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#2 RelationTips Q&A: Addiction, Shame, and Living in Authenticity in the Queer Relationships

Isaac Archuleta

Table Of Contents

Episode Summary

Host Isaac Archuleta and his guest talk about alcoholism, sobriety, and the difficulties those impose in being a part of the queer community. They also explore the rejection his guest has faced in their fight to live an honest, authentic life.

Some of the episodes in our line up are what we call, RelationTips Q&A’s, a safe space for everyday folks to come on the show and talk with a therapist about a problem or topic they are struggling with.

These episodes are intended to highlight queer stories with the hope that others can relate and gain insight into their own journeys.

Guests on these episodes bring vulnerability into the space that allows for a deep, emotional exploration of areas that hit deeply for many queer folks.

For information about how to become a guest, visit us at iAmClinic.org.

RelationTips Q&A: Navigating Addiction, Shame, and Authenticity in the Queer Community

In a world that often struggles to accept diversity, the intersection of being part of the queer community and battling addiction can be particularly challenging. The RelationTips podcast, hosted by Isaac Archuleta, provides a much-needed safe space for open conversations about alcoholism, sobriety, and the unique difficulties faced by queer individuals. In a special episode titled “Addiction, Shame, and Living in Authenticity in the Queer Community,” Isaac Archuleta and his guest delve into the profound experiences of rejection and acceptance in their fight to live honest, authentic lives. This blog post aims to highlight the key takeaways from this powerful episode and the importance of sharing queer stories to foster understanding, empathy, and growth.

Embracing Vulnerability

The RelationTips Q&A episode on addiction, shame, and authenticity opens with a powerful reminder of the significance of vulnerability. The guest, a member of the queer community who has battled addiction, bravely shares their personal journey. By doing so, they create an emotional and empathetic space that allows listeners to connect with their story. It’s essential to recognize that vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a strength that fosters genuine human connection. Through vulnerability, we can break down barriers and eliminate the stigma surrounding addiction and the queer experience.

Navigating Addiction in the Queer Community

Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that members of the queer community face specific challenges that can contribute to substance abuse. These challenges may include the struggle for acceptance, internalized homophobia, discrimination, or the feeling of not belonging. The podcast episode sheds light on how supporting individuals in their journey towards sobriety requires addressing these unique challenges with compassion and understanding.

Confronting Shame

Shame is a common and destructive emotion experienced by many queer individuals due to societal prejudice and rejection. It can be profoundly ingrained, leading to feelings of unworthiness and self-hate. The RelationTips Q&A episode emphasizes the importance of building a community that embraces people with love and acceptance, helping to combat the deeply rooted shame experienced by those in the queer community. By sharing stories of resilience and courage, the podcast offers a message of hope and healing.

The Role of Authenticity in Recovery

Living an authentic life is a goal that many people, regardless of their sexual orientation, aspire to achieve. For queer individuals recovering from addiction, embracing authenticity can be especially challenging. Society’s pressure to conform to heteronormative standards may lead some individuals to hide their true selves, hindering their recovery journey. The episode highlights the significance of creating environments that celebrate diversity, allowing individuals to be true to themselves and fostering a sense of belonging essential for sustained sobriety.

Fostering Empathy and Understanding

By featuring real and raw stories from the queer community, the RelationTips podcast promotes empathy and understanding among its listeners. It encourages individuals from all walks of life to recognize the shared human experience beneath the surface of differences. For those who may not be part of the queer community, listening to these stories can be an eye-opening experience, dispelling stereotypes and misconceptions. It encourages listeners to be allies and advocates for the rights and well-being of queer individuals.


The RelationTips Q&A episode on “Addiction, Shame, and Living in Authenticity in the Queer Community” is a powerful and necessary addition to the podcast’s lineup. By providing a safe space for queer individuals to share their stories, Isaac Archuleta and his guests offer a beacon of hope for those struggling with addiction and shame. These authentic and emotional conversations foster understanding, empathy, and acceptance, not only for those in the queer community but for all listeners. It reminds us of the power of storytelling in breaking down barriers, erasing stigma, and building a more inclusive world. As we continue to uplift queer voices and celebrate diverse journeys, we take one step closer to a society built on love, compassion, and genuine human connection. Learn more about addiction counseling at iAmClinic

Episode Debrief

Shame will shutdown the spontaneity of our personalities.

As I reflect on my time with today’s guest, I can’t shake the image of a precious little boy who found joy in playing with dolls. One who wanted to be loved for the innocent one he was, hoping others would cherish it as much as he did. 

I know all too well what it feels like to be in his position. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have been called a Maricon, which means faggot in Spanish, or teased by loved ones for being different, feminine, or creative. 

When family members mock or derogate our genuine expressions, it feels like they’re also revoking our sense of being unconditionally loved. What a painful experience to live through. 

The pain of losing such a precious facet of one’s life, like undeniable love, can leave us hunting for an emotional home. Feeling unworthy, many of us will approach relationships with apprehension.

I’ve realized in my own relationship with pain that it is so deep and so sneaky. It becomes a narrative and a posture with which I have approached relationships.  “Am I really worth it?,” isn’t a thought we think consciously but a feeling we carry everywhere we go. 

With such harbored pain tucked into the fabric of our identities, we will require medication, and alcohol works really well for many of us. It helps us let loose. It’s there when we celebrate and there to welcome us to the dance floor. We might have no conscious idea we are using a substance or a pattern to mask over a wound, but we are.  

The medications we choose to relieve our pain will often start to work against us. We use the medication to soothe our shame, but often they lead us to more shame, more regret, and more embarrassment. So we need more medication to soothe the larger dose of shame and we find ourselves in a never-ending cycle. Maybe even an addiction.

Hurt people, hurt people. As the guest put it, vice versa, versa vice.

When we step into courage and maintain sobriety, from any of our medications, our pain will still be waiting to be soothed and healed once and for all. Sobriety may be the first time many of us address the pain that lurks in the hidden and buried corners of our hearts. 

What strikes me about our guest is his tenacity for authenticity. His moral compass that’s always pointing back towards undeniable acceptance. In sobriety, we reconcile our identities. We do this not only by making amends with others but by wrestling with the pain that sung its tune until we forge a sense of confidence, seeing our own worth and lovability. Maybe for the first time. 

I hope that all of us strike upon the internal gold that our guest articulated so beautifully. May we all walk in the confidence to love ourselves so deeply that others are liberated to experience self-love within themselves!

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