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



stand still in the light


Day 2

Thank you for your messages and phone calls! They helped so much. I am in a better place, feeling forgiveness for my mis-steps and happy to focus on cultivating the habits necessary for contentment in this crazy life.

I was amazed when I read the 24 Hours a Day book yesterday. Here I was, utterly defeated, starting again from scratch, and the reading for September 17 was “Step One is… “. What a lovely gift of serendipity. I get to start at the beginning and there is help available in the tools of Recovery.

This morning, Miranda-the-Labradoodle, woke me at 5:32am. We went for a walk. I said the Serenity Prayer on the walk; came home, made coffee, got on my knees, bowed three times to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha; said the Serenity Prayer again and requested, “May all beings be well, happy and peaceful.”

Then, I sat, cross-legged in my meditation place, checked my prayer list for those I am holding in the Light, and read the 24 Hours a Day book. For September 18 it addressed Steps Two, Three and Eleven. The Meditation and the Prayer for the Day spoke to me about Quiet Time. The perfect message for this morning, thank you G-d.

My final step in preparing for Quiet Time was to open “Light to Live By – An exploration in Quaker spirituality” to a random page. On page 9 was this, “So the first step to peace is to stand still in the light – the light that reveals whatever is opposed to it… Because this is where grace grows, where God alone is seen to be glorious and powerful, and where the unknown truth — unknown to the world out there — is revealed.”

I did my Quiet Time. Now I am writing. Later I will make 3 outreach calls, eat my weighed and measured meals, get my hair cut, go swimming, do grocery shopping, and open my mail… among other work around the house. The day will unfold as it will. I do my best to live in Recovery no matter what.

Love & Light,


Days of Awe & Reflection


Day 1

I write these posts for the food addict who still suffers… including me. I don’t say that for your pity or admiration, but as a caution that my experience, strength and hope is tempered by food addiction.

Last night I broke after a week of abstinence with what I am sure would qualify as my first real binge. Gregory was out of town. My body was barely containing feelings of a very uncomfortable, stirred-up energy which I connect to the process of losing weight… 5 pounds over the last week. That uncomfortable energy was on top of the 20-second episodes of dread I’ve been having several times a day lately, which precede a hot flash. The dread is like the anxiety that overwhelmed me for months following the accident of January 2011. So, I would say that fear was the precursor to this break.

Somehow I assumed that I was in a safe place. I had been at incredible 12-step meetings yesterday morning and the day before, but those meetings alone did not protect me.

My healing path, my spiritual community, my 12-step Recovery program, is one of action. Here are the actions I did not take this weekend. I did not get on my knees to pray. I did not take Quiet Time. I did not read the 24 Hour a Day Book. I did not write down my food for the day. I did not make three phone calls to fellows in my program. I did not eat perfectly weighed and measured meals with nothing in between. I ate an extra spoonful here and took milk in my coffee there. I did not call before I took the bite.

This cunning disease convinced me that I could have one portion of a sugar food last night and that would be it. I did not even consider the possibility that it would lead to more, or that I might regain the weight I had so carefully given away.

So I had this horrible binge. The feelings of discomfort, dread and fear never really changed that much; and I spent the night with esophageal reflux (which I’ve never had before), and terrible cramps in my right leg, and feelings of regret, embarrassment and shame.

I am discovering that since returning to life after the accident of January 2011, my disease has progressed. At the same time I have been selective with the tools of my program. Not a good combination. I have been trying to call the shots by following my will. I have been sabotaging myself.

It’s time to be kind to myself. Because this disease has gotten stronger, I need to counter it with stronger measures of kindness.

I’m going to make a checklist of all of the tools, so that I won’t forget any of them as I have done so conveniently in the past. Now, each day I will check them off as I do them.

It’s abundantly clear to me today that I am powerless over food and alcohol; and that my life has become unmanageable. I have come to believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. I have decided to turn my will and my life over to the care of G-d as I understand G-d.

Thank G-d for this program. Thank G-d for my wise and compassionate sponsor. Thank G-d for my fellow food addicts who understand me. Thank G-d for this opportunity to start fresh.

I pray that I will look back on this experience on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, 1 Tishrei 5773, as the lesson it took to teach me a daily way of life for peace and happiness.

May we all have a a good new year filled with the sweetness of apples.

Love & Light,


Let’s change the things we can

Dana's photo of onions and sifter from Barbara's Eastport, Maine kitchen garden.

Dear Friends,

I just wrote an email to Lesley Jane Seymour, the Editor-In Chief of MORE, the magazine “for women of style and substance.” You might want to write to her, too.

I was delighted to see that MORE, my favorite magazine, was featuring an article called “Are You a Food Addict?” in its September issue. (See http://www.more.com/are-you-food-addict.)

I was terribly disappointed when I read the following paragraph

“Go to any kind of 12-step meeting, and you’ll hear the same mantra: Don’t pick it up… But when the addiction is to food, you can’t go cold turkey, because, um, you still need to eat.”

I wrote to Lesley and let her know that nothing could be further from the truth!

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, known as FA, is an effective 12-step program that is especially popular among women of the same age as women who read MORE Magazine.

I suggested that MORE feature an article on the Recovery that women my age are finding in 12-step programs, especially the Recovery program of FA.

For more information about FA, go to www.foodaddicts.org.

Write to the editor of MORE at lesley@more.com.

Let’s change the things we can.

Thank you, all.

And thanks to Dana for the photos!

Love & Light,


Still learning

Miranda at Pitcher Pond, Northport, Maine


Gregory, Miranda-the-Labradoodle and I got back on Friday evening from our wonderful vacation/honeymoon.


Husband, Cousins, and Dog at Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia


We saw some exceedingly beautiful expanses of our natural world in southern Nova Scotia and mid-coast Maine. We were touched deeply by close times with family and friends.


Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden at Seal Harbor, Maine


I achieved a huge milestone when I joined Gregory on an amble around the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden followed by a challenging walk in Acadia National Park along one of the rustic carriage roads.


Creek by Carriage Road, Acadia National Park


Among all the good things about this trip, there was also fear, doubt, insecurity and 10 pounds of weight that arose along with my 3-week walk off the path of my food practice.




I love my husband. I love my 12-step program. I love my sponsor. I love my Higher Power, whom I call G-d. And yet… I disconnected from those loves and allowed my desire for flour and sugar to take over; even knowing the hurt I was causing to myself, my husband and my sponsor.


Buddha at Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, Seal Harbor


As I’ve reminded myself here before, the Buddha taught the First Noble Truth that life challenges us in ways that we often respond to by suffering. Going on vacation sounded nice to me at one level, but I responded to it, at another level, by imagining all the worst things that could happen. So I was riddled with uncomfortable anxiety.

In the Second Noble Truth, the Buddha taught that we suffer because we want things to be different. I was craving comfort and predictability. I allowed that desire for comfort and predictability to overwhelm my confidence that all was well in the moment.

In the Third Noble Truth, the Buddha taught that we don’t have to suffer. We can be happy and peaceful as long as we are willing to give up craving better feelings and different experiences. I was unwilling to give up craving (also known as addiction). I allowed my fear of discomfort to trump liberation.

For some lucky folks, freedom from craving comes in an instant of insight and lasts forever. Those are the Enlightened Ones. In the Fourth Noble Truth, the Buddha taught that most of us have to work at freedom from craving every day by practicing a program that teaches serenity, courage and discernment.


Produce at Chase’s Daily in Belfast, Maine


I have that program of recovery from the delusion of craving. I completely believe its promises of joyful freedom because I have experienced them. I am greatly blessed with a wonderful sponsor and a wonderful, supportive husband. Thank you, G-d, I returned home with the gift of desperation. I have the willingness to surrender totally to our simple 12-step program and to receive all the love and support of my fellows.

Thank you for walking the path with me. I am grateful beyond measure. I am still learning.

Love & Light,