Profiles in Recovery

Mark Goodson

What’s ordinary – even dull – about daily life is actually “brilliant and divine,” writes Goodson on his blog, “the Miracle of the Mundane.”

After nearly dying from addiction – a drug-induced psychosis in Mexico led to psychiatric treatment and eventually, recovery – Goodson’s spiritual journey has evolved over the past decade. He’s found new perspective as a man in recovery who is also a high school English teacher, husband and father, peer mentor and coach.

“The fact that I am living on borrowed time motivates me to make the most of every day I have to live,” Goodson says.

“I didn’t know how to live without drugs and alcohol. I was ready to die. And I nearly did,” he says. “It was by grace that my life was spared and I was given a second chance. I try never to forget that. “

Day Job:

English teacher

My rock bottom moment:

I was three days into my rehab stay, making me about five days sober, but still clinically insane.  I was given a prayer to read and I couldn’t make out the words.  They floated around the page like dandelion seeds in the wind.  All my intellectual pride, and I’d lost the ability to read.

What worked for me:

A psychiatric hospital, 28-day rehab, extended care facility, Oxford House, and step work.  On a private level, what works for me is working with others.  I sponsor other men in recovery through a 12-step program with anonymity as a core principle.  Sharing my story online as a writer and blogger in recovery also helps others do the same.  However it happens, I must name my demons.

Best advice for newbies:

The first drink gets you drunk.  And the best defense against the first drink is a vigilant course of spiritual action.

When cravings come:

I call someone.  I go to meetings and tell on myself.  I find Twitter is a great place to go when I can’t get in personal touch with someone.  If I send a tweet out to my recovery posse on there, they come to my aid faster than Batman to the Bat Signal.

Advice to my younger self:

You’re a writer, dammit.  Stop screwing around with that business degree.

Rules I live by:

I give when I’m asked.  I ask for help when I am in need.  I either wake up early each day or stay up late to write all that I can about anything that I can because I’ve found that writing is my calling.  No matter the sacrifice, I vowed to be a husband to my wife, and a father to my children.  That often involves a lot of time and effort.

Favorite recovery quote:

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation” ~ English philosopher Herbert Spencer

I get inspired by:

Tons of people.  Not celebrities or idols, but people I know doing this thing every day.  I am surrounded by people who inspire me to remain a clean and sober man.

On my schedule today:

I start teaching in a week, so, this week I am finishing some home renovations.  At least, I’m nudging them forward while I can.  Then I’ll pick up the kids from pre-school and participate in this National Chalk Day my wife made me aware of.  We’re getting together with other kids in the neighborhood and chalking positive messages on the sidewalk.

What I value most in recovery:

My sense of confidence and well-being.  It allows me to be a husband, father, teacher, writer.  I am sure enough of who I am today that I no longer think a drink or drunk can ever improve me or my experience of the world.

How I get through the holidays:

I load up my holidays with meetings and phone calls to catch up with friends in recovery.  I learned early on to always have an out at parties or with family.  Sometimes having an out just means having a phone fully charged so I can step outside and make a call.

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