post-sobriety anxiety

Post-sobriety anxiety is no laughing matter. Not even close. It can be crippling. It can be crushing. And it can lead to a serious breach of sobriety. That means, relapse. And as anyone with any clean time can attest, relapse can literally kill you.

So it's kind of funny to find someone clowning around about post-sobriety anxiety. Not funny ha-ha, mind you. Funny peculiar. Which, if you think about it, is also highly ironic. If post-sobriety anxiety makes an ex-addict feel like an oddball, well, what's another oddball gonna do to help?

That's what Jaik Puppyteeth aims to find out. How? By being a clown, that's how. And not just any kinda clown either. But a clown straight out of your deepest, darkest nightmares.

The clown's name is Pop. And its aim is to get Jaik Puppyteeth back into the swing of things. Because Jaik hasn't really felt the same since he got clean and sober.

"I used to be fun," Jaik wrote in Vice. "I was loud, boisterous, and bawdy. Making people laugh made me feel proud. But after the parties ended, I was drunk, high, and alone. When I quit drinking and drugs, I quit socializing. For me, it’s difficult to have fun when I don’t feel like I’m fun for other people to be around. I want to reclaim that part of me; I want to make people laugh again."

Pop came to life via a same-named graphic novel about a clown who hates both kids and performing. It's set in 1955, and chronicles a day of desperate measures. Pop's goal is to keep from being evicted. Any addict will tell you though, the story has many parallels to keeping in addiction. Either way, Pop's funny. Both ha-ha and peculiar. Nevertheless he's hardly the kinda character one would turn to fight post-sobriety anxiety. Even Jaik.

"I didn’t really consider using him as a tool to combat my social anxiety," wrote Jaik, "until a drag performer friend suggested how liberating performing as a character can be."

In enter Pop Puppyteeth, who'll be jumping from page to stage at Drag Carnival during this year's Vancouver Pride. It'll be Pop's first time in the limelight (after a 50-year hiatus). And a brave, bold first time it'll be too.

"Despite fully embracing reclusiveness, it’s time to take a leap toward returning to the lovable clown I felt like for all those years in bars. Pride season especially is synonymous with partying hard, and I sometimes feel a little more left out than usual. Being a sober queer has its own set of problems. But this year at my carnival, I am going to face those feelings head-on."

Spoken like the truly sober. Facing one's feelings ain't easy, for anyone. It's especially difficult for the ex-addict. So Jaik's taking to the stage is especially courageous. Whether or not Pop Puppyteeth's premiere will cure all of his post-sobriety anxiety is anyone's guess. But from the excitement in Jaik's voice, all signs point to Yes!

"I can’t wait to feel like the clown I used to be by becoming a new one" says Jaik.

Neither can we at RBC, Jaik! Neither can we!

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