Career Plan B.
I have a career plan B. I suppose it’s basically a good idea for anyone to have a career plan B. Mine is vague and nebulous, but it exists, and I have at least basic evidence that it’s a feasible plan because I know others have done it, but there isn’t anything like it in ECC. It would never make me wealthy, but it would probably pay the bills. And it would be relatively easy to pull off. Hardest thing would be finding the space.
An AA coffeeshop. How does that differ from a regular old coffee shop, you ask? In a couple of important ways. The most important way is a basement. You rent a joint with a nice big basement, and you host meetings down there. Once a meeting is established, it pretty much runs itself. You need a few hundred bucks to get it going in terms of tables and chairs and literature. Then, you host a couple of meetings a day (advertise them with the local intergroup, and mention new meetings at the meetings you already go to), and charge rent. The rent for a one-hour meeting is usually between $25-30.
Host 16 meetings a week (2 a day and 3 on weekends) and you’re clearing about $1700/mo. Like I said, you’ll never make any real money doing that, but it would defray some expenses for the coffeeshop. The AA clubhouse I went to in St. Louis hosted about 35-40 meetings a week, some with rents of up to $50 for larger rooms. Then it had memberships ($18/mo) and a small coffee bar. It did just fine, financially. It had about five employees and kept up a large old house that needed constant repairs. It’s a 501c3, which makes it tax-exempt.
And that would probably be the right thing to do with the coffeeshop too. Have two businesses: (1) a not-for-profit community meeting-space basement business, that rents out space from the coffeeshop for a fixed monthly fee. Then, it allows AA groups to rent its space, and does charitable work with any money left over; (2) a coffeeshop that actually rents the overall space, and subleases the basement to the 501c3.
The coffeeshop would have a portion of its expenses covered by the nonprofit, and report that as regular income. The non profit could also pay a (very) small salary to a person who kept its books, cleaned it, etc.. A good job for a recovering drunk with not much to do, but who knows how to use Quicken. And the coffeeshop, if good, would do what coffeeshops do: make a small living for a few employees and an owner. And with AA members going in and out regularly, there’d be a built in customer base.
I think I could be happy doing that. It’d feel productive and honest and helpful. I think there’s a pretty good chance (i.e., not zero) it happens at some point. Maybe I’m 60 and ready to be done with hospitals. Today, feeling bad at my job and overwhelmed, it sounds like paradise.