Back to the old keyboard!

With all the stuff going on, good and not so good, I have been letting things get in the way of my blogging. It has really started bothering me lately. Now I’m able to do something about it. In no way shape or form am I saying I’m anywhere close to cured. My days are filling up with more normal pursuits. Cautious not to let my guard down, I am having regular days again.

Putting some finishing touches on my business and sales forum website, SerenityShopWoodworking.com, while looking for and applying to part time jobs, has been rough. Thankfully it isn’t having a negative effect on my recovery. I’m staying diligent with my medication and focused on recovery plan. Focusing a little on my physical condition needs to become more of a priority, my weight is coming off slowly, yet I need more exercise.

The heat has been hampering me a bit in the way of working in the shop but I have a fair amount of products ready for sale. Most my issues now are finding ways to market them inexpensively and finding some investors of capital. I have a few craft shows I want to enter and start an advertising campaign that all cost money!

Lately the car Gods have been angered, my truck will not be fixed for a while because of the cost. Now my wife’s car has had three issues consecutively and we just don’t have the money to fix it. We also can’t live without it…

Enjoying shop time again

Since my last relapse, I have really struggled to back to where I was in my recovery. One of the things that truly angered me was my inability to enjoy my time in the workshop. I continued force myself to to work, and was able to, but got little to no enjoyment out of what I loved to do.

After talking to my healthcare provider and adjusting my medication, I am happily enjoying my shop time. Years ago my buddies would call me ‘This Old Vincent’. Combining, This Old House, and Norm Abrams, analogies. I was always building something or working in the shop. While I was out in the shop the other day it just popped into my head I had a little laugh. Then I started thinking about some of the good old days and I noticed I was actually smiling to myself! Even though some of the guys have passed, I remembered them from those times. I miss them dearly and wish they were still here, but I am happy for the time they were in my life.

Mostly I  have been doing some turning. It’s starting to get really hot in there and I have limited power. I am working on fixing that so I can get an air conditioner going. I have been having some luck with selling lately, and  I am looking into some more ways to market. I’m really trying to get this venture moving forward. I’ve accepted a part time job that should start within a month or so. Working with 17 to 21 year old kids transitioning out of fostercare into independent living. The main focus will be cooking their meals but I will get to teach them some cooking skills.

 

Back from the never

So… It’s been a few weeks since last I’ve written. I’ve been on a trip. It was not planned, nor expected. I’ve been to that place again, you know the place. It’s the one we try never to speak of. Because if we mention it…

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Felt as if I was trapped in hell, every day was the same. Suffering and despair, nothing to look forward to or be excited about. I was unable to be around people again. I felt lost! In some ways I still do. My will is broken, I don’t feel like I have made any progress at all. I went from a program that was focused my depression and anxiety but still dealt with the alcohol addiction, to a substance abuse focused program. I know I have a problem with that, and  I am not ignoring it, but depression and anxiety are beating the shit out of me.

I still haven’t had a drink since Christmas, but I need a day or two of not feeling like I do right now. Working in my shop is not even giving me any relief. I can’t even get out of my head for an hour, all the things I’ve done and didn’t do keep going through my mind. Mistakes I’ve made. Wrong choices. So many bad decisions I can’ get past. It’s hell alright, a hell I’ve made for myself and I’m my own punisher.

Still, I’m trying to work my way through this relapse. I haven’t given up at all yet. I’m still going to get better, this is no way to live.

 

Committed! Should I or not?

Should I be committed? It’s something I’ve been thinking been thinking a lot about lately. No, I’m not talking about an institution! I’m talking about committing to this venture I’ve started. I have a track record of starting things with great intentions, but when things didn’t start happening right away I became discouraged and gave up.

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Since entering treatment for anxiety and depression I have been expressed to many inspiration quotes and sayings. Their use in recovery was very beneficial, and still is. I’m sure I’m not alone in that while in recovery for depression, I started to evaluate my life in general. Woodworking has always made me happy. Thinking about doing it for a living started giving me a sense of purpose i had lost or forgotten. Knowing how I’m great at starting but not great following through, it was tough convincing my wife. Having a disability made it a little easier, in that, I really can’t work more than three hours without having to sit for an hour.

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I started playing with ideas and came up with the name Serenity Shop. Looking around online and finding there were a lot of them, I added Woodworking. Serenity Shop Woodworking was born. Now I have the name, a good idea, and a plan, wait, I don’t have a plan! Shit! How do I not have a plan? Although I have started a couple other endeavors, I really never worked a business plan. Which could be the reason I was discouraged and walked away. Where do I start? What do I need to include? Time to do some more research.

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Research completed, I came up with a pretty solid plan, now it’s time to implement. Once you have all your ducks in a row, what’s next? Well, that’s where the hard work and perseverance come in. Now is the beginning of the journey. Time to take all those positive sayings and motivational poster and put them to use! One of the three things I heard that struck a chord with me was in an interview with the actor Will Smith. In it he said “Success is developing the habit of doing the things that most people either won’t or don’t want to do. When other people are sleeping, I’m working.” He also said “If you want something  go get it, period!”

Working with what you have

Being relatively new in business or actually just trying to establish myself, I need to be as frugal as possible. Utilizing every bit of the materials I have on hand is very important to maximizing any profit I may earn. Waste of any kind is not acceptable. You must become creative at coming up with small projects so even scraps can be potential profit.

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Live edge Black Walnut

Something as innocuous as an off cut less than three feet long and ten inches wide at the widest.(Pictured above) Can be turned into something useful and beautiful like a hall/entrance shelf. Adding some hooks for keys and hats would make it very useful. I put a contrasting maple skirt and brackets under the walnut shelf. I am still making the pegs fit the keys. They will be turned from scrap walnut glued into the skirt. It will be finished with lacquer.

Business card holders I make from even smaller scrap pieces. My goal is to waste little of the material as I possibly can. Starting out with this habit and continuing as I grow will do nothing but help the bottom line.

Fly Fishing Trip

Coming into sight as he breaks through the trees

Looking more refreshing than the cool spring breeze

He’s been waiting for this weekend since the New Year

This year’s first fly fishing trip alone has finally gotten here

Surveying the bank for just the right spot

All the time hoping his flies make the bite hot

 Lookingout around the stream he sees the hatch

Grabbing for the fly box to find the perfect match

He ties his fly and wades out to make the cast

Splashing his face with water he’s fishing at last

 Stripstrip strip deftly working his fly down the stream

Wathcing for the rise just like in his last nights dream

 Anothercast another try the fly goes out into the water

He sees the flash the rise the line goes tight CAUGHT HER

Coming into sight as he breaks through the trees

Looking more refreshing than the cool spring breeze

He’s been waiting for this weekend since the New Year

This year’s first fly fishing trip alone has finally gotten here

Surveying the bank for just the right spot

All the time hoping his flies make the bite hot

Looking out around the stream he sees the hatch

Grabbing for the fly box to find the perfect match

He ties his fly and wades out to make the cast

Splashing his face with water he’s fishing at last

Strip strip strip deftly working his fly down the stream

Wathcing for the rise just like in his last nights dream

 Another cast another try the fly goes out into the water

He sees the flash the rise the line goes tight CAUGHT HER

 

Celebrating some victories

Early stage recovery often deals with pain and hard work, sometimes relapse. Taking the time to acknowledge the good things are very important to sustaining recovery. Some of my first little wins were getting out of bed, going to program, and then starting to be productive again.

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As recovery progresses the wins become a little bigger. Two weeks ago I was easily able to fight off the urge to drink. I had the thought, accepted it, and asked myself why I wanted to drink. I had gotten some crummy news regarding disability and I wanted to escape the sadness. Just taking the time to step back and think about it gave me time I needed to get passed the craving. Wins don’t always need to be recovery related I had entered a social media contest from http://www.Rockler.com. Thank you! I won two of these LED 4′ Shop Lights http://www.rockler.com/4-led-shop-light.

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Recovery is dependent upon choices, choosing to accept help, choosing life, choosing to grow, choosing to be mindful. Understanding the choices we made in the past got us to this point in time, and that no matter how bad it was, you are not your disease or addiction. You are making the choice to be here in the present, not regretting the past, and not waiting for the future. You are here every day, one day at a time. Accepting what is, who you are now, and learning how to cope with things in new healthy ways. Life is good!

Thankful for today!

Reaching out to my target

Trying to identify my target audience is a nearly impossible feat. Being that I don’t have a concrete structure I am writing about. I have different targets for different posts. What it all boils down to is being able to keep the shop afloat.

Although it may sound relatively simple, sell products to earn income. My true purpose is more than making money. I would be lying if I said that was not a driving force. Supplies, tools, lumber, electricity all cost money. To accomplish my goal of helping people deal with anxiety, depression, and PTSD through woodworking the shop needs to be sustainable.

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Getting organized

Now you see I’m up to three possible targets-customers, woodworkers, and people looking for recovery. Therefore I have to ask who is my target audience and what is my main platform? Do I need to have just one targeted audience? Are there rules that state I must conform to one area of interest? My answer to that is, hell no! This is our place, I’m going to keep doing what I have been and would love to get some input from you.

Writing has become somewhat of a passion for me. Apparently something that was sitting dormant inside of me waiting to be realised. Once in recovery, journaling awakened my words. Putting this out on the internet was scary as hell at first. What are people going to think? Who is going to read it? What am I going to do when I see these people again? After the first few posts I started gaining confidence. Then I was hooked, it became something necessary for me to continue. Not only do I enjoy talking about the work in the shop but the journey to recovery has been some of the easier posts to write.

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Stay golden Pony Boy

Taking this picture I remember thinking “Wow, this is pretty cool.” It was a nice summer night I had probably had more than a few beers and didn’t truly see it the way I do now. Now I know I was looking out towards the airport across the street, the sun was about two minutes from fully setting, and the colors of reddish gold remind me of the scene in the movie the Outsiders with Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Matt Dillon.

Completed projects

Finally got back to work! Made more than a few cutting boards and have them listed on Etsy. I’m really starting to enjoy my time in the shop again. Just making some items and listing them for sale gives me that sense of accomplishment.

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Black Walnut burl approximately 12″ x 15″ x 1″

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11½” Diameter Oak and Maple cheese/serving board.

The link to the store on Etsy is here-  http://etsy.me/1rT. I have a few items for sale. If you see anything you like you can purchase it here by making a donation in the amount of 10% off the Etsy price of the item. Email me and I will ship it at no extra cost. See the donate link in the sidebar.

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10″ x 13″ x ¾” oak and maple serving board.

Getting back on track after these setbacks in recovery are very crucial to my long term health. Being able to analyze the way I felt the last week is a huge step forward. It was not a complete relapse, but mainly a flu that caused some feelings of depression and anxiety. Before starting recovery this would have lasted for two or three weeks opposed to six days. So the progress is there and measurable!

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Oak and Maple serving board

I’m up to ten followers and a bunch of likes! You guys are all awesome! When I started writing this blog I never thought anyone would even read it, let alone follow me. Thank you all so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate the words as well as reading your blogs. I get inspiration from your stories and from the poetry. You are all very talented!

Thanks for listening and tell me what you think, be honest I’m a big boy.

Positive thoughts lead to positivactions. -Me