I grew up in a very small town and graduated from high school in 1975. Needless to say, not the best environment to be gay. I always knew I liked boys, but my parents attended a very conservative protestant church.
I went to a small college first where I met a woman that I thought could “make” me straight. After 4 years of college and hiding my sexuality, my then wife and I moved to Detroit so she could pursue a Master’s degree and so that I could go to Pharmacy school. We had a son hoping to heal the marriage and focus me on our life. At 28 I had had enough of trying to live a double life and I came out. We divorced, my ex-wife prohibited me from seeing my son, and my parents disowned me.
I sank into a period of self-loathing and I began to abuse alcohol and prescription drugs. At 35 I was arrested at my job, taken to jail, fired for embezzlement of prescription drugs, and I had also been arrested 3 times for drunk driving. I was a convicted felon without a driver’s license and my pharmacy license was revoked. By this time in my life I had also been through 3 disastrous relationships with men. I had hit bottom.
I began to fix things at this point. I reconciled with my parents after 8 years of not speaking. I moved home and began the arduous task of rebuilding. I joined the Health Professional Recovery Program, went to therapy every week, attended 3 Alcoholics Anonymous sessions weekly, and worked whatever job I could.
In 1998 I successfully regained my professional license and in 1999 I met the love of my life. We now own a house, and are helping raise 2 of his children from his marriage, and another from his ex-wife by another man. I recently attended my 40th year class reunion for high school. I took my husband and introduced him as such to my former classmates who were open and affirming.
Maybe if I had the courage to be honest with myself earlier in life, my life would have been easier.