Recovery you can laugh at: Author Mark Rosenberg visits Center on Halsted

The Center on Halsted hosted author Mark Rosenberg for a stop on his book tour, Blackouts and Breakdowns: An Evening with Mark Rosenberg April 3.

The event, sponsored by the LGBT Google employee group, Gayglers, brought the author and comedian to Chicago to read from his previous collection of essays Blackouts and Breakdowns and from his new book Eating My Feelings. Throughout the evening, Rosenberg spoke about the stories told in both books and shared stories about his wild nights of partying partying, including an anecdote about when he once woke up in the apartment of a one night stand, only to find that the man had moved out while he was unconscious.

In the new book, he chronicles the drunken misadventures of gay life in New York and his ultimate recovery from alcoholism.

“Chicago is really nice,” Rosenberg said. “You all have that passive aggressive attitude that’s so wonderful, everyone is actually very warm and welcoming.”

Going on a 40-city book tour, where most of the events are held at bars, Rosenberg has a humorous take on his sobriety.

“Life is not worth living if you can’t laugh at yourself. I pulled so much shit when I was drinking, and continued to in sobriety,” Rosenberg told Chicago Phoenix. “Its a very serious problem for many people but if you can laugh at yourself and the things you’ve done it’s a lot easier to deal with.”

His brutally honest tone can be felt in his book Eating My Feelings which veers away from his alcoholism, and covers his struggles with
self-image and resonating childhood issues.

“It’s more relatable,” he said about the book. “Its about how you view yourself in the mirror — really being the best person you can be and overcoming those things your parents said to you as a child … And Grindr. It’s about Grindr.”

In his hit blog, The Single Life, he gives an even more crass look into his personal life and the hilarious hardships he faces dating while sober. Many people, especially in the gay community, have a stigma when it comes to sobriety.

“Buck-up kiddo, you’re going to be around alcohol. It’s a part of being an adult, and just because I can’t handle my alcohol, doesn’t mean you should enjoy it,” he said.

Three and a half years sober, with drinking being such a prevalent occurrence in LGBT social spaces, he has become all too aware of
how hard it is to be a single, sober, gay man.

“One of the things I touch upon [in my book] is dating and sobriety and how that’s different and affected the way I felt about myself because I didn’t have the alcohol to cover up the feelings, or to be able and get smashed after a bad date,” he said.

Too often, he has come into contact with a stigma in the gay community towards sobriety and recovery. With 33 percent of gay and lesbians suffering from substance abuse, according to Rosenbeg, so many people are quick to judge.

“It’s unbelievable, the things people have said to me ‘Oh, it’s not a problem,’ and everyone so worried about gay marriage, but how are you going to get married if you fall-down drunk,” he said. “It’s such a big problem in our community that no one talks about.”

Despite its serious nature, sobriety is something Mark Rosenberg laughs at, especially since he deals with it every day, and he wants you to laugh along with him.