All Photographs + Text Copyright 2012 Christopher Keeley

The Rolls Royce of Awareness.

Having the disease of Addiction and finding recovery is an amazing process. The farther you go down the road of active addiction is also paralleled in the collation of the progression of happiness found in the acceptance of one's own dilemma. The worse it got in active addiction, the better gratitude for life will be. I could go on and on about how my life was, and where it is today, but that's another story. I was driving to work, and in front of me was a silver baby blue Rolls Royce automobile with vanity plates inscribing the name and number, HLB 1. Two men were in the front seat. I was thinking, where is he going on this glorious day at 7:00 a.m. Is he going to make more money, lobby for some criminal capitalistic environmentally hazardous company, or visit some war criminal incompetent puppet, with similar initials? He obviously hasn't fixed his money habit yet. The car was sweet. I would drive it to the Whole Foods grocery store if I had one. Always wanted one, and a Rolls Royce in any color will do.

I then looked up at the sky and saw this amazing pink sky with fluttering clouds. The Washington Monument was in the background and my thoughts would bring me to the last terrible four years that have been brought upon us by an evangelical knucklehead from Texas and the Supreme Court. An awakening of the spirit springs upon me like a chilling emotional rush, because my unrealistic dreams of being filthy rich vanished, as I was appreciating the new day dawning before my eyes. My gratitude shined through, as I was heading to my horrendous job consisting of dealing with the neglected and child abuse system of Washington DC. The broken system that is micro managed by narcissistic judges, and bottom of the barrel attorneys seeking to milk the district of all of its valuable resource dollars that havenÕt already been wasted away, while most children languish away in a bureaucratic system that is an utter failure. Like a corporate Hummer crushing a welfare VW bug at the gas pump. Then I see a Mercedes Benz with the Vanity tags displaying the slogan Yale 51. I see this as a sign from God, because my Dad was class of 1951 at Princeton University. Yale is Princeton's rival school. My mother's father went to Yale and had a drawing of a dead tiger (PrincetonÕs mascot) hanging in the living room of his fishing lodge in the Catskill Mountains, where I am now heading to relieve all that stress I accumulate from my job.

Many people think I stick it out at my current job because I am a dedicated advocate for the disenfranchised. I stick it out because I lack the motivation and skills in navigating the ever-changing job-hunting market. I can't imagine any other social work job paying the decent salary that I get. Many ask why I am not a photographer. I say I am an award-winning photographer. I need an agent. This social work gig is just a hobby. Some people also in my field who have left our Agency believe that I am addicted to the stress and unmanageability, as well as the total unpredictability of the job. It's amazing how each and every day is filled with crisis, malfunction, avoidance of responsibility, and resistance. Who is being negative? It's a paycheck and I don't have to work in a broken system.

I am sitting at our dam, which is a little pool digger, on the East Branch of the Neversink River, and I see something flash by. I am meditating, feeling extremely grateful for having such a tranquil place to visit. Becoming one with nature, living in the here and now, I suspect the flash of light I see is just a leaf falling over the falls. Then I see it again, and it looks like a native brook trout jumping. My first thought was fishing season is over, itÕs Halloween, and itÕs too cold for the trout to be eating insects. I watch for two more minutes, and it is a trout making that spawning leap to climb and fly up over the rushing falls. The trout's brave attempt in succeeding against all odds to overcome this spawning challenge, in this miraculous successful endeavor makes a very big impression. I am immediately encouraged about my own miraculous endeavors. I start to think maybe I could live in the Catskill Mountains and have a peaceful life.

The whole point of this story was to write about recovery from addiction, my life being powerless over my addiction, and that my life is unmanageable. A friend told me that a very cute, sexy girl is in love with me. Another friend is going out with her. I share my new possible romance with another friend who has tons of experience in relations with motorcycle tramps, titty bar strippers, call girls, dancers, and an assortment of other excitement seeking type women. I am told based on his experience not to use the woman, like I used drugs. I am not going to help her out of her underwear; I should rather help her to stay clean and alive.

Recovery from addiction is a life and death matter. It's not a smorgasbord of life's pleasures and vulnerable young women. Recovery has lots of opposites; it's either with us or against us. The action in the first step of recovery leaves the responsibility up to us. We make the decision for recovery. When we make that decision we are relieved of the obsession and compulsion for that fix of immediate gratification. That orgasmic rush of coming like a volcano inside her vagina.

Many people new to recovery play sexual head games. The miracle of recovery takes a lot of hard work, and good decisions, some through trial and error. I could learn from othersÕ mistakes, but most often I learn from my own. I have a choice today; I try to solve problems and not create them. Those of us who are blessed with recovery are able to make choices, some of them spontaneous, but overall recovery has to come first. Through the understanding and practical application of spiritual principles I am stuck with the moral dilemma of understanding my reality, and am able to eliminate all impediments to my recovery. I can understand the reality of a situation, and not get caught up in the madness of another addictÕs madness.

Once you act out on an obsession, impulsive thought, compulsive action, there is no room for responsibility in recovery. We say one is too many and a thousand never enough. It's a subtle relapse that can carry itself away. Recovery is a save your ass program. The newly vulnerable woman is the lifeblood of the program, and she is going to have to save herself, without my taking advantage of the situation.

As one friend put it, women new to recovery, or men for that matter, are sick and wounded individuals trying to make the most important decision in their lives. Their purpose in life, or mine, is not to make my dick drained. My serenity is more important, now that we are rewired. Addiction isn't only about drugs; it's about the dog track, pursuing whatever fixes us, nutty shitty stuff. I have to write the list about what I am powerless over.

Pussy, I have to write pussy down twice, because that's a big one, pussy, fast cars, stolen goods, strung out on pussy, love to gamble, Heroin. Anything that's going to fix me, drink booze, smoke tobacco, overeat, feel calm, two milkshakes. Working 80 hours. It's not ok to use that aspect of my addiction. It's the whole ball of wax, the whole nine yards. Not to rationalize the first one. The first one gets me, the first usage, picking up that hooker, the newly recovered scooter tramp, or stripper finding their way to recovery is extremely tempting. Wanting to save them with my great knowledge and unconditional love. I know better. Or to escape pain, by eating two bowls of ice cream, blimping up to 380 pounds. Our surrender and acceptance gets us through addiction. That's where it begins on this life-long journey. The innocuous pattern. To see it, believe in the process, the whole mentality of accepting our illness, and our recovery, is by putting the condition to rest, by our total surrender and our complete acceptance of this deadly disease called addiction.

We are outcasts in society. When we find recovery, addiction is our common bond. It doesn't matter what brought us to our knees, the desolate desperation. What matters is when we hear the message and the light switch goes on. The amazing process of recovery. It starts with identification. We all know about addiction. We all know about the disease; we don't know everything about recovery. Total abstinence also includes all those negative behaviors that used to fix us. Now some people may need psychiatrists and take pills, they may have a wiring problem, wouldn't want them to plot my murder. Some may need to get to the point, so they can hear the message, and the flashlight comes on. They may have totally fucked up their nervous system. I do know for myself complete abstinence is what works. Someone may need Methadone for 90 days, but not nine years. Some ÒcrackheadÓ may need some anti-anxiety/antidepressant drug, but the most powerful tool is another clean addict to show them the way.

Our disease is what drives us. My total happiness and well-being is dictated by how my life fits into the world around me. Am I living up to the principles and value system, which I am defining for myself? I make plans and I don't plan outcomes. It doesn't matter what I took or how I got here. What matters is my acceptance of that powerlessness and unmanageability. The quality of a personÕs recovery is proportionate to the spiritual condition. Fitting in the world around me, enjoying life and the total freedom of recovery. I may not fit in society, but I am a part of a society enjoying life to the fullest.

I am not in a niche. I am in my own niche, making my own rules according to my value system. It will not run counter to other people. It is harmonious, practical, and fits in the world around me. One addict helping another, not one addict fucking another. We are here to save each other's lives. We come in despair and desperation, coming out of hell looking for something to fix us. We are not always ready to stop everything, ready to recover. My true blue gratitude happens when I am able to care and share the hope of recovery with a person enthusiastic about finding a new way to live. When I got home this evening, a white dove was at the doorstep of my condominium. It looked like a pigeon, but was actually a dove. Another sign to keep me aware.

Chris in the throughs of addiction while still having a good time.

  • Chapters of the Paradise Life Book

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  • journal september 1995

  • Catskill Mountains Photographs - Trees - Spiritual gathering place cultivating a heightened awareness of the connectedness of, and spiritual essence in, all things. A Journey outside ordinary time and space into a parallel reality.


  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Moment, Light and Sympony 2007

  • Social Documentary Digital Photographs Indigenous Encounter Divine Moment


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  • Georgetown glimpses of memory January Photographs


  • March on the Capitol to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 2007

    Washington DC

  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 1


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 2


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 3


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 4


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 5


  • March on the Capitol yesterday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq Photographs 6


  • Martin luther King Jr. Holiday Washington DC Photographs


  • Martin luther King Jr. Holiday Photographs Washington DC


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    copyright 2007 Le Poulin
    © Le Poulin 2007
    New York City Angelina + Brad
    peace and love Edward

    New York City

  • Chris at the Argo Bar drinking a Tuborg soda water wearing a WaxTrax t-shirt circa 1991

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    -- HON. TOM LANTOS ( November 02, 1990)

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