"During my deepest and darkest hours, I searched high and low for a book that I could relate to. Unfortunately, there are few resources out there. That is until now. David Christel’s guide is a must read, long overdue, and packed full of helpful tools that will guide you down this scary, yet exciting path in becoming whole again."
— Former Rep. Mike Fleck
Pennsylvania General Assembly
From the book's foreword —
On December 1, 2012, I came out publically. Within hours, my story went viral, bouncing from coast to coast and even abroad. The secret I thought I would carry to my grave was now front page news. By the end of the day, I had over 1,000 e-mails, most of which were from gay men who were formerly married like me, or in the process of accepting their sexuality and struggling with the next steps.
I had fretted over my decision for months, though I was already out to family, friends, and my staff. I didn’t think coming out would be as liberating as it was, but I was wrong.
Today, I can walk around a free man, no longer faced with the daily fear of not being true to myself. It is a journey, though — a very long, hard and often painful one, but it begins with that first step. The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve more than likely started down that same path. No two journeys are alike, but the similarities are uncanny. The one thing you will need now more than ever is support — a good friend, a safe environment and, hopefully, a good therapist. Our journey is not only about acceptance of ourselves, but one of forgiveness, so that we can move on to bigger, better, and fuller lives as the men we are meant to be.
Growing up on Fleck Road in rural Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, I never thought of myself as gay. Different than the other boys, yes. But gay, no. There were no openly gay people in my neck of the woods and the ones I saw on TV and the news were nothing I could relate to.
Coming to terms with one’s sexuality is truly a process that few can possibly understand. Having walked in your shoes, I get it. If you’re like me, it’s taken you a very long time to get to this point. I, too, got married for many reasons: she was my best friend, I was in love, I wanted a family, the white picket fence — and all I had to do was get married and that little gnat humming in my ear would simply go away for good. After all, that’s what everyone tells us, right? Just get married.
Now, after all these years, you’re coming to terms with who you truly are and it’s freaking scary. You feel alone, embarrassed, and full of regret. It’s way too easy to get bogged down by our past mistakes. First of all, knock it off. Forgive yourself, you’re only human. You will survive, but you have to focus on the future and not the past. Hopefully, you have a good therapist; if not, work with one. Find a support group: the sooner you realize you are not alone, the better. Even so, we are men and we think we can fix it. Therefore, many of you will try to go it alone. I know I did. Be aware that this only prolongs the process and could very well destroy you. It’s way too easy to numb the pain with alcohol (or insert the vice of your choice), but once you sober up, you realize nothing has changed. Thankfully, I survived and you will, too. Coming out is likely the most difficult decision you will ever face, but rest assured: It does in fact get better. Life is a journey and it’s way too short to not be living as your true self.
David does a great job at helping you face your fears, and above all, knowing that many others have walked in your steps and that you are truly not alone. We all make mistakes, and this book helped me realize how very unique we are, yet very similar. Time and again, I caught myself saying, “I did that, too!” Depending on your relationship with your (ex) wife, you may recommend she, too, read the book. It will help her to have a better understanding of your journey.
At forty years of age, I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I look forward to each and every day. I know you will benefit from David’s years of research and his own personal awareness of what we as gay men face in the world today.
— Mike Fleck
Representative Mike Fleck is serving his 4th term in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. In December 2012, he came out and at that time was the only sitting republican legislator in the United States. A former Boy Scout Executive, he was married for 10 years.
Kindle and soft cover versions now available on Amazon.
Also available for the Nook at Barnes&Noble.