Exene Cervenka's New Advice Column

[Ask Exene] 'When in recovery, love yourself first'

HI, EXENE: I respect your opinion so much, and I would love to know what you think of my current dilemma. I have been clean and sober and off drugs and alcohol for about three months now. I am working a 12-step program, and it's helping immensely. The thing is, I'm a gay dude, and I am only really meeting straight football guys that I have nothing in common with (except we are all addicts), and I need to meet more gay guys. I have had to cut a lot of people out of my life in order to get better, but I also need to make connections with other people, and those connections aren't being made in the meetings I go to. What do you suggest? I'm also in graduate school to be a therapist, so that's time consuming, as well as satisfying. I just need to I meet more people in recovery I can relate to.

Thanks so much! You are truly the best.

Love, Matt


Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk-rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. If you want to ask the legendary vocalist for advice—on your love life, politics, your musical career, Armageddon, filial relationships, anxiety over 2012—send an email to askexene@ocweekly.com. We will not use your real name if you don't want us to. Please note: By sending an email to askexene@ocweekly.com, you are giving OC Weekly permission to publish it. Once you submit the letter to us, it will not be possible to take it back.

DEAR MATT: Congratulations on your sobriety! Great move, and 12-step is the best way to go for a lot of people. It has worked for me. This is a very important time in your development. You don't give your age, but you sound young—and social adventures are exciting and life-affirming. However, this is a time for you to focus on yourself. You are in recovery—in a state of transition, emotionally and physically. Study hard, research what interests you, eat healthy, continue with your sobriety program, learn what you can in those meetings from people of all walks of life, and find your commonalities.

Consider a sponsor.

Reflect on your life.

Think only positive thoughts.

You are making a new start in life, so what do you want your reality to be?

It's not a good time to start a relationship—love yourself first.

Love, Exene

This column appeared in print as "Relatable and In Recovery."

My Voice Nation Help
La Morena
La Morena

I had no idea Exene had ever been in a 12-Step group. If she is willing to write about her experiences in recovery as a woman, I would greatly appreciate it, and I'm sure a lot of other people would too. How does she envision her Higher Power? Did she fall back on Catholicism/Christianity or did she choose a different spiritual path? Was it difficult for her to find a home group where she felt comfortable? How did she choose a sponsor? Did she have to cut contact with a lot of people in her life? What adjustments to her lifestyle did she have to make while on the road and being in clubs, around a lot of sweaty drunk people? If it's not too personal, I'd be interested in what the circumstances were that brought her to her 'a-ha' moment when she decided to get help.

Exene has been a role model for a lot of us for several years, and I really respect her take on these issues.

Matt Creen
Matt Creen

I wrote this question to Exene, and when I saw it was her first question answered I was ecstatic. This advice helped more than I can explain and I am so thankful. Thanks so much, Exene!

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