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George Michael: His Decades Addiction Fueled by Grief

“Grief can be dealt with early in one’s life and better coping mechanisms set up for the unconscious mind to reference leading to a healthier and more emotionally fulfilling life.”

Randolph Adair SFYB Staff Reporter

Super Star George Michael’s passing was such a shock to the pop culture world. His creative talent and force left indelibly sealed by MTV as his videos were at the height when video iconography reigned in the late 80’s and 90’s .

What was shared on the video screen was the projection of confidence and smoldering sex appeal. But what was underneath, inside his mind, was a battle with depression for over 2 decades.


The death of his first love, Anselmo Feleppa and later his mother, Lesley, plunged him into a deep depression. He told the Independent, “I struggled with huge depression after my mother died. Losing your mother and your lover in the space of three years is a tough one.”

Feleppa died in 1993 and Michael coped with the death by smoking as many as 23 marijuana joints in a day and throwing himself in this music, said the Mirror.

He also turned to Prozac as he was devastated when his mother died in 1997.

Recently it’s been brought to light that the pop star battled a “spiraling” heroin addiction, according to a UK media outlet.

An unnamed source has told The Telegraph newspaper that the pop legend had been battling addiction over the past year and had been treated in a hospital for an overdose.

My writing here is strictly a review of others accounts and in no way makes any judgement regarding Michael. It’s a gleaning from his own words, reports and evidences of his life.

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Grief, emotional pain, deep betrayal; when they happen to us, our mind tries to find a way to deal with it, rationalize it. To do this the mind will send emotions to a body part/organ which then develops into a somatization or possibly a dis-ease. We will also develop a coping mechanism, mostly selected from learned modeling and emotional imprinting from our family and those who raised and influenced us.

Many times, clients will say they have dealt with the grief. That they have been to therapy and understand it better. They have pushed it away, out of site out of mind, they don’t think about it. They will say, “I don’t need any help with that, I will figure it out on my own.”

OR, they will say they don’t want to forget because it’s a reminder of what happened and how they will never ever let it happen again. Only, it happens again, and again and again. Because it’s an emotional coping pattern they have reinforced in their lives that the unconscious feels will make them safe. Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, that program has been installed and they will repeat it.

But understanding it better, pushing it away, not thinking about it, figuring it out on our own, or keeping it as a reminder does nothing to change it or transform it.

With my clients I take the past, their old memories, release the troubling memory in a loving safe way, and replace it with what they do want in their lives.

Michael slid into depression as his coping skill after his lover died and into even deeper depression when his mother died later. It snowballed.

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To cover his emotional pain he dealt with it with cannabis, Prozac, work and possibly later with heroine.

People don’t know how to handle their pain is the bottom line. They are an “avoidaholic” looking for anything: food, sex, alcohol, drugs, substance abuse, work, exercise, meditation, TV, OCD, and any other hyper control mechanisms that can be used to hide behind as it’s painful to feel the emotions and deal with them.

The standard traditional methods used don’t actually transform the pain, mostly because most practitioners don’t think it can be transformed. Or the client has been told it’s not safe to be transformed; best do it in little increments.


And then there are the economic forces as it’s more financially conducive for the practitioner to keep the client in that state of mind and trapped by continually examining, revisiting and further developing the story of the trauma, never ending.

With my clients, I step into their life, figure out what they are doing to continually recreate this belief and sadness. Then I help them on a continuing basis to ferret out the emotional traumas and pain, the grief, and loss of control and replace it with self-empowerment and the life they desire.

In a hypothetical reality, if Michael or a client similar to his situation had come to me after a lover’s death, we would have released the pain of the grief and kept the love that was there. He would then been able to move forward in life fueled by that love. He would have empowering coping skills to deal with any emotions or unexpected life events that would have arisen.

Then possibly the pain of his mother’s death would have been less and we would have continued again to go inside and let go of the grief and pain of the memory and circumstances around her death from cancer. He would have honored her and kept her loe, dropping the pain, using that to propel him in his life from there on out.


According to reports Michael led an amazing and extraordinary life of humility, service and love to those around him and the issues he felt important. From my experience if I had encountered a client such as him early on in their life path, I would like to think their contribution would been even greater.

A life free from guilt and grief. A newly empowered life built on their existing capacity and with the addition of new tools learned with me, allowing them to move to even a higher plane of love and fulfillment.

Randolph is a Mind Performance and Life Coach successfully helping his clients prosper in their careers, relationships, health and wellness. He also works through emotional traumas, addictions and unwanted behaviors to help them find the life they truly desire. He can be contacted via the link in his profile below

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Professional Family Recovery Coaches Making a Difference!


Rev Kev

SFYB Contributing Author

Addiction impacts the whole family unit, not just the addicted family member. Who helps the family to heal while their loved one is in treatment?  How does the family unit learn about addiction, recovery, and how to change? How does the family learn new coping skills and not to enable addictive behaviors in the home? The family will need help just as much as the addicted member of the family when it comes to understanding and changing.

Think about the situation from this perspective for a moment. If you had a plant that was dying from a disease in the soil that it was planted in, you would change the soil and the pot that the plant was in. If the plant came back to full health within thirty days, you wouldn’t then put it back in the old pot and soil; that would be insanity!

Isn’t that what we do with a family member who goes into treatment? The addicted family member goes into a residential program for twenty-eight days and then they usually go home to the same environment. If the family unit has not changed and healed as a whole, we are putting the addicted family member back into an unhealthy environment.

Today we have professional family recovery coaches that work with the family to help them to understand the disease of addiction, the recovery process, the different modalities and styles of treatment, coping skills, enabling and defense mechanisms, sign and symptoms of addiction, and so much more. While the addicted family member is in treatment, the family recovery coach meets with the family and helps prepare them for the return of their loved one.  The coach helps the family unit to change and get well as a whole.


There are also support groups like Families Anonymous and Al-Anon to give the families their own vehicle to change, their own program and fellowship of support. Addiction is very hard for everyone in the family; it works on everyone’s emotions. It’s amazing to watch families heal as a family unit; to see the anger leave and understanding take its place.

Professional recovery coaches can also help the family to make healthy choices while their loved one is in treatment and not participate in enabling behaviors. When the family has a professional family recovery coach to help them to achieve their goals and objectives, the coach can help them to get past any blocks or perception problems they may have. The coach utilizes specialized skill sets, tools, and core competencies that can help to improve the overall situation. The coach will help the family to complete a specific action plan to help them to reach their goals and objectives in a timely manner.

In many cases, the family is hurt and fearful because of the actions of the addicted family member. This often leads to anger within the family unit that needs to be healed to move forward. The family recovery coach has activities and exercises designed to help the family to let go of some of their old ways of thinking and get rid of past triggers.

In some cases, the family may need family counseling or therapy to be able to move past serious issues from family history, or mental health issues. In these cases, the professional family recovery coach will work with the counselor or therapist to help the family unit to heal. It’s important to understand that coaching is a client and results driven industry.  The coach is there to assist the family to reach solutions and achieve their goals.


Our nation is in the middle of a drug epidemic that has already taken too many young lives. Professional family recovery coaches have already made a great impact on the success of the family with education, awareness, and prevention. These highly trained professionals have already been involved in helping to save many lives and helping to change the perspectives of many families so that they can heal. From referral through disengagement for both the addicted family member and the family, these professional coaches have made a big difference.

Imagine the fear a family faces when they find out that a family member is suffering from an addiction problem. These families no longer have to face this nightmare alone! There are also professional recovery coaches that work with the family member who suffers from addiction.

The coaching industry is booming right now; I’m not surprised! Everyone needs a little help every once in awhile; however, when it comes to addiction and families, there is no room for error. Professional Family recovery coaches help change and save lives!



How I Survived the Hunger Games of Law @StopFyringBrain


Prior to enrolling in law school, I had no idea about the “cutthroat” culture and law students using guerrilla tactics to gain an edge in obtaining better grades, accolades, and academic distinctions. During my first semester, I witnessed despicable classmates hide study guides in the library stacks during finals week, outright reject modest peer requests for copies of study outlines; and deceive absent classmates about the subject matter discussed by professors during exam study halls. These were just a few examples of atrocities of human nature I witnessed. Very quickly, it became clear that the motto “each man for himself” was ingrained in the law school culture. Essentially, I was one out of about 100 recruits enlisted to train as a “law student mercenary.” The mission: focus solely upon surviving law school, no matter the cost.

As semesters came and went, it became obvious that many of my classmates’ mental and physical health were deteriorating. On countless occasions, I witnessed students break down in tears after exams, and later observed many peers miserably hiding in between the law library stacks. For fear of stigma and shame, many classmates chose to cope with their anxiety and depression in their respective ways. Meanwhile, some sinister overachievers quietly reveled in their misery. Displays of integrity and decency were almost non-existent. Understandably, some students “mailed it in,” and dropped out altogether.

Without question, a majority of students leaned on substances to cope with academic stress and anxiety. For instance, some carried flasks of whiskey in their backpacks while others would pop loads of Adderall to fuel all night study sessions. Our weekly Friday Happy Hour slowly morphed into Happy Hours. Quite frankly, drinking, drugging, and addiction were very much a part of law student culture.

As for myself, my approach was simple: keep my head down, trust a select few, nurture genuine relationships with faculty and administration; and never distract myself with law school politics. It seemed that simple right? In spite of my mother battling a terminal neurological disorder, I remained focused on the prize. In 2010, I graduated with strong academic credentials right before my mother passed away and reveled in her being proud of her son.

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Entering The Real Life Practice Of Law

Admittedly, I was naive to think that once I entered the real world of law practice, the fierce competition would quiet down a bit. First, I began as solo practitioner, and worked concurrently as judicial clerk for a senior probate judge. Itching to gain courtroom experience, I joined a close friend at a South Florida firm representing institutional lenders in foreclosure actions. If I had a dime for every complaint I heard from staff and attorneys, I’d be a very rich man. With the exception of the sole shareholder, there wasn’t a happy employee in the office. Further, it was obvious to me that many were abusing alcohol and other substances while “on the clock,” and few took pride in their work. Management neither demonstrated a modicum of interest to boost employee morale nor even attempted to address employee wellness.

After a year, it became clearly apparent that continuing to represent banks in residential foreclosure actions would eventually lead to career suicide. More importantly, my legal mind was atrophying. So, I leveraged my local connections and joined “Big Law” where I concentrated my experience in a professional liability defense group. At the time, I felt like I had reached the pinnacle of my career. For starters, I had a beautiful office with an ocean view, a great salary, great benefits, and I was working on newsworthy cases. To quote Rod Tidwell from Jerry MacGuire, “I had reached the qualm.” Sadly, it only took a few short weeks to realize that this was merely a figment of my imagination.

Deciding Whether My “Big Law” Colleague Remained An Ally Or An Enemy

Unfortunately, starting out in “Big Law” was as terrifying as landing on the chaotic Normandy Beach in 1943, and being clueless as to where your “fellow” soldiers’ loyalties existed – with the allies or the axis. Trying to distinguish which of your colleagues was an enemy or a friend was next to impossible. Since my performance was primarily measured by the amount of monthly billable hours, I anxiously practiced in fear of my superiors and wary of the motives of fellow attorneys. As for my beautiful office with an ocean view, I rarely took my eyes off of my computer screen, so I barely had an opportunity to admire the blue horizon.

As the weeks went on, it became clear to me that I was an insignificant associate droning away at a “Big Law” firm fighting battles on multiple fronts. On one front, I was battling to meet my monthly billable hour quota. Keep in mind, the firm shareholders spared no mercy when it came to reminding me that my job security solely depended on meeting my monthly billable hour quota. On a second front, I had to aggressively jockey for access to mentorship and opportunities to professionally grow. Otherwise, my professional progression would end up permanently stunted. I also had a very difficult time establishing a solid rapport with fellow colleagues outside of my practice group based primarily upon the fact that intrafirm competition successfully suppressed trust-building conversations and camaraderie.

Overall, the office morale was exceedingly low. I commonly observed poor body language in my fellow colleagues, and often heard of them quietly thinking aloud of their “exit strategy.” The partners generally appeared miserable, and the stench of scotch emanated from their orifices at all times of the day. Granted, the firm boasted some brilliant legal minds with high IQ’s, but their emotional intelligence was well below average. It became very clear to me that this was not a place to for me, a millennial lawyer, to thrive.

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Coping With the Immense Stress and Pressure

Quite frankly, I numbed my depression and anxiety with alcohol. During the weekdays, I would come home and cook dinner while polishing a bottle of wine. Every Friday afternoon, it was routine for me to greet my wife (then fiancé) with a handle of Jack Daniels (instead of flowers) and make sure it was polished come Sunday. No exceptions. Additionally, I began smoking cigarettes while driving to work, prior to attending court, and in some cases before and after client meetings. I stopped exercising (because I had no time), and my diet primarily consisted of Chinese takeout and pizza. To make matters worse, I saw how helpless my wife felt as she witnessed me transform into a depressed attorney that medicated himself with vices of all sorts. It nearly destroyed me and broke my heart.

Without question, I was killing myself slowly, but surely. Ironically, I ignored the all-too familiar warning signs. After all, I lost several close friends in the legal industry because they failed to address their depression, anxiety, and addiction issues. All things considered, why would I neglect my mental and physical wellness? Simple, lawyers like myself, are taught never to show weakness or vulnerability, as their jobs partially depend on maintaining this impenetrable façade of resilience. I was frightened of the scenario that word would get out that I was seeking professional help, and my career would come to an abrupt end.

My Moment of Clarity and Finding Purpose

After slaving away for about seven months in “Big Law” and seeing how my mental and physical health deteriorated to concerning levels, my family and wife demanded I resign. The very next day, I tendered my resignation and decided to focus on rehabilitating myself. This was the hardest and best decision I’ve ever had to make. Looking back, it was a life-saving decision.

Candidly, I spent the next year or so saddled with confusion, self-doubt, anger, and regret. Rather than wallow in a state of depression, I chose sobriety as my vehicle to regain my clarity and confidence. During this long period of introspection, my creative juices began to flow once again and I finally discovered my purpose.

For better or for worse, I uniquely possess the crucial characteristic of spending years engaged in that daily struggles that accompany a high stress profession, such as law. Today, I draw upon my experiences to connect with my fellow attorneys and professionals who feel tortured and confused. Phrased differently, the sharpest tool I have in my toolbox of communication assets is empathy. It is an effective trust-building asset that can slice through any psychological defense mechanism.

I am now the founder of MindWell Coaching and Counseling, spawned from my own personal experience to help solve a problem where no solution exists: to coach and counsel lawyers and educated professionals battling depression, anxiety, addiction, and simply neglecting their physical health. My wife, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and assists with repairing the family unit.

We recognize there is a generational gap when it comes to the priorities of millennial professionals and our esteemed elder statesmen (and women). Together, we coach and counsel attorneys, professionals, and “ordinary” people who suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, and those who simply feel stagnant professionally.

Today, I stand proud that I had the courage to walk away and save myself.  I am here for those who need to rebuild their confidence and courage.


What Can A Certified Recovery Coach Do For You?

Stephen Kavalkovich

SFYB Contributing Writer

By Stephen Kavalkovich, Certified Recovery Coach

The first step in establishing a mutually respectful relationship is establishing trust. The bottom line is that people don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is paramount to vetting someone that you are going to spend money and time on to attain a desired result.


When speaking to a potential client, a coach should be assessing the multiple issues and circumstances that led them to make the call. I would start by letting them have a sounding board to bounce their “stuff” off of, not giving a bunch of “you need to commands’”. That comes later and with more receptive language. In my previous life as a paramedic, my first 2 minutes at the location of a given crises was to assess immediate life threats and put off other details to the side.



This had to be done rapidly and with good clinical judgement. In the recovery coach world, the thought process is very similar. Someone who is in the grip of a fatal disease process such as addiction is fighting for their life as well. They might not have a stroke of heart attack currently, but we all die of cardiac arrest and a hot shot of heroin can produce the same result.


My goal as a coach is to assess for and address immediate life threats such as a need for medical detox or psychiatric hospitalization. After these needs are examined and handled accordingly, a decision to take someone on as a client can be mutually agreed upon. In certain cases my professional opinion may be to refer someone to another qualified individual or service. The goal is to provide someone with the quality ethical, moral, and proper help. As a provider, the decision to say no has to occasionally be made in the interest of the client, not in the interest of collecting payment or boosting my resume.

Let’s say that I have taken Bobby on as a client, immediate personal safety needs have been met, now the time to begin establishing a coaching relationship has begun. A great analogy that I would use is out of my experience as a martial artist. When I was trained, a lot of times my teacher would stand in front of the room and give us examples of drills or techniques.


Then our job was to repeat them thousands of times until they became automatic. He would pace slowly up the aisles and watch, correct, and always give encouraging words. Then we would take these new lessons home and be expected to set side to practice. The next class would be a time to continue practicing, and he would know if were actually taking study time at home. It would be obvious to him. If it wasn’t being done, he would get to the causes for not following through. Through this, relationship and trust would build. He would be assertive and sometimes blunt, but always from of a place of love and respect.

Recovery coaching is the same. I have to be able to meet a client where they are, give them tools and techniques to begin using while we are together. When alone, the responsibility is on the client to do their part. My job is not to do the work for them, but to encourage them to find their own way that works for them. Going back to my old Kung Fu training analogy, the techniques that were repeated over and over to exhaustion would eventually become automatic.

A 10 year food or heroin addiction does the same thing to our behavior. These things, over time, become automatic. Just like eating healthy and exercising become our default mode, so does maladaptive and destructive behavior. A coach can help someone begin to interrupt these behaviors and do something different. I am here to applaud victory, but also give reasonable consequences and accountability to a client. If someone wants to stop drinking 4 bottles of wine a day, perhaps a victory in the early stages would be drinking 2 bottles. This may not seem like progress to a family member who never had a problem with addiction, but the growth is clear. 2 is better than 4 in this case.

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A new goal might then to be 1 bottle. Of course, there are many other factors in this example, but the point should be clear here. Helping someone who has never done laundry and they are now 45 to now do it on their own is a victory and should be recognized. Progress is progress no matter how insignificant it may seem. My role as a coach is not to give someone a life’s purpose, but I would consider it imperative to help someone explore and discover this for himself.

There are many aspects to being a recovery coach, most importantly is to help someone become better than they were when they contacted me. Recovery can be the most challenging endeavor in a person’s life and for some, the most important one. I believe an effective coach should also be one who can identify with their client’s struggles.


Circumstances may be different, but identifying hardships and feelings can also build rapport and trust. If I am learning how to do gymnastics, I wouldn’t go and ask a plumber how to do it. That is, unless he is also moonlighting as a gymnast. Another way a coach can be utilized is in helping the family of one in crises to become educated about the nature of the disease. They can also help them establish healthy boundaries that would be of unparalleled value to all parties. A coach is a great addition to a person’s recovery journey. Meeting someone where they are and taking them by the hand to to help steer them through a new life is a mutually rewarding experience than should be utilized and investigated fro anyone seeking recovery.



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Mike Downing

Mike Downing Contributing Author


Five questions to ask yourself…

Professional Sober Coaching Services

You have done the work. You have completed a rehab program, detoxed yourself or completed an outpatient program. You are ready to apply all the tips and tricks and boundaries you were taught for your “new normal” life. Consider the following five points to determine if you are ready to use a sober coach;

  1. Do I need someone to help me through my friend list in social media and real life? Not only to help with conversations to cull out unhealthy friendships, but to help with establishing new friends outside of the addiction world.
  2. Am I ready to have someone assist me in removing triggers in my environment? Not just throwing out props that fueled my addiction but someone strengthening me as I discover a past hurtful note or picture that needs to be tossed. Someone to hold the trash can as I eliminate bad food, bad ideas and bad habits away that I know will emerge unexpectedly in my home environment.
  3. Do I desire a discreet companion coach as I navigate my first few social engagements as a recovered person? Someone with refined social skills who can encourage me to stay healthy in a potentially tempting situation – whether it be a business meeting, family function or social gathering.
  4. Do I want to be held accountable for my choices? Someone who will be transparent about how I am behaving and provide constructive feedback. Statistics show that it takes an average of ninety days to fully adopt a change. Accountability is an effective tool for success.
  5. Am I financially able to retain a sober coach? Service fees are based on a programs, certification, experience and availability. Rates can vary from $75.00 to $375.00 an hour depending on service and engagement. Daily, weekly or monthly rates are calculated on an hourly rate as well. Retaining a sober coach, companion or chaperone to personally support me during the early stages can run $600.00 to $1,800.00 per day plus expenses. I have just invested a large sum of money on my rehab – am I willing to invest even more to have a trained coach help me construct and frame my new routines and interactions without the fear of relapse?

Professionals agree that the highest percentage of relapse occurs within the first 120 days of implementing a change. Sober coaches are well worth your investment to ongoing success. Unlike sponsors, or sober buddies certified coaches are trained to draw out your strengths and avoid codependency. Competent coaches are trained to follow a strict code of ethics that will govern the coach / client relationship. The coaching method is to get the client back on track within a short period of time.

If you are seriously committed to a healthier lifestyle and interested in getting the best results in the shortest length of time then consider retaining Mike Downing today. Help Has Arrived!

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Everyday Weapons against Cravings

Every 4th Quarter, (that means the last three months of the year that are packed with holidays involving spending, celebrating, toasting, expectations, seeing past folks and places, very mixed emotions, maxing credit cards, malls, traffic jams, weather delays, transporting foods and gifts, meeting sales quotas, the good guys and the bad guys at family gatherings). 4th quarter attacks the memories and regrets especially hard on New Year’s Eve. In recovery we call it the evil:  IF WHATs  &  IF ONLYs.

suicide prevention ribbonAnd then the following chatter channel flips on in the minds of those in recovery from drug and alcohol or any other addiction: Have you ever heard them within you?
“Just one won’t hurt. I just need to take the edge off. After all, I’ve been good a long time.”

Hold on! We have defense weapons. Grab the right ones! Dhaaaaaaaa
When it comes to cravings and mental obsession with Drugs/Alcohol/Dysfunctional behaviors:

Assortment of unusual confusing road signs over a white background.

 Breathe in. Feel the desire. The signs can be confusing.

• Ask what it would feel like if I didn’t act on it.
• Describe the feelings. Does it hurt? How so / where?
• What would be lost if I didn’t act on it? What would be lost if I did?
• How important is my recovery?
• Who’s affected? What would be gained?
• Continue to watch for feelings, do they change? Can I let them pass for now?
• Think about a higher power / God.
• Is there something else I desire more, that is actually a healthy alternative?
• Am I avoiding something?
• Can I talk about these things with another person who understands / sponsor?
• Can I laugh at myself for wanting things that are not good for me? Hahaha
• Can I put it in perspective: What do I truly want?
• Can I stop and be thankful to God for all the gifts in life this moment,
even if some parts are not what I want?
• Happiness comes from within.



Serenity Prayer:
God, Grant me the Serenity, to accept things I cannot change,
Courage to change things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.
Tell myself I can do that later if I still want to. Focus on something else I may be avoiding out of fear.
A project I am stuck on, a person I need to amend or get back in touch with. Work.
Talk about the procrastination with sponsor.
Consider doing something healthy / productive or relaxing that affects me in a positive way:

• AA meetings / step work
• Meditate / pray
• Shower
• Cup of coffee / tea / snack
• Listen to music
• Get a massage
• Help others
• Schedule things I may be avoiding
• Positive affirmation to myself or others

All we have in life is this moment!
We are all miracles!
Each moment is a gift and a blessing~ Anonymous Lizard

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Reveals 3 Gift Givers

cropped 3 wisemen

Christmas is around the bend. For many it is time to get back in credit card debt, something like dads who have to create giant credit card balances annually during family summer vacation. Christmas expenses are accrued because presents need to be bought, wrapped and maybe mailed out. Ingredients for holiday meals need to be brought home from the supermarket.

My first Christmas as a mommy, Adam was still within. I had gotten pregnant on our honeymoon at the end of summer. Hubby#3 no longer needed to pursue me, so the lavish courting had stopped. And taking care of his latest wife and prenatal expenses never even began. I was still working at the airline reservation center and putting in 12 hour shifts in order to save up for the gynecologist bill. It was due before my 7th month of pregnancy as required to maintain my doctor’s service. I had selected a Spanish speaking doctor so Adam’s dad would be comfortable during my labor. Our plan was for him to be present in the delivery room. He had wanted us to move to Mexico right away. I was having a child at a ripe age and did not know Spanish, yet. Hence, my doctor insisted I remain in America for childbirth procedures.


Boy! Am I glad that I did stay in my country. I never got an ultrasound taken to know Adam’s gender in advance. I could not afford it and was suddenly the bread winner. I chose to believe all my spouse’s lies and excuses as to why he never had money to help out with my living costs and prenatal care. Even the fees for hubby#3’s free flight passes were deducted from my pay checks. I had a whole dollar to my name the day I walked into the hospital to have our son.

I had sold most of my collectibles like the RCA Victrola, rod-iron Singer sewing machine stand converted into my vanity, the TV cabinet I had had made in the orient, and ginger jar lamps that were shipped over. I even sold the sofa. It didn’t matter. I was now in survival mode and needed to eat right, buy my vitamins, try to get enough rest and have gas money to get to church.

I taught myself to sew my own maternity tops and was complimented a lot on how gorgeous my clothes were. I cut out the zippers and tummy sections of my slacks and inserted elastic panels to convert them into my ‘expanding’ need. How grateful I was that it was Christmas season! I designed quilt patched stockings and took orders at work. I would create 3 a night after work. I had been blessed with a long list of special stocking orders (each with names to be hand embroidered on them). I would sew until 2:00 a.m. and clock back into the reservation call center at 8:00 a.m. for my 12 hour shift. It was literally: “Oh my aching back!”


I never permitted my heart to acknowledge that I was being used and abused. I only knew I was being a good Christian wife standing by my husband! Duh…..? We were not equally yoked. I had messed up again.  Oh those codependent songs I listened to as a teen like: Stand by Your Man, My Man, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries. (‘As a man thinketh so is he’.). I had been brainwashed to die to self, but instead of dying to self for the Lord, it was habitually dying to self for hairy legged men.

We did move to Mexico and we rented a horrid house in a very rich zone, that was painted and fixed up little by little. I was not permitted to leave the house by myself. That was reinforced by me being guarded. There was a daytime guard and a night guard. If I did have to go somewhere I had to be chaperoned by paid servants. I would sneak to the market on the bus to buy fruits or drive to a tiny new church in the sandy beach colony once in a while. Many times hubby#3 would screech up to the market place or church on the beach and the public eye would witness in amazement how I was pulled into the vehicle by an ear! I lived in exhausting, continuous prayer due to my fight against fear.

By the time little Adam was in kindergarten, I had gained enough trust to take him to and from school or walk 2 blocks another direction to the local supermarket. I would use a stroller to take Adam to and from school as it was too hot for a child to make it walking in the scorching sun. We were below the equator. I had permission to leave the house just long enough to go to the kindergarten and quickly get back. I was being checked up on. Eyes were everywhere on us.


Adam’s first year in school I asked God for a Christmas tree to try to have holiday for my little boy. At that period of time, there were no Christmas trees in our area. Christmas with Santa was not big in Mexico, yet. Latinos there had their own way of celebrating the birth of our Lord.

There was a very rich man who lived in a fortress of a house not far from the kindergarten. The cement walls around the house were 10 feet tall and a watchman stood guard at the gate. This rich man was married to a British lady. So, she knew about Christmas trees and could afford to have anything she wanted flown in or shipped over. We lived in a port city.


Soon after asking God for a Christmas tree, we were coming back home from school and I spotted our Christmas tree lying beside the garbage can cage in front of that mansion! I guess the British lady had gotten a new tree. I was singing thanks to God all the way home as I pushed Adam’s stroller with one hand and was dragging the artificial tree with the other. The next time I walked to the supermarket 2 blocks away, I bought 30 cents of different red and green fabrics. Adam would sit with me as we decided on kitty, heart, bell, ball, angel, and other patterns to draw, cut, hand stitch and stuff with whatever was available except the plastic grocery bags.


Those were highly valued and we even washed them, hung them to dry to reuse over and over. Zip lock and baggies had not arrived yet; nor had throw-away-diapers made it’s way to our area. I was able to get some paper clips to hang the ornaments. And the thick metal pull off seal from Adam’s powdered milk served to cut out a star for the top of the tree! We were so pleased and tickled!

The next Christmas we still had bits of fabric left over and I had saved ribbons, etc. We sat after school for a month and made individual Christmas cards for each house on our block and the relatives of my spouse, plus Adam’s teachers. They were amazingly divine! (Gifts made with love are anointed with beauty.) I hand wrote the greetings inside. We were so excited as we walked the block and knocked on the doors to deliver them. One house was even the mayor’s.

The next Christmas I learned to use old bread buns called bolillos, to make bunt cakes of different tropical fruit flavors or natural chocolate cocoa cocoa beans. The cocoa cocoa beans exported to the Hersey Company in Pennsylvania for candy come from 2 hours away from our town. We had the real thing! And the natural vanilla was from 5 hours away!


The bread buns are peddled from a deep braided basket harnessed to the back of a hiking vendor. He makes his round about 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The bread is still nice and hot. The vendor walks his route announcing “Boliiiiiiillo”. I developed a way to make the bunt cakes in the microwave. I got very good at it and secretly sold them as part of my ‘escape money’ I was saving up. Making these bunt cakes in volume was an activity of togetherness we could only enjoy when Adam’s dad was away. There was no joy when he was in town. One never knew when he would blow in like a destructive tornado hissing, accusing, striking, throwing, commanding, demanding. Adam would run and warn “Dad’s coming!”. And he would run and crawl under his bed.



I remember once there was a traffic jam and the city chief of police was detained in the backed up line of cars. He had his car window opened. I bravely hurried out of my kitchen and crossed the street to try to convey to him in my limited Spanish that Hubby#3 was beating me. The law officer had a jolly laugh much like Santa does. He made a fist with one hand and punched the palm of his other hand, telling me to hit my husband back. The traffic began to move and he drove off having a good laugh.We had no phone. Each letter I wrote soliciting help from love ones in America, was returned to me by my spouse in rage. My communication with America had been cut off.


So, I trusted and relied on God for protection and a way out. I got both. As much as I was battered, I must tell you I thought I had some type of blood disorder. I never bruised. Only once in those 8 years did I have any mark left on me from his anger attacks. Oh I had a cut scar or two, but no bruises. The one mark I mention was a big V from the shape of his boot tips where he had kicked me around on the floor. My son was forced to watch and listen as his daddy instruct him that he would someday hate his mother as much as he, his dad, hated her now. Thank God that Our Father takes that which was meant for evil and turns it into good for those who love Him.

Despite the evil one, Adam and I did our best to have Bible story time, make crafts with tidbits of whatever supplies we could find, and make bunt cakes for the poor. We had to have fresh bread in the house everyday for hubby#3 whether he came home or not. We also were demanded to have the daily Mexico City newspaper with the lottery ticket winners announced in it. If I failed to have them I was beaten. Even on days that the bakery was closed and the days the airplanes could not fly in to drop off the Mexico City newspaper, I physically paid for it.  At least we always had lots of cold bread (as it is called in Mexico). I guess in America it is called ‘day old bread’.

Adam learned to make the bunt cakes while standing on a chair. Christmas and Children’s Day we made about 20. We had a blast driving into the colonies (outskirts of town where huts were on sand roads). I let Adam select the kids to hand a bunt cake to. His Spanish is perfect even today. So, he would explain that we made the cake to celebrate Baby Jesus and we were giving them with love. The kids would get giant smiles on their faces and run off toting the special treat home to the rest of the family.

I remember one pre Christmas Day, when I had built up more trust and could drive to town for the daily newspaper with Adam (without chaperon); we were stopped at a red light. Adam and I always saw the thin man with no legs walking on his hands wrapped in rags on the median. Most of the year that cement was extremely hot and abrasive! Drivers would hand him money from their windows. We never had money. The bread and newspapers were paid for by one of my husbands girlfriends who was also his head chaffer. She managed his petty cash in a brown paper bag. I know at times his brown paper bag had up to $100,000.00 in it.


Anyway, it was one of the days to take our Christmas bunt cakes to the colonies.  We were waiting at the red light and the thin man with no legs was on the median in the cold wind. He was so tiny. Adam was about 6 years old and they were the same size. Adam asked me to row down the power operated car window. He pulled off his only jacket and leaned over through the back passenger window and said: “Feliz Navidad!” That gift to that freezing man made my wonderful son very happy inside and out! It was an electric moment to see the eye contact of two hearts giving and receiving non committal generosity. There were no ulterior motives. It was an understanding of: “This was meant to be. Enjoy.”  We had no Santa in our town, yet. But we asked God to provide so we could be living Santa helpers. We had fabric scraps and glue. We had day old bread crumbs. We had a jacket!


Amidst the beatings and all, my life was being of value. I was able to raise my son to know the meaning of brotherly love. Oddly, even this year, as Adam is 31 years old, he is very steadfast to reach out to donate to our local rehab. He drops off good work boots, hoodies, and well made winter jackets. As those boys in rehab reach the phase of their recovery program where they need to go out to do manual labor in order to pay rent for their sober housing, warm work clothes are a must. This was instilled into Adam that cold Christmas Eve when he hurt inside seeing a man without legs exposed to the cold on a nasty cement street median.
cropped Santa on throneWhen my son was a small child, only major hotel chains in touristic cities had Christmas trees displayed in the lobbies for American visitors to enjoy. And major cities like Puebla, Mexico City and Cancun had throne chairs with Santa placed around their parks so family photos could be taken. Santa was the ‘gift giver’ north of the border.

South of the border kids were not forgotten during the celebration of our King’s birth, either. But the ‘gift giver’ was just enjoyed in a more Bethlehem theme. The day of giggling children being remembered during the holidays is called:Three Wise-men Day. The three Wise-men are actually referred to as the Three Kings. Children write their wish list to these Wise-men who took gifts to Baby Jesus. They can hardly sleep the night of January 5 because when they wake up January 6 the gifts will have been laid out by their beds.
cropped 3 wisemen


Oh! I forgot to tell you the kiddos need to line up their shoes beside the bed. Even if a child only owns a meek pair of rubber flip flops, the God loving Kings, who traveled so far to bear gifts to Mary and Joseph, are not prejudice! Upon those precious poverty feet protectors there will be a toy.
January 6th is a holiday representing the height of the Christmas season. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas. The children of Mexico in particular look forward to this holiday as traditionally, gifts are exchanged on this date, not on Christmas Day by a Santa.

And now my deep desire is to reveal a non hidden, yet little known truth, about the other Christmas ‘gift giver’. This universal ‘gift giver’ is experienced by those hearts and souls focused on treasures that are not wrapped in pretty paper nor tied with a bow.  In the natural world gratitude is expressed after the gift has been received. There are different cultural traditions for saying ‘thank you’ worldwide: maybe nods,cheek kisses, hand shakes, phrases, bows, jumping joy, etc. That is the earthly way of giving, receiving and thanking.

There is another unseen world. It is the spirit world. It is governed by laws of nature just as the touchable world has laws of nature. Many successful businessmen know the following un-hidden truth to be extremely yielding! They give with the right motive of helping another. These ‘gift givers’ do this faith action with a grateful heart because they are thankful to be capable enough to give (whether that be a tangible gift or helping out with their influential services). They celebrate the success of the person they are helping. They thank God that they, too, have a need for which God will provide solution in the midst of their own service to another. So they become their very own ‘gift giver’ by being the ‘gift giver’ to another!


This spiritual principal is receiving by giving. After ‘gift giving’ one’s turn to receive will come and will come in great multiplication! What am I saying? Plant seeds of the type of gift you need. Thank God for the harvest of what you need before you get it. In your heart expect the manifestation of what you are praying for. Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. NIV Luke 6:38
You will reap.


Smart millionaires seek out struggling persons, who they can help, support and sponsor in the business world. They know that by being the ‘gift giver’ to help another become successful, the harvest multiplies their own wealth and empire.  What theories are these?

  • Plant a seed, reap a harvest.
  • Faith with action.
  • Calling in miracles by thanking God prior to and acting as if by sharing the miracle before receiving it.
  • Being a living catalyst for God to use when helping others.

The more we can be trusted to be a channel to bless others, the more God will supply us to keep the channel flowing with provision for those in need.
Be your own ‘gift giver’! Give and you will receive. However, this ‘gift giving’ is not to be done trying to manipulate or control, but thru the joy of seeing others blessed and believing you can trust God’s provision.
If we want apples we must plant apple seeds.

If we want our loved one to find sobriety; if we want our loved one to get shelter while on the streets; if we want our loved one to have good food while being a lost wanderer.

cropped city mission

Bingo! Be a ‘gift giver’ at city missions, help out the drug treatment rehabs, take provision to transitional housing and sober living places.
cropped donate rehab

Expect your own miracle. Help out the recovery world with joy in your heart.  Sacrifice material things trusting your Higher Power to supply your own need later.

So: Santa, 3 Wise-men, and WE are the ‘gift givers’!
cropped 3 wisemen
It works if you work it! Merry Gift Giving!.
From the Cindy Lizard gang & Stop Frying Your Brain!


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  • Criminalizing Mental Health In America… StopFryingYourBrain.com becoming most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here and learn more. Are we using the prison systems in America to treat mental illness? Sure looks that way...
  • Are we using prisons to treat mental illness? Are we using the prisons in America to treat mental illness? Sure looks that way to the citizens. Thoughts? Do you have any suggestions what could be done differently....
  • US Government Turning Veterans Into Drug Addicts StopFryingYourBrain.com becoming most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here and learn more. Other Relevant Article – Click Here  You Should Join to learn about the best...
  • Veterans Being Pumped Full of Addictive Opiates StopFryingYourBrain.com becoming most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here and learn more. Other Relevant Article – Click Here Updates and more discussion on this topic please...
  • StopFryingYourBrain.com becoming most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here and learn more. The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans You Should Join to learn about the best digital marketing for the...
  • stopfryingyourbrain.com one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here to learn more   We are looking for the best books to recommend to our user community. If you are an...
  •  StopfryingYourBrain.com becoming one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation stopfryingyourbrain.com  becoming one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation. It is a community of 131,000+ registered users and...
  • “Our” LinkedIn groups you should join if you have a product or service to sell or if you wish to engage yourself in the drug and alcohol community. Before you do anything else, you should...
  • Members of Congress, the Betty Ford Foundation, the Christi Foundation and Many Others Meet to Discuss Opiate Deaths Today. Click on the image below to join our automated drug, alcohol training and marketing series if...
  • Seriously an automated marketing system/robot for the drug and alcohol vertical that has real value? The behavioral health national referral list with FREE automated marketing system by the “brian”…is designed specifically to bring service providers...
  • Dealing with Pushy Boozers & Surrounded By Assholes By: J. Bella Last night was a big night for me. Not because it was Friday, but because I was sober and surrounded by drunk people. This...
  • Alcoholism is a Mental Terrorist. Fight the Fear! By: Lisa Fear is a state of mind.  It’s there to protect us and remind us danger is imminent. That doesn’t mean we have to let it...
  • I’ve Been Substituting One Addiction for Another. UGH!! By: Lisa So far in my sober journey, I have become aware that there is a syndrome, well at least for me anyway, of swapping addictions. I...
  • Heroin Kills More People Than Automobile Accidents Heroin in the suburbs? Are you freakin kidding me?! Didn’t we learn not to mess with that junk back in the 60s? Holy crap!! Yet heroin use is...
  • stopfryingyourbrain.com one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here to learn more When someone talk about the long-term consequences of war, let’s talk about the men and women who came...
  • Mexican Cartels Worse Than ISIL A United Nations report estimated over 9,000 civilians have been killed and 17,386 wounded in Iraq in 2014, more than half since ISIL fighters seized large parts on northern Iraq in...
  • Jeffrey Clark is native to Southern California. Jeffrey comes to WJW Treatment Centers after a successful career in both Real Estate and Residential Treatment. Jeffrey sought his own recovery in 2011. He then realized...
  • Everything was going fine for her. She had a great job, a solid marriage, and two wonderful kids. Slowly she became easily annoyed by the least distractions or inconveniences. Then what seems like all of...
  • The opioid crisis in America today is spreading so fast and is so devastating that we have been forced to fight fire with fire just to contain it. Using opioids to treat opioid addiction may...
  • When substance abuse treatment methods are typically discussed amongst professionals in the industry, it usually revolves around things like therapy sessions, prescriptions, labs, and family relations of the patients. Because the system is modeled to...
  • As with all addiction treatment, counseling and therapy make up the primary components of treatment and recovery. Typically, the recovering patients are suffering from underlying emotional trauma and other psychological disorders that often reflect in...

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