How I've Maintained Long-Term Sobriety

Lessons of addiction recovery I've learned along my sober journey. Tricks of the trade, one may say. Quite a chunk of time has passed since my last blog post, hasn't it? Meh, no matter. Tomato, tow-mot-o. It's wild to think I am three years, nine months, and twenty-two days sober. If someone had told me in January of 2020 (admittedly the second worst month of my entire life) that my life was on the brink of positive change, I would have farted in their face. Yet it was true. On July 8th, 2020, my life changed forever by getting sober. But that is not what this post is about. I've written three books and many posts on that particular topic. No, this post is about how I've stayed sober all that time. And since I don't enjoy long, drawn-out posts, here are the five reasons I believe I've stayed sober for nearly four years:  My cat Klaus. And yes, he's named after the infamous vampire from The Originals and The Vampire Diaries . When you feel ready, adopti

Reflections of A Sober 2022

 Aren't years spent sober just better all around?! What a year! Not only did I remained sober, but I published a short story,  It Happened One EDC , traveled to Switzerland and France, published my second quit lit memoir,  The Frog's Bottle , welcomed the birth of my nephew, celebrated my great-granny's 104th birthday, and continued of my journey of spiritual enlightenment and enjoyment. I am beyond grateful to have built a life of such purpose and prosperity, and I'd like to share a few lessons I learned along the way. Time is the great healer. Mindfulness is key. Positive self-talk is absolutely powerful. Green tea makes you feel better. Chocolate chip cookies are way better than vodka. Reading is safe escapism. Travel fuels my soul. Music is healing.  Relapse isn't the end. Nature is calming. Drinking lots of water makes you feel better. Sobriety is challenging, but worth it. Family is precious. I am worthy.

Playlist for The Frog's Bottle

Play These Songs While Reading The Frog's Bottle With the upcoming release of The Frog's Bottle , I have put together a playlist of songs! These are the songs I played the most while writing The Frog's Bottle . Listen to them in any order, and happy reading! And if my music isn't your thing, that's alright! I'd encourage you to make a playlist of music you enjoy!  "I Still See Your Face" - San Holo "Souvenirs" - JERAN "Too Late" - Minke "Stay Here" - ASKYA ( I listened to this on repeat while writing Chapter 30: Bad Company. ) "Lost In The Woods" - Enjune "Heart So Big" - Matoma, A R I Z O N A "The Light In Your Eyes" - LeAnn Rimes "SNAP" - Rosa Linn "Easy Life" - Roman Muller, Gina Livia "I'm Alive" - Celine Dion "Afterlife" - Illenium feat. Echos "Wild Horses" - Birdy ( Obviously a huge song for me, as I named Chapter 24 after it.) "

Charlie & The Frog

A Quit Lit Trilogy for Alcoholics, Addicts, and Those Who Love Them It all started with a little memoir called At Least I'm Not The Frog , which I began writing in late 2020. I still remember typing up a storm on those first few pages, discovering the joy of writing and exploring my relationship with addiction. At the time, I simply wanted to tell my story, and hadn't thought any further than that. It was around October of 2021 that an idea struck me: why not write a trilogy of quit lit memoirs? Everything is a franchise nowadays, so why not have addiction and sobriety represented as well? What an exciting moment! While I didn't know the specifics of what I would write, I absolutely knew the message I wanted to convey! You see, as I'm sure you've gathered by now, it is very important to me that others suffering from addiction, whether it be themselves or a loved one, do not feel alone and wrong. Those two words are the bane of my existence! They're awful, terrib

Have You Ever Been In Love?

And yes, I hear Celine Dion in my head right now. I have never been in love. Unless you count my decade-long relationship with a vodka bottle as love, which, I suppose, could be valid. But the fact remains that I have never fallen in love. Once, maybe, in high school, I fell victim to unrequited love, but I was young, he was straight, and I moved on rather quickly. So, why am I writing about this?  A part of me wonders if many alcoholics and addicts have the same story as me: they were simply too busy nurturing and consoling their addiction to make time for an actual human being. Sure, we'd use other human beings to meet our needs, but love and care was reserved solely for our substance of choice. Our constant, our companion. I was co-dependent with a vodka bottle, and untangling myself from it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Yet, I still remain single, without love. And honestly, now, it seems so unimportant to me, but at the same time, that somehow feels wrong? Is it t

Oh, The Podcasts!

 The Sober, Gay Podcaster I have been so amazingly fortunate to be able to share my sobriety journey, and my writing journey, on several podcasts. And honestly, y'all, I am so proud of these accomplishments! After publishing my memoir, I knew the best way to get its name out there was through podcasts. I love them, you love them, we all love them! And, wow, there are some incredible addiction recovery podcasts out there! This list covers podcasts that mention my book, and my episodes as a Guest! And you don't have to listen to just my episodes! Listen to many episodes! Each podcast is truly unique, and approaches addiction, sobriety, and relapse in varying formats. Also, these links will route you to Spotify, but every podcast is available wherever you like to enjoy them (Apple Podcasts, Google, etc.)! I have a couple more podcast episodes coming out in the near future, and will update this list accordingly! Have fun listening, y'all! The Sobriety Diaries The Courage to Ch

Discovering My Vision

That Moment When I Stumbled Upon My Life's Purpose These last couple of years have gifted me the most amazing epiphanies and insights, “light bulb” moments that have truly altered my perception of myself and the world around me. I am beyond grateful I was able to put the bottle aside and focus on myself, otherwise these dizzying realizations may never have come to fruition. One by one, they gathered in my subconscious, quietly and methodically creating a vision that would end up blowing my mind. What is this vision, you may ask? It’s quite simple, really: my vision is to build a home. A safe space of my own, in which I may grow old and write my stories. A sturdy haven, where I may find respite and appreciation, where I may stay in tune with the best vibrations life has ready for me. At first, I was surprised when I realized this was my ultimate dream, my goal above anything else, my vision. Surely, I’d want to write a   New York Times   Best Seller, or sell my story to Netflix. Or

The Songs That Helped Me Become Sober

Music Therapy is Seriously Legit. Like, FR, though! I don't think I'm alone when I say music is a huge part of my life, and without its healing effects, I highly doubt I would still be sober to this day. I've wanted to do a post like this for a while, and hope you all enjoy it! So, without further ado, here are the songs that helped me attain, sustain, and maintain my sobriety. I have notated which songs were on repeat whilst I wrote parts of At Least I'm Not The Frog as well. I thought it might be fun to read those bits and listen to the song. Sometimes, you can really feel the influence of the music. "I listened to music, all the music; I followed its sound, finding sobriety." - Me "Forever Free" - San Holo (feat. Duskus) "Beautiful Creatures" - ILLENIUM (feat. MAX) "About Today" - The National "Pizza" - Martin Garrix "Both of Us" - Yellow Claw, STORi "Body On My" - Loud Luxury (feat. Brando, Pitb

2021, Or A Full Calendar Year Sober

Reflections Of My First Calendar Year Sober Well, isn't this something?! My first calendar year sober—and what a year! I've said it many times this year, but I never knew my life could be this grand without a vodka bottle. I never knew I could experience so many wonderful moments and events without the “aid” of alcohol. And, on those days when I would dream of sobriety, I never thought I'd be this grateful to be sober! Of course I imagined I would be happier, healthier, with better finances, but I never knew I’d feel whole. I never knew I’d feel right, after spending years feeling wrong. I don’t think of myself with regret or shame any longer. I don’t view the future as ominous and bleak.  In fact, the future seems limitless and full of potential, which lead me to reflect on the paradigm shift I experienced this year, where I noticed three major pillars: sustaining my sobriety—coping with urges/cravings, publishing At Least I’m Not The Frog , and reconnecting with

What Is Surrendering?

Oh, That Time I Sat On My Bed & Cried? Yeah, that was an epic emotional meltdown mid-morning not too long ago. And before this very important, very defining moment, I thought I understood what it meant to surrender. Honestly, I thought I already had surrendered several  months ago. And sure, parts of me had. I'd dropped a few pesky, damaging behaviors. I felt lighter and fresh. Little did I know that I'd yet to truly break free, to truly surrender. It began very simply, just an ordinary day. I was pilfering around my apartment, tidying a bit before heading to work, when a profound sense of sadness overwhelmed me. To be candid, this was after my book was published, in mid-September. I felt dizzy with remorse and guilt, yet had no idea why . My body turned clammy, my heart rate increased, and my ears began to ring. What in the actual hell was happening? I took a few deep breaths and decided the wisest move would be to slow down and unravel this emotional landslide. There was

The Elusive Act Of Self-Love

 How I Found & Kept Self-Love I recently recorded an episode for Pen To Paper Press, a Podcast regarding authors, editors, and publishing in general, and we found ourselves discussing the importance of self-love. While I've mentioned, and sometimes elaborated on self-love, I've never put it in the spotlight, so I mean to do that now. Because, you know, it's only the most important aspect of building a beautiful life. It wasn't until I discovered self-love that I even knew I was missing out on it. You see, through all of my years of drinking and visiting facilities, I genuinely thought I had massive amounts of self-love. I had to, otherwise I wouldn't have frequented so many states and institutions. I had to love myself, for there was the proof: he won't give up on himself. But this wasn't true self-love. This was my survival instinct, patches of self-love, and sheer stubbornness. The tiniest little flame within me refused to let alcohol win, and I am f

A Post For Those Just Finishing My Memoir

Did you randomly come across my memoir? Who is this Charlie Gray dude? Why did he write a memoir? I am so humbled by the response to my story, and would like to take the time to explain a few questions I've received regarding my journey. Q: Why did you spend so much time on Palm Beach Retreat and Reflections? Over the last 11 years, the only time I had true sobriety was in a detox or rehab. I don't count my stints in psychiatric wards, as I was quite adept at manipulating the doctors and nurses for pills I didn't need. Detox and rehab were the only places I found sobriety, and my time spent in those facilities felt like years. Because I was sober. Because I was contained. Because I was forced to come face-to-face with the depravity of my actions. Also, I learned some of my most valuable lessons, experienced some of the most impactful moments of my life, and formed some of my greatest friendships during my visits to rehab. I am not ashamed of rehab, and clearly I support i

Finding The Silver Lining Of Relapse

I Promise It's Working, Even If It Doesn't Look Like It I would like to preface this post with the following: I am in no way promoting or advising relapse as a recovery technique. I am in no way giving you permission to relapse, or co-signing your relapse. Please, um, just know that before reading this. I only mean to broaden the conversation on the reality and probability of relapse within recovery. Relapse is one of my favorite topics, which isn't all that surprising, since it was one of my favorite activities for many, many years. And I don't feel we really give it the proper respect or attention. It's like we gloss over it, hoping to skip that process of recovery. We give each other warnings regarding relapse, and talk about it as though it were the plague. "Stay away from so-and-so, they've relapsed!"  I found very few conversations surrounding relapse as a legitimate struggle. I was often referred to as a "chronic relapser" without any

How Failing, Often & Gloriously, Has Made Me A Better Man

 Life Lessons Learned From Lofty Failures I know there's already a plethora of material on how failing is actually success in a mask, but I thought, what the hell, I'll throw down on that, too! You see, as a young man, I never thought excessive and repeated failure would be a part of my story, however, now, I can't imagine it any other way. I'm not sure how I would have grown into the wise, compassionate man I am today, were it not for my frequent, lucky failures. It is important to note that when I speak of failure, I do not mean it in the sense of tests, career advancement, sobriety, or anything of the like. I mean it as a failure to secure an identity, a trajectory, a purpose. A failure to truly embrace and love who you are , not who culture has allocated you to be. For many years, I flailed from one identity to another: young, Bohemian actor; quirky banker; free-spirited nomad; the misunderstood rehab/detox/psych ward attendee; reserved, reflective mourner. So. Many

Will I Ever Be Able To Drink Again?

 Coming To Terms With Life-Long Abstinence Whoa, that heading sounds serious, huh? I mean, probably because it is. Aside from accepting I'm an alcoholic, coming to terms with the fact that I should not drink again, for the rest of my life, was daunting. To say the least. And I know: live for today, don't future trip, stay in the moment. But, um, I can't stop my mind from having thoughts. I can only stop myself from acting foolishly when these thoughts are harmful. So, rather than ignore them, like I used to do, I choose to embrace them. I allow them their proper respect. Because it's an insane thought for an alcoholic. Like, hold up, wait. You're telling me I can never again  drink the booze? I can no longer relax and dance with my friends while wasted? I can't take some shots and giggle while posing for ridiculous selfies? I can't hang by the lake and sip wine as the sun sets? But let's be real, I never did any of that shiz in the first place. I downed