"Finding Community in Denver" with Kristin Macintyre (MFA)

October 23, 2022 Joe Van Wie / Kristin Macintyre Season 2 Episode 36
"Finding Community in Denver" with Kristin Macintyre (MFA)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Kristin Macintyre grew up in New York before moving to Pennsylvania to get sober in 2010. After twelve years of sobriety, Kristin has moved to the foothills of the Rockies, earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University, and started her own business as a copywriters for online business owners. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Today we discuss how the relationship with recovery communities works in the beginning,  and their  symbiotic effect on one when re-establishing yourself in another state. 


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Joe Van Wie  0:04  
Hello, and thanks again for listening to another episode of all better. I'm your host, Joe van we. Today's guest is from Colorado coming in from the Rockies. Her name is Kristen McIntyre. Kristen grew up in New York, before moving to Pennsylvania to get sober in 2010. After 12 years of sobriety, Kristen has moved to the foothills of the Rockies. There, she earned her Master's in fine arts and creative writing from Colorado State University, started her own business. As a copywriter for online business owners. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. What we talked about today is starting, recovery, immersed in a community, and then leaving that community after getting on your feet and recovery, and how to rebuild another one, and then another community. And then as your interests change, how to your communities change, and long term sobriety is something we kind of stumbled on talking about. So let's meet first. I, well, I gave you an intro, and it's gonna be a bio I haven't read yet, but you haven't said. But we're here with my friend from Denver, Kristen McIntyre. Kristen, thanks for coming on.

Kristin Macintyre  1:30  
Thanks for having me, Joe. Happy to be here.

Joe Van Wie  1:33  
I always have this fear. When you know, it's a friend coming on, we start chatting beforehand. Like, you know, 1015, sometimes 20 minutes. I'm like, is that everything that I could talk about? Everything that was interesting. But those conversations are so shorthand, you know, pick it up until you're on a podcast that no one will probably follow what you're wrapping up.

Kristin Macintyre  2:00  
Where we were just chatting. Yeah, yeah.

Joe Van Wie  2:04  
So how's it going? How are the Rockies?

Kristin Macintyre  2:09  
The Rockies are good. You know, they're still here. And they're beautiful, as always. But life is good in Denver and haven't been back to PA in a little bit. But hopefully I get to make it to Scranton, the next next bit.

Joe Van Wie  2:24  
Well, I want to talk about what brought you to there. And just for a little summary background, you grew up in Staten Island?

Kristin Macintyre  2:36  
That's correct. Yes. I was born in Santa Ana, New York. And I lived there until my early 20s

Joe Van Wie  2:43  
to early 20s. How would you summarize that experience, like hindsight now, from this point of view, looking back, doing doing 20? in Staten Island?

Kristin Macintyre  2:55  
Yeah, my goodness. Well, to be fair, all of my experience in active addiction and inactive alcoholism happened there, like in my young adulthood. And the reason why I came to Pennsylvania and Scranton in particular was to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. So to sum up, my experience, you know, in style, and it was it was really full of it was it was an act of addiction time for me. So it was full of self centeredness. And a lot of life blunders that I remember now.

Joe Van Wie  3:36  
To just pry a little bit what, at what age was using alcohol or any other drugs so profound that you're like, you found something? And what did you find? Like why why did you think addiction rose out of that?

Kristin Macintyre  3:53  
Yeah. Oh, my gosh, what a good question. Um, for me, I started using alcohol and and substances. I think around just like every time a typical teenager around 1415 Sure, hanging out with friends, of course, which is almost everybody's story. And very quickly, that that kind of unraveled into something that was completely unmanageable. And I lived in that kind of unmanageability for five or six years until I was in my, my early 20s. And things just, you know, it really took me to my knees. What I found that kind of kept me there was really, I think, just a sense of relief. A sense of not needing to be bothered with too much around me not needing to connect with people. I was a very kind of self centered, alcoholic and drug addict as others, as others tend to be So it was it was really just mostly self indulgence,

Joe Van Wie  5:04  
would you? Would you ever characterize or describe it as like, I hear it often do you relate to people it's like, it is almost like finding a medication, even though it's, you know, being the knee braided, or drunk from the age of 15 to 14 feels like an act of deviance. But to me looking back from this perspective, it almost looks like a medication was introduced to my life. And I don't know if all people especially in early sobriety you you've see this make the connection that some people addiction is a treating something a pain that might have already been there.

Kristin Macintyre  5:45  
Yeah, I think I can definitely, that definitely resonates. It wasn't medicine in a sort of way. It's interesting to look back and try to kind of parse what that medication was healing, like, Why did I need that? You know, what, why was so comforting? Why was that kind of a refuge? And I really think it was a medication for not feeling like I belonged. And not not finding meaning in in the world, which is kind of a tragedy. Yeah, like that.

Joe Van Wie  6:24  
Yeah, you know, it doesn't sound cliche to me anymore, because I didn't grow up around recovery using the word connection. So or maybe it just didn't mean as much as it does to me. What disconnected feels like, you know, we're looking at hindsight, the beginning of an adolescence you're out, but to be disconnected meant, as a human being, is, it's profoundly destructive. And why wouldn't a drug be like, like, the way I hear, you know, smart clinicians describe it the bonding that I was looking for happened with a drug and alcohol and I'm like, you know, sometimes 12 Step organizations to reduce you don't hear that kind of language complexity in a meeting, like in a blue collar town. Yeah, but that's I bound it with pot a bond it with alcohol, I found it with cocaine. And it helped make me feel like my personality was okay.

Kristin Macintyre  7:23  
Yeah. You Yeah, you're reminding me a little bit of something I came across in a in an Emerson essay, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who's a American essayist. He talks about, you know, he says, the reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps is because man is just united with himself. Yeah. And I think when you feel that when you feel disunited, for yourself, even if you can't put your your with yourself, even if you can't put your finger on it, that that makes reaching for a drink or reaching for a substance, just kind of the next obvious obvious step. That's that's the medication. That's that's what it's kind of fixing.

Joe Van Wie  8:09  
I agree. I know that statement. Well, and it's, it creates, you know, this its own caveat, like this paradox for me that we're Where does my sovereignty lie versus the world? Like, where do I distinctly think I am consciously, like, I didn't ask that when I was younger, but I can feel it intuitively. Like it was almost my existence was fraudulent. Like the my relationship with other people wasn't sincere. There wasn't a fiber to it. But when I was drunk, that stuff disappeared when when drinking worked, and there was, you know, say, the romantic periods of what drinking can do for someone. It's really profound. I felt like what I thought other people were feeling like, when I didn't have that I felt this disjoined if it wasn't in the, you know, the way you would express feeling less than low self esteem. I didn't see the difference between the world and myself. The world had a profound effect on me if something was happening in the world, it's happening to me if something's happening to me, the world sucks. I heard someone say the example once, if they woke up and the whole room was blurry. They go downstairs, the whole rooms outsides blurry, but no point would a reasonable person think the world went blurry. They would think there was an issue with their eyes when someone has trauma or addiction, that that logic, it's hard to convey to them. You know, the world might not suck your minds in pain. So the world looks horrible. But if your mind gets better, the world changes.

Kristin Macintyre  9:54  
Oh, my God, that's so good. Yes, yes. I mean, that resonates so much and I thinks this is kind of dovetailing a little bit into a writer and a spiritual teacher that I had some experience with in early recovery, who made all the difference for me. And that was Anthony de Mello. And I know that that you've read awareness by him to Joe, two years ago. Yeah, it's been a while for me to I haven't revisited that book in some time. But Anthony de Mello really introduced me to this type of thinking, like the things that you were just saying, where the world doesn't, doesn't have to throw you for a loop all the time, you know, the world doesn't have to be this thing that bends or reacts or kind of treats you how you think, you know, you should treat it or how it should react to you. And that's kind of a form of selfishness that I think the alcoholic really suffers from, we ask everybody around us almost to do how we would have them do behave, or we have them behave or the world be how we would have it be. And when it doesn't respond to that, which of course it doesn't. That feels personal. And Anthony de Mello helped me kind of parse that it's certainly not personal, you know, and you can take back that power. And I found great relief in that.

Joe Van Wie  11:27  
Yeah, we jumped around. And I don't need to have to pin it to your story, but you got sober. And you get the initial help, which, you know, to a clinician looks like cognitive behavioral therapy, and introduction to spirituality, through exercise in the 12 steps, confronting the life of what we'd call resentment and pain. And you did that here in Scranton, so your addiction is frozen in time, essentially, in Staten Island. And scramble is about a rebirth. Well, how long are we in Scranton?

Kristin Macintyre  12:11  
You know, it feels like I was there so long, because it's such a significant time in my life. And I think I spent three years in this grand community.

Joe Van Wie  12:21  
Wow. And what did that look like? What kind of what were the bonds that were made? You know, you live a life where you want to change, you wanted to change? What was the community here like, because we were initially talking that we would bullshit around what communities the impact of a community does. So you have a community that matched your addiction, you're now separated from that you're in Scranton, you've gone to treatment, you're living with other sober people? What does that look like for three years?

Unknown Speaker  13:01  
It looks like a lot of uncomfort. And it looks like a lot of learning.

Kristin Macintyre  13:10  
Yeah, it was it was certainly a time of of growth of like really learning how to be in the world without reaching for those substances to kind of quell or quiet that that inner disunity, right, so you take that band aid away. And then the the alcoholic or the or the adage, really has to confront their problem, which is that we don't, I'll speak for myself, I didn't feel like I belonged very well, anywhere. I hadn't found that sense of belonging yet. And being around a community of others who were really suffering from that same thing. And also just trying to figure it out. really started to heal that for me as I started to feel like I belonged with all those people who felt like they didn't belong, you know, and it kind of an odd turn of events. That was the first type of community that I really held dear to my heart that it pulled me out of that self centeredness, just enough for me to find meaning in the world. And that blossomed from there.

Joe Van Wie  14:18  
So looking back at that now, and I don't know the answer, I was trying to figure it out. Sometimes for myself, some things feel like when I look back at them, and I'm being honest, I don't know if I could tell the difference if something happened to me. Or did I choose sobriety because I've chose sobriety and it's failed. And then other times really good things just happened to me. Like no matter how I feel like it do you have that? Do you relate to that? Like your experiences? SCRAN Was it something that happened to you or did you choose it?

Kristin Macintyre  14:54  
I actually think about this quite often and I don't know II Either I, I don't know. It's so difficult. And I think the reason why it's difficult is because it's so nuanced. And I think it's a little bit of everything right? It's a little bit of, of you choosing it, and it's a little bit of things happening to you. And it's, it's pretty gray. But um, yeah, I don't know what the mechanism is, like in the brain or in your mind. No, I don't know what that switches on, wherein you be, you kind of let the alcoholic disunity fall away, so to speak. And you and you take those first steps into a brand new life? I don't know what the mechanism is that that kind of pushes somebody over that small threshold, because I have also tried to choose sobriety right, or, or choose something or trying to be better and fail miserably at

Joe Van Wie  15:55  
it. If you're a proponent of stimuli, like simulation theory, or some kind of matrix scenario is we're trapped in some kind of fraud, any flaws, maybe cognitively, we're choosing things, or we can tell ourselves that to accept, we might be just downloading new software. We're going from das addictions das and recoveries is Windows 94. And if you want to grow spirituality, past windows 94, you're gonna have to do more to upgrade like Google Chrome. Now, you could think like Google Chrome.

Kristin Macintyre  16:35  
I have heard you talk about this theory, for a decade plus. plus for me, I mean, do you love this theory? Um, I don't know, maybe it is just a simulation. But what's kind of coming up? And what I'm kind of thinking about is,

Unknown Speaker  17:00  
I think

Kristin Macintyre  17:02  
the point is that it's important to keep trying, it's important to keep wanting to be better, it's important to keep trying to be better, it's important to keep remembering that there is something on the other side of that, you know, addiction which is destructive, right? And it often boils down to a matter of life and death where the alcoholic or the addict and to keep trying, because I don't know what the mechanism is, like we're talking about, I don't know what makes sobriety works for me, either. Yeah.

Joe Van Wie  17:36  
You described it is like going on, like, something goes online. And it's a different perspective. Because my perspective gets real limited, especially if I'm in pain, or I'm anxious, like, I see the worst and things and I don't want to be there because I I don't see the difference when I feel better. The same exact scenario is could be right in front of my face. I could be facing the same things that are making me anxious and then they're not. So it really goes to what there is a shortcut. And, you know, we'll get I wanted to get to what you're talking about with Anthony de Mello. His books titled awareness, and you know, he he's a unique guy because he's, he's, he's a trained Jesuit. That's that's schooling for 13 years and the Society of Jesus and physics, mathematics theology. Then he departs because his heritage is Hindu, which is a really far deeper an ancient religion than Christianity and nuance and beautiful traditions of mindfulness that Catholics or Protestants don't have in the forefront of their practice. He leaves what I can essentially see is the society and his kind of his own teacher in this hybrid of Buddhism. This book, which I knew you were, you know, at the third year, you're helping girls you're you're doing service work, you're taking people through the steps. You did you you shared this book with a lot of the people you were helping and what what motivated you to do that?

Kristin Macintyre  19:13  
Oh, totally, um, I would buy extra copies, I still have a stack of them. And I'm because I it was so meaningful to me this book. And there's nothing truly epiphanic about the book, there's no like, epiphany that Anthony de Mello has that nobody else in the world has. It's just out of use information hit me at a particular time that I was ready to receive it. And the teachings were quite simple, you know, very, very simple. The idea that you don't have to get things to be happy, there's nothing missing from your life to be happy, but rather that you have to let some some some ideas of happy Notice that you have fall away, right? You have to relinquish stuff rather than get stuff. That was just revolutionary for me, I, I encountered that idea I really loved that idea. And I think that a lot of the teachings that Anthony de Mello talks about in awareness in particular, and in another book, I think it's called the way to love really coincide with all the stuff that we talked about in recovery. It's really all the same stuff just put a little bit differently. And, and yet the those things are meaningful to me. What about you, Joe? Anything stick out from the ball for you? Well, yeah,

Joe Van Wie  20:38  
it did. I felt like I, I was lost for a long time. And what I mean by that is that a version of me morally speaking, ethically, pure curiosity, to be a serious kind of not intellectual, but just a curious kind person was laid waste to because I was I was in so much pain, and some of them a lot of it was manufactured by myself, too. I'm reading this and I forgot what it's like to be playful with life. I had grief, I was experiencing loss, I'm going broke, terrified, and I only feel like I could tolerate life with a mind numbing drunk or on narcotics. And, you know, removed for that for six months. I'm getting through kind of the panic that I'm gonna be I'm in, I'm committed to sobriety, I want to be alive. I read this book. And I forgot you've actually give this to people. I'm picking it up. And I'm like, I know this book. I think I read it in college. I read that book. And like you said, I can't point to anything I remember. Like, I can't quote it. But for the next two months, I there was something profound happened to me. And I started reading more stuff. I forgot what curiosity felt like, regardless of my situation that my life can have, I can take a view of my own life from the sky. I don't have to be stuck in what's going on with Joe, we'll step back and take a look. Hey, man, this is a bigger story. Take it easy. You're chasing stuff into like a snare. I'm running into snares because of what I thought would create happiness. I knew that stuff wouldn't create happiness when I was 18. Like, where did that get that gets lost. So cynicism takes over. And I was that's what woke up on me. When I read that book again. I was like, Holy shit, I want to I want to be a good guy.

Kristin Macintyre  22:46  
Yeah, you said you said a word about, I think about sometimes too, which is, to be curious, right to, to, to be interested to want to know more to, to want to learn to explore, those things were very absent for me in active addiction and an act of alcoholism. They didn't really exist, which wasn't the world's fault, right? It wasn't what was happening around me. It was my relationship to those things. I wasn't interested that curiosity that wonder, right, that kind of like childlike playfulness, those things weren't a part of my life. And when I got sober, slowly, but surely, I mean, I've been sober for 12 and a half years at this point, and I still discovering, you know, new ways to be curious. And to wonder. And that's the point of it all, isn't it? Like that's, that's a? Yeah. So that.

Joe Van Wie  23:51  
Stay on that. That's started to hear, obviously, and let's talk about a formally it started with a return to academic school here. Did you know what you want it to study in? Like, year two, so where you jump back into school?

Kristin Macintyre  24:10  
Yes, I did. That was a part of my curiosity and my kind of ambition coming back online. I've always really enjoyed English literature classes. I always like to read I like to think about stuff like that literature and writing. And when I was sober, a couple of years, maybe two years, just relearning how to belong in the world again, I decided I wanted to go back to school and finish my degree. I had failed out of college as when then teens 20 something year old, and I wanted to go back to school and get a degree. And that became a great pursuit for me. I loved that challenge. I loved learning. I love country. reading to the to the academic world. And I started that in sprin at a at a junior college at Lackawanna College,

Joe Van Wie  25:08  
to college now, Chris, do you a long time?

Kristin Macintyre  25:13  
A long time? Yes. At Lackawanna College is dear to my heart. And it's great School I finished my my degree in Colorado and then went on to get a Master's in Fine Arts at Colorado State University.

Joe Van Wie  25:30  
So if you don't mind if I shift down a little you move to Colorado? That's a huge moat from Scranton, what drew you to the Rockies? Like? Was it the opportunity of a study in there? And you know, anyone that's drawn to the Rockies? It's kind of it's the environment?

Kristin Macintyre  25:49  
Oh, definitely, um, a couple of things like I think, and again, I'm just going to kind of double back to Scranton was the place where I found out that I still had a lot of life to live, and that I was very intrigued by that. And I was happy about that. And excited by that. And those kinds of thoughts before, when I was an act of addiction. Were intriguing to me. So, so getting newly sober or going back to school. And realizing that I had more experiences to experience so I there are things out there, I was ready to kind of chase that down. The West has always been a place I romanticized. Sure, many folks can kind of relate to that. But being from the East Coast, the West was was some idea that I wanted to be a part of. So I moved in the Rockies,

Joe Van Wie  26:49  
manifest destiny, the pioneer endless cowboy. You finish undergrad there? What was it like establishing yourself, you're three years sober? You're from Manhattan, or Staten Island at three times? These are three major transformations. And then, you know, from 20 in your 20s That's kind of three transformations of establishing yourself and making a community. Can you look back at it? And that's what life's worth? Is that the worth of life to do those things? That's what sobriety is about? How did you do that?

Unknown Speaker  27:33  
Um, well, moving,

Kristin Macintyre  27:37  
like picking up taking yourself and and moving across the country. And I did that with a dear friend of mine. Who you know, well, Joe, her name is Sarah. We we've picked up and moved to Colorado together. So I didn't feel fully alone, I had a friend, a dear friend who was there along the way with me to laugh at the things that went wrong and and you know, to troubleshoot. And I'm very grateful for that. And starting over is scary. Fun. And I'm not quite sure something I have the guts to do again. Oh, it was good. You have to rebuild a lot, right? And remember, keep in mind and when I was leaving was the community that had helped me. Yeah. The things that I was chasing down that curiosity for life. So it was a little bit bittersweet. And it still is a little bit bittersweet, but very necessary, I think. So

Joe Van Wie  28:50  
you didn't you didn't kind of take a break right from undergrad? Like you're now you know, it's maybe what are we looking at a year or two? You went right into graduate studies. You're sober. What What was your What were you envisioning? At the start of graduate school? Like what what was the draw of did you want to be a writer? Teacher? I don't I would never I never asked you. I never.

Kristin Macintyre  29:17  
Yeah, that's a good question. And thanks for thank you for it. Um, I don't know what I wanted to be what I what I was doing, was pursuing something that I found great interest in and if it was kind of harks back harkens back to what you were talking about. Like being curious and finding wonder. I have always always been very very intrigued like, it's just a well of intrigue that doesn't dry out for me it when I think about reading books and writing poems and and, you know, reading essays. I really enjoy that kind of stuff. I find a lot of wonder there. And I kind of latched on to reading and writing as this mechanism that was pulling me further into sobriety and further into my life, right. And I wanted to spend some time studying that thing. So I went to school for three years, I spent three years with a mentor, and wrote a collection of poems and thought about how writing works. And that seems fine.

Joe Van Wie  30:35  
That's that's standard, though. Right? So you're saying three years? That's not a standard? Is this a unique program? Is it more proficient in like a writing mentorship?

Kristin Macintyre  30:45  
Yes. So Master of Fine Arts is a three year master's degree. And it's a terminal degree for creative writer writing. There are some PhDs available for creative writing. Now, they're kind of cropping up, but for a very long time, and still today, having an MFA is considered a terminal degree, if you're

Joe Van Wie  31:04  
sure. Well, so that's a lot of experience of writing. And I just, I'm always curious to, like, pure people driven by pure, like, curiosity, a pure intellectual approach? What, at what point? Like, how are you going to make a return? Like, because that's a ballsy thing to do? You love doing it, and it's what you're drawn to. But you know, you could be stacking up student debt? What what's the end game? Like? Are you are you? Are you always feeling a safety net that you could just land at a school and teach while you're writing? Like, how does an English major I never talked to

Kristin Macintyre  31:45  
you, you hit the nail on the head. And I think, as I was pursuing a master's degree, and as I was really, really just kind of diving headfirst into what I was intrigued by, I had a little bit of there, you know, I didn't ask the questions that I would have asked now being.

Joe Van Wie  32:05  
That's good, because that makes you a real Maverick. And that's people who change the world. Like sometimes the best decisions I made, I was too stupid to see that they were dangerous.

Unknown Speaker  32:16  
Yeah, hindsight, is 2020.

Kristin Macintyre  32:19  
I assumed and was excited by the by the idea that after getting my degree in writing, that I'd be a teacher of writing at the college level. And I did that for a year, and also as a graduate assistant while I was getting my degree. And, and then felt a little bit boxed in, felt trapped in that in that career path. So I've since started my own business and have found different ways to leverage writing skills, but not not not creative writing, in particular.

Joe Van Wie  32:58  
So you start a business, and that's not a common thing that I hear is that I just got a master's in liberal arts, and I'm writing literary arts and, and I gotta be an entrepreneur from this point moving forward. How do you describe to someone, let's start there. You start this business. And that's, that's, that takes Moxie. Everyone loves hearing a story of this. How do you describe your business? What did you start?

Unknown Speaker  33:29  

Kristin Macintyre  33:32  
Well, I'm a copywriter. So I hope other business owners communicate what they do to their audiences. So that's really in a nutshell, I'm kind of the bridge between a business owner and their target market. Lots of times, business owners are really innovative, they have all these great ideas, they're selling products or services that are really, really wonderful. But to get those products to market, and to get them in the hands of folks who can really benefit from them, proves to be quite, quite tough. Yeah, copywriter can come in and help that business owner communicate what they do with their target audience. So that's kind of my business in a nutshell. The, you know, the transition from teacher and writer into business owner was a bit of a mindset shift. But to be honest, I can see so many things that I've been learning from scram, you know, that prepared me need to

Joe Van Wie  34:36  
hear from anyone.

Kristin Macintyre  34:41  
Yeah, it's it's another new adventure, and it's going really, really well. So that's,

Joe Van Wie  34:46  
yeah, congratulations. And when you say, Well, I think I know what you're saying that yeah, I talked to you earlier this year. That very few people get to do that on a start up here. You you've made not only a flourishing business, you have active and prestigious clients that needs your copywriting. Was that a big shift? Last question on that exam? I'm asking I really am curious. I don't know the answer. So you were always drawn to poetry and literature and writing. What was you said it was a mind shift a mindset shift. Did that does cuz there's your writing need to include strategy now that you're not used to maybe like slowing the copy and thinking, Well, what is the target demo? What's their lexicon? Is it uncomfortable to write something? Do you ever feel like you have to dumb something down for a product? Or like, what is this shift? That's a weird land to be writing it? Right?

Kristin Macintyre  35:51  
No, no, I certainly don't feel like that. They're, they're just kind of different muscles, if you will. And they're, there's some, there's some serious crossover between creative writing and connecting, you know, building something creatively. And honestly, that that could be poetry that could be any kind of art that could be music that could be ceramicist and painting, make it creating something requires requires strategy. It requires careful thought it requires troubleshooting. It requires like revising, and zooming out from big picture to small picture, and that totally presents itself in my copywriting work with my clients. It's just a little bit of a different muscle. But But communicating and making and building is definitely what I do professionally, too.

Joe Van Wie  36:49  
Yeah, I guess, you know, it's hard to disconnect, because it does include anything I felt I've done creatively. It always was framed in my strategies. And I don't look at it that way. You don't like to think of it that way all the time, like using that word, especially, you know, say 20 years ago, I would put headphones on my creativity began with a dream or a story I could tell myself. Yeah. And would this be interesting enough to tell someone else? But that strategy strategy in that, yeah, well, yeah, I

Kristin Macintyre  37:23  
guess. Yeah, you're building like you're building like think I think about a poem The same way I think about architecture, you know, there's, there's hidden chords at work, there's there's hidden structure there, there's a purpose to why you put something there or, or why the poet might choose to start a new line. Just as there's purpose in music justice, there's purpose and copywriting. And in that regard, making art is kind of a nice metaphor for, you know, trying to find some order in the chaos and make something meaningful out of nothing. And that that's kind of what we're all doing here.

Joe Van Wie  38:07  
Yeah, why not? What else we got to do? sell insurance? I don't know, am I supposed to. So 12 years in recovery, and, you know, obviously, you're open about your recovery. And to the degrees, you're on a podcast talking about it, which is, I think common more common these days to people that want to not let stigma rise out of any of these scenarios. Recovery is provided, cue grown curiosity that brought you to graduate level studies to take a risk to choose your pure curiosity over what might seem like a standard decision to pick a practical and from that you became an entrepreneur from just following your gut, your sensibilities and your passions, you started a business. So today, 12 years later, what do you do to practice what would be like, you know, self care in the regards to steal, acknowledging, you know, this all arose out of me confronting an addiction in my early 20s. You know, how do you still acknowledge that not is it looks looking back does it look like another life like, how do you acknowledge it so it's, I don't know, affirming or positive today.

Kristin Macintyre  39:28  
It's so funny, it does feel like another life. It does feel like a lifetime ago. I can honestly say that and this happened for me a very long time ago. So I've lived in this space for a while but I do not think about drugs or alcohol. Basically at all those and I believe that's in the the the AAA literature you You know, the promises of really just being free of that burden to just go ahead and live your life without worrying about substances or about alcohol. That's fully true for me. Which is kind of wild, when you think back to that past life of how obsessive you know that compulsion was and how much brain space and how much time and attention and energy I gave to drinking and using substances and 12 and a half years later, it's a fully give no, none of my attention to any of that stuff. It at all, I'm also in a community of a couple of folks who just kind of by coincidence, don't drink. So I really don't put up with a lot of it. One of my very dear friends doesn't drink. It's not an alcoholic, he just chooses not to have my partner Matt doesn't drink. I'm not in a recovery in particular, just, you know, stays away from it. So I'm, I'm really surrounded by things, ideas, or relationships that have absolutely nothing to do with alcohol anymore.

Joe Van Wie  41:13  
And they're saying, and, you know, in your other description, it sounds like you're around people that enjoy being present. To realize, yeah, it's

Kristin Macintyre  41:21  
so lovely. Yeah. Yeah.

Joe Van Wie  41:24  
Beautiful way to live.

Kristin Macintyre  41:27  
Yeah, and I, so it's such a work in progress, just like everybody else. I, you know, I'm still learning who I am, I'm still figuring things out on. Like, deeply, figuring things out. Self Care looks different, depending on what season I'm in. Sometimes I can work a lot, and I forget to go outside, you know, and go enjoy myself. And I definitely found in these, in these last few years, found a lot of comfort in, in nature, which is a little bit cliche, but being able to go outside and be interested in that. find meaning in that is something that I find really common.

Joe Van Wie  42:17  
Yeah, it's universal. Yeah, it's hard to argue against it. And its impact even in clinical settings. Oh, depending on a treatment center for location or any other mental health issues. The connection to the raw environment, I think sheds aside the anxieties, and their neurotic kind of uprisings of what we call modern life that I always take for granted that like, you know, this is normal. We spent hundreds of 1000s of years making decisions only for 30 years of the lifespan that were life or death. And that's our that's our OG home. I don't know getting back there. It wakes something up at the cellular level.

Kristin Macintyre  43:02  
Yeah, for sure. It is. And something else that reminds me of like, just how small I am, which I which I find really lovely is being outside and in particularly in front of what we'd be in this conversation with the rockets the non so as these things that are in general are so big, that you you feel how acutely small you are, and you feel how small your life is. And some people might you might say like, oh, that sounds so strange. No, it's so relieving. You know that there's everything out there working, there is order in the chaos, and I'm just too small to see it sometimes.

Unknown Speaker  43:44  

Joe Van Wie  43:46  
Well, I think that wraps us up towards getting towards an hour or two. And do you have any parting ideas, and I hope this recorded Well, I hate the stream one I gotta check after.

Kristin Macintyre  44:00  
I hope so too, I thought is such a good conversation, um, any parting ideas something that's kind of coming up, that we already talked about, but might be a nice, nice ending note is it is really important to keep trying, even when sobriety doesn't work, and even when it feels impossible, or you don't feel like it's going to you know, shake out in your favor or you don't have the confidence to kind of try again. It's so so important to just show up and and keep trying because what's on the other side is just truly a life that is so so deeply wonderful. That it's, it's, it's worth, it's worth trying for. It's worth showing up for.

Joe Van Wie  44:52  
Well, I liked that idea. And I know you're speaking from experience of, you know, trying and you You've been a very great friend to me and encouraging I had some dark patches. And I just by chance was was able to talk to you your encouragement and kindness to people on addiction. It really did. It helped me limp back into I better, I gotta wake up from this. So that's always appreciative and we're always looking to help another alcoholic or an addict. I mean, that's a debt you just can't repay. Once you from just saying that, you break through that try. There's, there's, there's a bill on the other side, you got to help people forever.

Kristin Macintyre  45:35  
Yeah, and, and truly, that that's the community. That's it. You know, sometimes when we say the word community, I think folks get this idea that they have to be super extroverted, and they have to expend all this social energy to like, quote, unquote, feel like they belong. And that's a big turnoff, but really, the community and the connections are exactly what you were just saying, you know, to alcoholics, who give each other a ring sometimes and are like, Hey, this is what's going on for me and you can show up for each other. Like, it's as simple as that. And that's

Joe Van Wie  46:06  
surrounded by normal people, and they're awful.

Yeah, it's good to have a little subset tribe. And I'm always grateful for the term substance use disorder. And alcoholism, which always seems like the obvious problem at first, but it really creates a brotherhood when you you can identify what that problem is. Your friends for life you do connect, make a connection. That's not cheap.

Kristin Macintyre  46:39  
Priceless friends for life. Absolutely.

Joe Van Wie  46:43  
I'm gonna sign off. Kristen. I'll talk to you soon. And talk to you soon.

Kristin Macintyre  46:54  
Thanks, Joe. Thanks for the chat.

Joe Van Wie  47:00  
I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better to find us on all or listen to us on Apple podcasts. Spotify, Google, podcasts, Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570. Drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober, doesn't mean you're right.

Transcribed by

What brought you to Scranton?
The power of community in recovery.
How do you know if you’ve chosen sobriety or addiction?
What motivated you to read this book?
Kristin's journey from addiction to recovery and back to school.
Being curious and finding wonder in writing.
Creative writing and copywriting as a mindset shift.
What it’s like to live your life without alcohol.
The importance of having a community.