foot eight. So people like to paternal there's a lot of like childlike projection put on us. So why would we ever have a drinking problem? And then, then there's the flip side to the stereotype that we're all just so angry at being disabled. That that is why we're drinking. So whenever I interview therapists, I need to ask right away, are you gonna blame all my issues on disability or being gay? Cause we need to know that trauma exists. The world exists. There are factors that are well beyond my control that are really changing. These. Deb: So, yeah, and I think if one thing I've learned throughout doing this podcast and interviewing people from all over the world, all walks of life is with addiction with alcohol. It doesn't matter. It don't care like alcohol is, is just so good at moving you towards pleasure and away from pain. It doesn't care what vessel it's doing it in. So I, I, yeah, so it, it can happen to any anyone, because it is an addictive substance and. Bethany: And one thing I, when you mentioned pain, so in some sobriety groups, I'm in multiple and I'm still in them physically, like in groups on Facebook and other social platforms. But one of the groups, they talk about how alcohol is not a painkiller and I don't, I don't, Deb: I hope 100% disagree also as a nurse, as a nurse, it used to be used as anesthesia. Okay. Bethany: Cause it is I'm telling you as a person with chronic physical pain, I've arthritis all over my body. I've had over a hundred fractures as a nurse, I'm sure you can conceptualize all of that, but. Alcohol, when I was traveling would be the best medication to keep me moving from meeting to. Going it was a pain killer. That's better than opiates Deb: yeah, it is a pain. It is a, a physical, a mental pain killer. That is why your brain goes to it and it works really fast. So absolutely. Okay. Yeah. So it sounds like we need more research. Let me ask you, excuse me. Yeah. And, and you also mentioned being, you know, part a queer person and then just H how can we be more inclusive? And you mentioned some tangible things, like, maybe just share with like me, I have a podcast and I do groups, like what are ways to be more inclusive of people. Bethany: You know? So let's see. I, I think there's a difference between the podcast and then the meetings. So one in like in general, we need to think that everybody in recovery is dealing with some kind of. Like diagnosis. So let's not separate an us them mm-hmm where it's like, I can't, oh, I, I am an alcoholic, but I am not mentally ill. Well, sir, I'm sorry. The diagnostic and statistic manual will differ and we can talk about that's a social construct and how that's a piece of garbage and it's changed over years. And, well, I have all sorts of issues about that, but like, Stop the dichotomy of us versus them, because it really is like, how are you? Like, and I've also been told, don't go to recovery, expecting same people, but I don't like the division because it really does create in those meetings. Like certain things are not real. You cannot talk about these things. So it's the outside issue. But I'm being jumbled here, but. The us versus then the mental health thing I thought was the biggest salient one, not talking about the world, everything being an outside issue, except for drinking and talking about people like the actual alcohol is gonna come after you. Whereas. They're not even talking about the dynamics and the meetings about people talking to each other and how like maybe opening the space with, you know, sometimes crosstalk needs to happen. And this is outside of AA. I've seen this in Dharma. I've tried smart. They don't all have the same verbiage, but they have the same rules where. I allow crosstalk at my meetings. And we went through this, we, we talked about these rules. We go through a list of values about like what we respect and I can send them to you. They are disability, justice values and how we're really trying to respect the whole person. But we're also trying to keep the safe, the. Space safer, not safe because you can't really create a safe space with people in it because it's just the world. So trying to create it safer. So if somebody says a microaggression, somebody says something that is mean that is hurtful. That is traumatic. That we pause. We re like, Remind of the rules. Talk about like what we're doing here and how we're not trying to hurt each other. And we're in this together. I mean, those are tangible things for meetings. the other tangible things are, the meetings are not physically accessible. Like they're dispersed. That's why the digital meetings were so nice because, you know, everybody says, well, just keep going to a meeting until you find one that matches. And it's like, first of all, people with jobs schedules. Getting all over town. That's not gonna happen. I find it really hard to find a meeting as a woman in general, because I find men creepy and that's not just because I'm queer, I'm bisexual. So I've had plenty of men. I just don't wanna be in a recovery space with them because that's part of my trauma is men. So. Also gender sh like, I don't know about, like, why do genders need to be separated with regard to sponsoring and leadership? That should be a decision, particularly if you're gay, because I think the idea is to not have sex with each other. So that kind of throws out the window and it's gay. I mean, I just really want people to be able to bring, you know, one of our rules is about holistic bringing your whole self. So being able to talk about your life and what is actually making you feel these things, and it's not just gonna fit in these ver like these, these small things that you can talk about that are permissible. And I also think that we need to talk about the things that got us here more instead of just like blasting through that drunken story, that blurry line between where you're drinking and you become a drunk. And now that's my word. It's not what everybody wants. And AUD is the preferred term, but when I. I wanna know more about that, because that was so slippery and blurry. I mean, there's so many things like in a recovery space, I would love to have that would make it more welcoming, but, you know, pronouns just the just general, like toning down all the just systems of power, like men shutting the fuck up, just giving, sharing. You know, I don't know. I think everything needs to just be flipped on its head. And I also think that there need to be segregated spaces for some people, cuz I, I think for a lot of queer trans people of color, they do not feel safe. And I understand that cuz I don't feel safe either. Yeah. I. Deb: Yeah, I, I appreciate you saying that and sharing that. And I agree. That's why I created alcohol tipping point because I wanted to create a, a place that was safe. Like I say that a lot, like this is safe. And, and not. Have rules and just have a, a somewhere where you can share your, your whole self. And I'm very holistic. I'm a wellness nurse. So I get that. And the other thing I was thinking, you know, as we've been talking is this analogy that like, we are all in the same storm of addiction, but we're not in the same boat. We are all in different, you know, someone may be hanging on to a log and someone may be in a yacht. That's very true. So just being aware, like it is different for different people. Yes. But we are all. The goal is to get out alive and to get through the storm, to the calm seas. And however you get there, wonderful whatever tools you need to get there. If you need, you know, a toe, if you need a, a life preserver. Fantastic. Here's all these different tools. Try this meeting, try that, try this medication, go to a therapist. Let's get you through this storm because there are clear skies ahead. Bethany: Yes. The medication aspect is so lovely and I wish more people had as AC access to it. I read about it and it's it's lovely. So yeah, all of what you're saying, that's the ideal recovery thing where it's all of these pieces and you dis decide what is, what you need. mm-hmm , you know, I, in the beginning of recovery, when I was deciding what do I do with all these freaking hours that I am loser I actually Googled the word hobbies. I started so on ground zero. So it is like, you know, I, I, I think like with alcohol, you're editing out alcohol and then you are editing your entire. And you're figuring out what is all of this? What, what are my feelings? What, I mean, it's just, it's a, it's a trip. I am. I never thought I would be a person who found my peace in green spaces. Like I think I would've made fun of people like that. I I'm sure I did. I mean, I definitely was that asshole who was like, don't trust a non-drinker yeah, me too. Yeah, I, I got that from my dad and he was definitely, you know, the archetypal jerk response where, when I told him I stopped drinking, he was like, I will never stop drinking. And I just said, congratulations, like, honey, it's not about you. So it's always interesting. I, yeah. Is amazing. I love it. And loving that part of sobriety now is figuring out all the new things to fill into my life because it's basically like I have no idea it could be everything and anything I don't know, to come back in to feel all the space that alcohol opened up. Deb: Yeah. It's such a transformation and it's such like, it's like. You get the chance to do things again, you get the chance, it's almost like you're a child again. And you get as experienced things again, that you usually, you needed alcohol to tolerate before, you know? And so I, I have like, what's called like a sober bucket list, like your first sober vacation, your first sober wedding, your first sober party, like it, because it's, it's experiencing it with new clear eyes and it's just so wonderful. Bethany: I like the idea of a bucket list. Yeah. I like, yes. Well Bethany, Deb: because you are a sexologist can we touch on the effects of alcohol on sexual experience? Bethany: You know, I really think you should talk tot you do you know her right? The Deb: I don't, but I, that sounds good. Bethany: You will. Okay. Tell her why you sent me . Yes. She is writing a book called dry humping, and so it's all about alcohol free sex. Which is beautiful. So she's the real sobers expert. I'm just a wild heist. Who's tried all the things to figure it out, figure how to make it accessible, how to make it work. How do I take that dildo and get it in your body? That is what my job is. So I'm, I'm very much, but I, I do have thoughts on sobriety and sex, but yeah, one of the big things I love to help people find their first sex toys, cuz that's such a journey for people to be able to self-pleasure. And in fact, that ties to sobriety because I think for a lot of us, when we're getting sober, it's again, it's like being a child or we're a new person you're raw, you're fresh. Who are you? Are you ready to have. The hood spa, the, the burning desire to jump someone. I, I think that a lot of us feel inhibited and we feel scared. And so, you know, I think masturbation is a really good tool to get back to our bodies. That's been something for me, even as a sexologist, I saw a huge dip in my libido and have seen a huge dip in my libido in recovery. A lot of that for me though, was that I used to really love destroying boundaries and just creating chaos and just. Being a little bit wild. And now I'm really cherishing boundaries and not wanting to push people. And so for me, it's like a re discovery of myself. And so a lot of it has been through coming back to my own body. So that's another thing is sensation coming back into your own body. Is an experience of just being fully aware of all of your sensations. So for people that are feeling nervous, I find the same breathing exercises that we need and that we use many of us use. To calm our mental states in sober and sober living that same breathing, the intentional thoughtful breathing can calm you down before you engage with sexuality. So you can calm yourself. I also encourage the Superman talk before the sexual encounter and like getting yourself hyped up. I used to do that when I was younger. It helps now. Gets me all excited. It's kind of ridiculous, but then also the breathing what's really exciting about the breathing with sober sex is that you can enhance your orgasm so we can use tantra principles to use that intentional breathing and even breathing at the same pace as your partner. And it really, it just, it enhances your pleasure. This is a, an issue. I don't know if it's exclusively for Western cultures or if it's generally the truth. There's something about, we like to hold our breath as we orgasm and like bear down. If you breathe through it, it will have longer. You'll have, you'll have expanded pleasure and you can actually feel it coming into your, you could just feel more pleasure. So that's all the like pleasure, nerdy stuff beforehand, the liquid courage stuff, all of that is mindset shifting. And you have to like, It's, that's why I think the breathing and going through those things of like, I'm cool. I am sexy looking at your body also naked, or just in general, look at your body. I don't know how many of us became disembodied in drinking, but I sure did. I definitely was not. Checked in. I was using a lot of makeup, but was not aware of how gone I looked, you know, I, I wasn't, I wasn't connected with my body and now I feel more into it and connected to it. It's just, it takes me a little bit more to get that courage. And that's still today where I, and this is my wife. We've been married since 2011 and I'm still a little like nervous, but I do my breathing and I focus on it. And also there's something that I don't think enough of us think about, but there is. An importance to relaxing and re receiving pleasure. I think so often we are wanting to do both at once and it is okay to just receive pleasure and be mindful of that. And that's another tool that I like bringing into my sexuality is the mindfulness stuff. But I do think like, First dates I'm, you know, I would be a little scared going on a first date without alcohol, but you get through that, you know, the liquid courage, she does a lot of work around liquid courage, cuz that's such a significant trope in our culture. UMT. So talking to her would be useful, but I think you just have to, it's like meeting people sober. You just have to get over. First thing and then changing the dates. Let's go walk around somewhere. Let's go do something instead of just sitting and drinking. I mean, those are all mindset, life shifts for sex, but I, I really think people underestimate how much breathing is a tool that we're using in recovery that can just really be brought into sex to make everything better. When I tell people that they're just like, oh yeah, but that makes sense. And I'm just like, Jesus. I mean, the breathing took me a while to give up. Deb: I know. I I'm like, OK, I gotta go try that. I appreciate you saying that and, and giving those, those tangible tips because I. I mean, I've been married 20 years and I, I mean, before I got sober, like we only had sex when I was drinking, unless we were trying for a baby. And so I I'm still scared, like, just like terrified. I mean, you are so vulnerable, like you said, like, how do you just like. Relax and just receive pleasure and put yourself in such a vulnerable place, even with someone you love. So I think it's common and we don't talk about it. And I'm so glad you know, that we even touched on it. For cuz even for me, I'm like someone that doesn't really talk about sex well, I do. And I don't, but you know, not about my own personal Bethany: experience. Sure. I, I, I mean, and I think that, you know, I, I, this again is a socialization issue where we're raised to be thinking about giving other people. And like not thinking about being present in our bodies. I mean, it's a whole flip on all the social training of what we're doing. I mean, this is technically bad behavior to be engaging in sexual pleasure by many people in society. So, you know, I, I, I think. We have a lot of unlearning to do. And when we get sober, we really realize that, you know, I mean, and as a sexologist, the girl who's tried almost everything that I could reach. You know what I mean? Like I had huge dip, it's huge dip and it really it's like, it's such a central part of me. I was wondering, well, what is wrong with me? I've read about people just having dips, but not for, I mean, it it's. It's been a radical change in my life. So yeah. To come back to sex, it's really, it's, Deb: it's a lot. Yeah. I appreciate you saying that too. Cuz I feel like what I have read is like, oh my God, the sex is amazing. And I'm like, it's. Yeah. Like the orgasms are because if you're just having drunk, numb sex, , that's not that great. And you don't even remember half the time. Exactly. So, so that's a big improvement. it's just getting there, like you said, you just have to get there. Bethany: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Deb: Well, what are your plans for the future? Bethany: You mentioned the book well, you know, it's just, it's one of those, there's a meme about it. And I don't know if you're into mean culture and, but mm-hmm, , there's a meme about PhDs, the person who's writing dissertation, like never ask how it is. Just buy them coffee just don't. But I hope to be done by December 23. So that's next year and You know, I wanna write this recovery book. I wanna, I wanna be a public scholar. You know, I I'm, I'm, I'm more of a front facing jive talking person. I don't, I love teaching. I mean, that's the best part of academia is teaching young minds and I teach them tantric meditation, cuz I do teach sexuality. So I have had students report back on how it's enhanced their pleasure and it is chef's kiss glorious. But you know, I'm gonna do my first sober vacation out of the country in September. So that's gonna be a remarkable experience. I, I, I honestly don't know what I'm doing cuz I, I really like. A I grew up thinking I wanted to be a corporate lawyer, and now I'm such a little softy that I will like cry if there's a really pretty tree. So I've radically shifted to where now I'm not even as excited talking about orgasms and going to conferences that have big group sex rooms. Now I just wanna talk about sobriety. Brief jots away from drinking can be liberatory and actually how exciting that is because I've been chasing pleasure my entire life. And there's something too really feeling that you can actually really feel pleasure if you just take like 30 days off of booze you're you can feel a fundamental change. So. I don't know. I don't know where that's gonna take me and I'm okay with that. We, I, what I really wanna do, I will tell you, I wanna start a production agency. We have little Hollywood in Atlanta. Oh, we have over 21 production companies here. We have Marvel and Tyler Perry and HBO. So, I don't know if I want an imprint of that or start something, but very disability focused. And you know, who actually made me think about this is Jamie Lee Curtis. And I understand she's a star of a star and like, who am I? But whatever. And she turned 60 and she was like, you know, I'm getting old, I need to do something. And she wanted to change the face of median. So now she's just going after. She's putting out TV scripts, movie scripts, reality TV. And that's what I wanna do. I want disability in the media cuz you're right. Like where is it? But we're 20% of the population and the majority of that is invisible disability. So it is actually everywhere. We're just ridiculous and like wake up and also with. Long COVID, you know, this as a nurse, we're gonna have more people with disabilities. We're extending the lifespan. We just all need to get hip to disability. So that's, that's where my work is, but I have big dreams and I'm still trying to figure out are those, those what are they called? Like narcissistic. Dreams of grandeur from drunkenness or is this still like, I have youthful optimism. I'm trying to balance that out. So I'm in therapy, we're working it out, but those are the things I wanna do. I have books. I have lots of things to say Deb: oh, I look forward to see what you do. I don't think it's narcissistic at all. Everything you're doing is for the better of society. So that is altruistic. That's. Yeah. So definitely get your voice out there. Get out there. I can't wait to see what you do no matter where it's at and if I can help or support you in any way, let me know. Bethany: Well thank you, actually, you have helped and supported me because you are my first. Space where I've told my story and it was, it was not perfect. Like they have 'em on the podcast where these people are like, say your story in five minutes or less. And they know how to do it. Like starting at 15, I had a drink and I did, it was great. I felt and no. So I just wanna thank you for that. It's been really incredible and I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm really excited to be finally telling the whole story because I was afraid before. And I also really thought you need a certain amount of time before you start identifying as alcohol free. And that is a myth I would love to tell everybody just like you could be one day alcohol free. Call yourself alcohol free. It's okay. Deb: Absolutely. Yeah, I am. I'm so honored. Thank you for sharing. Wow. This is a great Bethany: Friday. Thank you for this. Deb: Oh, good. Well, you've made bye day. I'm so glad that it worked out and we connected and everything's good. So yeah, we'll be in touch for sure. Yeah. Okay. It was good holiday Bethany: weekend. I, I will. You too. Okay. Take care. Bye bye. Hey, bye.

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