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


I’ve got this! —> Cue fail.

Lord Hanuman Reciting the Ramayana


“I’ve got this!” That’s my cue for… FAILURE!

I’m a slow learner and a fast forgetter. Of all the practices that are essential to my life, good health and happiness, there are only a few that have become a solid habit. Brushing my teeth is one. The rest I have to work on maintaining every single day.

As soon as I hear myself say, “I’ve got this. I’m going to do this from now on. No problem,” I can be assured that, either that day or the next, I will have lost it completely. I will almost immediately go from, “I’ve got this,” to “I’ll just change it a little,” to “I can do it my way,” to “I’ll do it tomorrow for sure,” to “I’m probably fine. I don’t need this anymore.” Much later — days, weeks or months later — I wake up saying, “I lost it. Oh, no.”

It’s much, much harder for me to get back to success from failure, than to keep success going. Here are some of the areas I can run into trouble, even when the risk of damage is extraordinarily high.

I have a weak left hip. My weak left hip is a permanent result of nerve damage and muscle atrophy. Unless I practice clam shells and leg lifts, and engage the hip with every step I take, keeping my left leg in its own lane, I run the risk of falls. I literally trip myself up. So, you would think that I would do those exercises religiously, without any outside help. I can do it on my own… for a day or two. Then I feel better and I forget that this is a permanent condition. Until I cue success.

I am prone to incontinence. Incontinence is a permanent result of my spinal cord injury. I know that I must go to the bathroom when I can, and not wait until I have to go; otherwise I run the risk of not making it to the bathroom in time. So, you would think that, as soon as I notice the call of nature, I would scoot off immediately. I can do it on my own… for a few weeks following an incident. And then I forget that this is a permanent condition. Until I cue success.

I have sleep apnea. It’s not going away. I should automatically place those “nasal pillows” on my face every time I may fall asleep, whether it’s for a nap or a long night. Sleep apnea is life threatening. Complications of sleep apnea are high blood pressure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and sudden death from a cardiac event. Woo-hoo!! So, you would think… You know the rest of this story.

I am a food addict. Food addiction can’t be cured, but it can be arrested a day at a time by the action of weighing and measuring our food and abstaining completely from all flour and sugar. Food addiction for me manifested as 90 pounds over my current weight; fear, doubt, and insecurity; high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiac asthma; a mental obsession with food; and an inability to stop eating flour and sugar and drinking alcohol. I found Recovery through the tools of a 12-step program. So, you would think that I would practice the tools of my program faithfully on my own, without help. In fact, I’m only able to do my small part to cue up success.

To cue success in all of these areas, I’m learning to surrender to a path of Recovery, one day at a time, in everything I do.

On a successful day I make an honest commitment to G-d, to myself and to another person to do the work. I create an environment that supports doing the work. I set a daily rhythm in motion according to the clock. I ask G-d and others for help. I listen to others who have also struggled and see myself in them. If I find myself thinking, “I’ve got this,” I recognize it as delusion. At the end of the day I thank G-d for another day of progress… even when I haven’t been perfect.

I know for sure that the fewer program tools I practice, the more I’m at risk for all sorts of  mental, physical and spiritual ailments. Self-knowledge avails me nothing. The only thing that protects me is practice, practice, practice.

Yesterday, I asked G-d for help, did 30 minutes of Quiet Time, read 12-step literature, prayed, took sponsee calls, and weighed and measured my food. I didn’t do my clam shells or leg lifts. I did engage my hip with walking and kept my leg in its own lane. I went to the bathroom on time. I didn’t put on my nasal pillows for sleep apnea. I didn’t thank G-d for the progress I am making.

I also lived life. I enjoyed a full, rich day.

I did well enough. And I can do better.

It’s true. I have a daily reprieve and I receive many blessings as long as I do the work… one day at a time. There’s no easier or softer way. The only way that works for me takes work.

I am grateful to be living in the solution, not perfect, but making progress.

Love & Light,


Image: Lord Hanuman Reciting the Ramayana

5 Comments to I’ve got this! —> Cue fail.

  1. Anne C's Gravatar Anne C
    February 3, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a direct clear reminder of how easy it is to fall into the trap of “I’ve got this”!

  2. Myra Tate's Gravatar Myra Tate
    February 3, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    So glad you reminded me to put in my new email address

    Everything you say in all the “cups” I read tonight speaks to my own issues – thanks for giving me tools to work with.

  3. Em's Gravatar Em
    February 10, 2015 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Valerie –

    Omigosh, you could have been speaking just to me! Wish I had read this before shooting off my email in response to our friend’s question … I love the insight you bring.

    It’s funny, when I saw the picture, I immediately thought “monkey mind”! When of course I knew Hanuman is pretty much the opposite … but don’t that just say it all?

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