Occupying: The New YOU

You’ve been getting through the holidays. Whether you’ve diminished your intake, stopped one or two of your many substances, switched to a “lesser” evil or stopped completely, you’re going in the right direction and you feel it. That’s all that matters.

So now, you possibly have some more time on your hands along with some more money in your pockets. Great! Now what?

This was a very confusing time for me. I went from spending all of my time in the NYC nightlife scene from rehearsing, performing, working, playing shows, hanging out, performing, working, going to shows, playing shows, rehearsing… to having to make some changes and then some…

After years of forging my own path and taking the lead when others were stepping back, I was lost. Someone with a whiskey in their hand told me about a support group a few weeks into recovery. I didn’t know what recovery was, I just knew I had to stop doing what I was doing and I had no idea what I was doing. Giving up control and allowing myself to follow others in recovery was the only thing I could do. Sticking with the herd was seriously the only way to not get devoured by wolves.

It took a few weeks for the initial fog to lift. I had to continue playing my gigs, so I made sure to always bring a friend or two to help me through the event safely. As soon as my gig was done, I was out of there.  I slowly started going to more daytime events like going to museums and the library. Yoga was a practice that I began engaging in regularly. I went to theater performances, volunteered at soup kitchens and spent time with other people in early recovery as well. Cooking started becoming more common in my home as I now had a few positive friends in my recovery network that I would invite over.  It started to feel good to get up before 2PM and I actually started caring about others around me.

The next year, I did the unimaginable. I went back to school and took a course in Real Estate. I don’t have any idea why I thought I would ever make a good Real Estate Agent (that didn’t work out too good) but I did enjoy the going to school part of it. Having a normal schedule was amazingly helpful in getting me motivated to do something. I recorded a double EP that year as well. Before I knew it, I was working with multiple artists, rehearsing, gigging, recording and traveling SOBER. This was all in the first year and a half of recovery.

So let’s get back to you. What have you always wanted to do that you never got a chance to do? Was there something that used to make you extremely happy, a hobby, a practice, a job that you used to do before using took over? Maybe you had a dream as a child that you might just be able to bring to fruition. Is there a friend that you’ve neglected or a family member you have not connected with in a long time? I imagine they might just be happy to see this new you. Is nature something you were always fond of but were too stuck in your circles? How about the gym?

Just a few years ago, I had the privilege of working with a professor that was homeless and eating out of McDonald’s trash at 49 years old. After finding recovery, he obtained a GED, an Associates, a Bachelors, a Masters and at the age of 72 when he passed away, he had a PhD, inspiring thousands of people in recovery. Someone else is now a prominent fashion designer, a writer, a playwright, a pilot, a mother, a father, and on and on…

Whatever it may be, make a list of all of the things that pertain to you. Keep it in your back pocket and add to it when things come to mind. No matter how simple or complex these things might seem, the world is your oyster. Start simple and just do something. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that is not possible. Conveniently, a New Year is right around the corner. The time is NOW. Love Life Today. THiS ReCoVeRY LiFE.

If you find this article helpful to you or someone you love, go ahead and share it. You don’t know who’s life you may be enlightening. Keep on the lookout, karma will be revealing itself to you.

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