I quit drinking today, in 1979. I started swimming every day, and then lifting. I accepted that I was gay, and I no longer hung out with anyone who wasn’t able to accept a sober, gay me. I divorced my wife and began the process of getting my relationships with my children on a closer, better footing. I moved from the small, rural town in Maine where I lived to Boston, one of the oldest cities in America, with a large research library, called by many one of the four or five great research libraries in the United States, and with one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the country. I changed my profession and went back to the thing I had always meant to do, which was writing, and the first thing I wrote about was other guys in the gym.  I wrote three big novels. I gradually severed my relations with my birth family. I met C, a man who taught me what love is—accepting, helping, supporting, giving, freeing—and we’ve been together twenty-five years, deeply in love. Everything today in my life follows from my going sober March 23, 1979.

Many people who’ve stopped drinking speak of how grateful they are. I am grateful that I have been given my life back—and it is entirely the life I share with C and my children and my grandchildren and some friends, one we’ve made together.