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Why Is?


LaurenA

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Why is it that the only time I have the courage to declare myself as who I am is when I've had a drink.  Is it because I can only believe it when I am drunk?  Is it because I'm a coward at heart?  Is it because I'm still not sure.  Damned if I know.  Here I am vacillating between letting the whole idea go of being trans and having SRS.  It's a hell of a dilemma with me.  Talking with my councilor doesn't help.  All she does is support whatever I'm feeling during that session.  Maybe that's why I drink?  To allow myself to accept and have the courage to be who I am?  Hell of a quandary and not one I think I will ever solve.

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In chapter 3 of the Big Book of AA, it says that no one likes to admit they are different from other people.  While it is referring to our addictions to alcohol, I found that it also applied to being Trans.   The second element in recovery that I learned was that we could become  "rigorously honest" about the addiction while being sober.  Again, something that also applies to our being Trans.  It can be done but I had to learn it by almost killing myself with a prescription drug and getting sent to Substance Abuse Counselor who actually gave me the Gender Therapy items as I became used to being honest with him.  My first major Coming Out was in a group therapy session for addicts.  After I did that, almost no one spoke and I was afraid they thought I was telling a bad story.  When I saw my Counselor several days later he told me  that he and his colleagues had been hearing the others from the group finally coming to grips with their own REAL addiction problems.  My honesty and openness had given them the courage they needed for their lives.  Talk about shock on my part. My counselor had me go with him to his boss who was an M.D. who on the spot referred me to Endocrinology for HRT and offered me the surgery letters from the two of them. 

 

Maybe your therapist thinks you are being honest about your gender feelings, now to be honest about the drinking issue as well so the whole package of you can be given what you need. 

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What Vicky says about addition is so true I drank for over 20 years mostly out frustration about my life and gender issues. Yet it took another 23 years after stopping and living sober before I could over come the fear of my gender issues.The thing that I found that was similiar was the need to become honest with my self about who I was, and that fear of confronting that had paralyzed me most of my life. When I saw a grief therapist after the death of my wife she knew something was going on with me and eventually pried it out of me that I always  felt I should have been born female. Telling another human being even a trained therapist is so hard, and yet it led me to the freedom finally to  start to deal with my issues.I was physically addicted to alcohol and found a way out through AA ,and found a chance to live my life as who I had always felt I should be by getting over my fear of who I new I really was. Don't know if that makes sense but that's my story.

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You are in a tough situation but knowing some of your past burdens, I think you are doing amazingly well. Hang in there and keep fighting. You'll make it. I believe in you.

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Hi @LaurenA, it’s nice to meet you. It seems to me that vacillating between SRS and giving up transition entirely is a very all-or-nothing approach. I don’t know your story so I’m not sure if you’re on HRT already, but I presume you’re not presenting  full-time? If that’s the case, maybe there are some more gradual — and less scary — steps you can take than SRS, and by taking those steps and seeing how they make you feel you may know more clearly whether SRS is for you? Personally, I think my upbringing in the 1970s and 80s trained me to see gender in a binary way that I am having to overcome to cope with my transition. After all, transition is a gradual process. It’s not, no matter how much I wish it was, like flicking a switch. 

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Hi @Betty K  I grew up in the 1950's where being anything but M/F was considered an abomination.  That attitude controlled my actions for a VERY long time.  It wasn't until I turned 70 that I and admitted I was trans.  Hell, until Christine Jorgesen nobody even knew what trans was or that it could be done.  The opinion in the rural area I was in was the she/he was wrong and against all that was right.  In that atmosphere I learner to hide what I felt and to never let anyone know what I was thinking.  It wasn't until I was  in college in the 70's that I realized who and what I was.  Even then I was afraid to let anyone know.  I hid for the next 50 years.  Covid isolation gave me the time to think about it and the death of both of my wives forced me to look at my life and where I was heading.  Now I'm unsure to take the plunge or not.  I've been on HRT for about 2 years.  I have an appointment next month with a surgeon to get an orchiectomy.  I think what I am feeling is a question of commitment.  I have been hiding so long I wonder at this point in my life I should keep hiding or continue down the path.

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14 hours ago, LaurenA said:

Why is it that the only time I have the courage to declare myself as who I am is when I've had a drink.  Is it because I can only believe it when I am drunk?  Is it because I'm a coward at heart?  Is it because I'm still not sure.  Damned if I know.

 

I've also found that I'm more confident in my trans-ness and femininity when I've had at least some amount to drink, too. I never really understood that either. At the very least though, you're clearly not the only one! I've often wondered if it may simply be alcohol's "reduced inhibition" short-circuiting some of that gender-oriented "you can't do that, you can't be that" conditioning and inhibitions we grew up with.

 

Of course, I certainly don't recommend drinking as a way to deal with these things, or to deal with anything. But for what it's worth, I can relate to that particular quandary.

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Thanks for your reply @LaurenA, and I think I understand your situation more clearly now, though for me it’s pretty much the opposite. In my case, surgeries seem far less important than being “out” and letting people see who I am. For me, dysphoria mostly arises from maintaining a charade of maleness in order to cope with day-to-day life. Since dropping that charade and going fulltime about three weeks ago I feel SO much better. Of course, at age 49 and only five months on hormones I definitely do not pass, and that fact in itself can be a source of dysphoria. But I found the emotional changes stemming from HRT we’re making me want to burst for as long as I kept presenting male; the disconnect between how I felt on the inside and appeared (and even behaved) on the outside were just too great. That distance is far less now, and I feel much more free to behave naturally since I’m not so hindered by my old male identity.

 

That said, I do understand that questioning of commitment, and I guess if I felt I could be satisfied transitioning in private I might consider that option too. It’s just that I don’t have much choice: I can’t stand being a man on the outside and a woman on the inside. 

 

Btw I fully understand it was even harder in the 50s than in the 70s to be a trans child, and I am in awe of all of you who survived that experience. I cry about my childhood regularly; to me it seems an integral part of the transition process to grieve for what I missed out on. Ironically, the further I go and more certain I am I’m on the right path, the more grief I feel, as I start to understand just how much violence I did to myself by locking myself in the closet all that time. I don’t know what else to say about that except that, to some extent, I feel your pain. 

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Perhaps some of my drinking issues caused by thecguilt and shame that gender issues caused.  The fact is that addiction took over,  I had dressed and used gay bars as my first forays into the world as myself.  Later as i found sobriety by working the AA program i tried my best to be sober and honest.  At the time gender was beyond my ability to face so i tried to leave those issues behind.  They followed me until one day i went to a women's meeting.  Soon i found a home in AA where i could be honest.  I realized i had always failed in denying my gender issues.  Sobriety actually gave me the strength to live this life of honesty.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Thank you @Charlize.  I don't think I'm at that point yet.  I still need the alcohol based courage in order to publicly admit who I am.  I just came out to my hobby based social group (with positive results) but that's as public as I have done.  Even then it was only after a couple drinks.  It's going to be a very long time before I will allow myself to be seen in public as myself while sober. 

 

I just noticed that I used the term "allow myself".  An interesting use of terms.  I guess that indicates my own level of transphobia.

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22 hours ago, LaurenA said:

I guess that indicates my own level of transphobia.

I spoke about that at last nights local remembrance celebration.  I was the only person there who had transition and transphobia was mentioned as existing in "a few".  I had to share as i spoke that it has always been the whole society with only a few exceptions.  I noted that i had always felt there was something wrong with me.  The  bravery that a few drinks gave me never lasted but the need for more never left until i became honest with my "issues".

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Hi @LaurenA! A quandary isn't it. The stuff that gave me the liquid courage for a few hours as myself, deep in the closet came to own me, killing me. Then fear of all fears, I couldn't live with, or without it. Some wonderful people offered me what they had, what had been freely given to them. I'd heard their stories, they were alcoholic like me for sure, but unlike me at the time, they were happy & sober. I wanted that, to get it I had to be honest with myself. This honesty gave me the ability to look at what I now know is my transgender femme self. I am out in the world today as the beautiful me that has been waiting decades for the self loathing to be chipped away! I'm fairly sure the only way this has been able to happen is through sobriety.

 

I don't know that you're alcoholic. There's really only one person who knows if your drinking is a problem & is able to do something about it. You see her looking back at you in the mirror every day.

 

Hmmm, all I was going to say was ditto to the beautiful sober ladies who preceded.

 

Love you! Please know you are loved!

Hugs!

Delcina 

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