Tuesday, November 12, 2013

She Recovers - On a Beach

Hard to believe that I am back in Mexico again - getting ready for our second She Recovers retreat which starts on Saturday. Holy crap, time goes fast.

Seven days, 24 recovering women, a sacred circle celebration, sun, sea and sand. A private chef preparing our gourmet meals. Healing through laughter and tears. Developing new relationships when one of us sees something in another and says - yes - me too. Last year, 18 women joined us - this year nine of them are returning. We created something special last year and we shall do it again. There is magic in recovery. The women who are joining us this year are recovering from addiction, alcoholism, workaholism, food addiction, broken hearts, lost jobs and shattered dreams. Don't get me wrong - we are not a couple of dozen broken chicks - we are strong and courageous women in recovery and we know that we need to take this sacred pause to catch our breath, let go of things that no longer server us and move ourselves forward. We may find answers on the beach in Playa del Secreto, or maybe we will just find the question. Whatever it is, there is one thing for certain. There shall be tacos.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Want to Write

I write for a living - but not "this" kind of writing. Not blogging. Not telling you how I feel kind of writing. Other writing - important writing (social policy counts for a lot) - but not "my" writing.

I need to get back to "this" kind of writing - the blogging kind. The kind where I tell you what the hell is going on for me and hope that you relate to just a bit of it. The kind of writing that allows me to get in touch with myself on such a deep level that I scream or laugh or cry so hard for my dead mother that snot drips all over my keyboard (if that's the kind of day I am having).

I want to write the kind of writing where I share my hope. My hope that if you are using you can stop and live an extraordinary life like me. I want to write about how hard it was for me to figure out and then come to believe that I wasn't really a piece of shit and didn't deserve to be treated like one, not even by myself. My hope is that something in my experience will touch something in yours and we will meet for just a moment or more as the long lost friends that we are. Because I know you, if you are a woman in recovery. I know how you felt on the last day that you used - even if it was this morning. I know how great it feels when you accomplish something you didn't know you could do. Like stop using right now.

I want to tell other women that they too can be a total fuck-up for a large percentage of their lives (more than a decade, anyway) and still turn it all around and have babies if that is what they want to do or raise the ones you have already anyway, go back to school for a couple or three degrees (it was addicting), get a dream job writing policy research from a beach in Mexico for three months of the year. I want to tell you that not every man you come across will be a complete moron. Indeed, it is possible that one day you will find a man who comes down to your office on a Thursday morning and feeds you three pieces of bacon - just because he knows you need it.

Yes. That is the kind of writing I want to do.

Perhaps, tomorrow.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Twenty Six Years of Recovery - But It's Complicated

So here is the scoop. Today marks 26 years without a drink for me. I'm really very proud of myself for this accomplishment. I tried to stop drinking when I was 17, and it took me another ten years (and a treatment program) to get the hang of it. I went to treatment for my daughters, not for me. I didn't believe I deserved anything good in my life at the time but I didn't think they deserved a dead mother.

The thing about addiction is - sometimes we switch addictions, and sometimes we relapse after long periods of recovery. That is just the truth.

For the first two years of not drinking I smoked a lot of pot - so I was not "clean and sober." In 1989 I gave it all up, and had nearly 11 years of complete abstinence when in 2000, I relapsed on pills for several days. No big blow out - nobody even knew I was relapsing and it wasn't a gong show. My mother had just died and I couldn't hack it. I'm one of the lucky ones - I didn't go to self-loathing and full-blown relapse.
The thing about addiction is we never know when we pick up if we will be able to put down, or if we will die. That is just the truth.

I celebrated 13 years of completely abstinent recovery in May. The past 26 years has been a trip. I've worked hard (too hard as some of you know) to reach some goals. I went back to school after having quit high school and earned three degrees in recovery, the last one a PhD. I don't say this to impress you - but it impresses the hell out of me. And here's the thing. I'm not unique. I know dozens and dozens of women (and men, of course) in recovery who have as many years of recovery as me, as many degrees, as much success in their career, who have raised children as wonderful as mine. And they all started out as broken as I was.
And here's the other thing. All the degrees, the success, the beautiful homes (ours is tiny and crooked but we love it) and children and travel and boats and cars are just what recovery sometimes looks like, for some people in recovery, on the outside.

Those things are not what recovery is about, despite being happy outcomes of recovery. Here's what recovery is about for me. I know how fortunate I am to have found recovery. I should have been dead, a dozen times. I like myself, almost all of the time. I have healthy happy people in my life and some who aren't - and I try to love them and help them but not change them. And I get to do what I love for work and I play hard for several months a year. And I'm not perfect. I nag my husband and my adult children and I don't get enough exercise. I am reactive more often than I care to be, and I am working on that. I'm a terrible housekeeper (but my husband is not) and there are moments when I lose all the self-confidence that I have worked so hard to find. I am overly-sensitive to most things having to do with my family of origin. But I love all members of that family madly. After 13 years, I still take to my bed every once in a while, overcome with absolute grief for my dead mother. And she wasn't perfect either.

I haven't had to pick up a drink for 26 years. And I'm flipping proud of myself. And believe me, if I can do this thing called recovery, you can too.


Friday, February 15, 2013

In Gratitude and Sadness

I found out last night that one more beautiful young woman has been taken by this disease of addiction.

One more beautiful young woman who forgot – or maybe never had the chance to learn – that she really did deserve to live an amazing life.

I didn’t know her well, but I can picture her smile and as I think of her right now, I see her laughing. I saw her at various meetings last year and I spoke with her a handful of times. I know that I hugged her.

I’ve been doing this recovery thing for a long time. And I have seen a lot of beautiful women die, so many more than I could count. I am sad. And I am furious. And as always I find myself asking, what more, if anything, can I do?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

But for today I am going to continue to shed these tears that fall upon my keyboard. I’m going to pray for this particular young woman’s family and friends. I’m going to pray for all of the other women in my community, and in the world, who are struggling in their addiction today. I’m going to thank my higher power that I and so many people in my life have found our way into this thing called recovery. I’m going to pray that the policy makers and the powers that be wake up and work harder to find ways to offer all suffering addicts a pathway to recovery. I’m going to pray that we all become more open to the fact that there is no “one way” to recover.

Do me a favour? Just reach out to one person today who you know is struggling? Remind them that they are beautiful, worthwhile, and amazing. Do it in honour of all of the beautiful young women who didn’t learn that about themselves and/or didn't get the help they needed in time to save their own lives.

Rest in peace, sweet girl. Rest in peace.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Here I am Again

So I actually transferred this blog over onto my She Recovers web platform some time ago - but it hasn't done anything for getting me to blog more. So I'm coming home to Blogger with a commitment to start writing again.

I don't really know why I stopped - other than I had a few other creative projects taking over my life.

So here I am. Back. And I can't wait to start blogging again.

But first - I have to keep packing to leave for a two-month trip back to Mexico.

Have I mentioned that life has gotten pretty good since I was laid off a year ago today?

I love my life. And I love you. Whoever you are.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Launch a Website

Well, you launch it with a hope and a prayer, some pride and a great deal of gratitude.

We are all recovering from something, and you are all warmly invited to Tulum this November.

A Sacred Pause: Yoga and Recovery on the Beach.

Be there.


Thursday, June 21, 2012


I haven't blogged in a long while and I couldn't for certain tell you why.

Not sure why today is the day I decided to start blogging again. Okay...that's a lie. I decided to start again because there is a hell of a lot going on in my life and I feel like I need to start writing again to help process and keep track. As I wrote a few posts ago, getting laid off in November was a very painful shock, but it's been a good thing. Going to Mexico a few days after my lay-off for three weeks, then home for Christmas and then back to Mexico for the month of February was pretty flipping cool. Taking life coach training has been provocative and dare I say, exhilarating. Still, over the past six months I have ended up rather emotionally vulnerable. Not vulnerable as in snot dripping down to my knees crying (although been there, done that a few times in the past year) but vulnerable in the sense of so much has been shifting for me...that I'm never positive of what state I am really in. Proud and stressed to the max was the state I found myself in last month when Yoga Kid decided to get married and gave us approximately five minutes to plan the affair. Okay, it was five weeks. Pictures to follow. Happy is a state I often find myself in these days. Tired is another common state. Grateful as much of every day as possible. The usual, plus the vulnerability.

Anxious would be the state that best describes this particular day. For good reason. Tomorrow night I am launching my new website and inviting the world of recovering women to come to our Yoga and Recovery Retreat in Tulum this November.

Anxiety. Fear. I could use a week on the beach right about now. The retreat will be awesome. A complete decompression, a pause, a week of relaxation, yoga, swimming in the turquoise sea. Downward dogs all over the place and moon salutations on the beach under the full moon. I have the proverbial and common fear associated with this and so many things that I do. Kind of...what if you threw a big damned party and nobody came thing. This is not going to be a big damned party. I'm inviting the world (facebook) but we only have room for 19 women. 

Hell, I guess the worst case scenario is we'll have the whole resort to ourselves.