So what happened is I hired this guy Parker, and I made Parker our IT guy and put him in charge of getting the AFS and the L2L websites, FB pages, etc up, running, looking sharp but more importantly loaded with pertinent and timely info. I made it clear to Parker that our sites without fail must be tiptop media, and that it was his responsibility to create, to go out into the world and fetch, or to demand from us his bosses and coworkers all the content he needed to get the job done and done classy.
In short time, Parker came back at us and let us know a tiptop site will have a “meet the staff” page, and he told us what that means and what that means is we the people of AFS and L2L need to crank out and contribute our own biographies.
Damn you, Parker.
And like a good United States Marine Corps vet, Parker is out for conquest, so he is hounding and hunting me down, as per his orders, and nagging me to produce the wretched tale of me. There is no escaping this mighty little leprechaun.
So here it is, my story:
I was born a poor …
No, that wasn’t me. That was Navin Johson.
Me, I was born into a relatively comfortable, some might even say a normal, middle class family. We were happy, I was a pretty good – albeit inwardly angsty – kid.
And then what happened is I turned fourteen and I turned wild, and then blah blah blah, drink drink drink, smoke smoke smoke, fast-forward twenty-two years there’s me sleeping in the woods, or in a 1989 Dodge Caravan, you get it.
No no nooooo that’s not the end. Of course it isn’t. Sparing you all the gory details, in 2002 I was a sick and suffering alcoholic working hard to find my bottom, and by July of that year, I found it, there, in those woods, and in that van, and it was a sufficiently miserable place to be, so, when they stuck me in a rehab, yet again, this time, I knew to my very core, I wanted to be done. I knew I was ready. And so I listened, and I followed suggestions, which meant, when I got out, I checked into a sober house, and immediately started attending meetings.
But wait. Let’s back up a minute.
What I didn’t mention is that during that 22 year binge, I spent 10 years flopping around toward 4 year BA in English for the good ol U of M (a total party school, then, but that’s neither here nor there). During that time I worked in the restaurant industry in all kinds of capacities. Waiting, cooking, managing, bartending, you name it.
In 1993, when I finally got hold of that elusive and prestigious English degree in, I was managing a bar in Annapolis frequented by legislators and lobbyists, and because I was amiable and my pours were generous, the politicians loved me. So in short time I got a job in government affairs. Pretty soon I was a full-fledged, registered lobbyist…and there was a career under way, a career which landed me on Capitol Hill, in the committee rooms, at $1,000/plate breakfasts…again with the blah blah blah’s.
Enough about that.
Back to 2002. By now I had lost all that. Career. Family. Home. Or, really, as we say in the rooms, I had given it all away in favor of pursuing my one true love and obsession, the drink.
And at the age of 36 – and this is an important point to keep forefront in the mind – I was sure I had lost everything forever, that – at the ancient age of 36, my life was pretty much over, all my hopes and dreams dashed, because, at 36, one is way too old to start over again. The only thing I desperately wanted to achieve, and would go to any length to achieve, was finding a way to not drink, even if I had to tackle that challenge, one day at a time, one moment at a time.
I don’t mean to suggest I had lost hope. In fact, the opposite is the case. For the first time in, maybe forever, I had a great feeling of hope. I had come to believe that one day at a time I could live free from the prison of alcoholism, from dependency upon a particular molecule to just quiet that angst, just to feel like I belong on this planet. Living with this newfound hope and clarity and purpose is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever known.
What I mean though is that I had this crazy idea that at the age of 36, all the ideas and dreams I had dreamed as a younger man or as a boy about writing the Great American Novel, or leading a philanthropy, or of getting settled into some career or vocation, or running my own business – all these I thought were dashed. 36 was way too old of an age to think that I could still achieve these things.
And I was okay with that. I was so happy to be sober, and so fearful about falling back into drunkenness, I was fine with the idea that the rest of my life would be no more than pushing a lawnmower and or flapping a paintbrush, and otherwise just staying focused on my recovery.
Resignation to the idea that my only purpose in life was to practice the principles of recovery in all my affairs, and to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
So, I found myself a beautiful Victorian abandominium over in Liberty Heights…
To be continued….