I just celebrated 12 years sobriety. In the recovery community, a lot of times mental health isn’t discussed at the forefront. I try to be an advocate not only for recovery from substance use and alcoholism but also for the mental health challenges that go along with that. For me, it was a combination of suicide attempts, self-harm, and isolation. I thought when I first got sober, my mental health stuff would just go away. It got worse in some ways because I was not coping with alcohol anymore.
I really want to reduce the stigma around mental health in men and get them to really share what’s going on in their heads and normalize the experiences that I have had. It starts with just a few words: ‘I’m not in a good place mentally’ or ‘I’m struggling.’ That’s the word that I use. Struggling. Forced psychiatric intervention did not help me. Connection to others with lived experience was the most helpful thing for me. I receive so much support from my male friends. We get a meal together, we spend time together, me and eight of my closest friends. We laugh and just be there for one another. It has helped me immensely.