Published January 2014.

January 2014: Painting the City

As a newcomer, he had AA and a backpack of spray paint. Now he’s a GSR and his life is full color

The thing that scared me so much about AA was that I thought once I joined, I’d lose myself and become a mindless automaton. I’d be on the corner telling people the “good news,” and I’d have to let go of all the things that I enjoyed. I’d have to cut my hair and stop listening to music. No cure could be worth that, I thought. Better to die as myself, with dignity.

But AA has taught me that I can be whatever I want to be in sobriety. My first sponsor said that I can do anything in AA, as long as I’m willing to pay the consequences. He told me that as long as I listened to that still, small voice and was honest with myself, my path would become clear. I remember being a youngster, newly sober, with a backpack full of spray paint, painting the city. At that time, I felt like it was the right thing for me to do: I was beautifying the ghetto, adding color and love to the daily grind and commute of my fellow man. I was practicing the principles as best I could at the time. Eventually that lifestyle became uncomfortable. I was growing. My love of street art transferred to music, and I became a DJ. As a DJ, I’d find God within the groove of the vinyl; I meditated to the beat.

-- Jason K.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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