A Pandemic and a New Home

Happy Sunday, all!

In my previous post, The Right Places at the Right Times, I shared about a couple events that were as memorable as any - dealing with an overdose at work and speaking at one of Avivo's biggest annual fundraisers. 2020 started in such an unpredictable and powerful way, and that would only continue...

As spring of 2020 approached, I began to make a permanent change in my living situation, finally putting in notice at my apartment in Owatonna, something I never thought I'd do. I had been renting the lower half of a coworker's home since December of 2019 and I was ready to make that move more permanent. It didn't make sense to keep paying for two places. And so it was, a new beginning in the cities...

Also in the spring of 2020, the world began to deal with what would turn into one of the greatest pandemics of all times, COVID-19. It found its way to the United States early in February and was, by March, beginning to show up more and more. There was a real concern that our states were headed for a shutdown. By mid-March, our company was scrambling to decide how to proceed. We ultimately decided to stop face to face services in many programs, and the push was on to get people new devices and new technology to begin working remotely. In less than a week, a buddy of mine and I found a telehealth vendor, purchased licenses, got access, and trained 100+ clinicians. Life was about to change dramatically, and for a lot longer than any of us could imagine.

My job was to lead several different teams, two of which would need to remain in office to perform their job duties. So, my time in the office remained, maybe even increased, as we developed a new working plan. Because of that, my new rental home was not going to last long. My coworker had a son that split time between mom and dad, and at mom's there was a half sibling that was greatly compromised, so my need to continue working in the office resulted in me having to move out. Thankfully, I still had the Owatonna apartment, something I extended for a couple more months, and would find places to stay in the cities during the week.

I will never forget those first weeks that consisted of what felt like doom and gloom - the world felt like it literally shut down. Stores were closing up, roads were bare, and radio and media personalities continued to highlight the significance of how quickly the deadly disease was moving through humanity. Where I work, we didn't have a second thought about continuing our services. People still needed treatment, substance use and mental health. As I look back, I'm thankful to have held the position I did, as there would be no significant changes for the worse, from the work or social interaction standpoints. There were certainly significant changes in how we performed our work, but those were challenges I openly embraced.

By April, there was an opening in a condo a friend owned, so another coworker and I decided to split the condo temporarily. I would finally move out of Owatonna for good by May, a bittersweet day. Owatonna is where I spent the majority of my life, and all of my new, recovery life. That was my comfort zone, my Zen, my home. But life takes turns and sometimes we avoid them, and other times we crank the wheel right along with life. The move process was simple - I got rid of many of the belongings I had accumulated over my first nine years in recovery. By mid-May, it was official. I was in the cities for good and returning home to Owatonna on weekends.

By the end of May, it became a bit more normal, and the world was even opening back up a bit. Just as things started to look a little better, one of the more shocking events of recent times would surface across the world. Stay tuned for more next time, and subscribe below for notifications of new posts!

Peace,

J

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