- I am the husband of the facilitator/founder and I have started coming to the group since the death of my husband's mother. Before I was just coming to the wonderful annual events like the summer picnics and holiday parties. I have been going to the monthly meetings to provide support for my husband. This group provides a wonderful outlet to share and receive support. It's amazing to see that there are others going thru similar situations and that you are not the only one. What a great group of guys. (Tony M.)
- I started the group 8 years ago with the help of a friend. We began with the help of 12 members. I think the most meaningful experience I had with this group involved a former member who has since passed away. When he came to the group, he arrived from the west coast to have surgery at a local hospital in Connecticut. When things took a turn for the worst, this group was there to help him. I could not believe that the guys in the group were actucally rotating shifts to keep in company while he was in the hospital. Since he had no family here in Connecticut, the bonds of friendship he made in this group were among his primary means of support. They day before he passed away, he told me: "I do not know what I would have done over the past year without this group. I want to thank you for starting this group. I want to let you know that these are some of the best friends I have ever made". (Vinny B.)
- Finding Alex
When I first joined BHB it was because my life had been totally consumed by HIV. As a long term survivor, literally everything in my life revolved around AIDS: doctors appointments, HIV support groups, meetings, activism. I needed something that had nothing to do with HIV.
I'm somewhat shy and introverted and suffer from social anxiety and depression, which is very much related to isolation. Growing up gay in a homophobic culture and damning religion left me always feeling like a misfit, never fitting into any particular scene. Having experienced early childhood trauma and PTSD, letting people get to know me was, and still is, a challenge. But the biggest challenge, I think, was getting to know me again.
What I found at BHB were just a group of ordinary guys, that had overcome or were in the midst of some challenges I found myself being grateful not to have, with a deep admiration and respect for their courage and fortitude. I found genuine people who cared, who would even go out of their way to help me move a plant, and had a real appreciation and unconditional acceptance of my presence.
I didn't have to be a poster child, or anything at all. It is a chance to talk about the ordinary issues and curve balls life throws sometimes. Sometimes getting good advice and perspectives and sometimes offering my insights and things that worked for me.
Today I can still bitch about dealing with HIV but that's not all of me, and what I mostly do is get a chance to laugh at life's irony and be in a place where I can just be. (Alex G.)
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