Browsing Tag


Addiction, Binders, Family, Grief, Guest Posts


April 22, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Chris J. Rice


Small bodies stared out a car window, helpless, listening to the drone of a voice, pitiless, and naïve, a horrible combination. Houses never furnished. Refrigerators full of liquor and doggie bags, steak slices, and baked Alaska, toddlers hidden behind beige drapes peeing on white carpet. Babies crying. Shit stains and Martini olives. Poodle yelps. Flash of ocean daylight. And remorse.

My Moody Sister died in a drug-induced coma. Dark hair matted with vomit. Fell asleep on a double bed in a Tulsa motel room beside her abusive boyfriend, and never woke up.

I jumped out of sleep to answer the phone.

“I’m calling to let you know,” my paternal aunt said. “Didn’t want you to hear it from none of them.”

Receiver to chest, I crouched down. Balanced on my heels, and rocked.

“Cancer,” my aunt said. “Had to have been. Just look at her obituary picture. Looks like it to me, like she died of cancer.”

I knew that wasn’t true. Got off the phone quick as I could and searched online for my sister’s obituary, head full of unanswerable questions. When did the drugs and drinking start? Was it because we had no real home? Why did she stay in Mama’s dark orbit so long past youth? Was it the only life she knew, or the only life she could imagine? Frantic and doubting, I searched until there she was in glowing bits, my Moody Sister.

Pixilated otherworldly eyes smiled above a brief paragraph.

She left behind three children, at least eight half siblings and survived by both her parents, was buried in an Ozark cemetery facing old Route 66. Her three children went to live with her last husband. Their names in her obituary were long jingly strings of karmic payback and wishful thinking: combinations of our Mama’s real first name alongside my sister’s absent father’s surname.

She didn’t meet her biological father until she was a grown woman.

Come from a childhood with no fixed address.

Identity, a combination of what you’ve done, what’s been done to you, flawed mosaic of who you are, and who others think you are. Not who you are inherently, but also who and where you came from, and what you were able to make of yourself.




She was Mama’s favorite child and most constant companion, always riding beside her in the front seat of the car as we traveled from town to town. Disregarding its isolation, she accepted the position of best loved, her dark head barely visible to the other kids crammed together in the backseat. When left behind with the rest of us she became inconsolable, running after the car, plopping herself on the sidewalk as Mama sped off. Sat there, cross-legged, head thrown back, mouth wide open and skyward, wailing with all her need, outdoors and out loud, for her Mama to come back home. My peaceful respite, lolling alone on the motel carpet unobserved with a new Nancy Drew, was her full-bodied pain.

The daughter in the front seat never learned to be alone; disconnection terrified her.

I ran away from all my family, especially my Moody Sister, putting real distance between us, and seldom looking back. Her unhappiness was of another order altogether from mine: unquenchable, indulgent, and seductively unhealthy, like too much syrup on an already too sweet dessert.

The last time I saw her, I drew her portrait. Pencils sharpened, I layered colored lines on a flat green page, porous and textured. Watched her bow her head slightly to the left, as she had done so often in our earliest days together, and recorded what I saw and what I knew to be true. Made art of our brutal detachment.

Long black bangs curled across a forehead into downcast blue eyes.

A heart-shaped face held sharp lips painted red.

Absence charged by a presence, deceptive and confounding. Continue Reading…

Addiction, Dear Life., Guest Posts, Relationships

Dear Life: I Am Struggling To Keep From Lashing Out!

January 9, 2015


Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.

Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by Kelly Thompson, whose previous essay on the site went viral! I am so excited that she is joining the Writing + The Body Retreat (sold out) that I am doing with Lidia Yuknavitch at the end of this month!

Send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.

Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter. ps, I will see you in Vancouver in a couple weeks! My first workshop there! 

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Email asap as there are only 2 spots left. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Sep 17-24, 2016.

Dear Life,
As someone who was in a relationship with a woman that has now gone through rehab twice (once for 90 days) and did her own detox once while trying to kill herself I have now been blamed for all her trial and tribulations.

When we reconnected 7 years ago she looked me up while her husband was in the hospital having heart surgery. I didn’t know this was the case due to her telling me she was in town for a medical convention. I met her for a drink and then back to her hotel for champagne and a swim, unbeknownst to me that she was married and her husband was lying in a hospital bed 2 miles away. We continued to talk every night when she was done with work while she sucked down Patron. Finally she told me the whole story and needless to say I was caught off guard. She assured me that they were going to get a divorce and things would be fine (they did divorce).

Over the next few years, as I got to know her, the drinking and pill popping became pretty severe, to the point of numerous blackouts and falls that caused bodily harm. The culmination was her trying to kill herself and being toted out by ambulance. During this time, which included her first stint in rehab I was there to help, support and provide financially. I am sure you can see where this is leading, but I was in love and wanted nothing more than to spend my life with her. Yes, I should have run at the start, but we all make mistakes.

Over the next 4 years as she went through a medical board program we still had our up’s and down’s due to her finding ways to start taking oxycodone to feed her addiction. It got to a point where she went through a week long detox on her own where she disappeared from the world. During this time I tried to get her to see she was about to throw away her medical career, her parental rights with her daughter and our relationship. None of this mattered as she then started drinking on Friday’s thinking she could beat the drug screening test. Well, the combination of pills and alcohol took it’s toll on her physically and mentally, of course she also failed the screening.

To make a long story short, I dropped her off at the airport so she could attend a 90 day rehab in Santa Monica. She told me she loved me and off she went, well that is where it all got crazy. 3 weeks in to the stay I get a text that she wants to leave, but I implored her to stay for her own well being. 2 days later I get a text again that say’s “we are over and that her problems are my fault”. I was stunned and also realized this could not be further from the truth. I amazed that this facility could be hoodwinked by her and would have given this advice. I tried to reach out for an explanation, but never have received any kind of communication since.

I am not looking to get back together, but would have liked closure based on respect. I am struggling to keep from lashing out, so I thought I would write you.

Thanks for your time!

Struggling To Keep From Lashing Out.

1798X611 Continue Reading…

Addiction, courage, Guest Posts, healing

Groundhog Day.

January 4, 2015



By Marika Delan.

I came out of my hole to see the things that hurt me in the light of day.

I was frightened of my shadow and went back inside to hide.

I’ve been here for so long now, it must be that winter has come and gone away.

Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow and saw his shadow today.

The forecast is 6 more weeks of winter.

. . .

Vicodin, Oxycodone, Percocet, pick your poison — there was no shortage of top shelf pills for the pain. Just make sure to follow the instructions lest you cause liver failure, or worse, stop breathing and die:

Take one to two tablets every 4-6 hours as needed for pain.

Do not operate heavy machinery. May cause drowsiness (and nausea, epic constipation, anorexia, withdrawal that will make you think you are Leo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries, and deep dark soul sucking depression that might explain why people ruin their lives over what doctors are doling out like candy).

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Pick a shelf, pick a drug, my medicine cabinet was full of whatever you could possibly want because there was nothing I wanted less than to take opiate narcotics. I had seen the true meaning of the word painkillers. I had seen them kill more than the pain.

Continue Reading…

Addiction, Anonymous, Guest Posts

Confessions of an Alcoholic.

December 5, 2014


Hello Jen, I follow you on Facebook.

I know you are a writer and I had something that I wanted to share with people without them actually knowing it was me.  I would be interested in hearing people’s opinions on my topic. I love your “don’t be an asshole” and your amazing quotes. Please do not post my name or anything, I am one of your followers but don’t want this on my page.

Okay, here it is…it probably sucks because I am not a writer but I think it just may help someone not get to this scary place…

Why Am I an Alcoholic?

I don’t know where to begin. I always use the phrase “did the chicken come before the egg or the egg before the chicken?” I know, I know…cliché right? Well I find that I feel the most insightful when I am drinking and everything seems to make complete sense or no sense at all while I am intoxicated. And, honestly, I have no idea when an easy “fun time” became this crazy journey that I am on. I am under the grips of something so incredibly powerful yet so incredibly benign in the eyes of some.

I find myself listening to comments such as “why don’t you just stop?” and “you can stop whenever you want to, but you just don’t want to.”

Truth be told…it’s not even just listening to those comments, but believing them and eventually making myself feel more guilty and miserable and partaking of my alcohol nightmare even more than the day before just to quash the guilt.

Continue Reading…

Addiction, Guest Posts, healing

Gramma in the Slamma (or Granny is the New Junky.)

November 18, 2014

By Jenny Gardiner.

We were expecting my mother for a visit, her first in many years. She was on the overnight train from Atlanta. My daughter had a starring role in her high school play, and mom was coming to see it. I’d arrived around dawn at the farmers market that morning to stock up on food for a busy weekend of houseguests before heading to the train station, when my pocket buzzed — a text from my brother that read: It’ll be the difference between Ambien and Ambien PM whether mom gets off at your stop. Good luck.

I wasn’t hip to the world of sleep meds, but I was well aware that my mother had succumbed by then to a severe addiction to all sorts of other legal drugs. The ask-your-doctor-if-this-is-right-for-you drugs. Years back, while a chipper Nancy Reagan was blithely advising us to “just say no”, her husband’s deregulation-of-everything was ushering in an era of direct-to-consumer campaigns by Big Pharma urging us all to say “yes” to the “good” drugs. The legal ones. Eventually my mom heeded their bad advice.

My mother was a smart woman, with more academic degrees under her belt than your average tenured professor. An educator, a lawyer, a reformed alcoholic, she should have known better. She hadn’t had a drink in over twenty-five years; she wore her sobriety like a badge of honor, with good reason. She’d reinvented herself after years of drinking and a marriage gone bad, picked herself up, earned a law degree (top of her class), and remade her life. She’d succeeded beyond her wildest dreams in her private law practice, focusing too much of it, in hindsight, on what seemed like a sure-bet: real estate. She lived in a beach community during the glory days of the industry, and her hard work as a highly sought-after settlement attorney had paid off, with a beautifully-appointed home on the sound and a spectacular view of the ocean. Continue Reading…

Addiction, Beating Fear with a Stick, Guest Posts

What Happens When You Live Next To Your Worst Nightmare?

September 22, 2014


By Renata Youngblood.

I had a good conversation with my meth-addict neighbor the other day.

You see, something switched in me when there was yet-another raid next door last Thursday. I’ve seen the tweakers come and go for a while and at times it bothered me, but for the most part I felt only a compassionate sadness for the lives wasted in addiction. I’m even guilty of finding humor in some of the characters we’ve witness showing up in broad daylight barely able to walk to the door of this partially painted, infinitely haunted, next door monstrosity.

But something definitely switched inside me at 5 am last Thursday when I was up with my hungry baby and heard the visiting tweakers rifling through their car right in front of my house.

Continue Reading…

Grief, Guest Posts


April 12, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Wendy Jackson.

“We lost our beloved yellow lab in January,” I heard myself tell someone the other day and I thought to myself, what am I saying? We didn’t lose her. I know right where she is. I didn’t misplace her, and she didn’t run away. I lay with her on the floor and waited for the boys to come home from school, and the vet to arrive. I stayed right by her side until her last breath. I cradled her head in my hands as my kids kissed her goodbye. I rubbed her ears while the vet gave her the injection. And I watched the life slip away from her. And when I did, I felt another tiny piece of my heart chip away. Truth be told, I did not lose her at all. She is still with me, her beautiful carved urn is right where it belongs. So no, I did not lose her.


Nor did I lose my grandmother last year. I watched her deteriorate, wither into nothingness. I held her hand and prayed that she would fall asleep, that I would hear her breathe in, and slowly exhale for that last time. I whispered in her ear that it was okay, she did not have to fight anymore and she could go. I promised her we would be okay. I watched her body twist and contort and cease to function. I looked in her eyes when her voice could not be found anymore, and they to pleaded with me, with anyone who would listen…’let me go’. She was not lost. She was right there everyday trapped inside herself. We didn’t lose her. She was stolen from us by time and age, stroke and dementia.

Today I got the call that in my heart I knew was coming. I have prayed everyday to a God I do not understand. I have focused on positive energy and love and support and none of it has been enough to save this life. I am losing my dearest friend to cancer. Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It has been an aggressive beast and shown no mercy. There is no more to be done. And there is that word again.

We are losing him.

‘Losing him’ makes it sound like we didn’t pay attention for one second and he was gone-that we were irresponsible with him. We were watching him, I swear! I watched him very carefully six months ago almost to the day, when he said ‘I do’ to his soul mate. I watched him dance and laugh on that day, and it was beautiful. I have known him since I was 13 and I can tell you that he is a rare soul. He has a kind heart. He is one of those people that has lived authentically, honestly. He has been good since the day I met him. To see him happy and at peace with his two girls and this new woman in his life was right. It was as it should be. This is not the way his story should end.

But now we are losing him. And losing him sounds as if we might find him once again, like he just stepped out and one day when we least expect it, he will appear. That perhaps someday when our hearts are healed and we are walking down a crowded street, we will see his face. But that is a lie. We will not. He will be gone from us forever. It is not going to be like the soap operas, where months will pass and we will hear he was really on some mysterious island and he will show up again. There is no ‘lost child’ kiosk that we can run to and ask that his name to be shouted over a loudspeaker. We will not find him.

I lost her. We are losing him. It is a lie. He is dying and it will be final.

Is ‘lost’ the only word that captures the feeling of emptiness that is descends on you when someone so cherished ceases to exist? The hollow that you feel in the pit of your stomach when you know it is forever? Who decided this? Do I feel lost now, so far away from him, too far to say goodbye or hold his hand or whisper don’t leave us? Does he feel lost already, far away in his mind, drifting away on painkillers and unable to find his way back to the last time he felt good? Is lost the only word that sums up all of those emotions, and then some? It hardly seems like a big enough word and I can certainly come up with countless others to describe the fragile state of my heart right now. I can only wish it were lost-perhaps then I would not notice it is breaking. Lost feels like it mocks the situation. It makes me want to look for the word ‘found’ and that is cruel. Lost just sounds too small, like it cannot possibly hold all that I am feeling right now, or all the tears that I have cried today and will surely cry tomorrow.


My name is Wendy Jackson and I am a mom, a wife, a sister, daughter and friend. I have been a volunteer, a Realtor, an office manager, dental assistant, courier, marketing consultant, a photographer’s assistant and a few other things in my life! I just recently added ‘blogger’ to the list. I love a good laugh, a house full of people, a great craft beer (or two), a bold red wine and a book or movie of any kind. Good, bad or otherwise! You can find me at

Join Jen Pastiloff in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015.

Join Jen Pastiloff in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the sunflowers!

And So It Is, Grief, Guest Posts, healing, loss, love

Nothing Is Just One Thing. By Elizabeth Crane.

February 6, 2014

Nothing is just one thing.  By Elizabeth Crane.


The last few days have involved a combination of gratitude and morbid reflection.  The inevitable losses that result from addiction somehow still never fail to shock me, though I have not had a drink in nearly twenty-two years and I’ve seen more than a few people die at this point.  It wasn’t until the news about Philip Seymour Hoffman that I thought about how many there have been – which turns out to be too many to count – I keep thinking of others.  Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don’t, and for me, most of the times, I just don’t want to.  I’ll make up reasons why this one or that one is an exception so that my friends will all live forever, or at least until after I go first.  The people I’ve met in recovery are some of the most phenomenal people I know; some have come back from homelessness and prostitution to build lives they could once barely imagine.  My own drinking story is less dramatic; think of your most self-pitying girlfriend and add in a bunch of booze (whatever was available/free) and poor decision-making and that’s about as interesting as it gets. When I quit, I had reached a point where I imagined going on like that for the rest of my life, maybe never even missing a day of work at the job I hated and for sure never having any more money than I did then (which was in fact, substantially negative), or a relationship that lasted longer than four months, and I saw a way to change that worked for me.

When I was newly sober, Phil was part of a crew of my closest friends.  He wasn’t my closest friend, I want to be clear about that.  We had many delightful conversations, but we weren’t I’ll call you when I get home kind of friends.  We were close with a lot of the same people (who I did call when I got home), and I often saw him on a daily basis.  That was two decades ago.  But it was a critical time in my life.  I cannot overstate how much each person in that group meant to me, then and now; we were part of a greater thing, and we all helped each other whether it was deliberate or not.

Over the years, many in that group moved away from NY, including myself.  In Chicago, I found a new group of people to break my daily bread with, and as we built our new lives, we all had less time to gather every day.  I have kept in touch with those who aren’t close by, and we’ve always found ways to keep tabs on each other, pre-social media and pre-email.  We used the phone.  We wrote letters!  Crazy.

I’m not getting to it here.

It’s been twenty-two years.  Countless individuals have helped me change my life, countless more help me keep it changed.  But there’s a special place in my heart for the people I met at the beginning.  And losing one of them feels different – shocking, frightening, heartbreaking, cause for a broad, unbidden life review.  The short version is that it’s good now, life.  I’m happy and well, I have meaningful work and healthy relationships with people.  I’m also married to a sober person, and yet it’s not until just now that I’ve stopped to really consider the flip side of that.  We continue to do what we need to to maintain our sobriety, but it is part of our makeup to want to drink or use.  Relapse happens.  There’s a lot of talk in the media right now that makes me want to scream, the idea that we can just suddenly decide to not drink or take drugs, and that it’s a moral failing somehow when we can’t.  We drink and take drugs because it’s what we’re wired to do.  I’ve said many, many times that I think it’s just incredibly hard to be awake and conscious in the world.  Shitty things happen kind of non-stop.  People die.  That’s just the deal.  Spectacular things happen too, which is the part of the deal that makes the other part of the deal worth shaking on.  But the feelings associated with the relentless input of life can often present themselves as unbearable, and plenty of people can have one beer or one hit off a joint and resist taking another.  Alcoholics and addicts don’t have that luxury, not in my view, but we’re really, really good at making up stories about it.  Maybe I should just speak for myself.  I’m really good at making up stories about it.  “Oh, I never crashed a car.  Oh, I never drank as much as so and so did.  Oh, it wasn’t really that bad.  Oh it’s been a long-ass time now, I’m older and wiser and sure it will be different.  Oh, I’ll just take one extra painkiller, just this once – it’s prescribed!”  And so you have one, but for an addict or an alcoholic, as they say, one is too many and a thousand isn’t enough.

I’m still not getting to it.  Maybe I don’t even know what it is.

So Phil died, and our friends are crushed, and I’m in shock and yet I feel lucky and amazed that I’m here.  I don’t know how I got to be this age.  (My thirty-fifth high school reunion is this year.  Wha-huh?)  That’s shocking too, because not many people get to be this age without a lot of losses.  Both my parents are gone now.  I’ve been back in NY for a couple of years, where I grew up, where I drank and where I quit, fueling my bittersweet nostalgia for that time of early sobriety in particular, crossing Columbus Circle with eight or ten friends through rain and slush and sunshine to our favorite coffee shop; we had a big round table in the window that was almost always held for us.  I think of all those guys – and it was a guy-heavy group, though I had many sober women friends too – and how I had crushed on almost all of them for one five minutes or another even though I was in no position to be seriously involved with anyone at that time – and according to some greater plan, wouldn’t be for another ten years.  (It worked out right.)

Maybe there’s nothing to get to.  Oh yeah, gratitude and morbid reflection.  I think we exist in a culture where we still think in black and white so much of the time.  So and so should have not taken drugs, obvi.  This is right, that’s wrong.  You’re happy or you’re sad and if you’re sad you should get happy.  But that’s not my human experience. I exist in a place where I feel at once profoundly conscious of what I’ve been given in this life, and also how quickly that goes.  I feel grateful, giddy, on occasion, at the bounty that’s been given to me, but it’s not mutually exclusive of feeling impossibly sad.  They coexist, more or less constantly.  I’d much prefer an easier, softer way.  I haven’t found one yet, but I have found one that works for me.


Elizabeth Crane is the author of the story collections When the Messenger Is HotAll This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Her work has been featured in McSweeney’s The Future Dictionary of America, The Best Underground Fiction, and elsewhere.


Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. 

Guest Posts, healing

Recovery Is a Choice. By Jennifer Lake.

July 23, 2013

Recovery Is a Choice. By Jennifer Lake.

You might not know it but I have it. I have the same thing that Corey Monteith died of. I have what Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morison, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Heath Ledger to name a few died of. That thing that we DON’T GET as a society, family, pop-culture. I have it. The same exact thing.

That thing that Jennifer, Mathew, Evan and Christy died of. But they weren’t famous, so it might not appear to be as glamorous or horrible or sad or tragic.

When I hear about the deaths of the famous and we see the headline: “Talented (fill in the blank, actress, actor, musician) found dead at “X” am in the morning, past known history of drug addiction and alcoholism, cause of death unknown.”  I go…really? Cause of death unknown? Maybe the (official) toxicology report says “cause of death unknown” but I am pretty sure it is clear when this story hits, to me anyway, I GET IT INSTANTLY. A hit of high octane reality check yourself at the door.  They died of their untreated diseases, alcoholism and drug addiction.  I get it. It is a HARD thing to wrap so many parts of your mind, body and soul around. It is a disease. NOT a moral choice. Not a matter of will power. Not a matter of I can have ONE and just be ok, walk away and live an enlightening meaningful existence. Not possible. If it were do you really think there would be SO many people suffering from this? I am one. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. 12 years. AA found me when I was 20. I got sober a month before my 21st birthday. I am 32. 12 years in recovery WORKING a program based on spiritual principals that guide me through my day.  I pause when agitated or doubtful. I make amends if I have caused harm I show up, I make mistakes, and I hit the retry button. I never let a day go by without feeling fully grateful for where I am today even though it might not look exactly how I want…yet. That is up to god, it’s my life, unfolding in its own way and my REAL purpose beyond all the career hoo haaa is to be of maximum service to others. How can I show up and help you? How can I smile and be genuinely me so that you might have a brighter day? Sound too Anne of Green Gables for you?

I used to snort cocaine off of toilet seats at the restaurant I worked at in Times Square and guzzle the cheap pink house wine we served you out of a kid’s Sippy cup mixed with sprite. Yeah, I mixed cheap wine with sprite. You know? to cover it up. It tasted good, it felt good and it was my only way I knew how to live with myself. MESSED UP. It worked. It’s what got me to that place of utter oblivion where I wanted to live most of the time because what was the point of living if you had to be “sober” un-bearable. It was un-bearable to live with the noise that lived between my ears and deep rooted emptiness that inhabited my soul.  Judgment, fear, self doubt, resentment, blame, VICTIM, I am a victim. Alcohol is just a symptom of the disease. The world is doing to me. I’m way better, I suck way more. Everything is amplified times a million. A feeling is not just a feeling but a mad rush of concrete reality and it will never get better unless you get the fix to take YOU away from you. People love you? You don’t care. You are hurting people and loved ones around you? Impossible to fully accept or see it because you are too wrapped up in you… what YOU need. ME YOU ME YOU ME I. ME.  I begged to die. I wanted to die. I tried to die. It had me by the throat, the ballz, the ovaries, my cells. Every cell in my body was consumed with it. Toxic to the core. And yet on the outside I was this beautiful, intelligent, talented aspiring professional dancer.

Here is the ONLY thing that worked for me. I had to accept help. For an addict or alcoholic accepting help is like garlic to a vampire, silver to a wer wolf and crosses to ward off demons ( did I get my gross misinterpretations about Folklore correct? Great). I had to accept help. Alcoholism and drug addiction is a serious disease of mind, body, and spirit. You cannot cure one without the other and expect phenomenal results. GET IT? It is not just as simple as handing someone a thirty day stint in rehab where they might show improvement for that time and then say “HEY look you have a really big band-aid on your body. You should be fine going out into the real world now.” It is not as easy as a fix of taking some Percocet and wishing them well. Talk therapy is a beginning and can aide in recovery, but it won’t fix it. There is NO quick FIX. That is why SO many of us DON’T make it. YOU CANNOT TREAT THE PROBLEM WITH THE PROBLEM. It sounds SO simple and really quite obvious; YOU CANNOT TREAT THE PROBLEM with the problem. Rehab is a beginning. The first phone call for help, a beginning, the second stint at rehab a beginning.  The real solution is something that can’t be packaged or sold, health insurance companies can’t make money off of it and drug companies can’t either. The real solution, something that has been working with all its perfect flaws lies in this magical book and program of action; The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as AA meetings. If you read it and you are not an alcoholic guess what? It won’t turn you into an alcoholic, but it might give you a better understanding of what people are dealing with. If you read it and you are an alcoholic? Guess what? You might actually have a chance of finding a solution to what MODERN MEDICINE has failed to solve and actually, probably never will. Because the solution lies in the addict or alcoholic actually doing some DEEP soul digging mind blowing work: WORK. ACTION. PROCCESS.  A process that is in and of itself PAINFUL. Like a good detox or hangover. You want it to hurt so you grow so far away from it that when times get tough you KNOW to your core you never want to go through that ever again.

Yes, it talks about god. Yes it does. You know what it says about god though? That YOU get to define what that looks like and means to you. YOU get to create that. My solution was in the big book of alcoholics anonymous. It is not ALL unicorns and fairytales. It is a long hard process and journey. There is a lot of joy in the whole deal. I get to be a parent of a beautiful gift of a daughter who is brilliant in every divine cell of her being. Her smile melts any despair or self doubt I may have and brings me right back to the moment.  TOO many bright souls fall from the starlight and sink into the pit of the destiny of their disease. Alcoholism and addiction want to annihilate you. Obliterate you. Take you out. It is a serious, life threatening disease, one never to be taken lightly or for granted or judged.

Here are some things I have learned and put into practice since doing the 12 steps as they are outlined in the big book of alcoholics anonymous with a sponsor (someone that has been through it and can guide you through the process as well) This took me 6 years, it can take shorter amounts of time it can take longer, it just depends on how much time you give it. It is but a beginning to the process of living the rest of my life one day at a time as a useful, meaningful, inspired being who can actually participate in life instead of hide in a corner in the middle of her own self created hell.

  1. The whole point of the process is for me to create a clearing so I can be connected to…GOD, Buddha, the universe, a light bulb, the air conditioning, stars (a power greater than myself, and KNOW that I am NOT IT)
  2. I show up to life NO MATTER HOW I FEEL
  3. I have beautiful divine gifts and it is my responsibility to work with them and be of service to others
  4. I have a past, it is my past. It’s been dealt with. I do my best to in live in the present to create a better future.
  5. I have tools, a literal process to utilize in order to “turn around” any current resentments that might pop up in my day to day activity
  6. I own my mistakes, take responsibility for my actions and make amends for any harm I have caused
  7. To the core of who I am I know I am loved, valuable, matter, belong here and have a divine purpose

May everyone find the help that they need so their voices may be heard and lives lived with purpose truth and meaning. If you do go to a meeting and don’t like what you hear…go find another one. Keep looking until you find your solution. NEVER give up. Recovery is a choice. Alcoholism is not.


JenniferPortraits2012 008

Jennifer Lake: Is a divine gift and inspiration straight from the heavens upon this earth. People collect in masses just to kiss the ground she has touched as it has special, spiritual properties that have been known to transform you instantly into a unicorn that lives just beyond the end of the rainbow. And they dance happily in the thick of the meadow and play the banjo and of course all are welcome. She is also an experienced Kick A$% Yoga Teacher, and A.C.E Certified Personal Trainer. She is a riot to be with for real and enjoys making her clients laugh so hard they pee. She specializes in helping herself and others ENJOY this thing called life ( I mean really, we live on a sphere that is whirling through space, and we just relatively recently accepted it is round). More JOY please. She has known great suffering and despair and equally great joy and inner space freedom. She is fascinated by how our minds work and perceive things and even more fascinated by overcoming the negative pull of frustration, self doubt, judgment, and ego in order to truly, really, honestly be at peace and be happy. Find her at:


Are You Addicted To being Busy?

June 27, 2013

Are You Addicted to Being Busy?

Are you addicted to being busy? Or, at least telling people how busy you are? Here’s the post on this topic Please share the video and thoughts below. Order the tats here Say I sent you. Love jen

Guest Posts, healing, Wayne Dyer

Tapestry. Guest Post by Sommer Wayne Dyer.

October 18, 2012

The following guest post is by my good friend Sommer Wayne Dyer, daughter of my beloved teacher Wayne Dyer. I am honored that Sommer will be assiting me in Maui for my Manifestation Retreat in Februray 2013! Yesterday, she sent me a text of what she had been working on for my blog. (Much like her dad, she writes everything by hand. A foreign concept to me.) She sent me the following picture via text message and I shared it on my Facebook because I thought it was utterly brilliant.

F*ck the margins! I loved the idea so much that I used it as a theme in my yoga class last night. She then texted me, “Who decided that we need margins anyway?”

Sommer is a gifted writer and yogi. It is my great pleasure to introduce her to my tribe. Hers is a story that many of us can relate to. Be it addiction or struggles with weight or self-love, Sommer’s piece will most likely resonate with some “Aha moment.” I won’t share too much of it. That’s her job, her work. Plus, you can come with us to Maui and her hear give a lecture or take her class. Here is however, a sneak peak…

Tapestry by Sommer Wayne Dyer.

I am where I am today in a brand new way.

And it keeps getting better, this road that I travel.

I am so grateful for the feelings I am now experiencing.

I thought I had depleted all the good feelings.

I was wrong.

I am humbled by mistakes.

They are mine and I stand by them.

They stood by me, my mistakes did, for entirely too long.

For quite a while I let my mistakes and choices define me.

I was always looking to feel something else, to want more,

to be different than the way I am.

For years I was altering the person who is naturally me.

I’m not sure why since everything I’ve been looking for was already inside: the soul that is me. 

But life blocks it sometimes.

Sometimes things wound us in a way that we are forever different.

Sometimes I just wanted to be numb.

So I made sure of that.

But those years are in my past, my “story”.

Now I’m finding the ride no longer bumpy, but noticeably smoother.

I am in a space that I want to be in.

I am humbled.

Issues with the body, the vessel I reside in.

Injuries and medications.

And the weight and the way I allowed my appearance to define me.

The weight lost, the weight gained. Either way it’s a new perspective.

I don’t care what anyone says.

It’s mental and emotional and physiological and biological and physical.

And it’s all rational to my bewildered mind.

It can be anything: money, body image, weight loss, exercise, sex, drugs, gambling, any obsessions, goals, or lifelong dreams.

Anything that consumes you completely that you think of daily, sometimes constantly.

An urge you must accomplish.

But it’s also ethereal. It exists, yet no one knows.

It can consume your waking moments

And no one knows.

It causes moods to shift from the lowest dwelling imaginable to the most elevated levels of peace.

It’s an ally. Trust me. This insatiable urge inside of me, for whatever I was doing at the time, always got done.

And so it continues.

But from completely different motivators I am taking action.

I am improving.

I am not only losing weight. I am losing fear and doubt. I am gaining strength and passion. But I have no regrets or shame.

Everything I’ve gone through had to happen just as it did for me to be here now.

And right now, I’m loving it.

I like myself enough to listen to my intuitions.

I trust myself enough to know that I can do things gracefully.

I love myself enough to be careful with myself.

I want to write. I am ready to share what I saw on the roads and trails where I meandered.

I am ready to share a story about what I’ve put myself through.

It’s unbelievable that I sit here. My choices have illustrated this tapestry of my life that is tragic, yet beautiful.

A struggle we all have in this life, and one that we ultimately overcome.

When that struggle becomes your purpose you know that you are your own ally.

Make something big out of it.

Whatever it is that nags you or pulls your heartstrings every so often.

Let that purpose become your passion.

And the passion I have for what I feel is my purpose is palpable.

I’ve gone through a lot of shit to get where I am today. I survived a lot. So yeah it drives me.

So I no longer sit with a pen and a heavy heart and wilted soul. I write with pride and amusement. I write with integrity.

Even though my insanity was blissful in a way.

I had long ago abandoned myself in search for someone else.

But the person I was searching for was the potential me.

The person I knew that I could be and one day I would be.

And that day has come.

The time has arrived.

I choose to mindfully do my best.

I choose me.

Therefore I am free.

I am that I am.

Sommer and her beautiful mom.

Sommer Wayne Dyer 10-18-12

***To join Sommer and I (and special guests) in Maui please put a deposit down by clicking here. We will be at Lumeria the new Luxury retreat center with The Travel Yogi. My retreats have been selling out very fast and we only have a few spots left so book soon. This will be a life changing retreat. Email for more info.