Monday, December 10, 2012

Lady Liquor: The Racial Implications of the "Disease" Model of Alcoholism

People drink for a lot of reasons: to celebrate, to grieve, to relax and, I would argue, we sometimes drink, too much, too heavily, to bear the unbearable, including systematic racism (not just on the part of indigenous peoples, but other racial minorities as well). While removing moral judgment from that coping mechanism is a step in the right direction, treating alcoholism as a disease separate from the social and historic factors that brought it about in the first place gives societies license to continue not addressing those factors. It gives dominant groups a pass to perpetuate the racist status quo, rather than helping to improve the living conditions and economic prospects of Native people. Where alcohol dependence and ongoing marginalizing intersect is where the discourse—and the treatment—should be centered.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recipes for Recovery

Allie O'Conner works in the addiction-recovery field and has made special formulas to treat conditions that often accompany addiction. She preserves her medicine in vegetable glycerin rather than brandy, which is the basis of Bach's medicine. Some of her formulas include:

Morning glory for healing addiction

Blackberry for relieving grief, depression, fear of dying

Forget-me-not for calming anxiety

Zinnia for laughter as a healing medicine

Sunflower for opening the heart for giving and receiving

Bells of Ireland, cedar and chamomile for relieving stress (as well as lifestyle changes)

Comfrey for security

Jasmine for spiritual attunement

From Women's Spirituality Power & Grace by Mary Faulkner

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dr. Gabor Maté’s alternative view of addiction

Maté is a compelling speaker, as his agile phraseology and hard-earned authority bear out—regardless of whether you agree with his conclusions. And some people don't. In Vancouver he’s worked at Insite, the only supervised injection site on the continent. There, people bring illegal drugs and inject them with clean needles in a a safe space under medical supervision.

It's a harm-reduction technique, says Maté. Overdoses can be prevented this way, as well as the spread of disease. "Giving somebody clean needles does not stop their addiction, but ... it means there isn’t HIV being transmitted from one person to the other.” Maté says providing sterile swabs for addicts to clean their arms doesn’t treat addiction, but it also doesn’t promote it. “It just makes it less likely that that person will be sick and suffer more, and consequently cost society a lot of money in terms of health care costs.”

“It’s all about getting something from the outside to make you more complete, make you more satisfied.”

Critics say Insite equates to government facilitation of drug abuse and does nothing to deter dependence or treat it. They suggest it could send a mixed message to young people. Conservatives in Canada’s government have made attempts to shut Insite down.

Data out of Vancouver seems to confirm the efficacy of the harm-reduction approach. According to the Sept. 6 issue of The Province, the 1996 life expectancy for people in the downtown Eastside area was nine years below that of other British Columbians. In 2011, the life expectancy was just two years short. However, other factors, such as gentrification, might have played a role in those statistics.

KC Quirk, executive director of Crossroads for Women, has seen the fallout firsthand while helping people who are coping with mental health issues, homelessness and the transition out of incarceration. The organization is bringing Maté to speak in Albuquerque because his humanistic philosophy is in line with Crossroads’ mission.

"We're coming to that from a really, I believe, much more humane and much more realistic perspective,” Quirk says. “Most people don’t, you know, decide to quit using drugs and alcohol and adapt perfectly.

The Albuquerque seminar on drug abuse takes its name from Dr. Maté’s book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Within its pages, he candidly exposes his own issues with shopping addiction. Though it doesn’t damage his life in the same way as drugs and alcohol, Maté’s dependency has adversely affected his relationships and self-esteem. But it also allows him to better relate to drug addicts. The title includes a reference to the bhavacakra, or “wheel of life,” in Buddhist mythology.

There are six realms people cycle through, Maté says: The human realm is where we are our ordinary selves. In the animal realm live our appetites and passions. The god realm is home to our spiritual sense of peace and satisfaction. The hell realm encompasses raging emotions, terror and fear. The titan realm is marked by envy. Finally, in the hungry ghosts realm, the creatures are shown with scrawny necks, small mouths and empty stomachs. “They’re never able to fill their bellies sufficiently to feel satisfied,” says Mate, “so they keep going around trying to get satisfaction and fulfillment from the outside, and that’s the realm of addictions.”

Contrary to conventional medical thinking, Maté doesn't attribute addiction to genetics alone. "Neither does science back it up nor does experience prove it,” he says. Addicts are typically people who’ve experienced significant loss or trauma in their childhood, says Maté. The greater the degree of trauma or stress they’ve experienced, the more vulnerable they are to addiction. “In the population that I worked with, all the women had been sexually abused as kids, and the men were traumatized repeatedly, as well, in childhood."

Criminalization of drug use is a kind of cruelty, Maté argues. "You begin with an abused child: Society did not protect you, so you had those experiences growing up, no one to turn to. Then you turn to drugs to soothe the pain, and you’re a criminal.”

In a culture where people meet their needs via the acquisition of products, the achievement of status and the approval of others, addictive tendencies are widespread, he says. "It’s all about getting something from the outside to make you more complete, make you more satisfied. It’s a society like that—in which there’s also a lot of insecurities, which leads to a lot of stress—people find ways of distracting themselves from their internal problems.” And, says Maté, those methods tend to become addictive.

People don't like to look at this cultural issue, and a drug addict represents it to the highest degree, he says. "We say that they’re the ones with the problems. They’re the antisocial element. They should be excluded from society. But we’re not looking at ourselves or the nature of the society as it is.”

Dr. Gabor Maté’s alternative view of addiction

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Taught to Fear

“We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. But, once recognized, those which do not enhance our future lose their power and can be altered. The fear of our deepest cravings keeps them suspect and indiscriminately powerful, for to suppress any truth is to give it strength beyond endurance. The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined, and leads us to accept many facets of our own oppression as women.“ ~Audre Lorde

Thursday, November 1, 2012


"Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage."

- Anais Nin

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hymn to the Goddess

You are the One within me,
star-bright in midnight dark,
who echoes in the ocean
and dances with the lark,
who smiles in the mirror moon
and on the tide of dreams,
rocks me soft and gentle
to the songs of mountain streams.

You brought me into being,
breathed life into my soul,
you birthed me to my body,
you knit me as a whole,
my mother, you embraced me,
your kiss upon my brow
sighed your spirit through me
and it fills me now.

I feel your spirit fill me,
you call from every star,
in whispers from within me,
in echoes from afar,
you pull upon my moonstruck mind,
you open out my soul
and like an unfurled sail, it fills
and I am whole.

~Ruth Calder Murphy

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Wasted Years as Princess of Nothing.

I remember being told I was “too pretty to work.” So on some level, I always held on to that and resented working when I had to. I resented it every time a man did not pick up the check. It was not part of the unspoken agreement of how a princess should be treated.

It also meant that any man who would treat me as an equal was off the table for most of my life.

Being a princess meant I didn’t know how to live without an enormous household budget or a huge diamond ring. Wasn’t that the ultimate goal? Did it matter that my husband was an alcoholic and didn’t come home at all when he wasn’t so inclined?

When I look back at the years of my life when I was playing this role, they were completely non-productive. Perhaps, I made a good income; perhaps I was a good mother. Perhaps I was at my most beautiful. But in terms of creativity and personal fulfillment, there was zilch.

I was only living the life I was supposed to be living, not examining what I wanted for myself.

My Wasted Years as Princess of Nothing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Faded Memories

“Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.“ ~Adrienne Rich 

I am working on an article that I wanted to be exact on, so I started to look back through our family blog, which I started in 2006.  I was struck by how different it was from my memory, so I came back here, which tended to be a more honest assessment of where my life was at the time.

I have realized that I tend to try to make things better than they are. Whether that was for my own need or wanting to give my children a better life, I am not sure.

But one thing is for certain, my marriage with my ex was completely exhausting. I have a migraine just from reading about it. (And I NEVER get migraines anymore!!)

I don't often look back, and that is probably a good thing. But it made me both grateful that life is SO different now and angry that I wasted so many years banging my head against the wall.

Honesty: The Word Keeps Getting Lonelier.

It is our quirky uniqueness that endears us to others. The large crooked nose, the horrendous chuckle, the inability to put down the cookie jar. It is what makes us different from others that causes death to be painful for those left behind.

People remember the dead for their realness. Attend any funeral and you will know that to be fact. No one will remember which masks we wore to be appeasing.

Honesty: The Word Keeps Getting Lonelier.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Room of Her Own

“You must have a room or a certain hour or so in a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are…you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is a place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something will eventually happen.” ~Joseph Campbell

Monday, October 15, 2012

Are We Doing The Best We Can?

"All I can do these days is think of myself as a little girl, and think of my friends who have little girls, and know I do not want another generation of girls preyed upon in any way.

(And that's ALL little girls - from Asia to America, Russia to Africa, all nations, all levels of income, all girls.)

I really want my brothers on this planet to hear me and feel the same. This is not the future I saw for myself as a woman or for the generations of women coming after me. This is not our best effort on their behalf." ~Melissa Ulto

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Women: Think this Through

"The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable." ~Andrea Dworkin

Saturday, October 6, 2012


"You are as amazing as you let yourself be. Let me repeat that. You are as amazing as you let yourself be." ~ Elizabeth Alraune

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting Unhooked from Addictions

by BJ Gallagher 4/9/10 on Huffington Post

What are we to do about this addiction pandemic? What are our options? What works?

Einstein said: "A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it." Which explains why addicts cannot simply put down their drugs and solve their problem. It requires a shift in consciousness -- some form of psychic transformation -- for addicts to live without their "fix."

Medical experts look for bio-chemical solutions -- paying particular attention to brain chemistry. Other researchers look for genetic markers in our DNA, seeking to understand why alcoholism and other addictions often run in families. Many psychologists look at the "nurture" side of the "nature versus nurture" debate, pointing out that use of mood-altering substances or activities is learned behavior -- coping mechanisms developed in response to painful, dysfunctional family life. Religious authorities suggest that addiction is a spiritual malaise, amenable to spiritual solutions. In short, experts each look through their own professional paradigm for an answer to the riddle of addiction.

I applaud these experts for their efforts, but when I hear them explain their theories, I can't help but recall that old saying: "If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." It's easy to be blinded by your paradigm.

We needn't wait for white-coat experts to find causes and cures. We can learn much from the personal stories of those who have already discovered a way out of the hell of addiction. These sober, sane, serene people don't argue whether addiction is a physical disease or an existential dis-ease -- they don't care about parsing details. They just care about what works and how they can help others who still suffer.

Here are some of the basics, based on the experience of recovering people:

~ Addiction is a multi-faceted condition, with physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects - requiring a corresponding multi-faceted approach.

~ It is essential that an addict be teachable in order to change. Buddhists call it having a "beginner's mind." This is why most addicts have to hit bottom before they give up doing things their own way and become open to learning a new way to live.

~ Denial and ignorance are two major barriers to recovery. Addicts are usually in denial for a very long time about the seriousness of their problem; family members are often in denial as well. Public ignorance about the true nature of addiction keeps many people from seeking help; there are many stereotypes and myths about who's an addict and who isn't.

~ Rarely, if ever, are addicts able to kick their habit without help. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency may be laudable attributes in our society, but these same qualities hinder recovery from addiction.

~ Human beings are social creatures -- we do best when we have good social support. Addicts recover best with the support of a strong group, where they learn healthy inter-dependence.

~ Unconditional love and acceptance are at the core of recovery from addiction.

Full article at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Junkies' Wives Club

This is a great site that I have utilized a lot in the past. There are not a lot of forums out there for families struggling with addiction that don't push Al-Anon down your throat. You will find people struggling with spouses of all sorts of addictions on this page. Some use traditional 12-step programs, and others don't.

You can be as anonymous as you want to be. But most importantly, it is a place to vent without judgment and be supported by other women who have either been there or are still there.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dating an Alcoholic? Run Like Hell!

I liken living with an alcoholic to living in a war-zone.

Like one who lives in deceit, I stone myself and call for help

Your wound grows and grows

It slits my throat from vein to vein.

I put sand in you wound,

I put in your wound a giant, and around myself I light the fire.

—Hoda Al-Namani, I remember I was a Point, I was a Circle

When I read this, I thought, this is me. This is my life. But, I’m not living in Beirut. What’s that about?

If you are an addict, I’m sorry. This story isn’t for you. There are hundreds of stories and resources for addicts. It often seems it’s the families of addicts who are forgotten and who largely suffer in silence.

There will always be another excuse, another mistake, another relapse, another addiction or anger about a parent’s addiction that they need their lifetime and yours to get over. With addicts there is just always something.

And if you’re reading this and you feel yourself getting angry perhaps you probably know that someone is finally telling the truth.

Of course, I have empathy for addicts too. So much in fact that I belittled myself by staying with one for seven years.

When my husband first relapsed after his mother died, my well-meaning Christian father told me to “just love him.” But that’s the problem with the addict; the more you love, the more they take of you and everything else, until there’s nothing left to give.

I remember the night I decided to stop walking on tip-toes.

I realized over the years I had become less of myself. I was worried about his anger, or that he would relapse, or be too stressed out or my actions would cause something bad to happen. Suddenly I realized how ridiculous this all was. It was his turn to learn to deal with the reality of our existence instead of us having to shrink because of the reality of his.

I remember before the first rehab, a very good friend looked me in the eyes and said, “Run.”

His mother had been an alcoholic and it had stunted his life. His comment affected our friendship for years. I didn’t want to run. I thought I could fix him. I thought my love would be enough.

Four years later, when I found out about my husband’s relapse, I thought about this friend and the courage it took him to say this and acknowledge my reality.

While most other people tried to be polite, or pray for me, their comments seemed to gently gloss over what was actually happening. When someone doesn’t fit into the perceived notion of what an addict is, it’s hard for people to know what to say.

“Run” was the best advice I received and it’s the advice I would give my daughter if she ever got involved with an addict.

Run. Run like hell.

The reason this advice hurt so much at the time was that it would have forced me to see my part in things. And when you are with an alcoholic, you are use to suffering in silence as the martyr, wondering why the alcoholic does what s/he does.

I wasted years of my life wondering why. I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter.

Running would have taken courage. It would have said, “He cannot do this to me.” I am stronger than this. I can do better. Instead, I stayed, w—a—y too long.

The other part is that it would have forced me and others to acknowledge the truth.

Alcoholism remains hidden in the shadows. No one talks about it. We go to great lengths to avoid the subject altogether. Both the addict and the co-dependent will do anything to hide their sense of inadequacy. There is nobody that tries harder at being “normal” than an alcoholic and his/her family.

In running I would have to tell the truth. He drinks. All the time. It is not pleasant. He is verbally abusive. My life is out of control. And the hardest one, I need help.

When I finally left my husband, I was only able to do so after taking weeks to compose a list of facts. At my office, I began to put together a black and white list of the things in our relationship that I could not accept. This included that he did not go to my grandfather’s funeral, he did not come home all night long, and he brought cocaine into our home. After four and half pages of undeniable facts, I realized that there was no longer any question of whether or not I could stay with him. The list made that impossible, even laughable.

When you live with an addict, you are never quite certain about reality. Everything becomes blurred. By writing down the facts as they happened, he could not come back to me later with his own version of the truth.

In my case, there were months of lying about his sobriety when I just wasn’t sure whether he was drinking or not. Had I begun the list sooner, instead of listening to the words I so wanted to believe, I would have saved myself at least a year of heartbreak.

Before I left my husband, a dear friend from school sent me a quote from Maya Angelou. It said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them—the first time!” We must remember to trust our instincts and not wait for the people in our lives to change.
The truth was I knew what I thought the first time I met my ex-husband, but I gave him chance after chance despite it.

While I have seen some wonderful transformations in Alcoholics Anonymous, the statistics are not promising and I would not place any bets for my future on another addict.

There are millions of kind, whole and addiction-free men in the world. This story has a happy ending.
I happen to now be married to one of them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Did I Shave My Pits for This?

Many of the beauty products we use are slowly killing us, without our knowledge or explicit consent. While I identify as a feminist, it is still hard to part with the privilege of being considered “pretty.” As I grow older, I am beginning to calculate what pretty costs.

Did I Shave My Pits for This? ~ Trista Hendren

Small Minds....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why didn't anyone tell me?

(Shared with permission by Margaret Clapp)

Why didn't anyone tell me this was a no-win situation? Why didn't anyone tell me how "supporting my husband's recovery" would destroy my kids? I think they should post some stats of actual long term opiate recovery outcomes at meetings. This is lifetime of descending levels of hell for the families.

Over the past six years, I sold my soul, compromised my identity and values, wasted my savings, irreparably destroyed my self esteem and most horrific of all, damaged my precious daughters. For what? To keep "my marriage together", so my kids wouldn’t grow-up without a "dad". They have a "dad" alright. A "dad" who taught them, by constant example, how to lie and avoid responsibility. This is not life I imaged for myself or my lovely children.

I was never stupid or weak. Just the opposite. I am well educated. I was fit and cute and funny. I worked hard and success came easy for me. I had a supportive family and strong network of friends in a lovely upper middle class neighborhood. Notice the past tense.

In 2005, I discovered my husband had a “problem". He was coming home from work falling down high, pissing in the hallway, sleeping/watching for days, then he went off the wall, screaming, agitated, violent. You all know the drill. I was scared. I wanted to help him. I loved him. He loved me. We had two kids. I would stand by him and he would get through this. After all, we were married for better or worse.

Over the next four years I thought I was insulating my daughters form the chaos of their dad's addiction. He never drove them in car. The kids were busy at school, sports, homework, social events, spent allot of time with grandma. I took on the roll of mom and dad. put on a happy face and took care of business. All the while, demonstrating, through my daily example, how to be a doormat, how not stand-up for your rights, that a wife is not entitled to love, affection or respect, that a wife was a target for blame, that wife should never expect the truth, that lies are tolerated in marriage, that marriage is not a partnership. I allowed this to happen.

Worst of all, they knew. My sweet young daughters knew I was compromising my integrity and self respect for the sake of a drug addict. My kids, by extension, also comprised a significant portion of their childhood for a drug addict. They had no choice. They grew-up in home without trust, without respect.

At some point, I realized that he (my Opiate-addicted husband) was not married to me. The love of his life came in a pill (Oxy, Vicodine, etc). Weren't fathers supposed to put forth effort and make sacrifices for the family? His efforts and sacrifices are for drugs. He wasn't my partner in building a future our daughters. His partner is opiates. His future is getting high.

If you're still trying to be the best wife and mother possible, please stop believing everything will be OK. Every lie you ignore, every dollar missing, every late night wondering when he’ll arrive home is one more chip away from your soul. Your kids are bearing witness to your slow decay.

GRAB the kids and RUN. Why? So you don’t end-up a soulless disaster. Run. NOW. Today. Run for your life. Don’t stop until you are free from the lies and pain of someone else’s addition . Run fast. Run while you still have love in your heart, before hate overtakes your soul. Run.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Is Everyone Addicted To Something?

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, a self-confessed nicotine addict and author of The Road Less Traveled, offered his perspective in a 1991 lecture, "Addiction: The Sacred Disease." Dr. Peck's thesis:

At birth, humans become separated from God. Everyone is aware of this separation, but some people are more attuned to it than others. They report feeling an emptiness, a longing, what many refer to as "a hole in their soul." They sense that something is missing, but don't know what it is.

At some point in their lives (often quite young) these sensitive souls stumble across something that makes them feel better. For some it's alcohol; for others it's sugar, drugs, shopping, sex, work, gambling, or some other substance or activity that hits the spot. "Ahh," they sigh, "I've found what's been missing. This is the answer to my problems." They have discovered a new best friend -- their drug of choice.

Peck pointed out that the alcoholic is really thirsty for Spirit, but he settles for spirits. Alcohol is simply a form of cheap grace, as are all addictive substances. What we humans really long for is a connection to God ... alignment with the Holy ... re-union with the Divine. It is a deeply spiritual hunger -- a longing to go home again, back to Source.

But we're confused about what we're really hungry for, so we go looking for love in all the wrong places: a bottle of booze, pills, a cookie jar, a casino, shopping malls, a pack of smokes, the Internet, or the bed of a new hottie. We reach for anything to take the edge off, to smooth out life's rough spots, to help us make it through the night.

Anne Wilson Schaef says that addiction is a pandemic American disease driven by our high-stress culture. Chodron and Peck say that addiction is a human dis-ease driven by our existential angst.

Perhaps it doesn't really matter who's right. If you're addicted to something, or your loved one is an addict, all you want to know is how to get free from the grip of addiction.

Excerpt from The Huffington Post, 2010 by BJ Gallagher

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Surprising Truth About Addiction

By Stanton Peele, Psychology Today May 01, 2004

More people quit addictions than maintain them, and they do so on their own. That's not to say it happens overnight. People succeed when they recognize that the addiction interferes with something they value—and when they develop the confidence that they can change.

Change is natural. You no doubt act very differently in many areas of your life now compared with how you did when you were a teenager. Likewise, over time you will probably overcome or ameliorate certain behaviors: a short temper, crippling insecurity.

For some reason, we exempt addiction from our beliefs about change. In both popular and scientific models, addiction is seen as locking you into an inescapable pattern of behavior. Both folk wisdom, as represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, and modern neuroscience regard addiction as a virtually permanent brain disease. No matter how many years ago your uncle Joe had his last drink, he is still considered an alcoholic. The very word addict confers an identity that admits no other possibilities. It incorporates the assumption that you can't, or won't, change.

Every year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health interviews Americans about their drug and alcohol habits. Ages 18 to 25 constitute the peak period of drug and alcohol use. In 2002, the latest year for which data are available, 22 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 25 were abusing or were dependent on a substance, versus only 3 percent of those aged 55 to 59. These data show that most people overcome their substance abuse, even though most of them do not enter treatment.

How do we know that the majority aren't seeking treatment? In 1992, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted one of the largest surveys of substance use ever, sending Census Bureau workers to interview more than 42,000 Americans about their lifetime drug and alcohol use. Of the 4,500-plus respondents who had ever been dependent on alcohol, only 27 percent had gone to treatment of any kind, including Alcoholics Anonymous. In this group, one-third were still abusing alcohol.

Of those who never had any treatment, only about one-quarter were currently diagnosable as alcohol abusers. This study, known as the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, indicates first that treatment is not a cure-all, and second that it is not necessary. The vast majority of Americans who were alcohol dependent, about three-quarters, never underwent treatment. And fewer of them were abusing alcohol than were those who were treated.

These findings square with what we know about change in other areas of life: People change when they want it badly enough and when they feel strong enough to face the challenge, not when they're humiliated or coerced. An approach that empowers and offers positive reinforcement is preferable to one that strips the individual of agency. These techniques are most likely to elicit real changes, however short of perfect and hard-won they may be.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Asshole Block

I have been thinking of inventing an app to block texts from people you don't want to talk to. Last I heard, this is not possible.

So, in the mean time, I am adding this profile picture to my phone for the 2 remaining people in my life who still cause me grief on a regular basis.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Addiction is the number one public health threat in the United States today.

Over 23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Substance abuse involves the repeated and excessive use of a drug or alcohol to produce pleasure or escape reality despite its destructive effects. Although legal substances such as alcohol and nicotine can be and are abused, when we talk about drug abuse, we tend to think of illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or misuse of legal substances such as prescription drugs or fumes from household products.

What starts as so-called recreational use of substances, can spill over into craving and addiction, with dismal consequences for the user’s wellbeing, his entire family and the community as well.

The line is crossed when the drugs become a necessity, when it controls the user. The individual is convinced that the drug is necessary to have a feeling of wellbeing or even just to get through the day. Craving for the drug of choice eliminates most other thoughts, and tracking down and use of the drug takes over. Nothing is more important than getting high, not work, kids, spouse, or family. Getting high, becomes so important that the individual is willing to sacrifice everything even as the problem is denied.

For many people whose drug of choice is alcohol, the path to addiction is slower and more insidious. Because alcohol is a legal drug and many people use it successfully, those who have problems with it often go unnoticed for longer periods of time. Frequently, the person who has a problem with alcohol will be able to continue drinking because they continue to go to work, & will argue that their ability to work proves that they don’t have a problem.

Substance abusers are often the last ones to recognize their own symptoms of abuse, dependence and addiction. Even when they know they have a problem, drug abusers often try to downplay their drug use and conceal their symptoms. But if you suspect that a friend or loved one is abusing drugs, there are a number of warning signs you can look for.

Some behavioral symptoms include: Angry outbursts, mood swings, irritability, manic behavior, attitude change. Talking incoherently or making inappropriate remarks. Risky, secretive, or suspicious behavior. Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming. Absence from work or school or drop-off in quality of work or grades. Neglect of family responsibilities, money problems, or legal problems.

Physiological signs include: Frequent exhaustion or weakness, unexplained injuries and infections, blackouts, flashbacks, delusions, paranoia, withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, tremors, and sweating.

Pamela Egan, FNP-C, CDE is a board certified Adult & Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Clinical Specialist in Mental Health.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to Raise your Vibration

I wish I had read this 5 years ago!!

QUESTION: My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years and have 2 kids...almost like clockwork, every two years or so we have a huge falling out with him lying, cheating, drinking and heavy drugs. I love him but I'm not sure if I want to stay if this is what I have to put up with every couple years......but we have kids and 12 years of overcoming great obsticles together. For the life of me, I can not figure out what I am supposed to be learning here....forgivness for my husband or should I be putting myself first and protect myself from this happening again?

ANSWER: Allowing this to continue is not good for you, your kids or your husband. His abusive patterns absolutely will continue. Just look at your past with him for the answers in your future. The only way he will change is when YOU change, and put your foot down, and say no more! Love yourself and your children enough to not let this toxicity be a part of your life anymore.

The psychic pollution and stress that is emitted in the household through your husband's disrespectful and abusive habits contaminate everyone's energy field and living environment. Once you finally decide to set firm, yet loving boundaries with him, you may actually be the catalyst to his healing. Saying NO to him is loving! Allowing this to continue is abusive to you, and all involved.

Gather your from your backbone ~ not your wish bone, and put an end to this vicious cycle.....what we resist persists! Self Love, STRENGTH, setting appropriate boundaries are your lessons. Look for a pranic healer in your area to help him with the release of the addictive energies that make him crave substances and inappropriate sexual interactions. I also would advise you to NOT have sex with him until his energy is cleaned up and balanced. ~ Sabrina

Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't Argue When Angry

“If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. If you run after the person you suspect has burned your house, your house will burn down while you are chasing him or her. That is not wise. You must go back and put the fire out. So when you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish her, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while everything goes up in flames.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, September 6, 2012

So Beautiful, and True!

“In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. I no longer chose to believe in old limitations and lack. I now choose to begin to see myself as the Universe sees me – perfect, whole and complete. The truth of my Being is that I was created perfect, whole and complete. I will always be perfect, whole and complete. I now choose to live my life from this understanding. I am in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. All is well in my world.” ~Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


“In the Buddhist teachings, the messy stuff is called klesha, which means poison.

Boiling it all down to the simplest possible formula, there are three main poisons: passion, aggression, and ignorance. We could talk about these in different ways—for example, craving, aversion and couldn’t care less. Addictions of all kind come under the category of craving, which is wanting, wanting, wanting—feeling that we have to have some kind of resolution. Aversion encompasses violence, rage, hatred, and negativity of all kind, as well as garden-variety irritation. And ignorance? Nowadays it’s called denial.”

~Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are, “Poison as Medicine.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Am

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am." – Sylvia Plath

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gaia's Ghost

Round and round the blindfold of shame.
My sister's eyes from truth refrain.
Secrets spill from ruptured rims,
The lost echoes of voices dimmed.
Bruised by explanation.
Ingrained with each generation.
The cyclical sickness of domination.
But secrets spill like mother's milk,
The stained beauty of ruined silk.
And ignorance buys my sister's chains.
Furiously wringing out last night's stains.
Her hushed words beaten by the day.
The blindfold tighter round what she'd say.
So she bled the unsaid in silent seclusion,
dumb-founded and shrouded by dizzying delusion.
The evidence insufficient for my sister's grieving.
And she buries the thought of someday leaving.
She is here,
but uninhabited.
A skeletal blueprint, barely breathing.
But softly, slowly, from the ash of the unheard,
Gaia's ghost rises like a firebird.
"Here I am," her voice now loud,
incinerating to pieces the silent shroud.
"Here I am; now look at me!

Unblinded, babe to liberty."

( A dedication to the many mute victims of domestic violence and abuse)

By Stella Renee Morrow

Speak my name. Make me real.

"Forty-six million Americans live in poverty. And while there are some who are there because they made – and make – self-destructive choices, some who are there because of addiction to drugs or alcohol or because they are mentally ill, most of those who are there are not terribly different from anyone else, not terribly different from the delegates who will throng the Democratic convention this week. Granted, it is comforting to believe otherwise, comforting to believe the line separating them from you is Hulk-strong and neon bright, that their situation reflects some failing – moral, spiritual, intellectual – that you, righteous soul, do not suffer. Comforting. But then, self-delusion often is.

Life happened to them, same as it happens to anyone. And they deserve what anyone would want. Not a handout nor even just help, but first, an acknowledgement that they are there.

See me. Speak my name. Make me real."

By Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald

Full article below:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Women Need

“Women need real moments of solitude and reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away” ~Barbara De Angelis

"Bliss of Peace 2" by Elisabeth Slettnes

Friday, August 31, 2012

Working Mothers

“Just as corporate American has externalized the costs of the environmental damage it causes to the poorer nations left to cope with them, so too does it externalize its labor costs through its unfair treatment of female employees…Women working full-time year-round make $0.78 for every $1.00 earned by their male counterparts; working mothers earn only $0.73, and single mothers earn only $0.60 for every $1.00 earned by a man. In one study, women’s annual earning decrease for 30 percent as a result of a period out of the workforce for two are three years (an average amount of time career-women would take off to start a family). A Cornell University study found that mothers are penalized on the job market—they are 44 percent less likely to be hired than non-mothers with equivalent qualifications.” ~ Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers

Why Does Money Matter?

The discussion of money is extremely important when looking at women as co-dependents. Even the word suggests something about our relationships, which I believe is based on the economic imbalances between men and women.

Until we have complete income equality, women will be dependent on men, or pay the consequenses. This results in women remaining in abusive relationships.

Certainly, men can also be co-dependents. But it is a different type of co-dependency.

Our goal as "co-dependent" women must be to heal ourselves so that we can attain economic freedom from our addicted husbands and "partners".

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Women represent 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people in our world who live in absolute poverty. Consequently, as Joan Holmes, president of the Hunger Project, points out, any realistic efforts to change patterns of chronic hunger and poverty require changing traditions of discrimination against women." - Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Always In Motion?

"If we weren't so single-minded about keeping our lives so much in motion
And could, for once, do nothing
Perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness
Of never understanding ourselves
And threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the Earth will teach us, as when everything seems dead
And later proves to be alive."

- Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Begging for Wisdom

Mavhu - 37

"The serenity prayer is my guide. I am still learning to accept the things I cannot change, asking for courage to change the things I can and begging for the wisdom to know the difference. Learning the difference is my challenge."

Order @

Sunday, August 26, 2012


“It takes endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ― Marianne Williamson

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Every Woman's Story Counts -- Including Yours

"...we have a world-shaping imbalance in our story telling. Our stories do not teach children that girls and women have independent agency and moral competence. So, why should they grow up to claim them as women or respect them in women as adults?

This is why telling girls' and women's stories is important. Every story counts.

Why does it matter? Because when girls and women are culturally dehumanized we lose our personhood and our rights are not assured, if we even had them in the first place.

When children grow up immersed in environments that don't challenge these ideas they grow up to be people who want to "beat the gay" out of their children and seriously believe that rape causes women to internally ooze contraceptives and that rapidly dividing cells has "new life trumps existing life." They grow up to believe women's dignity is defined by how they manage their wombs and that women's rights must be mediated by benevolent father figures because women are ultimately morally incompetent. They grow up to be presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees, who "absolutely" support these ideas , but do not appear to care about about the implications for real, individual, fully developed human girls and women who don't conform to their ideals of what makes a female "good."

The only way any of these ideas persists if you teach people through stories and pictures that girls and women are sub-human abstractions and religious ideals and not autonomous, morally competent human beings with rights."

-Soraya Chemaly

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wealthy Kids

This is something I have been thinking on for many years. I really enjoyed this entire book.

“A study of affluent suburban families found that the dogged pursuit of status and material wealth beyond a $120,000-per year family income starts adversely affecting children…by the time they were in high school, wealthy kids reported greater use of cigarettes, alcohol and hard drugs than any other control group—including inner city kids. They also showed higher rates of depression and anxiety, especially girls, who were three times more likely than average teenage girls to exhibit clinically significant depression. The researchers found that isolation from adults played a major part of the problem. The demands of parents’ professional careers and kids’ excessive extra-curricular activities ate away family time and fed into the kids’ distress. Worse, the increasing patter of family members to retreat to their respective bedrooms with a television, computer and mobile phone, isolate family and community, plants the seed for the final home wrecker—individualism. ~ Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers

Thursday, August 23, 2012


"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean." ~Maya Angelou

"Birthquake" by Elisabeth Slettnes

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A New Look at Recovering from Alcohol and Drug Addiction

A New Way

What if the way we’ve been dealing with addiction has some holes or even many holes? What if the old way we have been doing things can be improved or even changed?

In order to seek a new way of healing we need to look at recovery through different eyes and with a holistic view. First we need to identify the person as a unique, authentic, energetic, light being who has strayed off course from who she really is – her true self.

To take this holistic view we need to look at:
-7 Principles of Health
-Eliminating toxic residues of addiction through detoxing
-Rebalancing the energy systems
-Relapse Prevention Strategies
-Finding passion

Eliminating toxic residues of alcohol and drugs is also an important part of recovery. This is vital and can be improved upon by changing the way we view detoxing alcohol and drugs. We should take the concept of detoxing further as even months and even years later the memory of the substance and its effects are still held in the cells. Hence how many times have you heard someone relapse many years later!

When I worked with people who were striving to overcome alcohol and or drug addiction I often heard the same familiar story of the person who would bust and have no answer to why they did it. They would start out the day with no intention of busting or they would be walking down the road and out of nowhere they would have a compelling urge to have a drink that they felt powerless over. You’ve got to ask why? Could it be the old toxic memories are still on line?

While setting the goal to excrete all memory of the addiction from the cells in the body also helps clear the mind. This can be achieved through energy detoxing (EFT), steam baths, saunas, magnesium baths, colon cleansing and bentonite clay baths.

What if emphasis was also on plenty of raw fruit and vegetables. Green Smoothies are a brilliant way to get raw, whole foods in the system to replenish the body and build the body to strength again.

Nuts are also important and should be included as a regular part of the diet everyday to provide essential brain nutrition to boost brain power to optimum levels.

Water is not emphasised enough when treating alcohol and drug addiction. Three to four litres a day should be the recommended amount to drink that can assist in the removal of toxins and hydrating the body as you can bet the addict in early recovery is seriously dehydrated which can also make recovery difficult. And why make healing more difficult than what it needs to be?

Since we are energy and light beings, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is also another powerful tool to aid in energy detoxing that can assist in peeling away the layers of negative emotions which keeps the addict bound thus leading to more harmony.

Recovery is Possible

It goes without saying that people do start to feel good when they start eating better and taking part in authentic approaches. These can be done from home (not everyone can get to a long term treatment centre for many reasons) along with a support person and can have a dramatic effect in recovery. The key to long term recovery is to focus on replacing the artificial effects of feeling good through alcohol and drugs to a more authentic approach which brings out the true self; the self who is so much more than the labels ‘alcoholic, drug addict, junkie’.

The authentic self and feeling good is in truth what is craved for and the drug is the external means in which it has been artificially provided. When approaching recovery in a new holistic way can lead to purpose and meaning that brings about peace, joy and harmony that is everyone’s birthright. When we know where or how to find this is when long term recovery takes place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Key to our Healing

"We each have a responsibility to express ourselves. And in this expression is the key to our healing. ~Gabrielle Roth, On Women Turning Forty Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I can't break myself

"I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever only rejoices me, and the heart appoints.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eid Mubarak

Dear Eid:

Please bring a life of immense love and laughter to every child who’s heard more screams than dreams.

*Burma *Syria *Palestine *Afghanistan | *Ummahnity

~Mark Gonzales

Emotional and Psychological Effects of Sexual Assault

This is a list that Heart Sees put together the other day, and it seems VERY relevant to those dealing with addiction and/or codependency/addicts. Sexual assault causes harmful emotional, psychological, or physiological effects that are more severe than the effects of other crimes. These effects include: Self-blame Shame, guilt, or embarrassment Anxiety, stress, or fear Shock Impaired memory, confusion, or disorientation Anger, hostility, or aggression Sexualized behaviors Loss of sex drive or sexual dysfunction (not being able to perform sexual acts) Interpersonal problems Denial Irritability Erratic mood swings Depression or despair Social withdrawal Sexual effects (ranging from avoidance to compulsive promiscuity) Decreased energy and motivation Numbing/apathy (detachment, loss of caring) Restricted affect (reduced ability to express emotions) Disturbed sleep, insomnia, or nightmares Flashbacks or panic attacks Headaches Difficulty concentrating Diminished interest in activities Loss of self-esteem Loss of security Loss of appetite, eating problems/disorders, or gastrointestinal disturbance Substance use and abuse (alcohol and other drugs) and other compulsive behaviors Feeling powerless Feeling uncomfortable being alone OCD Self-injury, self-mutilation (cutting, burning or otherwise hurting oneself), or substance abuse Suicidal thoughts Confusion of sex with love Extreme dependency Impaired ability to judge trustworthiness of others Body memories Feelings of alienation and isolation Hyper-vigilance (always being "on your guard") Exaggerated startle response (jumpiness) Hyper-arousal (exaggerated feelings or responses to stimuli) Rewriting PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). ~Heart Sees

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making Changes

After a lot of thought, I decided to leave the private school my son has been attending for 3 years. Last year was so bad, a public school couldn't possibly be any worse.

I have been driving 2-3 hours every day to get the kids to school, and believe I can better use that time to supplement their education. We can also walk to school instead, which has been nagging on me all these years. The amount of gas we were using before was rediculous, especially when I still had my Suburban.

We have eased into a nice and quiet life in our little town, where we can walk nearly everywhere. I don't own a car anymore, and we are co-living with another family. I don't think I could have fathomed this life several years ago, but it works well for us.

I enrolled the kids in the local public school the other day. I had all these stigmas in my mind that errupted the minute I walked into the school. The kids were excited to have lockers and be able to ride their bikes to school. We happened to walk in on the principal, who was a bright and delightful woman. I felt reassured that I was making the right choice.

My ex had wanted me to register the kids in his school district, which meant that I would essentially make the same drive every single day, for his convenience a few days a week.

Several months ago, he told me he would take care of everything. Last week, I realized, again, that I can not rely on him to take care of anything. Sometimes I still hold that delusion, even after all these years.

I got a list of what was needed from our local school, and came back with everything the next day. I realized then that my ex could never provide anything on that list.

I have the birth certificates.
I have been the one taking the kids to the doctor for every appointment.
I have all the numbers memorized in my head.
I have done everything.

Last week, it became apparent to me that I couldn't leave the kids with their dad, so I didn't. He screamed and yelled at me, threatening to call the police and have me thrown in jail. My daughter overheard our conversation before I hung up the phone.

Later that day, she stated, you can't put someone in jail just for being a mom, can you?

I realized I have a tendency to stay in bad situations far too long. I should have left my marriage earlier. And the school situation started falling apart at the begining of the year. I explored other options then, but ultimately felt I had to stay. It only got worse.

The important thing is I have learned I don't have to live in situations I don't like. And I think the kids and I will both live more peaceful now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Very Wrong

"All this was summed up in Lenore Weitzman's famous statistic from The Divorce Revolution: Women with dependent children experience a 73 percent drop in standard of living after a divorce, while their ex-husbands' living standard goes up by 42 percent. The colloquial summing up is simpler: If women have young children, they are only one man away from welfare...Yet if two homemakers were to cross the street and work for each other's husbands, they would be entitled to an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week, Social Security, disability pay, and unemployment compensation - and perhaps paid vacations, transferable health benefits, and a retirement plan (not to mention a better legal safeguard against violence, which also has economic value). Something is very wrong here." -Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words, "Revaluing Economics", (220-221)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012


The logic of sending my children off for 3 weeks with a man who can't even return a Netflix movie for over 3 weeks - and continuously lies about doing so - escapes me completely. Something needs to change.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I'm very tired of constantly hearing from my children about how much money my ex and his father has when my reality is my $998 in child support is never paid on time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Deeper Wisdom: Addictions, God-Makers, and the Inner Journey

"In the process of awakening, I realized that aspects of the 12 Step model weren’t working for me. I desired a non-shaming, non-hierarchical framework within which to wrestle with my habits of behavior. I rewrote the 12 Steps from an inner perspective, recognizing that my journey was an inward one. Instead of looking to another God or higher power outside of my life for salvation, I longed to return home to myself, to grow in knowledge and love of myself, to accept and trust myself. I wasn’t interested in ascending to enlightened states of being that involved the denial of the self. I was compelled to descend—to look deep within to reclaim forgotten aspects of myself. Releasing the shame of a lifetime, I reached beneath my obsession with flaws, beneath the accomplishments that masked my sense of unworthiness, beneath years of alienation from myself, toward the goodness at my center. I discovered that the good was deeply embedded within me. As I embraced my original goodness, my inner spaces were cleared out and reclaimed as my own. I found rest within my own life and now accept all of myself as worthy." ~Patricia Lynn Reilly This is available as an ebook at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trauma and the Twelve Steps

A Complete Guide to Enhancing Recovery - A New Book by Dr. Jamie Marich This new book just came to me today via my Girl God page, and it sounds like a very interesting read!

"Criticism of 12-step recovery is nothing new; however, 12-step programs are increasingly getting a bad rap for being too “one size fits all,” or not applicable to individuals struggling with issues beyond the scope of simple alcoholism or addiction, especially issues surrounding traumatic stress.

"Trauma and the Twelve Steps: A Complete Guide to Enhancing Recovery" takes the posture that there is nothing wrong with using 12-step recovery principles in treatment or in continuing care with individuals who are affected by trauma-related issues. However, this book also explains how rigid application of 12-step principles can do more harm than good for a traumatized person, and that learning some simple accommodations based on the latest knowledge of traumatic stress can enhance the 12-step recovery experiences for trauma survivors. Written for professionals, sponsors, and those in a position to reach out and help recovering addicts, the user-friendly language in this book will teach you how to unify the traditional knowledge of 12-step recovery with the latest findings on healing trauma. In doing so, you will be able to help others, and maybe even yourself, "work a recovery" program like never before!

"At last, someone has thoughtfully and intelligently reconciled the practical wisdom of the 12 steps with best practices for posttraumatic stress. In “Trauma and the Twelve Steps,” Jamie Marich tosses aside the rigid orthodoxies that have hampered both fields and delivers - in beautiful, eminently readable English - a coherent treatment approach that is sure to maximize sobriety and healing." -Belleruth Naparstek, Author of Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal "It's critically important for people in 12 step based-treatment to keep trauma in mind and not re-traumatize people with coercive practices like forced 4th and 5th steps or misguided ideas that addiction has nothing to do with trauma. I support these efforts, promoted in Dr. Marich’s work, to help those whose choice of recovery paths is within the 12-step framework." -Maia Szalavitz, Journalist and best-selling author of Born for Love and The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog

"This book offers much needed clarity into the psychological relationship between childhood neglect, trauma and adult addictive behavior, while serving as a reminder that no one comes into this world wanting to be a alcoholic, compulsive gambler or sex addict. Shining within Dr. Marich's words is the hope for recovery sought by all addicts and those who work to treat them." -Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S Sexual Addiction Author, Treatment Specialist and Media Expert

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We Need a Girl God

Here is my most recent published article, which is in Redress, the Journal for the Association of Women Educators in Australia. They only offer a print version, so it is attached as a pdf to my site.

Monday, July 9, 2012


We had a beautiful time yesterday and I am happy to be married to a kind, considerate and compassionate man.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wedding Day

Today is my sort-of wedding day. My ex will not allow my children to go to Norway for our actual wedding, so we are spending the day celebrating here with our 4 children. My daughter is thrilled to wear her "flower girl dress" and ride around in a limo for the first time. We will have cake and sparkling drinks. It will be a happy day, despite his selfishness. But I think my children and I will always remember that they were prevented from attending the real cereomony after sailing to a Goddess Island in Norway. It's just one more thing to resent him for. As if there were not enough things already.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


"Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses. A woman who produces original creations. Who refuses to color inside someone else’s lines." ~Patricia Lynn Reilly "Fish Whisperer" by Elisabeth Slettnes

Sunday, June 17, 2012

As If!

Today is Father's Day but it is, once again, not a happy day because of my ex. Yesterday, I spoke to my kids in the early afternoon, while they were on a weekend visitation with their dad. They were at the swimming pool at my EX-father-in-law's country club. They were in the pool, so their dad said they would call me back. They never did.

I started trying to call them to say goodnight but no one was answering the phone. I texted several times and finally felt frantic. By 9:30, I texted my ex-father-in-law,who did not respond. My son finally called me at 9:45 on Skype. Their dad had left them with someone they did not know and had never met so he could go to a party.

Per our divorce decree, I have the right of first refusal if he wants to forgo his parenting time. He never told me he was going out. He never told me he planned to leave the kids with someone I did not know, which would NEVER have been acceptable. I have never left the kids with a stranger. The kids have had very few babysitters and I specifically told my ex on Friday that if he wanted to hire someone, I needed to meet her and she needed a background check.

When I spoke to the babysitter at 10pm, both the kids were still wide awake. She advised me that their dad had told her that it did not matter when they went to bed because it was "summer". I explained that it was not acceptable to me for the kids to be there alone with someone who I did not know and had never even met and that I was coming to get my kids. Everything fell apart from there with my ex calling me non-stop and ultimately coming back to the house after I told him I had texted his father.

When I got to the house, he was there with his girlfriend, who he says is not is girlfriend, but who clearly believes she is. I took the kids home with me and we all went to bed. I did not sleep.

I can't believe we are still in this same damn place. I can't believe that everything has to be this hard. I can't believe he can't understand where I am coming from.

As if I had nothing better to do than rent a zip car at 10pm at night, walk a mile to get it, drive out to his house and get my kids so he could yell at me and call me crazy. As if I have no reason to doubt his parenting abilities.

As if he did not bring cocaine into our home and leave it right out where our daughter could get it. As if he has not been to rehab a million times already. As if he didn't start right back up again after 90 days at Betty Ford. As if he wasn't driving around drunk with us all in the car and lying about it. As if he has not always hidden it when he was drinking. As if I ever had any reason in the world to believe ONE word out of his mouth. As if I haven't already been seeing signs of his drinking again for months and months. As if I haven't already emailed my EX-father-in-law about it only to be ignored again. As if he actually looks like a healthy, sober man. As if his face was not bloated up like a balloon, again. As if his hands were not dried out to the point of bleeding. As if all the evidence was not there already in the pictures that have been my sanity all along. As if he did not look like a completely different man than the man I married.

And now after a sleepless night, my EX-father-in-law has the nerve to text me saying that I am "emotionally damaging" my kids? As if he had ever been a father to his son? As if he even knew the extent of the emotional damage that he himself has done to this family over and over and over again. As if he has the right or authority to open his damned mouth about anything?

My EX-Father-In-Law told me, to "mind your own business" - AS IF either he or my ex-husband had held either of these children in their wombs for 9 months, birthed them or breast fed them for 2 years.

AS IF he has ever taken care of them. AS IF he had ever helped with anything. AS IF he even knows what minding his own business means. AS IF my own kids are not MY OWN BUSINESS. As if I want to give up my own Father's Day plans with my dad, who has been a DAD, to deal with all of this, again?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Despite Bad Teachers...

This has been an awful school year for us because my daughter had an awful teacher. The school refused to change her class and looking back, I should have pulled her out. Some people are so low, they need to feed off 5-year-olds. Some people have nothing better to do than read recovery blogs and pick at the single-mothers who write them. However, as we cross the finish line, despite tears and frustration and anger, what remains is my daughter's strength. And what I have realized, and perhaps known all along, is that NO ONE could take that from her. And while I worried about what would happen to her in this class, I also knew that there was always another caring adult there, and, more importantly, I also knew that she would make it despite this woman. And that her strength is what her teacher hated and envied in her. So today, I celebrate my daughter. She has more possession of her-self than her "teacher" will ever have. And perhaps, this year, she was there to teach the lessons.

I am here and not broken

" We can not change the past but we can rebuild our lives with an astounding work of art that screams "I am here and not broken" because I focus on the beauty that life reveals and inherent joy that waits in each human behind every beautiful scar. Without our scars, we know no smooth surface. This is the carving out of our soul-stones for lifetimes to come." ~Hollie Allen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Roots & Wings

"Children need two things: roots and wings." -Chinese Proverb

Threat & Punishment

Friday, June 8, 2012

“Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree that stands by itself.” -Pueblo Verse

Monday, June 4, 2012

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." ~Maya Angelou "Neon Nemesis" by Elisabeth Slettnes

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Orgasmic Birth

I just watched the Orgasmic Birth movie. It was beyond moving for me. It brought up many things that I have not dealt with yet. I felt grief at seeing women actually supported , comforted and loved – even to the point of having multiple orgasms. Mostly I feel grief that I was so out of touch with myself during both my births. While I had my son without drugs, it was primarily by accident because my labor was so early and short. I immediately regretted getting an epidural with my daughter. That and circumcising my son remain my two greatest regrets in life. My frustration with Al-Anon remains and even grows. The only solution for co-dependents, in my opinion, is to leave the unhealthy relationship and find your-self again. I never would be healthy, happy and whole had I stayed with my ex-husband. I am certain of that. Al-Anon is a recycling of pain. I am grief-struck that I missed the healing birthing experience with both my children. I also know now how important that experience would have been for them, especially given the circumstances of their early lives of living with a father with multiple addictions. We do the best we can with what we know at the time, but I feel anger towards a medical system that perpetuates unnatural birth and a society that tells us to “stand by our man.” My hope is my daughter will do it different.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Women for Sobriety - 13 Statements

A woman-centered approach to the 12 Steps The Women for Sobriety Program - Statements of Acceptance

1. I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.
2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.
4. Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.
5. I am what I think.
6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
7. Love can change the course of my world.
8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
9. The past is gone forever.
10. All love given returns.
11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life.
13. I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

(c) 1976, 1987, 1993 Women for Sobriety, Inc.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

antiga’s thirteen circles

[An anonymously written feminist-theology version of AA's Twelve Steps] 1. We believe that we are not responsible for creating the oppression that permeates our society. 2. We believe that a power outside ourselves and deep within us can restore our balance and give us wholeness. 3. We make a decision to ask for help from the Goddess and others who understand. 4. We acknowledge our beauty, strengths and weaknesses and look at the ways we have been taught to hate ourselves. 5. We acknowledge to the Goddess, to ourselves, and to another person our successes and shortcomings. 6. We make a list of the ways we have acquiesced to oppression. 7. We become ready to say no to oppression. 8. We ask for the courage to resist oppressive situations. 9. We mend our lives with respect for all. 10. We continue to be conscious of our actions and thoughts, promptly acknowledging our mistakes and enjoying our successes. 11. We seek to improve our conscious contact with the Goddess. 12. We believe that every moment we are doing the best we can, and that is enough. 13. We accept ourselves exactly as we are, trusting our experience and affirming that health, joy, and freedom are our Goddess-given rights.


A close friend of mine gave me a copy of this book to read after she finished it. I had a long trip to Bergen yesterday so I have read quite a bit of it on the plane. There are so many parallels here to my own life that it has been a difficult read. At first I found the mother very hard to relate to or like, but half way through I also saw a lot of me in her. It is that same fear that I have had for my own children. I suspect it is the fear most people have when they realize their spouse is an addict. I have often thought that I could not bear to re-live addiction with my kids. I don't think anything could be more painful. But what often happens is that we shut down and become practically dead so that no one can hurt us. What I have hoped is that I could somehow control their lives to the extent that it would never happen. What I realize more and more is that they are on their own journeys. And, painful as it may be, I have to let them live those journeys. That said, I do believe the stability we offer our children growing up does count for something. While I can't stop them from making bad choices, I do believe that children come back sooner than they would without strong families. Sometimes, without that, they don't ever come back. This is a beautiful story about the love between mother and daughter. I'd highly recommend it to anyone dealing with family addictions. "Sometimes, we have to give birth to our children twice....Once your child becomes the "garbage" other parents are afraid of, you never look at any teen, or yourself, the same again. All you see is the child they once were." "Nor did I grasp the capacity of love's absence to destroy, that my lack of love for myself made my own life unbearable. You take someone whose life experiences have taught them they're worthless, string them out on drugs, and you have one miserable person. How could I have given what I didn't have? It's hard to value another life when you view your own as dispensable, hard to understand how you can have so great an effect on someone else when you don't think you matter." - Mia Fontaine

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Burnt Cupcakes

Today is my daughter's 6th birthday. What should be a happy day, is always somewhat painful for me. We moved recently and I am still getting used to the hang of everything in the new place. I burnt 3 batched of from-scratch cupcakes, which was a first for me. I don't think I have ever been to the store so much in a 2-day period. I joked after I finally succeeded with the 4th batch that these were going to be the worlds most expensive cupcakes. I reminded myself coming back from the store for the 5th time that at least I have a child to celebrate her birthday with. Some mothers are not so lucky. But, despite this, I still broke down after I finally got the fourth batch right and started crying. I haven't stopped nearly an hour later. I don't think my new housemate understood how much I had riding on these being right. My daughter still has a hyper-sensitivity about her birthday after several disappointing birthday parties with her dad where he either failed to show up or caused a scene. For years, she asked me why he did not come to her birthday. She was 3. I don't know that that will ever go away for her. I explained to a friend earlier that while I feel that I have mostly moved on myself and healed, it is harder for me to heal the wounds that have been inflicted on my children. At times, it still feels like there is a gaping hole in my heart that will never heal. I wanted so much for them to have good, stable lives. It's painful to know that no matter what I do, that can not always be their reality. There is still so much residue, and so many things that feel unfair. While I am still the same mother I have always been, I get treated very different as a single mother. I suppose that's another reason that the damned cupcakes seemed so important to me. I could just hear my daughter's teacher making one of her snide remarks. I can almost imagine what she would say. I just wish she would say it to her father for once.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

12 Steps to Spiritual Awakening

1. We realized we were powerful but that our EGOs had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than our EGOs could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to align our will and our lives with our SOURCE of LOVE and LIGHT as we intuitively understood IT.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our desires for ourselves.

5. Submitted ourselves to Higher forms of guidance other than human beings who judged our true nature as wrong.

6. Were entirely ready to remove all defective teachings and beliefs from our character.

7. Humbly removed ourselves from judging any experiences as shortcomings but only as lessons.

8. Made a list of all the ways we could express LOVE and began to fulfill them all.

9. Expressed direct LOVE towards people wherever possible without exception.

10. Continued to monitor our thoughts and actions and when we were out of alignment with SOURCE/GOD, promptly quieted our EGOs and regained our balance.

11. Sought though prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our SOURCE of LOVE and LIGHT as we understood IT, praying only for knowledge of TRUTH and the WISDOM to use it.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message into the ALL-ONEness and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Created by WYZDOM

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blessing for ALL mothers

Today we bless mothers who sat up all night with sick toddlers saying, "It's OK honey, Mommy's here. Today we bless mothers who gave birth to babies they may never see. And the mothers who took those babies forever to be their own children. Today we bless mothers who attended ball games, recitals, rehearsals, etc. etc. and said, "I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and meant it. Today we bless mothers who show up for work with milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse. Today we bless mothers who put pinwheels, teddy bears, or flowers on children's graves. Today we bless mothers whose children have gone astray, who haven't the words to reach them, and yet have never put them from their heart. Today we bless new mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And today we bless mature mothers who are learning to let go. Today we bless all mothers: working mothers, stay-at-home mothers, single mothers, and married mothers. We also bless all women in life giving and nurturing roles. We thank you. We honor you. We bless you. Amen. - adapted from a prayer of Dan Bottorff