John has an undergraduate degree in music composition and a masters in ethnomusicology and the neuroscience of music from York University. In the 1980s, he was the music and opera critic for the Georgia Straight, for which he won a Western Canada Magazine Award for Best Arts Review. Before leaving Vancouver in 1988, he wrote Discord: The Story of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Working freelance in the 1990s, he wrote hundreds of articles for various publications, and he was a frequent contributor to CBC Radio in Winnipeg. For five years he was the chair of the Winnipeg Arts Council. Returning from the west to Toronto in 2000, he built a professional practice in restorative justice, as a mediator and circle keeper. John has one son and two granddaughters. He and his wife divide their time between their home in Toronto and their sailboat, kept on the St. Lawrence River in Stormont County.
John was seriously addicted to substances and destructive behaviours for more than 40 years. Before this story begins, he had relapsed from every one of the existing modes of addictions treatment. Each of them delivered a semblance of normality, but nothing resembling flourishing. Fortunately, he found a new model, which he calls “uncovery,” a transformation of the heart in human relationships and in practice. This is the story he wants to share. If his lifelong discovery becomes the experience of other curious addicts and the people in their lives, this will be the beginning of a new way of understanding and compassionately responding to addictions.