It’s 8 in the evening, and the party is about to begin. I look to the main room and see a thin, brown flash of tail skate across one of the ropes. The tail disappears into a hide box, attached to the ceiling. They are waking up, and the festivities are going to start. But the partying about to take place is far from the shenanigans I used to participate in. This nocturnal play is void of alcohol. Hold the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Bring in the kinkajous!
Who knew Kinkatopia would be my story of recovery and Honey Bears?
My name is Alexandra, and I am a sober woman in recovery. I enjoy cooking, nature, travel, and horror movies. I’m covered in tattoos, piercings, and scars. I like to work out and watch documentaries about serial killers. When I was little, I WAS Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” Seriously though, I would only answer to Dorothy. I am accountable and my compassion carries a double-edged sword. Resilience and discipline are among my strongest attributes. Oh yeah, and I love animals. I absolutely love them.
Many animals, like humans, can’t survive without a rescue and a recovery
I’m not only sharing all this with you to introduce myself, but also as a reminder that I am a multidimensional individual—a multifaceted diamond, if you please. As any good alcoholic, I can easily become obsessed with the things that make me feel good and fill the void within my soul — or so I think. For me, one of those things is animals. Among many others: food, sex, body modification, exercise. I strive for balance and hold a constant reminder that my recovery comes first. This is the only way I am capable of functioning.
How did I learn how to find that balance in recovery? It was a process
I am the CEO and founder of Kinkatopia — the first and only kinkajou-specific nonprofit haven in the world. It kind of sounds like a fetish-related utopia, right? Well, it’s my kind of a paradise. In simplest terms, a kinkajou (aka “honey bear”) is an exotic mammal related to the raccoon. Kinks are often confused with monkeys and resemble a cat-sized, brown bear with a super long tail. They are high-energy, independent, and intelligent bears of mischief. I adore every part of caring for them.
But, if putting myself and balance first doesn’t happen, things fall apart
A few years back, I thought I was at the top of my game. I was running a successful captive wildlife and exotic animal organization that organically manifested into an animal of its own. It was an extraordinary rise and being on it was magical. Looking back, I think feeling successful after active addiction was a high in itself. It also became all-encompassing, and the animals and business became my Higher Power. (At this point in my life I struggled with an HP that was greater than me, but that’s a story for another day.) I lost sight of my well-being and eventually went back to old habits. They say if you “go back out” you’ll “lose everything overnight.” I lost everything in a matter of 13 hours … or so I thought.
Redemption comes in different forms for each of us
What I didn’t know — then — was that this bottom was a turning point for rebirth. I was blessed with the opportunity to rebuild my character, discover various passions, find spirituality, and most importantly, to establish a foundation for long-term recovery. This painful and incredible growth process has allowed me to appropriately pursue my dream of helping animals — as long as I put myself first. I’m doing things differently with Kinkatopia and witness the results every day. I am forever grateful to have been graced with the chance to start again.
Just like with getting sober and finding recovery, it’s OK to stumble. Entrepreneur Colette Werden says it best:
“It’s OK if you fall down and lose your spark, just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.” And I assure you — I’ve been fueled by a smoldering tenacity for both my recovery and kinkajou calling.
Please join me on this blazing journey of speaking my truths, while sharing my unusual world with you. Welcome to Kinkatopia.
Peace, love, and kinkajous.