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Being Woke

It was 2014. The year  I was living in a studio apartment in this really cool highrise, a student union with a laundromat on the fourth and seventh floors, an elevator, and the downtown Portland, OR, sights, sounds, shops, eateries and Saturday Markets of Portland State University all around me. I iwas living there with my 2-year-old son, a crib, a platform bed, a table, TV, and play yard which we used to run around and around and around, in the middle of the concrete floor of one single room with a window and a kitchenette. There was even a bathroom! I was pretty lucky, in fact, I’ve always been pretty lucky, ‘cept I really didn’t know it yet.

Here is where I hit my conscious bottom. At the low point, the biggest depression of my life. I say conscious because, for the previous 4 years, I had been more sober than I had ever been in my adult life. Those extreme tales might be better suited for another time and I mean only if you’re really lucky.

Interestingly, to note the one phrase that “sold me” in the behavior therapy that I took through the Washington County Jail was this: “You can change negative Beliefs about yourself, that you’ve held since childhood, over time”


So things looked pretty dark. The days were the kind where I just wanted to go to sleep and not get up and the time of day didn’t matter. In fact I felt pretty hopeless at this point at just about any time of day. Now, I had been happy for a while in sobiety, for the first year or two, but the third and fourth years were a different kind of steady downward spiral that culminated in this place they call Rock Bottom.

What was I missing? I now believe that what I was missing was shame reversal. I wasn’t filling up the hole that was left after taking out my addictive behavior because that hole, being  my subconsience, was filled up with shame . For you it might be looking for men as a source of self worth, or other people in say a faculty environment. It could be food. It could be sex. Whatever it is, the missing piece was the crucial element of replacing that emptiness, or as I now understand to be, overwriting the negative belief systems people hold on to in the subconscious unwittingly.