Tag Archives: alcoholic

5 Signs That You Could be an Alcoholic

pillz n boozeDetermining whether your family member or friend has a drinking problem isn’t an easy task. Not only does it take courage to accept the fact yourself, but it takes bravery to face them and try to convince them of the point. It’s likely they’re going to deny they have a problem, so it’s time to study their habits and find the proof yourself.

Here are five ways to tell that your family member or friend is struggling with a drinking problem.

1. Drinking More Than Just One – Has your loved one invited you out for a beer, only for the dinner date to turn into a binge drinking session? If your family member or friend can’t handle just one or two drinks, chances are they’re dealing with a drinking problem. If you repeatedly witness them drinking their fifth drink while you’re still sipping on your first, it’s time to sit them down and have a serious talk about their drinking.

2. Missing Work Because of Drinking – OK, so you’re not their secretary, but there are ways to check to see if your family member or friend is missing work because of their drinking habits. You either give them surprise phone calls at work if you suspect they were out the night before or simply ask them. Also, they may just tell you out of sheer pity because they trust you so much. No matter the case, take this sign serious and seek help.

3. Causing Trouble at Home – When someone has a drinking problem, it’s most likely taken over their life so much that they stop paying attention to the things that matter the most. If you visit your family member or friend only to notice that their place is a mess, they don’t have food in their fridge, and that the dog hasn’t been taken out in days, you should ask them what’s going on. Putting two and two together isn’t hard, so if you suspect a problem make sure to discuss it.

4. Drinking Because of Problems – If your family member or friend constantly calls you complaining about how bad their day was and follows up by asking you if you’re down to drink, then they could very well be dealing with an alcohol issue. People who always drink to ease stress or compensate for a bad day are dealing with a bigger than that day has presented them. If you suspect this, act immediately.

5. Lying About Drinking – If your family member or friend comes to your house for a movie night smelling of alcohol, ask them if they’ve been drinking. If they respond by saying no, then you know they’re dealing with a problem. Anyone who has to lie about their alcohol consumption probably already knows they have a problem, but now it’s time for you to take it a step further and get them the help they need from a place like 12 Keys Rehab.

Having a drinking problem isn’t the end of the world. After all, millions of Americans drink while millions more are bombarded daily with advertisements and social cues that tempt them to. The important thing is to realize that there’s a problem, accept it, and seek the best help you can get.

Healing from Drug Addiction: A Lesson in Second Chances

Illegal Drug Addiction and Substance AbuseBy Carol Lind Mooney

The hospital room where my father lay deathly ill from emphysema was small and sterile. All of his friends in Alcoholics Anonymous were gathered in the waiting room telling stories and recounting fond memories of their time with Dr. John Mooney. This was 1982 and my father had been an upstanding citizen of our community for 23 years. He was a well-known surgeon who plummeted through the gates of hell with a drug addiction, along with my mother, until a series of miracles and loving friends forced him to get help. In the recently published book, When Two Loves Collide, by William Borchert, the readers can follow the heart-ache, pain, despair, and loneliness, on a spiritual journey with an ending that has touched thousands of lives.

The crowd that was gathered at the hospital that day seemed jovial. There was laughter along with the tears. At times, the nurse had to plead for silence as patients were complaining about the noise. It was a room filled with love and support. That’s how AA folks are.

I sat in a chair in the corner facing away from the group in dirty blue jeans. I wanted no part of the camaraderie. I was 20, strung out on drugs and homeless. Because my parents got sober in 1959, they understood addiction. In fact, they dedicated their lives to helping others. But they had done all within their power to get me sober, to no avail. They were pretty sure their only daughter, would die a horrible alcoholic death. A letter I received from them in 1980 read:

Dearest Carol Lind,

Your father and I love you very much, but we have accepted the fact that death may be the answer to your alcoholism. Although that would be the worst thing imaginable, we will have to find a way to be okay. You are always in our prayers.

Love,

Mama and Daddy

They had turned me over to God and gotten on with their lives.

My home was a small tent by the railroad tracks. In the mornings, I would awaken with leaves tangled in my hair. My mom found me there and asked me to come say “good-bye” to my dad.

So, as I sat in my corner of the ICU waiting area, I was alone. My father was the most important person in my life. He was witty, charming, and brilliant. But I couldn’t stay sober long enough to have a relationship with him. I wanted nothing more than to walk in his room, hold him, telling him how much I loved him. Instead, I sat in my cold metal chair, shaking, and thinking about getting high. When the doctor let me go in to see him, my dad looked at me with disgust and sadness in his eyes and asked me to leave.

Thank God for second chances. Much to the doctor’s surprise, my dad recovered and was released from the hospital. Several months later I hit my bottom with drugs. I asked for help and began my own journey into recovery. My dad was mostly home-bound. I learned in early sobriety to be helpful to others, so I spent time getting to know him & helping him. In his pajamas he taught me about the intricacies of baseball. He educated me on the many species of birds outside of his window. He showed me how to forgive others – no matter what they had done. He taught me about being of service to God and my fellows. I was able to make amends the best I could. An alcoholic or addict causes harm in ways too painful to express. But he forgave me. He did that not only for me, but for him. So he could have peace of mind.

Ours is a story of hope, forgiveness, and love. It is not a sad tale. When my father passed away on November 10, 1983, he knew I was safe and happy. That’s all he ever wanted, I suppose. I thought he wanted me to have fancy titles and prestige, but what he wanted was to lie down at night and not worry about his daughter. I am forever grateful I got sober in time to have a relationship with the greatest man I ever knew.

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Carol Lind Mooney is an Attorney and Certified Addiction Counselor with over 30 years of experience helping alcoholics and addicts. She owns three recovery residences in Statesboro, Georgia and is a co-owner of Willingway, a nationally recognized treatment center also in Statesboro. She is the daughter of Dr. John and Dot Mooney, the subjects of “When Two Loves Collide,” the new book by Emmy-nominated writer Bill Borchert. The book is available on Willingway.com, Amazon.com, books.com  and in most major book stores.

How to Help Someone Struggling With Alcoholism

Anonymous DrinkerToday, it seems like alcohol is the drug of choice for many who suffer from addiction. And why not? It’s legal, socially acceptable, and fairly inexpensive. However, as anyone who knows an alcoholic will tell you, it can easily be abused. While alcohol does have reputation for loosening people up, it can cause some people to completely lose control. The results of alcoholism can include broken relationships, broken lives, and even death. So what do you do if someone important to you is an alcoholic?

Stop Blaming Them

This is one of the hardest things for a family member to do. Many people still see alcoholism as a choice. By this logic, the excuses, broken promises, and bad behavior are also choices. However, this is not the story. While the decision to pick up the first drink was a choice, what ensued after was not. Some people have a genetic predisposition toward addiction. Once alcohol is introduced to these types of genetics, the result is unavoidable. Blaming them, especially to their face, will just cause them to drink more.

Stop Enabling Them

The flip side to the blame game is the enabling game. While you should try to be understanding, it’s possible to be too understanding. Even if person is drunk, you should never excuse irresponsible behavior, violence, or property damage. Instead, getting them into program with competent health care professionals (like 12 Palms Recovery Center, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc) is a better way to show true understanding and compassion.

Stop Trying To Cure It

Many people feel that’s it’s up to them to help their loved one through this situation. This is particularly true if the friend was always in a more care-giving role than the other. This role of caregiver can extend to parents, children, lovers, siblings, or even best friends. However, there’s nothing you can do to cure it. The alcoholic themselves has to want to cure it, or no cure will ever work. A recovery center can help them get the help and strength they need to cure themselves.

Stop Pretending It Will Go Away

Far too many people feel that if they ignore the problem long enough it will go away. However, alcoholism does not get better on its own. It’s a progressive disease. Eventually, an alcoholic left to their own devices, will drink themselves to death 100% of the time. That’s where you come in.

Get Rid Of All The Alcohol In The House

This rule includes all alcohol, even the cooking wine. While this does not stop an alcoholic from drinking, it does make it more difficult. Additionally, it removes the temptation from a recovering alcoholic. A recovering alcoholic can fall off the wagon at any time, so removing temptation plays a major part in recovery.

Alcoholism is a frightening disease. Since many people are able to drink alcohol with no ill effects, it’s not unreasonable that someone who is now an alcoholic once thought that too. When a person becomes an alcoholic, they’re relying on you to step in and get them help they need

When More is Never Enough: My Triumph Over Addiction

200559715-002Food, work, the internet, caffeine, booze, exercise, shopping, lovers… many of us grapple with addiction in some way. Many commonly ascribe genetics to addiction, but it’s actually a complex spiritual condition stemming from unresolved emotional pain. Regardless of whether it is pain originating in childhood, or another lifetime, unresolved pain shows up on the physical plane as a voracious appetite for more. To constantly need something outside of ourselves to be OK is a very legitimate state of dis-ease.

Addiction comes in many shades, and while I (maybe) didn’t look like a person who was suffering from addiction, I, too, used to be trapped in the insatiable cycle of more – that never seemed to be enough. I was young and fit, but it wasn’t enough. I had a good job and a boyfriend, but it wasn’t enough. I had a closet full of designer clothes and a home on the beach, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t know what was missing exactly, but I still felt like I needed something more, and then I’d be happy.

The belief that more money, more work, more accolades, more food, more alcohol, more clothes, more concerts, more lovers – whatever it may be – will make us whole/better/happier is an indicator that we are in emotional pain. With this corrupted thinking, we believe we are not enough just as we are, making it very difficult to value ourselves. If we can’t value ourselves, it makes it very difficult to value anything thing else we create.

On the spiritual plane, when we’re in emotional pain, we go “out-of-body” as spirit. You may be familiar with going out-of-body from instances when you are driving and suddenly you realize you have no memory of the road you’ve traveled down for the past twenty minutes. Where did you go? If you weren’t there, who was driving the car?

Every spirit creating through physical form is innately a trans-dimensional creator, meaning we go in and out-of-body many times throughout our day. What people call “spacing out” is more accurately understood as “going out” of our physical form. When we are struggling with emotional pain, we go out-of-body more frequently because we are living in a pain body and it doesn’t feel comfortable to be in-body. What’s more, we go out-of-body to a greater degree when we ingest drugs or alcohol. You may recognize how people you know seem to have different personalities (alter egos) when they’ve ingested drugs or alcohol. This is because going out-of-body leaves our bodies open to a number of spirits who then direct through us. Just as if you were to leave your house with the door wide open, lights on, and the music blasting, some people might take up residence in your home and party down while you’re gone- the same goes for your physical form.

In other words, the sensation of lacking control, otherwise known as addiction, is a result of literally not being in-body enough to maintain ownership of your body; therefore multiple spirits direct through you, making it feel like you have an insatiable appetite for more. These spiritual dynamics – compounded with the inability to value ourselves – prompts us to feel like we need even more, sending the cycle of compulsion spinning round ‘n round and making it nearly impossible to sit still and even enjoy the present moment. As we heal old emotional pain, and cultivate our own personal self worth, it becomes easier to be in-body and present in our lives a greater percentage of the time.

Despite the our society’s vague promise that net worth equates to self worth, I discovered that the real seeds to self worth – and ultimately a much happier life – are Dollars funnel.authenticity, vulnerability and integrity. Probably much to my parents’ dismay, these weren’t attributes I emerged with from childhood. I was pretending on the pretending and I didn’t even know I was pretending. Most people don’t. They just know they want more.

So how does one go about cultivating authenticity, vulnerability and integrity?

Authenticity means being true to yourself. Not going with the crowd just because that’s the easiest way to win approval and acceptance. Taking time to truly find what lights you up inside, and not just doing what you think is expected of you from your parents, teachers, and friends. It means making hard and sometimes unpopular choices, but if you find the courage deep inside of you to do so, you’ll find the authenticity, and power, you never knew you didn’t have.

Vulnerability means expressing the full rainbow of emotions we human beings are capable of feeling, rather than just portraying a picture perfect veneer. Only when we are truly honest with others about who we really are, and what we’re experiencing, can we share a genuine heart connection. If you are being validated for an image of perfection you portray, your performance is being validated, not your authentic self; therefore, you don’t feel seen or loved.

One of the most effective ways I’ve found to get comfortable being vulnerable is to create art of any form. Art is effective in drawing out our vulnerabilities because in order to access our creativity, we must suspend our judgment, and let go of fears of what other people might say or think of us. In creating (paintings, music, writing, acting, dance) you are removing the mask you may not even know you hide behind. The more I did this, the more comfortable I got feeling exposed, and discovered in the midst of creative passion, the tell-tale signs of being in body – hot hands and feet, heightened concentration, and unabashed enthusiasm – appeared and I found myself relishing the elusive, present moment. In the throws of inspiration, there was no place I’d rather be, and the last thing I needed was more.

Integrity is being honest with yourself and others. It means telling the truth, and following through with what you’ve committed to do. Integrity is the willingness to apologize when you’re wrong and pave the way for forgiveness. A common saying amongst people healing from addiction is “you are only as sick as your secrets.” Integrity means telling the truth – even when it’s uncomfortable – even when it can get you in trouble. I grew up stretching and bending the truth because I pushed and rebelled, and when I got caught, I didn’t want to get in trouble. Sure I escaped being punished, but years later, in a never-ending quest for more, I found myself in a different kind of trouble. I had fear and shame (emotional pain) and as a result I was “out of body” and on the never-ending quest for more.

I finally resolved to tell the truth, even if my voice shakes. I committed to show up and follow through with what I set out to do; I began creating art, making music and writing. As I cultivated my authenticity, vulnerability, and integrity, I started to experience a contentment I’d never known before, and was surprised to see my addictions lose their grip on me. I still work, eat, shop, drink, love, and of course use the internet, but none of these things dictate my days or nights and rather than feeling like it’s not enough, I feel gratitude for my life and what I’ve created.

I now know the aforementioned practices were immensely powerful because they served as building blocks for what I now know as self worth. While there are certainly many different pathways to healing from addiction, I’ve found it cowers in the face of true self-worth. I realized this one day, when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and felt sincere love and respect for the woman staring back at me, and it felt really good to be in her body.

The Connection Between Trauma And Addiction

078/365 mourningTrauma is a word that we hear a lot in typical conversation. Trauma, by definition, is any type of experience that causes distress or emotional disturbances for an individual. In some cases trauma may be strictly emotional and psychological while in other situations there may also be a physical component.

For example, a person who witnesses a death or a serious accident may experience emotional and mental distress over the images that they remember from the event. A person who was actually in the incident may have physical trauma or injury as well as the mental distress and disturbance of the experience.

Trauma is very personalized and can be different for different people based on life experiences, upbringing, and even your current emotional health. What one person may see as a traumatic incident that is distressing or shocking may not be problematic for another individual. This is why trauma is often so difficult to identify, treat, and manage for both mental health professionals as well as for individuals.

What I found when preparing my notes for my book, The Law of Sobriety, is that many of the people I worked with in addiction recovery had significant trauma in their lives that they had not addressed. This could have been trauma from a dysfunctional family as a child, current or past abusive partners or spouses, or trauma from things they had witnessed or lived through that were not relationship based. Often the individual was bothered by these distressing memories but didn’t seek help or even know that they had been traumatized by the experience.

These people often dwelt on the negative emotions that were part of the memories of the trauma. The more they dwelt on the negatives the more that other similar negative experiences occurred in their life. Often alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping or food was used as a way to try to self-medicate and get to a less stressful emotional space. The result was that that negativity caused by the trauma fueled the addiction.

Working through the negativity of trauma and learning to focus in on positives in your life is key to breaking the trauma and addiction connection. It is possible to put trauma behind you and to overcome the fears, disruptions and negativity associated with these events in your life and move forward as a sober, happier you.

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Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your free E book “Filling The Empty Heart” and your “Are You a Love Addict Quiz?” at www.sherrygaba.com Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio Take Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction.

Confronting Addiction: How Far Down Is Rock Bottom?

UntitledFor most people with addictions denial is a part of their everyday life. They deny the addiction is an issue, they blame everything but the addiction for the disasters in their life, and they deny that they have a problem of any type. This denial has to end before there will be the opportunity to make changes that bring about a positive, healthy, and sober reality.

Denial, or the refusal to honestly accept that an addiction is at the root of the problems, can result in the loss of literally everything in the addict’s life. I have worked with many such individuals and I have provided their individual stories in The Law of Sobriety to highlight just how deep denial can run.

One of the most devastating scenarios of denial is found in Christi’s story. She had a great life with beautiful kids, a loving husband, and a very comfortable lifestyle. In just two short years her drug addiction and denial of the problem caused her husband and kids to leave. She lost her comfortable lifestyle and was homeless and broke. To get her drugs she hooked up with a dealer and was involved in multiple thefts, embezzlement charges, and drug related arrests. Even going to jail wasn’t her rock bottom; she simply returned to the lifestyle when she was released.

Christi, when she came to me, was in such deep denial she had no guilt or remorse over the choices she had made and the people she had hurt. She didn’t care about jail or about the loss of her family. She was so deep in denial she could not recognize that she even had the potential to be a happy, authentic, and sober person. And, because she had not hit bottom and been forced to face her reality, she didn’t want to change.

The Law of Attraction is the best way that I have found to help those deep in denial, when they are ready to start their path to recovery, to set goals to move them towards the person they want to be. While Christi may not have been there yet, there are people I see on a daily basis that set goals, see themselves as authentic, sober people and live that reality day by day.

This all starts with changing how you see yourself. Living authentically and not in denial but in honesty, positive and optimistic about your current and future reality. Sending out that positive message about your sobriety today and in the future sets your course for recovery and health without dwelling on the negatives of what you did and who you were in the past.

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Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and is the author of The Law of Sobriety which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. You can download free E books at www.sherrygaba.com or contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio. Struggling with your own love junkie dramas? You’re not alone. Join my free newsletter community to get the support you need to stop the madness before it affects your next relationship or the one you are in now.  – Get the Love You Truly Deserve!

Photo credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

The Impact of Parents’ Addiction on Children’s Identity

pillz n boozeOne of the most difficult aspects of addiction is the changes that it can bring about in the mindsets of children who grow up in a household with an addict. During their entire life they have to accommodate for the addicted person, creating alternative realities to what is really going on in the home.

Often the partner and the children of an addict work double time to make sure that the addict is protected. This means that they keep the addiction secret and do not talk about any family problems outside of the home. They are typically coached from a young age to make up stories, lie or simply avoid answering specific types of questions that might disclose the dysfunction within the household.

I personally have worked with many clients who have lived their complete childhood with a false self that was carefully developed and encouraged by the family. It was a necessity to simply survive. In my book, The Law of Sobriety, there are many examples of how a false self that was created in childhood is still impacting the now adult child of an addicted parent.

A good illustration is found in a person that I identify as Dominique. In her family both parents were addicts, creating even more pressure and stress for her as a child. Everything in the house was chaos with no structure, predictability or rules. There was nothing that was available to her to act as an anchor to provide the support and routine she so desperately craved.

Her response was to control everything that she could from a very young age. Spontaneity, change, excitement and “going with the flow” were all seen as bad. She literally stuffed her childhood out of the picture and stepped up to be the parent in the family. When she moved out, found a job, and got married, herself, she retained that rigid, structured, and controlling behavior.

However, she also discovered that the false self was limiting her abilities to have a relationship. In order to let her inner child out, something that was very frightening to her, she used alcohol to relax and let go. The result was that Dominique, through her struggles with her false and true selves, developed an addiction, the very thing she feared throughout her childhood.

Through working with her she was able to discover her inner child and strike a balance between fun and control. This type of change is not simple but, using the Law of Attraction, it is more than just possibility. It is, in fact, a pathway to celebrating the true self.

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Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and is the author of The Law of Sobriety which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. You can download free E books at www.sherrygaba.com or contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio. Struggling with your own love junkie dramas? You’re not alone. Join my free newsletter community to get the support you need to stop the madness before it affects your next relationship or the one you are in now.  – Get the Love You Truly Deserve!

Sobriety and Your Higher Power

transformation

One of the things that sometimes puts people off about religion vs. spirituality is the idea of accepting a higher power into your life. What if you don’t believe in any particular religion? Why is it necessary to believe in something greater than yourself?

Sobriety is all about knowing and accepting yourself, including all the parts you don’t like—your insecurities, fears, guilt, and doubt. That doesn’t mean you just accept your flaws and say, “Oh well, I’ll live with this“; you must also believe that you can transform yourself. But how can you both accept your flaws and work on transforming them?

To accept your imperfections and also trust that you can change, you must be willing to turn these imperfections over to something greater than yourself. That something is your higher power. You might call it Yahweh or Jesus or Buddha or Allah or Shiva. Or you might step outside of organized religion and call it the universe or spirituality or positive energy.

To transform your life, you must seek to transform yourself through spiritual growth. Spiritual growth might mean embracing God as you understand that idea. It might also mean embracing what is positive in your life with the belief that the more you embrace the good, the more good the universe will send you.

Embracing the good means turning away from the negative. You must be willing to release all the toxic energy your negative thoughts create and replace them with positive thoughts that reflect who you are striving to become. The Law of Sobriety says that your destiny is determined by how you consciously expend your energy. Right actions and positive thoughts will bring you more of the same. And this, of course, means your destiny is in your own hands.

When you believe in your higher power, you also believe you can transform yourself—even if everyone around you says you can’t. So when you get right down to it, your higher power is what enables you to believe in yourself. And when you believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless. You can walk through your fears and doubts and become who you were always meant to be.

*****

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. You can download free E books at www.sherrygaba.com or contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba” on CBS Radio.  

what to say in a 5 minute chance meeting with a 21 year old alcoholic to help change his life

I went to visit a friend who has a parking problem outside her home, she lives next door to a pub and the parking has designated white lines drawn on the road so only the home owners can park there. Since I was only stopping to pick her up I dared to park on a white line. A giant of a man came staggering up the road towards me, 9.30 in the morning, inebbriated. You can’t park there. he said. I held my breath against the fumes and looked in his eyes, so young to be so drunk, so early. I wondered what had happened to him.  I told him I am just loading so it is okay since I am not parking.  He started rambling aimlessly about how he had been sent home from work because he is too drunk to work and he is only 21.  I told him he may not care now but in 20 years time when he has liver damage he will wish he hadn’t drunk so much. He said he has already got liver damage  He said his parents have told him he is an alcoholic but he doesn’t care. I told him he will know when he is making himself  really ill because the whites of his eyes will go yellow. I said he is very young to be hooked on drink.  He said he doesn’t care. I said maybe he needs to think about why he drinks?  He didn’t know. At this point his mum pulled up in her worse for wear sports car and bundled him into it.  Its all good fun isn’t it? he said as he turned and ambled towards the car. Nice to meet you he said. I told him it was nice to meet him too.

How can a five minute conversation have any impact on the life of a 21 year old intent of drinking themselves to death?  I don’t know if it can, but at the time I was aware that I may have been able to make a difference depending on what I said. 

Words count. They make a difference, sometimes more of a difference than others.  I am reminded to be awake and alert for opportunities to help when faced with a stranger no matter how frightening and out of control they may appear at first.

Love and light to you all

Tamasin

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