Posts

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! I am including each podcast I've been a Guest on, or had my book mentioned. 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, Google Play, 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 Courage to Change: A Recovery Podca

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 mid-morning not too long ago. Before this very important, very defining moment, I thought I understood what it meant to surrender. Honestly, I thought I already had surrendered, 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 most certainly an explanation,

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.  It was important for me to convey this through those chapters. I wanted it to feel awkward, like why are we spending so much time here? You see, that's exactly how I felt, and hoped to project this onto readers. That's als

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

Let's Be Real, Some Days F****** Suck! Or Do They?

 Cut The Crap, Charlie! It's Not Always Rainbows & Grape Blunt Wraps! Lately, I've struggled with finding the beauty in each day. It's as though I've plateaued to a bland, mundane level of completing daily routines. Now, I know this is normal for recovering alcoholics and addicts, but I was really hoping I could bypass this step. Because, at the end of the day, I'm still a lazy drunk who wants to feel good by doing as little as possible. Earn my happiness, what the frog is that all about, yo? Why can't I just be happy, no matter what? And then I think, but wait, happiness without other emotions isn't really happiness at all, now is it? Perhaps I need these bleak, ordinary days in order to appreciate the dynamics of this thing called life? What is they say, without the rain, we would never appreciate the warmth of the sun? Something like that. But they're right, whoever they are, we're not meant to live endlessly in an oasis of joy and delight. I

Stumbling Upon Joy

How Writing My Memoir Brought Me Joy Hi, y'all!  Sorry it's been a while, I got tied up with the launch of my memoir! It went better than I could have dreamed, and I'm very grateful for the support and love I received! Thank you all! If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy, click  here to purchase an eBook or paperback.  I began writing October 29, 2020 and finished my first rough draft on May 31, 2021. It changed my life. I found myself, through writing about myself. I understood and forgave myself. It was an extremely rewarding experience, and allowed me the chance to cope with my trauma in a way I'd yet to explore. I have made breakthroughs in my recovery by writing about the depths of my depravity. And I now understand why my counselors and therapists so often advised journaling. But you see, I never actually journaled, unless I was locked in a psych ward, hidden in a rehab or living in a sober house. I poured my emotions into a notebook for a few days,

One Year Sober

 Charles III's Three Truths Of Sobriety Wow. I cannot believe I am typing the words "one year sober." For real, y'all, I never thought I'd make it to a year sober. You see, previously, I could not get past the three-month mark. Ever. Ever.  I've made it to three months several times, but never found the oomph to keep going. I'd look around, wondering what the hell I was doing sober, and grab a bottle. And that's only if I'd made it to the three-month mark. For I spent most of my efforts remaining sober only three or four days, followed by a long and wretched relapse. I spent my twenties and early thirties constantly relapsing. Constantly hating myself. Constantly festering with guilt and shame. Sounds lovely, eh? It was a friggin' nightmare. I don't have to live that way anymore, though. I don't choose to live that way anymore, either. That way is treacherous and smothering. It's vile and dark. But it's not wrong, and neither ar

Making Amends For Your Addictive Behavior

How I Said "I'm Sorry" To Those I Hurt In My Alcoholism As I near my one-year mark of sobriety, I am amazed at the number of relationships I have repaired in a relatively short amount of time. Perhaps a year doesn't seem that long, but when you consider I spent 11 of them in debauchery, it might help give you some perspective. How, you may ask? Well, I recently asked myself the exact same question. How did I repair so many relationships over the course of a year, without constantly chirping "I'm sorry?" Upon breaking it down, I realized I uttered those words maybe twice in my repair. For they no longer held any meaning, coming from me. I had worn out their power years ago. So, without consciously knowing it, I found other ways of expressing remorse and regret for the unsettling behavior of my past. I showed up for my family and friends, sober, and stayed present. It would not do to say sorry, or offer an elaborate explanation of my actions. Rather, remai

Accepting I'm An Alcoholic

How Accepting My Affliction Allowed Me To Ascend Along With Other Advice For Addressing Addiction It took many years for me to acknowledge, out loud and with gusto, that I am an alcoholic. I had known it in the back of my mind since I was around 23, but I didn't say it and mean it until I was 29. If I were to put my recovery on a timeline, that moment would be my beginning. The evening I leveled with myself and admitted I had a serious problem. It was emotionally intense, as though I'd been holding my breath for years and finally gasped for air. Even at the time, I knew it was a turning point. I had never before identified as an alcoholic, and it was a surreal assessment to process. I didn't want to be an alcoholic, I didn't want the stigma and shame, but it was mine, nonetheless. I had to come to terms with the fact that an alcoholic is not always busted, bruised, and without a home. Actually, quite the opposite. I feel like there are more of us living with fine jobs