MEMBER ARTICLE: RealClearFetish – Clear Head, Clear Fetish!
06 June 2018
By Recon member ButchersDog
Fetish has always had a place in my heart, but I've had to step away from, for some time now. Which has been a hard choice but a necessary one.
On 16 January, I started a group on Facebook called: RealClearFetish! - "Clear Head, Clear Fetish!" It's a group for gay fetish men who may be in recovery from or just choose not to drink or use anything mind altering and want a safe space to chat with other gay men without the risk of alcohol and party drugs. Whatever your reason may be, it's a non-judgmental space and the main focus is fetish in all its forms.
I want to share why someone like me would start a page like this.
My name is Ralf, also known as Roco to some. I have been on the fetish scene for over 10 years. I am 2-time title winner – Mr Leather Denmark 2008 and Mr Leather Europe 2008, which I did in my early 20s and I am still very proud of that.
I would go to events like Spike in Hamburg, BLF Easter Berlin and Folsom Berlin, before moving to London. Whilst partying in London I sometimes enjoyed a little extra fun in the form of drugs, but it was just that, a little bit of extra fun. Then came the cruising apps, and a whole world of sleazy "fun" opened up. After a few years, the drugs changed, and my weekends started to turn into more than just wild Saturdays in fetish clubs. It could easily turn into 2-3 days straight at private 'chill outs' with no sleep, sometimes even longer.
Slowly my fetish changed into mainly drugs with fetish, I started to hate what putting my fetish gear on would mean. I would go out with all the best intentions, just a few drinks. But it would always turn into a mess with black outs, with no idea how many guys I'd had or where I had been. Around 18 months ago, after a long time of trying to get it under control, I ended up in the emergency room – with such extreme paranoia, I couldn't tell reality from fiction. I had hit rock bottom and really needed to change things.
I would love to say that it all stopped there and then, but it took me over a year with relapses and 2 more visits to the emergency room, before I felt like I was getting it under control. With support from the amazing services at "Antidote" & "London Friend", my friends who stuck with me & my wonderful family, as well as a few other support networks.
I am proud to say I am now 8 months clean, and I've not had a drink since London Pride in July last year. It is still a work in progress, but I feel strong and ready for what life will bring next.
So why this group,
For me and lots of other gay men, fetish play can become problematic, with the number of drugs and alcohol that there is on the scene.
"Why can't you just stop?"
If only it was that easy. I share my story to show sometimes things do spin out of control, but you can find your feet again with the right help and understanding. I want to breakdown some of the stigma around it. Some may think we are bad people, but it can happen to anyone, and you may not see it coming.
I hope in the future, with enough support around my group, that I could organize parties with fetish in a safe environment, without drug taking, drinking, or for that matter poppers. Being able to socialize in a group of proud sober Fetish men at regular parties, which would work as a support network too, no matter if you are in recovery or not.
If you feel you need support and live in London, I would suggest checking out Dean Street & London Friend which all offer amazing help around problems with alcohol and drugs for LGBTQ+ Communities. That can be both if you just want some tools to manage your use better, or if you may think you have an addiction.
Check out my group and let start breaking down barriers around fetish, gay health and what's it means to be happy.
For me, I am still on my journey, starting to engage with my kink side again in a healthier way, and getting back to my fetish community – which I still care for, even if it has been from the sidelines.
If you have any questions about what I have written, please contact me confidentially on: RealClearFetish@gmail.com.
If you'd like to submit an article relating to your fetish life, email: firstname.lastname@example.org