Self-Forgetting by Katie Koho

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I wanted to introduce my first ever guest contributor Katie Koho. You can read about my 2018 blog collaboration HERE. If you'd like to collaborate, please email me at info@jaymealexis.com. Katie and I crossed paths as colleagues at San Francisco State University. She has taught me more about myself, exuding light to others, and reminding me to bring humor to the work place. Becoming friends with her this year was one of my 2017 highlights. Read her story about alcohol recovery:

Katie was raised for 18 years at the base of a dormant volcano, Mount Shasta, and moved to San Francisco in 2009 to attend San Francisco State University.  She completed her B.A. in Psychology, and is now in pursuit of her M.A. in Adult Education through SFSU's Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies program. When Katie isn't working (holler, SF State ResLife) or attending her night classes, she enjoys nature walking at a non-incline and attending various support groups in the Bay Area.

I was very young when I first heard the word ‘alcoholic.’  When my parents decided to have children, they also had the very serious discussion of whether or not to include their children in their recovery meetings.  They ultimately realized that it would be in our best interest, long-term, to expose us to the not-so-pretty-bits of human life, because they wanted us to learn empathy. 

“What is an alcoholic?” I remember asking my mom.  She was a social worker and an educator, and she understood the importance of answering a child’s question about a sensitive topic. 

“An alcoholic is a person who has a disease of the feelings.”  She went on to clarify that they were empathetic people who had never been taught to intrinsically self-soothe or to set boundaries.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, these people transformed from people dependent on a substance to heroes who had learned to alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I continued to go to meetings with my mom until I was in third grade. 

Taking care of a family when you’re in fourth grade is no easy feat, but I assumed my role as my mom’s caretaker, my dad’s business organizer and helper, and my sister’s stand-in mother.  When I left that household at the age of 18, I had only known alcohol as a destructive force that made messes of peoples’ lives and robbed them of their mental sanity… and anyone, myself included, would be smart to stay away.  This worked for a bit with the help of being a Resident Assistant, where role modeling correct behavior permitted me a valid excuse to not go too HAM at parties, although, I’ll admit, there were two nights where I voided that rule. 


I allowed myself to experience my first drunk 9 days before my 21st birthday.  But there were still things to do, people to take care of, and people to impress.  In 2013, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (I see you fellow first generation college students), my sister was supporting herself and being a successful bada** at Sonoma State University, and I no longer had 60+ residents.  Yeah, why not afford myself some experimentation?  I fell into a deep, self-medicating, and harrowing depression.  At that time, I fueled my troubles and withdrew from people.  I remember very clearly one night drinking a whole bottle of champagne by myself in my tiny, San Francisco room and convincing my roommate to drive me all the way to Santa Rosa to see my sister.  Sitting on the swings in the rain with my best friend (extremely drunk) at 3:00am, while my roommate was in my sister’s house doing homework and awaiting our leave, I knew I was an alcoholic. 

“Do you think I’m an alcoholic?” I asked her.
“That’s for you to decide,” She replied.

It took me up until July 2, 2017 to walk myself to a meeting, where I am celebrated for being a wreck and am loved up by fellow women who share an identity with me.  They loved me until I could love myself (corny and cliché as hell, I know). 

Where I’m at today because I place my recovery first: I attend at least three meetings a week; they are my first priority and I cherish them.  Today is my six-month birthday.  It is not my first birthday in sobriety, but it is the birthday I am claiming today.  I have gained a higher power of my own understanding, as well as a community of people who, like myself, alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I have learned humility, forgiveness, and acceptance.  For anyone trying to find the courage to go to battle with one of your addictions… you’ve got this.  You are loved; you deserve healing; and your recovery matters. 

You might be sitting there thinking, heck no, Katie, I’ve done a lot of shitty things… nothing is going to absolve me now, but as someone once said to me, “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.”


Katie Koho
Instagram: @KatieKoho

Blog Collaboration 2018!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Photo by J. Gomez
I write for myself.

I write because it's therapy. Because I enjoy stories and narratives in well-documented form.

I write because I am adopted...and there is a part of my history where that documentation is missing.

A part of me that I will never know. 

So, I write. I write my thoughts, feelings, to do lists, dreams, things that piss me off. 

I write about anything and everything.

I post though...for myself and for a person to resonate. I post because growing up I wish people talked about things that are honest and raw. 

I'm not here to read cliche phrases and sayings that are band-aid statements: 
I'll pray for you!
Everything happens for a reason!
Pull yourself by your boot straps!
It will get better!
Just be positive!
Go after your dreams!
Hard work pays off!

All with well meaning intentions...but some times doesn't get to the root of what I am searching for.

So I like to post from my lens. What it means to be a woman who is partner-less and child-less and the beauty and pain of this life. I like to post about my love life and how I should have learned about empowering my sexuality through school, church, family, friends....all the places that formed my opinions about my own body and who it belongs to - aka ME.

I like to post about purpose, reality, relationships, current issues, and anything that is considered difficult to talk about. The subjects we avoid. The ones we feel we need to be in edit mode...and why are we so scared about going unedited? 

And writing has taught me..

Who empowers me
Who I listen to
What I care about
What I am good at
What uh...are not my talents...
What uh...are my areas of growth....there are many....insert awkward giggle

But writing for me is therapy, a platform of empowerment, and a way to communicate.

So, I encourage anyone that wants to blog or write publicly that they figure out why they want to write and who are they are writing for.

And then stop giving a &%@#.

So in 2018, I decided that each month I want to collaborate with a friend / colleague and post their written narrative. If you are interested in collaborating, please email me at info@jaymealexis.com. We already have February and March covered and I am looking to post 1-2 folks per month.

2018 is the year of the update and upgrade for me...and after blogging for 5 years, it's time for an upgrade. An upgrade in community, in expansion, and in collaboration.
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