Indigo Girls’ Emily Sulliers on her journey to sobriety: ‘I was destined to be an alcoholic’

Amy Ray (left) and Indigo Girls’ Emily Sulliers are brutally honest about addiction, internalized homophobia, and how their music still resonates with the queer community. (Photo: Leah Putkammer/Getty Images)

A lesbian folk-rock duo formed by Amy Ray and Emily Sailors. indigo girlsopen about addiction, recovery, and how their music continues to be a beacon for the LGBTQ community.

The musician recently sat down with Glennon Doyle for her podcast. we can do hard thingsmeanwhile, Saliers, 59, opened up about her longtime alcoholism and how her drunken antics made Ray, 58, quit the band.

“I was destined to be an alcoholic,” Sulliers said, admitting that alcoholism has been passed down in her family. When we played and took shots from the stage, this is when we were babies, drinking was a very social part of what we did for work, and then I was very I thought I was an extrovert, but I was really just an alcoholic.”

Saliers goes on to explain that her behavior eventually got out of hand due to her alcohol overdose. Soon, it started to become the band’s responsibility.

“Amy can attest to how bad it was when I was drinking,” she shared. [to work]But I was terrified. I think all alcoholics are afraid to admit that they are alcoholics. ”

Saliers added: “

After several attempts by Ray to intervene, Sulliers’ family and friends finally did, and she spent three months in rehab. Looking back, she says the experience saved her life.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says of staying sober. Another thing I’m learning is that I lost a part of my body.Development — intellectual development, my evolution as a human being. I was drinking, so I took it away from myself.

“So now I feel a lot of catching up and a lot of feeling worthless because I’m behind,” she explained. Knowing that I am not, knowing that I can, I am now responsible to Amy and responsible for my actions. weTo everyone and to my family.i wouldn’t have had a wife [Tristin Chipman]she would have left me, she intended to. Or my child. All the most beautiful things in life came out of abstinence. ”

The latest Ray and Saliers albums long look It was released in April and we couldn’t help but acknowledge the contribution it has made to raising awareness of LGBTQ rights and music.

Despite their iconic status in the community, both admit they are still coping internalized homophobia.

DECATUR, GA - FEBRUARY 15: (Image has been digitally enhanced) Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Sulliers at a very intimate performance at Eddie's Attic on February 15, 2018 in Decatur, GA to where you started.  (Photo by R. Diamond/Getty Images)

Ray and Sulliers perform intimately at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia, in 2018. (Photo: R. Diamond/Getty Images)

“At some point, I felt like the bubble had burst. I felt self-loathing for being so masculine,” Ray said of coming to terms with his sexuality at a young age. explained.

“It’s internalized homophobia,” she added. “It means you’re afraid of who you really are, and sometimes you don’t want to face it. I don’t really know what you mean.”

Lesbians of her generation feel pressured to remain closed off by societal norms, she says. Today’s queer generation often celebrates identity rather than suppressing them.

“For us it’s like we couldn’t celebrate [being queer] “We were taught that you don’t celebrate it.”

“When we were kids, we didn’t really know what the word gay meant,” she continued. It’s different… The thing that helped me the most when I got older was suddenly having all the languages ​​to talk about where I was… ate.”

Saliers added that the queer community is key not only to her sobriety but also to her coming out journey.

“People who come out [today] “I don’t have to deal with so much self-loathing and narcissism that I’m still dealing with,” Sulliers said.No need to fight this civil war. ”

“The influence, the power of these systemic structures that affect us: churches, social norms, binary thinking, fear of fluidity in so many ways. We need community,” she says. “Together we can navigate it, work on it and affirm our human legitimacy, our dignity. That is why we need a community.”

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