Wow. I just realized something. In a few months… I’m free.
This requires some back story.
In January of 2014, I got a DUI. I blame nobody but myself; it was my own damned fault, and it led me to take a long, hard look at my life. It’s been educational; I went to jail for the first time ever — I never want to go back there. I realized that even if I’m not sober for life, I have to be very… very carefulwith my consumption. Moderate to the point where total abstinence probably makes the most sense. And along with a lot of other changes, I lost my job.
It was a good job. A high-paying job. I made over $150,000/year as a programmer in a very respected, senior-level position. I was devastated when I lost it. When I lost my job, I sort of… floated for a while. It took me a bit to sober up entirely, and I knew my mobility was going to be very limited for a while, so I looked for a remote/telecommute position — and found one. The job I have now is… well, it’s a job. Nothing particularly exciting. And the pay is a dramatic step down — it’s about $105k. This is still, I understand, a great deal more than most people make, so I don’t complain. I do keep my eyes open for career upgrades — as an extremely skilled, senior-level programmer, I have that luxury, and I’d wager my skillset can command about $150-175k/year — but, I’m in no hurry. I like my job. It’s not terribly demanding.
And I just realized something. For the past year, I’ve been in damage-control mode. I’ve been making sure to stay sober — as the courts required. I’ve had a breathalyzer in my car — as the courts required. I’ve gone to treatment — as the courts required. I’m on probation. I’ve kept my nose clean. In May/June, all that changes. I have to nail down the specific date, but the short answer is, I’ll be out from under the court’s microscope. As long as I stay out of trouble, I’m off probation, I no longer need to go to treatment or AA or anything.
But it gets better; I have a full-time remote job. I can work from anywhere — anywhere with an internet connection, anyway. My employer doesn’t care — as long as I get my work done and am available at meetings, I’m golden. My paychecks are direct-deposited, so the money just “shows up” in my account. I don’t currently do online bill-pay for my utilities, but I easily could. There is nothing really tying me to this location.
In about 3-4 months, I will be free. Yes, I need to take care of my dogs — no problem, they can come on the road with me. I can put a kennel in the back of the Subaru and bring them with me. I’ll stop every couple of hours and let them out to run around and pee and sniff and bark. We’ll all get some exercise together.
And I’ll get a little trailer — the Subaru will pull a small trailer easy enough — and live in it. And I’ll drive the USA. I’ll see it all. Every damned state. Maybe not Alaska (unfortunately I can’t figure out if I’m legally allowed in Canada with a DUI conviction; am I not allowed at all, or just not allowed to drive?) but at least the 48 contiguous states. Hell, who knows, maybe I’ll drive down to South America. There really is no limit; I just need money, food, fuel, and the internet. Me and the girls will see the world — or at least, this part of it.
Before, when I had these dreams, I was drinking. They were just dreams. Now, it can be a reality. Burning Man taught me how to survive on my own in the desert with very, very little in the way of comfort; trust me, a little trailer with a comfy bed and a generator will be the lap of luxury compared to a leaky tent in a playa rainstorm and peeing in an empty tennis ball can. Sure, not every place will have LTE internet, but enough of the US does that the places that don’t… well, I’ll just watch videos stored on my computer, or read books, or program, or play with my dogs, or see the motherfucking world.
In short, I’m free. I have to plan. I have to plot and scheme. I need to acquire or build a trailer worthy of traveling and living in. I need to make sure that the Subaru is good for a many, many thousand mile road trip. I need to take care of my own health and wellbeing (things like healthy eating, exercise, dental care…) There are a million details.
But I know I can do it. I’m smart. I’m healthy. I’m sober. I’m relatively well to-do. And… I’m free.