Gratitude, 2016

 
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This time of year I always look back on what has transpired, reevaluating all that I’ve experienced, and contemplate whether my life has gotten better, and if not, what I need to do in the coming year to make it so. With this past year I can honestly and without hesitation say that it has been one of the best and most busiest years of my life. My memoir was published in America and I went out on a national book tour to support it. I was invited to read at a ton of very cool literary and music events, reading series, and bookstores. I got to share the microphone with many amazing authors, musicians, and friends, and I was asked to guest lecture at several universities. After over three years of a long distance relationship with my best friend, partner in crime, you know, the women that I love – we made the BIG decision to move in together. Not only did Jennifer uproot herself and move here to start our life together, but we found the most amazing apartment in a new (for us) part of Los Angeles and I am not only grateful to be in a healthy relationship, but excited again at the prospects of sharing all the awesomeness that LA has to offer. Over the summer, due to the diligent work of Natashia Deón, I was granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the State of California, which in itself is a miracle, but that this automatically makes me eligible for a possible Governor’s Pardon is also truly a wondrous gift. I’m still teaching at LAVC, which is a ton of work, but every semester I get at least one student whose eyes light up when talking about writing and that makes it worthwhile. I taught several online writing courses and a live workshop for Antioch University Los Angeles, and was on the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices selection committee and next year I’ll be a PEN Mentor. I now teach creative writing at Cast Recovery, which is incredibly rewarding as it is not only giving back to my recovery community, but it is also incorporating the creative element that I feel is an essential part of any program of recovery. I’m a contributing editor for Sensitive Skin Magazine, which continues its tradition of promoting new and established voices in writing and art. And I’ve another year contributing and publishing essays on a multitude of pertinent issues over at the very cool recovery website: AfterPartyMagazine. On January 8th 2016, I will have 15 years in Narcotics Anonymous, and I can attribute all this goodness and the successes in my life to having walked into those rooms and stayed even though at times it has been incredibly hard. On a more basic note I’d like to acknowledge all my incredible friends, family, and extended family, and let you know that I treasure all of you. I know some of you have had a rough year and I am hoping for better times for you. Also to those that have had an incredible year – I am very happy for you and your successes. It is a gift to actually be present and supportive during times of both happiness and sadness – there was a time in my life when I was only concerned about myself, and thankfully that is not the case anymore. In 1997 I essentially thought my life was over. But in the last 19 years since, I have gotten a life I never dreamed possible. I am eternally grateful, and look forward to 2016. Thank you.