Apr 28, 2009
I realize that I've never really talked about the period AFTER I stopped. In retrospect I find that that's one of the most frustrating things we have to face.
And people with long term clean time try to be helpful... but lets face it. Few of them are very good at getting across how they did it. It seems almost magical when they describe it. Almost as if they'd won some prize.
So I'm going to do something I rarely do, and try to recall those early days and do a frank evaluation of how I went from being a broke, living out of cheap rooms (if I was lucky; there where nights I slept on the subway) sad sack to being what I am now (I have a full time job and a staff that answers to me, among other things).
All in three years.
As a whole, it seems unbelievable... and yet unbelievably easy. And I can see why others who have been through this have difficulty getting it across.
So I'll start... and we'll see where this goes.
I'll set the scene for you:
It is three years ago. I'm living in a cheap rooming house on borrowed money I don't expect to ever pay back. Taking stock of what I have takes all of thirty seconds.
I've got a suitcase full of clothes, a DVD player that I spend more time repairing than watching videos on, and two broken playstation 2's that I'm hoping I can cannibalize the parts from both to make one working unit.
I have my wife and four cats.
I have a copy of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. (If you aren't religious, this is the next best thing to having a bible. For me, at least).
I have absolutely no prospects.
And I have time. Lots and lots of time on my hands, with no end in sight.
Time, in fact, at first appears to be your enemy. Everything takes TIME. Change takes time. Walking to the local soup kitchen takes time. Waiting to hear back from potential employers takes time. Waiting for the next day a check may come in so you've got money to eat and get about takes time.
I became obsessed with the concept of time. Sixty seconds in a minute. Sixty minutes in an hour. One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day.
Five hundred and twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes in a YEAR.
All spent in waiting for change to happen.
I do recall that one of the first things I did was go out and get a library card.
I'll tell you right now, that learning is the one thing you can do on your own. It's ALWAYS productive, and will always pay off. And with a library card... it's free.
I spent a great deal of my time reading. I think at one point I was averaging from two to four books a week (depending on length and subject matter).
When I wasn't reading, I tended to walk.
Walking, you'll be surprised to hear, is also free. I probably averaged about two to five miles a day. I can now safely say that there isn't a block in Manhattan under 96th Street that my feet haven't trod upon (Manhattan is about twenty six miles long).
Sometimes I would walk AND read. I became something of a local eccentric. At one point a local newspaper asked to do a story on me, "The guy who loves to read so much he does it when he's walking."
(I suggested that those who wished to follow in my footsteps read paperbacks. You can hold them in one hand. Also; always pay attention to traffic when crossing the street. No matter how exciting the story is getting).
The point of this is that you have to find ways to occupy your time that feel productive. Because if you let the weight of that time overwhelm you... you won't make it.
This is actually one of the main points behind going to meetings. Something to occupy your time. Something that is hopefully productive (leading to potential contacts and friends).
But if you haven't figured it out by now, Savas is a bit of a strange bird. I didn't get on all that well with people at meetings. The people were friendly enough, but it wasn't really a good match. I'll sum it up by saying the experience wasn't satisfying.
So I realized that if I was to do this, I was going to have to rely on the one resource I always had; myself.
After all, for better or worse, I was stuck with me. So I'd best come up with a formula for living with and getting along with myself that would work.
More to come...