COMPASSIONATE BEGINNINGS, LLC – “Four Noble Truths and a Dream”
The day I found recovery came from a moment when I had looked into someone’s eyes and saw who I was, and who I would become if I kept going. It was enough to create an explosion in my being, and it brought me to a full prostration of admission of powerlessness.
Not long after that moment, I saw who I could truly be, and who I could become. It wasn’t the wretch I thought myself to be, which drove me to drink exorbitant amounts of alcohol to numb the emotional pains I had experienced over my thirty-something years of a life. No, it was a person of beauty, of talent, and of enormous capability. That truth terrified me.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”
The path of recovery took place right after my 39th birthday, and at 40, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Social Work and went on to pursue a PhD. My focus was on women and addiction. God had other plans. My specialization in Welfare Reform led me to being a Presidential Appointee, and although my dissertation topic was the effects of the new law on women addicts, the White House placed me in Child Support Enforcement. About as far from addiction studies as I could get. While I gained invaluable experience from the years in government, being a “policy wonk” wasn’t what I had set out to do. With over ten years in recovery, it was time to give back and make the vision of who I wanted to become a reality.
So while working a full time job, I went back to school, fulfilled hours interning, studying for state exams, passing – and applying for jobs paying 1/10 of what I had been making. At 50-something I entered a new career and a new life path. While some thought I was crazy, I knew that not following my passion and a vision borne out of recovery was crazier.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
In 2015, after years of learning what to do and what not to do, I took a deep breath and began my own business.
There were many reasons for stepping out into the unknown, but one of the most important was my abiding desire to bring the genius of Buddhism into the field of addiction. Having studied and worked with some amazing teachers, and spending years devoted to meditation and self-inquiry, I knew first hand what the process of Insight and Mindfulness could offer to those in recovery. Retreats with Kevin Griffith, author of “One Breath at a Time,” trainings with Pema Chodron, studying with Tara Brach, and multiple workshops with Daniel Siegel, MD, not to mention hundreds of books devoured on the merging of the two fields, I became convinced that this approach reflected my core beliefs about treatment for substance abuse.
Compassionate Beginnings, LLC was created out of the dedication to the belief that addiction is a disease that can be managed and overcome, and that recovery can be enjoyed today and every day. The approach is compassionate and supportive of the client’s needs – operating from the principle that:
“There is suffering;
Suffering is caused by desire and craving;
There is a way to end suffering;
The way is pursuing the Noble Eightfold Path which teaches us to behave decently,
cultivate discipline and practice mindfulness and meditation.”
In addition to educating clients and their families on the nature of addiction, I include instruction on meditation and mindfulness. Merging a Buddhist practice with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and an approach of cognitive re-mapping, clients can begin to make changes toward reaching their own goals and desires.
Some clients are not ready to attend AA, and for those, I bring AA to the individual sessions. Group sessions always include a mindfulness moment, and supporting individual insight into causes and conditions of substance abuse disorders.
The Family Solution ™ was created to support families as they go through their loved one’s recovery, or try to help the loved one to enter recovery. This program is being developed into a “virtual” medium in order to be even more accessible and will open its on-line doors in January 2016.
As an SAP, I conduct numerous evaluations for individuals who are either trying to renew security clearances in the US Government, or who have been suspended from safety sensitive positions. I am proud to say that I have helped many people resolve problems and obtain or retain security clearances, and restore their careers.
Compassionate Beginnings, LLC operates in Northern Virginia, and on-line. Whether connecting to clients, families, or offering workshops, underlying all the work I do is helping others to end their suffering, and engage in the liberation of recovery.