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Introductions.

14 April 2012

So, hi. Given that this is a new blog, I feel like I ought to introduce myself properly. I’m feeling awfully nervous. Because of my online interactions elsewhere in the online universe, there are going to be new people here, people I’ve come to think of as friends, many of them close friends, who until now have not known one of the core aspects of my identity.

My name is Dr24Hours, and I’m an alcoholic. I haven’t consumed any ETOH in any form beginning 16 February, 2008. I began my first, now retired, blog, as a means of chronicling my journey in sobriety. I started writing that blog when I was about 10 months sober. I had a new job, as the private healthcare engineer for the chief of staff of a hospital here in St. Louis, where I live. I wrote about my sobriety, my work, my marriage and generally whatever else came to mind.

Early sobriety is a baffling, difficult, emotionally messy time. I struggled. Not with staying sober. That I have had no serious difficulty with, thank goodness. I haven’t had a craving for alcohol since day 12. I miss it sometimes. On Friday or Saturday nights when the #drunksci tag is floating around twitter and people are clearly having fun, I miss it. I sometimes wish I could participate. But I don’t crave alcohol. No, the struggling I did was in my marriage, mostly. My marriage ended in May of 2010. It could not survive my sobriety. But my sobriety survived my marriage.

Shortly before my separation and subsequent divorce, I was promoted to the position of Principal Investigator. It was a leap of faith. I’d never written a grant. Not in grad school, not in my professional life. I had only a single published paper to my name from my graduate education, and a few more from my work-life, and felt drastically unprepared to be an investigator. But I’m good at taking on big challenges. And so I started writing a grant, to develop an idea I had, about population level computer simulations.

And I got it. It’s a one year pilot grant. And I’m halfway through my funding. I just submitted my first paper from it. My first paper from my first grant from my first job as PI. I’m vibrating.

So who am I? I’m an alcoholic in recovery. I’m a member in good standing of Alcoholics Anonymous, about which I will have much to write. I’m a health care engineer; a complex systems engineer. I’m an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine (but I am not a physician). I’m a single man in his mid-to-late thirties, who often feels bereft of emotional and physical connections. These days, more than anything else, I’m a grantwriter.

And I feel like I’m going up. I’ve been offered a position as an Assistant Professor (non-TT), but it’s all hung up in funding red tape. I don’t know if it’s going to happen soon or not. But I’m hopeful. I’m getting better at not stressing about the things I can’t control. I’ve been sober for more than four years now. In that time I also quit smoking cigarettes, and began running. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m making a meaningful contributions to engineering and science.

It’s pouring down rain outside. April in St. Louis is often that way. I can’t do much about that. But I have learned how to walk in the rain with my head up. One of the things about being an alcoholic is that I’m always learning new things that other people learned long ago.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. 14 April 2012 11:17

    Hey dude, been rooting for your success on all fronts for some time now. Even when I’m tossing you shit OTI! Glad to see you back to long-form…

  2. 14 April 2012 11:46

    Thanks for sharing. I think this is yet another great example of the many paths we take in our personal and professional lives as scientists.

  3. 14 April 2012 12:47

    Well now that I know all this, forget dinner when you visit. It’s a NON Tenure Track gig? Not worth my time 😛

    Rockin’ dude. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. 14 April 2012 14:12

    Great introductory post! I look forward to reading more. I have several alcoholics in my circle of friends and family. Some recovered, some not. It’s a hard path but it sounds like you’re doing well!

  5. 14 April 2012 20:36

    I will miss your more personal posts… how am I gonna know who you’re dating? I hope you will continue your philosophical musings, I enjoy them and even sometimes learn something 😉 I’ll follow you here, but I don’t have a lot to say about the technical aspects of your work, so I might be pretty quiet.

    • 14 April 2012 20:40

      Definitely, Sis. It’s more the simple housekeeping type stuff I’m going to let diminish. Philosophy, science, engineering, sobriety, and personal matters remain on the agenda.

    • 14 April 2012 20:41

      And check out the “Music” tab on the front page and finally listen to one of my goddamn compositions! 😉

  6. 14 April 2012 21:50

    Interesting. I hope this works out the way you want it to.

  7. furtheron permalink
    16 April 2012 06:21

    Hello Dr24hours – I’ve found my way here to say hello and to start to follow…

  8. 17 April 2012 19:37

    Oh hi. Welcome back to the blog world then. Looking forward to reading your posts!

  9. 14 June 2012 06:09

    I’m finally just getting around to reading your archives after starting to follow you on Twitter and must say that you are tremendously inspirational and articulate in sharing the details of your journey.

    Regarding Twitter, I wonder if we could start a #sobersci hashtag to use for chatter on Friday and Saturday nights. When promoting ScienceOnline2012, for example, I wanted people to feel welcome who didn’t or couldn’t drink. A good amount of the social activity after the meeting sessions are centered around EtOH. But as we all know, 5-6% of any group are likely to have some flavor of alcohol dependence issues – that would be about 23 to 27 people in a group of 450.

    In fact, I’m wondering if we could more broadly also create safe places for alcohol dependent/recovering folks at our professional scientific meetings. So much of the activity there is also focused on alcohol.

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling – I was just reminded of this issue by reading at The Fix about the Soberoo booth at the recent Bonnaroo music festival:

    http://www.thefix.com/content/sober-bonnaroo-festival90230

    I’m excited to join your ranks of regular readers. Keep up the fabulous work!

    • 14 June 2012 11:03

      It’s an interesting idea, David. I don’t want anyone to think we’re judging or competing with #drunksci. I have nothing against people going out and getting loaded if that’s what they want! But I do like the idea of creating a safe place too. I’ll think about it. It could be a knotty problem.

Trackbacks

  1. An Alcoholic “in good standing”? « Infactorium

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