Category Archives: Relationships

SHE RECOVERS – NYC

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I’m really excited to tell you about the She Recovers conference taking place in NYC on May 5-7.
I’m really honored to be taking part in this event as one of the official sober blogger team members. There will be a reception and meet on greet on the Friday night so if you are able to attend I will get to meet you in person.
The line up is killer:
*drumroll*
Gabrielle Bernstein
Elizabeth Vargas
Glennon Doyle Melton
and…..
Marianne Williamson

I know!!!!!!!!! Awesome, right!!!!!!

Tickets are selling out fast there are less than 80 left if you are interested you can purchase them here.

She Recovers is a community women who believe we are all in recovery for something and that we are stronger, together.

Dawn, me and Taryn

Dawn, me and Taryn


I met the co-founders Dawn Nickel and her daughter Taryn Strong for dinner last year, when they were out in New York planning the event. They are an awesome kick ass team and I love what they are doing for the recovering community. Dawn started She Recovers because she knew how important self care is to recovery.
She’s right. Self care is vital to recovery.
If you are free and you are able, we would love to see you at the event and meet you in person.

It is connection we seek

unsplash.com

unsplash.com


It is connection we seek.
Not a drink, or a drug or a casual f**k. It is the moment of understanding that occurs between human souls. This is what we crave.
Our dilemma is how to get it. Because we were not taught, you see? Everything got so busy, checking boxes, getting stuff. That in the midst of all this doing and getting we forgot to be who we really were. We craved, but misunderstood what we craved for. So we started filling, and stuffing, and drinking, and getting but it was never enough and we were always empty. Empty and alone.

The bar promised us connection, as did the club and the party too. It enticed me with it’s lure of camaraderie, ‘this is where you belong,’ it said. I went along hoping to know people and for them to know me. But then the words that came out of my mouth belonged to someone else, I didn’t mean them, I didn’t mean what I said, but I said them all the same. So the ‘me’ that you got to know was never the real ‘me’ anyhow. And then my limbs misbehaved as if they belonged to someone else. And here we all are, together, but not together, just strangers standing in the same room drinking to connect but missing every time.

Waiting for the ‘click.’ When it all came into focus and everything worked out the way I wanted it to. But the ‘click’ always remained tantalizingly out of touch. But my god did I chase it.
Chased it for so long that I forgot what I was actually chasing. It really wasn’t another party but connection with you. I wanted someone, anyone, to know me. I was curling up and dying for lack of being seen.

Connection is like oxygen for human beings, we can’t survive without it, the artificial connection we create is like poisonous gas – it kills us slowly. Our real dilemma is that we have forgotten what it is we are seeking.
For the meaningful connection we desire, we have to risk being vulnerable, real, quiet and congruent. We have to try it sober. So there is nothing for us to hide behind.
Stop searching, stop tearing up the place looking for something that will ‘fix’ you. You were ‘designed’ to be connected to the human race you have just forgotten how.
Remember now.

Relationships and recovery

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Was getting sober the hardest thing you ever did? It can be tough, but for me, having a relationship once I got sober, was even harder.
Having a loving, committed and healthy romantic relationship felt like it was impossible for someone like me. I had only known dysfunction and chaos. I used relationships to make me feel safe. I struggled enormously with them and had to do a LOT of work on myself to become someone who was capable of loving and receiving love in return.
Relationships don’t come easily to a lot of people, but it’s even harder for people who drink. Add some alcohol abuse to a relationship and stand back and wait for the explosion.
For me, relationships and alcohol were inextricably linked. I drank so I could meet ‘someone.’ I drank to get over being dumped; I drank because I was scared of being alone. I always drank the first time I slept with someone. I drank on all of my dates. I drank because I had no idea how to have a relationship sober.
My relationships whilst drinking were complete and utter disasters. In hindsight, all of my relationships were based on my misguided belief that the right person would ‘fix me’. If I had the right relationship, the right man, then everything would be perfect.
Relationships in recovery can be equally hazardous, because without the security blanket of alcohol we are laid bare. We are exposed and we are most definitely frightened as hell. Romantic relationships key into our deepest fears of not being worthy of love. We end up being in relationships based on fear (of being alone) rather than love. What I didn’t understand was I was using relationships because I didn’t know how to feel safe. Once I began to use other healthier methods to feel safe I was able to enter relationships for the right reasons.

Relationships and recovery are a subject I’m asked about a lot and I’ll be talking about this more in the future.

On Tuesday 26th of April at 8pm (UK) time I will be presenting an exclusive webinar with Soberistas on how to have a healthy relationship in recovery.

You can also listen to my recent radio interview on Transformation Talk Radio where I discuss relationships and recovery.

Can I date someone who drinks?

I get asked this question all the time by people in early recovery so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to it.
The answer is: it’s really up to you. I’ll tell you my experience on the subject and then you can make the decision that’s right for you.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sober dating
Dating when sober can be nerve wrecking enough, but what if they drink alcohol too? How will that affect your sobriety? What if you drink again?
These are all valid questions and to be honest if you feel solid in your sobriety dating someone who drinks appropriately i.e. doesn’t abuse alcohol, then it shouldn’t be a problem. In the early days of recovery it’s natural to feel nervous and unsure of yourself around alcohol, don’t worry that will pass in time. Going to a bar with friends or on a date can be a fun thing to do when you feel comfortable enough. However, what’s great about sobriety is that you will find a bunch of other things to do that don’t involve alcohol, so I’d suggest taking advantage of those things too.
Now, personally, I wouldn’t want to date anyone who got drunk regularly or abused alcohol. I just don’t find that attractive behavior. Ask yourself: why would you want to be around someone who drinks the way you used to?
I think you know, without me telling you, that dating someone who drinks abusively is probably going to end up being a problem. Let’s put it this way, were you in any shape to be someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend when you were abusing alcohol? That will probably give you your answer.

What if they are a light or moderate drinker?
The truth is we can’t avoid alcohol forever; we are going to have to learn to live sober in a ‘wet’ world. As we get more comfortable in our sobriety we will get more comfortable around people who drink from time to time. Also, if they are a light drinkers they will be open to doing stuff that doesn’t mean you have to be in a bar all the time. My husband very occasionally drinks alcohol; it never bothers me because I never think about alcohol. I never feel remotely tempted to join him because I feel solid in my sobriety. When you feel solid in your sobriety you will feel the same also.

What will they think of me if I don’t drink?
This is a big one, as I know lots of people worry about what other people are going to think of them, once they know they don’t drink. Drinking is so entrenched in our culture that it is hard at first to imagine what we will do without it. Especially, how will we socialize without it? The reality is when we don’t drink this whole new world opens up, our horizons broaden and we discover there really is tons of stuff to do that doesn’t involve alcohol. The right person will admire and respect you for making a positive change in your life, if someone has an issue with you for not drinking, or judges you for problems in the past, then they are definitely not the person for you.

The bottom line is, now you are sober you can be the person you always wanted to be. Whether it’s dating or friendship, it’s time to let go of the fear of what other people may think about your drinking. All that matters is what you think about yourself.

If you have a sobriety question you’d like answered please email me on my contact page and I will do my best to answer it.

About Love….

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I do not profess to be anything of an expert in this area, especially with my own track record. I also know that a whole series of books could be written on this area alone, but I think it is worth including in a book about alcoholism.
Why? Because every alcoholic I have ever met craves love, yet does everything they can to destroy it. It evades us like the promise of a British summer. And they are right. Love is important. It really is all there is. It’s how to go about it that throws so many people.

It is the human fantasy – every song, every play, every film, every book is about love of some description: the need for it, the destruction of it, the pursuit of it, the ending of it, the sheer joy of it, the life changing powers of it. It’s all about love.

Love is the Holy Grail for nearly all human beings, and certainly as alcoholics and addicts we succumb to the false illusion that love from another human being will save us. The truth is that nobody will love us until we can love ourselves.

We teach people how to treat us, and if we think nothing of ourselves, then on an unconscious level others will pick up on this and treat us as accordingly. If you don’t love yourself, how do you expect anyone else to love you? Love can be so confusing sometimes, we can get lost. What is love? How do we know if it’s real?
It’s easier to answer what love is not:

hurting deliberately
• smothering
• shaming
• dominating
• controlling
• blaming
• manipulating
• deceiving
• humiliating
• abusing
• oppressing
• denying
• punishing
• limiting
• hiding
• bullying.

People often get ‘stuck’ in very harmful relationships because of ‘love’. Newsflash: It’s not love. It’s fear.

The best description I’ve ever heard of love was given by a seventy something recovered alcoholic Catholic nun; she described love like this: ‘Love is someone who brings you life’. Not a life – but there is life in what they bring. Start by recognising what love is and what love isn’t. Define it for yourself, then you will at least know what you are looking for.


This is an exclusive extract from my book ‘Why you drink and How to stop: journey to freedom.’
Available on Amazon

Heaven is for real

Heaven is not a place most drunks think they are going to end up at. Dead or alive.
I often compare being an alcoholic to living like the walking dead, you’re moving, breathing and talking but inside you are dying. You look like a regular human being but inside the light is going out.

Heaven is just not something you think about.

However, if you’re a former drunk you sometimes have ‘heavenly’ moments in your life where you just have to pinch yourself.

I had one of those moments yesterday.

My son putting decorations on our 'wonky' tree.

My son putting decorations on our ‘wonky’ tree.


By ‘moments’ I mean a time when you get hit by a wall of feelings so strong that you want to fall to the ground with sheer relief and gratitude that you are sober.
If you’re an alcoholic you’ll know what I mean.

Mine happened when I was getting the Christmas decorations ready.
Alcoholics love and loathe Christmas. We love it because it kicks of several weeks of ‘legitimate’ drinking. Meaning you can drink more and at inappropriate times of the day because that’s what everyone else is doing. But then you loathe it, because it symbolizes everything you do not have. Family, friends, connection, joy, peace, somewhere to go with people who want to be around you etc.

I would usually have a huge rock in my stomach as December 25th edged nearer. Christmas amplified my aloneness and separation like no other time of the year. Even if I was lucky enough to be around people I liked, I still felt separated from them. Christmas was something to endure and survive until New Years Eve came around because that was a holiday I really excelled at.

I don’t know how long I hated and dreaded Christmas for but I’m guessing it was about 20 years.
After I got sober Christmas became only slightly less awful, sure they were better, but they were still empty and lonely. When you’ve spent years alienating people and wrecking your life it takes a while for things to come together. You don’t get a perfect life just because you decided to get sober.
Having grown up an only child of a single parent, I have always craved family, I yearned for that sense of belonging that other people seemed to have so naturally. I would say that the number one goal of my life has been to find people I could truly belong to. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

But things like that don’t happen to people like me. I drank away my twenties, whilst everyone else’s was finding there life partner and getting mortgages I was burning through relationships and moving countries trying to escape myself. Sober in my thirties, it took a lot of work to shape myself into someone capable of a loving functional relationship.

But somehow I managed it.

I was firmly in the region of ‘advanced maternal age’ when I luckily and easily fell pregnant with my first child at 38. Then another gamble and I am pregnant again in my forties with my second child.
So yesterday, I was decorating the Christmas tree with my 3-year-old son and he was putting all the ornaments on the same branch and our tree is a bit wonky, but it didn’t matter because it was so perfect.
photo
As I was watching his beautiful face light up at the fun we were having, it just hit me that this was heaven. Putting on ornaments on a wonky tree with a 3-year-old was my definition of heaven. Nothing had to be perfect except the connection I have with him and my husband.
Somehow, despite all the mistakes I had made, I had found what I was looking for.
I’ve never thought heaven is a destination we go to when we die, but something that exists within us if only we can find it.
Heaven is being fully present in your life.
Heaven is connection with people you love.
Heaven is belonging to the human race.
Heaven is for real.

Do alcoholics need to come out of the closet?


Rick Perry recently made some remarks comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. He implied that being an alcoholic or a homosexual was a ‘choice,’ or some kind of ‘disorder’ that could be overcome. Laurie Dhue a journalist for The Blaze (a conservative media outlet no less), wrote an excellent response to Gov. Perry’s remarks where she clearly illustrated how uninformed and dangerous his comments were.
I don’t want to get into a liberal/conservative argument here, but by doing a little Google research it’s evident that alcoholism is in fact a disease and homosexuality is an innate sexual preference.
Neither alcoholism or homosexuality is a ‘choice.’
I was thinking about this when I happened to be in Nashville last weekend. It was their annual gay pride celebration so my husband and I decided to go along. It was a very family friendly event and along with our 2-year-old we had a blast.

My son at Nashville Gay Pride 2014

My son at Nashville Gay Pride 2014

We were sitting near an older gay couple that were clearly marveling at the young gay folks around them. I got chatting to them and they said it is extraordinary for them to witness how much has changed in their life time.
They had been together for over 50 years and lived most of that afraid that they would be shunned, shamed or attacked if people knew they were gay. It is only in the last few years that they have been able to admit they are gay and are thrilled that finally gay people can live their lives in the open. They told me how much they enjoyed gay pride as it made them feel less alone and it was one day where they were in the majority for once. I told them I felt the same way about being an alcoholic and that for the first few years of my sobriety I kept it secret for fear of how I would be judged or treated. When I go to conventions for people in recovery I also feel how great it is to be in the majority and surrounded by people in long-term recovery.

It struck me that Rick Perry was right, there are similarities between the gay and recovery communities, but not in the way he implied. Both communities have lived with shame and fear, afraid to tell people the truth in case our jobs or homes are threatened. Scared to be honest in case we are shunned or judged, forced to hide an important part of ourselves away. With thanks to movies like The Anonymous People and celebrities that speak out about their own recovery, acceptance of alcoholism and addiction has grown.
But isn’t it time addicts and alcoholics came fully out of the closet?

I recently interacted with a couple of ‘old timers’ who both said they didn’t want to be public about being an alcoholic in recovery incase it effected their careers. I was kind of shocked as both these individuals are over 25 years sober. I know nothing guarantees sobriety and relapse can be devastating but I don’t see what is to be gained by the secrecy. It implies shame, when we hide our recovery it implies we have something to be ashamed about.

I believe the recovery community can get overly concerned that if we are open about our recovery and we relapse then people will think recovery doesn’t work. The problem with this thinking is the general public only sees ‘rock bottoms’ they don’t see long-term healthy recovery because we have kept it hidden!

The older gay couple I spoke to said it took them a long time to realize it was ok to come out of the closet. They were so used to secrecy being a way of life that it took them a while to realize the world had moved on.
I wonder if it is the same for long-term sober people? I’m sure 25 years ago it was absolutely necessary to keep your alcoholism hidden, but I don’t believe it’s the case anymore. I believe the world has moved on and is beginning to see alcoholism differently.
Isn’t it time for alcoholics to come out of the closet too?

Crossaddiction

Image courtesy of Baitong333 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Baitong333 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When we look back over our drinking careers some of us are often surprised to discover that we weren’t simply alcoholics.
We believed the ‘problem’ was just alcohol and if we stop drinking, then everything else will be fine.
Unfortunately, if you are an alcoholic that’s unlikely to be the case.
Because alcohol isn’t the problem, it’s just a symptom of the problem.
The actual problem is the ‘hole in the soul,’ the emptiness inside of the alcoholic that is so uncomfortable, they seek out booze to ease the discomfort of being in their own skins.
This is the real problem and unless treated, that core emotional pain inside of us, will always demand something to numb it.
To achieve successful sobriety, we have to address the core emotional and spiritual issues, otherwise our brains will seek out other substances or behaviors to numb the pain.

The reason for this is the part of the brain that’s called the ‘pleasure center.’ It is stimulated by pleasurable activities such as eating, sex or gambling as well as by drugs and alcohol. The chemical responsible for this is dopamine. When we use substances we increase the release of dopamine into this area.
Very simply, we know what makes us feels good and when we know what that is; we just want to do more of it.
This chemical reward reinforces these behaviors.

If we just stop using our drug of choice, our brains will look for another substance (or behavior) that make us feel the same way.
Permanent abstinence from mood and mind altering substances is the only way to change this brain chemistry. To maintain this permanent abstinence, we have to come up with a new way of living and dealing with the world; otherwise we will eventually seek the same solution for our problems.
If we are not doing the work necessary to maintain our abstinence, then we are at risk of relapse. Because addiction is sneaky, sometimes we won’t pick up our drug of choice but will pick up another substance instead. Because we had a problem with alcohol, we try and fool ourselves into thinking we didn’t have a problem with marijuana or Xanax, so can safely use these instead.

The concept of cross-addiction is simply this;
If we deprive our addictive nature of its chosen drug, then it will, for a time, settle for a substitute. This substitute doesn’t have to be another substance. It can be a behavior or set of behaviors (e.g., gambling, exercise, shopping, sex etc.).
This is because bizarrely addiction and alcoholism are not about wanting to use drugs or alcohol. It is about numbing pain of the burning hole within us.
If the engine that drives addiction isn’t stopped, then the addict has no choice, than to find something to take the pain of their existence away.

Sometimes people recognize they have a real problem with alcohol and manage to stop drinking. Figuring they’ve cracked the problem, they decided that a little pot smoking would be a good way to relax at the weekends. A little pot turns into a couple of lines of cocaine, which turns into a binge, which brings them back to where they started.

The most important thing to remember, is that addiction and alcoholism don’t stop when the substances are taken away.
The monster still needs feeding and anything will do.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Recovery takes work, focus and dedication. Just like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, full recovery from these diseases takes a lifetime of daily measures, to ensure the disease stays manageable or in remission.
A diabetic can’t just stop managing their diet or injecting insulin, and an addict can’t just stop maintaining their emotional wellbeing.
This sounds like hard work, but really isn’t.
We have forgotten what it’s like to be a kid and learn what it’s like to brush our teeth, wash our face and have a bath. It’s hard work when we are little, but we learn and then these things become second nature. We do these things because it prevents tooth decay and other illnesses, we also feel better physically, in fact we would feel awful if we went about our day without doing any of these things! Daily emotional and spiritual work is exactly the same, just little daily habits that ensure our inner world is ok.
A small price to pay to ensure that we live in the light, rather than the darkness of addiction.

The Relationship Myth – Part 4

Relationships.
The Holy Grail of the human experience.

Every song, every movie, every commercial is selling us the myth of romantic love as the ultimate goal in life. Women are particularly sold on the myth that there is no greater achievement than a relationship with a significant other.

We are sold the lie that romantic love is the solution to any problem. We know it’s a fairy tale, but we can’t help but want it to be true.

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Yet, so many of us fail so spectacularly at them. They make us miserable, devastated and heartbroken. How are we getting relationships so wrong?

In the depths of my drinking I truly believed a romantic relationship would save me.
In sobriety, relationships nearly killed me.
At three years sober I was suicidal again. I didn’t want to drink; I didn’t want to drug, I was just making the conscious decision not to commit suicide today.

The collapse of a relationship brought me to my knees.
My insides were burning with the pain of rejection.
My soul was broken.
I didn’t know if I could go on. I was 30 years old and I seriously believed I was destined to spend the rest of my days alone, because I knew I couldn’t go through this amount of pain again.
The thing I thought I wanted the most, I always destroyed, and I couldn’t seem to stop doing it.

It had always been that way with me. Since I was about 13 years old, boys, then men were my Holy Grail. The way a relationship, no matter how brief, made me feel, was like nothing I had ever experienced on earth. It was an intoxicating mix of lust, euphoria, excitement and pain.
It was my cocktail of choice.

Pick up, indulge, drown, and repeat.

I wasted so much of my life on the search for the Holy Grail. It consumed me. It was my reason for being. Because I truly, truly believed it would save me, that those feelings would last forever and I would be home.

The reason I believed this so whole-heartedly is because I’d bought into ‘The Relationship Myth.’
The myth that when you find true love, with that special person who is just right for you, only then, will your life be complete. Everything will be solved; there will be no more pain or loneliness, because your romantic relationship will have fixed everything that is wrong.
Because that’s what happened for Cinderella right?

The reason the myth is so powerful is it sells you the lie that a relationship will be your salvation.

Reinforced by our popular culture, the relationship myth remains powerful because so many of us are lost. Empty on the inside and born without the instruction manual, we stumble around looking for our anchor and the person that will make us ‘whole.’
The most dangerous part of the relationship myth is the belief that another person will ‘save’ us. If only we can meet the right ‘one.’ All will be well.

I would enter into relationships with men under the delusion that they were my salvation. Dazzled by my sexiness and personality all was wonderful for a few weeks, I knew I had finally found what I was looking for. Those feelings of anticipation and hope were my heroin. Inevitably, I would see terror revealed in the eyes of my beloved when they realized the full weight of my expectations.
Unable to fulfill my impossible request they would flee as quickly as they could.
Whilst I stood aghast, watching my hope of salvation crumble.
A few short weeks ago they were dazzled by me, they were obsessed, they thought I was wonderful? Where did that go? I didn’t even see it slip away.
My story of abandonment played over and over.
The day after a breakup I would wake up and see little pieces of my soul crushed upon the floor with no idea of how I was going to keep on living.
Does that sound extreme? Because it was, the search for true love nearly broke me.

When this happened again in my sobriety I knew I was in trouble. Things were meant to be better now I was sober, not worse.
I was more frightened than I had ever been drinking.

But this is what the gift of desperation looks like.
When there is nowhere left to run too, the only place left to go is deep within yourself.
This is where all the answers lie and where salvation truly lives.
It took a shift of perception to see that I wasn’t abandoned and I could save myself.
The solution I had been desperately searching for in other people had actually been within me all the time.
I had to find a way to see things differently. I understood that my faulty belief systems were ensuring I kept repeating my story of abandonment.
But I could change that.
I was left with no choice; continue this painful pattern that had driven me to the brink of suicide or, finally learn the lessons my pain had been trying to teach me all along.

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Only then could I break the spell of the relationship myth and know that I could save myself. Self-love saved me not romantic love.
Romantic love is a blessing in my life but it is no longer my reason for living.
Love thrives when we set it free.

You can read the other parts in this series here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In defence of Courtney Stodden


Yep, I’m guessing I’m alone on this one.
I just saw a conversation on Twitter that really p***ed me off. There were some recent pictures of Courtney Stodden falling drunk out of a nightclub in London.
All the comments were what you would expect; slut, whore, bitch. The ‘who does she think she is’ variety. Apparently there is a rumor on Twitter she had sex with some guy in a toilet stall, because I mean just look at her, she’s so obviously a whore.

So what could there possibly be to defend?
Well here’s the thing.
Courtney Stodden’s behavior is telling us she has a deep fear that she may not be good enough and because of that she may not be loved.
This is a common, universal, human fear. We are all battling with this to some degree or another, some of ussuccessfully, others not so much. These fears are the primary motivator of all human behaviour and are for example, the root causes of addiction.
Our behaviour will alwayas reveal how we really feel.
Because this is the ultimate existential fear, we are all desperate to prove it isn’t true. The mistake we make is trying to quell this fear with things that are outside of us.

Which is why Courtney behaves in the way she does. Her need for attention is a constant reassurance that she is good enough and worthy of love. She believes the attention is love which is why she needs more and more of it. Just like a junkie, it numbs the pain inside of her.
Only people who don’t like themselves very much have a desperate need for attention. They believe the attention validates them, it proves to them they are worth something because everyone is staring at them.
It is, of course a delusion.
No one believes for a second that she just fell in love with this middle aged man and that her hyper-sexualized clothes and behavior are just an artistic expression of her free spirit.
Everyone can see she is an attention junkie and this is the method she has developed to get it. And this is why she is hated because her behaviour reeks of inauthenticity. We can all recognise it because it’s like looking in the mirror. She isn’t hated because of the way she dresses or acts, she’s hated because she’s dishonest.

Have you ever been dishonest?
Because I know have.
In fact when I was 16 I also dressed in short skirts, high heels and paraded myself in front of men. I behaved like a complete nincompoop for all to see.
I wasn’t who I really am.
I was pretending because I thought that would get me love.
At the time, I thought I was in control and an adult. I craved the attention as it made me feel wanted and important, because inside I felt so worthless and empty. I was terrified I wasn’t good enough and that no one would ever love me, because they would see that.

Luckily for me this took place in damp unglamorous Norfolk, there were no smart phones or Internet and I prudently managed to avoid marrying anyone famous. So my behavior remained undocumented and I was able to grow into the authentic, confident, dignified woman I was meant to be.
Unfortunately this won’t be the case for Courtney.
The manifestations of her emotional insecurities will be on display forever and she will always be judged by them.

I’m sure right now she is riding high on the attention she attracts, and the illusion of approval and value it is feeding her, is only going to feed her need for more of it. So be braced for further exhibitions of attention seeking behavior.

But please go easy on her; she is barely a child who has no idea of who she really is. If her behavior tells us anything, it shows us how disconnected from her true self she is.
Did you ever feel like that? Did you ever look back at your behavior from years ago and shudder in embarrassment at what you did?
Especially as a teenager? The time when we are meant to make mistakes.
With the benefit of hindsight can you forgive yourself for behaviour, that was so far away from who you really are?

When we vomit hatred and venom onto Courtney Stodden for being inauthentic and shallow, aren’t we really expressing how we feel about that part of ourselves? Before I knew differently, I behaved the way I thought other people wanted, so they would like me.
Isn’t this what Courtney is doing? And why is it just women who attract this kind of hatred. What about young men who are behaving like complete idiots, why aren’t they treated the same way? This isn’t just about Courtney, this is about young girls everywhere who have been tricked into believing that their worth is in how sexy they are.

So I’ve got to defend Courtney Stodden because no one else is. When I look at her I see someone who is lost, who needed protecting not shoved in front of a camera like a circus creature. I wish there had been someone around to protect me from myself when I was so very young and foolish.

After all, remember she was a child who was basically whored out to a middle aged man by her parents. People who should have been protecting her and allowing her to make these mistakes in private.

So Courtney I want you to know that who your really are is good enough and you are loved. That what you are looking for is inside of yourself, not outside. I want you to know Courtney that there will never be enough attention or cameras, that they don’t mean what you think they do. Most of all I hope you find some grace to you start this journey back to yourself.
I hope you can connect with the woman you are meant to be, because I don’t believe for a second, that this performance you are putting on is who you really are.

It’s just a shame that no one else can see that.