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


Life’s lemons



Today, a friend asked me, “Are you resentful about your accident?” I’m really not resentful. I don’t have a resentful bone in my body about the accident. Not even my broken and crushed bones… of which there were many.

I’m very sad about all those who were emotionally traumatized, especially my mother, my husband and my sister… and me, too.

I’m sometimes dismayed by my damaged intellect. It takes me much longer to process conversations, questions and events.

Occasionally I forget to take my noon pain medication. By about 3pm my numb right leg, from my low back to my toes, which usually feels like a wooden leg with a giant cramp in it, begins to feel a lot worse. My whole body aches and it’s all I can do just to crawl into bed.

I sometimes feel morose about the vitality that I’ve lost and stupefied by the amount of work it takes for the atrophied muscles in my left hip to get me up a stair step.

My ears ring and I miss being able to sing.

On the other hand… I am more grateful to be alive than ever before. I am happy to have found body, mind and spiritual modalities for healing that work for me. I accept my limitations. I’ve been told that, while I’m still very smart, I have brain damage… an excellent excuse for forgetting names! As long as I keep working out and taking my meds on time, I get around pretty well. I can turn over in bed, stand, walk the dog, talk, cook, be of service, and enjoy the gifts of friends and family.

I view the cause of the accident as the disease of alcohol addiction. The man who hit me had a blood alcohol that was three times the legal limit. I watched his video-taped deposition and it appeared to me that he was not able to accept that his excessive drinking throughout that day caused the accident. When he comes to mind, I pray for his recovery.

I’m familiar with addiction. I’m a food addict and alcohol is also a part of my story.

I have an allergy to all flours, all sugars (including alcohol), and quantities. This allergy sets up an uncontrollable craving and leads to an unmanageable life.

I’m lucky. I’m in a 12-step program for food addiction. After nearly a year of abstinence, I just recently slid off the rails. The program makes so much sense to me that I understand what happened and what to do to get back on track with a stronger foundation.

I’m not resentful about my food addiction. This is what life has handed me. It has also handed me beauty, love, peace and a program of recovery.

One day at a time, I can decide to be honest. I can decide to be available to others. I can decide to be happy, joyous and free. And I know exactly what choices to make to achieve those goals. It’s been proven to me time and again. My faith in the tools of our program is examined and I have no doubt. The solution is there for the asking.

Love & Light,


10 Comments to Life’s lemons

  1. nicola's Gravatar nicola
    December 2, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    …and , to us all , inspiration., to include in your list, love, beauty, peace, and….

  2. Mary Jones-Bryant's Gravatar Mary Jones-Bryant
    December 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Valerie
    Just want to say hello, think of you often and keep on being you. I enjoy a cup of kindness! Hope to get together with you when it is convenient. Miss your expertise and talking union issues! Take care and keep doing what you are doing…..Peace and Love, Mary

  3. ellen atkinson's Gravatar ellen atkinson
    December 2, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Valerie, this was so positive and encouraging. I am struggling with food addiction, particularly sugar, and seem to refuse to do anything to correct it, except try to exercise more regularly.

    I would like to invite you and Gregory to Friends House Saturday 12/14, for a program of live music (George Peachey and others), at 7:15 in Miller Center. Ron and Jenny will also be there. Sorry for the rather late invitation. No need to reply. Just come if you can. Refreshments in New C Lounge after the program.

    Love and continued strength to you,

    Ellen Atkinson

  4. Em's Gravatar Em
    December 4, 2013 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Valerie –

    I am so glad I decided to check in tonight … a new post! I am so grateful for this blog, and each visit seems to yield new inspiration.

    This post really spoke to me. I find myself dealing with resentments on every level, from the slightest affront to deep wounds. In the past I would literally chew them over. And over. And over. As I soothed myself with whatever sugar or flour product came to hand.

    I am so grateful that I can now begin to address those issues absent the food-induced fog. It is still hard work, learning to be present in the moment in an appropriate way, but I feel the growth.

    So your story leaves me in awe. You have such a healthy perspective on your challenges, though I am sure it is the product of hard work as well. Thank you for sharing it.

    May your holiday season be filled with every good thing!

    – Em

  5. Deborah Kahn's Gravatar Deborah Kahn
    December 5, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Dear Valerie,

    You are indeed very smart, wise, beautiful in the physical and deeply beautiful in your spirit, generous, insightful, and kind.

    Thank you for this posting. I was having trouble letting go of a resentment last night, and also so relate to your response above about feeling hurt by criticism of self and by negativity towards others. I’ve gotten off track with my spiritual practices and tried to catch up last night with the online course about Contemplative Prayer I’m taking; it was helpful but I still haven’t completely let go of the resentment or of what isn’t mine. You remind me that it does take work and practice and the very important pause.

    Thank you.


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>