LGBTQ+ & Sober: Coming Out Later In Life

Hey Everyone,

I don’t see very many threads here reflecting the LGBTQ+ community so I thought I’d start one myself!

My identity had a significant impact on my drug abuse as a teen and young adult. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I could truly come to grips with myself as a lesbian woman. Suddenly, I realized the devastating effects that suppressing myself for so long had caused. Eventually, slowly, I stopped caring what others thought because the pain I felt remaining hidden surpassed the judgment, abuse, and rejection of anyone - even my own mother. Soon after, I learned life is way too precious and short to be unhappy. It was during this time that I also realized the true extent of my drug abuse and why. If nothing else it taught me that it’s okay to set boundaries and be a little selfish sometimes if it means being well.

I know I’m not alone & I know it’s not easy, so if you’re in this place and you’re struggling - please reach out! I am healthier and happier than I’ve ever been having finally embraced and accepted myself.

What was your coming out journey like? How has it impacted your sobriety?




Thank you for your honesty. I completely respect your process. Please feel free to revisit when you are ready. I would love to hear your story. Be well. :heart:


I’m tagging someone in and I hope she won’t mind it:
@aircircle :heart:


Hey there, welcome! It is a topic that comes up periodically, you can search for some older threads using the magnifying glass search button. Sobriety has done so much for me to allow me to be open an honest about my authentic self. Glad you are here! :rainbow:


And know that there are supporters here too, the moms and dads and siblings and friends. Coming out is a trip for all of us. As a parent, I’ve felt angry and confused and threatened when dealing with my kids’ sexuality and gender identity. And proud and full of love as well. It helps me most to remember that my children are in the hands of their loving higher power and I don’t need to direct their lives or protect them so much as to accept that their experiences are real and valid.

Blessings on your house :pray:. :rainbow_flag:


Hello there, Jayms! Welcome!

I came out when I was 22 and it put a significant pause on my spiral towards full blown alcoholism and addiction. Thankfully my first lesbian partner was the best I could have asked for. They got me into all kinds of things that had very little to do with alcohol. When I was struggling with my sexuality I was a fucking wreck! I’m honestly surprised that my drinking was even able to be put on pause after that. I was falling in love with all my female friends while living with a boyfriend that I had moved across the country to be with. Our relationship was total bullshit. In retrospect, I moved to get away from my family and my hometown and he was a convenient excuse. There was little to now love between us. Not that it was violent or abusive, it was just a toxic, enabling friendship gone wrong. I had my own office in a room and I’d spend time in there drinking my face off and doing various things like playing my guitar in angry, aggressive ways, writing my various lesbian fantasies out, mourning the relationships I would never have. Things were a mess, I was intentionally self destructing and I didn’t know why. Then I decided that I needed to end the relationship and figure out who I was, who I am. I moved out and started the most frightening journey I ever went on (until I decided to get sober). Fortunately, it ended up being a pretty easy start to my journey.

The rest of the journey, after that first partner, got really out of control. But! Here I am, getting closer to 3 years sober, and holy shit I wouldn’t change a thing. My sexuality is something I just live with, a part of me that just is. I haven’t persude a relationship since I got sober. My last one was a dramatic disaster that ultimately led to me getting sober 3 months later. After that first partner I dated all the wrong people, chose to do all the wrong things. My addiction and my poor choices went hand in hand, and led to worse and worse bullshit.

So, that was a story. Part of me wishes I wouldn’t have come out until I was in my 30s. But, as I said before, I wouldn’t change a thing about my story. I wouldn’t be who I am now without every messy, fucked up detail. And I quite like myself these days.


Jane, :heart:. We got you, fam.


Good Morning Mod,

Wow! This hit close to home. I totally understand hiding in heterosexual relationships. I even went so far as to get married and have a child. I identified as bisexual and dated women over the years, but it was an uphill internal battle for sure. Advocating for others taught me to advocate for myself. Thanks for sharing!


Yeah, of course. I’ve found myself in a place where sharing is almost more helpful for me than it is for others. I’ve walked a long road and it helps to share the journey, even if it was pretty shitty at times. There is still an even longer road in front of me and I’d like to walk it with people at my side. So here we are!


Hi! You are 100% not alone lovely :blossom:

I came out when I was 14, I’m 32 now and whilst I’m happy with that choice and my lifestyle my family are not supportive and I don’t have anything to do with them anymore. I think this relationship breakdown was a massive contribution to my drug and alcohol abuse.

Regardless I have a lot of incredible friends and I don’t regret my lifestyle one bit.

I wish you all deep happiness and peace. If you are struggling with sexuality I’m always happy to talk. I might not be able to help but sometimes just talking is a help.

@Jane.c in your own time, the forum isn’t going anywhere :rainbow_flag:


Thanks for the topic Jaymie. My sexuality is one of the reasons I’ve drowned myself in drugs and booze since age 14 in 1980. Being gay but not wanting to be gay in my teens. Coming out late around my 30th helped but not that much. And all the sex I’ve had in my life has been under the influence of something, or many things at the same time. Still in my first year of sobriety this is an issue I haven’t addressed yet at all really. Absolutely something I need to work on.


Hi there and thank you for sharing your story! I came out later in life, when I was 26. I was married to a man and eventually we divorced because I finally got honest with myself and my family. It was a bumpy journey at first. Drinking all the time to numb the pain of disappointment in my mom’s eyes. I tried getting sober for many years but always seemed to fail at it. The longest sobriety I ever had was 4 years then my mind started telling me that I could drink like normal people, well guess what?!? I’m not normal and that’s okay. I’m 6 days sober today and feeling fabulous. I have a beautiful partner who I have been with almost 10 years (May 28th) and I have a wonderful relationship with my mom and my whole family! Life is not perfect but I know if I continue to work my program and stay connected with people like me, everything will be okay. Staying sober is something that I have to work on a daily basis. Stay strong and continue to reach out, no matter what! :heart::orange_heart::yellow_heart::green_heart::blue_heart::purple_heart:


These stories hit so close to home I have tears in my eyes. Thank you!

I think sexual orientation adds a unique challenge to sobriety, one that not many people can understand if they’ve never lived it. I hate that the common denominator is pain, but I’m so glad I’m not alone. I wish like hell I could have heard these voices 5 years ago, maybe even 10. I came out multiple times, and no two were quite the same. It has greatly contributed to my health and happiness to live honestly in a world that can be painful and terrifying enough to encourage me to deny myself.

I too have finally found an incredible, loving, kind, generous, warm, funny, intelligent, thoughtful person - and I cant imagine my life without her. It’s sad to think I was so unhappy for so long, but it’s never too late.



Hi. I’m nonbinary and have not come out to almost anyone in my real life. I’m also bisexual, but that one I couldn’t hide, so I don’t think it has impacted my alcohol abuse much.


My coming out process was so stacked and drawn out, it feels amazing to be finally free. My mother is slowly coming around after vehemently refusing to acknowledge and accept me. I can’t really ask for more. I hope you feel safe here if nothing else. Can I ask why you havent come out?

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Honestly, my family would never understand. My father is completely understanding of my sexuality (and was not at all surprised when I came out in my 20s), but I think he is one of those folks that views gender identity as a made-up thing that millennials use to get attention. My mother had a hard enough time dealing with my sexuality that I do not believe she would cope at all with my gender identity. I have never felt remotely connected to my AGAB, and I think if I had head the word “nonbinary” as a kid I would have come out right then, but I am in my mid-thirties now and I wonder whether it’s worth addressing. I don’t have any desire to go on HRT or pursue surgery at the moment (though I do think about it sometimes), so aside from changing my hair and clothing, I can’t imagine it would make much difference whether I came out or not. For now I’m just sitting on it.


I can agree with that sentiment. I am 30 years old myself. Oddly enough I have young parents. My own father is progressive enough to identify as Aromantic, lol. He was not surprised and much more inclined to accept me. My mother, on the other hand, comes from the sheltered midwest which probably contributed to my suppression. People fear what they do not understand. For my mother, in part, her intolerance was due to a lack of exposure. She has come around the more she talks to my girlfriend. My hope is that she would see all the good in her that I see, and she would begin to build her up as a person in her mind rather than an idea. It seems to have helped. She used to refer to her as my “friend” which really used to irk me. While I respect her process, I am too old to tolerate a lack of acknowledgement or religious discrimination.

I hope you continue to be strong and comfortable in your own skin. :heart:

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Getting sober made my trans identity way more important to me. Before I quit drinking I just sort of accepted that I was never going to deal with the hassle of coming out or transitioning, but over the last couple years I’ve tried to make it a priority to be more honest about my gender.


I’m so glad to hear you’ve been able to make your identity a priority. It’s interesting how much a little clarity can bring to your life.

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