Friday, September 27, 2013

Pride Is Not A Dirty Word

shame (SHām) noun

  a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
Probably the number one topic that comes up when I'm talking with my recovery friends is shame.
We all know what shame feels like; I feel it physically, in my gut, like a stone in my belly.
I carried that stone with me for years, both while I was drinking and after.   Even years into my recovery journey, I feel its weight sometimes, dragging me down.

Who do you think you are, is the most common theme shame whispers to me, now.  

I looked up synonyms for shame, and this is what I found:  abashment, dishonor, self-disgust, disrepute, self-reproach. 

It's easy, when I think about my drinking self, to feel these emotions.  How could you, I ask myself when my disease is speaking to me. 
In early recovery I learned that I needed to reconcile the things that made me feel shame in order to heal.  Memories, feelings, actions, behaviors that made me feel shameful led me right back to a drink as I struggled to get sober.  Lean into them, I was taught.  Feelings aren't facts. 
I learned about the difference between shame and guilt.  Guilt is feeling badly about something you did, shame is feeling badly about who you are.  I did a bad thing versus I am a bad person.  

The antonyms to shame are these:  esteem, honor, respect, pride.

That last one hits me hard.  Isn't pride bad?  Doesn't it smack of ego? 

Back to Google, The Oracle of all Things, and it tells me these are synonyms for pride:  self-confidence, self-respect, dignity, delight, joy, satisfaction. 
I feel all of those things today, and I felt exactly none of them when I was drinking.   

For years I wrote in excruciating detail about my addiction; I painted a colorful picture of what it felt like to be an active alcoholic.  But I didn't write much about what it is like to be a recovering person, because that felt prideful, and I assumed that was inherently bad.

Lately I have felt frozen when it comes to writing about addiction, and it took me a while to figure out why.... and the answer makes me twitch a little.  I don't want to write about alcoholism anymore.  I want to write about recovery.  It makes me twitch because I am afraid of pride.  I was taught pride = ego, and ego will lead me back to a drink.

I have learned that pride and ego are not synonymous, and feeling proud of my recovery is a better antidote to wanting to drink than anything else I have found. 

My life today surpasses my wildest dreams, but I don't know how to write about that.

So let me show you a picture instead:

This is me, with my best friend of 35 years, Amanda.  Drinking was all fun and games back then, but seeing this picture makes me want to scream at them to STOP.   But we didn't stop.  We kept right on going until alcohol brought us both to our knees, twenty plus years later.

I found this picture recently, as I was clearing out my digital photo file. Immediately, I felt that stone in my belly.  Oh God, I thought.  We could have avoided so much pain, if only we knew then what we know now.

But, of course, life doesn't work that way.  We rarely learn the hard life lessons the easy way.  Every moment - every shameful moment, every regrettable decision, every bit of denial and secrecy, led me to where I am today.  

I stared at this picture and told those girls that I loved them.  My shame voice lost confidence, and another voice took its place:  who would have thought, it said, that you are looking at women who would grow up to be sober women of dignity and honor (both synonyms for pride).  Who would have thought we'd run a non-profit together, and make it our life's mission to break the stigma of addiction and celebrate recovery from the rooftops. 

I am proud of my recovery. Not in the I'm-better-than-you sense, but in the I-overcame sense.  I don't feel shame about being in recovery from cancer.  And I don't feel shame for being in recovery from alcoholism, either. 

For years, when I said I was an alcoholic in recovery, the subtitles in my head thought: I'm admitting to a weakness, I'm revealing that I used to drink a shameful amount.   But recovery is all about moving forward. Now, when I say I'm in recovery, there are no subtitles.  There is no shame.  

Here we are today; this picture was taken at Amanda's three year recovery anniversary:

The antidote to shame is pride. It is action, involvement in your recovery.  We found honor, self-confidence, joy and delight in being women in recovery.

And we aren't going to keep it to ourselves.


Shining Strong is proud to announce the opening of our new Shopify store!   Amanda and I have both been wearing our "I Am Not An Anonymous Person" T-shirts, and have been asked again and again, "how can I get one?"   We are so proud to be part of recovery advocacy with The Anonymous People and are excited to offer the official Anonymous People T-shirt in our new store!  All proceeds go to help Shining Strong and our advocacy and outreach in the recovery community, including our websites The Bubble Hour and Crying Out Now.  If you want to join us in breaking down the stigma of recovery and proudly wear one of these T-shirts, head on over and purchase one for $15!  Click HERE to go directly to the listing in our shop.

You can find other Shining Strong goodies there, too - a tote bag and coffee mug for starters (more to come), and you can purchase a copy of my book Let Me Get This Straight there, too. Again, all proceeds go directly to Shining Strong.

We appreciate your help, your advocacy and your support.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introverted Extrovert

Whenever I make a new friend, somewhere innocuous like the soccer sidelines, or a new neighbor, (as opposed to through a recovery, business or internet connection where someone already knows me, or knows of me) there is inevitably that moment.   The one where they say, "and what do you do"?

One of my first-ever blog posts ranted about the awkwardness of this seemingly innocent interrogative.  Back in my single working days this question never gave me pause.  "I'm a Blahbity Blah" I'd rattle off without thinking, my identify safely wrapped up in my Job Title Du Jour.

Becoming a full time Mom added a layer of puzzlement on how to answer this.  I hated how often I felt the question mark at the end of my reply, when I'd mumble out "I'm a Mom?"  Sometimes I'd even say, "I'm just a Mom", as if the merits of raising a child were lacking in some key way.

After I started my jewelry business, the question mark still loomed:  I make jewelry? 

When a person expressed an interest in learning more about this, I struggled.  I didn't own my creativity, refusing to believe I was an artist of any kind.  "Oh, it's no big deal," I'd say.  "It's just a little Etsy shop.  Something to keep me from getting too bored."

Blogging added another layer of complexity, especially five years ago when more than half the people would say, "You're a what?? What's a blogger?"

Again the question mark reared its ugly head. "Um, I write about my life on the internet?"

This was almost always met with a puzzled expression and a "Why?"

Back then I didn't know why.  It was just something I couldn't not do, but that answer seemed ridiculous.  And blogging carried for me more than a whiff of narcissism, of navel gazing.  I couldn't understand why I blogged any more than I could understand why on earth anyone would read it.

The awkwardness factor ratcheted up a notch when, left unsatisfied from my self-deprecating mumbling response to why I blog, the person would inquire, understandably, "well, what do you blog about?"

"Well, er, I'm an alcoholic in recovery, and I write about that," I'd sputter, bracing for the person's head to jerk back, for them to stare into the middle distance and concoct an excuse to walk away.

Most people had this response, because the of the uncomfortable vibe radiating from my pores; if I felt embarrassed about it, they felt embarrassed for me.

Little by little, my jewelry business and blog grew, but my self-deprecating manner did not keep pace with the public response.  I'd frame my answer to the what-do-you-do question with "Well, I'm a Mom and kind of a writer. Oh, and I make jewelry."

I wouldn't hand over the business cards I carried in my purse, feeling that was to pushy. If they asked for a card, I'd give them one with a tentative smile.  "You totally don't need to buy anything," I would say, as if that person possessed no free will.

I cringe just thinking about it.

Then I founded my non-profit, Shining Strong, encompassing all my internet outreach projects that were growing by the day:  The Bubble Hour podcast, Crying Out Now, and my advocacy work with other organizations working in recovery advocacy.  And I started my Arbonne business.

Still - STILL - I stumbled over how to answer the what-do-you-do question.  It all came tumbling out in one vomitous reply: I-run-a-non-profit-and-make-jewelry-and-blog-and-am-an-Arbonne-consultant?  And a Mom of two kids?

The middle-distance stare. The shuffling feet. The poor person wouldn't have the first clue how to respond to my rapid fire and apologetic answer that landed at their feet like a stone.

About a year ago, I wrote about this phenomenon in my post Killing The Question Mark. I was preparing to meet Brene Brown, of Daring Greatly fame, and I was trying to own my successes without apology. I sound all put together-n-shit in that post, but the only reason I gave a copy of my book to Brene Brown was that my Mom brought one. I left mine at home, feeling too sheepish about self-promotion.  To Brene Brown, for crying out loud, the QUEEN of overcoming shame and embracing vulnerability.  The question mark came lurching back like a zombie from a bad B movie.

Now Shining Strong is really growing.  I incorporated as a non-profit. I have a fantastic board of directors, and a gorgeous and informative website, thanks to the talents of my friend Amanda.

Suddenly I find myself standing in front of rooms of people, or being interviewed online, or advocating for The Anonymous People,  a movement all about owning your recovery and speaking unabashedly about your recovery to help others.

The critics are loud in my head, but only I can give them power over me.  Only I can allow them to fuel my Question Mark Syndrome.  They are a minority. Most people are a combination of curious and supportive about Shining Strong's mission.  The question mark is weighing me down, and starting to smack of false modesty.

I have always been an introverted extrovert.  Talking to me you would likely never know that I am cringing inside a lot of the time: do I sound like an egomaniac? Am I making sense? Are you bored? Did you just look at your watch? Do you like me? 

I don't know that the introverted extrovert will ever go away. I am learning to love her, to embrace her and tell her: "It's going to be okay. You're not an egomaniac, and the mission is worthwhile".   Now and again someone in person, or through the grapevine, or on the internet, will criticize my efforts to raise money for Shining Strong. Or even my jewelry business, implying that I'm hawking my recovery to make money.

That hurts, and the question mark gains power.

But in my heart, I know that's not true. I named my non-profit in memory of my Dad (my maiden name is Strong) who gave back to the communities he served his whole life.  My Dad doesn't want me to cringe. My Mom is my biggest cheerleader, carrying the flag for me at every opportunity.  My best friend is now in recovery with me and is as essential to me as oxygen.

It's time to kill the question mark for good.

I will advocate now and again on this blog. I will talk about the mission I believe so strongly in.  I will even, on occasion, ask for financial help if you can spare it. I will often ask for help spreading the word.

And, just recently, when I met my brand-new neighbor at the end of our driveway as we waited for the bus with our kids, and she asked me, "what do you do?"

I smiled and said "I'm a Recovery Advocate and an Entrepreneur, when I'm not Mom-ing, which is most of the time".

She smiled back, and said, "Tell me, what is Recovery Advocacy?"

And so I did.

I even gave her my business card.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Asked Google The Big Life Questions, And This Is What I Found...

Sometimes I check how people find my blog, and it's always a combination of funny and poignant. A sampling from the last twenty-four hours:

"I am drinking and scared"

"Is it bad that I can't find where I hid my wine"

"I forget things when I drink"

"I need help with drinking"

"Motherhood is hard"

"Do I want to be a Mom"

"I drink alone"

and the most popular:

"Am I an alcoholic?"

This got me thinking, and so I did some google searches of my own, to see what the top responses were to certain leading phrases.  I will let the results speak for themselves:

And one more.  The only one that had only one response.  Apparently, people are looking for ideas for this:

How we talk to people matters.

How we talk to ourselves matters.

Don't wait.

Live for today.

But I have no answers for this one:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Middle School Heart

She stands nervously in front of the mirror, my newly minted middle schooler, and fiddles with her

Today is Spirit Day at school - the kids are encouraged to wear the school colors - blue and yellow - in a show of school solidarity.

My girl has taken it one step further, and applied temporary hair color, adorning her dark brown locks with streaks of yellow and blue.

"Is it too much?" she asks.

"No, it looks great!" I reply, trying to strike that balance between supportive and overly-chirpy.

"It's not enough, is it?"

This goes on all morning.  She pops into the bathroom repeatedly to double check the too-much-not-enough-ness.

She is stepping outside her comfort zone.  These little sprays of hair color are so much more than that. This is a girl who doesn't like any form of attention, preferring to blend as much as possible into the sidelines.

As she waits for the bus in the driveway, I sit in my designated spot on the porch, hidden by a bush.  She wants me there, but doesn't want anyone on the bus to see that she wants me there.


As the bus rumbles just up the road, she spins around one last time, "Are you sure it looks okay?" she yells, her eyes wide.

I yell, "It looks great!"

"SHHHHHHH!" she replies.

It's a tug of war, change.  That fine line between uncomfortable and familiar feels like a tightrope. One misstep and you fall, and then everybody sees.

I think most of us are hard-wired to think people are looking at us, don't you?  When we're slipping our toe just a click over the comfort line, it feels like we're wearing a flashing light on our head.

In reality, nobody is really looking. They are too busy wondering if their own light is flashing.

The other night we spent an hour discussing the plan for changing before gym. This is new, and mandatory.  Everyone must change into gym clothes before class, and back into school clothes after.

She squirms with discomfort. "Will there be changing rooms?  What if they're all full? What if I can't get changed in time?"

I can only nod with understanding, remembering vividly the anxiety of the locker room change.  I tell her that I would sometimes duck into a bathroom stall or shower to avoid detection.

She asks me if it gets any easier, and I think for a moment.

"Not really," I reply.  "Even grown-ups worry about standing out."

She smiles.  "So it's not just me?"

That's the crux of it, isn't it?  We all want reassurance that it's not just us

Last night at her middle school orientation the parents all crammed into the smallish desks, fidgeting.  We glanced nervously at the white board for our list of instructions, not wanting to get it wrong. There are forms to read, a letter to write to our kid.  As we scribbled away, the teacher roamed around the room, talking about his teaching style, while he bounced an over-sized ball. He went to toss the ball to the woman sitting across from me, and she cringed and shied away.

"See?" said the teacher.  "Nobody wants to stand out. Your kids feel the same way.  I'm here to help them step out of their comfort zones a little."

We giggled nervously, and then the loudspeaker pinged with an announcement, and everyone paused to listen.  "Will the driver of a Blue Jeep Commander, license plate blabbity-blah, please report to the office?"

"Oh," said the woman next to me, "how embarrassing for that person".

That person was me. I had parked on the side of the road like many others, but for some reason my car was being singled out.

I didn't want to put up my hand. I wanted to shrink below the desk and turn invisible.

"That would be me," I joked, and everyone swung their head to look at me.

As I gathered my things and slunked out of the classroom, I thought about how some things never change.  How that tug-of-war between "look at me" and "go away" never really goes away.

I scurried out of the school, ran down the school driveway and up the road, and saw a police car with flashing lights and an irate woman standing right next to my car.

She didn't like that I parked in front of her house, and called the cops, threatening to tow my car.

I apologized as reasonably as I could muster, swallowing the not-so-graceful response that was at the tip of my tongue.  I couldn't face walking back into that classroom, so I sheepishly drove home instead.

I struggle with it, too, that tug of war. I want to wave the flag and support the things I feel strongly about. I want to crow about recovery from the rooftops, how amazing it is, how the discomfort is totally worth it.

But when all the heads swing in my direction, I shrink up, try to make myself smaller.  Ninety-nine people cheer me on, but I focus on the one dissenter.  I give more credence to their criticism than I do to everyone else's praise.

It's human nature. Go-away-come-here-look-at-me-stop-staring.

Watching my daughter wrestle with her bravery this morning, I felt my middle-school heart beating in my chest.  I may have grown up, but my heart is still looking for the bathroom stall to hide.

I remind myself that I already know what the inside of a bathroom stall looks like.  My life would be so small if I stayed there.

I'd rather step bravely into the world with blue-and-yellow streaked hair.

 If she can do it, I can do it, too.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Power of Story


He presses the little white pill into her hand and says, “Ever had an Oxy?”
She stares at the pill in her palm; a small, harmless looking thing.

Sensing her hesitation, he says, “I stole it from my Mom’s medicine cabinet.  It’s not like I’m some drug dealer or anything.”

She smiles shyly up at him, not wanting to act like a loser in front of an 

upperclassman.  As a starter on the high school’s soccer team she rarely drinks and stays away from illegal drugs like ecstasy, heroin and cocaine. 

“Don’t worry,” he says. “It doesn’t make you act all drunk or anything.  It just, like, takes away pain, you know?”

How bad can it be, she thinks as she pops the pill in her mouth, if it was in his Mom’s cabinet?


This scene seems, on the outside, like one from my own high school years.  Except instead of an Oxy, it was a drink pressed into my hand.  

The desire to seem cool was the same, as was the fact that we raided some parent’s stash to get it. 

I couldn’t have known back then that I would become an alcoholic, and that it would take me decades to shake the grip alcohol had on my life.  All I knew back then was that everyone I knew was drinking, even the athletes and the A students, and it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.   

Sure, there were campaigns aimed at educating us about drugs and alcohol.  Mostly they told us “just don’t do it”.   I listened to the lectures.  I signed the contract saying I’d call my parents if I felt pressured to drink.  The thing is?  I just didn’t think the bad stuff applied to me.  I don’t think many teenagers do, because they are hardwired to believe they are exempt from consequence.

Alcohol was everywhere, and occasionally something bad would happen to someone else, but I never thought it could happen to me.

I drank alcoholically for years without realizing I had a problem.  Eventually, in my mid 30s, my drinking escalated to a point where I could barely function.  I ended up in rehab at the age of thirty-seven, with two young children at home and one very fed up husband.  It was a 30 day program, attended by those who had, generally speaking, not been successful at their other rehab attempts.   I had two under my belt – each lasting less than two weeks, and drank almost immediately after coming home.  The 30 day program was my last shot. 

What struck me immediately, when I looked around the circle at my fellow patients, was how young everyone was.  The average age of the 40 people in attendance was twenty-one.  TWENTY-ONE.   This rehab was packed with kids not even old enough to legally drink yet. 

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that these kids were here because of prescription medicine abuse.  Like me, they raided their parents’ and friends parents’ cabinets for their supply.  Except these kids weren’t sneaking liquor – they were stealing pain killers and anti-anxiety medications left over from adults’ injuries, child births and various other ailments. 

They also experimented with alcohol, but what brought them to their knees - in mere months - was prescription medicine abuse.   A painkiller snuck here or there became a regular habit at parties, and as their need increased they found it readily available for purchase in every town.  When their stash , or the money (prescription medicine bought on the street is expensive) ran out, these kids turned to heroin, meth or crack, more affordable ways to feed what had become a full blown addiction.

And that girl at the party who took the Oxy?  It didn’t matter that she was an athlete, an A student and came from a stable home.    She ended up, seven months later, with a needle in her arm, shooting heroin.   She didn’t set out to end up there, any more than I set out to become an alcoholic after my first sip of beer. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your ethnic, academic or economic background.  

It is an epidemic, and it is everywhere.   

The best way to combat this epidemic is to talk about it.  Talk about it with your friends. Ask your kids if they know about medicine abuse.  Just like you’d lock a liquor cabinet, lock or empty out your medicine cabinet and dispose of expired or unused medicines safely.   

We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this, thinking that somehow our kids are immune.   The leading cause of accidental death in the United States is unintentional drug poisoning… even more than car accidents.   

ONE in FOUR teens admit to misusing  or abusing prescription medicines at least once in their lifetime, and more than 40% of teens get these prescription medicines from their parent’s supply.  Twenty percent of teens abuse prescription medicines before the age of fourteen. 

I sit in recovery meetings every week with people struggling to recover from prescription medicine abuse.   Some of them are only in their mid teens, and all of them know someone who has died because of this epidemic.  

We can do something about this, though, and it starts right here.  Right now. 


I was so honored to participate in a live-streaming event on Tuesday night, and it was an incredibly powerful and moving experience.  These are women I admire and adore, and they all shared from their heart about their personal experiences with addiction and recovery.

You can watch these powerful videos in these three-part episodes in the links below (I am in Part Two):


You can read their posts by clicking on the links below. Their stories are incredible and inspiring:

Janelle Hanchett –
Brandi Jeter –
Sherri Kuhn –
Heather King –
Lyz Lenz –
Judy Miller –
Lisa Page Rosenberg –
Alexandra Rosas –
Melisa Wells – 

Together we are making a difference.  One Story At A Time.

This post is sponsored by The Partnership at as part of a blog tour with in an effort to #EndMedicineAbuse

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Medicine Abuse Is An Epidemic. We Have The Power To End It.

I am so honored to be part of this event with some of the best writers and biggest hearts on the internet.  PLEASE tune in if you can.  Medicine Abuse is an epidemic, and it's in your backyard, too.  But we have the power to end it.  It starts right at home.

 Here is the information you need to know:

Date: The evening of Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Time: 9 PM EST
RSVP (optional for Google + users)
View live:

For the first time, LTYM has joined forces with The Partnership at to host an exclusive live-streaming event via Google Hangout On Air, taking place on Tuesday, September 10 at 9 p.m. EST. The live readings will feature 11 leading women voices on the subject of medicine abuse – a health issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls an “epidemic.”

These readings will feature new and original work about each of the women’s personal connections to addiction, substance use, and/or what they want children to know about the medicine abuse epidemic in a powerful story-sharing hour. Join us at this engaging kickoff to a blog post tour featuring these wonderful writers. Watch the livestream broadcast at the Listen To Your Mother YouTube channel
( ) beginning at 9 pm EST.

This live event will feature:

Janelle Hanchett –
Brandi Jeter –
Sherri Kuhn –
Heather King –
Lyz Lenz –
Judy Miller –
Lisa Page Rosenberg –
Alexandra Rosas –
Ellie Schoenberger –
Zakary Watson –
Melisa Wells –

For more information and to join:
RSVP on the Google Event Page
and/or join us at

The Medicine Abuse Project is a multi-year initiative of the national nonprofit, The Partnership at Its goal is to prevent half a million teens from abusing medicine by 2017. The Project provides comprehensive resources to parents, educators, health care providers, law enforcement officials and others about the growing problem of teen medicine abuse. The effort aims to mobilize parents and the public at large to take action. This includes learning about the issue, talking with their kids about the dangers of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and properly monitoring, safeguarding and disposing of excess Rx drugs in their homes.

Please join us to empower many families across the country to take action and end medicine abuse.

To learn more about The Medicine Abuse Project, visit and follow the conversation online at #endmedicineabuse

This live event and blog tour are sponsored by The Partnership for, LTYM’s 2013 National Video Sponsor.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

You Don't Want To Miss This. Or This. Or This.

September is  National Recovery Month, and I will be posting about recovery events, information and celebrations for this whole month!

Some big announcements today!

The first one is a video I made celebrating recovery. Shining Strong is a non-profit corporation I founded in April of 2013, and I'm so pleased to announce it is making HUGE strides in helping people struggling with addiction and breaking down the stigma that surrounds this disease by CELEBRATING RECOVERY.   With my fellow board members Lisa, Amanda and Lisa, we are increasing our outreach, partnering with other pioneering people and organizations like The Anonymous People and Gosnold on Cape Cod  and growing our audience (and hence our outreach) by leaps and bounds.

To promote our organization AND celebrate the gifts of recovery, we created a video.  PLEASE share this on your social media pages, and/or tell your friends about it.  You never, ever know who you may be helping, as two-thirds of Americans are impacted by addiction either directly or indirectly.  This video shows that RECOVERY WORKS, and it's full of beautiful and inspiring women who are on this recovery journey with me:

To continue our outreach and continue to administrate our sites Crying Out Now and The Bubble Hour  we need your help.  All proceeds from my jewelry businesses fund Shining Strong, but that isn't enough to meet our expanding needs.  This is a fantastic problem to have, because Shining Strong and its websites are growing faster than any of us ever imagined they would.

Contributions go towards the administration and marketing of all three of our websites, producing our internet talk show/podcast The Bubble Hour, as well as helping us with expansion plans that include hosting yoga/meditation sessions, recovery retreats and much more.

On the right-hand side of my sidebar is a Widget that says "Please Help Shining Strong"... you can choose any amount and it ALL helps.  As an added thank-you ... any contribution of $30 and over will receive a signed copy of my book "Let Me Get This Straight".  If you contribute $30 or more you will see a form to fill out with your name and address for where to send the book, as well as a place to request a customized message from me, if you'd like.

You can also go directly to the contribution page by clicking here:

Please Help Shining Strong!

EDITED TO ADD: Some people are reporting trouble with this widget, especially MAC users. I apologize, and I'm working on it with WePay. I am able to accept credit card donations that go directly to Shining Strong's account, so if you are interested in this option, please email me at I apologize for the trouble.  

There are non-monetary ways to help, too.  You can share this post on FB or Twitter or email it to friends -- anything to spread the word about Shining Strong!   You can come like our Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.  If Crying Out Now or The Bubble Hour or my personal blog have helped you or a loved one, you could come leave a testimony (you can do it anonymously) on Shining Strong's website by CLICKING HERE.

Any way you can help is so very much appreciated, and we thank you.

Last announcement - Shining Strong's presentation of The Anonymous People was sold out so quickly we moved to a bigger screen at the West Newton, MA theater, and we have more seats available!!  They will go fast, so if you haven't gotten your $10 ticket yet, and you live anywhere near the Boston area, please CLICK HERE NOW to get your ticket!    

We are SO excited about this film - it is changing the conversation about recovery, breaking down the stigma that surrounds addiction and catalyzing much needed political, economic and social change!

We get many questions, particularly from people in the recovery community, about how this film and how it relates other 12 step recovery programs' traditions.  Greg Williams, creator of the film, was a guest on The Bubble Hour and he talks about the film, how it all came about, why and how the recovery conversation is changing and answers the questions about this film and 12 step traditions.  EVERYONE in recovery, struggling with addiction or alcoholism, or who loves someone in recovery or struggling NEEDS to listen to this show.  Greg is compassionate, graceful and articulate and we are so grateful for his appearance on our show:

New Life Podcasts with The Bubble Hour on BlogTalkRadio

Thank you, everyone, for all your support, encouragement and love over the years. This is just the beginning of some very exciting and hopeful times for the recovery community and for Shining Strong. We appreciate all your help. So much.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrate With Me! I need YOUR help!

September is national RECOVERY MONTH!

To honor this, Shining Strong (my non-profit) is making a video celebrating recovery.

You may remember the video I made when Shining Strong launched:

The focus of that video is to show women they are NOT alone if they are struggling with addiction/alcoholism.

This time around, I would like to focus on RECOVERY, and I need your help!

If you are in recovery, love someone in recovery or struggling to recover, would you send me a photo of yourself holding a sign (like in the video above) with a message of hope?  You could talk about the things (or people) that are in your life now because you're in recovery, hold up a picture of something you have, or feel, now that you're sober.  Your message could be a word, a phrase, a feeling or something that someone told you that helps you stay sober.

If you love someone in recovery, write what it's like now that they are sober, or anything else that shows how life has changed with a sober loved one.

If you're struggling, you could write a sign that talks about why you want to get sober. 

We want to show the world that WE DO RECOVER.

There are many ways to do this anonymously, if you would like. You could hold the sign in front of your face, write the words somewhere on your body, or show the sign standing alone or in some other creative way.

If you feel comfortable showing your face that is fantastic, too!

If you don't know what to say, just strike a pose!  Show us your strength, courage and hope in some fun way (making a muscle, perhaps? Or doing a cartwheel?  Or loving on your family?).   Or send a little video (there won't be sound playing in the final cut) that is 10 seconds or less -- doing something goofy, or with your loved ones ... the sky is the limit.

Here's the rub -- I need these QUICKLY.  :)  The deadline to submit a photo or video is SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th at 8pm.   

The email to send them is, with the subject line "Shining Strong Video".

PLEASE help Shining Strong show the world that there is hope.  We are determined to bust down the stigma of alcoholism and addiction, and showing your beautiful, shining faces and messages of hope is more powerful than anything I could ever write.

Thank you SO much. Email me if you have questions!


Monday, September 2, 2013


Summer is coming to a close, and I'm nesting.

At the end of June I had burnt out, disenchanted with my jewelry business in particular.  

It took my husband to point out that my physical space was a manifestation of my mental state.  Now, of course, I wish I had taken a picture, but at the time I didn't want to immortalize just how out-of-control my studio space had become. 

So I took July off - completely - to clear out my head.  

August was all about rehabbing my physical space.  When we moved into this house, the front part of the house, the one that would become my studio and store, had a liver-brown nappy carpet, and we swore we would redo the floors in the first two years.

That was eight years ago. 

Refreshed and renewed from my break in July, I was finally ready to tackle the dank-ish space where I spend the majority of the day. 

The first step was to take everything out of both rooms and pile is precariously around the rest of the house... all the furniture and jewelry/Arbonne supplies and displays.  The front part of our house looked like something straight out of an episode of Hoarders.  For over three weeks we wound our way around boxes, furniture piled hither and yon - carving little paths to get to the playroom, our TV room and the kitchen. 

We all wore the shin bruises to prove how old this got, and quickly.

Redoing the floors was supposed to take a week and a half, but as these things do it stretched into two, then three weeks.  

I was grateful for the emotional respite of July, because I was down to my last tiny nerve by the time the floors were declared suitable to move in.  

I spent the last two days feverishly organizing and decorating, vowing NOT to put anything back that I didn't love or need. 

Here is my studio space before (I didn't even take a shot of the whole room because the carpet was so bad): 

This was right after I organized it, back in 2011.  It never looked this neat again.

Here is my studio space now: 

My in-home store also needed a face lift.  Here it is before: 

And now: 

I have written about this before, but in rehab I learned about the expression "messy bed, messy head".  The counselors made us make our beds and tidy up our space every morning before we did anything else .

Of course I scoffed at this idea at the time, but I know now they are dead right.  As my physical space deteriorated, I told myself it was "an organized mess", or that it was a result of my "artistic brain".  There is some truth to both statements, but there is a fine line between artsy and out-of-control.  

As I begin this new year (I always think of September as a new year) I feel such gratitude for my new space - both mental and physical. I am blessed that my "commute" consists of walking down a flight of stairs and into a place that relaxes and soothes me.  

I am going to pay more attention to my physical surroundings, having gained a new appreciation for the fact that they are a bellwether to my overall mental state. 

Ladies and gentlemen - the World Headquarters of Shining Strong/Two Little Birds/One Crafty Mother: