I have done so much damage to my body and mind over time. A rock and roll lifestyle and devil may care attitude is cool when you’re young, but when you’re pushing middle age it’s not only not a good look, but it’s straight up self-harm and torture (especially if you add all the little eccentricities that make up my mental illness and trial & tribulation).
As someone who’s an alcoholic and has a history of experiencing trauma it’s taken a long time to come to a place where I feel I’m finally starting to make progress. In clarity I’ve come to so many amazing conclusions and have found passion towards myriad, varying subjects. In sobriety I found myself whole and lucid for the first time in a long time.
I always want to reach for the stars and get what I want right away. Maybe it’s the American in me. As a nation, as a culture, we’ve been conditioned to feel we should be able to push a button and get what we want all the time. Instant gratification.
After a lifetime of carnage, both self-inflicted and not, sobriety provides such enlightenment. You experience that level of understanding that you were physically incapable of as an active addict and it makes you feel very powerful. You feel like without that ball and chain of problematic behavior that you can do anything.
But there’s no cheating in life, not if you want what you do to be true and profound. I’ve started two businesses irresponsibly and even made a bit of money, but ultimately squandered what was a good idea and a dream of mine to build something beyond myself because I was ignorant and selfish.
Ego, that’s the thing that makes a person who has no experience running a business, and no clientele or well developed product to even boast the possibility that it could be properly done, make them think they can be successful in that endeavor. Unless you’re independently wealthy, there’s no real statistical chance of success anyway, but you’ll make yourself believe that you got magic sauce.
As a writer, I can articulate myself very well. I’m not naturally gifted on the level of Wallace or Joyce, but I’ve read the best that also aren’t on that level. They got to where they got to by working hard, not by just showing up and everything falling instantly in line.
Stephen King is no Faust, but his work ethic is legendary. King’s system of writing five pages a day doesn’t sound like a lot, or very impressive, but it’s his thing. He developed it over a lifetime of discipline, and that routine enabled him to be one of the best selling authors of all time.
There is no substitute for hard work or study. Once you’ve put in the time to understand a complex system of anything that’s not simplistic in nature, it becomes really obvious where others and yourself have previously gone wrong. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I made every mistake and did every bad thing I could, within reason. I was completely blind to my own mental health issues, the depth of my addiction, and how common and unimpressive it ultimately was to be such a thing. In one sense, we’re all magic snowflakes, individual and special, but like everyone else, I REALLY thought I was special because of… reasons????
I pushed my body and my mind to the limit and it wasn’t until both started to break that I was FORCED to accept that I was never going to whole. That is humiliating and humbling. Even after I got sober, it still wasn’t enough to convince me. I couldn’t accept my infirmities. I had another two relapses, both of which were absolute disasterpieces that ended really poorly, before I finally hit bottom.
The truth is I hated myself. I surrounded myself with people who didn’t have my best interests in mind. I hung around in bars (and much, much worse) with the lowest common denominators as far as people go. I made horrible selfish decisions that were short-sided. I operated on a day to day basis where I was looking to fill a void. Ripping and running. I tried everything I could in desperation to escape my reality and nothing worked.
I like working hard, and for the first time in life I know with confidence, as an author and musician, I have marketable skill and if I work hard I can have some type of career, made all the more stronger by the fact that I’ve come through such trial & tribulation.
I’m working on a lot of different projects. One is converting a shuttle bus to a tiny home, partially because I yearn for upward mobility, want to save money, and study, but also because I think the natural world is hurting because of climate change and I want to see it before it’s gone.
I’ve studied off-grid electrical systems and how to put them together. I’m constructing a basic solar set up. While I’m not an expert, I understand that the fundamentals of a solar system are Solar panels, charger, batteries, and inverter. The four legs to the table, and have over time expanded my knowledge enough to believe that I can build a solid 24 volt electrical system, which would enable me to basically turn my shuttle bus into a fully decked-out command center.
I’ve been repeatedly homeless before and made it look good too, so with that perspective vanlife is a dream. That might sound absurd, the idea of making homelessness look pimp. You have to get over the fact that you no longer live in a house.
You can still have all the amenities you’d have in a home. All is required is an adjustment of your perspective. You quickly come to realize that the mind can bend it’s subjective perception of reality, and change in ways that can make your life work no matter what.
I’ve seen the faces of the downtrodden, and the stress it causes them, how it rapidly ages them, and how it’s so easy to go from a seemingly normal person one day, to a devastated, homeless desperate man the other. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what that looks like, it’s burned in your brain forever.
Another goal is going out and making music again. I’ve been a musician for most of my life, and have a near tenor soprano range as a singer. I’ve been writing songs, lyrics, and poetry for as long as I’ve cared to pick up a pencil or pen and those skills haven’t gotten any worse over time.
My life experience certainly doesn’t hurt the angle at which I approach creative art either. I have chops now, confidence too, and something very real to say.
I also want to write books and build a series of articles & stories here, not just about sobriety, but about all these things I love. I’m talented at writing, but I also excel at research and immersing myself in complex subjects.
I was a salesman. I have two decades of experience and have seen that world change. I’ve learned to analyze and break down complex industries in order to professionally communicate with potential clientele and experts alike. If you couple that with my experience in research, there’s no subject, fiction or non, that I can’t pontificate upon until I have a few hundred pages.
I love economics. I love the local art and community. I love people. I can geek out for hours on social value investing, self-sustainability, veganism, and vegan cooking (as a professional cook),a s well science, adn philosophy.
Maybe I’m a romantic.
I’ve survived a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse, childhood and adult trauma, and have rebuilt my body and mind through veganism. I live a holistically ethical lifestyle now. I partake in varying forms of fitness & exercise in conjunction with a wholefoods, plant-based diet.
I went through repeated bouts of homelessness and both pulled myself up by my bootstraps, as they say. I was also charitably saved with a couch and sandwich in some cases. I can recognize my white privilege here, especially since every time I ended up homeless, or in a tough spot, I, not so coincidentally, noticed that there were always minorities and poor folks around.
I can understand how that type of thing is lost on some folks, but it’s not lost on me. I have used that white privilege, very specifically with knowledge that I could simply clean myself up and act straight. I always get a decent job. I’ve done it so many times that it’s impossible to ignore that for a black man it would be much more difficult. That’s a tough thing for people to understand if you haven’t been through it in a more practical sense.
A few months back, my partner and I separated. We decided that we wanted to be friends, my partner wanted to be closer to their family. It was very, very difficult. In the past I would’ve behaved straight up insane and probably have acted horribly over such stress.
I’m positive that without sobriety and the hard work I put in to better myself, to challenge my life for the better, that I would not have been able to reasonably handle the transition away from our life together. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done sober. This hurt me deeply to go through it, as it did my partner, but I did it the right way. Respectfully and honorably, for the most part, and I’m very proud.
I love that person so much and am so grateful to know them. Easily one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known.
I want what I am to be a reflection of hope and survival in a world that’s becoming very chaotic and scary. I have been through hell, and now in seeing the way the world has changed so rapidly, I realize that I might actually be able to do some real good here.
I feel in a way that the world has evolved to a place that I naturally existed in my whole life. That my experience might be able to inspire and intelligently inform people how to move forward and survive as good folk dealing with a hard world. That all the things I went through might enable me to have an individual perspective that could be valuable to people in their own struggle.