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


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,


9 Comments to Still learning

  1. dana's Gravatar dana
    September 10, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I love you, Valerie.

  2. Myra TAte's Gravatar Myra TAte
    September 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I love to eat good healthful foods and they play an important part in keeping me in good health and it makes me happy to cook creatively within the parameters of this program as closely as I can. But I am gradually feeling that food is not the first thing in my life. Rather, it sustains me so that I can read and write and learn and treat my body well at the gym and have family close in my life, and friends that give me joy too. I am just beginning to realize how grateful I am for these days of freedom to do the things I love, and to find gifts I did not know I had, even though those gifts are just for myself. Eighty years old and moving forward!

    • September 11, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Mom,

      As I was hearing from fellows in my 12-step study group last night, Recovery First translates into living life in the same way that you describe it. Food is not first. Recovery is first. Food provides the fuel for living life.

      You are leading the way.

      Love & Light,


  3. nicola bastian's Gravatar nicola bastian
    September 11, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    gratitude for you words and love to both of you

    • September 11, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Nicola. Hope to see you soon! Love & Light, Valerie

  4. Melinda's Gravatar Melinda
    September 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your journey with us – your courage, clarity and humility.
    Much love,

  5. September 12, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Melinda. You are very kind. Love & Light, Valerie

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