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Madison, WI––A great man, a wise man, a profound man, in 2001, encapsulated the essence of life in song. His name is Jack and he sang:

The road is fuckin’ hard,
The road is fuckin’ tough-ah,
There’s no question that-eh
It is rough, rough stuff.
It’s the fuckin’ road my friend
But it’s the only road I know…

And so it goes…

I said that.

I haven’t written much here at TFS since heroin laid me to waste and took the life of someone very dear to me, but onward and forward one must always go. Life is an ongoing process of self-correction, of transformation, of making the most of a bad situation.

Recovery from addiction is forever, because addiction is forever. My recovery continues, but the hard times are over. Given a second-lease on life, I live in fear of losing all I have gained from scratching and clawing my way from the abyss of these last couple of years––my Lost Weekend.

It’s that fear, that distrust of self, that keeps me moving onward and forward, to infinity and beyond! Hopefully, I will continue to grow and improve, because now that I know what the bottom looks like, I wonder how it is at the top. As my legal problems wind down, my therapy transitions into maintenance, my future again brims with opportunity. Of course I didn’t get here on my own. Numerous people along the way have propped me up, taught me, simply listened, encouraged me, and imparted some hard truths I’m grateful for, even if I wasn’t at the time.

I’ve shed some dead weight, some fair weather friends, hangers-on, and made new friends of others I’ve met along the way or only recently have gotten to know. I’m grateful for each one. I’ve reacquainted with some old homies and some who got lost along the way, including a very dear and magical person who I am beyond-words grateful to have back in my life.

When Jan. 1, 2016 hit, I vowed to make it my year. It has been that and more. I resumed my work on a book I began writing in October 2007 on the disappearance of a man named Amos Mortier.

Additionally, I partnered with a filmmaker in San Francisco to also bring Amos’s story to the big screen. For the last 23 days we’ve been trying to raise money to finish production early next year. Barring some miracle, it doesn’t appear we’ll hit our goal. Then again, 6 days is plenty of time for miracles. wink wink!

That is but one measure of success, however, because our Kickstarter campaign was a smashing success in countless other ways. Though meeting our financial goal would’ve made things easier, nothing about Amos’s story has been easy, especially for those who were a part of his life and who picked themselves up and kept on going in spite of everything working against them. Long odds are the best odds. For every person who tells you something is impossible, you show 10 that nothing is impossible, only if you’re willing to put in the work. Put in the work we will continue to do.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Amos’s story via the links below. I now help produce a podcast called The Vanished. It’s a wonderful show with great heart. We highlight missing persons cases involving those who’ve fallen through the cracks, those who the system didn’t care enough about to mobilize its resources, those written off because their lives weren’t as neat as they could’ve been. Marissa, the show’s creator and host, shares my instinct to defend the underdog because we believe truth and justice for all really is… ahem, for all.

I’m lucky in countless ways. Fortunate in many more. Life has always been a magical experience and it feels that way again. The stars have aligned, their focused bright light illuminating the exciting future ahead. Forgive my gleeful in-your-face optimism, but until you understand hopelessness in the truest down-and-out sense of the word, you cannot fully appreciate the exhilarating sense of freedom that comes with being unchained.

Life is precious.

Treat it that way.

Even though my heart is heavy over the election of Donald Trump, which has stirred its own strange apprehensions, there isn’t anything you can’t pull through alone or we can’t pull through together. We voted knowing one would win, another would lose. The system works and it will work in four years when we vote again.

As trite as it is to say it could always be worse, keep in mind that for someone else, it is.

Rather that argue, and insult, and put down, maybe try a different approach. Someone recently imparted that advice –– change your approach –– on me. Guess what? A different result awaits everytime.

Hate does not beget hate. Nor does it temper the hurt. Chase your dreams, live the future you hope it will be, remain kind to others, and be unrelenting in making decisions that make the world a little better for everybody.

The road is fuckin’ tough, my friends, but it’s the only road we know.

Peace & Love in the Sweet ’16,

The Vanished’s Amos Mortier Series

Amos Mortier Episode 1

Amos Mortier Episode 2

Amos Mortier Episode 3

Amos Mortier Episode 4

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