What is the mosaic project?
I’ve finished writing my memoir—The Addict with a Thousand Faces—and it is in the final stages of editing. On the front cover will be a mosaic composed of 1000 people in recovery. I’m now collecting photos at jacobocain.com and on Instagram @jacob_ocain.
As of now—April 1st, 2019—we have 100 photos! This is not an April Fool’s joke. People from all over the world have begun contributing—India, Ireland, South Africa, The UK, Sweden, The USA, Mexico, Canada and more.
What will the mosaic offer?
While our stories are unique to us, many of the underlying patterns are parallel, especially the one where recovery comes into the picture. The mosaic will unite us in our differences, yet at the same time it will remind us that we are not so different from each other.
For those who are still out there, it will offer hope that it’s possible to recovery. It will serve as a light house whose light says, “There is a recovery community waiting for you!”
What is the process behind collecting photos?
To kick start to process, I painted one hundred cards with abstract designs. Then, I wrote handwritten invitations on them. Now, I’m sending out a regular handwritten card to people’s Instagram DMs. ANYONE who is in recovery from drugs and alcohol can send a photo though. A handwritten invitation IS NOT necessary in order to be part of the project.
What about the shout outs and the database?
Yes! For each person who sends in a photo, I’m giving them a story shout out on Instagram (given they have an account). It’s the least I can do to show them my appreciation!
As for the database….I live in China, there is no recovery community here, and my only connection with the community is through online interaction. So, I think it will be a great idea to compile a list of social accounts to put in the back of the book. Also, it will be a great way to recognize everyone who contributed. So, If you send a photo and you want your first name, clean date and social account to be listed just let me know (I’ll eventually get around to asking every person who sends a photo but this may take some time).
What have you learned so far?
I’ve learned that there are a lot of good people in the recovery community who are willing to offer support. I’ve learned that I am part of that community. It’s something I had never felt before—part of the recovery community.
I’ve learned that this mosaic project has a true meaning to many people other than myself. Everyone is very grateful to be part of it and one person even expressed her gratitude by reposting the card I sent her, saying that it helped her feel part of the recovery community—helped her see that she wasn’t alone. That was awesome to read.
On the flip side, I’ve learned there are many people who may not be interested, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. I’ve learned not to take rejections/no responses personally. For me, there’s a great lesson in that.
When will the book be published?
This is difficult to say. On April 15th, I’ll send the manuscript to the editor for a final edit (copy edit). This will be the third round! In the meantime, I’ll still be collecting photos. After editing, the amount of time it takes to publication will depend on which publishing route is taken: traditional publishing or self publishing. Traditional publishing can take anywhere from 1-2 years after a contract has been signed to the date of publication. Self publishing can happen in a matter of months.
Any parting words for the day?
I love you guys. Thank you for everything. Our mosaic with a thousand faces is going to shine a bright light. I can see it already. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or send me a private message via the contact button, or Instagram @jacob_ocain.
Jacob O’Cain is a recovering drug addict and teaches ESL to kids in China. He’s the author of The Addict with a Thousand Faces (not yet published) and believes we are all on the hero’s journey. He is actively looking to connect with people in the recovery community. Send him a message on Instagram @jacob_ocain or contact him through www.jacobocain.com.