Above All, Compassion

There's this old Peter Gabriel song that¬†really cracks me open, not only for its beauty and power but because it reminds me of a time in my life that was particularly¬†dark and stormy. I remember listening to it on repeat in my old Honda Accord, driving home on Sunset still drunk on whiskey and coming…

The Inside of Loneliness

I have come to find that the feeling of feelings is the first step in surrender and moving toward growth and change, from whatever it is we need to surrender to, grow toward, and change from. Spilled tears, gasping sobs, clutched knees and calls to friends are part of the deal. Moments of self-pity, complaint,…

One Hundred Forms of Fear

When you're a child, all sorts of things may scare you: the dark, spiders, witches, whatever monster is lurking under the bed. As you grow though, and most of those acute fears lessen or vanish, a different brand appears, and it usually more subtle, an underlying sense of dread or insecurity. When I was trudging…

When AA is Not Enough

I started going to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous on a regular basis when I was eighteen. I was not all that ready or eager to admit that I was an alcoholic and needed help, but I knew that I belonged in those rooms. I heard the message, I identified with others, and I saw people…

Waking Up

Real recovery is often likened to waking up, choosing to face reality without compulsively smoothing edges and running from what is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and frightening. Whether one is getting sober, confronting sex addiction, or quitting chewing gum at all hours of the day, stopping addictive behaviors, both highly destructive ones and the relatively benign, forces…

The Problem Isn’t Alcohol

The rooms of AA are filled with love addicts (including myself). They are also filled with sex addicts, food addicts, compulsive gamblers, hyper chain-smokers, spenders and debters, and exercise freaks. (Also including myself, at various times, minus the gambling). I was in a meeting last night that falls into the category of Friday night meeting…

Orthorexia: “Health” Has Many Disguises

Health is not often what people think it is, especially in places like Santa Monica, where more people tend to jog, practice yoga, and eat kale than guzzle beer and smoke cigarettes. While jogging and yoga and kale are all good for you, they alone do not create health. And there are people who are…

Keep Coming, Keep Going

Keep coming back. It's a well-known saying in the rooms of twelve step programs, and next to one day at a time might be the most commonly uttered one. At first, it sounds trite, annoying, maybe even condescending. But when you really think about what it means, it is deeply profound and hopeful. It speaks…

Recommended Books

I probably read more books than is necessary on recovery from addiction and codependency, but they have been unbelievably helpful in my process, and I continue to go back to many them regularly. Some woke me up to new insights and practices, while others were comforting in difficult times. Here is an exhaustive list, in…