Amy Ray and Emily Sellers, a lesbian folk-rock duo indigo girlsOpening up about addiction, recovery and how her music remains a lighthouse for the LGBTQ community.
The musician recently sat down with Glennon Doyle for her podcast we can do hard thingsDuring which Sellers, 59, opened up about his years-long addiction to alcohol and how his drunken antics led to Ray, 58, leaving the band.
“I was destined to be an alcoholic,” Selliers said, admitting that alcoholism runs in his family. “I didn’t know it. When we used to play bars and stuff and we did shots from the stage — this was when we were kids — and drinking was such a social part of what we did for work, and then a lot of mine I thought I was an extrovert, but I was really just an alcoholic.”
Saliers further explains that his behavior eventually became uncontrollable due to excessive alcohol consumption. Soon, it became a liability for the band.
“Amy can attest to how awful it was when I was drinking,” she shared. “All the excuses I made, my irresponsibility, I can’t see [to work], But I was scared. I think all alcoholics are afraid to admit they are alcoholics.”
Added Sellers: “Everyone knew I was just f****d up and dying, and Amy was going to leave the band. Everything was falling apart for me and I tried to hide it a lot — and You just can’t.”
After several attempts by Ray to intervene, Saliers’ family and friends eventually staged an intervention that cost him three months in rehab. Looking back, she says that Anubhav saved her life.
“It’s the hardest f****** thing I’ve ever done,” she says of being sober. “Sometimes it’s so hard, you just want to get out, you know, early, and you can’t anymore. You have to go through a lot of inconvenience and the other thing I’m learning right now is It’s that I’ve lost a whole part of my growth—intellectual development, my development as a human being. I had deprived myself of it at the time that I was drinking so hard.”
“So, now I feel a lot, and feel very unworthy because I’m behind,” she explained. “But to wake up to calm down, to feel good, to know that you’re not self-destructing, to know that you can be, like, now I’m accountable to Amy, who to Is responsible We, To all the people and my family. my wife would never [Tristin Chipman], She must have left me, she was leaving. Or my child All the most beautiful things in life come from moderation.”
Ray and the Saliers, whose latest album look long Was released in April, couldn’t help but acknowledge her contribution to advancing LGBTQ rights and visibility in music.
Despite their coveted status in the community, the two admit that they still behave internalized homophobia,
“I was feeling, at some point, the bubble was bursting, I was feeling self-loathing about being so masculine,” Ray explained of coming to terms with her sexuality when she was younger.
“It’s internalized homophobia,” she said. “It means you’re afraid of who you really are and sometimes you don’t want to face it. I think when you’re younger, you don’t really know what it means.”
For lesbians of her generation, who say they feel pressured by societal norms to stay closed, Ray says losing the emotional baggage takes work—which, she says, is the opposite. Today’s Queer Generation That Often Celebrates Identity instead of suppressing them.
“For us, it’s kinda like, we weren’t able to celebrate [being queer] For so long that we became bound to that,” she said. “We were taught that you don’t celebrate it.”
“We didn’t know what the word gay meant, really, when we were kids,” she continued. “Now when you come out, you understand that there’s sexuality and there’s gender, and that’s different… the thing that helped me the most was when I grew up, all of a sudden, having all this language to talk about. For that’s where I was at.”
Saliers said the queer community was important not only to her sobriety but also to her commuting journey.
“People Who Are Coming Out” [today] There’s no need to deal so much with the self-loathing and self-homosexuality that I still deal with,” Selliers says. “Some young people I know who come out are so happy and happy, and They did ‘not to fight this internal battle.
“The influence, the power of these systemic structures that affect us: the church, social norms, binary thinking, fears about liquidity in many ways, you take a step back and look at the power of those forces on us. So we Community is needed,” she says. “Together we can navigate that, deal with it, and reaffirm our legitimacy, our dignity as human beings. That’s why we need community.”
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