I’m taking a whiz in an inappropriate place again. Apparently five plus years of sobriety have done little to suppress “the world is my toilet” viewpoint that I subscribe to.
Tonight it’s the side of a forest-green Waste Management Dumpster behind a Fry’s supermarket. The street sweeping company I drive for has sent me to clean the shopping center parking lot. Three whitewashed cinder block walls and a creaky wooden gate housing the Dumpster afford some privacy. But the fear of getting caught does, admittedly, give me a longed for rush of adrenaline.
Tinkle, tinkle little star…
As urine flows I do the math: nine dollars an hour times six and a half hours. Tonight I stand to make fifty-eight dollars and fifty cents. As I give little Florida a shake and tuck him back into my pants, the underutilized abacus in my head finishes the calculation: eighteen months ago I was a high-dollar consultant who would have made that in twenty-two minutes. However, eighteen months ago I was also on the verge of a manic break—while in sobriety–and a felony conviction.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
In 2014 I started this blog with the post above and began telling the story of rebuilding my life after a manic break in sobriety. (I got some really bad advice at a 12-step meeting, namely, “If you trust your Higher Power enough you don’t need psych meds.” As I sat in jail with my consulting career in shambles and facing a felony conviction for disorderly conduct, I found myself seriously rethinking that advice.). Since then, I have told some of my story, dabbled in essays on the principles behind the 12-steps, and posted general musings on spirituality and recovery. Along the way I picked up 13k+ followers on Facebook (FB/aDoubleShotofRecovery).
Also since that time, I have fully rebuilt my information technology consulting career, finished a Master’s in Addiction Counseling, and started a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis on learning and technology. I am freed up financially enough to throw myself into a volunteer commitment helping a mayoral task force address homelessness in the greater Phoenix area… mental illness and addiction being major known contributors to the problem of homelessness.
I have also realized that I really want to own the label of “bipolar alcoholic” (thank you Anna David). Stigmatized by society, too often stigmatized at 12-step meetings, my tinfoil-hat-wearing people need role models. So today I am re-posting the first post and will post each Monday on exactly how I rebuilt my life, along with insights I have gleaned counseling those with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues. The blog will still address topics of interest for those in recovery, but there will be a far greater emphasis on topics of interest to those with mental illness (overcoming shame, dealing with depression, coping with anxiety, the trauma of psychosis, trauma in general, etc.).
54 years into this thing called life, I really want to focus my remaining years on helping those with co-occurring disorders. I will continue to write, speak at conferences, and advocate for my peeps. As my doctoral studies continue, I will develop technology-based, evidenced-based interventions to help those same people.
Will this cost me some followers? Perhaps. I would ask, however, if this blog no longer speaks to you please pass on a referral to someone who could benefit. Approximately 40% of those in recovery have mental health issues. The other 60% are just plain crazy… 🙂
Tune in Monday, Feb. 11th to see where all this is headed. Thank you for your support.