Within six months of getting into recovery, I'd gotten a really good job, left the relationship I was in, and moved out, first living with a roommate in her home for 15 months, and then truly on my own.
By and large, other than working, most of my life now was about recovering myself ~ who I was and what I wanted, doing a lot of deep, hard personal exploration. I read every recovery book available at the time and began to get a grasp on my issues, primarily my co-dependency and love addiction.
By 1990 I'd quit that really good job to study horticulture and organic gardening and farming. This was the first time I'd consciously moved toward something that felt dear to my heart. At the end of the coursework and internship I was doing, I realized I wouldn't be able to support myself doing what I really wanted to do, which was to live in a rural area. I needed to look for work again and it was going to have to be administrative work if I hoped to make it on my own. But I was finished with Santa Cruz. The Loma Prieta earthquake pretty much destroyed the Santa Cruz I had known. And too, Santa Cruz had become home, and it was definitely time for me to leave home. I found an even better job in San Francisco, and moved there in January 1991.
I went to some 12-step meetings in San Francisco when I first moved there, but never really felt at home as I had with my recovery family in Santa Cruz. Eventually I started seeing a therapist and would continue for about a year and a half.
The job I was doing, which I was excelling at in terms of what I had been hired to do, was extremely difficult in what it required of me personally (a lot of travel, countless presentations to groups of people, sucking up to incompetent superiors, office politics...). Add to this that I was now digging into my past in therapy, weekly dredging up all that old painful shit. I became very depressed. My therapist never suggested or even mentioned antidepressants. I wondered, later, how much progress I might have made had I been in therapy while I was on medication. Nevertheless, I quit therapy (not an easy process, as most therapists try to keep you coming back by making you feel guilty for following your own intuition). And later that year, 1993, after reading Listening to Prozac, which recently been published, I got myself on Prozac, via a psychiatrist at Kaiser who I only went to for the meds. That book made me realize that I'd been depressed (with dysthymia, chronic low-grade depression) for many, many years, likely my entire life. I've been on Prozac (actually Fluoxetine now) ever since.
My starting to take Prozac was another watershed moment for me. Within three months I'd begun to feel like a real person, for the first time. All the old stuff was still there, but it was in the background now and I could move forward with my life. About a year later, fall of 1994, I quit that soul-sucking job. Probably the best thing about it had been that I was paid enough to be able to put money away to live on for a year while I figured out what to do/where to go next, and to get me started in a new life when I finally did move.
Meanwhile, in my last couple years in San Francisco, I continued reading whatever self-help materials were being published, while moving in a more spiritual direction. I went to a couple of workshops at California Institute of Integral Studies and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin. I began making weekend forays into Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, and eventually into Humboldt County, looking for the next place.
And I found what I was looking for in Humboldt County, in summer 1995. When I relocated here on Labor Day Weekend that year, I had a great cabin in the mountains to move into and a job waiting for me in Garberville. I refer you to this post, Back to Scratch from July 28, 2014, for details of my time in southern Humboldt. And this post, Good Ideas from July 30, 2014, that fleshes out more of my initial journey into Humboldt.
So, the thing was, moving to rural Humboldt County was the first time in my life that I had zeroed in on what I really wanted to do and where I wanted to go, I did the research and the due diligence, and I made the move. I had a tremendous amount of creative energy at that time, a huge backlog of things I wanted to pursue, and the personal/emotional empowerment to do it. This was the first time in my life that I'd felt truly free to create the life I wanted. That's why I took on so many things at once when I lived in southern Humboldt. I'd been champing at the bit to live my life my own way, and I felt terrific, in every way.
To be continued, here...