stepping through doorways

image credit…. vadim piskaryov

it occurred to me today that i have spouted the phrase that is the title of this post so many times that my audiences certainly have grown weary of hearing. i wonder sometimes why i haven’t done the same. truth be told however, it is my truth that it seems i have been stepping through doorways of opportunity since i laid down the meth pipe and let go of the wine glass.

in 1995, i was visiting paris with a friend. we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment on the isle st. louis for a week. we visited versaille, pere lachaise cemetary, la reine restaurante, veaux le vicomte, and the unforgettable flea market. in the middle of my stay (which was rife with alcohol abuse) i was awakened one night feeling a poking on my upper arm. it was direct and it felt purposed. i woke to see a hooded figure standing beside my bed. this figure gestured with its left arm and directed the movement towards a doorway that stood behind him. as i remember it, i paused for a few moments, but chose to symbolically go through that doorway. 

it is a haunting and very vivid memory. visually i can still recall it, and i can recall the feelings surrounding this event in my life still. my belief is that i volunteered that night and much of the hullabaloo that has made up my life since then is connected to that decision somehow. shortly thereafter, i began to circle the drain with alcohol use. i drank heavily and got a repeat dui. during treatment for that offense, i had a strange psychological break as well as a physical meltdown. i became so weary- what with my full time job and community service- and my hiv was proliferating like ivy in my body. a good friend trapped me in his car to discuss his overwhelming concern about my well being and demanded that i go to a doctor. 

it  turned out that to continue living,  i needed to start “the cocktail”. luckily, it was 1996 and the meds had really advanced. that began a trail of health rejuvenation that was remarkable to me. continued drinking and a topsy turvy sense of my life’s purpose caused me to leave my job of 11 years and take a corporate post. this led to frustration and anger at living in a city where i had come to die. anger led me to san francisco which brought me to my knees with dot com bust followed by 9/11 followed by 3 bouts of kidney stones followed by a sinister crystal meth addiction. 

this particular addiction tumbled me through some outrageous craziness like fred flintstone in his time machine.  my last days on the west coast were absurd and obtuse. when i look back at living on the street in la’s skid row with a hooker who worked out of a pup tent to distract me, it seems more like a performance piece than a slow descent into madness.  and when a fellow addict hustled me yet again by stealing the brillo out of my pipe, the straw that broke appeared. 

back to denver, addiction to avoidance in tow, i landed here and rekindled my slow burn in hell. embezzling money from a longtime friend for the purpose of keeping meaningless sex going found me hallucinating at the bathhouse like ebeneizer in his bedroom on christmas eve. the nightmares on that night remain just as vivid as the paris dream. each of these incidents led me to the next and then the next. 

i found sobriety after the embezzlement issue. treatment was an albatross that didn’t really work. therapy with a counselor and psych meds became the path to my resurrection. i had no idea where to find sober folks so i hit the 12 step rooms. i got a call to work as an advocate for plwh- nothing i had ever planned. this led me to understand that i had understanding and communication skills that could be helpful to people. i took classes for counseling. i got a call to work on a meth project for gay men. i got to be creative. this positioned me to get hugely triggered with ptsd which led me to more therapy and working through old old misery. this led me to a job at a hospital. through a few jostles with trauma triggers, i have found myself in a position to help shape some changes at this public entity. at the same time i find myself serving as chairperson for two boards of directors and am helping shape the evolution of both these organizations. 

these opportunities and situations have all appeared like doorways in front of me- much like the night in paris. i have only recently come to understand (and accept). that i am compelled to continue stepping through these opportunities. they are leading me somewhere, and the process colors my life with a sense of adventure and fulfillment. 

as i thought about writing this post, i came across several similar articles about going through doorways. i am not sure if i have lost sight of my path because of the luminescence of what’s ahead. i honestly hope i am not overlooking the wisdom of what’s already been. 

much of these last paragraphs are new insight. i don’t honestly know where my movements will lead. i can’t say for sure that my motives are holistic. inspiration, drive, intuition collectively contribute to my decisions.  i can only trust that i am where i am supposed to be.

image credit…. fotofacade

“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” study researcher Gabriel Radvansky, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement.

“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized,” he added.

To come to this conclusion, Ravansky and his colleagues conducted three experiments, the results of which are published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. In the first, they had college students virtually move objects from a table at one side of a room to a table at the other side of the room, as well as to virtually move objects from one room to another room and crossing beneath the doorway…. reposted frum huffington post

The researchers found that the students were more forgetful when they moved between the rooms, versus when they were just moving from one table to another in the same room.

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