A woman's path to sustained recovery

Though the process of recovery is never easy, some women seem to move through the journey with less pain than others. Why? What makes the difference? Here we will talk about how that happens for each of us. We will talk about how women heal in mutually empowering realtionships with themselves, with others and with God.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Joe and I facilitate a grief group at our church. It's been going on for almost 2 years and often the conversation expands into discussions of the member's relationships with the person for whom they are grieving. Monday night a young woman was talking about the death of her mother 2 years ago. The first thing she said was, "I don't miss the fighting. I miss the good times but I don't miss the fighting. ...we fought all the time...we butted heads....we were so much alike." Then she shared something that troubled me.  "And that's how my 10 year old daughter and I are...We fight all the time,"

This disclosure troubled me because it highlighted the unhealthy relationship pattern that she is in. She communicates and relates to these important people by fighting.  My sense is no one enjoys that kind of relationship. I wonder when she dies if her daughter will say, "I don't miss the fighting."

We all learn communication patterns from our homes. Sometimes it makes us smile when we hear ourselves say something our parents said. It's important to take a look at and to listen to our communication and relationships. Are we duplicating some of the things we heard and did from home? Are those patterns healthy? Are they the ways we want our children to copy and maybe to remember when we are not with them?

God, help me to hear the way I talk and listen to my children and loved ones. Is it a loving manner in which they feel treasured?


Thursday, September 8, 2016

one month

It's been a month since I've written a blog. A friend emailed and asked if I was ok? I reassured her I was---maybe I had just run out of things to say. She assured me I hadn't! she was right.

Today I attended a conference of faith and recovery. It was useful in confirming my strong belief that long term recovery happens when we place our recovery in our relationship with God. That is when the joy and peace of recovery comes alive within us. Sometimes conferences don't break new ground but they give information and concepts to people new to recovery whether they be treatment providers or clients. This felt like one of those. And helped remind me that even if what I say, I've said before maybe there is someone new reading this blog and they will hear it for the first time.

Also I need to be reminded of these concepts of recovery, faith and God over and over and over. No matter how long we have been in recovery, this is a chronic disease and we need to pay attention. It is a tiger that creeps in the grass and when we don't pay attention, it rears up and bites us on the ass! really! Pay attention.

And as the preface to my book says in quoting the philosopher, Pascal, "There is a God-Shaped void in the heart of every man which cannot be filled with any created thing but only by God, the creator, made known through Jesus Christ."

Books on amazon.com "Filling the God Shaped Void-a book of daily meditations" and "Broken by Addiction , Blessed by God.-a woman's journey into long term recovery."


Monday, August 8, 2016

parents' anquish

I smiled and empathized with the television tape of the parents of a USA Olympic gymnast as she performed her routine on the balance beam. The mother absolutely covered her eyes, writhed and contorted in stress as the daughter jumped and twisted and spun. The father too leaned and stretched with his daughter. Their stress was palpable. That's how we are with those we love.

I think that must be what God looks like as we attempt to live our lives. when we are in tough times. I think He must cover His eyes and lean and contort with us...praying we don't fall and if we do that we get back up and try it again.

Another gymnast when questioned why she was attempting to defend her gold medal against very strong odds said, "I hate regret more than anything." Do we try again even when we fail because to not try would lead to regret?

Some of the choices I have made over the past 20 years have not turned out as happily as I had hoped. But I do not regret them. I took risks. I tried. No regrets....well, not many.  I pray He has covered His eyes at a few of my choices and leaned and contorted with me at others.

Do you know He is there with you?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

the best they can

Not infrequently I get irritated, frustrated, saddened that friends or relatives seem to let me down. I met with a friend recently who expressed the same sadness and frustration. She was off to give a presentation at a conference and it was a big deal. She had donated many times over the years to her company's sunshine fund and yet had had no personal health or big events to receive any recognition from the club. She was secretly hoping that the club would give her flowers or at least a card to celebrate her big day. Nope-nothing. She acknowledged the lack of recognition was a disappointment and took a little of the shine off her departure.

I know from a "therapeutic" perspective that our "secret" hopes and expectations are a major part of our disappointments. Other people can't read our minds. If we need something, we need to ask, be clear. So on one level I want to tell myself, "People are doing the best they can. If I need or want something, tell them." On the other hand, surprise phone calls, cards, flowers---in recognition of an event---or just because someone is thinking of you---are such a delight.

Who would love a phone call or flowers from you---just because you are thinking of them?

That's one way to do the best you can---to be the best you can be---to live in the kingdom of God---really!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

praying in disappointment

In yesterdays' meditation Fred Buechner isn't really talking about disappointment but he is talking about sadness and need for healing. I thought of my family with their sadness and disappointment yesterday. Buechner says, ""But there are other times--often the most unexpected, unlikely times--when strong as life itself comes the sense there is holiness deeper than shabbiness and horror (sadness and disappointment) and at the very heart of darkness a light unutterable..and in that room of thanksgiving and remembering there is peace."

In our disappointments and darkness we pray to remember God's wonderful work in our lives---to feel that light unutterable---peace.


Saturday, July 23, 2016


Some of our family had a big trip planned for 2 days ago. It was a plane trip to "home" (across country) and family where the parents had grown up and also their now adult daughter. The mom had recently completed 2 years of chemo/bone marrow transplant and very very difficult recovery. She had missed trips "home" for 2 years though her large family had visited here. For her it was to be sort of a victory lap.
Along with their adult daughter were daughter's husband, mom's own husband  and two grand children--ages 3 and 1 1/2 years. Mom had agreed to use a wheelchair---kids needed stroller and car seat---and seven suitcases. Not an easy trip.

As they waited to check the car seat at the gate, the screen flashed to "flight cancelled." Can  you imagine??!! I've had difficult trips but this one was an absolute nightmare. Finally after several hours and very little help from the airline, they simply cancelled. The arrangements the airline suggested were absolutely not do-able.

They drove home amidst many tears, without luggage, without a new plan. When they arrived home the 3 year old (who had really been prepped for this trip) said, "Mommy, I didn't like that trip."

Now in the old days, that would have been a real excuse for a couple of shots of bourbon for me. It made me think about how we respond to disappointment in recovery. In recovery we need new strategies. It has to be part of our recovery plan---can't wait for the disappointment  and then figure it out.

What is your recovery plan for disappointment---even the small everyday disappointments?
Does it include prayer? Does it include remembering God is always with us to help us through?


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

the computer, the robins and family

My computer crashed! Holy shamoly the frustration! ...buy which replacement? how to pay bills while no internet? how to work the new one? no link to printer-yet----touch pad-no mouse! no Microsoft word!
I can really get worked up about all of this.

Then I sat on the patio this morning and watched the robins feeding the babies in the nest in the tree at the edge of the patio. Peaceful---full of peace, a gift.

Then a friend called with much sadness---family struggles, difficult situation, difficult communication, the possibility of a deep split.

Life can be so hard---the little stuff, the big stuff---making certain we know what is big stuff and what is little stuff It seems to me the big stuff is the family stuff-the relationships. The rest of it is really trivial.

Dear God, today let me be mindful that I don't waste your or my time on the trivial. Let me pray for the friend and her family. Let me take great pleasure in the robins. Let me not get so stressed by the computer. Remind me to be thankful I can buy a new one---for heavens sake!!!