Love Over Addiction Podcast with Janet

Are you all ready to listen to a very wise woman? Today we are going to discuss how we convince ourselves that they really don’t have an issue and the delusion that if we try harder they really will get sober once and for all. We’ll talk about how addiction affects our friendships, how we can move and love from a distance, and how shame can keep you stuck.

I promise you are going to be nodding your head when Janet shares her stories because you’re going to relate. You can tell she’s done her work, and you’re going to have many takeaways from this interview. I can’t wait for you to hear.

Michelle: Janet, thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me today. I am so grateful.

Janet: Well, I’m hoping that it’s helpful. I’m hoping it’s used for good.

M: Yes. Well, I’m sure it will be. So where I like to start is: how did you meet your husband, because you’re currently married. Well, you said partner. Are you together with him but not married?

J: Yeah, we were never married. We were common law so…

M: Ok, common law. Got it. So do you just prefer me to call him partner then? Is that the appropriate term I should use?

J: Yes, that would be appropriate.

M: Ok great. So how did you meet your partner, and when did you first start to see that there were red flags going on around his drinking?

J: Well, we met at an event, actually. It was a social event where there was tons of alcohol, so it was par for the course. It was situationally appropriate at that time, but it was a celebration, so everybody was doing it. So there were no red flags there. I guess the first time—I was thinking about this today on my drive work, the first time I was like, “Oh my, we have a situation.” was when we were going to my parent’s farm, and as we were turning into the driveway of my parent’s farm, my partner asked me to stop the vehicle, and I was like, “Ok, what’s happening? What’s going on?”

And from the back seat, he pulls out of his bag like a mickey of vodka and he took a huge swig of it. That’s when I was like, “Oh, boy.” I got a sinking feeling because I was like, “What is that?” And I just thought ok, well maybe it’s nerves. It’s kind of nerve-wracking to meet someone’s parents, and I sort of just brushed it aside. I thought oh well, I guess that’s just how nerves are dealt with. But if I’m honest, and I look back (because honesty is such a huge component of the program), that was the first—you knew that was a little different.

M: I love that you’re saying this because honesty is a huge part of the program, and a lot of times I think one of our issues is that we’re not willing to be honest with ourselves because we don’t want to be. If we’re honest with the reality of the situation, it means we would have to take action that makes us feel uncomfortable. And I know for me, it was far easier to justify and believe the lies that he was telling me rather than accepting and listening to that gut feeling, that intuition, that fear that’s saying, “There’s something wrong with this. This is not normal.” Did you feel that way?

J: Absolutely. And I think that as the process kept unfolding, like last minute cancellation of plans and going off the grid—and we dated for quite a long time before we moved in together. I just always bought the excuses, or the lies, or whatever it was. I just was like, “Ok, well your job is stressful,” or “I guess that makes sense,” or the cycle of apologizing, and then everything would be good, and then the behavior would ramp up again. Then there would be the apologizing, and then it would go on like that again, and I’m sure it’s the preacher singing into the choir right now, but that pattern just—I guess I got really used to it.

M: Yeah, that cycle is a killer. I don’t think for the first year I even realized I was in that cycle. I love to think of diagrams in my mind. So if he started to talk, and he’s acting out, and he’s drinking, using drugs, gambling, or whatever they’re addicted to, and you get to the middle part of the circle where you’re like, “Ok, I’m reacting in a certain way,” whether it’s anger, manipulation, sadness, or denial.

Then, you’re right, he denies, and you’re in that peaceful part of the circle where you’re feeling closer than ever before. You’re feeling hopeful that he’s going to change. You are feeling like it’s a new beginning, and this time he really means it, and then you’re right back at the top of the circle again when he starts to act out.

I think where this sickness is on our part is that part of the circle we have control over which is our reaction. And we try, for the first year, to react differently each time. We’ll try anger, and we’ll think this is the ticket. I just need to be threatening. Or we’ll try manipulation or begging saying, “Well, only have beer on weekends,” or you know…

J: Right. Or count their drinks. Or make something up important the next day, so it will be like surely he won’t drink too much because he has this important thing the next day. And it’s like, oh no, he will. And so I think it just became, for me, almost like a bag of tricks. What do I have in my bag of tricks that I can try this time? Or so many nights just lying awake at night thinking, have I tried hard enough? Maybe if I try harder—or if I try harder in this area… and just completely robbing my peace. Robbing my rest from me. My presence. I just felt like a shell after a while. I didn’t even recognize myself. Especially after we moved in together. It’s a lot harder to hide this disease when it’s in your home.

M: Yeah. Ok, so let’s talk about that. I want to know from you—you had these moments that you talked yourself out of that gave you warning, and I know you grew up in a—well, you’re father was an alcoholic, is that correct? So how did it get to the point where getting these warning signs—there must have been a part of you that saw it. “Oh, I recognize this.” How did you get to the point of being comfortable moving in with him?

J: Well, now that I look back on it, it’s hard to not look back on it with shame. I think that when we look back, there’s this conversation we have with ourselves that’s like, “you should have known better.” And I honestly believed that moving in together would relate that happy postcard family. And that would be the cure. There were such happy times when we would get together with our kids and do kid-based events, and that seemed to be a time that we really connected. So I thought surely if we’re all in one house together then it’ll be the family cohesion cure, and that’s really what I thought was going to happen. Man, did it not. Did I answer your question?

M: No. It’s absolutely perfect. I think everyone who is listening to this is probably shaking their heads and saying, “Yep, me too, me too.” Because even if they’ve moved in and you already have the children in the relationship, that could be one way you feel like the happy family is the cure the addiction. Or a lot of women I know (myself included) thought well, if we have a baby, maybe he won’t get sober for me, but he’ll get sober for the baby. How could anyone walk out and ignore a baby—their own child? And I think what you’re saying makes total sense.

J: I’m in no way, shape, or form blaming my father. I just think we really learn our patterns because the second I figured out with my dad what his interests were and what he liked, then I became an expert in those interests. So my dad loved watching 60 minutes and 20/20, so pretty young I learned that if I was good in history or social studies or I watched the news then it gave us a basis to connect on.

And so I sort of felt like that was the same thing with the relationship with my partner.If I can find that basis to connect on and just really hone in on that and become perfect in that skill, then that will be the thing that cures the situation. In the end, that’s just so much work for us. Is that being authentic? And is that being true?

M: So true. So true. And you know what? I think in your case—first of all, I hope you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t feel shamed looking back and thinking how could I have got myself into this situation? Because I think I know the answer why. For many people, it’s different because it’s not uncommon for kids that grow up in an alcoholic household to marry an alcoholic. But for you, and for most of them, I think why that happens is because you haven’t done the healing that you needed to from your relationship with your parents. It becomes—it’s so comfortable. It’s so familiar. Sometimes pain can be more comfortable than joy if that’s all we’ve known.

J: Absolutely. When I was discussing it with my friends (I’m blessed with amazing friends), I would say it’s almost like I have a Ph.D. in crisis or a Ph.D. in relationships that are emotionally unavailable. It’s just what I’m used to and that hustle for worth— I’m just used to it. It’s what I do, or it’s what I did, and there is no shame anymore. I totally believe I had to go through the circumstances and situations that I did because what I’m experiencing now is beyond what I ever could have believed it could be for peace and creativity and possibility.

M: I cannot wait to get to that part because I really want to get to that part. But you said something that really peaked my curiosity. When I interview women and talk with women who are in love with somebody who suffers from this disease, I find it’s very rare when they have good friends. There are not many women who have managed to do that because this disease tries to isolate us and keep us alone so that it can maintain control over our family or our dysfunctional relationships. So how did you manage to maintain these friendships? There had to be moments—did he ever make you feel guilty for your friendships?

J: Oh, yeah, for sure. For sure. I guess in my circumstance when I was trying to heal from things from my family situation as a young woman, I knew that if I was going to survive, I was going to have to redefine what family life looked like to me. And that’s when I started collecting my tribe of friends. So those friends are pre-existing before I met my partner, and my friends work in mental health, and I work in mental health.

I think they just had a really keen eye for what was going on, and my friends are ferocious for saving my sparkle. They were pretty serious about making sure that I could get out and get some fresh air once in awhile. And when I say fresh air, I don’t actually mean the air outside. I mean just to feel like you could breathe for a second. They’re pretty serious about that.

M: What would they do? Would they text you or call you every once in awhile and insist that you leave? Or how did you handle all of the guilt that your partner would put on you actually exercising that right to have friendships?

J: I’m thinking of a dear friend of mine. Whenever she would send a text that said, “pulse check,” I knew that she was really worried. She would check my pulse. And as far as the guilt from my partner, quite honestly, it got to a point when we were living together that he was so sick that if I left the house, he wouldn’t have noticed. He was pretty much incapacitated from alcohol.

M: Wow, so what kept you staying in that relationship with a man who was that incapacitated? A lot of women use the excuse—I don’t think it’s true, but they probably don’t want to go through a divorce because of the paperwork. I don’t necessarily think pieces of paper is why you stay with somebody. I think there’s a lot of fear behind it, obviously. So what kept you with this man?

J: The answer is pretty easy for me. My partner reminded me of my dad so much. His work ethic, how stoic he was, and when he was good, how much fun we had together. Our same interests. Once we were living together and he was incapacitated, it was the financial stuff that kept me. We just moved in together, and I’m considering moving out five months later? What are people going to say? I look like a flake.

I work in mental health, so that really held me. What I do for my career really held me. I’m like, “Look at the crazy counselor who should have known better.” The shame-talk kept me for a long, long time. And that appearance to the outside world that everything’s ok. Look at the beautiful house that we bought, look at all of this, look at the postcard family. And I really worked hard to uphold that outward appearance for so long until It was becoming really unsafe.

M: Wow. Thank you for being honest about that. I appreciate that because it’s so true. I think we all have that mask and illusion that we try to present to the world. We’re so scared that if people really saw what was going on, they would judge us so badly that we would lose all credibility. That somehow what was going on was our fault. That we were responsible in some way for their behavior and the chaos and the dysfunction. So he reminded you a lot of your father. At what point did you start to look for help? At what point did you start to go, “There’s things I can do that can help me”?

J: What was my breaking point, you mean? When was I like, “I don’t think I can do this anymore”? My children—they’re not my partner’s children. My children stopped wanting to come see me. I’d never experienced that before. I had such a strong connection with my children, and my—I like to call him my wasband. I don’t call him my ex-husband because I actually still love my ex-husband. He’s a great guy.

M: So you call him your wasband? I love it. That’s great!

J: I think it was when my children and my wasband were saying that the kids couldn’t come anymore. Or that my ex-husband was saying, “I’m really, really worried about you. This isn’t safe. This isn’t what you deserve.” And I think the kicker for me was when my son asked me, “Do you really think this is the love you deserve, mom? Because it’s so painful for me to watch it.” That sort of got the ball rolling for me.

M: What did your friends, your wasband, and your kids see going on that made them so worried about you physically or mentally or in your home? What was going on that made everyone so concerned?

J: My friends stopped caring for me. I was isolated. It was almost like I was perpetuating the alcoholic behavior. I would cancel plans at the last minute. Or I just wouldn’t answer texts. Or I just dropped off the grid. If I was at events, I would be really anxious and not present. Constantly checking my phone. At work, I would actually leave work sometimes because I just have to go home and make sure that he’s ok or call in sick from work.

And so there was all this behavior that was not who I really was. With my kids, I just didn’t have the energy to take them to the movies. I didn’t have the energy to go to parent-teacher night. I just didn’t have the energy, and the kids could never, ever come over to our place ever because I didn’t know what was going to happen that night.

M: Wow. So you just became completely overwhelmed and preoccupied, and all of your energy went into this relationship.

J: Absolutely.

M: Hustling like you said. Hustling.

J: And we never left the house either. The kids were complaining about being bored because we never left the house. I almost felt like I had to be on red alert all of the time. If we leave the house, who knows what we’re going to back to? So let’s just stay. I’ve never watched so much TV in my life, and I hate watching TV. But so many of our nights would be spent watching TV because there wasn’t a lot of energy to do any activity. All the energy he could muster and do was to be drunk and watch TV. So we watched a ton of movies. And I’m good. I don’t want to watch another movie as long as I live.

M: Oh, I so understand that. I’m fine with movies, but there are certain interests in my ex that I will never, ever do that. I promise you. That activity is off of my list forever. So you basically lost yourself. You lost who you were—your friend said that sparkle. That’s huge. When did things start to turn around for you?

J: Well, my partner, was in the hospital. He was hospitalized for withdrawal, and when he got out of the hospital, we had a violent altercation. At that point, I asked him to leave the home, and things started to turn around then. I think that once I actually got the space to sit and feel, things really started to turn around. And that’s when I started seeking out for the first time on the internet something for me.

Not a rehab, not a new therapy, not a new drug or cleanse or hypnotherapy. I wasn’t searching for something for him. That’s how I found the program. And I just laugh when I think about when I first stumbled on the program because I was such a brat. I was like, “I don’t want all the emails. There’s too many emails. And they talk about God too much.” I was really crusty and salty. I was pretty resistant to my own healing, but I knew I needed something.

M: You’re not the first person to say that. But when that resistance is there, it’s not your real heart. It’s the addiction that still has a grasp over you and the control over you. It’s that negative self-talk that you mentioned earlier that helps belittling anything or anyone that looks like help. Addiction doesn’t want you to get help, so it’s going to tell you whatever looks light, whatever appears to be light, is actually just ridiculous because it’s darkness.

J: Right. But your voice—like you said before, we’re used to chaos and discomfort. But I think when we challenge that, there can be a huge response. Don’t go changing the status quo now. Don’t go getting too big for your britches. Really, I was just really a brat.

M: So did you get it right away, or were you just getting the emails?

J: No, I bought it right away because I was like, “It’s time to try something different.” And I have 50,000 self-help books. If it’s a waste of money, it’s a waste of money. No big deal. And I guess for the first time—I just observed at first on the Facebook page. I just observed for a while, and I did my fair share of the vent event or 10. Then when I really started to read and listen, oh my gosh. It really is out there. Other people really, really get it. There’s nothing that would shock these women. There’s nothing that would be unspeakable. It’s there and it’s real. And it was just so overwhelming to finally find a community that understood.

M: I love that. Yeah. I remember sitting in my kitchen over 10 years ago, and I was a young mom. He was passed out on the couch, and I remember looking over the internet trying to find something—a group of women that could relate to what I was going through. Here I was, my little ones were in bed, my husband was passed out. I think he was doing cocaine because he had a nosebleed on the couch, and I remember going, “It’s a Friday night, it’s 9 o’clock.” And I remember thinking, “I just need a group of women like me. And I don’t want to go to someplace where it’s just negative, negative, negative, and it’s all his fault.”

I wanted to go to a place where I could share everything that was going on and they could help and encourage me and tell me what they’ve done in the past or if they could understand. And that was the night where I said to myself, “I am going to do this if I ever live through this. If I ever come out the other side.” And that was, other than the bookstore for a moment that I talk about in the program, the moment when I had that idea of a Facebook group. But I wasn’t on Facebook. I didn’t know it existed. I didn’t know that technology could do that.

But I remember thinking, “Ok, if I ever figure this out, I’m going to create this group because there’s got to be other women out there. I don’t want to sit here alone on a Friday night by myself.” So thank you for saying that because I think one of the best things about the program is the amazing women that come into it. And I love the transformation that you had going from crusty to really—I love the word crusty too. I use that to describe my dad sometimes. But to have that heart transformation—that’s really, really wonderful.

J: Yeah, it’s even better to live it. So thanks for having the platform that it could happen on.

M: Yeah. So where are you at now? Tell me about—you asked him to leave, and he did leave.

J: Yeah. He left, and eventually, we ended up—just recently we ended up selling the home that we shared. And right now, I’m waiting for the final process of the separation agreement to be done, and it’s done. For me, it’s done. I think it’s important to say it’s not done like ‘I’m done with you,” because I so do not want anything bad to happen to that man. That’s not where my heart is. I do hope that it will get turned around for him, but it’s in someone else’s hands now. In God’s hands.

I know what “love a person from a distance” means now. I didn’t get that before. We can love and care for them from a distance. I don’t want the wrath of God to come down on him. I want good things, but I know that it’s completely out of my control.

M: Yeah, and so that tells me that you’re in a place of forgiveness, and now you can feel the peace.

J: Yeah. And when you say “where I am right now,” I do I think it’s important like— “Oh, I’m graduated and done. End of story.” No, it’s completely not like that at all. I think it’s important to go through the program over and over again. I have the podcasts, and I listen to them on my commute because even if I’ve heard it before, I hear something different depending on where I’m at that day. That’s when I go, “Oh yeah. That makes so much sense.” Because I’m in a different place now. So I don’t think that healing is a destination. I’m sure there’s more stuff that’s going to come up in the future.

M: Oh yeah. Let me tell you. It’s going to. But that’s the beauty, right? It’s like our work is never done. We’re never going to be divine human beings that are higher than our pain. Human suffering is part of life. It’s like we’re learning the tools on how to handle that and how to have the feelings that come up. I’m remarried to a wonderful, sober man who’s the best guy in the world. I love him more and more every year that I’m married to him. But there’s still work to be done. I still have instances where I go—there’s buttons that are being pushed that I know I need to bring it back to attention. I still struggle with self-care.

Sometimes Brian will go, “Michelle, you just wrote about this last week. You need to do it now.” And I’ll say, “You’re right, you’re right I’ve got to do this because I’m teaching this.” It’s never ending, and I think that’s where the importance of being gentle and kind to ourselves—that’s the key. That’s the place where we can find healing. Not sitting here beating ourselves up because we haven’t reached this destination that really is unachievable.

J: Right. Because I think that’s old story stuff. I think that’s the old story because that’s kind of what drove us before: keep trying, keep trying, and then the mark just gets higher and higher and higher, and we’ll never, ever reach it. Actually feeling the feelings can be so overwhelming and uncomfortable, but they tend to loosen their grip when you can sit with it. And for me, I did need the space. I know that was not other women’s story, but for me, I did need the space. I needed the breathing room from the chaos of it so that I could feel.

M: Yeah, and I love what you wrote in your pre-interview questions, and I wanted to talk to you about it. You filled this out quite a while ago, so I wanted to refresh you. You talked about exhaustion. And you said, “Sometimes I wonder if it really is exhaustion, or if I’m learning that a lack of chaos and the ability to relax is so new that I don’t know this new found friend of relaxation and instead equate it to exhaustion.” I was like, “I’m writing a blog post about that because that’s genius.” I hope you don’t mind.

J: Oh, no.

M: That is so true. Can you talk about that?

J: Well, I think I used to feel tired but wired, and I was exhausted, but I just couldn’t go to sleep. And so when all of that chaos was gone, it was almost like I said to myself, “Oh my gosh, I’m so exhausted!” And I would say that over and over and over again. Then I’m like, “Am I truly exhausted, or do I just not know what peace feels like?”

I never sat down, Michelle, like ever. I just would be cooking dinner, doing laundry, and always in the house, but even with the endless movie watching going on, I’m washing dishes, or I’m folding laundry because I think that I just had to keep going so I couldn’t think. And to just sit, and not really have a crisis breathing down my neck, I felt so tired, but I wondered if it was just peace.

M: I think it was probably both because I think we ride ourselves so hard when we’re married. And like you said, we’re hustling, we’re working, we’re solving, and we’re fixing. Our mind is going and twirling and twirling in our heads. And I think when we create the distance, there is that detox. I remember someone saying that when they finally left, they slept for a month. Hours and hours that they didn’t realize they needed because they were so used to the busyness and the chaos.

But I think you’re also right—that feeling of peace is so foreign that we don’t recognize it when it comes. And we quickly want to fill the space of peace with busyness. Or sometimes we can become so habitually addicted to problems that it feels very uncomfortable to not have that chaos and dysfunction going on and all these problems to solve.

J: And I think when you say that the exhaustion, sleeping for a month, my sick thinking was like ok, I’m exhausted, so how do I fix it? My thyroid must be messed up, or I must not be getting enough Vitamin D, or I’ve got to go get blood work. How about just sleep? You don’t have to make it so complicated. But the nature of the beast is that we’re just always looking for a way to solve a problem. My internet searches would be “adrenal exhaustion” and bla bla bla, and I’m not saying that couldn’t have been it.

M: And it’s so true because I think there’s a part of us that feels that need for fixing fills us with a sense of self-worth, and so when we get to the place where we completely accept ourselves for who we are, we don’t have that desire to solve everyone’s issues. We can—and I found this to be true not only when I left my ex-husband for him—I could create the distance with him out of love, but with my kids and with my current husband (I say current like there’s going to be a next one. There’s not going to be a next one, but you know what I mean). I’m very, very close to—I can’t say I can claim it 100% of the time all the time, but I’m getting very, very close to being able to do that. I’m very comfortable in my own skin. There’s an accepting of my flaws and my gifts.

When you get to that point, you can see other people around you making poor choices whether that’s your kids or your husband or your parents or you friends. And there isn’t that desire to jump in and problem solve and be of use. You still can have a servant’s heart. You can still have a desire to help people. That’s always good. That’s your profession, and that’s my profession. That is what we love to do. But there’s not that instinctive knee-jerk reaction to do it. It’s more of a conscious choice because we’re not getting our worth from that anymore.

So it’s not out of desperation that we’re doing it. We can take inventory and go, “Do I really need to get involved in bailing out my son from that consequence, or is it a healthier choice to let him suffer and lovingly watch but let him pay those natural consequences?” The idea of risking them being mad at you for not stepping in and saving the day seems more acceptable when you’re not placing your self-worth in his hands.

J: Oh, absolutely. And I think it’s so interesting you’re bringing up kids because my kids have never known me to be anything else except the fixer and the hustler and the enabler, and so this new mom—it’s uncomfortable for them at times. Super uncomfortable. If my kids miss the bus, I’m like, “Well, see you when I see you, I guess. I’m not going to come and get you all the time.” I am not going to do the certain things I used to do, and they don’t really like that so much.

M: That’s wonderful. That is huge. And isn’t that funny how when you recover from loving someone who suffers from this disease, your other relationships recover too?

J: Oh yeah. And it’s so interesting to see. I think I said it before on the community: we think it’s us in our homes, but it’s not. If it’s that behavior in our homes, it’s in every aspect of our lives, and just because he leaves, if he does leave, doesn’t mean that you might just be seeing that same patterns in a work environment. And you’re like, “Oh, I do it here too.” That’s sort of what I noticed. It was like once the rosy glasses were off, they were really off, once you can see it, you can’t unsee it.

M: So true—which is why I believe that addition was one of the greatest gifts that ever happened to us. We needed the lessons. We needed to learn the lessons that addition taught us to learn. It was painful. I would much rather have liked to learn them in an easier way where people don’t have to pay such severe consequences, but I do believe it’s purposeful and that if we do our work, which clearly you have, it can be one of the best things that ever happened to us. It can be our ultimate healing and pivoting moment.

J: Through my journey, when I heard people say, “Oh, I’m so grateful for this.” In the beginning, when I was crusty, I’m like, “What are they talking about? Are you kidding me?” And so I agree with you. I feel like this has been used for the highest good, and I wouldn’t really change this situation for anything now because it happened for me. It didn’t happen to me.

M: That’s beautiful. I believe you, and I love that you’ve made this transformation. I love that. It’s so true. I’m sure that I was once, I don’t remember because it was so long ago, but I was probably that very cynical person going, “Give me a break. Whatever. That’s such a bunch of BS.” Now you’re really grateful. So I love that. What can you do? And here’s what I know for sure about you: whatever happens in your future—you have literally made the investment in yourself, your recovery, and your healing that you’re not going to replicate or duplicate what you had. You have broken the cycle. It has happened for you.

J: Well, I feel it, and I think that’s important. But something that I wanted to share is that for me, that cycle wasn’t broken until I forgave myself.

I had to forgive myself first before anything could shift.

When you asked about the shame earlier, I had to let go of that. I had to forgive myself or else I’d go in this repeating patterns, and forgiving myself was huge to change the patterns.

M: Yeah, and I think that forgiving yourself is super hard. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, because a lot of women do choose to stay, but I think it’s super hard to forgive yourself when you’re living with an alcoholic or substance abuser. You’re literally married to them. You’re staying with them because the voice of addiction can be so loud and so convincing, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for that. And forgiving yourself, to me—a lot of people say, “Well how do you get there? Just the phrase ‘let it go?’ Well, that’s great but how the heck do you do it?” You know?

J: Yeah. Yeah, it’s a process.

M: Forgiving yourself means to me—it is a process, and it starts with the self-talk isn’t loud or aggressive, it’s sweet and gentle and soft and kind. And when you’ve got the addiction voice that’s loud and mean-spirited and super powerful, it’s really hard to replace that with the sweet gentleness that self-talk can give you. So I’m not saying it’s impossible to do, but you have to be really aware, if you choose to stay, which voice is what and be able to make space, be in the quiet stillness, listen, and spend some time literally telling yourself what you believe that is loving and wonderful and great and special about yourself and forgiving yourself for all of the past decisions that you’ve made.

J: I totally agree.

M: Thank you so much. Is there anything that I did not cover?

J: No, is there anything that I did not cover?

M: No, you were wonderful. Are you kidding? You’re amazing. Your wisdom is profound. And I know that you’re going to help so many people by what you shared. Thank you. Thank you, seriously.

J: Thank you for the work that you do. It is so important.

I adore this woman. Her wisdom and clarity astounds me. And that’s what’s amazing about this disease: it happens to really talented and gifted people. We are smart women, you and I. We have doctors, nurses, teachers, mothers, lawyers, accountants, lobbyists, and so many more professions. We’re not stupid. We are educated and well-rounded woman who just happen to have a very loving and compassionate side.

We just need to make sure we are extending the same kind of love and respect to ourselves as we offer others. When we do that, our lives change. We honor our boundaries and ourselves.

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