In 2007, I had the great good fortune to be hired as the assistant to a visionary addiction specialist and recovery coach. It turned out John is also a very gifted writer who has a lot of meaningful things to say.
When I met him, he had started to write his first book and there were yellow-lined pads everywhere, full of barely legible gems of wisdom about the application of Integral Theory to recovery. Several chapters worth of material were already typed up.
I volunteered to make sense and order out of all he had written and printed everything out, so I could create chapters of like-minded content and sequence them. There came a moment at the beginning of this project, surrounded by piles of colored paper, the subject matter in totally random order, mixed up and redundant, that I cried tears of despair. But determination and my love of creating order out of chaos won out; the material was hacked, molded, manipulated into a proper sequence of chapters; we created a list of chapters that still needed to be written and John wrote them, often dictating his words to me. I’d take the new material home and edit it, then carefully merge it with the old.
In his acknowlegments, John describes the process of working together like this: "Thank you to Heidi Mitchell, my assistant, who fell in love with the project early on and became my constant confidante, editor, support person, and mirror. Toward the end of the writing of this book, I would pace the floor and dictate to Heidi, and the atmosphere of trust, humor, and intelligence that was generated in our working together is something I will always be grateful for. I want to do it again."
I loved working on this book—especially because we took the time to get everything just right. I even volunteered to create the index at the end, a process I enjoyed.
This book went on to win the 2013 USA Best Books Award in its category. You can read more about this landmark book here.