Conversation with Zach Nelson
A friend turned me on to Zach’s poetry about six months ago. Since then, I’ve come to realise that people NEED to discover this guy’s work. He’s knocked the arrow, drawn back the string, and let it fly—and he’s hit the bulls eye too many times than I can count. His work is developing, for sure, but I know the transformational machinations of the images you see below will affect you, too. Zach’s story is one of resilience and radical change for his own life; his artwork speaks the truth like no other medium I know.
Pass on the news—you’re seeing a wunderkind developing before your eyes. – DDM edit.
Kitchen Table Conversation
Zach’s Journey to Recovery
“…over the course of many years, I built this very elaborate prison and called it home without realizing it.’
Liv: I really identify with this! Can you describe that domination of feelings and thoughts you talk of here?
Death and Love…
Zach: Death had always scared me. For the most part, I think it kind of scares everyone. Then all a sudden I accepted it and not in a healthy way. I would lay in my bed at night and my body would be stressed from the cocktail of booze and cocaine. As if that wasn’t enough, I would toss in a couple Benzos for a “good nights rest”. My heart would make rhythms only exceptable in music and I could feel as if I might be slipping away (I don’t mean passing out). The life I was living, I was sick of, and had all a sudden been ok with letting it kill me. I considered suicide, but I couldn’t do it. I still loved my family.
Liv: In that same poem, you talk of finding a passion and retiring the dice. What did the dice represent to you?Zach: There are 6 sides to a dice. 2 dice equals 12 sides. That’s 12 sides that read “Fuck It”. Too late to party on a week night? Roll the dice. Not enough money to eat AND drink? Roll the dice. I need to drink light because tomorrow is Christmas? Roll the dice. The list is infinitum.
“I truly believe in the commonly used statement that love is not a word, its your actions.”
Liv: What does awake represent to you? Can you describe the abundant love in your blood?
Zach: It goes back to re born sober emotions. They are so incredibly strong. I’m alive, I always have been, but now I’m really ALIVE. The grass is greener, the sun sets slower, that ladies dress is beautiful, that book came to life in that coffee shop. The list of feeling awake is endless.
Zach: We, as humans, get locked in our mind that others are constantly judging us. Once we feel that that isn’t in our presents, we can talk about anything and everything. Regardless of your story or what happened in your day, you can get it off your chest. Your ideas and views are probably not far from the next person.
Liv: What are you grateful for?
Zach: Everything down to the last cigarette. Although I may not act like it all the time, I can’t image a life without everything that is presently in it. Showing more gratitude is a part of my process. Whether it’s the amazingly beautiful things in front of me now or the loneliest, dark days of my past, I am grateful for them. Everything has played a part in why I am here and who I am, while I am here.
Love and Sex
“Love is just way too much, of so many things, to be taken lightly.”
Zach: It pretty much just relates to letting go. I held onto so many things as if they held some value in my life. It reads so beautiful because it’s truth. We have nothing to prove to anyone as long as we stay true to ourselves and loyal to others.
Learning to be Lovable
“What I am now, if I am being honest with myself, is a guy who had the will power to help himself and the patience to relearn EVERYTHING.”
Liv: Can you explain the process of learning you’re lovable? How has that enhanced your recovery?
Zach: Believe it or not, I’m an alright dude. Haha. My past may not be ideal but I’ve accepted that. That is not who I am now. What I am now, if I am being honest with myself, is a guy who had the will power to help himself and the patience to relearn EVERYTHING. That’s amazing. I am amazing. WE are amazing
Zach: All the time. Anytime. We as humans like to try to manipulate and control whatever we think we can in order to get what we want. Its fucked. A selfless life is the only life worth living. Period.
Top Recovery Tools
- The Big Book of AA has all the answers. Read the shit out of it and then read it again.
- Meet some of the kick ass people in recovery. There are amazing relationships to be had.
- Progress Not Perfection.
- Get a sponsor. Especially one that you could see yourself being friends with.
- Help others. Tell your story, your story is cool. If they don’t take your advice, at least you know you will stay sober for THAT DAY.
A reminder of Zach’s work: click HERE
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