Why anonymity in recovery?

So, recently I finally asked the question – why be anonymous in support groups for AA, Alanon, Alateen, and other recovery groups?

I have been vocal for so many years. At first I shocked many. My family never has liked it. But, after years of doing it and writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace, I have come to realize that I have reached many more people and there are more that understand that not everyone has the same upbringing, that there are highly dysfunctual families out there and more importantly, I’ve reached others that do not feel so alone anymore.

There are estimated 18-28 million adult children of alcoholics out there in the US & the UK. It can’t be shocking anymore? And, how many kids still don’t know that they are not alone? Like me when I was a teenager and pre-teen, I felt that what was going on was not normal, but nothing was out there that told me otherwise. And, then there was this notion that we should never talk about it. So, even if a counselor, or in my case, prinicipal at my school asked me — I’d never mention it. Never learning that I wasn’t alone and that we could get help. Or, I could.

I will have the respect to not to post their comments, but I asked a support group this:

Just want to throw out a thought that I’ve had several times and would like to ask you guys.
Why are most of the support for alcoholism, addiction, and COAs recovery, anonymous? To me I feel we continue the guilt and shame that has been associated with this and we really strengthen the stigma with comes along with the illness or something that we had no control over. I understand the judgment out there in the world, but mustn’t we stand up to end that?

Thanks for all the responses. I was just curious and would never think that everyone should have to be vocal. I just opened my eyes and began my recovery after reading, Keeping Secrets by Suzanne Somers and that term is so much of our role in alcoholism and growing up in that household – “keeping secrets”. I just thought the more vocal people are, the more people we will help and people wouldn’t feel alone. But, to each its own. Thanks! Much love

I’m not trying to blast the alcoholic. They were/are sick. We have to acknowledge and help others to understand that our parent(s) were not “our parents” when they were under the influence. To me, they were – she was, the alcoholic, not my mother. And, to also keep that from your children. Some parents do that, cover up their past. I believe I am the only one that has told my child, when he was old enough to understand, about my experiences of my childhood. I believe they learn and understand and can maybe have more compassion toward others, that everybody’s life isn’t perfect.

I’m not thinking everyone should reveal EVERYTHING that went on, but just to mention that they are/were affected from that circumstance would probably lessen the stigma, shame, guilt, and to connect ourselves to others, and heal more.

What are your thoughts? Does anonymity continue this cycle of the stigma and keeping secrets? Are you not as sick as your secrets?

#adultchildofanalcoholic #breakthecycle #breakthesilence #endthestigma #shamefree

Holiday Sale

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Holiday sale! Make sure that you don’t miss out on this discount. This offer won’t last.

Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. Grace shares her life’s experiences, her journey—finding her way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life she chose to live. She writes about many challenges she has had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

Grace could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations she ended up in when she was lost and broken. She has learned from her past and she is evolving to find her grace in this beautiful thing we call life. She believes by sharing her story that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

 

#sale #booksale #holidaysale
#cyberMonday #blackfriday #cyberweekend

Spiritual Beauty

She was a girl of abuse
She was a girl of silenceSpiritual Beauty

Those tears were hidden behind
those sad eyes

But, one day she found beauty

Beauty in the sky
Beauty in the trees
Beauty in the birds
Beauty in the lady bugs
Beauty in all things

Even beauty in hurt and pain
because through that she learned
to love life and all things deeper than ever before.

 

7/31/2014

#poem

1st page of Evolving to Grace 

1st page of Evolving to Grace.

Chapter 1 – Threats from a Pimp
“Excuse Me—Press Rewind”

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Available on Amazon in print and ebook (Kindle). If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Just download the software for free to read any kindle book on any device, click here.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, in this memoir I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), doChapters of Evolving to Gracemestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I’ve learned from my past and I am evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. I write to share my experiences with others with the hope that no one, despite whatever situation they may be going through, will ever give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

 

 

 

#acoa 

I am an ACoA

I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

I do mention it from time to time, that my mom is an alcoholic. By the age of 10, I knew-believed-felt that something was wrong with the dynamics of our household. Back then, in the early 80s, the lingo wasn’t there. Not many people were out speaking about addiction, at least not in our neighborhoods. If it was going on in other households, they were doing as we were, keeping secrets.

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In the United States alone there are an estimated 28 million children who have alcoholic parents. This figure is staggering when it is considered that at least 11 million of those children are under the age of 18.
Not only are children influenced by parents use of alcohol, another huge risk factor is the attitudes of the parents towards using alcohol. If parents are extremely permissive when it comes to the idea of their children using alcohol during their adolescent years, those children have a greater chance of becoming addicted either as teenagers or adults.

Alcoholic Families Usually Have Other Issues

Families who have issues with alcohol addiction often have other problems in addition to alcoholism. Some of these problems include:

  • A partial or complete lack of effective communication

  • Poor or non-existent parenting skills

  • Poorly run and managed homes with no set schedules, structure or discipline

  • Ineffective role models for children who then grow up to repeat family issues in their own families

  • More conflict in the home including arguing, fighting and sometimes physical abuse

  • Family isolation from the community due to alcohol abuse

  • Financial issues and struggles that lead to a more stressful life

557874e21841bb523883b3db440212c1Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic was a starting point for being lost and broken for many years. It, and possibly a predisposition, led me to be depressed and suicidal at times. It lead me to give up on life, drop out of high school, and dive into excessive drinking and using drugs. It lead me to being so blacked out that I lost-was taken-my virginity one night after a party in Chicago. It could have led me, or a combination of all the things prior, to becoming a call girl in my early twenties.

 

Despite my foundation that began with being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, my spirit has not been shattered. I was broken and lost for quite some time, but there was a fight in me from when I was about 13 years old. I despised what I was seeing when our lives were infused with the addict’s problem. I knew it was not how I wanted my life to be. The fire in me, to fight to not end up like my mother stayed lit for many years, thankfully never going out. I worked on my life, little by little, finding myself and the life I wanted to live in – peaceful, non-addicted, happy, funny, and most of all – always loving. the-best-top-desktop-fantasy-wallpapers-hd-fantasy-wallpaper-35

But remains is, I am still an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. That will never go away. But, I have learned to embrace it, learn from it (still learning), and know that I am a warrior because of it!

 

 

* Check out more statistics and information, click here.

* Get a copy of Evolving to Grace to read about my experience living as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, amongst other things.

* And, check out the Adult Children of Alcoholics page, if you need help, support and for further information.

 

#adultchildrenofalcoholics

Evolving to Grace available in stores now!

Looking for a X-Mas gift for the book lover in your life? Local to L.A.?
You can now find Evolving to Grace in stores at BookSoup in West Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Get your copy soon! Quantities limited!

memoir

#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift

I matter

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I’m just another writer, turned author, who hopes to be good enough that someone will like her book, her story.

Many that know me may not know this about me and could never imagine the roads I’ve traveled. I was born into a family, at least from one side, that was very privileged. My grandfather was a well-known surgeon and had a clinic in Peru and also was known worldwide to having delivered a baby to the youngest mother in history. My grandmother from one side of her family was an heiress from a family from Philadelphia that in the end had millions and owned a complete block on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. On the other side of her family, her father had been born in England, was educated in NY, and he later had been the Mayor of Pisco several times. He had come from a family that was so well off that they had created several of the first railways in Peru and had many properties in Peru.

My own life is one of knowing a little bit of this “good life” up until the age of 15—before we lost everything. But, what happens behind closed doors is always unknown to others. Alcoholism, sadness, depression, mentions (rumors) of infidelity, abuse and fighting were intertwined with this “good life”. At an early age, darkness won in my mind which opened the door to years of depression and times of suicide. Then, later came my own destruction at the hands of the bottle. Rape would follow. Drop out of life and from high school, would happen. I eventually added more than drinking to swallow the pain. And, then loss, grief and guilt would overpower the darkness that was already there. Loss of a very close friend would lead me to the road of selling myself. Selling myself would make me feel worthy. Worthy of something. Worthy of all the years I felt not worthy­—when I didn’t matter.

But, a voice was always with me, a quiet little whisper—my guardian angels, my grandparents or friends that had passed on, or God, or just my spiritual love for myself, whispered to me. This life—my life—was not meant to be like this. Always that little whisper stayed with me. Seemed at times to disappear, but was just waiting to appear, waiting to tell me at the right moment—your life means more than this! “It” stayed and stays deep down inside with me always so that it leaves it up to me to remember—I matter.

Purple Angel

#imatter #selfworth

Evolving to Grace – a memoir

3D Book Preview_7.17.15_cropped

In Evolving to GraceA story of perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path, I share my life’s experiences, my journey—finding my way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life I choose to live. I write about many challenges I’ve had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, and rape.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACOA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I am trying to better myself, changing my ways and learning from my past and I am forever evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. Lastly, I write to inspire others to never give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

“This is a very powerful story told in an extremely honest and candid fashion by a woman who has been there and back . . . fractured family, drugs/alcohol, running the streets, relationships with celebrities, issues with romantic partners. But mostly I saw this as the story of a woman with all the cards stacked against her who came through, and ultimately triumphed over, adversity. Amazing, Grace!” – Seth Kadish

“Her writing is so down to earth and real … I felt like I was having a conversation with her. Her obvious strength as a woman does not diminish the scope of the tragedy, though; her vulnerability is often excruciating.” – Patrice H.

Available now on Amazon, Nook and Amazon Kindle!

#memoir

I was just barely 16 & still a virgin when I was raped

Excerpt, from Evolving to Grace

A little over a week later, I lost my virginity, technically. I was raped. It is mind boggling what paths my journey took me on when I didn’t make good choices. I never stopped to even think of what I was doing. I shouldn’t have ever had a drink. I shouldn’t have been at that get together. I shouldn’t have been in Chicago. I shouldn’t have bottled things up that hurt me. I should have been in school trying to do the best thing for myself, getting my education. So many should not haves or should haves play over and over in my mind. If I could have only pressed rewind, this may not have happened to me, but maybe like most things in our lives they are destined and meant to happen for a purpose.

I began drinking a year earlier. I drank until I threw up, blacked out and passed out next to my new friend, “Potty”, the toilet. And, even though I’d go to the extent that I had seen my mom go to and hated it, I was now doing it a lot of the time. Here I was at 16, still drinking, bottling up my emotions – escaping from my life, only facing my reality through depressed feelings, scarring my wrists with safety pins and drinking to the excess I was. At a get together across the street at a neighbor’s brownstone in Chicago, me and my sisters drank. One of my sisters was there with her new boyfriend, the boy I had been dating! I had to have felt uncomfortable. I was still so confused on what had happened to me again or maybe I was just trying to ignore my feelings. I believe by this time in my life I was trying to push down my feelings because to everyone besides me, my feelings didn’t matter. People, especially family had done so many hurtful things and with no apology. My feelings didn’t matter, I didn’t matter.

mental-surgery-to-overcome-emotional-pain-and-sadness-dr-diva-verdun-11

I can only recall about the first few minutes of that evening. We were at the guy with the tall, blue mohawk’s place which he shared with his roommate. I was excited because I had a crush on Mr. Mohawk. I kind of remember trying to go over there as cute as I could. I couldn’t be pretty or even pretty enough to get his attention because I was still not bloomed into the prettiness that would come years later. But, it didn’t stop me from getting excited from going over there. I walked into this guy’s place that evening with happiness and with a profound innocence that I still had. I was 16, going on 12. I didn’t know really what happened during sex. I had never seen a boy naked; except for the Playgirl Magazines one of my sisters would sneak and show us. I had only made out with two guys in my life and that was just heavy duty kissing. My sister mentioned later, that I had gotten so drunk I began to throw up all over the place. At some point like I always had, I had time to take pictures. It’s funny how I could continue doing what I love to do, despite never remember doing it. My sis later told me that she stuck me in the bathtub to clean me up and then later put me into the roommate’s bed to sleep it off, not Mr. Mohawk’s. I passed out. My sisters left me there. One of them had to leave me there because she was catching a plane back to Cincinnati. I believe Mr. Mohawk went with her to the airport. It was only decades later that I spoke to the other sister about that night, but it was brief, and we only spoke about the rape. She felt bad hearing what I had gone through and she didn’t want to talk any further about it, so I was never able to find out why she left me there. I cannot blame her though because for so long we all had been only watching out for ourselves. I was blacked out the whole night. I do recall a moment though. The pain of him trying to enter me woke me up. I remember seeing his outlined figure in the dark, on top of me and I was trying to push him off. I moaned in agony because of what he was trying to do. It hurt, but I just passed out again. In the morning I woke up to find myself half naked lying next to this dude which was completely naked. I quietly went out to the living room trying to find my clothes, which one of my sisters had semi-cleaned of throw up in the bathroom. I made small talk with Mr. Mohawk. My best time spent on Sheffield Avenue was watching this tall, skinny white guy with a blue Mohawk skate up and down the street. And, now this moment in the morning was embarrassing. I acted as nothing happened, like I always do – nothing affecting me, but it had to be written all over my face because I was so uncomfortable. I’d no longer look at Mr. Mohawk the same or his roommate. I pretended as all was good, even to the point that a few days later when I left to go back to Houston, they both rode the subway with me to the airport, like we were all friends or something. As a young girl, you don’t know how to behave when things like this happen because you really can’t understand what happened and you are probably in shock. I’d later find out that I got a STD. I had my virginity taken from me. I felt ashamed and confused, not knowing what to do but get out of there. I walked in as a happy, innocent girl and walked out snatched of everything that was pure of me, forever changed. It took me decades to realize how devastating that night truly was. It took me 26 years to finally cry about it. For so many years I use to say, “thankfully I was passed out for most it and that was why it never really affected me”. But, it did affect me. My childhood laid a base foundation for me to let men use me and possibly lead me into selling myself for sex, but this incident may have played more of a role than my childhood. After the rape, I didn’t have sex again for another year, but that time it was my choice.

#evolvingtograce #rape

She Was My Mother, Bless Her Soul

an old paper/presentation from my Speech class at SMC, 1996…..

Growing up in an alcoholic home has been characterized as similar in stress to being in the Nazi Concentration Camps of WWII, according to Dr. Vaillant. Alcoholism is like living with an air raid a day says authors, Middleton – Moz & Dwinell. Under these conditions chronic stress becomes normal.

This is how the majority of my life, all of my childhood, has been. Today, I want to tell you a little bit about Children of Alcoholics. I want to first begin to read you a poem written by Jane Middleton – Moz from 1980, that reminds me of my mother.

She Was My Mother, Bless Her Soul
I sometimes sit
in the corner
in the dark
and recall my mother
with a brown bottle in her hand
or the sounds of clanking ice at 2a.m.
she’d call me baby if she wanted another beer
or a slut if she hadn’t had enough
she’d make me cookies on Christmas
before she’d get too drunk.
Many nights
she would fall asleep on the floor
I’d cover her with a blanket
and put a pillow under her head
I’d awaken in the morning
to the sounds of her screaming
she wasn’t an easy woman to please
most of the time
we didn’t get along
Sometimes I miss her
and the lonelinessalcoholism-and-family-3-638

Alcoholic families live in a state of crisis which has become normalized. Maybe the most pathogenic factor in alcoholic families is the denial of the reality of the deviant drinking and its impact on the children. In many situation the parents are not only suppose to be the “buffer” – standing between the child and the trauma, being a protective shield, but in these families the parents are the agents inflicting pain too. Living with both the constant unpredictability of the alcoholic parent and the detachment of the co-dependent parent – who is preempted by the stress, is difficult enough for any adult who has a fully developed defense system. But, a child needs to employ massive amounts of energy merely to survive, so this puts their “normal” development process on hold. Which the end result will leave a child who is 5 feeling like they are 30, and 5 years old at 30. They find 3 outcomes of Children of Alcoholics: 1) individuals who literally succumb to their destructive influences of their childhood through suicide, insanity or through being incarcerated most of their lives, 2) is individuals who use massive amounts of denial, repression, projection and other defenses to function but do so in a  restrictive way. Their lives replicate their lives of their childhood, and 3) is the ones that can re-experience the pain of the original trauma and work it though.

This tells you that victims can become alcoholics themselves, also workaholics or drug addicts. They tend to have low self-esteem, feel isolated and lonely, will have trouble with relationships and difficulty trusting people. Usually, children of alcoholics can’t just go and have a “normal” life, they get bored because there is no chaos or that horrible excitement. Most of them only feel something when there is a crisis, when no crisis appears they create one. Some believe that once they leave that environment their troubles will disappear, as Suzanne Somers thought. It isn’t true; it is just repressed. Everyone’s childhood is their training ground for life. Silence is deadly. Emotional freedom depends upon breaking the bonds of silence and to gain this freedom victims, such as myself, must find the courage to speak truthfully about their experience. When Suzanne Somers wrote her book, Keeping Secrets in 1988, there were an estimated 28 million Children of Alcoholics in the U.S. alone. As Suzanne, I also wanted to speak for the millions of children that hide in their closets late at night, the millions of children who suffer violence, emotional and physical abuse because of alcohol, the millions of children who feel ashamed and who don’t learn at school because they are exhausted physically because the alcoholic kept the family awake the night before, the millions of children who endure the humiliation and embarrassment of living with a drunk they also call “mom” or “dad”, and the millions of children of alcoholics that have not yet found their way to move on and break the cycle and code of silence of alcoholism.

#alcoholism