Do You Have The #Courage To change Your Life?

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you close to where you want to be tomorrow. I think anybody in this life today knows that in the end, life is uncertain, and the only way to make it better is by becoming better personally. If you want things to change, you are the one who needs to make it happen. Self-education then becomes the edge for people.

Tony Robbins describes three steps for Personal Breakthrough to create a new future and achieve your dreams:1) Create a strategy- find someone who’s done something and been successful. Pattern that for yourself and make your plan. 2) Change your story- what about my story is stopping me? 3) Change your state of mind: mental and emotional. Change your physical body; the way you move, the way you breathe.

Life is happening to us, not for us. The most powerful state of mind is gratitude. You can’t be angry and grateful at the same time. You can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time. Visualize the positive for what you want and what you want to achieve.

Living is all about giving. If you’re focused on yourself, you’re always going to have fear about something. But if you’re focused on serving, then thoughts, ideas, insights come to you: how to take care of yourself, your family, helping others. I’ve always hated to see people suffer, thus the reason for my calling to the nursing profession.

When I read Deepak Chopra’s book the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success, I learned that conscious change is brought about by two qualities: attention and intention. Attention energizes and is in the present. Intention transforms and is for the future. Desire alone is weak. Intention is the real power behind desire.

I was stuck in a state of listlessness and despondency. I knew I was unhappy, and had reached a point of desperation. They say that the way to garner courage to make real changes in a person’s life arrives through either inspiration or desperation. I was desperate. Until I came face to face with what was making me unhappy, did I finally garner the courage to pursue whatever changes I needed to make, damn the outcomes. I knew I was on my way to healing once I identified goals for the future that would turn my life around.

I’m as driven today as I was when I was in high school as a teenager. What was the lesson I saw for me; first as a child growing up in an alcoholic home, then in a teenage marriage? My goal was to discover who I was and what I needed to do to reconnect to my passions. I found the answers to achieve certainty in my life. Themes that helped me cope and rise above parental alcoholism included: change, forgiveness, empowerment, limitations, and the power and meaning of dreams. A mantra of important words I internalized: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

My intention for writing my life story was not so much to cause people to know things in their heads, but to affect their hearts. One of the most direct ways into the human heart is a story. I believe the heart is where the most potential for change lies and it’s through our stories that touch our heart and makes us human.

My purpose for writing my life story, Supreme Sacrifice, was  also to help others. My story’s message is to offer people freedom from their past. My hope was that somewhere in those pages I wrote would cause a tiny explosion in my readers’ hearts to rally their personal courage and achieve the things they hunger for to change in their lives. I believe the light that sparks passion in Supreme Sacrifice is reinforcing to readers the courage they always possessed like the lion in the Wizard of Oz.

It’s been said that “real courage is the space when ordinary becomes extraordinary; it exists when any person faces fears and insecurities and chooses to act anyway.” The Cowardly Lion is afraid for his life and literally shaking in his fur, but he goes on. He goes on when there is little hope of success. It is this going forth against all odds that is the heart of courage.

Having the courage to change your life may surely be as challenging as what the Cowardly Lion faced. Gently push the boundaries of your bravery out. Sometimes it just takes incremental advancement, but that too is wonderful—no need to shake the earth overnight, but think big, not small and BE BOLD, so that what you’re doing today is getting you close to where you always wanted to be.

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DO YOU HAVE THE #COURAGE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you close to where you want to be tomorrow. I think anybody in this life today knows that in the end, life is uncertain, and the only way to make it better is by becoming better personally. If you want things to change, you are the one who needs to make it happen. Self-education then becomes the edge for people.

Tony Robbins describes three steps for Personal Breakthrough to create a new future and achieve your dreams:1) Create a strategy- find someone who’s done something and been successful. Pattern that for yourself and make your plan. 2) Change your story- what about my story is stopping me? 3) Change your state of mind: mental and emotional. Change your physical body; the way you move, the way you breathe.

Life is happening to us, not for us. The most powerful state of mind is gratitude. You can’t be angry and grateful at the same time. You can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time. Visualize the positive for what you want and what you want to achieve.

Living is all about giving. If you’re focused on yourself, you’re always going to have fear about something. But if you’re focused on serving, then thoughts, ideas, insights come to you: how to take care of yourself, your family, helping others. I’ve always hated to see people suffer, thus the reason for my calling to the nursing profession.

When I read Deepak Chopra’s book the Seven Laws of Spiritual Success, I learned that conscious change is brought about by two qualities: attention and intention. Attention energizes and is in the present. Intention transforms and is for the future. Desire alone is weak. Intention is the real power behind desire.

I was stuck in a state of listlessness and despondency. I knew I was unhappy, and had reached a point of desperation. They say that the way to garner courage to make real changes in a person’s life arrives through either inspiration or desperation. I was desperate. Until I came face to face with what was making me unhappy, did I finally garner the courage to pursue whatever changes I needed to make, damn the outcomes. I knew I was on my way to healing once I identified goals for the future that would turn my life around.

I’m as driven today as I was when I was in high school as a teenager. What was the lesson I saw for me; first as a child growing up in an alcoholic home, then in a teenage marriage? My goal was to discover who I was and what I needed to do to reconnect to my passions. I found the answers to achieve certainty in my life. Themes that helped me cope and rise above parental alcoholism included: change, forgiveness, empowerment, limitations, and the power and meaning of dreams. A mantra of important words I internalized: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

My intention for writing my life story was not so much to cause people to know things in their heads, but to affect their hearts. One of the most direct ways into the human heart is a story. I believe the heart is where the most potential for change lies and it’s through our stories that touch our heart and makes us human.

My purpose for writing my life story, Supreme Sacrifice, was also to help others. My story’s message is to offer people freedom from their past. My hope was that somewhere in those pages I wrote would cause a tiny explosion in my readers’ hearts to rally their personal courage and achieve the things they hunger for to change in their lives. I believe the light that sparks passion in Supreme Sacrifice is reinforcing to readers the courage they always possessed like the lion in the Wizard of Oz.

It’s been said that “real courage is the space when ordinary becomes extraordinary; it exists when any person faces fears and insecurities and chooses to act anyway.” The Cowardly Lion is afraid for his life and literally shaking in his fur, but he goes on. He goes on when there is little hope of success. It is this going forth against all odds that is the heart of courage.

Having the courage to change your life may surely be as challenging as what the Cowardly Lion faced. Gently push the boundaries of your bravery out. Sometimes it just takes incremental advancement, but that too is wonderful—no need to shake the earth overnight, but think big, not small and BE BOLD, so that what you’re doing today is getting you close to where you always wanted to be.

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WOULD YOU LIKE #FREEDOM FROM YOUR PAST?

There is a saying, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  When I speak to audiences about my book, Supreme Sacrifice, “A young woman steps out of the shadow of her father’s alcoholism in a story spanning decades,” I tell them the message in my story is that I offer people freedom from their past.”  The overwhelming response I receive is, “How can you do that?  So then I tell them about my story, and how I was able to free myself, and can now offer others freedom from their past. It’s not a memoir. It’s not a biography. It’s a semi-autobiography inspired by true events in my life.

So what does it take to be a writer? In a TV interview the author and poet Maya Angelou was asked that question. Her answer was it takes three things: something to say, the ability to express it and the courage to express it at all. When we write, we lay ourselves bare with what we write, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction—it’s what’s in our soul that’s written down on paper. 

 Supreme Sacrifice is about a woman’s life that’s turned upside down when her father dies in a mysterious car crash. A family is torn apart and brought to the depths of despair first by a father’s alcoholism, and later by his tragic death. It’s a story about family, love, tragedy, mystery, the many routes we follow in a single life and the random nature of destiny. If I were to ask you to tell me about your life, it probably would include family, love, maybe some tragedy or mystery—certainly the many routes followed in your life, and the random nature of destiny you experienced.

My story spans three decades and begins in a steel mill town in the Midwest during the height of unionism in the 1960s. Traumatized by my father’s death I was plagued with nightmares. Years later I moved to the Deep South, caught up in a groundswell of spiritual awakening that helped me gain the wisdom, learning to tap the power and strength from within by changing the way I saw my past.

You’re probably wondering, “when is she going to finally reveal her secret to free me from my past?” Before I can do that, I need to tell you about three issues prevalent in society today that helped me forge a path to peace, healing and self-discovery: alcoholism/addiction, importance of following your dreams, religion/spirituality.

Alcoholism/Addiction 45% of US population have been exposed to alcoholism in the family, 27 million of them are children.  1 in 4 children <18 have a parent who is an alcoholic. Would you believe children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat? Well, we do. We carry trauma like an albatross throughout our lives. Importance of Following Dreams: I married young & struggled to get my education against many odds. Throughout my life I had to surrender & trust myself enough to reach out to the unknown and take the risks necessary to change things in my life not knowing what the changes or the outcomes would be.  Religion/spirituality: According to a 2010 Time magazine article/survey, almost 1 in 4 Americans consider themselves non-religious, but spiritual and this has continued to increase over time.

SO HOW DO I OFFER YOU FREEDOM FROM YOUR PAST?  CHANGE is the thread that travels throughout my story. My continuous pursuit to CHANGE is what ultimately brought me peace and empowerment. Remember the book, Who Moved My Cheese? You know that little book that was on the Best Seller’s List for what seemed like years. It created a language to discuss risk and change. Fear of taking risks accompanies change because we’re surrendering from the known to the unknown. Many times people would rather stick with something that’s known, even if they’re unhappy and miserable rather than surrender to the unknown, where the outcomes may be worse. Other major themes that helped me cope, rise above parental alcoholism and helped to free me from my past include:

EMPOWERMENT There is power in the thoughts we hold and the words we use. They have power over our life and experiences, even simple things. We easily concede power to people, illnesses, addictions, unhealthy relationships, etc.  We surrender our power without even realizing it. I gave power to the guilt I had repressed & denied. I gave power to an unhealthy relationship to a new friend in Orlando.

LIMITATIONS We’re told to know our limitations. Truth is most of our limitations are self-imposed. They don’t exist in reality, but in our minds & beliefs. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or can’t. You’re right.”

FORGIVENESS Fear binds the world, forgiveness sets it free. It can transform fear to love and can be our key to inner peace. I had to learn to forgive myself and others.

DREAMS Plagued with recurring nightmares, I learned that dreams can be an outlet, an escape valve for all the negativity we hold in our conscious mind. They’re like ticking time bombs. The key to unlock them is released in our dreams. “Only in dreams can men be truly free. Was always thus, and always thus will be.” (Dead Poet’s Society)

One of the most direct ways into the human heart is a story. I wrote Supreme Sacrifice not so much to cause people to know things in their heads, but to affect their hearts. I believe the heart is where the most potential for change lies and it’s through our stories that touch our heart and makes us human. For the time it took me to write Supreme Sacrifice, it became clear that I hoped my story would inspire readers that it’s how you bounce back from your lowest point that makes you who you are and how suffering can even lead to positive change.

Everything we have in life can be taken away except for one thing—the freedom to choose how we will respond to a situation, not whether we’re rich or poor, famous or not famous, healthy or sick, but rather how we relate to and confront the situations in our lives. The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home inspired me to write my story to be a cheerleader for others to not let go of their dreams; to have the courage to take the necessary risks, and not be doomed by their past, or even their present—because all things are possible if we’re willing to take risks and change.

Just remember “It doesn’t matter where you came from. It only matters where you are going.”

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SUPREME SACRIFICE: Adult Child of an #Alcoholic Speaks Out About #SECONDHAND DRINKING

The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home inspired me to write my story, Supreme Sacrifice, to be a cheerleader for others who have walked a similar path, to not be doomed by their past. Instead it’s how you bounce back from your lowest point that makes you who you are and how suffering can lead to positive change.

Dr. Tian Dayton, PhD paints a picture:  “Picture the child in the alcoholic home…the parent is big…the one who holds the key to the house, the car, the refrigerator, bank account…has the authority…yelling at a child, telling him/her that (s)he is the problem, that if (s)he would only change, everything would be better, the child tends to believe him…When the parent is the one causing the stress, it’s a double whammy for the child. Not only is the child scared and hurt, but the person they would normally go to for comfort and solace is the one who is scaring and hurting them. They are disempowered by the very nature of their youth and dependency.”

Having been on the receiving end of drinking behaviors as a child of an alcoholic, the first time I heard the term, SecondHand Drinking SHD, it stopped me in my tracks. It spoke volumes about the emotional, physical and even spiritual impacts and consequences I experienced growing up. Unfortunately, families of alcoholics desperately try to cope with alcoholic abuse, but continue to circumvent healing by pretending, not facing the truth, because there is shame.  It hurts to admit a family addiction problem. We are not only dominated by the presence of alcohol, but also with the denial of alcoholism. Denial only helps to delay healing from this disease, and it is truly a disease and can be cured.

SecondHand Drinking is a term coined by Lisa Frederiksen, author, speaker, and consultant. Ms. Frederiksen states, “SecondHand Drinking is real and preventable. Preventable is not about outlawing drinking. It’s about people staying within low risk drinking limits because it hurts and changes lives.” She reveals the impacts of those of us wo have lived with a parent or family member and been on the receiving end of those drinking behaviors. More details on this subject  can be found on Ms Frederiksen’s #BreakingTheCycles.com.

From Psychology Today:

  • 45% of U.S. population have been exposed to familial alcoholism
  • 27m of them are children
  • 1 in 4 children has a parent who is an alcoholic
  • These children are more @ risk for alcoholism & other drug abuse than are children of non-alcoholics
  • These children are more @ risk of marrying an alcoholic
  • An alcoholic family is one of chaos, inconsistency, unclear roles, arguments, violence & illogical thinking
  • Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat; they carry trauma like an albatross throughout their lives

From Parker& Rebhun, 1995;Pernanen,1991:

  • 90-95% of all cases coming before judges (civil, criminal, family) involve alcohol
  • alcohol is part cause in much juvenile delinquency, illegitimate pregnancy, truancy and fights
  • 73% of felonies are alcohol-related
  • 67% of child-beating cases
  • 41% of forcible rape cases
  • 80% of wife battering
  • 72% of stabbings
  • 83% of homicides (either the attacker or the victim or both)
  • 90% of incest may be alcohol-related
  • 30-80% of suicides are alcohol-related
  • 60% of mental cruelty divorce cases

As noted from the staggering data listed above, it’s easy to understand how the devastating effects suffered by children of alcoholics under the   influence of a parent’s alcoholism all begins. Is any other explanation required to understand why and how SHD can forever alter people’s lives?

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CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS 30TH ANNIVERSARY

 Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a Hay House 60″ Live Online Event created by Rita Malie to discuss her latest book, Supreme Sacrifice, A woman steps out of the shadow of her father’s alcoholism in a story spanning decades.” You can go to hayhouse.com<http://hayhouse.com> and sign up for the newsletter that will announce her free online seminar Tuesday, February 12, 12-1 pacific standard time.

Children of Alcoholics Week produced by the National Association of Children of Broadcasters with help from the National Association of Children of Alcoholics is a celebration to help break the silence so often surrounding familial alcoholism and drug addiction and to reach out to support these children and their families. February 14, 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of NACoA’s continuous advocacy for educating about and creating programs and services to support the millions of children of alcohol and drug dependent parents whose struggles will continue until parental addiction is conquered.

Join Rita when she discusses the major themes that helped her cope and rise above parental alcoholism. She was inspired to write her story to offer encouragement to others who have traveled a similar path to not be doomed by their past; that it’s how you bounce back from your lowest point that makes you who you are. It doesn’t matter where you came from. It matters where you are going.

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Supreme Sacrifice Tells Inspiring, Triumphant Story

A young woman steps out of the shadow of her father’s #alcoholism in a story spanning decades

 SAINT AUGUSTINE, FLA—–The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home inspired Rita Malie to write her new novel, “Supreme Sacrifice”: A Woman’s Journey from the Bondage of Guilt to the Freedom of Forgiveness.” (published by Balboa Press). With this poignant and insightful book, she seeks to help others learn to confront, overcome the fears, pain and ghosts of the past which can so easily take hold of a person’s life. It is her hope that the story of April Straka’s journey provides new markers, insights and understanding to readers who may have lost their way—that her triumphs will help them find their way to peace and empowerment.

April’s story begins in a steel mill town in the Midwest during the height of unionism in the 1960s. Although she is the pride and joy of her father, Josef Straka, his addiction to alcohol threatens to destroy the family and Josef’s once successful career as a businessman.

When Joseph dies in a mysterious car crash, April’s journey begins to be defined by her spiritual transformations. Plagued by haunting, recurring nightmares, a dark cloud shrouds her life in much the same way the post-industrial gloom casts a shadowy pall over the once thriving steel city. April marries young, and while struggling through her personal issues, defies the expectations of women in the 1960s by obtaining a university degree and working towards a professional career.

April and her husband move south to Orlando, where she finds spiritual healing and self-discovery while establishing a successful career. Readers will be inspired by her perseverance through life’s obstacles and her eventual triumphs establishing her career and breaking the cycle of alcoholism that is so easily passed on through generations. “Supreme Sacrifice” is an inspiring story for anyone who has dealt  with alcoholism.

 

About the Author: Rita Malie is an award-winning author of “Goodbye America”, an historic memoir of her mother. She was a guest of the America Embassy in Slovakia where she traveled the country and presented her book, which is currently in their school system, while also displayed and sold in the Ellis Island Museum. Supreme Sacrifice inspired by true events. She and her family live in Florida. Visit the author online at www.ritamalie.com.

Press Release: Balboa Press, Division of Hay House

Email: press releases (at)balboapress(dot)com

 

 

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SECONDHAND DRINKING & NICKELODEON 11/14

We’ve all heard a lot about secondhand smoking, but what about secondhand drinking, a term coined by Lisa Frederiksen, author, speaker, consultant? The impacts on those of us who have lived with a parent or family member and been on the receiving end of these drinking behaviors can speak volumes about the emotional, physical, and even spiritual impacts and consequences we experience.  We’re the ones who are afraid to spend the night with a friend for fear our mother might need our protection from dad, or can never be spontaneous because we never know what the day or night has in store for us. In Ms Frederiksen’s words, we might have to

  • “keep the person safe,
  • watch after them if they pass out ,
  • clean up after them if they puke in their car,
  • get over feelings of being hurt by the mean things they’ve said,
  • live with the constant fighting about their drinking behaviors,
  • and physical or mental abuse,”
  • watch for car lights creeping down the street,
  • and hiding under the covers hoping he’ll collapse in bed
  • while vigilant preparing for a fight or flight stress response.

Such is the daily life of a child dealing with an alcoholic parent. One in 4 of us under the age of 18 lives with an alcoholic parent every day.

Ms Frederiksen details the dire consequences of our fight-or-flight stress response system, which can result in “headaches, upset stomach, skin rashes, hair loss, racing heartbeat, back pain, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, migraines, difficulty concentrating, vertigo”, to name a few. The importance of this information, states Ms Frederiksen, is that as we recognize these symptoms in those we encounter, and when we do, explore further if there is something we can do to intervene, and offer assistance.

Please tune into: Nick News “Under the Influence: Kids of Alcoholics” premieres next week Wednesday, November 13 on Nickelodeon 9-9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) The special features 5 kids as they share their experiences dealing with parents who are struggling with alcoholism.

“It was like I was the mother, says Kate, 12, from New Mexico. “I have lost some of my childhood. I know things some kids my age don’t know-like maybe should not know.”

“What children of alcoholics do need to know,” says Linda Ellerbee, “is that it’s not their fault, they didn’t cause it and they can’t fix it. Most of all they need to know they’re not alone.”

“I love my mom but she loves drinking more than me,” says Brittany, 15, from Mattituck, N.Y. I’ve tried to help my mom not to drink. I yelled and cried and begged her to stop.”

You’ll hear from Matthew, 10, from Westminster, Colo. “I would worry a lot about my dad,” he says. “My grades were suffering because I couldn’t focus.”

Jerry Moe, National Director of Children’s Programs at Betty Ford, acknowledges it’s difficult for kids growing up in homes where there’s alcoholism because they never know what’s going to happen next.  But he also says kids can cope, “by having safe people that you can talk to about what’s going on at home. By learning problem solving skills, ways to stay safe.” The good news is that alcoholics can get better.”

 

 

 

 

 

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PSYCHOLOGY TODAY ON #ALCOHOLISM

 ~45% of U.S. population have been exposed to alcoholism in the family

~27 million of them are children

These children are more at risk for alcoholism and other drug abuse than are children of non-alcoholics and more at risk of marrying an alcoholic as well. The alcoholic family is one of chaos, inconsistency, unclear roles and illogical thinking. Arguments and violence are pervasive.

Would you believe that children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat? It takes a long time to heal from this disease in the family. Did you ever wonder why we call ourselves  “adult children of alcoholics”? Everything we’ve experienced in our childhood carries over into adulthood, and we’ve been known to carry trauma like an albatross throughout our lives.

Here’s one of the most important reasons why:

Overcoming the legacy of a parent’s alcoholism is very difficult because there is a long history of denial. Denial is the greatest ally to the alcoholic. The family is not only dominated by the presence of alcohol, but also the denial of alcoholism. It becomes the family secret. It is the secret that holds the family together. It becomes the actual framework/support for coping within the family, that without it, the family might fall apart.

Dr. Phil always states: “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”

BY NOT THINKING ABOUT IT, WON’T MAKE IT GO AWAY.

http://www.ritamalie.com/index.phpoption=com_k2&view=item&id=55:supreme-sacrifice-the-film&Itemid=117

 

 

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SUPREME SACRIFICE

A Woman’s Journey from the Bondage of Guilt to the Freedom of Forgiveness 

What does it take to be a writer? In a TV interview the writer and poet Maya Angelo was asked that question, and her answer was  “It takes 3 things: something to say, the ability to express it, and the courage to express it at all. When we write we lay our bare with what we write whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. It’s what’s in our soul that’s written down on paper.

When someone asks me what do you write about, my answer is: “I offer people freedom from their past.” And when they say, “tell me more”, I tell them my story inspired by true events in my life.

Supreme Sacrifice is about a woman’s life that’s turned upside down when her father dies in a mysterious car crash. A family is torn apart first by a father’s #alcoholism, and finally to his tragic mysterious death.

My story is about family, love, tragedy, mystery, the many routes we take in a single life and the random nature of destiny. The story spans 3 decades  and begins in a steel mill town in the Midwest during the height of unionism in the 1960s. It follows the life of April Straka, the pride and joy of her father, Josef and follows her struggles with marriage, family responsibilities, her pursuit of a career, and business.

Best conceptualized as “Death of a Salesman” meets “Eat Pray Love”, April’s father Josef, like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, has spent a lifetime pursuing success only to find himself a victim and an alcoholic failure at 47.

April is traumatized and feels responsible for her father’s mysterious death and is plagued with nightmares.

Years later she moves to the deep south where she embarks on a spiritual journey reminiscent of “Eat Pray Love”. She ultimately finds peace as she gains the wisdom learning to tap the power and strength from within by changing how she sees her past She learns how to forgive herself and others.

Supreme Sacrifice taps into 3 major issues prevalent in society today: alcoholism/addiction, #spirituality, and the importance of following your #dreams. Each of these issues were significant and helped April to forge a path to peace, healing and self-discovery.

The legacy of growing up in an alcoholic home inspired me to write my story to be a cheerleader for others to not let go of their dreams; to have the courage to take the necessary risks and not be doomed by their past or even their present—because all things are possible if we’re will to take risks and #change.

My story was written no so much to cause people to know things in their heads, but to affect their hearts. I believe the heart is where the most potential for change lies, and it’s through our stories that affect our hearts and makes us human.

For the time it took me to write Supreme Sacrifice, it became clear that it’s how you bounce back from your lowest point that makes you who you are, and how suffering can lead to positive change.

Even if you’ve grown up in an alcoholic or addictive home, understanding the ache of disappointment and the recurring sting of resentment, we still do have choices.

Some go into therapy.

Some suppress bad memories.

Some follow their parent’s footsteps and drown their demons in drink or drugs.

My choice was to write it down to offer encouragement to others who might have traveled a similar path in their childhood in hopes that my story might be a testament to the power of sharing our experiences, strengths and hopes with each other on our path toward recovery.

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What is An Alcoholic’s Greatest Ally?

Denial is the greatest ally that an alcoholic has, and is the biggest enemy that circumvents healing in the family. You ask, “Why is denial the enemy? Dr. Phil McGraw repeats over and over on his daytime television show, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”

As long as families put  every tag on alcoholism instead of calling it what it is, change and healing will never occur. In my situation we were told, “Daddy’s tired. Daddy’s sick.” But we knew that we were the ones sick and tired, not Daddy. It’s easier to pretend, not face the truth because it hurts, but what are the consequences when the secret is never revealed? Well, Janet Geringer Woititz, the author of “Adult Children of Alcoholics” says, “Do not protect your children from knowing the ravages of alcoholism. To protect your children is to make them weak and confused.” The energy we spend denying what is real has an opportunity cost. It takes energy away form other things that can be more beneficial—like getting well and giving the family the opportunity to begin the road to recovery.

In my book, Supreme Sacrifice, I state that an important step in the recovery process from alcohol is giving up “the secrets and the shame.” In order to heal, the secret must be exposed. Supreme Sacrifice begins in the 1960s when AA, AlAnon, AlaTeen, ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) were in their infancy. We had no one to turn to except family, certainly not friends because we didn’t want our friends to know. That was our secret. We now know that 1)alcoholism is a disease that tends to run in families, 2) children of alcoholics run a higher risk of developing alcoholism and 3) tend to marry alcoholics.

Supreme Sacrifice is a story inspired by true events of the Straka family brought to the depths of despair first by a father’s alcoholism, and then to his tragic, mysterious death.

 Excerpt Supreme Sacrifice: “Mom had a habit of challenging dad at his worst moments when he was drinking and impatient. Then they’d argue and he’d attack. The family worked hard at keeping his drinking a secret from the neighbors. The flowered wallpaper in the archway leading into the hall from the kitchen revealed an indelible dried bloodstain that was left untouched for years collecting dust. Daddy hit her on the head with a saltshaker; with blood running down her face, she ran to the neighbor’s for help. April heard her mother’s screams and the door slamming shut. The neighbors drove her mother to the hospital. April was upstairs bathing Junior. The police arrived when she was putting him to bed. They arrested her dad. He slept it off in jail and was released the next day. That bloodstain on the wall served to be a milestone in the Straka household. It symbolized the end of the family secret about Josef’s drinking that before this violent tirade was sacrosanct.”

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