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My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

I hope you'll join me in this kitchen and let me know what's cooking with you.

A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project





Thanks to a New York Times column by Dick Cavett, I found an interview with Richard Burton where he talks about alcoholism. Here’s an excerpt. Listen for his story about a letter he received from Jimmy Breslin, who offered a powerful analogy of drink as a shadowy boxer.

Luckily, I had a high bottom as an alcoholic. I hadn’t YET hit anyone with my car. I hadn’t YET fallen down because I was drunk. I hadn’t YET irreparably messed up my relationship with Gregory. I hadn’t YET injured my liver.

However, just before I came into my 12-step program for food addiction, I was drinking more and more all the time, drinking on my way home from work, drinking 8 oz of vodka first thing in the door, and struggling not to drink during the work day. I drank so that I could relax enough to eat more. I drank in order to “feel” better. Feeling better with alcohol actually resulted in numbing my feelings, followed by a short-lived happy dance, followed by large quantities of food — especially flour and sugar, followed by feeling sick and miserable.

I’m very grateful that the drinker and the food addict in me gave up the boxing match. I admitted complete defeat and surrendered… one day at a time… with the absolutely (for me) essential help of a program and a group of addicts to guide and support me.

I still sometimes think I could drink again. Even this morning, while I was thinking about the spring-time trip we are planning to England, the idea of sitting in a pub with a Guinness seemed very appealing to me.

I’ve learned to take the fantasy to its conclusion and I could see myself drinking more each day, getting drunk, feeling sick, and opening the door to flour, sugar and quantities of food. I could see Gregory’s disappointment in me and my disappointment in myself. Thankfully, the attraction of drinking disappeared immediately… just for today.

This trip is for Gregory. It’s in honor of his 60th birthday. We are going to visit gardens. This trip will be a gift to both of us. We’ll have fun as long as I stay out of the boxing ring and stay in the rooms that are my protection.

My husband likes me and trusts me when I am in recovery, sober, and eating according to the plan my sponsor and I have worked out. I like and trust myself that way, too. I get to feel happy, joyous and free. What could be better?

Love & Light,

8 Comments to Boxing

  1. January 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The boxing metaphor is apropos for many things but for addicts we are defeated before we even get in the ring . It’s a zen thing . To win ultimately we must surrender. Not the best strategy in the ring but for us the best one in the bar , whether it’s in a pub in England or a bucket of blood in Bayonne we will never win that fight.
    Enjoy your vaycay and btw Gregory looks incredible for 60 ….. You know how to pick em!! 🙂

  2. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    January 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Honey, you had a high bottom, not a low one!

    Sal, another high bottom drunk

  3. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    January 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    May the Lord bless you and keep you
    May the Lord make His Face to shine upon you
    May the Lord be gracious unto you and bring you everlasting peace.

    This is what came to me as I thought of the battle you have waged and the strength you have showed. Today, after I had lunch with Doris at Riderwood, our wait-staffer said to us as we left, “Have a Positive Day! May you go on to have, each day, a Positive Day. Deeply devoted, your loving mom.

  4. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    January 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, thank you for sharing your struggles. You have made tremendous progress and I have faith in you to continue.

    I envy you going to England. That is one of our very favorite places to visit. The gardens there are so beautiful – and so many of them. Some all professionally landscaped and cared for that are spectacular to see. Others in some ones little front yard that has been planted “free for all”, and those too, are beautiful, in a different way.

    Enjoy your trip!!!

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