National Recovery Month September 2014

Originally posted on The Adventures of a Sober Señorita:

National Recovery Month 2014

I happily stumbled upon a Facebook post last week that told me September is National Recovery Month. I clicked on the website and read about this wonderful month of awareness and immediately started promoting it. What’s not to love? A whole month dedicated to raising awareness about recovery from drug and alcohol addictions and another platform to be vocal about being sober. To continue this awareness I’m going to outline what recovery month is and what it means to me.

What is Recovery Month?

2014 marks the 25th year of observing and celebrating National Recovery Month. This is the first year I’ve known about and I am happy to be able to participate and celebrate it. Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and started in 1992 by government mandate. Recovery Month provides national leadership to support the federal government’s goal to…

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Grateful Sunday (Tuesday) #45: Pushing On


Life has a crazy shape to it; a shape that defies any kind of geometrical or mathematical logic.
Attempting to fit the sum total of your puzzle pieces neatly inside the lines is an exercise in futility.
There will be spillage; it will get messy.  It will be hot and cold and sticky and gritty — somehow all at once, simultaneously.
This might feel uncomfortable.  It will get weird.  Very weird, probably.

Let it.

Go with the flow.  Your headspace & your reality are often constructs of context.  Comparing yourself or your life to that of those around you is a good way to develop feelings of inadequacy or superiority — neither of which is a strong look.  No one person or even group of people is ever examining your life as closely as you might feel like they are — no such person exists who is without defect or doubt.  Most people are just trying to make sure that you can’t see theirs.
Focus instead your mental energy on becoming the best version of yourself you possibly can be.  Work hard, work daily, to best yourself.  Proactively pursuing peak form is a good way to inspire those around you to do the same — lead by example.

“‘Til the rivers run dry / I got to try, try, try” …summer 2014 DO WORK anthem right here.

Here I stand, in dogged pursuit of…what, precisely?  I know not yet.  Nonetheless I find myself ever in pursuit of some higher plane of existence.  Not because I sat in the dirt and the dust on the floor and felt sorry for myself, but because I stood up & hustled while I waited for my moment to emerge from the shadows and step out onto the next level of the platform.  However, I must say that I cannot in good faith take credit for the entirety of my current successes.  Some successes are born of luck while others were attained through certain innate privileges bestowed upon me in this life.  On both counts I consider myself blessed and do my best to acknowledge & not take for granted what is not really mine to claim as “earned.”  It’s a work in progress.



Some quick updates from the past five weeks:

- almost acquired a personal-use 12′ sailboat via the CraigsList “FREE” ads;
– when that fell through, almost adopted two baby red-eared slider turtles as a consolation for myself, through similar methods;
– but after doing preliminary research decided against it — my apartment is sadly just not suitable for the long and majestic life of an adult turtle;
– clipped two+ minutes off my previous top 5k run time;
– celebrated 21 months dry;
– hopped in Emily’s car & roadtripped for a day (Labor Day, in fact) to comb the wares in the quaint shops / stroll the beachfronts of Newport, RI, further instigating a desire to own & operate a personal sail;
– checked in from a few cities over while my brother went to set up his dorm room & start his freshman year at Fordham University, making me seven years removed from my own;
– booked a plane ticket for a weekend in Denver to catch up with a few different peer groups but primarily to attend a concert at the historic Red Rocks performance venue (bucket list item: CHECK.);
– hit my annual music festival gathering of the collegiate collective, where the music was good but the reminiscing was great and the laughter infectious (among which I got SEVERAL comments on my healthy physique & beaming pride at my continued sobriety);
– spent an absolutely prime evening in Brooklyn consisting of high-rise rooftop disco lounge DJs, blistering N’Awlins funk played loud & live in the back half of a bowling alley, and a thumping after-hours underground house club — all in the company of some of my oldest and closest friends;
– generally kicked back to relax & soak up as much of the summer sun as possible, anticipating the brisk autumn & harsh winter up ahead.

Peach Festival Crew, 2k14. Camaraderie & kinship to the core.

Peach Festival Crew, 2k14. Camaraderie & kinship to the core.

I’ve never felt sharper, never more in the moment.  Years ago, despite the philosophical resonance frequencies from my appreciation for the Eastern way of life, I never really had “moments.”  It was a lot of merely maintaining with a drink in my hand, peppered with stretches of time where I couldn’t or didn’t drink, most all of which was spent mentally projecting to the place where I would have my next drink, and next drink, and the one after that, too.  Most people can control those thoughts, and/or are not entirely consumed by them.

An allergy + an obsession.  I can’t, so I don’t.  Not any more.  And for that, today, I am grateful.


Grateful Sunday (Monday) #44: Stable, Sound, Safe

Thirteen months ago to the day I started what I thought might be a few weeks, certainly no more than one or two months, of a part-time wage-labor job which required commuting from home to various retail chains around New York state.  It was about as far removed from any career-type aspirations as it could be, and for that reason I hoped it would be much more temporary than it was.  I look back on that time with no regrets, however,  because 1) C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill y’all [Cash Rules Everything Around Me] and 2) that was where I needed to be at that time in my life — with a relative amount of autonomy and independence, but still with a home base that offered only comfort and was devoid of any temptation whatsoever.


Caught this ‘bow on my way out of the office this evening. Cheers to light beams, you guys.

While I don’t harbor any resentments or regrets, what I do feel right now is gratitude.  Gratitude that for as much as I know that was the right move for me then, I no longer have to endure such a menial professional output.  I have now been living on my own for five months, working full-time for three, and could not be in a better place in my life.  This is BECAUSE I put in the due diligence at home and at a shit job, earning my keep and proving to myself and others that I was indeed ready to progress as one does in adulthood.  Plus, despite any social atrophy, I got to spend a good year reconnecting with my family.  Doing so has made me comfortable in being able away from them again.  I of course miss them, but I also know that right now, I am doing what I need to do to rebuild and restructure.

And that I am.  Right now I am so very content in hustling the 9-5, catching up with friends new and old, hitting the pavement running to stay fit, and being comfortable both venturing far and staying put on the weekends.  I feel I have in some senses a very radically different perspective on what I need/what I think I need/what makes me happy than some of my peers.  I see others in their mid-to-late 20’s with twice the income, job security, romantic interests that I do…but yet who are restless, discomforted, wayward.  Coming off a few of the most tumultuous years of my life, I could not be happier to simply be stable.  And I’m grateful for that.  With a bit more disposable income I have found myself making purchases here and there that are decidedly non-essential…and though nice and in some cases luxuriant, I do not find myself dependent upon them for joy, or entertainment, or stimulation.  I have good days and I have bad, but I am without question getting sharper and more practiced at finding self-definition from within, rather than looking to external sources to tell me who I am.

“Who I am”…”who am I?”  Is this not the very question that addicts and alcoholics are either trying to escape or trying to answer, through use and abuse?  In 2014, for what purpose are teenagers saturating their bodies with hard drugs?  It’s a damn far cry from what was happening a la the rebellious love and experimentation of, say, fifty years ago in 1964.  Why?  Why are we such sad misfits who possess no moral constitution, personal conviction, or ability to do anything but feel sorry for ourselves?  I happened upon an article recently that detailed one young woman’s lifelong self-medication (ending tragically with her demise) of what was probably depression, through the abuse of ketamine (a chemical clinically used as horse tranquilizer).  The publication I was reading is known for sometimes “being edgy, for the sake of being edgy,” and editorializing as such, so I did what I always do when searching for brutally honest opinion on the internet: I turned to the comments section.

“The problem isn’t the chemical; the problem is our post-industrial, information-drenched civilization that offers zero guidance for its youth on how to live a happy life, how to be a fulfilled human being, and how not to be a douchey twat. This girl is another casualty of our empty, exploitative society.”

While I can’t agree with the sentiment that the recreational use of horse tranquilizer is not a problem, the rest of the above seems like a pretty spot-on diagnosis of what’s wrong.  As in, this is the plight affecting a whole fuckload of people out there.  Young people especially.  And as those young people become older people, they continue the cycle of suck that is raising new generations amidst a globalized economy increasingly fraught with bullshit and corruption, because, as always and inevitably, C.R.E.A.M.  Which basically sums up the truth I was becoming more and more aware of, starting about five or so years ago, that lead me to feel hopelessly lost and sent me crawling back to the bottle, knees dragging, to find solace if even in the simple fact of forgetting for a few hours that this the big picture that paints my reality.


Instead of doing that, though, I have figured out a way to combat it: through sobriety.  Yes!  Now that I have freed myself from those boozy crutches, I am at liberty to actually go out and make a difference.  Big victories are hopefully on the horizon; this life has a crazy shape to it, and I’m ready to get geometrical on its ass.  For now, the day-to-day, the small victories.  And each day that I wake up and don’t take a drink, well that’s one right there.  One day at a time.  One tally mark at a time.  Because those tallies, while first and foremost for my survival, have the power to inspire much more.  And for that I’m grateful.



Grateful Sunday #43: Twenty-Five Rotations Around the Sun, Under My Belt

My poor, neglected blog…I have been trying (wherein “trying” = “staring at the words on a ‘To-Do’ list”) to write at least a short update for several weeks now, but as you may have been able to discern from my silence…


There is an alternative meaning to a ‘prolonged silence’ here, and I hope I didn’t give any of you pause for worry that my well-being had taken a turn for the worse.

One of the local temp agencies I signed up with came through with a fairly basic contract right before Easter, so I started that week after.  It almost didn’t matter what the position was; if the company was willing to bring me on, I would take it.  I went in for the interview and it was pretty immediately apparent that I was well-qualified and probably even over-, but the hiring manager said if I was willing to jump in and take on the grunt work, the gig was mine.

It is a long-term temp position, extending at least until “the fall.”  At which time the company will have its annual budgetary meeting, and the decision whether or not they ought to carve out a more permanent niche for the work I am doing will be made.  This could go either way, but the more I dig in, the more I believe the odds to be in my favor.

When I accepted the job, it was billed at (20) hours per week.  They needed a manual labor-temp hire to come in and help sort, organize, coordinate sales/marketing materials — in simplest terms, making sure proper files were printed & shipped accordingly as per the sales team’s meeting calendar.  Not exactly thrilling, but also not exactly difficult.  Regardless of task I was eager to work hard and take pride in having any job, so I hit the ground running.  My manager was thoroughly impressed with my ethic and attention to detail, and within two weeks had requisitioned another (20) hours a week for me so I could work for him full-time, basically taking the spot of what would have been another temp hire.

Furthermore those extra hours are reserved for doing more “specialized” production-type work, so I’m even earning at a bit higher of a rate.  Which is awesome.  Even more awesome is how near-perfectly this position has lined up for my needs, both financially and personally in a workspace.  My manager (the man who hired me) see eye-to-eye across the board.  I’ve always been pretty adept at recognizing the best ways to connect with my superiors on the job, but I honestly can’t think of a single disagreement I’ve had with my current manager in the almost two months I’ve been there now.  He has a degree in graphic design where I have a degree in communication, so our similar educational backgrounds certainly account for some of that connection.  Beyond that we share many of the same tastes musically — and oh yeah did I mention headphone use is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged, depending on the particular task I’m assigned to?


Basically, this is a perfect “foot-in-the-door” position; really, exactly what I needed for where I’m at right now.  I would have loved to work for the city planning and coordinating its major entertainment events, but I have an outstanding relationship with the members of my department here, and regardless of whether I am extended a salary offer in a few months, I will learn many, many valuable tech and software skills I previously did not possess.  And it feels so. damn. good. to FINALLY be putting my specialized skillsets to good use again.


That’s not to say it has been a cakewalk, jumping into a full-time job.  A large part of what is inherent to successfully completing the work I need to is “reading between the lines” and clarifying communication content, correctly interpreting varying forms of shorthand, or straight-up extracting crucial pieces of missing data.  Which can be like pulling teeth, because more often than not people who are very good at one particular “thing” are not the best at communicating to others details regarding that “thing” in complete yet concise terms.  So to mentally juggle an officeworth of that is nothing short of exhausting.  By the time my day ends I can do little but come home and lounge, despite needing to attend to any number of life’s other requirements for health & happiness.

Meetings have unfortunately been one of those parts of my life that have taken a back seat, for the time being.  However, as I am settling into a real, true, busy, independent routine, I am beginning to understand that, of my own accord and no one else’s because it is what’s right for me, I may simply not be an individual working an active recovery program who needs meetings to be a very-regular part of his sobriety.  This is not to say I believe I am “over” going to meetings, and do not plan to include them in the future of my program.  I still very much want A.A. gatherings to play a part for me.  Lessons learned even in this early period of recovery are invaluable and life-lasting, and I find I am constantly spreading the message, in small ways or in big.

Just not at this particular moment in time.  I am working hard at work, and focusing hard on my ‘self.’  Regular exercise, better diet, more sleep.  A reading list for the summer.  Soon to be going in on graphic design and music production to whet my creative brain.  I have great expectations for the upcoming Connecticut season prime sailboats & sundresses, beaches & bikinis.  I actually have (somewhat of) a real income now, with which to do real-person fun, responsible activities!  Minus of course my back financial obligations such as healthcare and student loans.  I think the contemporary American Dream might be to simply just get personal debt down to 0%, forgoing any kind of career or family aspirations (until the former is managed).


Aside from the new job there was also a move into a new apartment in there.  Had the pleasure of renting/driving a U-Haul to move beds/desks — throwback to my days as a minimum-wage box truck driver for Bouncey Castle parties!  That was another pretty hectic/anxiety-inducing process, trying to sort living arrangements.  As it came down to it, unfortunately the best option was for Emily and I to split from our partnership in cohabitation, and find domiciles closer to our respective places of work.  I am forever grateful for her open arms hosting me as a housemate for my first major move in my recovery, and for the ensuing safe passage it allowed me into a new city.  I am even closer downtown now that I’ve moved, and settling in quite nicely.  Despite the tax rate and obscene amount of Wall $treet dirty dollar dollar bills flooding these downstate economies, I am really enjoying myself.  It’s nice here.  I like it.

Well, as I have been saying all along: now that I have a full-time job, I will probably have less time/energy for long-form posts (obviously).  So I will do my best to make habit of more-regular, less-wordy entries.  Giving myself the caveat of shortened written content will encourage me to actually write on a more consistent basis.  So keep an eye out, and expect more zen-based faith (or faith-based zen? hmm) to be arriving accidentally on time.

I leave you tonight with a paraphrased bit from an interview with the head coordinator of a music/art/avant-garde festival performance piece, that beautifully captures the essence of music as art and especially sharing it with others in a live setting:

“…we’re ready to go deeper; we’re ready to open up and become more truthful with each other. [We’re ready to] free ourselves from all the rules and regulations we’ve inherited from those who came before us that don’t serve us. I think we as society are so thirsty for that type of freedom and connection.

The original inspiration was to create a safe space for people to come and play and explore themselves, [in order to] find their true essence…to inspire people to be more free, to dance, and to connect deeply with one another. To give people a reason to speak to their neighbor, even if just to lean over and say, “Wow, that was cool.” I have always felt that we as humans spend a good lot of our lives feeling starved for deep intimate connection…you can have that with a total stranger in the middle of a dance floor: a moment of understanding, sharing a feeling without expectation, or attachment or judgment. You might never see each other again, but the energy exchange and the feeling of acceptance and closeness with a total stranger leaves us rejuvenated and charged. That’s how humans are supposed to respond to each other, with unconditional love and understanding.



⇒ PS – 18 months dry as of June 3rd, 2014. ⇐

A Year Without Alcohol


Even when as unique individuals we could not be more different from one another, when it comes down to it we alcoholics all really share the same story.
Thanks Emily for bringing this piece/blog to my attention!

Originally posted on The Adventures of a Sober Señorita:

Wow I can’t even believe I’m typing this! If you’re reading this it’s because I made it.  I made it to one full year without alcohol.  On May 6, 2013 I took my last drink.  I will never forget how it felt.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I was tired of being the party girl, I was tired of feeling like shit, I was tired of disappointing and embarrassing my friends and loved ones.  I decided I needed a big change. Trying to drink in moderation hadn’t proved to be the best option for me.  It never worked.  Enough was enough.  I tried something that I never did before – stopped drinking alcohol completely.

When I started this sober journey I wasn’t sure how long it would last and now I can’t imagine going back to how my life was before.  The positives have been…

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Successful Alcoholics [Video]

Pretty sure I posted this very early on in the blog because it was so relevant, and it had stuck with me since my first viewing…which is why I’m posting it again if I did, because it has continued to do just that.  It pops into my head from time to time not only because of how scarily relatable the content is, but also because it’s really truly great writing/directing/acting.

T.J. Miller is a comic writer (as well as producer/featured actor here) and does his own stand-up, so that’s where the “funny” comes in…except when it doesn’t.  Lizzy Caplan, who looked vaguely familiar when I first saw this, also totally nails her role (prior known as one of the “outcasts” in ‘Mean Girls’ as well as a few other minor roles; now a commanding female lead in HBO’s ‘Masters of Sex’).

Premiered at Sundance 2010 and several film festivals following that, ‘Successful Alcoholics’ is a heartfelt, raw short about a boozy, bingey couple who manage to avoid consequences for their indecencies almost entirely, all the way up to the top of the professional, working world.  Now, I remember very vividly where I was when I first watched this: it was early May of 2011, and myself and my roommates had just finished the final bit of moving out of our senior year college housing.  That alone put me in a weird enough mood, which was only compounded by the fact that I would be returning the following autumn to make up a couple of classes I had missed for my major.  A bittersweet symphony welled inside of me; my peers, classmates, brothers were “done” with their four years and so too was I with that particular chapter…next semester just would not be the same.  “College” had pretty much ended for me at that point.  All I had left was to stick around to flesh out the credit hours my diploma necessitated.

Even more twisted was the feeling in my gut because after packing and moving all day we had nowhere to sleep but on a friend’s apartment floor down the road.  It was late into the night at this point, and most of the “graduation partying” was done, most of the seniors having left campus or posting up their parents.  This was a point when alcohol was certainly a dependency, but also as much a sedative if I intended to get any sleep.  With our house cleaned out and with no sane person looking to tie one on before last call, I had little to do but lay in a sleeping bag on the floor of a warm, cramped apartment, fretting about what in the hell I was to do with my life.

I turned to my laptop to browse the Internet aimlessly, sober and in need of distraction from my thoughts.  I wish I could remember the exact sequence that lead me to this video, but I guess the point is that I found it.  I wasn’t really prepared for the feels trip it took me on, but I liked it.  Probably in no small part because I connected so deeply with it.  Back in those days, it was a lot of “me battling myself.”  I had known for some time, at least in some small way, that my behaviors around and feelings toward alcohol were not “normal.”  But I was deathly afraid of what it would mean to tackle those monsters — because that would mean I would have to stop.  Completely.  And I was neither mentally prepared for nor physically capable of taking that step, at that time.

In any case, ‘Successful Alcoholics’ really stuck with me.  If you didn’t catch this the first time I posted it (which would have been over a year ago at this point so even if you did, it certainly merits a re-watch), I urge you to find 25 minutes somewhere in your day and give it a shot (pun intended).

I will say that despite the comedic timing and witty banter, this is a very powerful and raw piece.  And it features some sequences of aggressive, excessive drinking, so if you’re an individual who might find such scenes to be triggers I would not recommend you view this one.

Otherwise, observe & reflect.  Bonus for watching is a small role here for Tony Hale, aka “Buster Bluth.”

<p><a href=”″>Successful Alcoholics</a> from <a href=””>Jordan Vogt-Roberts</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Why I Love Women


I don’t want the world…just your half of it.

Originally posted on Gladius Poeticus:


Women to me

Are a great source

Of inspiration

No, I’m not a player

Or a womanizer

Just a poet

With a craving

A feel for words

Women are lovely

Understanding and yes

Downright crazy

Out of control sometimes

What else than to love?

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Grateful Sunday #42: I’m Not a “Businessman”; I’m a Business, Man

“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”

- A popular definition of “success” that is often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, despite never having turned up in any record of his works.

Somehow, the Internet is even worse at properly attributing quotes to the correct individual than oral or hand-written history…but that doesn’t make it any less a great piece.  I forget what I was reading several weeks ago that featured this poem, but I jotted down a note to reference it for a future entry.  By this definition, would you consider yourself successful?  Would I?

Personally I’m not sure that I can say I have reached the height of success as per these parameters, but I for certain believe I am operating within them (for the most part); using them as a sort of moral compass to guide me toward what I hope is a happy, healthy adult life.  Looking back the other direction, I see now that I used to become unnecessarily salty when confronted with other members of society who in my eyes were seeking “success” through all the wrong channels — money, popularity, fame, vanity, material possessions, etc etc.  Their views were so at odds with the direction of my own…and I let them further intrude by clouding my thoughts and choices.  “Brooding” is a good word to describe one of my favorite mental states of that heyday.

Now that I’m a few years beyond that misguided homogeneity (re: a college campus) I so detested, I can look more objectively upon, and in turn disregard where appropriate, how others’ aspirations make me feel.   I just wanted the people surrounding me to know a better quality of life; to actually LIVE for something!  And of course they all were, in their own ways.  I was just intolerant of what to me felt like willful ignorance.  Who am I to say everyone everywhere must open themselves up at all times?  The world would be that much more brutal for it — which we need about as much as we need the censorship of the female nipple, but not the male nipple, on cable television.  I seriously do not understand how we are not past that double-standard yet.


Where does this land me, just over a month on the other side of my move to Connecticut?  Well, and perhaps I’m burying the lead here but…I do not yet have a job.  I think it was Einstein who said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results” (or something like that, right Internet?).  Well alright Einstein, if you’re so smart then that would make looking for a job in this market economy STRAIGHT-UP BACK-ASSWARDS FUCKIN’ BONKERS.  I have seriously never worked so hard to produce so little.

BUT, I have been hustling out in these streets 25/8.  Coffee is my ally; a comfortable bed is my foe.  [<---- I am still not sure how to feel about caffeine consumption relative to 'sobriety'...hypocritical? Depends on your program and extenuating circumstances, I suppose. Same for nicotine. And I happen to love coffee & cigars, while having zero dependency on them. Carry on then.]  I’m not going to recount the entire past month because 1) it’s late [of course it is] and 2) that’s not really the point of my writing.  Suffice it to say I was one of (3) final applicants in a bid to coordinate events for the city’s most prestigious community-relations company, and subsequently studied and became licensed to produce health & accident insurance policies in the state of Connecticut.

There was also St. Pa(rty)rick’s in the middle of the month, which is of course worth mentioning for its infamy as the annual “aggressive drinking is my excuse for anything and everything” day.  I celebrated in Brooklyn, where my flatmate and I arrived by rail to visit a close friend from the high school era (who also happened to have a birthday the following week, so festivities served a dual purpose).  We spent most of the day on the roof of her high-rise apartment, looking out over the city underneath the bright sun and chilling wind.  Beers, wine, etc etc, yadda yadda.  It was there; everyone was drinking it; I was expected and prepared for it; hardly even noticed.  It was all minimal and no one made it (alcohol) the focus; part of why I love going out with those particular friends so much.  Also why I was able to stay out til nearly 4 a.m. with them.

Which, as I grow older and no longer have a desire to ‘keep the party going all night long’, is becoming less and less appealing.  I can dig on 4 a.m. if I’m purveying music, writing, reading, watching films — activities that are at least personally productive.  I really do love darts and billiards, but especially on weekend nights/holidays when even the dives I am fond of are packed out…those run their course purrdy quick.

Furthermore, it minimizes the chances of tragedies like this occurring:

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 3.22.44 AM

As an aside: why do so many websites fail so hard at proper in-house promotion placement? “Tragic news as a young woman freezes to death while attempting a hike under the influence of alcohol…but hey speaking of hiking, why don’t you click on this link to find out more about some irrelevant, bullshit national park, since we baited you to find out about ‘Utah’s Best-Kept Secret!'” Idiots. This is from, by the way.

While western New York is considerably more protected from the elements than is central Utah, Geneseo was not exactly known for its mild winters.  Thankfully I never once had even a brush with hypothermia, but the risk was undeniably out there.  #BulletsDodged.

Another very nice feature of cutting out to CT is that I get to shorten the amount of “winter” I have left to deal with by a considerable amount.  I have even completed two outdoor jogs thus far!  Going to have to hold off on any more of that til the nice weather truly breaks, though; my acute asthma seems to be growing acuter.  In the meantime, it’s about time I get back to recovery-related doin’s right proper.  I have yet to connect to any A.A. meetings in this area, and it is only to my benefit to do so.  Discussing with friends and family, not only to reaffirm my sobriety in new territory but to also reinvigorate my spirit following 5+ weeks of straight job-hunting…and then even to that end, possibly making valuable connections that could yield solutions to that very problem.

So tomorrow (i.e. today, Sunday) I will begin vetting meetings, both local and in surrounding townships.  I’m very curious to see what the demographics and socio-economic makeup of recovery programs in this region are like.  Today, I am grateful to be able to begin a new chapter of my story, where the road rises to meet me, with the wind at my back and the sun shining warm upon my face.


[Edit: almost to a 'T,' I consider my father to fit that exact Emersonian conceptualization of "success," right down to the garden patch. My greatest sadness is not that I lost him, but that others will never get the chance to meet him, nor have the opportunity to have their lives enriched by his blessings.]


Grateful Sunday #41: A Return to Form

With consumerism at an all-time high in Great American culture, I knew the retail inventory schedule following the holiday season would be pretty jammed up…but I was not prepared for just how nonstop January was.  Apologies for my lengthy absence, but I can say with a great deal of certainty that the previous two months have indeed been my busiest two months since I began writing this blog.  Much has happened in that time, and much has changed in my personal life.

Firstly, a clarification: there was a post that appeared on EZ between this and my last writing, that I did not author.  I’ve mentioned how this works briefly in a previous entry, but the concept of ‘reblogging’ may still not be entirely clear to those unfamiliar.  What happens is I will come across another thought piece/article/what have you on the Internet, that I believe to be relevant to my own project here.  I then “re-post” it on to the dash of this blog; it is the work of another person or group entirely, but I am sharing it via the web on my own site.  Unfortunately, WordPress formatting leaves a bit of comprehension to be desired in that department, and even more unfortunately, there is no way to edit a reblog.  Thus there appear to be entries made by me, that were in fact not at all, but simply shared pieces from external sources.

I believe this caused some confusion with the last post I reblogged, as it was written by a female and thus contained some perplexing language, using such phrases as “my boyfriend” – no, not literally MY boyfriend.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course; just, not mine.

Anyway, right around the time of my last posting, I made a choice to proactively pursue a course of learning I had been vaguely considering for some time: an online offering of web graphic design instruction.  Studying communication and advertising in college I had always had design in my peripheral knowledge base, but had avoided any kind of true educational pursuit based on an ill-informed belief that the practice was largely rooted in computer programming and mathematics.  Over time, as I’ve been more exposed to various sectors of the professional communication industry, I’ve come to observe that even the most basic of producers or coordinators have at least some experience with design or design editing.


Furthermore, as I spend a probable majority of my free time Interwebs-browsing, I’ve come to really appreciate good design and typesetting.  Amongst so much amateur content and creation, quality programming really *pops* and is much more enjoyable to consume (indeed, I’ve previously included on this blog some of the more relevant pieces I’ve encountered).  Equal parts intrigued, inspired, and informed, I decided investing in a little self-education in this field would go a long way, and gradually pay for itself many times over.  So I did a bit of research, selected an online institution that offered what I knew I needed, and completed the enrollment process.


I decided to pick up two courses, “a la carte” (not of a majors or minors program): a basic introduction to web graphic design, and then an advanced media creation section.  Each session runs eight weeks; the first I completed just last week.  The course provided us with lectures, readings, and access to production software.  The instruction was reasonably paced, thorough, and all-inclusive.  I have a fairly good command of Adobe Illustrator now, as demonstrated by this image of my final project (a poster advert for a performance run of “Don Giovanni” at the Metro Opera Company):

ImageThe left half of the poster features a sketch of Mozart, which was initially outlined in a freehand composition based loosely on a portrait, and scanned into Illustrator to be converted to a digital file.  The right half includes the required descriptive text, provided by the opera company.  If I were truly submitting this to be considered for print and not just for a course project, I would probably have used this as a “final draft,” and cleaned and sharpened both the sketch and the text up by a considerable degree.  Nonetheless, pretty proud of going from never having opened Illustrator to producing an original design piece.  Oh, and to top it all off? 96.9%, overall final grade for the course.  Not bad.

My second session will actually resume in May, due to my being tied up with the other major life decision I recently made: to vacate home in central New York and move in with a friend who has available housing downstate, to spend a month searching for stable, salaried, full-time employment.  Thus, this past Wednesday I landed in Stamford, Connecticut, to spend a few days getting unpacked and settled in before I spend March aggressively on the job hunt.

In my three-and-a-half days here so far, I’ve: had one interview that turned out to be a pyramid-scheme type scam; set up my surprisingly spacious room; eaten at a local burger joint; organized the month’s groceries; and made contact with several employment agencies.  Stamford is not New York, though it is largely populated by young professionals (primarily in finance) who wish it were.  Still, the cityscape hustle & bustle is at once invigorating, exciting, and encouraging.  Moves made; hands shook; babies kissed; offshore accounts fattened; scensters seen; life glamorized.  As a man in his mid-20’s with an entirely new lease/perspective on life, I am ready to dive in head-first.


And that’s exactly it – it’s change, it’s adjusting, it’s a lifestyle.  It goes for not only “relocating,” but recovery, as well.  Admittedly, my sobriety has not been first and foremost in my mind the past several weeks.  I have attended maybe two meetings in two months.  But I’m not on edge; I’m not white-knuckling my days.  I’m not in danger.  I’m at ease, yet still aware.  A hectic schedule may have kept me from devoting my full attention to my program recently…but I no longer feel that I’m just trying to occupy time, to keep my mind and body safe.  There have certainly been times over the past year that I have needed something, anything, to hold my attention and keep my thoughts from themselves.  But these past couple of months have not been mere preoccupation.

No, it is more than that.  It is mindful living.  It is a complete and total lifestyle change, and furthermore, embrace of that lifestyle.  I don’t have to wake up and think “sobriety,” because I wake up and live sobriety.  Between rehab, therapy, counseling, meditation, practice, and routine, it has become ingrained in the very fiber of my being.  It’s a good feeling.  Uninhibited; secure, even.


It does not, however, mean that alcohol is no longer an influential factor in my life.  To let your guard down is to get comfortable; to get comfortable is to forget; to forget is to get vulnerable; to get vulnerable is to relapse.  That is a fairly linear descent I just laid out, but the reality of this disease is often far more complicated and chaotic than that.  We just recently saw a very public, very tragic example of this, in the overdose-related death of critically acclaimed acting legend Philip Seymour Hoffman.  A man who had been very transparent and honest about his substance abuse history; a rarity for an individual who spends so much time in the spotlight of film stardom.  A man who had been clean for 20 years, and in that time had cultivated a rich, engrossing, emotional body of acting work.


We can only speculate as to what precisely made him turn back to the needle, but I would not be surprised if it was a complicated chain reaction, and not just one specific event or moment in time.  Our understanding of this disease remains woefully incomplete, and so too does our ability to combat it.  It is complex enough that we have yet to discover a permanent “cure.”  No treatment; only remission.  Godspeed, you beautiful soul. The memories of your haunting, ethereal performances will now be immortalized on screens across the globe.  Let us never forget that your untimely demise is similarly not beyond the realm of possibility, for any of us.

I am grateful for personal progress.  I am grateful for a supportive network of family & friends.  I am grateful for sobering reminders.  I am grateful for fresh opportunities.  I am grateful for free time & peace of mind.  I am grateful to be alive & well.  I am grateful to be able to share these messages & gratitudes with others – especially those that may really need to hear them.

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I’m Sober At 24. Want To Be My Friend?

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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I’ve had an interesting relationship with alcohol every since I dabbled as a teenager. Most people I know saw me as a normal social drinker.

I used to think this too, when ‘normal’ to me was involving alcohol with any meal, event, or change in my life. What people don’t know is that I used alcohol anytime my emotions were heightened, good or bad. I would drink to feel happier or drink to feel less sad. I think the only thing more difficult than sharing the personal choice of sobriety with friends and loved ones is making the decision to stay sober for yourself. My battle ultimately ended in a choice: Stay sober, endure your emotions, and live for true happiness or chase after a feeling that makes love, goals, and life unattainable.

Having a drinking problem is not black and white. Many people believe that either you have a…

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