The largest blessing of and contributor to my sobriety was finding my passion — kinkajous. Caring for these nocturnal, rainforest mammals gives me purpose, structure, and allows me to dream of a future beyond my wildest dreams. Literally! A dream of growing my wild animal organization into a public nocturnal sanctuary.
Finding passion creates purpose
I have always loved animals. I am a direct descendent of the Doolittle family, so it’s engrained in my blood. After getting sober in 2012, I started a captive wildlife and exotic animal organization. Sobriety gave me the opportunity to explore my interest in animals and attempting to develop it into a career.
That’s the amazing thing about sobriety — the gift of opportunity. There are a million things out there to sample in finding what your passion is. As long as you don’t pick up a drug or a drink, the possibilities are endless.
My passion gave me purpose. As a natural caretaker, I thrived in having so many little lives depend on me. Running the organization also allowed me to influence and advocate for creatures from rescued fur farm foxes to adorable little sugar gliders that are overrepresented in the pet trade. The amount of purpose my passion channeled was seemingly unlimited.
Learning how to find passion again
My organization grew too big way too quickly, and I failed to put myself first. I relapsed for several months, and by the grace of God, was gifted the privilege of getting sober again in March 2017. A consequence of my using was needing to take a break from animal rescue. It hurt my soul, but I continued to enrich my passion with the animals I was still blessed to have in my care. I took a year to grow my foundation in recovery and practice self care. I also explored other interests, but my true passion always came back to kinkajous.
In March 2018, I relaunched my organization called Kinkatopia. I made sure to keep my recovery at the forefront of life and little by little … my nonprofit haven grew. Today, I am proud to announce that finding my passion in recovery has evolved into the world’s first and only kinkajou-specific organization.
Having the ability to find my passion makes me so excited for those just setting out on their journey. I also feel an immense respect and admiration for those who’ve fallen in love with something and run with it. So many of my sober friends are incredible writers, artists, strong business people, and athletes. Addicts are such incredibly passionate and powerful people when using our powers for good and not evil.
Finding passion can be tricky
If you are having trouble zeroing in on how to identify what lights up your world, there are some basic quizzes online to jumpstart the process. GoodNet.org offers a five-question quiz to steer you in a direction. And a quick Google will offer up a plethora of guidance.
If you are interested in learning more about Kinkatopia, please visit our website! The kinkajous are also on all social media and have gone viral on TikTok! We are a 501c3 nonprofit that relies solely on donations to run the organization and care for the animals … and amazing way to support us would be to sponsor one of our kinkajous for a month or purchase our 2021 Kinkatopia calendar!