LGBT Stories Podcast

LGBT Stories- Episode 17- Breaking the Ruhls

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LGBT Stories documents the struggles, hardships, questions, joys, eye-openers and more, that many in the LGBTQI community have faced as they've opened up with the public, their families and most importantly themselves about their true identity, the decision to come out and what life is like today for them.

In todays episode author Larry Ruhl shares an emotional roller coaster of the story with us. In his story he shares the back-and-forth relationship between his mother and father, the sexual abuse he sadly injured by his father, and horrible verbal abuse from his mother.

However, in the end, Larry comes out triumphant! He understands that telling our stories is the one thing that can bring hope an understanding to all.

Sober Gay Man Seeks....What, Exactly, He's No Longer Sure. My Essay in Longreads.


"A survivor of childhood sexual abuse now in recovery, Larry Ruhl finds himself adrift in the age of hookup apps."

My April essay in Longreads. You can read it here

Speaking out on Addictions

I had the privilege of being David Wagner’s guest on his Addictions Podcast.  Up until my decision to publish Breaking the Ruhls, I had kept my alcoholism and sobriety as a private matter. Writing the book helped me see the relationship between my childhood sexual abuse and subsequent dependence on alcohol.

David offered me the perfect opportunity to speak openly and honestly about my own struggles with alcohol and my path to sobriety.

Thanks Dave!

Seeking Solace with the Monks of New Skete


At first, writing my story did not feel cathartic. I struggled to feel safe enough and grounded enough to say all I needed to. Even in my own home. When I set time aside to dive in, I paced, ate, cleaned out a closet, and looked at my phone -- anything to avoid the inevitable daunting task of writing out what I knew I needed to say.

In January of 2015, I decided to go away for a few days, to a safe place where I could write without interruption. I grew frustrated as I searched for retreat spaces, not finding the right fit. I shifted my focus.

I had heard about the monks of New Skete, a small monastic community of Orthodox monks and nuns in New York’s Taconic Mountains. After brief correspondence with Brother Gregory, I decided it was worth the visit. While I myself do not subscribe to any one religion, I held onto fond memories of going to church as a kid: the serene experience drew me in. I felt pulled once again to the music and silent contemplation, and I was curious to learn a new daily structure from these men.

These monks are known for breeding and training German Shepherds as a way to support their community. In terms of their spiritual life, they follow the structure of matins, vespers, and Divine Liturgy. They did not require that I worship with them, but made it clear as an option.

With some trepidation, I made the two and a half hour drive north.

The brothers were warm and welcoming. Some were more gregarious than others, and seemed excited to have a fresh face at their dinner table. Even the more reserved and soft-spoken monks still made it clear that I was welcome.

Over dinner on my first night, they asked me questions. What was I doing there, was I religious, what did I hope to accomplish during my stay, and did I have a family.

I felt my face burn as I confided in them that I am gay and married to a man. I spoke of having been sexually abused by my father and that I was there to write, as I attempted to make some sense and find some peace with my past. I also told them that I am an alcoholic in recovery.

Not only did they show me a great deal of compassion and empathy, but they also shared enough about themselves to let me know I was safe, and understood.

Feeling safe has never come easily for me, but I took a risk and trusted them.

I had not anticipated I would fall so easily into their daily routine. I rose at dawn each day to attend Matins, and spent the time before lunch helping them with whatever tasks needed to be addressed. I could not hide my enthusiasm when I was asked to help feed the newest litter of puppies, and to play in the snow with their regal mother.

The afternoons, after lunch, were mine, and I spent those daily three hours writing ferociously. I was amazed at how much I wrote. The stories of my mother, my childhood, the history of perpetration, my sexuality, and my addiction poured out of me unapologetically. When the tears came, I let them happen without embarrassment. When my hands shook from fear or disgust or rage, I knew I was safe to really feel each emotion.

And after each day of writing, I attended evening Vespers to quiet my mind and release the remnants of what I’d told through my writing that day. By nightfall I was exhausted and slept soundly without interruption.

At the end of my four-day stay, I had written about thirty thousand words.

That this would become the foundation for Breaking The Ruhls seemed impossible, but I could not ignore the feeling of relief the writing had brought.

I knew then, I needed to continue.