Sept. 24, 2020

Reflection - Renew, Refresh, Repair, Rebuild - Series 1 Discovery to Recovery πŸ™πŸ‘£πŸ‘£πŸ™

Reflection - Renew, Refresh, Repair, Rebuild - Series 1 Discovery to Recovery πŸ™πŸ‘£πŸ‘£πŸ™

Are we sadder, are we sicker?
Are you living in the full Panorama of the Present or the Paranoia of your Pondering?
Listen now to learn about …
● The hole in the soul
● Combat fear & despair
● Turning Pain into Perspective
● When You Love Alcohol & Drugs more than People

Here’s what you’ll find inside Episode 4 on the podcast Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey.

Contemplation of Renewing, Refreshing, Repairing, and Rebuilding:

  • Reflections on vulnerability, resilience and recovery and what it encompasses  
  • The gift of desperation  
  • Learning to live with a family member or friend who loves substances, or unhealthy behaviors more than you 
  • Turning pain into perspective  
  • What to do when you feel like you have a hole in your soul    

Listen now to learn about …

  • The hole in the soul 
  • Combat fear & despair 
  • Turning Pain into Perspective 
  • When You Love Alcohol & Drugs more than People

There are numerous recovery tools online ranging from recovery support apps meditation apps podcasts and numerous resources a list will be added to the bottom of the show notes.


  • Reel Recovery Film Festival. November 6-12, 2020 

Ted Talk

  • How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.  Nadine Burk Harris

Resources & Links

Recovery Support Apps

Meditation Apps


SUBSCRIBE to this show on your favorite platform:

Let's Stay Connected:



Michelle St Jane  0:01  

Welcome to Life and Leadership. I believe in creating community and creating space to be curious. This podcast aims to take you on a conscious journey by providing quality, diverse, innovative content in conversation. My hope is that we create a circle of influence, a transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world. 


Welcome to reflections on the full panorama of the present or the paranoia of your pondering. This episode builds on the foundation of where you are in life and leadership. 


Consider, are you living in the full panorama of the present? 

Or are you living in the paranoia of your pondering? 


I believe in having conversation around less discuss topics.  Let’s contemplate durability, resilience, and recovery. 


Have you ever felt like you are searching for something? 

That feeling of seeking, or running, or just plain exhausted by all the drama and troubles that dog your heels? 

Society accepts short term relief.

Maybe through drink, drugs, food, lovers or online entertainment,  there are many avenues of choice. 


Few know about being internally addicted. That’s dosing your body's chemicals like adrenaline or cortisol. We can easily substitute one addictive behavior or addictive attitude for another. Yet none of this gives you serenity, security or safety. 


Recovery is one process which enhances, and if needed, creates a foundation to rebuild your life and career. In my experience, 12 step programs provide the groundwork to support your growth as a healthy engaged member of community and as a leader. You can discover who you are now, and/or choose to change. Learn to nourish your assets and relationships.  Reduce those defects that impact those around you and attract trouble. That’s what you'll find inside this episode of Life and Leadership, a conscious journey. 


Vulnerability, and willingness are my first ports of call. I will share my own story and experience of 12 step programs. Guests will share their experience with recovery and their story. Lots of resilience. Many have reached low points in their lives, had identity crisis, hit rock bottom, experienced relapse to some degree with addictive behaviors or attitudes. In the rooms, you have a place for hearing and sharing wisdom, experience and hope. I have had this opportunity and I'm very grateful for my recovery.


You as a social being. Have a respectful, truthful community matters. Choose to be around people committed to recovery, open to sharing their experience, who respect themselves and are willing to do service. This provides you with a supportive place to share your story. You deserve the opportunity to give and receive encouragement. Find a place where you can experience hope and acceptance. 


There will be a list of resources in the show notes. I celebrate and acknowledge those willing to take the path of recovery. Join me for a conversation. 

12 Steppingstone 


Welcome to renew, refresh, repair, and rebuild an episode around Life and Leadership within recovery. A conscious journey builds on the foundation and focuses on where you currently are. Are you open to joining on the path forwards?

Image Credit Philip Dobbs Digital Artist and Graphic Designer in collaboration with Dr. Michelle St Jane


This episode is part of the From Discovery to Recovery series.

I believe and having conversations around less discuss topics. This topic is around the ‘isms.’ 

Christopher Dines describes ‘isms’ as the transference of addictive patterns and dysfunctioehaviors as being intergenerational. 


Let's contemplate vulnerability, resilience and recovery and what it encompasses: the gift of desperation, learning to live with a family member or friend who loves substances or unhealthy behaviors more than you are turning pain into perspective. 


What to do when you feel like you have a hole in your soul. 

September is known as Recovery Month in America. 

It's held annually to educate about substance use, treatment and mental health services. 

This is all in an effort to aid in living a healthy and rewarding life. 


I celebrate and acknowledge those willing to take the path of recovery. I appreciate the service in the rooms of 12 step programs. I am grateful for the recovery I have experienced from participating in these programs. 


Mind you, I used to think it will never happen to me or those I love. Whether you have a family history of addiction or even a personal history, both with addiction, and no personal drug use. information around this topic is essential. The use of addictive substances and behaviors have grown as a global public health concern.


Are we sadder and sicker? 

Consider the latest facts and figures from the World Health Organization. 

·      There are some 31 million persons who have a drug use disorder. 

·      Almost 11 million people inject drugs. 

·      The harmful use of alcohol results in 3.3 million deaths annually. 

·      It's estimated that 350 million gamblers and gamers evidence problematic behavior patterns.


The world's population is as close to 8 billion as of the 30th of June 2020. 

Internet users are closing in on 5 billion people, excessive forms of media or entertainment use, such as video gaming, social networking, or the use of social network sites are causing an impact. The World Health Organization decided to include the addictive use of digital games and gaming disorder as a diagnosis in the International Classification of disease. 

Note, Internet addiction disorder and gaming disorder are not the same thing. 

I will be covering these topics in another episode in the  ‘Digital Abundance Digital Addiction’ series. 


Health-related quality of life data tells us that directly or indirectly, you are vulnerable to addictive behaviors and attitudes.  Either your own or someone else's. Fortunately, there is a robust recovery community available online and offline. There are 12 step or non 12 step meetings. They offer hope and a sense of home for those living with desperation and despair. 


Keep in mind there are multiple pathways to well-being but the family and or the Edit. One well known and well-established program is Alcoholics Anonymous. This program is for people suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction. The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking your 12 step or non 12 step meetings that offer hope and a sense of home. 


There are multiple pathways to wellbeing. Keep that in mind as we explore the stories of people who are conscious do it in the space of discovery to recovery. Today, I have said Ah with us, I believe in having conversations around let's discuss topics. I like to contemplate vulnerability, resilience and recovery. And that is joining me on a conversation around discovery to recovery that you'd like to just share a little bit about yourself.


12 Step Fellowship 


Thad H.  8:29  

Sure, thank you. I'm a 58-year-old male, been free of alcohol and drugs now for over 28 years, I've had a diverse life of opportunity, enjoying the last almost three decades, very different from what the previous three decades was like for me. 


I'm grandfather, a father, I have a wonderful partner in my life, I have a life that really is very rich and beyond anything that I would have imagined 30 years, we can talk a little bit about what it was like for me to begin. 


You know, I like to make a joke that I was born into a family that adored me and put me on a pedestal. I was a firstborn son of my parents, very much raised to be loved, extolled and very precious. But there was always something missing. I went to boarding school at the age of 10. 


I discovered alcohol around the age of 13 and that gave me a solution to the only way I've ever been able to describe it is that “hole that was in my soul.” A feeling very much outside of, to feeling very much part of something and it was hanging out with other people doing the same thing. That began a career that went on for another almost 17 years of doing various substances like this. But more constantly seeking. In that constantly seeking of, use of substances, I also sought spiritual outcomes and look for connections with other people. I would try various substances to help me get closer connections with others, or spirit or whatever I would see. 


I can look back now and see that.  At around 17, I had a girlfriend, I was very fond of, very much what I thought as much in love. She basically looked at me and said, “you know, you love alcohol and drugs. When you have a look, it's just not going to work, and you need to find help.” I just looked at her and thought but I'm good. I don't need anybody to tell me what to do. 


And 13 years later, I found myself very much deeper and dark. I like to describe it that I found a very dark, lonely place. And it's ironic that I go from that point at 17, finished high school, go and work in construction, and found myself training to be an apprentice Mason. I was very much involved as a member of the Union. I worked along with my shop steward. I was fortunate I can look back now, the mason I was training under, tried to convince me to go to school. At the same time, I was doing a lot of heavy drinking. I was I was making a ton of money working construction. 


I eventually fall went off to university and I failed. I flunked out. My freshman year was I was a party boy during Frosh week. I just didn't stop for the rest of the year. This school just invited me to withdraw. Then I did a course a guy with an associate degree, and then went off to university in the United States. I didn't stop the party. I almost didn't make it through. But by the grace of God, and really by the skin of my teeth, I managed to get there though I had a 3.0 average. I  was at a point where the school summer looked at me and went, you know, you're really not getting this. You know, because I was missing classes, I was doing a bunch of other things that was associated with just party. I managed to get through, got an undergraduate degree.  


Then came back and enrolled in a graduate program. Got a master's degree. Got a job working at one of our financial institutions. Got promoted quickly. Through but all during all of this, there was a lot of drinking and a lot of other substances that were going on. I remember being called into my boss's boss, boss. 


So, the Big Chief called me into the office one day and said, “I observed you recently at lunch manufacturers yesterday. And I think you may have a drinking problem, which was a flag to me.” And then he said, “I don't think it's normal to drink six beers at lunch, and not eat anything.” I looked at him and I went, “well, I was just waiting for food. And he didn't come. I was just thirsty. So had a couple more beers.” He says, “then you came back to work.” 

And I went off. “Well, yeah, you know, but I was okay.” 


I thought I was fine. I did not think that was abnormal. He apparently thought that was a problem. And about two months later, I gave my notice and quit because I wasn't going to work for someone that thought I had a drinking problem. How dare he! I went to work one of my drinking buddies for about five years, that led to a steady decline, my drinking got worse. I was working in captive insurance. I was being groomed. I had all the variances of success. 


But inwardly, I was constantly trying to stuff something to feel something. And it was just breaking down. My marriage was not good. My relationship with everyone around me just didn't feel right. Even the dog didn't trust me. 


Basically, the weekend of the Fourth of July 1992, I was given an ultimatum after a boat cruise. I was in charge of the liquor and to order food for this cruise. This is not a thing that I'm proud of, but I did not. I just more concerned about getting alcohol on board the boat, and not realizing that there were kids there, including my own and that sort of thing. So anyway, came down an ultimatum: change or we're getting divorced


I thought well, whatever. You know, this is this is not working. But I reached out eventually took a couple of days. That was July. So, on the sixth of July, I reached out to somebody and met him on the seventh of July. I met a man that I knew didn't drink. I didn't really understand why he didn't drink but I thought maybe he had a magic solution. He was someone I admired. He was quite successful. He was intellectual and smart. We had a lot of philosophical discussions because we'd work together at one point. I admired a lot of the things that he was about, and he seemed to be very grounded individual. We met for lunch. He looked at my knees, my hands and my elbows because they were scraped up from my last drinking fiasco. He told me hadn’t had a drink in 27 years. I looked at him and I went, oh, oh, you know, I don't think it's that. All I wanted to do is tell me I didn't have a problem. Everyone else around, it was crazy. 


He told me a story about how he found a way out and maybe I'd be interested. That began a path of moving from being in that dark place, which is referred to in a source text as that jumping-off point, where I didn't want to drink anymore. But I didn't know how to stop. And it is inexplicable to me to even to this day, after meeting that man for lunch, sharing a sandwich and having a soda, that I went home that night, for the first time, in my entire adult life, I didn't go to the fridge and get a beer. That was the first day I didn't have a drink. And I haven't had one since. And the only thing I can put it down to is I sat down with someone else who told me that I wasn't problem that he didn't blame me, he didn't accuse me to tell me. I needed to do stuff he told me; this is what he did. And I looked up to and respected him. 


I began one foot in front of the other one day at a time, beginning a path of this discovery of self, which I really had no idea who I was. As I said, was on the seventh of July 1992. The reason I remember that date is because that's the day I considered that I really found a rebirth. I went from a life of sadness, lack of emotion, and a life that was really not satisfactory, even though had all the successful trappings. Despite putting the cork in the jug, and beginning this process of recovery, I found other people who I could talk to. Who had, who are on a similar journey, went through that similar journey, we began to form a community, we'll call it a fellowship, it gave me the support. Then I was given the structure of a program to follow that I've never regretted following. That program has taken me into the depths of where I have been wrong, and where I've harmed others and has helped me find a spiritual life. 


I mean, it's finding where I was powerless, over alcohol, and that my life was, as a result of that, had become unmanageable. And as a way of looking at it, it's not that my life was already unmanageable, but drinking exacerbated it, the unmanageability.


Then finding I, at this point in my life, in 92, I considered myself an intellectual atheist. I had no concept of a god or spirituality, even though I had books on it.  I'd studied theology.  I'd been a devout Christian, as a teen, as 10, 11, 12-year-old, I had no sense of a way out. Through working, what we'll call the steps, finding a way through this unmanageability and powerlessness to finding the solution, I began to find there was a power greater than myself, that I could be comfortable with the concept of God.  I was given some instructions. I honestly think if I was told at that point, because I had what we would refer to as the gift. the gift of desperation, in that I was sick and tired. I was in that dark place where not wanting to drink, or wanting to drink, and really drinking, wasn't working. It left me really bereft and lonely. I could be in a bar and feel like no one was there. I was inquiring and in that recovery, I found a way through. And, you know, found that, that higher power, which is easy to call God, because there's a breath, but it's more than I could ever comprehend and it's not that God at my childhood, which was angry and vengeful, and threw down lightning bolts. A sort of a combination of Yahweh and Zeus, sort. A kinder, gentler spirit of the universe and that's been an evolution over the last 28 years. Through that process of letting go of my own self expectations and finding that I could actually be who I really want it to be and not be what other people wanted. I mean, I got given a saying, and I wrote it down in that first month of recovery that said, “what other people think of me is none of my business.” That became a keystone to the freedom that I was seeking. And that I know, I could choose to worry what other people thought, or I could choose to be free to still act, I stole this from a meditation book, with kindness, compassionate consideration towards others. If I could do that kindness, compassion consideration, then I was free to make my own choices. But always remember to act with kindness, act with compassion, and act with consideration. I never forgot that. I heard that again, in the first couple of months of recovery in a meditation meeting I was attending. What other people think of me is none of my business.  I can act with kindness, compassion consideration. 


Then I began to work with a sponsor or mentor who helped me understand how to find the key. This was way out, the solution. Within a year, I was changing jobs. I moved from being an accountant at an exempt company. A job that I was adequate at. Not really good. Let me say that when I was drinking, I was about a year to 18 months behind on accounting deadlines. I stopped drinking only worked 35 hours a week from working 60 hours a week to only working and I got ahead of all my deadlines in six months. There was a productivity that I didn't have as a result of the anesthetic I was constantly consuming. 


I changed careers and went to work as a mediator, following my passion that I'd found when I was working in construction, working on with unions. That began a whole new career for me in terms of being in that apex of service. The keystone of recovery to me is that recovery and service to others. And it's in that “to thy own self be true” that I found my way into this and it is just continued to expand. It has given me an opportunity to be of service to others. 


And being in this, 28 plus years of not using it not drinking, I found myself working with other men, I found myself being put in positions of trust, that I didn't think I would be ever allowed to do that. Because I didn't think I was trustworthy. I didn't want anyone to look behind the curtain. I learned by working through this program to find a way of being, remove of shame, fear equals Facing Everything and Recover


You know, to have a life without the shame of my past, but recognizing my past becomes my greatest asset that I can work with others.  Just like that mQn on the seventh of July 1992, who shared with me his experience, strength, his hope, and told me what he'd done for 27 years. I get to have that same opportunity to tell others, and then we have the axiom of practicing these principles in all our affairs. Which means that in a nutshell, help others act with kindness, compassionate consideration.  Be of maximum use to our fellow man, in that it's truly the freedom. To sit there and be a part of the community that supports me. But in turn, I get to give back to a community and even if it can be small, but it can also be the macro because there's a, I'll never remember it, I think it was an Archbishop in medieval England that had an inscription on his tombstone that sort of went, “I thought I could change the world. So, I tried to change my community, I tried to change my country, I tried to change my family, and none of them would have. But the minute I started to change myself, I found my family began to change, I found my community began to change and who knows, maybe I had an impact upon the greater community.” The power of one individual in that acting with the principle of service. We often confuse services, servitude and service is in every role that we're invited, whether we're part of a committee, we're putting trash to be a chairman or chair committee or being given greater responsibilities in that always remember that is their service. 


I love the model that I was given with the inverted pyramid in that anyone is put into a position of a trusted servant is never really in charge, and that the pyramids inverted. They're responsible to all of those that put them there. 


It's been a journey of self-discovery over the last 28 plus years in going from really at the age of 30, not having any idea of where I was going, what was going to happen. Being in constant fear of being found out.  Of having to sneak drinks. Just thinking that I needed to drink just to stay calm. That it was two drinks just to keep the demons quiet. To sit here today. 


I get to breathe. I have a practice of daily meditation. I have an opportunity where I'm constant communication with several people from all walks of life that nourish me on a spiritual basis. In that I'm rewarded by who they are. I get to move in what would be deemed to be closed circles in that I'm not excluded, because I don't want to be.

 I don't go where I'm not invited because I'm not invited. And it doesn't aggravate me it doesn't. But the outcome, and the impact is far greater than anything I could imagine. 


I've been called on in my lifetime, to be in various roles, that have blown me away, on the International Circuit, as well as the local circuit. I've been invited to be a keynote speaker.  To let go of all of the shame, fear and the prejudices that I carry. As a result, creator has given me more than I ever would have wished for, I have a life far better than anything I would have dreamt for myself 28 years ago. I have done more things and, and seen more, and have had more joy. 


 I have to say, you know, it's the losses I've experienced that have been the gains. Like the death of my mother, I thought that was horrible when she died in 1999. But it's also been one of the greatest gifts in that it gave me another freedom and another opportunity to share their grief. When other people are having grief, I can say Yes, I understand. Another gift is that I can't talk outside of my own experiences. I can't share what someone else has experienced and claim it as my own. I love that. I learned that by working the program. From members of the fellowship, who taught me that the only thing I really have is my own experience in my state of that I can't go wrong. I've never been able to tell you or anyone else, someone else's story because it's inauthentic. 


Authenticity has come as a result of the joy and the freedom that I've been granted. So, rebel, the story just keeps unfolding. You know, I do believe that probably the greatest sin we have is interfering, and so on and spiritual growth. The second one is interfering, getting in our own way. In that we need to stay out of our own way long enough to see the joy. That's what I meant by what the outcomes are, and that I can't control those outcome. But I can be part of that solution.  

Michelle St Jane  27:24  

Thad Thank you very much. You've done a huge service sharing your wisdom, strength and hope on this podcast. The topic is so important.  I'm very grateful.

Thad H.  27:35  

Thank you so much for inviting me. You're an amazing woman. Th 




Michelle St Jane  27:43  

I have been blessed by my experience in a number of programs. I'll share some of the insights and gifts gained by embracing multiple pathways to wellbeing. 


ALANON is the program for family, friends and allies of those whose lives are impacted by escalating problematic behavior patterns by people who are important to them. The ALANON program gave me hope. I discovered this 12-step program last century. I had little insight and knowledge around addictions. Although I had grown up in an alcoholic home and family. It was my normal. Unbeknownst to me, my vulnerabilities stemmed from generations who'd gone before me. Recreating this experience in my relationships served up some difficult learning for years. 


Fortunately, I don't shy away from the opportunity to grow. At this time, I had done a family genogram. Quite the experience and shocker, my family tree had generations of alcoholics in it. The impact on my family lives on through cellular memory and plays out in intergenerational trauma. 


A friend suggested ALANON. I thought she was crazy. Then I started going to meetings and got to know my own crazy. Becoming a grateful member of the ALANON family group was at first filled with denial, at least for 10 years. There were some darker years of heartbreak ahead of me. Dealing with the maddening effects of the disease of alcoholism on me and those around. Then more years of gaining wisdom through doing the 12 steps and becoming willing to sponsor newcomers.


What I learned was that: 

awareness + action = change.

Be smart.

Read the literature. Go to meetings, get a sponsor early. That might mean you work with someone online or offline. Wherever the best place for you is start the 12 steps immediately. It's scary. I know. Cha-cha-cha. Step one is about honesty. Step two taught me about faith. In Step three, showed me the serenity of surrender

Claire M.  30:10  

God, grant us the serenity to accept the people we cannot change courage to change the one we can, and wisdom to know that that is us, ourselves.

Michelle St Jane  30:25  

God grant me the patience for the changes that time 

Appreciation for all that we have 

Tolerance for those who have different struggles, and 

The strength to get up and try again

One day at a time. 


I'm going to talk with Claire M about ALANON. 

Are you wandering and living in the full panorama of the present? 

Or the paranoia of your pondering? 

Let's look at Discovery through vulnerability, resilience, and hopefully Recovery. 

Welcome Claire M who is a member of the ALANON family groups.

Claire M.  31:02  

Yes, I am a very grateful ALANON member. It was the vulnerability, the powerlessness that led me first to ALANON. 

I believe I had got to a position of absolute unmanageability and it was not a very pleasant feeling. I met people there who took me in and were very kind. 


But I was very mistrustful of people. By this time, I've been a lot in that paranoia that you mentioned. I was very, very frightened. But they showed me principles, they were actually written on the walls. They gave me literature that I could read in my own time. And so, it was through those things that I could learn to trust.  I could look at other people and see that they were where I was, and they had moved into a sort of sunlight. It was like, I needed to be invited to this picnic, of what life should be, instead of where I was, hyper-reactive


They gave me a sponsor and my sponsor said to me, “Claire, can I just point out to you how your attention is always going to the other person. But we, in ALANON, want to remind you, that it's you, only you can change.” 

Slowly but surely, with their kindness and this gentle guidance, I started to see my error. I was looking outside of me for a solution that could only be found within me. 


The concept of a higher power that I had got all backward. In the steps, it refers to God, myself, and another human being. Where I got another human being upfront. I got somewhere God was in the background. And myself was an absolute dilemma. I was a complete mystery; I had totally lost myself. Actually, I've heard the expression being beside yourself, which would have described my condition Exactly! And it's now that I look back on it that I can see my position clearly


My immediate thought was that these people can't help me, because they don't know how to change them, or whatever. But they actually did.

I actually needed to listen. 

I actually needed to be guided. 

And it's only more recently that I've discovered how if I want to get from where I am, to where I want to be, I've got to start putting completely different principles in place. Because if I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I've always had. And I'd had enough of that. And I didn't know how to do it. 


I tried every self-help book. I tried every seminar. Every modality.  ALANON is what got me well. By the time I realized how sick I was, I was motivated to move forward. I think that is what's led me to my life today. It is wonderful, even though not every aspect is perfect. I'd love it to be as always a new challenge. I've got a set of tools that I can apply in every sense situation. Not only that, but I can help other people do the same thing. And that for me is what I think mitigates, my past. I wouldn't have wished it on anyone. But because I've been through it, I can help others find the handholds and footholds to do the same. I hope this message brings hope. Thank you, Michelle, for asking me to share this.

Michelle St Jane  35:33  

Thank you, Claire. I appreciate your wisdom, strength, and service in sharing. 


Adult Children of Alcoholics, ACoA, or ACA 



This segment centers around Adult Children of Alcoholics, also known as ACoAs, or referred to as ACA.

Jodi Kate Elliot shared, “Remember the good memories that live for today and keep the memories behind you.” ACA is a program about finding freedom from the effects of alcoholism and other family dysfunction. ACA taught me that our families do the best they can from the place they are. 


Human beings have the longest childhood dependency of any species. Life is bound to cause a crisis, which impacts our emotional, physical, and spiritual development as vulnerable children. This dynamic can cause disconnection. Without help, we can unknowingly operate with ineffective thoughts and judgments as adults. Regression can be subtle. But it is there sabotaging our decisions and thinking.


According to the ACA fellowship text, “I know it hurts when you come out of denial, but it does not hurt forever.” 

In my recovery in ACA, I learned about hurting, healing, and helping. I believe that the family system is open for inspection. In this way, I can address the needs of my inner child, learn to truly parent myself and heal. As an adult, I was not always aware of my feelings and the reason for my pain. These days, I can increase my access to clarity, and hope. ACA shows me how to uncover the full picture. With heartfelt gratitude. It helps me to find new levels of clarity on a spiritual journey. 


There’s a little-known area called ‘internal addiction’ addressed in ACA.  

I have never been attracted to external dosing with drugs or alcohol. 

Still, I had a wake-up call. 

What I did learn was about being internally addicted?

I definitely owned the talent for using my own brain chemistry to generate a high. The body makes chemicals that can be as addictive as any external substance. For me, I uncovered how I used these internal biochemical releases, the inside drugsAdrenaline, which relates to a fear of the future, and Cortisol, which relates to a fear of the past, were the two I had to get to grips with, and there are some others. 


For me, a couple of examples of using my own brain chemistry to generate a high in my life, come to mind. As a teenager, I was an adrenaline junkie, I raced cars, love to live life in the danger lane, the excitement, and the risk of speed. 

What I learned was that creating this cocktail bought me relief in my teen years.  I now understand that adrenaline is an upper and it helped me to deal with my feelings of anger around family behavior, and other angst. 

As a young professional, I really got into workaholism, doing 80-to-100-hour workweeks for decades as my norm. And that brought about problems. These days. I've addressed them. I am a work in progress, not a workaholic. 


I have become more aware of my emotions and how they play out in my perceptions. I have raised my awareness of childhood trauma and the impact of various dissociative states. I came to understand that denying the full remit of our remembrances, of our trauma, such as childhood experiences leaves us vulnerable. For me, linking family to dysfunction, making peace through acceptance and forgiveness, learning to repair it myself lovingly has had great results. 


Being highly successful and functional in the external world has a price. If I cannot balance my connection to my inner world and my higher power, then I face impacts. This is a very valuable exercise of being conscious on your journey because these impacts affect your joy of living. 

What I've learned is: 

·      Find a meeting and a fellow traveler

·      Explore the 12 steps cha cha cha, 

o   Step 1 get honest

o   Step 2 connect to a higher power

o   Step 3 find the serenity of surrender. 

I also enjoy a daily read reader called Strengthening My Recovery, full of daily shares from adult children. 

This gives me a link to the wisdom and strength of others who've gone before me. I'm honored today to feature Claire M, who's going to share about her experience of ACA. She's an example, like myself, of someone who takes multiple pathways to recovery and well-being. Welcome, Claire

Claire M.  40:44  

Thank you, Michelle. My pleasure. 

My journey began in ACA way before I really got serious about recovery. I have been in other recovery programs like many other ACAs. I was a seeker, a searcher.   Among the many things I found was ACA. I remember being asked, “Do you want to take up a journey with your inner child?” 

This was asked to me in a tone where I got distressed about it, it struck me as sentimentality. When I later learned to here, what I call my critical parent, at that time I said, No!


Many years later, I picked up the thread of ACA and began growing from strength to strength. I'm very happy to say, that I was ready. Although I just wish I had pursued it on my first encounter, and not let my prejudices and my precondition, and my reactions, which I learned later, are all symptoms of people suffering from the effects of dysfunction in the family.  


My family was blown apart, basically, by alcoholism.  I lived with the side of the family that wasn't drinkers or druggers. So, it was very, very hidden. To me, as a child growing up, that there was a massive, a major dysfunction happening. I had a brother, and, and he grew up in a different family. I still have that brother, I'm very happy to say, and unlike many families, there is absolutely no animosity between us.  I feel very, very fortunate. 


I pride myself now on being in good relationships with others, that there's very little of my family left to relate. But that is because I'm quite long in the tooth quite late in my journey. And it's very interesting to be discovering the childlike qualities that are now recovered. And then, how can I put it, wouldn't have been that way, had it not been for the care and guidance from people in the program on from me. Because the emotional impact of coming out of denial and uncovering this deficit of development within myself, and being listened to, with compassion and without judgment or interruption was a deliberate part of the ACA, a program of recovery. 


To be able to listen to other stories. I can't really find the words to describe how powerful a tune.  How powerful a note that struck me, and it really has begun a kind of singing in my soul. A joy of living that I didn't believe was possible. It wasn't without painful times and still, I can have anxiety, I can have dark times. Now, I don't repress those times with my own critical thinking, what I learned at the inner core, was the critical parent. I listened to my own self in the same way as I've listened to others. I don't Abandon myself like I was abandoned in babyhood. 


I've learned to reparent myself. A skill that's encouraged in ACA. I've learned to do that because I've seen others do it. I've heard others describe it. I've been like a fly on the wall in other's lives. I don't interfere with other's lives. I simply listen, I simply listen. And for some reason, that holds the magic. It's not without its structure. ACA is very structured. And it's that structure that helped me feel safe because, without the structure, we would not have the guidance and the discipline to be able to do the service we do for each other. 


When we hold space, we're not professionals. We're not skilled in that manner. All we are is experienced, all we have is that experience. But once we know how to use it:

·      We know how to use our hearts.

·      We know how to use our minds.

·      We know how to use our bodies. 

That's just magical. I don't know why it works. I don't know how it works. I just know it works. So, if anyone listening to this podcast feels even the remotest glimmer of hope. It's all been worthwhile to share my story. Thank you.

Michelle St Jane  46:40  

The mind and body are inseparable and connected. We have to exist in the environments we inhabit, as put by David Bayer, CEO of Transformational Programs, “Are we blue mind beings trapped in a gray and red mind world.”

I encourage you to choose your actions wisely today. 

Your actions tell you and everyone who you are, who you choose to become in Life and Leadership. 

This is your job.  

The choice for me. 

I choose for my presence to be a living grace for others. Not a burden, not an irritation.  I am deeply grateful for the courageous pioneers who have crossed my path and those who have willingly contributed their time to this episode and the ‘Discovery to Recovery’ series by being featured guests. 

There are numerous recovery tools online and numerous resources, ranging from:

·       support apps

·       meditation apps

·       podcasts 

I will list at the bottom of the show notes. I wish you well on your journey in life and encourage your choice to discover and recover. 


Thank you for joining me. As a steward of meaningful leadership in the world, and wider cosmos, I have a passion for service through sharing wisdom, strength, and hope. 

Thank you for the opportunity to foster open conversation, discussions and an exchange of ideas that create understanding and connection among diverse groups. 

Your support is valued. Please subscribe, leave a review and a rating.

More importantly, share with your connections. 

Reach out.  I am interested, do you have a topic you'd like to explore? It would be great to have your feedback.

Dr. Michelle St Jane

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey 





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