This is the kitchen where we talk about food, life, and recovery—a spiritual path to healing and peace.

You are invited to keep coming back to A Cup of Kindness to share your experience, strength and hope; fears, doubts and insecurities; and to pick up information, inspiration … and have a little fun!

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



The Dancer

Seven weeks ago I went off the rails with the food. One bite of trail mix in the car on the way to the beach, led to half a milkshake that afternoon, a sticky bun the next morning, a margarita at lunch, chocolate cake for dessert, and then an afternoon and evening of tortilla chips and gin. I was right back into the same eating and drinking I was doing before I came into my 12-step program for food addiction in January 2007.

My Recovery, sponsees, service positions, sharing in meetings… crossed my mind, but didn’t alter my course. At a certain point I wanted to stop, but could not. Only when I started to feel physically sick was I able to finally stop. That night, it became very clear to me that it was time for a reset. I let my sponsor know what happened and I resumed my abstinence, starting again from Day One.

For six weeks, I would have several days in a row of my three weighed and measured meals, no flour, no sugar and nothing in between… feeling happy, satisfied and clear. Then some occasion would put wine and dessert in my proximity. There wasn’t a moment’s pause. As soon as I saw it, the glass of wine was in my hand and sweets on my plate. I wondered if I would ever experience contented, continuous abstinence again. I began to fear that I would gain 90+ pounds back and I would lose the progress I had made spiritually, mentally, and in my relationships.

I thought that last week would be more of the same… if not worse.

I had an important meeting on Tuesday of a Quaker committee that I clerk. My father-in-law’s memorial service was on Wednesday, followed by a lunch for 34 people at my mom’s apartment. We hosted a family lunch on Thursday, and then a small gathering for my husband’s birthday that evening. I had worked hard to help put together all of these events. I was anxious and there was flour and sugar everywhere.

I made it through abstinently! What a surprise! Staying abstinent didn’t seem very important to me. I wasn’t feeling desperate. Part of me was expecting to eat and drink whatever was available.

What made the difference? Even though I really didn’t want to, I took action.

I half-heartedly asked for support from fellows. I accidentally bookended the main event with calls. I asked G-d for help… even though I didn’t really want it. I mechanically said the Serenity Prayer. I repeated a message to myself that the chaplain shared during my father-in-law’s memorial service. He said, “Other people are walking in our footsteps.”

Taking these actions, even without a very strong intention, worked! I had moments of craving and was able to pause long enough to ponder the effects. And the craving lifted.

Now that the stressful events of this week are past, I’m watching for the tail of the dragon.

I’m not focusing on fear or aiming for perfection. I’m reminding myself that I feel happy, joyous and free when I keep my food clean and my actions honest.

For a long time I had easy, uncomplicated, clean, contented abstinence. There’s a part of me that would love to have that back.

So, just for today, I’ll set my intention to remain abstinent in order to make that muscle a bit stronger and more familiar.

This is Day Nine, thank Goodness.

It’s July Fourth. Happy Independence Day!

Love & Light,



15 Comments to Freedom

  1. Jean Hoyt's Gravatar Jean Hoyt
    July 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    That is truly powerful……

  2. July 4, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your honesty and frankness. I take such strength from you Valerie.

    Happy day nine,


  3. serene's Gravatar serene
    July 5, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I admire your strength. Inner strength for self preservation. Inherently you knew it was a mis-step not a fatal uncontested choice you had made. A bit of confidence for Valerie and her mission in sharing. You have survived far too much.
    Stepping off your path isn’t fatal unless you careen into the abyss without your inner voice’s parachute. Everyday is a struggle for one’s self with a moral fight to achieve something higher then the self something that will leave an imprint. Self is not enough in today’s solemnity unless we get outside our own issues that mask a need to join our fellow man and work on strength of character. Stand for ourselves and for those others that need us!
    It’s in our character this our uniqueness that keeps us part of the rituals of life. We must heal ourselves and heal others in order to achieve a better place for all.
    Please never question your direction unless you give up your own self, Your self is too defined by the special uniqueness that makes you you. Continue then on to give back through yourself and share further this path a bit to make the world a better place too.
    We all need to see a bigger picture of struggle…get a perspective on self and gratitude for our ability to make choices.
    Love and stay humble….

  4. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    July 5, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I fall off the cliff every day. At 84 I think I have to look at food and keep in mind that I am attempting to stay well with an alert mind and a healthy body. I’m going to try again. love, mom

  5. Em's Gravatar Em
    July 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Happy day after Independence Day … hope yours was swell!

    Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable truth. I truly believe you will get that easy, uncomplicated, clean, contented abstinence back. Sooner than you imagine, too. Going through the motions can sometimes be enough until everything else engages, doncha think … and maybe that “engagement muscle” is just waiting for a workout!

    Much love to you,

  6. Em's Gravatar Em
    July 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Smiley face goes here!

  7. Liz Thorson's Gravatar Liz Thorson
    July 6, 2016 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Valerie,

    I am in awe of your courage and determination to get yourself back on track to feeling good about yourself, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. I am impressed by the strength you appear to have gained since I 1st began following your journey. You like who you had become and you are showing a love and patience and willingness to forgive yourself and accept that you can begin anew. I cannot comprehend how difficult it must be to ignore intense cravings. My hat has been flung high in the air to honor you!

  8. Theolyn Wilson's Gravatar Theolyn Wilson
    July 8, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, you have written a very powerful tribute to you and what your mind and body are capable of. Yes, I’m sure it was frightening as you were going thru it – not knowing exactly how you would /could continue. But your inner strength took over and you came thru it, not without personal turmoil. This continues to make you stronger and with a deeper faith of what you are capable of doing, especially in stressful situations.
    You have made such remarkable progress over the past years – keep in mind that each day a new you is in charge!

    Fondly, Theolyn

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