Voices for recovery: Foster, award-winning author

I remember people asking me
when I was younger, “Are you a girl or a boy?” and wanting to say, “Neither,” or wanting to say, “Both.” If you are genderqueer,
if you’re non-binary, if you’re transgender,
you’re a freak. Growing up,
that message was definitely something I heard every day. I learned that if I wanted to get along, or if I wanted to pass,
I had to dress like a girl, even though I didn’t feel like a girl. I remember googling,
“Are you an alcoholic?” and not thinking, people who drink normally
don’t wonder that? [laughs] That’s not a normal people question. I liked drinking and I liked using
because it was like, all of a sudden, all of the anxiety and the discomfort I felt in my body, and my shame, all of it, my circumstances, my surroundings,
all of it was gone. I struggled from between 18 and 23. I really struggled. At that point. I was using speed every day, and cocaine when I could get it and opioids when I could get them. I finally stopped drinking in 2007, a couple of months
after my 23rd birthday. [music] It’s been an adventure, truly an adventure. I have found in myself, resources and creativity and passion that I didn’t think were in there at all. I’m finally discovering who I am. All I had to do is not drink and use and also be open to changing
a lot of things about myself. For me, that means understanding that my gender
is not what I thought it was. This is who I am. I heard every day that
there was something wrong with me and I believed it, and I used alcohol to medicate my pain. When I look at myself now I see not only someone who has survived
but I see a success. [music]

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