A gay man struggling to accept his sexuality has revealed how he developed in alcoholism to cool down & # 39; his gay thoughts & # 39; and almost drowned himself before he realized he had reached the lowest point.
Sales manager Samuel Gegen grew up in a Catholic family where he regularly attended church and felt the pressure to belong, praying for & # 39; normal & # 39; after he realized he was gay when he was only six years old.
Kansas City, Missouri, 32, knew he had to reassess his alcohol dependence when it began to threaten his life. Now three years sober and proud vocal about his sexual orientation, Samuel shares his recovery story online in an effort to help others struggle.
Journey: After fighting alcohol addiction since his teens, Samuel Gegen came to his family, shut down alcohol three years ago and has never been so happy
Lifestyle changes: the sales manager, pictured left in 2016 before becoming sober and judge in July 2019, reassessed his dependence on alcohol after trying to take his own life
Samuel also provides support and raises awareness among people within the LGBTQ community who may also be struggling with addiction.
& # 39; You have been brought up under conservative and limited thinking limitations, you have almost no choice but to act, to prove and to be what everyone around you wants you to be. This is difficult if you are struggling with your identity, & he said.
He remembers begging God to like & # 39; girls & # 39; and & # 39; to be normal & # 39; when he was six years old.
& # 39; I remember going to church every day to pray to like girls and be normal. I went to church because I was told that. That is what everyone did; coercion in a one-way street of nonsense and acceptance only entered if you believed what they believed. & # 39;
Samuel suppressed his sexuality in his teenage years and when he first tried alcohol at the age of 15, it turned into an escape for him.
& # 39; When I started drinking it was fine. There were times when I went out and stopped drinking because I didn't feel like it. Over time it became a problem – and with time I mean years and years. It became an escape because I didn't care when I got drunk.
& # 39; I didn't care what I said, what I did or what I felt. I felt temporarily free. It calmed my homosexual thoughts and when I had them I was drunk and I didn't care. The big problem was that it was temporary. & # 39;
However, the moments of relief came with crippling lows.
Blacking out vs work out: Samuel pictured left during his tough festive years in his early years & # 39; 20 and right, sober, in 2019
Rainbow: Samuel with his beloved dog, Arthur, who proudly wears an LGBTQ scarf
& # 39; changed my life & # 39 ;: Kansas City, Missouri, said stopping alcohol, which he depended on as a teenager, was the best thing he ever did
& # 39; After it was worn out, I only continued to drink alcohol or & # 39; In the morning, I drank spirits on an empty stomach and became extremely depressed.
& # 39; If I got depressed, I wouldn't eat, miss work, sleep all day, or go to bed around 5 p.m.
He also remembers being ashamed that the local liquor store staff knew his name.
& # 39; Alcoholism is progressive. It's not getting any better. It is not manageable. It gets worse over time. It came to a point where I risked my life more often than I could count and thought about taking my life a handful more times. At a scary moment I almost drowned in a bathtub.
Samuel recalled that he had casually seen a man in June 2012, but his sexuality was still a secret. At a house party someone told him they knew he was gay, but Samuel denied it and kept drinking with his friends.
I stumbled to the bathroom and filled the tub. I went under for a long time and then popped up. I thought about my parents, my family and how young I was. I could not continue
He later went to the bathroom, filled the tub, and tried to drown himself because he couldn't bear to tell his loved ones the truth.
& # 39; I was back on and off with the guy I saw at that moment in my life. I drank a lot, especially at the weekend, and was for no one but a few friends, & he said.
& # 39; We were at a friend's house and someone told me that everyone knew about me and this man. I was not willing to come out. I was not willing to tell someone my secret. I denied it and continued to take photos with my friends.
& # 39; At that time I was not ready for someone to know my secret.
& # 39; Later I stumbled to the bathroom and filled the tub. I went under for a long time and then popped up.
& # 39; I thought about my parents, my family and how young I was. I could not continue. I didn't know how my life would go. I didn't know if this was pain in the short term or so. In the end I saved myself. & # 39;
& # 39; The thought that people knew and talked about it was too much. To this day I am glad that I did not go through anything that day, even though the thought of doing it. & # 39;
Fitness: Although he was always interested in training, the down-to-earth Samuel showed the benefits in the photo
Goals: Samuel, pictured on the left in 2009 and on the right in 2019, said he finally realized that alcohol did not fit into one of his life goals
Samuel remembered: & # 39; I have had many turning points. I tried to stop several times. I always knew that my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy. & # 39;
& # 39; My biggest turning point was wasted coming to work and starting it with colleagues & # 39; s. I then went out for my mother's birthday and confused her to tears.
& # 39; My real turning point was when drinking was no longer fun. It was work. It was work to hide it. It was hard work to repair damaged relationships. It was a lot of work and gloom after three days of depression after every time I drank.
He worked up his heart and came to his conservative parents when he was 25.
& # 39; I left a letter and then went to drink a bottle of vodka. They took it well. Of course they had this tendency of who they thought I was, so they needed some time to adjust. Before I knew it, they were supportive and used to it. The support feels incredible. & # 39;
With the obstacle to revealing the truth behind him, Samuel knew he had to reassess his dependence on alcohol.
Demons: Samuel, pictured on the left & # 39; blackout drunk during a brunch & # 39; in 2016 and right in 2019, said sobering up his & # 39; biggest demon & # 39; conquered
Relationship: Samuel, on the right, pictured with his friend Adam on vacation in Las Vegas
& # 39; I had goals. Health and welfare goals, work goals, professional goals. You name it! Alcohol did not match any. & # 39;
Samuel has been sober since November 2016 and said that all aspects of his life have improved.
He had always been in fitness, even when he was drinking, but now he realizes that he can reach his goals faster.
At the height of his addiction, Samuel weighed 12 st 2 lb; now he weighs a healthier 13 th 13 pounds.
He has launched his own blog, where he regularly posts messages about his journey about austerity, well-being and fitness, making use of his 10-year experience in the industry and his diploma in kinesiology.
He has been able to buy a house, pay off the student debt and pursue his fitness goals, and now has a loving relationship with his friend, Adam Everson, who welcomed his family members with open arms.
And his family is ready for him at every step.
& # 39; My family accepted me and my partner with open arms and invited us to every vacation and even bought gifts for him. It is a great feeling. It encourages me to do the same for others struggling to have a positive support system & he said.
& # 39; One of the hardest things was to be OK with being alone. If you are alone and have a clear way of thinking, you will learn a lot about yourself. You discover what you like, what you want to spend your time on and especially who is really there for you.
& # 39; I was so used to going to the bars and drinking with friends when I stopped drinking that everything stopped. I avoided those places because they were not good for me and my & # 39; friends & # 39; fell off because it turned out that everything we had in common was hammered together.
Loved up: Samuel, left and Adam pictured this summer in Missouri
Couple: Samuel, right, and Adam pictured celebrating Independence Day this summer
& # 39; After a while everything goes well and everything gets better. Time alone with yourself, I believe, is a super important part of the process. & # 39;
Samuel hopes to become a mentor for young LGBTQ people to show them that a life of acceptance is possible.
& # 39; As a child, I thought there was only one way. I would become a good Catholic boy who married a girl and started a family. Period of time. When I was 25, I thought there was only one way. I drink and party all the time and die young and alone. It's just like being gay. This is all so untrue, & he said.
& # 39; You can live a life of happiness and truth as you wish, as long as you are happy. None of those lives would have made me happy. I am 32 and have never been so happy and I appreciate my sobriety.
& # 39; I want to guide the LGBTQ youth and let them know that there is a life of acceptance. I want those who struggle with gay or non-mentor addiction that they can have a solid community to lean on.
& # 39; Sobriety or a life with moderate drinking should be glorified instead of the alternative. This has motivated me to start my own blog, newsletter and community.
& # 39; Take the first step. It's hard but it's worth it. If you are afraid, do not use full throttle. Lean in. Lean in the lifestyle that you want. Find a support community. I have been to AA meetings, they are not necessary for me, but they are a start. & # 39;
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