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To grow along spiritual lines...

Discussion in 'Freedom from Hell ~ Staying Clean~' started by guinevere64, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Ditto......miss you too, although I have been reading your Blog and its great!!!!
     
  2. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Been reading your blog too and it's BEYOND great. It's EPIC. It's helping soooo many people. And it's really good, G. I know that sounds trite and chipper but let me explain - you are covering addiction as a true investigative reporter and journalist. You really have your finger on the pulse of what reporting method/journalistic medium is necessary to fit the new age of journalism and reporting. And it's personal, and thoughtful, and the reporting is intellectual, solid, thorough, balanced ... I'm in awe of it, actually. I think you've taken your artistic talents and merged them with your reporting skills to smash on through to something quite groundbreaking.

    This is not effusive praise.

    I think you found your calling.

    I read it. But I'd rather post to you here because this is where we started. The blog is so good, in fact, that I almost don't want to stick my own fingerprints on it. I know you want people to. But I would rather just be proud of you and keep reading to be perfectly honest.

    love
    dani
     
  3. sam bailey

    sam bailey Well-Known Member

    Hi Guinevere,

    Wonderful Blog, G. Really terrific. And important.

    First time I've spent any (real) time reading.

    Emotional too, G.

    It is a good and purposeful thing.

    best to you,

    sam b
     
  4. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    dudes, thanks so much. your responses mean a lot because i got sober here 3 years ago, and i love you all. you help me so much. just knowing you're in the world.

    especially since the blog does not pay me... it's great payment, your responses.

    the blog is leading to paid work. it's not a plan. at all. dani, you're right, i'm just doing what i do. sometimes i freak out because i have no plan. then i try to remember i'm not in charge and that My Plan wouldn't work anyhow.

    i'm on the front page of AlterNet today. "i've actually heard of that place," my husband said. ha.

    interviewing Gabor Maté next week. now that guy is amazing. one person wrote on the blog that she'd met him and it was like meeting Jesus. he emailed me his phone number after his son posted one of my blogs on his FB page (traffic exploded), and i called yesterday and he actually picked up: "Hello?" holy sh!t, i thought, Jesus just answered the phone. so i made a time to call back. he turned out to be just a guy. ...

    i have so many fun people reading me. ... HP wants me to be bigger than i think i am. at the same time, other parts need to be smaller. right-sizing. ... it's been given to me to learn from so many interesting people.

    Trigger if you're reading this, i love you, too. think about you all the time, man.

    x/g
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  5. Allgood

    Allgood Well-Known Member

    Gabor is the man G. His book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" is one of the best I've read to date on addiction and the brain and how our environment creates conditioned response. Let me know how that goes, I'm very curious. He has some amazing clips on youtube as well. You seem to be incorporating our principles in ALL of your affairs ..... I feel joy for you my dear. Stay well
     
  6. Living Free

    Living Free Well-Known Member

    My feelings EXACTLY! And like Bonita said, So very, very proud of you chickie mama :)
     
  7. Starbuck

    Starbuck New Member


    dude, it's so great to hear how well yer doing. thanks so much for remembering me, you have no idea what it means.

    recently i lost everything, and was only able to save a few books from my library. was basically given 5 minutes to fill a milk crate, and i'm happy to say that your book made the cut. i threw away Anais Nin, Albert Camus, etc... but i kept your book 'cause it means something to me. i read it while i was kicking dope in SF, and it made me feel better, lol.

    and i know i tend to stupidly attach meaning to things that mean nothing... but it doesn't matter.

    good luck, dude!
     
  8. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    I'm coming up on two years, it's like a sing-song in my head, "two-years, two-years." In the end, who really gives a sh!t?

    My son, for one. He told me the other day: "Mama, it's good to see that you have so much POWER."

    He said it like that. "so much POWER."

    I was like, "Dude. What do you mean, POWER?"

    We'd been talking about how my mother had died when he was a baby, and how having three kids was driving my sister nuts sometimes, and how I'd made a conscious choice to have only one child. I know you feel lonely sometimes, Dude, being the only kid in this house, I said, but I knew early on I could not have dealt with more than one. For one thing, I just loved you so much, and I didn't want anyone else messing that up. We bonded strongly, very early on, you and I. For another thing, I knew I was trying to change a lot of parenting practices, and I wanted to boost my chances of success. I knew I couldn't have done what Aunt J did and have three. She's doing an amazing job and I couldn't have done that. So I stayed home with you the first year, and I made sure you had friends from when you were like 2. And I've driven you everywhere and never complained about driving. I want you to have friends.

    He looked at my face, with his deep brown-velvet eyes, and said, "How many people do you know who have been able to overcome their addiction?"

    (A lot, I thought. Then I thought about my parents, some of my cousins, my other family.)

    He continued to look into my face and said, "How many people do you know who have made helping other people with this their work?"

    "Dude," I said, "there are a lot of people who help other people with their addictions."

    "How many people do you know who have DIED from their addiction?" he retorted.

    So that's what it comes down to: I didn't die. I'm here for him. He knows that.

    "I remember when I was like 10 or 12, I don't remember how old," he said

    (ten, it was when you were ten, the year grandpa died and i lost it)

    "you stayed in your room like ALL DAY and never came out."

    I stroked a lank lock of hair off his forehead. "I'm sorry about that," I said.

    "But you're always out of your room now," he said.

    He still drapes himself across my body in the mornings. He's as tall as I am, bigger-boned, oily-skinned, with a peach-fuzz-baby-boy-mustache. He burrows his face into my belly. He knows it's where he came from. I went to a meet-and-greet at the (private, expensive) high school he really wants to go to next year, and I saw the girls on the "student panel"--the swotty long-haired girl with braces and a brass-buttoned jacket who comes from 45 minutes away; the sexy theater-studies girl in a white mini rag-dress and combat boots; the girl with the black mini dress and platform spike heels. Isn't there a friggin dress-code at this place? I thought. They all have long hair and makeup and when he goes up to high school next year, braces off and looking hot in his skinny black jeans and gray Supra sky-tops, he will belong to them--the girls. And that's as it should be. But for now I'm still Mama.
     
  9. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    Ohthosegirls. I can't believe they haven't descended at all yet, G, with your boy being the looker he is with the heart he has. You just wait. It's only December. I bet by June the phone will be ringing off the hook. And ohyeah they all find ways around the dress code. Eighth, ninth grade is when it starts in earnest. But I shouldn't be prattling on about this because you're right that you're still Mama. You always will be. I can't wait to see which girl it will be. I can't believe your son is in eighth grade. My god.

    Proud to be your friend.
    love
    dani
     
  10. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Wow....your post brings back so many memories.My son was 6 when my mother died and I "lost it". I look back over the 7 years I used and wonder how in the world I was able to do what I did for him and be a part of his life. I wish I could do it over again but I cant.All I can do is be present each day and love him with all my heart. You and I are so blessed to have wonderful sons in our life. Young men that have stood by us through it all. I thank God for that each day. Have fun with him during his high school days. Before you know he will be in College....then the fun really begins!!!! :):) Much love to you.... Carol
     
  11. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Been thinking about some words Glassbottom posted on Dani's thread:

    Went to a big city a couple weeks ago. Just fu ckin up and decided to go. Called the major art museum in that city and asked them to pull a bunch of works on paper for me to view. And met up with a person I've come to know online, a person who likes my work and who has a lot more experience than I do (both in my line of work and in sobriety: has 30 years) and has been encouraging me.

    Been working a steady freelance gig for a low-paying but honorable place in nyc. And my friend has been suggesting to me that I am burying my light under a bushel. As it were. Making suggestions as to how I can not just make more money but reach more readers, have more of an effect, fit myself better for service.

    We talked about work, family, sobriety, life.

    Riding the train out of the city toward the airport I felt my life expanding.

    Have you ever felt this? Life expanding.

    I sat there on the unheated train (it was 16 degrees outside), watching the skyscrapers turn in front of me and then the flatlands pace by, feeling my life expand. It was like being pregnant with my own life.

    Is this selfish and self-seeking? I suppose only if I become attached to the feeling of expansion. Only if I become attached to manipulating the outcome, "controlling my experience and thinking."

    Since that trip (even during that trip: it was kind of like walking on a fault-line, feeling the rumbles beneath, the Power we talk about cursorily that seems abstract until it's coming up from under our feet—Thy Power, Thy way of life), I've been walking around basically saying "God help me" over and over. Also, praying for several people. Because if my life changes, other people's lives change.

    Example: Last October I went to a women's blogging conference in nyc. The opening party was held, of course, in a midtown hotel bar. I was OK about it. I felt in possession of myself, but also shy. But after a while I just decided to start meeting strangers. One of them was a woman who lives on the upper e. side; she fell in love with the paintings I showed her on my iPhone. "God, I'd love for you to paint my children," she said. "When will you be back in New York?"

    I have to admit that the first thought that went through my mind was, "When will my husband let me come back?"

    The trip I took a couple weeks ago was not earned without some blowback at home. People are not used to me just going off on my own. But after that trip, I thought, Why the hell don't I just call her and say, "I'm coming in February"?

    So I did. "I'm coming in February," I said. "Do you want to get started on the paintings?" She was thrilled. We agreed a price and scope of work yesterday. I'm due to shoot photos in two weeks.

    Have I booked tickets? not yet. Because it doesn't seem real. This "seeming unreal" is attachment to controlling my experience and thoughts. "It's not real," I tell myself, to keep myself in the box. (That's how it felt, coming home from the trip a couple weeks ago: Get back in the box! Nobody said that overtly; it was my own mind)

    (was it my own mind?)

    But I've booked my place to stay. Amazingly, since last fall I have a place to stay in nyc: 10 blocks south of Union Square, where the folks I've been freelancing for have offices. Fly in on Friday, actually meet them face to face ("Why do you need to meet them? in the age of Internet I thought people just did business long-distance?" these are questions I've been asked). My place is a room in a loft in NoHo, owned by friends of very good friends of mine. Exceedingly affordable, and lovely lovely generous people. Artists. Look at the wall of books in the photo in the link. (You can't see the piano piled with art supplies.) And outside is the Village. Outside is New York.

    "You have to go just to go," my Dutch friend P told me last year after I went for the meeting. "I go at least twice a year just to Be In New York."

    I couldn't imagine it. It must be for People Like Her. ... Just Go?

    Just Go?

    This obsessive questioning and re-questioning. Second-guessing ("Am I allowed? Am I allowed? Will they let me?") and wondering what will happen. "The thoughts don't disappear, your attachment to them does." So that's what I'm working on when I say God help me. Just do today. Today is the day I buy plane tickets and put on my black suit and heels, my Pretty Mommy costume, and go to the luncheon at the (expensive, private) high school my son wants to go to, and we hope he'll get into within the next month.

    I'm writing this because this is where I first started to get sober, and I love you guys, and I sometimes feel like I'm in trouble. I'm not about to drink or steal drugs (I've had opportunities, but using hasn't been an issue for me), but of just doing something stupid, compulsive, thoughtless, deluded, because I have so little experience in handling freedom. Drugs served to keep me enslaved, in a box, and that mentality is still alive in me; by the time I detoxed I was seriously living in one room of my house. Now my world is getting larger and larger and it's FU CKING AMAZING, and I'm afraid of swinging too far to the opposite. I said in a meeting the other day: What are we really asking for when we ask to bear witness to God's Power? Imagine how much power could flow through us if we could allow the difficulties to be removed. Imagine what we could do. ... A lot of the (married, mothering) women in the meeting related to this: how much do we keep ourselves reined in to meet other people's expectations, to keep people happy? is this "god's will"?

    Just some thoughts. love /G
     
  12. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Always love your thoughts G......I think you need to go for it.....expand your horizons.....that's what God wants us to do....experience life to its fullest, whatever that entails....please keep us posted. Much love always........


    Carol
     
  13. Living Free

    Living Free Well-Known Member

    Hi G - what wonderful news that you can share your artistic gift with others and bring happiness to them. Sometimes I find we dont know how to accept the good that is in our lives.....like we dont deserve it. Takes a while to be comfortable with acceptance. We mainly associate acceptance with the bad, hardly with the good.

    you'll rock NY :)

    happy painting, G xo
     
  14. gettingbetter

    gettingbetter Well-Known Member

    You know what G? Good for f'ing you. GOOD FOR YOU.

    I am going to try very hard not to let my personal experience color yours. However, I will say this: why should you have to temper your career because of the blowback at home? If the reverse happened, would you be able to balk? Would your husband feel guilty? Would he be allowed to go? I believe women have this innate sense of guilt sometimes, that they should be able to take care of everything and everyone, and they just AREN'T ALLOWED to pursue their own career and happiness if other people that need taking care of are in the picture ...

    ... for me, G, just recently, like six-seven months ago, I had just started to see that wait a second, I was completely able to DEFINE AND IDENTIFY MY OWN LIFE without some guy at my hip that I had to consider. And that I could BUST ARSE ON MY VERY OWN CAREER without accommodating someone else's. As difficult as everything was, I have a much clearer picture of who the hell I am now and what the hell I want without anyone else clouding the picture. And you know what? I like it that way, and I'm a million times stronger, and much more competent and capable than I have ever been.

    You are a wonderful mother and wife and you are still allowed to pursue your career and you will still remain a wonderful mother and wife, and don't let anything or anyone tell you otherwise. You are allowed to, G. You are allowed to. You are allowed to.

    I had to get divorced and fight my way out of that on my own before I could see that. I love being divorced because it gave me the permission to pursue my own life. So this divorced broad who is getting her degree and has an interview tomorrow for another career opp GIVES YOU PERMISSION to be an independent agent, working for her own fulfillment, because YOU CAN. Don't let ANYTHING tell you otherwise, okay??

    much love
    (will call, bad long week)
    dani

    p.s. I have been dating a great person for the past five months. Former Marine. High school physics teacher. Getting his PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. Single father with full custody of two kids. Copious tattoos. I like him: we have fun. He wants to be serious. I told him that this will have to wait until I finish my degree and have more time to myself under my belt. I told HIM that I had to have MY life on track - I didn't consider his life first. I am ALLOWED to do that. And I can STILL be considerate of his at the same time.

    Right now, what I want to pursue is just more important than what he wants. And that is all.
     
  15. Trigger

    Trigger Well-Known Member

    Good for you. I really mean that-- good for you. Man, it makes me so happy to read this. Gives me hope when hope has been a rare, impossible thing.

    One of the surprising things that happened to me when I quit dope and stopped drinking, was that I had the courage to do things that were once impossible. Not just because I was afraid or too loaded, just because some ideas just never occurred to me and were outside of my imagination when my mind was occupied with scoring/using.

    I'm not sure if it's prayer, but occasionally I stop and stare off... and just wish someone all the best. Especially when I'm not doing so well myself, I just sort of cross my fingers and hope that a friend out there is doing better. It's reassuring to know that if I'm too weary to carry the ball, I can just pass it off and know someone stronger will run it down the field.
     
  16. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Teach, D, Dani, thanks for weighing in and speaking to me about all this... your voices have always been in my mind since September 2008.

    Trig, amazing to see you here.

    Took this month off the blog. Having it redesigned by a sober web designer in Saskatchewan who does amazing work. She believes in my stuff and gets what I'm trying to do. Finally: I've learned to ask for help, more help than just the free help on the forums and in the rooms. Seeing the world as a community. ... I've always been able to do it when it comes to other people (my son needs a doctor/tutor/therapist/whatever, I'm standing at the ATM withdrawing cash), but investing in myself has been more of a challenge.

    Another commission came in this week. So I have three to complete. Plus a bunch of writing to get out. Thinking about hiring a writing coach, sort of temporarily, as a morale booster and a connection to that whole world.

    I can hear Sluggo: "You're still identifying yourself with your work. You are more than what you do." She would be right. I sit in meditation these days and when I'm at my most present, everyone drops away--the people who need caretaking, deadlines, phone calls, emails, everything drops away and I can feel HP like a clean glacial wind on my forehead. Sometimes it doesn't happen. Sometimes it does.

    I'm having the awareness that the work is a place where I can be just G. Where I don't have to take care of someone else. I can do what I was made to do. Which has been pretty rare in my life--doing what I was made to do, for the simple reason of doing it (not to Impress Mommy). But then I run the risk of it turning out to be another thing that demands caretaking, that provides me with that addictive high of validation I always want. Validation actually takes away my migraines. If I could have someone standing next to me every day telling me how seriously awesome I am, I might not need Imitrex. It's fu cked up.

    Been remembering the unsober days. Keeping large parts of myself in the box. You know what--I needed to be in a box in some ways. I loved my kid like crazy and in my insanity couldn't see a way to have my life and give my kid a mom at the same time, and addiction was the way I kept my life in the box while I brought up my kid. For a lot of the time I was unsober, I was a pretty good mom. Not just a pretty good mom; I was a good mother. It was in the last couple years, after my father got sick and died, that I tanked at everything, and my kid's life definitely tanked with me. But for the first eight years of his life, I was there, every day. I fed him, kept him clean, took him to the doctor, read to him, took him to interesting places, made sure he had good friends--three or four he still has to this day. I looked into his face and listened to him. I told him I loved him, and I meant it, and he knew it. I taught him to draw and read, I taught him to express his feelings--which he's very good at. He's going to make an awesome partner for someone someday because he can say what he feels while he's feeling it. ... I managed all that. It would have been better if I'd been able to let HP manage it. But I know from experience that it could have been a great deal worse.

    It's a hell of a lot more than my mother managed. My basic project with mothering has been to try to reverse generations of sick, violent behavior. I was sick for part of that time, and I got better, and my son has gotten better with me.

    Putting myself in the box was a way of controlling my life. Getting sober is a process of surrendering control (progress, not perfection)... I don't talk a lot about it with him, but he can see me enact it. The whole high school choice thing would have been sheer madness if I hadn't been sober. Every day, I've been praying, doing footwork, surrendering the outcome of this process to his HP. Understanding that there's only so much I can do today about anything. I slide back in this attitude all the time, but then I take two steps forward.

    God, I sound like an actual committed optimist.

    A lot of what's happening now in my life is happening simply because he's 14 and a half and can now (now wants to) spend stretches of time by himself. I don't have to be at home for him the second he gets off the bus. He can walk to the neighborhood shops or some of his friends' houses by himself. Which gives me more independence. ... If I'd had another kid, or three as my mother (and sister) did, I'd still be in the box. Or in the psychiatric ward. Or in jail. Or else--maybe not. Maybe HP would have shown me another way by now.

    I dunno what I'm saying. ... I said in a meeting tonight that this way of life I've chosen is fu cking radical. This "rigorous honesty." Thy Power, Thy Love, Thy Way of Life. "May I do thy will ALWAYS." It requires me to say stuff I never thought I'd be saying. Hell, I never even thought this stuff. I put this stuff behind a brick wall like Montresor walling up Fortunato in Poe's story, and I never looked at it again. It didn't die behind there, though. I could feel it the whole time. Whole load of sh!t I haven't looked at in seriously a couple decades. And I mean, before that, I looked at it, but I didn't have the tools to understand what I was seeing. .... I just thought--I don't know what I thought. That it would sort itself out? that when people make "permanent" decisions like mortgages and sh!t, that they just carry on with it like perpetual motion machines? I dunno. I'm fallible. This is real humility and I'm very much walking with my higher power all the time now.

    I used to wonder what it would take for me to know how it felt to walk with god. In other words, to live Step 3. Well, it takes saying the truth. /G
     
  17. teach07

    teach07 Well-Known Member

    Wow, wow, wow!!! Awesome stuff. I have always connected with you and our relationships with our sons. Somehow even in the worst of my addiction I was able to do what needed to be done for him. Just like you said.....baseball, basketball, friends staying over, etc etc and he is turning into a man now. Unbelievable......God has blessed us G with the greatest gift in the world......children that have come "right thru us".....Keep doing what you are doing G....you continue to inspire me....Much Love always..... Carol
     
  18. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    So I signed a deal with the upper east side mom on Saturday, and she paid me. IN CASH.

    I felt like a fu cking drug dealer carting around all those $100 bills in my bag. But you know what? I also felt awesome. I felt like I was (in Peter Marinelli's words) Who I Be.

    It would be so amazing if I could actually support my own life on the planet, doing what I do. I never have.

    I got great shots of the kids. And then I met with another mom on the west side who seems quite interested in hiring me to paint her two girls.

    Went to two meetings. the first in times square, at St. Mary the Virgin on 46th 5:30 Friday, full of actors and businesspeople; then on Sunday I went to Quaker meeting at 15th Street Friends Meeting and afterward to a little tiny 11th-step meeting in Chelsea. After the Quaker meeting this woman came up to me and said she'd spent time in my city earlier in her life, she's now a writer in NYC, "it's such a slog," the pay is terrible, even magazines are paying only what they paid 10 years ago, she'd be up sh!t creek if her apartment at 86th and Fifth weren't rent-stabilized, "it's no way to make a living," etc etc. I'm sitting there in this elegant 19th century meeting room feeling her draw this black cloud down around my shoulders. Then I cab it to Chelsea for the 11th step meeting and at the end this musician comes up to me and says he went to high school in my city (fu cking EVERYBODY has a connection in my city, if only the football team), he's got a new cd coming out and he's playing a gig in the East Village tonight, he turns out to be a year older than me. We exchange cards and I tell him how recently sober I am and how I'm in town to see about work as a writer and artist, and he says for the 20 years he's been sober, "I've always been taken care of--money hasn't been an issue."

    Why was one story so bleak and the other so optimistic?

    My therapist says I get to choose which one works for me. Interesting.

    My son said last night: "Mama, you release dopamine in my brain." I was like, who the hell told you about dopamine? "Ms. G," he said. His health teacher. The crazy-a$$ woman who taught them about oral sex at 13 and who apparently last week brought in "fake weed"--some kind of chopped up plant that had "fake" pot-scent sprayed on it. Just so they could know what pot smelled like. Where the hell do you get fake pot-spray? wtf??

    Dream last night: I was looking after a dog at my parents' house. Big black german shepherd type dog, like my cousin Danny's dogs he trained in Vietnam. (His favorite dog: a german shepherd called Stoney.) It was hanging around the back sliding door acting like it needed to go out, so I opened the door and just as I did I saw another smaller reddish dog at the top of the hill, looking down at the house. The black dog tore after the red one, and next thing I know the red one is pawing at the door to be let in. It wasn't my dog so I didn't open the door... and then the black dog comes racing back down the hill and I hear a big thump against the back porch door. I stick my head out the door and see blood and guts all over the concrete. The big dog has torn the smaller dog to bits.

    One thing I didn't notice about this dream till now: I didn't let the other dog in. I didn't take responsibility for its pain. It got ripped to shreds, I felt bad about it, but I didn't put myself in danger to make myself save it. love /G
     
  19. banned

    banned Guest

    So what does Freud say about dreams involving invidividuals that withness and allow Big dogs to violently rip apart and kill small dogs? There has to be an interesting interpreatation of that one...

    Narcissictic, Self indulgent, Self Preserving, Ineffective Cause and Effect rationalizing (ie. If I had not let the big dog out, perhaps in a controlled manner, the little dog would still have an opportunity in life). Almost SocioPathic.

    If your main point was that you were improving upon being "not so co-dependent", that was a truly bizzare example to make that point. But I suppose dreams work in subtle or not so subtle visions.

    On another note, Take New York and the world by storm. Get around the capitalist and business minded artists, they may not always be the bests, however, I am sure they have mastered the areas that have allowed them to continue their craft for years, and years to come. You seem a little past being the "struggling artist" bid. There is no shame in wanting to make money, a lot of money, and a successful business model can do that for you.

    Best of luck to you in the city that never sleeps, wish I was there.

    NJB
     
  20. guinevere64

    guinevere64 Well-Known Member

    Dreams are pretty mysterious to me. I have no idea what that one meant. Other than that I'm scared? and also facing a lot of rage around me right now. For which I'm tempted to take responsibility.

    I'm not part of the art machine. I'm just one person. In that way, I'm struggling like everyone else who's trying to do what they do and support themselves doing it. I talk to a lot of women all the time about that issue. It seems to be a theme among women in recovery: how to support ourselves doing what we're supposed to do. I appreciated Dani's comment above for that reason. /G
     

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