Stand in your truth


“She invited me, when Jack was struggling, to a prayer breakfast in Norwalk.  The speaker was a man named Gary Mendell.  He began the organization Shatterproof after his son died, gripped by addiction, after he was one year clean.  I listened and ate breakfast, but didn’t grasp that this was where Jack was headed.  I should have been more attentive.”   Dear Jack, a love letter

I was kindly asked to write a blog for Shatterproof, I jumped at the chance.  After completing Jack and my book, Dear Jack, a love letter I was thinking, what if someone asks me to prepare a talk or have an interview?  (Or right a blog) What would I say?  I went blank.  I have nothing to say.  I have no more answers than I had when I started this.  I speak with Mom’s frequently, and I have no answers, I can’t help them.  Then what the heck did I write this book for?  I thought it was to help people.  When I closed its cover, and I probably won’t open it again, I realized I had learned something.

I spent the last three years and up to this very minute trying to heal myself. Removing the “samscaras,” as they call them in the yoga science.  Sounds like some scars.  The wounds needed to be extracted.  Working on my healing and  writing our book on addiction and recovery, I realized recovery and healing were the same.  I listed my books, resources, websites and articles on healing and the list is the same for recovery.  So, what was Jack healing from?  What pain was he covering with drugs?  What samscaras were still un-healed?

Jack said he would get to the 4thstep in his recovery, taking a moral inventory of himself.  He said he could never go there and then he picked up. I heard it again a different way today.  I work with equine therapeutic riding.  Physically and emotionally disabled participants use the horses to help heal themselves.  Horses reflect our fears, anxiety and depression, they are a mirror.  During a training the instructor said, “The behavior is trying to tell you something. Try to find out what your client is trying to tell you.” What was Jack trying to tell me by his behavior.  It wasn’t him.

What I have learned, yesterday and today is that trauma is the root of the problem.  Whatever that is.  Trauma was the root of my problem, and my inability to heal until I dove in deep and reset my internal landscape.  I’m going to be 60.  It took me this long and an unconceivable tragedy to discover.  A 21 year old trying to heal himself is extremely difficult. All the rehabs, 30 day programs are never going to work until the root of the problem is discovered and healed.

I am convinced that trauma is the root to all addiction. And trauma causes shame.  Shame is a new emotion just like fear was for me.  But there is no shame when others hurt you, when you trust and there is no trust.  We need to live in our truth.  It is the greatest virtue and the healer of all things.





  1. Lisa

    Barbara, once again you hit on a very important truth. “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction”, the author Mate writes: “Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience,” “A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden — but it’s there.” A great deal of research supports the link between childhood trauma and substance abuse risk.

    Thank you for digging deep. Addiction is a complicated issue. Addicts talk about “character defects” but you are now opening a discussion about the “defect underneath the defect”. This conversation is important. You can pull a weed, but unless the root is taken out, the weed will grow back. Thus chronic relapsing.