Monday, March 30, 2009

Speaking to Dad

If words could bring you back to me, I
would string them like children
sliding wooden beads onto colorful strings
clack, clack, clack
my words would fall softly over you like snow
cover you in the security of night and stars.
I would rain my words down around you
with sweet drops of relief the plop of
the first raindrop fat and wet into the dry
spaces between us.
If it would bring you back I would
layer words soft and thick as chocolate
icing on a three-tier cake, spread them
gently in swirls, generous with
lacing the sweetness.
I wish my words could heal you
lift you in two strong arms
travel a thousand miles with your weight
to safety. If I could
I would save you with these words.
I would call
cackle caress cajole with
every word I ever learned till they
stacked to the heavens till
they covered all earth
till they brought
you back
to me.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Untitled Prayer

The sun lingers on the blossom
I am lost in you
Wandering rivers in the lush jungle of tomorrow
I see leopards preening
My heart thunders as I open my mouth to rain
I hear the bird of paradise
Her call blows over our heads like the muezzin at noon
Alive, I smell sacred cows, buffalo
The burning ghats
I drink the ghee-d tea
As dawn breaks over pale pink mountains crested with your snow.
A dry wind breaks against my neck
Mud covers my bare feet
Close by, Durga rides a lion, her ten arms poised for battle.
The demon kings lust after her, their serpents tremble in her path.
In an office in Beijing, a man is typing.
In a market in Rome, a woman cries.
On a beach in Goa, the dancers whirl in a techno trance.
In the darkness, the dark light glows like blackest pearl.
Years, Centuries, Millennia, Epochs, Aeons, Eternities kneel.

Claudia L'Amoreaux - January 30, 1999
Above photo found here:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring in Centennial Park

I am completely infected with the Spring Fever. Summer and fall are my favorite seasons and I've never been bit by the spring bug like I am this year. In the past I have viewed spring as a time of extreme temperatures-- some days 35 degrees, some days 70. It's highly unpredictable and rainy. It seems like this unpredictable allergy season begins and ends abruptly and some time in June it is suddenly 90 degrees here in middle TN and stays that way until September. This year, however, I am seeing such simple beauty in the green buds on my woody hydrangea, and the delicate grace of a budding cherry blossom. Centennial Park in Nashville was a great place for me to go celebrate this beautiful season.

Matthew 7:7,8

Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and you shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For whoever asks, receives;
and he who seeks, finds;
and to him who knocks, the door is opened.

Jesus of Nazareth

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blueberries and Caviar: The Thrill-Seeker's Life

Some of us want to live life amped up 24/7. We want excitement, thrills, and drama each moment of the day. When this is not to be found, we can create some chaos and crazy to keep things interesting. There are people who know little else than the chaotic life and, unfortunately, it was hard-wired in them since childhood. When children or even adults live a life of emotional intensity for prolonged periods of time, then the internal thermostat for emotions is set to "high." For this person to feel balanced and regulated, he/she needs high levels of emotional activity. I've seen this to be true particularly for children who grew up in fear within their homes, either due to long-term abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. I've also seen adults who were carted from one wild activity to another as children with very little time ever given to silence or solitude. They have now become adults who must always be DOING and WITH PEOPLE and are teaching their children the same.

The thrill-seeker lives life much like someone who wants to eat caviar every meal every day. It takes a lot of money, time, and effort to acquire and sustain the caviar life for long periods of time. Not to mention, a daily diet of caviar is hardly good for the body. Man cannot live on caviar alone. A healthy body requires a varied diet, which often includes simple, accessible foods that richly nourish the body. Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods we can eat, full of antioxidants that ward off the bad guys roaming around within our bodies. One blueberry on the tongue is a delight, yet such a simple food. It's easy to forget the joy of simple things, such as a blueberry freshly plucked, a tomato right off the vine. Taking a bite is a spiritual experience as the rich juices fill your mouth, and your body celebrates at all the good being fed.

Thrill seekers, you want caviar every meal, but what you are missing is the thrill of the more simple day-to-day goodness of blueberries! There is soul food to be found in the quiet of washing your dishes, eating with family at the dinner table, or taking a hot shower. If you quiet yourself from the inside and settle into the simple moments, you will feel fed. You will feel nourished. You will bring balance to the emotional life.

Photo above found at:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thoughts on Sex and Love Addiction

I have been surprised and inspired by the response from readers regarding this series on sex and love addiction. I am so glad to know there are so many people hungry for healing and actively seeking information that can help them with their recovery. If I can be a source of information for anyone on this journey then I am happy to provide that support. If anyone has suggestions for future posts regarding addictions, please feel free to contact me at . I am open to your ideas and feedback.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sex and Love Addiction, Part 3

Recovery is living fully within yourself one moment at a time. Recovery is accepting the reality of who you are, what you have done, and shrugging off shame in order to make this present moment one that restores you to health. Recovery is moving forward and letting go of the past. If you have survived withdrawal, congratulations. Welcome to your new life.

Living in recovery is not the happy-go-lucky, joyful, and easy life that we believed it would be. It is a lot of work re-parenting ourselves to be responsible and honest. In the beginning it requires a conscious effort to actually care for ourselves the way we should be cared for. This includes avoidance of toxic people and places. Caring for ourselves involves eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and always doing the next right thing. Most of all caring for ourselves means that our inner self-talk is loving, forgiving, and always encouraging to self. Most recovering addicts that I have worked with are their own worst enemies. They internally beat themselves up and require way too much from themselves emotionally and physically. When they are unable to meet their own exacting standards, they insult and kick themselves while they are down. It requires great effort to be able to say to yourself everyday, "I am doing a good job of learning how to live. I am worthy of this recovery. I am a good person." I find that those who laugh at these kinds of statements are often the people who do not believe them and, therefore, find them ridiculous to say. Even if you don't believe it, say it anyway. Fake it till you make it.

The original founders of Alcoholics Anonymous divinely argued that addiction is a spiritual deficiency. I finally get how this is true. We are created to be intimately connected with a power greater than ourselves. When that connection is damaged or non-existent, we suffer spiritually. This suffering is very painful and can drive people to substances and behaviors that "fill the void." If you have a fear of intimacy (the core of sex and love addiction), know that you will have the same fear of intimacy with a Higher Power. No one is to be trusted-- not even God! As you progressed in your disease, getting sicker and sicker, you finally reached a point where you knew you could never get yourself well on your own. You recognized you had no control over your sickness and your own diseased mind was incapable of healing your own diseased mind! In recovery we have no other option but to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves who CAN restore us to sanity. So, even though you did not initially trust God, you found yourself in a place where you had to.

I have been very encouraged by the many people who have come here seeking some help in their sex and love addiction. If I can offer you nothing else, let me offer this-- there is healing and recovery from your addiction. You do not have to suffer in the cycle of acting out and shame for the rest of your life. There is a Higher Power who is able to sustain you and who has a storehouse of unending medicines just for what ails you. You have to do your part, which is making that conscious effort to seek your Higher Power and connect with it every day. Now that you are past withdrawal, you are learning to walk out your life one day at a time. The support of others in recovery and the supernatural power from God will sustain you in recovery.

Above photo found at:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sex and Love Addiction, Part 2

Sex and Love Addiction-- the withdrawal and recovery phases. I am assuming and hoping that any addict at this phase is fed up with their own addiction. At this point, an addict is willing to endure whatever withdrawal pain that comes and willing to sacrifice and let go of whatever and whomever in order to shake this addiction. By now the addict realizes that to continue on in the unhealthy behaviors and patterns of sex and love addiction can mean only certain death or irreversible loss of sanity. It is this realistic and healthy fear that drives an addict into recovery.

Withdrawal is tough. Like an addiction to a substance, withdrawal from sex and love addiction involves emotional, psychological, and physical suffering. The addictive process is occurring in the brain, thus, sex and love addiction is just as neurological and chemical as an addiction to heroin or alcohol. Withdrawing from these neurological and dopamine highs can create physical symptoms of sweats, chills, headaches, stomach aches, fatigue and/or listlessness. There are the unavoidable emotional symptoms of fear, panic, anxiety, intense sadness or depression, anger, the sense of "going crazy," and many other possible feelings. The withdrawal process is different for every person both in symptoms and duration.

Withdrawal is the process of ceasing all harmful behaviors and patterns related to your own sex and love addiction. This may mean refraining from compulsive masturbation, no longer incessantly phoning an ex-lover or driving by their home, ending frequent sex with strangers, or leaving an abusive relationship. Define your "bottom-line" behaviors-- those behaviors that you must presently stop in order to begin withdrawal and recovery. Know that ceasing these patterns and enduring the pain of withdrawal will require support from others. This is a difficult process that will be made only more difficult if you attempt it alone. Find a support group, a therapist, and a nonjudgmental and supportive friend. Get yourself into a 12 step group for sex addiction or sex and love addiction (Sex Addicts Anonymous or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous). If you cannot find one in your area then consider a group for recovering codependents or an Al-anon group. These are sound 12 step groups that will provide you emotional support and a foundation of 12 step work to get you started. Read and learn about your addiction. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically during this very difficult and trying time. This process can take anywhere from 1-6 months depending on the severity of the addiction and your consistency in refraining from bottom-line behaviors.

During the withdrawal phase of recovery, all of your poison and junk from the past will begin to bubble to the surface. Acting out and mood-altering with unhealthy partners and in unhealthy behaviors have kept these feelings at bay for many years. Now that you are no longer engaging in the love addiction, these feelings are allowed to come out. You may feel compelled to begin overeating, drinking, or completely isolating yourself from the world as a means to cope with withdrawal. As much as you can try not to pick up other addictions! As much as you can try not to go to the opposite extreme of sex and love addiction and become a sexual anorexic, mistaking that for recovery. Recovery from sex and love addiction does not mean you will never be in a relationship ever again, it means you are beginning a relationship with yourself for the first time ever.

If you endure, you will find one beautiful morning, you wake up with this strange feeling. You will feel quiet on the inside and open to the universe and a Higher Power. You will feel clean and free. It will likely scare the hell out of you, but pat yourself on the back. You are experiencing the peace of recovery and this is a marker that some painful emotional wounds have healed and you have begun a trusting relationship with self. Surviving withdrawal is an accomplishment to be grateful for and one that opens the door to deeper recovery... to be discussed in Part 3.