I have been looking forward to writing this blog post for some time. Writing this means that I am nearing the finish line of a very long process – one that I have both loved and sometimes hated (it’s not all unicorns and bunnies, y’all!) but one in which I am excited about…and also a bit anxious about. If you’ve listened to the podcast, or follow me on social media, you know what I’m talking about. If not, then let me produce this feline out of this sack:
I’ve written a book and it’s coming out on Tuesday, November 14th!
The book is called “Longing For The Spirit”, and essentially it’s a series of spiritual essays revolving around the human condition seen through the lens of recovery. And there’s plenty of humour there too, so don’t worry, I won’t get all ABC After School preachy on you. I precede the essays with some moments from my early life which I felt had impact on me and demonstrated the path to bringing alcohol into my life. These aren’t reasons why I became an alcoholic, but points in which perfectionism, obsession, low self-worth and fear all started to line the fabric of my being.
This isn’t a memoir. I want to make that clear. I think there are some fantastic ones out there (I just finished a great one and have another one on deck) but I didn’t feel that my message would find its way through that template. And to be honest, I don’t have those kind of stories. Sure, I have the embarrassing and painful moments that we have all had in our drinking careers. I’ve passed out in the wrong places, wet myself, said dreadful things, created scenes, drove drunk, etc. but they were moments in between the dread of existence and the need to check out. I was essentially a zombie. An angry, drunken zombie.
To line these moments up however, chronologically, to hold up as examples of how far my drinking went, didn’t feel authentic to the messages of faith and hope I wanted to convey. I didn’t feel the need to dramatize or play up the cringe-worthy bits of my alcoholism. They really weren’t that entertaining anyways. The point of this book was more to talk about the underlying feelings, fears, anger and all that stuff that made me want to pick up a drink when I was sober. And that’s the crux of it all – what is it that I quenched for when I felt dry? Speaking to and listening to hundreds and hundreds of alcoholics (and addicts) over the last six-and-a-half years, it is clear that we share much of the same issues that plague us even into recovery, which is where the real work of self-discovery and healing lies. We are works-in-progress, and I wanted to make that clear in this book.
Most of the essays were culled from this blog site you’re on right now. They were re-worked, buffed up, filled out, slimmed down, cut apart, rearranged and hammered at as needed. Many of the essays are new. They are arranged in pairs of spiritual assets and liabilities, to give the book some structure. I didn’t want this to just be a hornet’s nest of random blog posts bound together for the sake of tying them together. I really wanted this book to be a mosaic of moments, which when put together, would give the reader an idea of how my alcoholism manifested itself for me and some of the damage it caused, internally and externally.
I want to acknowledge all the wonderful people, namely recovery friends and/or writers, who really helped me along in the process, who heard my wailing from my writing corner, who gave me tons of practical advise, and also showed me by example what it means to persevere and grind it out. Writer extraordinaire Daniel Maurer honoured me by writing the foreword and it’s probably my favourite part of the book!
I’ve also been blessed to have some wonderful feedback on the book, written by folks I admire, and they can be found on the book website testimonial page. The most recent was from author and recovery champ Amy Dresner, who wrote a fantastic and funny memoir, “My Fair Junkie” (check it out) who said:
“”Longing for the Spirit” is beautifully written, recounting without self-pity painful bits from his childhood. The book is also interwoven with bits of wisdom that are never preachy. He takes some classic, dare I say overused recovery ideas/lingo, and makes them fresh again, using amusing unique metaphors and giving basic ideas of gratitude and hope, a new spin and a new life. A must read for anybody struggling with addiction or in recovery.”
Please check it out, and if you can, I am hoping as many people will purchase on the release date! Which if you need a reminder is November 14th.
You can purchase it at Amazon.com and many of the affiliate Amazon sites, plus it is available at the Indigo and Barnes & Noble online stores. I will put direct links on the web page tomorrow.
If you want a personalized autographed copy, I will be offering that on my site, but I want to give fair warning: Canada Post is not kind to shipping books, and charges quite a bit when shipping from Canada, so unfortunately I have had to add additional charges to cover the basics. But on the other hand, you get to try to decipher my chicken scratch.
Thank you all for being here and the support you have given me over the years. Without you there would have been no Message In A Bottle, Buzzkill Pod and Longing For The Spirit. Tomorrow I release the book and it is no longer mine. It’s for everyone.
Click here for the website and further information. Also note that only the physical paperback is available right now – the digital ebook will be available at the beginning of the year!
Thank you and blessings