I’m not part of a 12 step gig where I have to go ’round and apologize for all the people I hurt. I’m a contrarian in this respect. I’m out and about finding those who played such a significant role in where I am now that I wouldn’t be the same dude in the same place in the same skin as I am now. I’m on the retrospective prowl to say “Thanks!”

Let me explain the impetus for this. Something’s really got me shaken up of late. I got that award up in Santa Fe, something to mark a lifetime’s work, and if this is truly the case and this is a culmination of a lifetime and thusly my lifetime is now in short supply, I really better get ’round to thanking those who inspired me, guided me, believed in me, supported me, and above all loved me.

There are a fair number of these letters and emails and such I’ve sent out in the past week because there are more than a few people who, in a small or large way, had such an impact upon my life … I think I’m going in circles here. Look, there was this girl who came to DBSA Albuquerque soon after I did (my first time in was October 14, 2010), and the first night, after group, we sat at the Frontier and talked until they kicked us out. Just talked. No grand plans, no hitting on her, no hitting on me. A connection. It rocked. We were friends, we became lovers, and like I tend to do, I kind of sabotaged my opportunity to make her the next ex-Mrs. Bringe.

Duckee was there at the beginning, and she believed in me more than I believed in myself. Writing a simple email is like trying to repay the national debt with a fistful of Monopoly dosh, and of all the emails I’m force-feeding the world the past week or so, this is the most heartfelt and because of this the most fitting to publish as an example of how lucky I am to have had the people in my life that I have.

I should say, this relationship ended with me at Kamp Kaseman and her rejected for no other sin than believing in me. I suck. I suck pickled iguana squirt. Yep yep yep.

Perhaps a few tandem “I’m sorry” notes are just as appropriate.

Fly low, avoid the radar.

Hiya Carlee,

I’m hoping five years has been enough time for wounds to have healed. I could have been better to you, and for that I truly apologize. The reason I’m writing is because something wonderful happened for my life, and you played such a significant role in my journey that to ignore your support of me would be an inexcusable omission.

On February 14, I was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the BHSD and State of New Mexico for Innovation in Behavioral Health. Since we parted, I’ve kept myself busy developing and implementing education programs like “Laugh It Off”, “Milestones in My Recovery Journey”, and “You Can’t Always See It.” I have trained peers presenting inpatient, in public performances, provider education, CNM and Highlands University class presentation, National Park Service training, etc. I also helped develop two hours of the 40 hours of APD Crisis Intervention Training (“Perspectives in Psychotic and Manic Symptoms” and “De-Escalation”), I sit on the CIT, Inc. board, BCFIC (Bernalillo County Forensic Intervention Consortium, dedicated to jail diversion), and MHRAC (Mental Health Response Advisory Committee, the DOJ-mandated committee of community stakeholders advising APD on policy and procedures when engaging peers in crisis)… like I said, I’ve been busy.

This isn’t about boasting because you would see right through simple boasting from me. This is to illustrate how your belief in me when we first started out in the New Mexico behavioral health community inspired me, at a time when I barely believed in myself. You encouraged me (pestered me is how I recall it) to redesign the DBSA Albuquerque website, my very first advocacy step in this wonderful journey I find myself on. And because we parted in such a …. shitty way, I never got the chance to say “thank you” for the role you played in my life.

So. Thank you. You rock.

There. That’s more like me.

I understand you’re studying psychology at UNM (a peer who attends CULLS shared this with me), and this is so incredibly cool. It really made me feel great to hear of your endeavors. I always knew you’d go back for a degree. You’re too intelligent, too spirited, and too talented, so it didn’t come as a surprise at all.

Anyhow, I hope you didn’t just see “Steve Bringe” and delete my email outright. Thanks, Duckee. Thanks for believing in me. You mean a lot to me, and part of that award I got up in Santa Fe is yours.

Kindest regards,