“There I was living in Santa Cruz in a nice condominium with my wife, working at a small engineering company, surfing whenever I wanted…” Chris pauses and pulls the ukulele in his lap a little closer. “…when I suddenly started thinking people were after me and that my friend was holding my dog hostage.”
Chris is unflinchingly honest as he describes his symptoms. He laments how hard it’s been to get help, especially integrated treatment for his bipolar and anxiety disorders and his subsequent use of street drugs. “I’ve been through the wringer in the mental health and judicial systems,” he says.
Chris has an easy-going manner and a ready smile. It’s easy to see why he was captain of the track, hockey, and soccer teams in high school. While he doesn’t do much athletically at the moment, he does like to play Hacky Sack with Carl at the Cafe and is hoping to take the yoga/tai chi class in the next round of classes in the School for Recovery.
“There’s good recovery here. Good people. A safe place to be,” he says.
To show his gratitude, Chris is developing an Emergency Management Plan for the Cafe. With his forestry and fire technology degrees, he has the ideal background and expertise for the task.
Chris repositions the ukulele in his lap and slowly, methodically begins strumming the notes. “To recover,” he says, “you have to invite structure back into your life. Have a plan. Follow through. And don’t be scared of goals.”
Article by Cindy McCalmont