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Getting to know our members Kristi Hood

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Connecticut, but my family moved to Pasadena when I was 4 or 5.

Where did you go to school?

That’s a long story. I went to what was then called San Fernando State College (now Cal State Northridge) but flunked out my first semester because of a Spanish class. I had taken three years of Spanish in high school, but the college class was all conversational. I was totally overwhelmed and stopped going to class. Then I stopped going to my other classes. Later I went to several community colleges to get my GPA up.

What is your profession?

That’s another long story. After flunking out of college, I went to work for my mother, who designed and made figurines. I painted, antiqued and polished them. But I wanted to be independent, so I went to work for Pacific Telephone in L.A., working my way up from the mail room to the engineering department to a manager in the personnel department.

Why is March 22, 1976 so important to you?

That’s the day I got sober. I would get plastered on weekends. My mom was a recovering alcoholic and knew I was in trouble. She came to stay with me, and after going out drinking, I found her curled up crying. I knew she was crying about me. That’s when I decided to stop drinking. I knew I had to go to AA. It was a God thing. God completely took away my obsession with alcohol, and it never came back.

What brought you to the Central Valley?

Once I was sober, I wanted to go back to school. Fresno State had a good art department. I got my B.A. and Masters in art—and this time was on the dean’s list. I had saved some money and bought a house in Old Fig Garden in Fresno and converted the truck garage into an art studio with a wheel and small kiln. I made some beautiful designs and was able to sell some of my art.

Why did you become a therapist?

I was in therapy. My therapist was also a recovering alcoholic. I was sponsoring others in A.A., and my therapist said I would make a good counselor. So in 1990 I went back to school to get my Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling. When I finally passed my licensing test, I worked as a therapist in Fresno. Then I heard of a job with Tulare County and went to work there. I was doing group and individual therapy and really enjoyed it, but the program changed. It became so stressful. I got a disability retirement in 2007. I also taught ceramics at COS for two semesters and for a short time had a private counseling practice with a counseling center in Hanford.

What are your hobbies?

A former partner and I used to love to backpack all over the western states. I also used to run. In Fresno I was a member of Gallery 25, a feminist art gallery that showed and sold art. Now I have a studio in my garage in Visalia.

What brought you to CSL Visalia?

I went to a class down south that seemed a lot like A.A. I knew my psyche had changed. The teacher suggested I try the Oneness Center in Fresno. It was much like CSL but more metaphysical. I commuted from Visalia to attend classes. When the leader left and the center changed, I felt like I had lost my spiritual home. Then I realized that my spiritual home was inside me. A friend suggested CSL Visalia, and it’s been my home for three years now.

How are you involved at the Center?

I love the energy and people here. There has always been someone I can talk to. I had taken a class to become a Deeksha giver (healer) which includes meditation. I suggested to Timothy that we have meditation before our service, which I now always attend. A group of us have started a women’s group that I enjoy. It’s amazing to see how Spirit has moved in my life.