So, the plan for today was to write a post about recovery. Unfortunately, I’m in a different kind of recovery mode today—recovering from a sinus infection.

What that means for you, the reader, is I’m going to keep this short. Really short.

I took my last drink 30 years ago, which means I got into recovery in 1989 at the age of 24. As surreal as it is to write or even say, I reached the milestone of three decades of continuous sobriety this past February.

 

You Mean This Stuff Works?

Alcohol solved a lot of adolescent problems for me: asking a girl to dance, anguish over being bullied as an even younger adolescent, family drama. You name it, alcohol helped to numb the pain…for a while.

Thing is, I didn’t realize it was doing something special for me. I just figured that was the normal effect. By the time I realized it was doing something to me, it was way down the line—about ten years down the line, to be precise.

Booze seemed to help for a period of years, and so did the use of a few other substances. Once it no longer worked reliably, I needed something better. Something real.

 

The Recovery Racket

I’ve heard comedian and podcaster Marc Maron refer to recovery as “the recovery racket,” which is always amusing to me—not only because he’s also, like me, in that racket, but also because of the implication that there’s big money being made. Big money is being made, but not by 12-step programs.

Treatment centers, doctors, counselors, even the court system…everybody and their brother makes money off the problem of alcoholism (not to mention the booze industry itself). But the “secret society” doesn’t get rich, because it’s kind of the opposite of a cult. No one can kick you out, you’re a member if you say you are, and the organization collects no dues or fees. They just pass the basket.

In 1989, the average person threw a buck in the basket when they passed it around. And in 2019, the average is—you guessed it—a buck. Not exactly raking it in.

Yet the program continues to work for those who want it and are willing to do the work. There are other options out there, and maybe they’re effective for others. I don’t pretend to know. What worked for me 30 years ago still works today, and I’m grateful for that.

Staying sober is the longest thing I’ve done consistently throughout my entire life. That says more for the program than it does for me, but it’s not an accomplishment. It’s a gift.

cover design

The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I'll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects. Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads...
COVID-19

We’re Doing This To Ourselves—And It’s Hard to Comprehend

​As the COVID-19 crisis grinds on and on, I’ve become increasingly motivated to write about it…for a number of reasons. First, we’re all thinking about it, so I might as well address it here. Second, I’ve sort of avoided writing about it in some previous blog posts,...
break

A Bit of a Blog Break

I've been busy scheduling my social media for the next few months, and came to a realization: I've got a ton of existing content, and no one has seen anywhere near all of it. As a result, I decided it's time for a little break. This realization did coincide with...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...
healthcare

Feeling Wiped Out? Get Up and Out!

I don’t really think of myself as a healthcare writer, although I did earn a living for many years by marketing a variety of healthcare services—from traditional to alternative medicine. These days, I’m more in the Author-Speaker-Publisher mode, writing books and...
mask

COVID-19, Discipline, and an Uncomfortable Freedom

Last week, my wife and I did something we hadn’t done since March of 2020: we walked into a supermarket without wearing masks. This might not seem radical, but a word of explanation is in order here. My mother, who turns 86 this coming May, lives up the road from us...

Who You Gonna Call? or Being Your Own Tech Support

I wrote my third novel between about 2007 and 2015. I can’t say it took a full eight years to write – I got stuck in the final third for a couple years – but it was an ambitious project. I’d gone from a third person novel to a first person novel, and now I was going...
asia

Adventures In Southeast Asia

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” ― Eugene Ionesco I first began visiting Southeast Asia over twenty years ago, so it probably comes as a surprise to readers that I haven't written about my...
running

“When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”

Like most Americans who grew up in the 70s and 80s, I've got a fair amount of song lyrics floating around my head. Today's post is entitled "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" after the Police song of that name. And I'll admit, I...
serial

If You Don’t Write in a Serial Format, Good Luck With Amazon Classifications

This week’s topic is one near and dear to my grizzled, cynical old heart—adjusting to the nightmarish landscape of book classifications. Some writers have no problem with this stuff, and hey, more power to you. But as I wrote in What I’ve Learned In Six Years of...