Saturday, August 6, 2011

August 2011 blog

 Now my thoughts are on the Internet there will never be a delete button. 

Over the years I’ve published borderline scandalous personal essays. I even penned a humorous sex advice column. Writing a blog frightens me. The above writing appeared in the early 90s seminal Zine world. I knew who was reading it. The Internet, however, is another story. The Internet can haunt you.

In real life, I hold nothing back.  Truthfully, starting a blog feels weird and unnatural to me. Do I give you parts of myself and withhold whatever may be deemed controversial? Or do I lay myself bare? My inner-blogging voice whispers,  “Let it rip!” while another cries, “Once it’s on the internet, there is no delete button”.        

Here’s the backstory:

I was recently part of a new mini-series on A&E called Relapse. The story of how that came about is bound to turn up here sooner or later.  The premise of the show was that a Sober Coach would have one week to help a bottoming-out using addict get clean and place them on the path to recovery. In real life, my coaching experience has been quite different. I’m often with clients anywhere from 2 weeks to 60 days, depending on their needs. When I learned that I would have one week with the addicts on this show, I knew I would be squeezing every bit of life out of me and into them to make it work. If I’m given the chance to help someone who is bad shape, I am giving it everything I’ve got – it’s my nature – whether that means one week or 60 days

My life always has a way of surprising me. It’s not that I don’t make plans or have goals. Often other things get put in my path that send me in new directions in spite of myself. When the show finally aired, my plan was to finish a long overdue screenplay. Instead, I found myself 5 weeks into responding to email from viewers of the show.  It just sort of took over.  And the letters were heartbreaking: people suffering from addiction with no one to talk to, no idea how to find help, no financial resources. People who never thought to call NA or AA. I spent endless hours walking people through baby steps on how to find a meeting, what to expect there, what detox will feel like, how to hang on, trying to instill hope.  I took what I could from my coaching experiences and tried to fit it into words that could reach people I never met. Some would take action and many were playing a mind game of thinking that they were doing something about their problem simply by emailing me but who disappeared when it came time to take actions on their own. They wanted recovery if it was easy and they didn’t have to leave their desk. Hell, I used to get high and call the NA help line and try to keep them on the phone until they could give me what they had so I could stay clean and all they ever said was “Go to a meeting” so I recognized what was going on.

I decided to continue reaching out to strangers, even while working with clients, by starting a PattyPowers SoberCoach page on Facebook. I could post link on recovery, new research, healthy lifestyle, and infuse it with some snippets of practical recovery tips that I use with clients. It would be a place that people can share their experience and hope and start discussions.  My page went up at the start of July.
 My assistant has been incredibly helpful in finding links and keeping the page alive when I am on the road. When I looked at it though, I felt a weird embarrassed feeling come over me. It felt very “recovery guru” with the absence of my personal voice. Today I woke up and decided that the only way to move away from the generic tone is to get this blog up and running.

 Once you get to know me, you will realize that although my commitment to recovery is solid and strong, my personal philosophies and life experiences are a bit off the beaten trail. This has been the crux of my blogging dilemma.

It may be a rocky start for me to find my voice on this page, but be patient. I will get there.  Some days, I will address recovery and other days I may fill this space with personal stories, or completely unrelated material.

A few years ago, my mother accused me of cursing like a rapper  - which sounded strange coming out of the mouth of a 70 year-old woman. My mom’s a long-time gamer and has played Grand Theft Auto, so what could I say? My language is out of control so be forewarned –in the future this blog may include adult themes and language not suitable for all readers.

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