Are drugs and alcohol holding you back from reaching your personal and farming goals?

Hi. My name is Jonathan, and I’m an alcoholic and addict. 

I’ve been sober from alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco since November 9th 2013.

I am so, so grateful for the grace of sobriety, one day at a time. I am so grateful that my son has never seen me drunk or high. Not a day goes by that I don’t shudder at the thought of where I was heading had I continued of the path I was on. 

Just because our crops are certified organic doesn’t mean that we as individuals always meet the same standards  🙂

For me, it started back in high school. Smoking weed with my friends. Feeling on top of the world. Perfectly normal, right? Moving to go to college in Montreal ‘cause the drinking age is 18 and pot is everywhere. Partying Thursday to Sunday. Perfectly normal, right? Oh, and getting high all day long, normal right? Just what open-minded alternative people do, right. It’s just weed anyways, right…? Starting the farm at 22 years old … needing an afternoon boost so slipping into the coldroom for a quick beer. What rhymes with plowing the fields till mid-night? A 12 pack of beer and a couple of joints of course!! Going off to the office mid-morning to ‘make a phone call’ (aka have a couple beers and a joint). Showing up to CSA drop off smelling of beer, weed, and cigarettes to deliver my organic vegetables (I still shudder with shame at that, I can’t believe no one ever said anything, I can only imagine they must have noticed!!) 

Perfectly normal… right? I work hard, I just need a little boost to power through this…

The crazy thing is how gradual it was. Till one day it dawned on me. 

A friend of mine was sharing with me about living with bi-polarism and I started telling him about my own challenges with ‘’cutting back’’ on drinking and smoking. All of a sudden, it’s like I heard myself talking… and it was like ‘’oh, yeah, I have a problem and I’m not going to be able to figure this one out by myself’’.

The next week I went to my first AA meeting. 

I was shocked to find a jovial bunch of happy people. I was shocked to find out that you didn’t actually have to believe in God, nor be a Christian… that you were free to find your own understanding of a ‘’power greater than ourselves’, and that there were actually plenty of atheists, agnostics, and new-age alternative types (and, yes, even the old white guys talking about God were nice too and that there’s something to be learned from everyone if you focus on your similarities more than your differences!)

A week later, I had my last drink and have been sober ever since. Two months later, my son was born. 

I was amazed by how much extra brain power was available to me in sobriety. Not only was my brain not being slowed down at a biochemical level, but I now no longer needed to use up so much of my brainpower managing my drinking (hiding bottles, worrying every time I saw a cop car on the road, hiding it from my loved ones and employees, etc.)

It’s been almost 6 years now and I’m living a life I literally never could have imagined. I’ve seen improvements in my physical and mental health, my relationship with my partner, and in the full range of experiences I can now live. I’ve developed a spiritual dimension richer than ever before. I’m not saying that the occasional thought doesn’t cross my mind. But I now know that I’ve forfeit my privilege to engage in such behaviours. As if we all have a quota of how much we can drink in a lifetime, and I happen to have used up that quota by age 27. Plus, I have a full set of tools, a network of support, and the self-awareness to know when I need to care for myself and how to do it.

You may be wondering why I am sharing this story with you. 

My hope is that this reaches even one person who is suffering. 

If that’s you…

Know that you are not alone.

Know that you don’t have to do this alone. 

Know that another way of life is possible. 

No matter how many times you’ve tried, know that it matters not how many times you’ve fallen, what matters is how many times you get back up.

I’m not an addiction counselor. I can’t coach you to sobriety. But if you just want to chat, give me a call; Just one farmer to another… that’s all. 514-348-0815.

Remember, you don’t have to figure out how to stay sober for the rest of your life…

It’s one day at a time. And even then, sometimes it’s 10 minutes at a time in the beginning!

Welcome to your life.

Take the dive; Come on in, the water’s great!!

Mid-Summer’s Financial Reality Check

I get it!! Summer is in full swing and you’re probably plenty busy surfing the wave of the growing season. Personally, this is a time of year I always loved on the farm– when I could be fully immersed in the richness of growing and harvesting the abundance that a well planned and well executed market farm can produce.

For many years, the last thing on my mind at this time of year was budgeting. I mean, budgeting is something you do in winter right …? Wrong!! On my farm, dialing in the mid season budget management was instrumental in allowing me to take my net income from 30k$ per year to 50k$ (and that, the year after my son was born, and my first year managing my farm without my wife.)

The fact of the matter is that this is a crucial time in terms of scoring our financial goals. The game is by all means not won, nor lost, at this point… Depending on your situation, it can go both ways. Arguably the biggest sales months are still ahead!

Thus the importance of bringing more focused attention to our finances this week.

  1. Where are your sales at? What % of your total sales target have you reached so far? Are you ahead or behind of last year’s % sales at the same date?
  2. What weekly sales targets will allow you to reach your goal? Don’t be fooled by a simple average. Weekly sales targets in August will obviously need to be higher than in June or October. Break it down by sales outlets so you can see which are ahead and which are behind. Communicate these targets to your market vendors… celebrate victories, brainstorm creative ways your staff can take an active role in scoring these goals.
  3. How are your expenses doing? What expense categories have you maxed out; which still have some budget available? What expenses can you minimize or delay till next year? It can be tempting to buy the largest format of supplies to ‘get a lower price per unit’, but please take into consideration your annual budget when making such decisions. The lower unit price of a box of 5000 screws when all you needed was 500 is not always worth busting your budget for.

By all means… don’t freak out if you don’t have the record keeping systems in place to allow you answer all these questions.

Progress… not perfection! We’ll work on those systems next winter together. 😉

Oh … and don’t forget to enjoy the ride! What would be a small sweet action that would be a demonstration of enjoying the small things in life and savouring the summer?