Long Time Recovery Advocate and Author, Christopher Kennedy Lawford Passes at 63. A Huge Loss to Our Recovery Community. My Tribute and Memories.

Long Time Recovery Advocate and Author, Christopher Kennedy Lawford Passes at 63. A Huge Loss to Our Recovery Community. My Tribute and Memories.

I was utterly heartbroken and shocked when I heard the news early Wednesday morning of the passing of Christopher Kennedy Lawford. We lost a huge addiction and recovery champion and tireless advocate of alcoholism as well as other addictions.

It hit me pretty hard as I was honored and privileged to have interviewed him by phone and have him as my featured article in the May/June 2017 issue of InRecovery Magazine where I was a former writer and columnist of  “The Author’s Cafe Column.”
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You can still visit the cafe’ column online and read the full article and my past interviews.  I also was an Addictionland Gambling Recovery expert blogger the same month as Christopher was in October 2014 blogging about alcoholism on Addictionland. When I interviewed him for my article for In Recovery, he was kind, not shy to be open about his past, and very gracious. He truly knew about real living while maintaining long-term recovery. Just some of what I learned about him.

Although, when I looked online to see how he passed, I could not believe how the “media” was reporting his death. He was being attached to the “Kennedy” name all over the news. I know he would not have wanted that at all as he was not close with many of the Kennedy family members as he told me in our interview. It was due to many of them still being heavy drinkers and recreational drug users except for John Jr. before his passing, and a couple cousins he spent time with.

And Christopher spoke about that in many interviews and articles in the media he said after we spoke. We all know even with family, we need to set boundaries around unhealthy relationships when we maintain recovery. And that was what Chris had done and was not shy about sharing this fact.

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And as news and media history goes, we know the many stories about The Kennedy families of drug and alcohol use and even cheating on their wives and husbands. Addiction does not discriminate on who it “touches.”

And when you are a famous or high profile figure, it can be more difficult for it playing out publically in today’s world of sound bites, media, and technology advances. He shares some of this in his many books he has written, but much in his book ‘Moments of Clarity.’ Sadly his passing has come on the heels of his new book release just some months back titled; ‘When Your Partner Has An Addiction.”

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Here is more about Christopher of what The Associated Press reports are reporting of his passing late Tuesday evening.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — “Author and actor Christopher Kennedy Lawford, who was born into political and Hollywood royalty, sank into substance abuse and addiction and rose to become a well-known advocate for sobriety and recovery, has died.

Lawford died of a heart attack Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada, his cousin, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, told The Associated Press. He was 63.

Lawford was in Vancouver living with his girlfriend and working to open a recovery center. He had been doing hot yoga, which he did often, but the strain of it “must have been too much for him at that point,” Kennedy said.”

Lawford was the only son and oldest child of Patricia Kennedy — sister of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy — and Peter Lawford — the English actor and socialite who was a member of Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack.” (Below Patricia Kennedy Lawford, Actor-husband Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, and Actor Tony Curtis.)

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“I was given wealth, power and fame when I drew my first breath,” Lawford wrote in his 2005 book, “Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption,” the first of several books he wrote about his substance struggles.

He wrote that his parents got telegrams predicting big things for him from Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and said he once got a lesson in doing “The Twist” from Marilyn Monroe. The cover of his books shows him sitting poolside as a child with his uncle and soon-to-be-president John F. Kennedy looming behind him.

He spent his youth frolicking with Hollywood stars on one coast and rubbing shoulders with political stars on the other, living between libertine Los Angeles and the hyper-competitive Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, where he was a big-brother figure to John F. Kennedy Jr.

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Christopher Kennedy and his cousin John F Kennedy Jr, in Hyannisport MA

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“You can’t get much more fawned over than being a Kennedy male,” Lawford wrote. (Above Chris and John Jr.)

His life with drugs began with LSD while at boarding school at age 14. In the years before he had experienced the assassinations of his two uncles and his parents’ divorce in 1966.

With heroin and other opioids as his substances of choice, Lawford leaped into deeper substance abuse in drug-heavy 1970s Hollywood, where his father also abused drugs and alcohol as his career faded. Peter Lawford died in 1984. Patricia Kennedy died in 2006.

In his memoir, Christopher Lawford told tales of mugging women for money, panhandling in Grand Central Station and getting arrested twice for drug possession before getting sober at 30.

“There are many days when I wish I could take back and use my youth more appropriately,” Lawford told The Associated Press in 2005. “But all of that got me here. I can’t ask for some of my life to be changed and still extract the understanding and the life that I have today.”

Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman from Rhode Island whose father is Edward M. Kennedy, said his cousin “did something very difficult,” airing family secrets and temporarily hurting his relationships within the Kennedy clan when he wrote his book.

“He had the courage to know that he had to find himself, and he wasn’t going to be able to do it while holding on to the old family narrative,” Kennedy said.

Lawford was “tormented by the fact” that for a time he was estranged from his sisters, Patrick Kennedy said.  “Over the years of recovery, he ended up reconciling with his sisters, happiest I ever saw him,” Kennedy said.

His life’s work became helping others recover — including his cousin.
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“He was the absolute cornerstone to my sobriety, along with my wife,” Patrick Kennedy said (the former politician had been addicted to drugs and alcohol). “He was the one who walked me through all the difficult days of that early period.”

After his memoir, Lawford authored several more books on addiction and recovery, most recently 2015′s “What Addicts Know.”

He worked steadily as an actor, with moderate success. He had a small part in 2003′s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” made appearances on TV shows including “Frazier” and “The O.C.” and had recurring roles on the soaps “All My Children” and “General Hospital,” playing a senator in the latter.

He told the AP in 2005 that his famous dual identities both helped and hurt him in Hollywood.

“The names give you an entree, absolutely, but it’s a kind of a double-edged sword,” he said. “People do pay attention to you, but nobody gets ahead in Hollywood unless they are really lucky or they deserve it.”

He is survived by his sisters, Sydney, Victoria and Robin, and his children, David, Savannah, and Matt.

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In closing, here is a little more about his writing and activism per Wikipedia: 

In September 2005, Harper-Collins published Lawford’s memoir Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (William Morrow 2005, ISBN 0-06-073248-2), which immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. In 2009, he released Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery, a series of essays by public figures, athletes and entertainers who have struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Almost every interviewee sought help from a twelve-step program such as Alcoholics AnonymousNarcotics Anonymous or another spiritually based means of support for recovery. In his own life, Lawford battled a drug and alcohol addiction for much of his early life. Lawford worked extensively in politics, government and the non-profit sector holding executive staff positions with The Democratic National Committee, The Community Action for Legal Services Agency and in the Washington office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

He has held staff positions on numerous national, state and local political campaigns, as well as with The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. FoundationSpecial Olympics and The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was later a Public Advocacy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers and was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve on the California Department of Public Health Advisory Board.

Yes, we have lost an addiction and recovery warrior, champion, and an outspoken advocate within September 2018 National Recovery Month. Even though I know he is in a much better place and is “Now Home.” It still hurts those who are left behind and especially when it happens suddenly. My thoughts, love, and prayers to his wife and children for this sudden loss, and to all his extended family and friends.

The Recovery world has a little less “Sparkle” without Christopher in it.

~Advocate and Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon~

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Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

Recovery Thoughts About a Little of Everything …Family, Support, and Of Course, Gambling Addiction.

 Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Visitors Happy 4th of July Week!

First I want to start by saying it has been too damn HOT here. It is the worst time of year to be living in Arizona lol. And why it’s called “The Valley of The Sun.”

We will be hitting 110 today. That is even too frigging hot to sit by the pool unless you want to get a Burn Up Suntan …Lol. Maybe I would like it more if I was 25 again but at 55 and taking meds, I just can’t tolerate the the heat like I used to.

It’s why I can not wait to move back to Oregon next year on the coast. 

So, I have been having some “happy times” flashbacks lately as we get closer to the 4th of July. Have no idea why or where it’s coming from. The Fourth was always an interesting day and evening around the “Townsend Family” home as we would always have a BBQ and light fireworks. This is when I still lived at or near home in So. Cal. We would do fireworks for my nephews as they were young at the time, and the adults would act a little cray-cray right along with them! Their dad, Mike, (my brother-in-law who we lost in 1992 to cancer) was a hoot! He was crazy about fireworks! Those were the “good old days.”

But as the dysfunctional family that we were many times, alcohol abuse seemed to ramp up closer to the evening after dinner. Waiting for it to get dark, we’d let the little ones do sparklers and Mike would dazzle my mom with some spinning flower bloom fireworks. My mom got a kick at of those! One time Mike put the flowering blooms and lit a couple in my parents’ mailbox so they would fly out, spin, and they hit the ground. LOL! That didn’t work out well as it blew up the mailbox so Mike had to buy my dad a new one and help dad put up. Lol.

Yes, there were many fun times to be had through the years. Now, remember, this was way before addiction had ever touched my life. But as we had fun, the alcohol consumed by Mike, Dad, my sisters and brother, the end always seemed to end up in some sort of argument and fight as my mom didn’t drink, but she loved to chime in and piss them off by verbally making fun or yelling at them that they were a bunch of Fu_  ing idiots! Then my dad and brother would get mad at her and we’d be off RUNNING!!

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It seemed almost all our family gatherings would end up this way. Day trips, camping trips. Sad really. No one in my family who drank alcohol had NO Control over it or when knowing when to stop drinking. This went on for many years. Today, my two sisters I feel are alcoholics, but they would say different. My oldest sister after Mike passed even racked up some DUI’S from drinking alcohol and driving. Which brings me to family, support, and fast forward to today. When my mom passed in 2003, my brother decided to open his new home and have relatives and friends come over to celebrate my mom’s life after the funeral.

And, again, early afternoon the alcohol began to flow. He had a pool, so many of us went swimming, and in the evening we hung out in the hot tub into the late evening they were still drinking. We were down to myself, my husband, my dad, brother and his wife, one sister and her hubby, and my older sister (single) and her boys now grown. Well, my sisters began to get a little rude and lippy and my brother chimed in. I and my hubby knew it was time to go, and we took my dad with us. Not till the next morning, we found out there were a few words spewed, pushing and things got a bit physical and the police were called.

Long story short, my brother and his wife divorced a few weeks later. My dad stopped talking to my brother. We just buried my mother and again our family is torn apart. This was a habit and behavior my mother carried on for years. If you didn’t do what she said or what she wanted, she would cut you out and stop talking to you. Life is to short for this and I would tell her so.

But she would just come at me verbally with things like “why do you think you are better than we are? or what makes you so special, I’m still your mother and can say whatever I want and like it.” Yes, my mom did NOT Like It when I set my boundaries. I guess I should back up a little. She knew how to get under my skin when I first began recovery.

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When I was a little girl born in New Jersey and lived until 6 1/2 then we moved to So. CA. My mom was a heavy-handed disciplinarian when my dad was gone overseas in Vietnam while stilling living in Jersey. Now, this is hindsight and connecting the dots and learning from the years of therapy and counseling in treatment that brought many old hurtful memories of my childhood back in order to process it, let go and forgive myself.

Growing up through the years, my mom and dad said many hurtful things to me and for some reason they lingered and just stuck inside me. When I got to my teens, I never could understand why she was like this to me. As I look back, since I was the baby of the family at the time, my daddy used called me his “little monster.” A nickname that later in adulthood hit me like a brick when my mom told me about these outbursts I’d have when I was little.

She was never like this or treated my older brother or older sister like she did me. She would say I told lies, I was an ugly tomboy, I didn’t love her or our family, I can’t be their kid and must have been switched at birth in the hospital and I can go on. I can remember times I would through tantrums I would not remember afterwards, she’d lock me in my room and I’d go crazy pulling out my drawers, clothes, pull the curtains down and then? …when it was over I would lay on the floor watching their feet walk back and forth between the space of the door and floor as they passed my locked door.

I think my mom just didn’t know what was wrong or how to control me when these came on. AND? It’s why I had agreed in 2002 with my Primary Doctor and Psychiatrist when first diagnosed with severe depression, mild bipolar and mania, anxiety after my first suicide attempt. I went undiagnosed for years until adulthood! And why I feel the way my parents raised us seemed to seep down into me so deeply.

I know this because as I grew into adulthood and finally disclosed all of what happened to me as a child when we first moved to So. Cal. I was sexually abused by not one, but two men from 8 to 11 years old. At age 30, in 1992 I was having a break down about all of it right after Mike died of cancer. That was before gambling addiction, but my first of many attempts at therapy for help. In order to begin the process of healing, as my therapist told me, “I had to disclose all to my parents, it’s time.” I told my parents and I felt abused all over again as they denied it, my mom very defensively said “I was making it up. My mom said she would have known if that was happening to me or happening in her house.”

My point in sharing all this? The good memories and the BAD? Since at this point I never got to finish my therapy with the therapist because I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my family took all of what I shared about, not only the sex abuse but also how those memories of the verbal and physical abuse by my parents hurt me as well.  It was then that more something changed with relationships with my dad, two sisters and brother became strained.

I think they all thought I was nuts or something. My mothers’ answer was, and her comments to me stayed with me and ended up giving me my “entitlement feelings” and added fuel to my gambling addiction when I later got entangled, abused alcohol, and crossed the line into addicted gambling. She told me:

“I don’t know why these things are bothering you when they don’t seem to bother my kids?”

I was speechless and kept hearing that in my head for many more years to come. Now, of course, here we are today and my all my siblings have had problems with broken marriages (my brother) drugs, alcohol, anger problems and nothing bothered her other children as I had become an addicted gambler. Today I now know most of my underlying issues and roots to why I turned to gambling addiction. Most of the above shared because I walked away from my first attempt of therapy racked with guilt and shame, I used gambling to ‘cope, numb out, hide, not feel, and get my anger out as I was enraged and destroying my life in the process.

“I wasn’t “getting back” or hurting them, I was sabotaging and hurting myself and my husband.”

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20171208_171651(My nephew Mark Lake and his beautiful family)

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I am happy to share that a few weeks before my mother passed away in August of 2003, I was able to call her twice a day every day until my dad moved her into nursing and rehabilitation after she became ill and off life support as she began to recoup. The family said there was no phone in her room so I could not call her anymore.

My mother and I talked about so many things before she passed. We made amends, she had apologized that she wasn’t there for me when all that was happening to me and for all of it, even my feelings around the verbal and physical abuse. She said “we were not born with a book or guide to how to raise kids.” She and my dad did their best, as she also spoke of how she was raised and learned some of it from her father.
I sure understand this still today …

Again, some points to as to why I am sharing these memories:

Many of us do have underlying pain and old haunting or issues that come from many different areas that need to be addressed. They need to be processed so we don’t use Addiction to try to cope or just try to not feel and forget. We stuff it down deep. It will at some point come back. As many are raised to know seeking out help is OK. There is nothing wrong with sharing how you feel, be it in therapy, counseling, and even in treatment, they know learning those roots and unprocessed events can help addicts be more successful maintaining recovery.

PARENTS: Be wise about how you discipline your kids. Children just want to be and need to be heard. They do want to communicate with parents without fear. I felt this way about always about the thought of talking to my own dad! You may still tell no, but please listen and talk with your kids, teens, and young adults. I feel if you don’t, if a child is being bullied, teens experimenting with drugs or alcohol, this also opens the door to what we are seeing now with too many SUICIDES.

As a trauma and child sex abuse survivor,  we have to learn it was NOT OUR FAULT that these terrible things happened to us. We need to process this and learn to forgive ourselves and begin the process of healing. We lose so much self-worth as a human being when we don’t. It could lead us to addiction, to self-medicate, and again, contemplate suicide.

For The Public: We need to come together and have more compassion and empathy for others who struggle with addictions, mental illness, and recovery. We never know one’s story. It is time to come together and learn how you can help shatter STIGMA around all the topics I shared about. Did the past pains hurt more because I had undiagnosed mental health issues which made my feelings more heightened?  Most likely. We need to help teach the public how to stop making us feel like victims filled with guilt, shame, or made to feel embarrassed or different when we disclose our feelings. Just because some are not as normal or as emotionally strong as other people, doesn’t make us different.

Well any of this sharing help stop addiction? Maybe or maybe not. But I can sure try by sharing my memories, truths, and my life story as I did in my memoir.  It is one of the ways for me to advocate and help raise awareness, help educate and hopefully to begin to shatter stigma. Thanks for taking time to read my journey and memories!

Catherine 

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Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

Thanks Author Shout For An Amazing Author Interview~Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon.

“Writing is a solitary task; it is a hobby for most of us, it is funny and smooth, other times writing is like a horror, getting a smooth writing experience need a lot of patience, time and spirit to keep performing. During hard times we strive to search for an answer here and there, on all topics and LIFE”

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catherine lyon


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Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a Best Selling Author of The Kodel Publishing Group with her shocking debut memoir titled; “Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” Catherine’s Memoir is both in-depth and raw as she takes readers on a journey of many important topics that ‘touched’ her life, starting as a little girl into adulthood.

She had taken a dark path, trying to elude the past childhood pain and traumatic events. She began using gambling as a coping skill and escape into a “dream world” to forget, if only for a few hours from the haunting memories of her childhood sexual abuse, parental verbal and physical abuse, and lived with undiagnosed mental/emotional illness for years. Shaping the “perfect storm, she became addicted to gambling with alcohol abuse. So, something like gambling to be for fun and entertainment became her worst nightmare and almost took her life, twice!

Now in recovery eleven plus years, Catherine has become well-known in the addiction/recovery communities, and is a loud advocate of gambling addiction, mental health, and the expansion of Indian Casinos, State Lottery offerings, and Internet gambling venues that needs to stop across America.

Catherine’s featured in many media and recovery publications like Columbia University’s Media Release through the 2×2 Project ~ Gambling With America’s Health. And most recently interviewed for Time/ Magazine online article titled “Addicted To Anticipation”  She is a former writer and columnist for “InRecovery Magazine” and a freelance writer for Keys To Recovery newspaper and column “Quit To Win.”

She is also an “Expert Gambling Recovery Blogger” for “Addictionland”  of Founder/Author, Cate Stevens along with other recovery experts along with other recovery experts like Christopher Lawford Kennedy and Tommy Rosen.

Catherine lives in Arizona and So. Oregon. She is married to her husband for 26 years. She is a ‘Cat Lover’ and has three, Princess, Boots, and Simon Peter.She enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, and swimming. She owns an online business called: “Lyon Media, Book Promos, and Literary Consulting.”

 

 

Author Interview

 

Why did you write and disclose personal family experiences? Were you afraid of backlash or judgment from family and others?

Well, I felt that is what writing a memoir is all about. Since my book is about my life of many topics including gambling addiction and recovery, I wanted readers to have an in-depth view of how my family life was growing up can later become some of the roots to WHY some may turn to addiction in the first place.

I, nor many do not grow up in an “angelic” family dynamic. Some grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive situations. That was some of my experience, and later became added “fuel” to my addiction. I wanted to “set the back story” so to speak so readers had an understanding of how many of us may turn to addictions instead of knowing there are places we can get help like through counseling or therapy when your “past comes back later in life haunting you.”

As far as backlash, family needs to understand this memoir is not about them, it about how I was affected by how I was raised and disciplined. How I was also sexually abused as a little girl, and I stuffed that way for years without my parents knowing until adulthood. You will have to read my book to learn how all that turned out. I had to brave enough to share the good, the bad, and all the ugly to others who did or are going through these same issues, if you are going to write a memoir, you can not worry of backlash. I am trying to help others through my book. For me, that is what I focused on.

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?

Not really. My first book came very easy for me. And believe or not I hand wrote the memoir in 6 1/2 spiral notebooks by hand! At that time, I was not writing a book, I was writing for myself to heal and forgive myself and to see all that gambling addiction and alcohol abuse had taken from my life. The book part and becoming published happened a year later as “divine intervention” I always say.

I am almost done with book two, but I am also co-writing another memoir, so it will release before mine. I did release a new compilation book with several other others and Dr. Rev. Kevin Coughlin in Dec. 2017 titled;  “TEN THE HARD WAY: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery”  and Thank goodness I have an exceptional editor, as my own second book is also hand written! The only weird thing, I love writing when it’s raining. But I am not an outline or draft type of writer. I just let the words flow out of me onto paper and by the seat of my pants!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I can thankfully say no to this question. One of the best pieces of advice I had received from another writer was, “write what you know.”

Unfortunately, I know too much about gambling addiction, recovery, mental health challenges, and childhood trauma. All these topics have ‘touched’ my life and I advocate about them passionately …

What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?

I pass on what was told to me in the above answer “write what you know” or write what you “feel passionate about.” If you love animals? Write an animal children’s book. If you have an open imagination? Write a thriller or mystery. An action or adventure story. I feel funny giving other aspiring writers and authors advice. I am a book promoter for many fine authors of all genres as well, so one piece of advice I can give to first-time authors? Your book takes many hours, days, and months to promote. Book sales and book reviews will not happen overnight, so don’t give up or get discouraged. KEEP writing and keep promoting your books!


“I am a writer and published author by accident” ~Author, Catherine Lyon

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Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat)           Ten the Hard Way: True Stories of Addiction and Recovery (Ten the Hard Way; True

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What are your current/future projects?

I am currently co-writing with former NFL pro from the Denver Broncos, Mr. Vance Johnson. We writing his story/memoir and legacy. It has been an amazing experience thus far. My second book is almost complete and will be a follow-up to my memoir. It will be serious, have musings, and ramblings about sharing more of my mental health and childhood trauma side of things and how to “Let The Shit Go!” … Lol.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I actually started my current book out with “the reasons how and why” I came to start writing in the first place. It was about a suicide of a woman I read about in our local newspaper when I lived in So. Oregon all year round. But, no spoilers here. LOL.

You’ll need to read my book titled; ‘Addicted To Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat,’ which is now listed here on “Author Shout” and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.

Again, I write what I know…. Lol. Balance is a challenge for me to fit my own writing time in as I book promote for many other authors and writing another book with someone. It is why it has taken me MANY years to get my next book done and published. So I am still a “two book wonder” at this point.

What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?

Well, we all know indie and self-published authors are changing the landscape of the “traditional” way authors get published these days. You no longer have to be published by one of the big publishing houses anymore. Now, that’s not to say there are some self-published or indie books that may not be very appealing. (No offense to authors). As I have read a few myself and the authors are no writers, LOL.

However, there are awesome writers and authors producing some fantastic written works and it is refreshing to see that all authors can now be noticed and praised for work well done! That is part of the change with being able to self-publish. I have promoted and worked with authors that were picked up and offered publishing contracts, so the traditional publishing houses are finding many good writers and authors. That is a great thing.

Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?

My current book was picked up by a publishing firm. But my publisher is a smaller independent publisher, however, I received an awesome offer when it came to my royalty share. The Kodel Group, Steve Laible is more like a “self-publish” helper. I had an editor and book cover designer for my current book already, so they just did my format, typesetting, and upload through Amazon’s Create Space for the paperback, and KDP for my e-book.

Going this route was the least expensive way to publish. Now most publishers won’t do any book promoting, marketing for authors except maybe send out a press release about the new book, so authors Beware and do your reseach of publishers! …And be ready to promote your books on your own. I do all my own book promoting throughout social media, PR releases, and use a few places that promote for me in mainstream media and get my books into bookstores. Authors can promote for free at many book sites or place low-cost book ads like right here on Author Shout.

Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?

Yes. The only change or difference that I made was to my book cover. I have two different covers that are the same but different in the colors. My  e-book cover has different colors then the paperback as I wanted my e-book cover to have more vibrant Las Vegas catching colors. The book cover designer took car of it.

What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)

Being a person who maintains recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol for a little over eleven years now, publishing my book was my way of helping others with the same issues and problems as I have and was the only way I knew how to help others by sharing my voice and my story to give others HOPE that they to can recover from this cunning and devastating addiction known as gambling addiction.

Many blessings and doors have opened for me to share my voice and have a platform to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of addicted and problem gambling. I want those who have never been touched by addictions have more understanding, compassion, and empathy for those who suffer. The opportunities for writing recovery articles, writing with others, and for many publications has been 10 fold! Most have come from people seeing and reading my book, an interview, or hearing me on a radio show or podcast.

I had for two years became a recovery columnist for a premier magazine called; “In Recovery Magazine.” My column was called; “The Author’s Cafe.” I am also a writer for a recovery newspaper out of So. California called; “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and I am an expert gambling addiction and recovery blogger on “Addictionland.” That is just the tip of the iceberg as I have a few more, but I am “blessed, humbled and thankful” for all the opportunities that have come my way. These offerings help keep me in recovery as well.

What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?

Now this question is an easy answer! Lol. Layer low-cost book ads for your books on several places like right here on Author Shout.

Since I market, promote, and advertise books for authors for living and as my online business, I have a page of what I offer to authors and writers in promoting and marketing their books and I set up all their social media accounts as well. The details are on my website: “Lyon Media, Book Promotions, and Literary Consulting.”
It is my business and home of “Cat Lyon’s Reading and Writing Den.”

I began my online business in order to help new authors learn ‘how and where’ to promote their books. Many just hire me to do it for them so they can just focus on writing more books. I place layered low-cost book ads and maybe run for them a E-book promotion. There is no shortage of authors needing help as they continue to write more books or meet the publishing deadlines, and why among other reasons they hire me to promote their books for them.

My number one valuable tip? Layer your book ads when your book first releases. Do a Beta Reader program to reviews prior to release like on NetGalley. That way you will find your readership. Use many book promo sites like Awesomegang.com or Bookgoodies.net . . . Just a couple of my other “go to places.”

What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?

My current book is a Memoir. About my life with many topics discussed throughout which I mentioned above.

What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?

I carry a spiral notebook or my laptop with me everywhere I go!

 

How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?

Yes. My writing has evolved so much since I wrote my first book. I feel the more you write, the better you get. Now that I am writing more as a profession as well, I have taken some webinars and use writing software to make sure I continue to become a more seasoned writer.

I would hope writing my book, writing and sharing on my recovery blog where I continue to write my recovery journey is helping others. We just never know who our story will touch or help. I wanted others who still suffer or are stuck in the “cycle” of gambling addiction that ‘Suicide Is Not An Option to Stop Gambling Addiction. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” 

Like the woman I read about in my local newspaper. And like my own two failed suicide attempts when I was deep in my addiction. Suicide is never the answer.

How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?

As a reader myself, page count doesn’t matter. The book cover is also part of showcasing your book, so it needs to grab the reader. Same goes with the book title. The content of a book is what we as writer offer up to the reader. If your content and story doesn’t keep a reader interested in the first chapter, they might feel some “buyers remorse.” That won’t bode well for future books you publish.

Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?

Yes, I do feel a press release is very important and has value. Many first time authors can not afford mainstream advertising or hire a PR firm. So a press release sent out through PR websites is a good way to let readers and mainstream media know about your book releasing. I do them for my book promoting clients as some PR websites let you send a couple out for free.

A few I like and use are NPR, PR Web and PRNewswire are some good ones. I get some good results in books sales and book reviews.

Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?

Of course, there is value to book reviews for many reasons. Readers who shop for books lets say on Amazon, they look and read reviews before they buy a book and see its ranking. I know as a reader I do. And, Amazon emails me when someone leaves a review for my book or reads a review I have placed. It tells me it helped them decide to purchase.

Reviews on Amazon also helps your books rankings among other books in your same genre. Rankings tell authors how our books sell and compare to other books sold on Amazon. When a reader takes the time to write a review after they read my memoir, I use that as well if they leave suggestions about improving my craft as a writer.

 

If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?

A message of HOPE to others who suffer from addiction of any kind. We can recover no matter how bad or how far addiction has taken you. We all have that tiny sliver of light within us to turn our lives around if we want it bad enough.

Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?

The Internet has changed not only the landscape of how authors can easily promote their books throughout social media, but the Internet has also changed how people can find information to get help from addiction and recovery support.

As a book promoter as my in-home business, the Internet has allowed me to work from home and make an income as I have agoraphobia and mood disorder. It has changed the way we do many things for school, work, and not just the book selling and publishing industry.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I read every review I get. I can tell you my current has averaged from Amazon’s Rate scale 1-5, my book is still at 4.8 out of 5 stars. So I must have done something right as a writer. So I have not experienced or had to deal with a bad book review …. Yet. Lol.

What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?

Taking on paid writing jobs has boosted my self-confidence as a writer. That also helped me get the offer to be a columnist at “In Recovery Magazine.” And why I write for several other addiction/recovery publications. For me, it is two-fold. I become a better writer and I have great platforms to showcase my writing while helping others recover.

 

Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?

Since my book is a memoir, all the people are real, and I only changed a few of the real names of persons I wrote about as I did not get permission to use their real names.

What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

I really can’t answer this directly as my book was written very unconventional. When I was writing at the time, I wasn’t writing a book. That all happened later on.
I do however recommend using a writing aide software which I do use.

What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?

I am really boring in this area. I really didn’t enjoy reading until later in adulthood. I wasn’t a “Catcher In The Rye” kind of reader. I enjoyed more contemporary reads by Stephen King and Nora Roberts. However, as a teen, I did love writing poems but never thought much about the “writing” aspect of it.

 

Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a recovery outlet.

Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?

None. Seriously. Just making sure my facts and stats were correct.

Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?

God created editors for a reason. Lol. My editor was Julie Hall. She worked for a local newspaper in Grants Pass, Oregon. She isn’t an editor by profession. But she edits and proofread for the newspaper. She had taken my six 1/2 notebooks and performed “magic.” Then she sent the first 50 pages to a publisher friend of hers, and that is how my book made it to being published. My publisher seen the recovery value of my memoir and knew it would it help others and hopefully bring a “Silent Underground Addiction” to light.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?

Cost. Traditional publishing can be very expensive. And many first-time authors may not be able to afford it. That is where self-publishing comes in. There are several good places who offer self-publish services low-cost or even free. Amazon’s Create Space, KDP, and Smashwords are just a few. It is heart-breaking but there isn’t any value of even sending your manuscript to the big publishing houses either as most never get in front of a live person. Very sad.

What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?

Recovery and helping others is what inspires me to write. We who maintain recovery know a persons story can be a powerful tool to help others looking to reach out and enter treatment or recovery. If I can help others by sharing my story through words and my experiences? That makes me happy.

Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?

No. I used who my publisher had at the time. She did a good job.

What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?

Since I do write for several publications, and for myself, coming up with new topics to write about can be a challenge. Writing is very freeing to me. I enjoy it and hope to continue writing and publishing more books to help others maintaining recovery and for readers to enjoy.

Lastly, do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?

All of the above. Especially for therapy and a source of stress release.

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Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

 

My book review for an amazing read I just finished by my dear friend and now I can call her a New Fellow!, Author, Brittany L. Shelton. It is titled; Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction.

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About The Book: 

Stories bring us together and remind us that we aren’t alone. Discovering Beautiful is a series of personal stories that illustrate what it’s really like to grow up in a dysfunctional home, as a child lost in the shadows of the chaos. It demonstrates how one little girl internalized societal stigma and turned inward to cope with the shame of her reality. This story paints a picture of a family savagely torn apart, destroyed, by toxicity and disconnection. This is a story of desperation, exhaustion, fear, and finally restoration and hope.


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Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction

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REVIEW: Sharing One’s Story Can Be Powerful To Help Others


That is exactly what this book and the author will do very clearly, brutally honest, and open.
It can be a bit scary sharing the “not so nice” when we are not raised in an “angelic family dynamic.” When we are told as children over and over, “don’t speak outside this house” od what goes on behind closed doors, this includes the deep hurtful pain some children endure that their parents may never know happened …
UNTIL OUR VOICE and STORY IS TOLD.

This book by Author, Brittany Shelton is exactly that. Not only is her story of pain and heartbreaking accounts of trauma and abuse, she tells it with hardly any resentment nor excuses when it comes to addiction in her life. No, it shows the seeds of power and truth that lie within us as we learn with faith to overcome, forgive, let it go, and rise up to triumph in life. The sharing much of the chaos but importance of showing family dysfunction can be generational sadly.

This is some of what you learn from this brave woman’s testimony. I too am a childhood trauma and abuse survivor and shared with the author all the many similarities we have. I always thought I was alone and no other child into an adult could have possibly gone through what I had. I was wrong! Reading her book, perfect writing style, was as if we were having coffee together and talking about each other’s life.

The book itself is easy to read and well laid out. My favorite areas that touched me deeply and musings too like, “People with mental illness scared me.” Funny, as I felt the same! First, the author defines trauma and how the effects us. I laughed when she shares how our moms teach us the “most useless shit” that seeps into our brains … and some of where we get those “I’m worthless” thoughts when told year after year. But Chapters 11 & 12 were intriguing to self-image and the way we look at ourselves until addiction beats up down so much, we don’t look anymore …

I highly suggest this book for everyone! It gives an exceptional in-depth look into so many topics and issues happening today, just as much as the child we were. How addictions can devastate families and so much more. I commend the author for sharing her story so others can learn there’s much help available and Hope. You are not alone anymore and YOU do have a VOICE!

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Brittany L. Shelton

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About The Author:

I am in long-term recovery from shame and perpetual escape. I kicked my inner-victim out on its ass and have been healing from the damaging effects of childhood trauma and self-destruction ever since. I’m a believer in the kind of Truth that can set a person free, but only because I have experienced it for myself.

I live with my husband and three young boys and am simply enjoying this season in my life. My goal is to help shift how things work in my family, and I believe that change happens one memory and one new tradition at a time.

Come connect with Brittany on Social Media!

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ InstaGram ~ and on GoodReads! ~ Come and visit Brittany on her website at “Discovering Beautiful Dot Com”

My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

Most all know just how difficult maintaining recovery can be. Especially when we come out of rehab or treatment and in early recovery. No one knows this better than my dear friend and advocate, Aaron Emerson. I have been a supporter and friends with Aaron for a couple years now. I can tell you this guy “Never Gives Up.” 

Yes, we all may have relapsed before, but Aaron is very adamant in sharing what he learns if and when we all at times have a slip. The most important fact is, Aaron is Honest, Real, and Transparent about the ups and downs of maintaining recovery.

So, that is what is my point is with this post and having Aaron share some of his story with all of us today, courtesy of his latest newsletter … “Hope From Dope” is a newsletter written by Aaron Emerson, a recovering addict, and alcoholic. It contains his writings from his Hope From Dope blog, updates on his recovery and more. 

“HE IS A FIGHTER” and he never gives up with “God In His Corner!”

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Treatment Works; My Story ~ By Aaron Emerson.

 

 

“I have been to rehab 7 times” …

Yes, seven times I have checked myself into rehab. Many of those times I did it to simply get my family off my back and a couple more times because I was homeless and didn’t have anywhere else to go. 

But this last time, well, I entered rehab totally broken, ashamed, hopeless and humiliated. At the same time, though, I was finally ready to do everything they asked me to do and willing to give recovery a try again.

It was a rehab in Memphis, Michigan called Sacred Heart. Based on the 12 Steps, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and family support, it is a treatment center that mainly serves low-income individuals from Michigan. It is a terrific place that employs therapists and workers who are recovering addicts themselves. And, well, it saved my life.

The day I checked myself into Sacred Heart, I had two warrants out for my arrest for stealing a credit card. I was a broken person, my relationships were all shattered and nobody trusted me.

Years prior, I had been living a life of recovery after several years of heroin addiction and it was the happiest I’d ever been. However, after I let up on how many meetings I went to and distancing myself from my recovery program, I drank some beers at a wedding, triggering a downward spiral of a couple more years of on and off drinking and drug use.


So, walking into Sacred Heart on December 8, I was humiliated that after building a life of recovery, I was now back in active addiction, facing some criminal charges. I had shared my story at area high schools and been featured in news stories about recovery. But here I was, strung out and hopeless once again.

About the only thing I had going for me that day was that for the last week, I hadn’t used drugs or drank. After the cops were called on me for acting violently after a night of drinking, an Ingham County Sheriff’s Sergeant helped convince me to check into treatment and get my life together for my daughter.

I actually listened to him. The way he treated me like someone who needed help and not as a crazy criminal really gave me hope. I was used to cops doing everything they could to stick me with charges and lock me away, so when an officer who was high up on the chain in law enforcement showed me compassion and seemed to really care about me and my daughter, it triggered me to try to get sober and go back to rehab.

And since that night when Sgt. Harrison helped me instead of locking me up, I haven’t used drugs. Rehab went very well and Sacred Heart helped me get some stability in my life. When I left a few weeks later, I was sober and motivated to get to a meeting as soon as I got out.

I did and two days later I turned myself in to handle the warrants. I got a personal bond and a month later was sentenced to Drug Court in East Lansing, which provides treatment and therapy instead of jail or prison. Drug Court has introduced me to a very good support system and given me a strict, balanced life to build around.

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I now have a job working 30 hours a week, go to meetings and therapy each day and am trying to be the best father I can be to my seven-year-old daughter. My life is extremely busy with work and all the meetings and therapy, but it is helping me. I feel like I have a very sustainable foundation in my recovery. I have a sponsor and a recovery coach that I call every day and another recovery coach that helps me and my family piece back together our relationships.

Out of all the sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists and probation officers I have in my life, I genuinely feel like each one of them cares deeply for me and plays very important but different pieces of the puzzle. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Sgt. Harrison motivating me to go to Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart truly helped me develop a foundation to get my life back together and I will forever be grateful for that.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen, it is never impossible to stand back up and fight! It doesn’t matter if you have never been to rehab or if you’ve been to treatment ten times, never give up! While in active addiction, it seems impossible to ever get sober and be happy without drugs and alcohol. That is a lie the disease of addiction tells you. The memories and hope I am experiencing today is something to cherish.

Never give up. Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed to admit you have a problem and need help. It takes a lot of strength and courage to check yourself into treatment or ask for help, but it is the first step to building a happy life of sobriety.

Treatment works!

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THANK YOU, Aaron, for being my Guest Today!

You can follow Aaron’s journey and share your support by visiting his website “Hope From DOPE”  and by connecting with him here on Facebook too!
Please check out his book as well now available and e-book now only $3.99 here on Amazon Kindle… 

To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery: My Life Of Addiction And Recovery Told Through Past Journals by [Emerson, Aaron]

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to “Recovery Starts Here” Special Author/Writer Interview. My name Catherine Lyon, Author and Advocate.  I know I am a little overzealous as I just bought Lisa’s new book titled; “Raising The Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” released just this past June 2017.

By the title, you may know some of what her book is about. But from all the 5-star Amazon reviews, there much more. And there is nothing like giving some practical and sound advice about alcohol and stopping alcoholism before it starts or happens.

Today though, we are going to learn more about who Lisa is and the “writer side” of her. So I hope you enjoy this “Special Interview” with Lisa Boucher.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

Share a little of what you do?
I am the author of 5 books and an RN. My first 4 books were novels, and my current book,
Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” is nonfiction.

I’ve worked in all sorts of departments at the hospital: ER, telemetry, medical, neuro, and psych. To be honest, my true love is the writing biz but that doesn’t pay that well at the moment, so a girls’ gotta have a day job!


Where were you born and raised? Youngstown, OH


Tell us more about you? (Like your education, family, hobbies.)
I have a nursing degree and a BA in English. Have always been crazy about animals. I used to have a quarter horse, Sham, who I loved almost as much as I do my twin sons. I love to cook, I’m part Italian, so food is a big deal in our family. I also garden, and like Cat, love to feed and watch the birds.


Do you have any latest news?
I do! Raising the Bottom recently won the 2017 Best Book Award in the category of Women’s Health, and it was a finalist in addiction/recovery category. I also am looking forward to 
Shape Magazine, yes, the Shape Magazine, to run a piece that I contributed to that and will be on their online magazine.

I was also interviewed by a writer at Epoch Times, so I look forward to reading what he put together. I wish I had a specific date, but from what my publicists told me, it should run late November or early December. It may even be out by the time Cat publishes this!



Anything we should know besides you as an Author & Writer?
I’ve been sober 28 years. I am certainly no prohibitionist, but I am troubled by the “women & wine” culture that seems to be a bit over the top. Let’s not forget the kids of these women. There’s nothing funny about a drunk mom. Ask any child who has one.




Do you like writing?
I love it. It’s a process and can be crazy and maddening and frustrating sometimes, but it’s who I am. I am a writer.




When and why did you begin writing?
Honestly, I heard a voice–an audible voice in my kitchen one day. I had just graduated from nursing school, back in 1994. I was home alone one day and musing about my life, my purpose. Was nursing it? A voice came through as loud and clear as if my husband was standing in the room, but he nor my small twins were home. The voice said–”Now I want you to write a book.” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have a computer at the time.


What inspired you to write your first book? God.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I can’t remember, it was a long time ago.  I guess it just came to me like my titles usually do. I have a writer’ly quirk that I can’t seem to write a thing until I do have the title.



Do you have a specific writing style?
No. With the novels, I just let it go and then do lots of cutting and pasting! With RTB, I did try to at least plan out the chapters.




How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story is about my alcoholic mother; our family; my getting sober early in my disease. I then interviewed 10 other women and they shared their story. I focused on women people would never suspect they had a problem. High bottom women whose bottom was mostly internal: doctors, nurses, mother and grandmothers, young women.

I also did a chapter for the kids, “What Your Kids Say about You and Your Drinking. I feel they never get to have a voice, so I wanted to give them one. I also did a chapter, “Doctors, Nurses and Health Care.” There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the hospitals and people have no clue. Healthcare has changed so much, and not for the better. The hospitals & some doctors, they want customers, not cures.


To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel since I was local, but I did write some of it in Bimini. Bimini is a tiny island in the Bahamas and not much goes on there. It’s a perfect place to write. Ernest Hemingway wrote some of “Islands in the Stream” there.


Who designed the cover?
She Writes Press had a design/illustrator do it.




Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Well, it’s not a novel, but I think every person knows someone who drinks too much. It’s a book for all, whether or not you drink–you know someone who does. Forewarned is Forearmed!


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite?
I have so many books in my reading pile. I’m reading Erik Larson, and my favorite right now is David Foster Wallace. He was brilliant but sadly, committed suicide at the age of 46. He was an amazingly gifted writer. Such a tragedy.



Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?
Well, not many. I really didn’t talk about it all that much. It seems that if you mention you’re writing a book, everyone chimes in and says me too! I wonder how many of those people will actually finish a book. It was such a tough long road, and still is, so I didn’t talk too much about writing with people other than my family. Of course, people knew I wrote, I just didn’t look to them for support.

 


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, if I sat and thought hard about it I would come up with something, but why make myself crazy? It’s too late to change anything so it is what it is and I think it’s pretty darn good. I did the best I could, and I know my writer’s voice came through strong & clear in “Raising the Bottom.”




Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh, my goodness yes! With each book, my writing got better and better. I grew as a writer.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No, I can’t act. Can’t see that at all!



Any advice for other writers?
Keep plugging away. I think if it’s for you to write, you’ll write. I tried to walk away from it so many times, but it seems I kept getting pulled back. If you can walk away from writing and be happy and never miss the agony of it all, you’re probably not a writer. But, if you keep writing even when the journey looks so dark, you’re a writer. We can’t not write. Period.


Will you write another book?
If God wills it, I believe I will. I have some ideas already, but I’m not ready to start another book yet.




What are you reading now?
Just finished *your) Cat’s book: “
Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”  (what a journey she had, but survived and came out stronger on the other side!).

I’m also reading Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker.
He’s an investigative reporter and writes about the destructive nature of big Pharma: What he learned mirrors my experiences of what I’ve seen going on in the hospitals for 24 years. The pills doctors prescribe are ruining lives. It’s so sad to see lives destroyed by all the drugs they put people on. I’ve watched lives spiral down to the depths of despair, all because of the RX’s.


Do you remember the first book you read?
Anything Nancy Drew! I Think was the first series type books I can remember.

 

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus, & Michelangelo. Can you think of two more interesting people?

CAT: LOL… I have to agree about meeting Jesus to ask, What’s It All About? And the other person….hhhhmmmmm, ELVIS! To let him know how bad The Drug Epidemic has gotten…And some to blame is like his Doctor, Over Prescribing Pain Meds and Anxiety Meds too!

 

Favorite Music and Color?
hmmm, that’s a hard one. I like Norah Jones and soothing instrumental music. In my car–I’m a country girl and love the old county music of Wille, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, Cash, Tammy Wynette. Yeah, the old stuff!
Colors: Turquoise or Black.

 

What do you want to be written on your headstone as part of your Legacy?
Something about healing. I’ve worked with women for 28 years, and I know I’ve been blessed to have been a part of their healing. I also want to leave a legacy of having a bit of grit. The world can be a hard place, but we can be all right if we take God with us.  

 

“One of Lisa’s Favorite Place? ~ Palermo, Sicily – Italy!”

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Do you have a blog or website? Where can readers connect with you on Social Media? Sure do! WebsiteRaising The Bottom.


I’m on Twitter & Instagram: @LBoucherAuthor  – My Book Available on Amazon online.
  – FB page: Lisa Speaks of Raising The Bottom



I Thank you, Kim, for allowing me to share YOU with my readers and blog visitors. We all will enjoy learning all about you as a writer. WHAT an Honor it is to have you with us!

WISHING YOU and all my blog readers, friends, and visitors a very HAPPY, Healthy, and Sober THANKSGIVING! May God Bless You…



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Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

 

A Special “Uplifting” For Those Like Me and Many Who Struggle With Depression By My Dear Friend Author, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder”…

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?

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last week, Tony began a subscriber survey that has thus far proven very fruitful. He learned more about who his readers are and what they are looking for when they visit Delight In Disorder… 

“Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the “other” category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: ”

“… how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it. I know cancer patients, for example, feel the same way, but you won’t hear anyone abandoning them. Instead they receive love, prayers, and casseroles. Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.”

This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn’t give me all the answers but helps me better understand the questions.

How does God feel about mental illness? Why does He allow it?

I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of God’s love for us surpasses any love we could have for each other. When we look to Jesus Christ and his feelings for us, God’s emotions are revealed. Jesus became furious at religious leaders who were excluding “imperfect” (sinners) from full participation in worship. Jesus went to outer regions to reach out to those dismissed as “demon possessed” and freed them from the captivity that caused them to be separated from the faith community. Like the Samaritan lifting the bleeding man out of the ditch and caring for him, Jesus cares for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.

So, why? I want to approach this more as a prayer than an accusation. Like when the prophets called on God, “How long, Lord. Will you forget me forever?” In my prayer life, I have come to understand God’s mysterious role in human suffering as something beyond my ability to understand, yet something I can fully trust. I believe God has a plan for me much greater than my mental illness in this life. As the Apostle Paul says, “for this slight momentary affliction is not worth comparing to the greater glory to come.” ( 2 Corinthians 4.17). Like a woman in the midst of agonizing labor, it is next to impossible to believe this in the moment, but when her child is born…. AMAZING!

Why don’t people respond to mental illness with love, prayers, and casseroles?

Image result for copyfree image quote about mental illness and faith

I hear this from many both within the church and beyond. Mental illness can be a life-threatening illness, given the number of deaths by suicide. It is, however, viewed by many as an annoying condition that could be overcome with self-willed faith, maybe a few extra push-ups, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. I have heard people comment that they grow weary of caring for family members and friends with chronic mental illness. It never goes away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. When I was first diagnosed, I was serving as a pastor of a small congregation in Northeast PA. I spent over six weeks in the hospital, while my wife cared for our children at home, ages 3 & 1. The church rallied to provide child care, meals, rides. It was wonderful. I was given leave for recovery time and welcomed back when I was ready. Churches can be havens of refuge, but too often we are not.

Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.

Amen! Damn, right it is! And, one of the debilitating factors is that our mental illness coerces us to do the very things that do us the most harm and fail to do the things that could most help. It does us no good to lie in bed for hours on end, but there are days the thought of getting up seems to us like running a 3-minute mile. It would be helpful to go out and spend some time with other people, but there are days where the fear of doing something inappropriate is just too strong.

This past year, for various reasons, I tried to live alone in an attic apartment in an unfamiliar city. On Saturdays, I visited my children. Sundays I went to church. The rest of the week I was on my own. I was not able to make new friends. I tried support groups, meet-ups, readings, dating sites. People scared me or I scared them. In this climate, I had 7 episodes that required intervention. In just 18 months.

Thanks be to God and the loving support of my family, I now have an apartment in my sister’s basement. It provides me a wonderful living space of my own yet I am not alone.

I know such spaces are hard to come by for persons with mental illness.

I pray you find yours.

Tony R.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness. Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer. I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tony Roberts, Author
Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission is on Amazon & Amazon Kindle