Having a deep understanding of Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder having lived with both for most of my life, and now working in the field helping others has provided me with the ability to practice compassion and empathy for myself, and those living with this co-occurring brain disease.

The extremely challenging piece of recovery is self forgiveness. Intellectually, I am fully aware that I was ill and that my behavior in my active disease was driven by my ill equipped and impaired brain where I was unaware of the “lock down” of my senses. I lived within an unhealthy mindset, body and spirit for most of my life. I survived sexual abuse and domestic abuse which resulted in PTSD, and was never treated until I began my recovery six years ago. I have great compassion for myself as I sometimes have flashbacks of the insanity which was my existence…and deep appreciation for the extensive work I have done to recover. I do feel proud of my accomplishments.

Then, as I often reflect on the trajectory of my life as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, and the path of destruction my behavior within my disease caused in others lives, I am deeply heartbroken.

My disease kept me living in a world that invited in an unhealthy lifestyle and risky behaviors that were my “normal,” and therefore my children lived and learned from an unhealthy mind their own “normal.”

As I see the extent of the damage that still lingers in my loved ones lives, and I see the inability of others to truly forgive and empathize, it is often challenging to practice self forgiveness.

Every day I make healthy decisions and continue to thrive in most areas in my sixth year of recovery…However, my heart cannot fully heal as I continue to witness the ongoing lingering effects of the brain disease that nearly took my life so many times, on those whom I love so dearly.

I have to keep moving forward. I’ve worked so hard to heal and to create a new “normal,” filled with good health, love, and being of service to those who want to recover.

I have learned so much about who I am, authentically. I humbly offer myself and my experience to anyone who asks for my help. I practice self care and self preservation. And I move forward.

Love and blessings,



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