I am delighted to announce the publication of Phoenix Rising: A Journey of Self-Discovery through Addiction Recovery. The book is comprised of excerpts from my blog, edited by Laurel Sindewald. Phoenix Rising is available for the Kindle through Amazon.
Truly, I am indebted to thousands for help in writing this book.
Many times over the two years about which this book is written – my first two years in recovery from addiction to alcohol – when I was confronted with a challenge, I envisioned myself standing alone in front of an inquisitor. The answer would be life or death for me or for someone I cared about. But seated behind me were rows of the strongest people who have guided me my entire life: my teachers – Mrs. Shane Pollet, Mrs. Loreta Walker, Mrs. Annette Perkins, Dr. Doreen Hunter; my family – my mother, my father, my Uncle Gaines, my Aunt Peg, my Uncle George, my Aunt Lena; my counselors – Mr. N., Dr. P., Dr. X., Mary, Dr. S., Dr. H. – all there for me to consult. And my sister, Margaret, for whom I was once protectress and so regret becoming like another child for which to care. Even my former husbands and boyfriends are there, if silent. I have no right to ask them anything, but I remember well their intelligence and skills.
All the knowledge and experience and wisdom of all the people were at my back. I felt as if I spoke my answers alternately, confidently, with their voices.
Even though I haven’t seen many of them in decades, they have been with me and I am grateful for their efforts on my behalf.
Many people contributed to the writing of this book but I am naming several specifically for their direct help with this particular project, or for their direct help with me making it through the two years of my life this book covers. In every moment was a potential dealbreaker. Those are high stakes and none of these people flinched.
Alex Edelman is the one with whom I can share the hardest questions and count on receiving probing, expansive, radically informed, humane answers.
Dan Smith read my blog and sent me supportive emails when I was rolling in agony on the floor in early recovery and a “this is a book” email when I began to regain my balance.
Coach Sarah Beth Jones shared what she felt and thought about my writing, then asked me to probe more deeply about what I wanted and what I meant.
Robert Giles, my father, has nudged me for decades to do what I said I’ve wanted to do since Mrs. Pollet asked us in fifth grade to make dolls of who we wanted to be when we grew up. My doll was a writer. My father has personally and financially supported his troubled daughter and I think my mind would be broken and my body homeless if he had not. He made the leisure required to write this book possible and I am grateful.
Janeson Keeley models writing honestly and deeply and commented generously and supportively on my blog, even before this book was an idea. Kelly Alcorn also commented thoughtfully and often on my blog.
Debbie Palombo climbed her Mt. Everest – the real one! – and in her inimitable, genuine, cheerful way said I should and could climb my own.
Karan Rains told me decades ago, “It’s harder with smart people.” But she helps me find my way, or my way back, to my heart.
Rosemary Sullivan stated outright to me that hiring an addictions counselor at 15 months sober was a risk but she took a chance and gave my desperately grief-stricken life meaning and purpose.
The cover art for Phoenix Rising is a detail from “Woman Rising,” created and designed by Jackie Harder then painted by, in alphabetical order: Gail Billingsley, Catherine Fae, Anne Giles, Robert Giles, Ben Harder, Jackie Harder, Greg Kiebuzinski, Brandon Lowe, Kelly Queijo and Laurel Sindewald.
The men and women who seek addictions treatment awe me and steel me with their honesty and bravery.
Without the men and women who attend support group meetings, I would be floating, spread-eagled, in chaos. They calm me, then guide me, then inspire me. How can I adequately thank rescuers? I hope this book in some small way honors their gifts to me by attempting to pass them forward.
Without Laurel Sindewald, this book would not exist. When she began assisting my father with his work in June, 2013, I was secretly six months into my first year of abstinence from alcohol. It would take me another ten months to share in public that I was in recovery from addiction to alcohol. I shared for many reasons, but one of them was seeing the bright, shining, passionate honesty of Laurel Sindewald and not matching it with my own.
Openness created a synergy I’ve experienced with only a few. Laurel deepened my thinking, feeling, insights and writing with her fine mind, thoughtful discussion, and impeccable, extensive research. Then she took on a herculean task. She read my entire blog, excerpted it, organized it, and edited it as a book manuscript. As if it were her own, she entitled the book, designed the cover, and meticulously prepared the entire package for publication. The writing is mine. The book is hers. My gratitude is without bounds. I appreciate, respect and love you, Laurel.
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