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Passing It On
By Delores Liesner

My dad was a quiet and gentle man – kind of a woodsy All-American hard-working man. His hands were muscled, showing his strength, but his eyes revealed a gentle soul.

He had a grocery store in our living room during and after World War II, and an appliance store in another home’s garage, later moving it to a rented store in the nearby town of Norway, Michigan, and for years he harvested cedar and pulpwood. Daddy travelled a lot so any time I got with him was special, but the times I had with Daddy in the woods influenced me the most.

No matter what other challenges were going on in my life, with other family members, at school, or any other area of life, Daddy was able to help me to feel loved and valued. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | family, heritage, inspiration, parenting
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Familiar Faces
By Dawn Lyons

I recognized the moment as one that I would always remember. I was watching a children’s movie and my dad had settled into his favorite chair to watch it with me. He didn’t judge me for being a 17-year-old girl who was still in love with a literary character who had become animated on film. Maybe Dad wanted to check the guy out in case I found a real-life version someday. I’ll never know why he chose to sit and watch with me that day. I expected he would make some sarcastic comments, but instead he was quiet. After a while, I glanced over and saw him staring at the screen, enthralled. His face held an expression of joy and contentment, and seeing him like this held me awestruck.

I had never seen Dad with such an expression before, and I was very aware that this was something I needed to focus on so I could remember the details with clarity.

Maybe somehow, I knew something, or maybe it was one of those moments you look back upon and think that “someone” was trying to tell you something. Because in the short span of a few weeks, I found myself sitting in Dad’s chair, devastated by his unexpected death.  Read more

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COMMENT (0) | loss, parenting, self growth, self realization, self worth
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How Much Fighting Is Too Much?: A Couple’s Guide to Fighting Fair
By Vanessa Voltolina

If you’re in a relationship, you’ve most likely had a spat or two. And according to recent research, arguments about small, nagging things may happen as often as 312 times per year.

Some research even shows that how you handle conflict in your romantic life may have less to do with your relationship and more to do with how you were raised. But regardless of all the small arguments, or how your mother messed you up, enduring screaming matches multiple times a day with your spouse, or stonewalling your boyfriend post-argument may mean that your disagreements have gotten the better of your romance. It’s helpful to know the hot button issues in relationships, and the red flags indicating that it’s gone from lovey-dovey to knock-down, drag out. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | learning, relationships, self improvement
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Expert Series: The Need For A Men’s Liberation Movement
By Joel Brass

It’s tough to be a man. I know. I’ve been one all my life.

Though extremely varied in the circumstances that have brought them to seek help, the men who I see on a daily basis in my counseling practice are all living one common story. They have spent their adult lives doing their utmost to live up to a script that was handed them a long time ago about how to be a good man.

At the core of this male instruction manual is one central “commandment” – to serve, to provide and to protect others (originally territorially, these days materially). They have placed all of their focus and every ounce of their energy and strength into its achievement. While certainly necessary and beneficial, this has compelled them to be warriors in action on the battle plains of the outside world; to know, deal and prepare for only that which is outside themselves. Do this. Fix that. Be successful. Make money. Wield power. Keep your eye on the competitor. Anticipate the next curve ball that the world can throw at you.

It is with shock, and inarticulate but deep and real confusion, and disillusionment that a horrid realization has come to the men sitting across from me in the counseling session. It is the mind-numbing realization that the very methods and strategies that they have been praised and rewarded for in the marketplace, have failed them miserably in their private lives. No one wants a boss of any kind at home. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, relationships, self growth
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Worth The Wait
By Bev Schellenberg

It’s taken a long time for my two children to meet my family: 13 years and 10 years respectively. That’s because my family’s been dead that long. My mother and brother died when I was pregnant with my eldest child, my 13-year old daughter. Years before that, my father died of cancer.

For two evenings my children spend time with my family as we sit at our dining room table. “Here’s a picture of my mother and father when they were young,” I explain as I take the old black and white photos from the envelope.

These are what remain from my life with the family who raised me: stacks and stacks of mostly untitled photos that span 50 years, many years that I wasn’t alive. For years I’ve dreaded going through the pictures, afraid I’d remember what I wanted to forget, or perhaps that I’d forgotten what I’d hoped to remember, and have no one to ask. But now it’s time to sort, to accept and to embrace the past. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | family, parenting, self growth
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Kaloo, The Black One – Endless Loyalty And Love!
By Ernest Dempsey

I am running with all the excitement and energy of a child, and the playful dog is running after me. He is the child of my beloved pet dog Kaloo – the one who died years ago. I have the feeling that Kaloo’s son is a continuation of his loyalty and dedication to me. He is playing with me as Kaloo did years ago. I have only a very slight awareness of the large house I am in, and am indifferent to the setting sun and growing darkness of the evening. Running with Kaloo Jr. has left me breathless, and as I sit on the roof of the house, the dog snuggles at my side. I embrace him, and breathing heavily, I think what a bliss it is to have Kaloo with me in another body, just like his own. Suddenly, I feel how long it has been since Kaloo died. The thought brings an instant feeling of loss. I look at the dog snuggled beside me, and he is no more there. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal communication, animal companion, spiritual
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Silent Wednesday
By LuLu Johnson

When the grocery cart caught the back of my heel, I didn’t say anything. And when the lady said, “I’m sorry” in a tone that voided her words, I held my tongue. She was being sarcastic, paying me back for cutting in line. I didn’t think I had, but I also didn’t argue my innocence. I couldn’t. It was a Wednesday.

I don’t talk on Wednesdays. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | humour, self improvement
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Betty Shirley
By Sandy Caldwell

I remember when I was little and would visit my grandfather in his big house. I would make my way up the stairs to the hallway full of family pictures. There in the middle of the wall was a grand portrait of a beautiful woman with dark wavy hair, big black eyes, full red lips, high cheekbones and a look of longing on her face. That was my grandmother, Betty Shirley. Although I have never met my grandmother, I am influenced by how she lived her life.

She was born Betty Jane Smith, an only child deeply loved by her parents. But when she was in her early teens, she lost her mother…that didn’t hold Betty back.

When she was older she headed for Colorado, not knowing anyone or where she was going to live or work. She just fell in love with the place. She thoroughly enjoyed skiing on their great snowy mountains and was taken aback by its beauty.

She found a job working in a resort running their small train up a mountain to the zoo. She lied about being able to drive a stick shift so she could get the job. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, inspiration
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Getting To Know You, Getting To Know All About You
By Sharon Carmichael

Discovering the truth about ourselves isn’t easy. Too often we suppress our emotions, leaving them dormant in our minds awaiting to pop out at us when we are most vulnerable. I know firsthand – I’ve spent most of my life avoiding my feelings. My father was murdered when I was fifteen-months old, and I traveled through life imagining it didn’t bother me. I told myself things like, “I was too young to remember him,” and “I never knew him so there’s no way this could affect me.” Little did I know this resistance was shaping itself inside of me forming a home within my identity. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | empowerment, enlightenment, self worth
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Reflections Of A Non-Traditional Student
By Cassandra May

It was November of 2008 when I received the email from my boss. They were letting me go; my services were no longer needed. I would be contacted if I was needed in the future. This was crushing. How could this be? I had never been without a job; I’d been working straight since I was 15, and sometimes holding two or three part time jobs when one wouldn’t cut it. How many times could I count on this happening?

Then it struck me that while I was upset about the loss of income, I wasn’t so much upset about the loss of my occupation. It wasn’t horribly interesting, or even very challenging. Looking back on my young career, it seemed as if I was typing the same thing, day in and day out, into a computer with nothing to show for it. It was at that point that I did what I always do when confronted with a tough choice, and broke out a pen and piece of paper. I proceeded to make a pro and con list, detailing the pros and cons of going back to school. The pros won out. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | education, self improvement, unemployed
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How A Brown Baby Bunny Changed My Destiny
By Sarah Goodwin-Nguyen

A little brown bunny changed the path of one human life–mine, specifically. But on the day we took him home, my fiance and I just thought he was really cute. We had a mimosa buzz after a holiday brunch, and walked into a pet store on New York City’s Lower East Side “just to look.”

Mama bunny and her litter were all adorable, of course, with their pointy ears and gangly back legs all jostling for room in the too-small glass tank. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, animal wisdom, self realization, thriving
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Coming Home: Felix the Cat Part III
By Melissa Roberts

In the summer of 2008, I experienced the nightmare of millions of adults during a recession. I lost my job.

At the time, I lived in a small St. Louis apartment with my elderly cat, Felix. Felix is a special needs kitty with chronic kidney disease. Felix and I had already survived her near death and two years of me working as a hospital chaplain. I wondered what would happen to us next.

I had applied for chaplain jobs in St. Louis, and closer to my family in Kansas, beginning in the spring with interviews, but no offers. That summer, I branched out into positions involving teaching, social service, church work, and indeed anything remotely related to my skills and education. Friends, colleagues, everyone I knew gave me tips, and I followed up with no luck. Anyone hunting for a job can relate to that maddening hunger that nothing, but the security of a permanent income, can satiate. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal wisdom, renewal, unemployed
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From The Ashes: The Phoenix Rises
By Billie Criswell

My relationship with my stepsister, Laurie, has been a complicated one from its conception. I was six or seven years old when we met; she was two years older than I. I remember being so overjoyed to receive the news that in one fell swoop I would be getting the father I longed for and the big sister I wished for. It seemed to my childhood mind that everything was going to be perfect when my mother remarried.

…of course, as an adult, I know now that things don’t always work out perfectly, and that was the way it happened with our new, blended family. Laurie carried a lot of pain in her young heart. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | relationships, renewal, siblings
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Much More Than A Hearing Dog: The Story Of Jane And Sita Biehl
By Julie Flanders

Jane Biehl resisted getting a hearing dog for years. Biehl, a counselor and professor in Canton, Ohio who has been deaf since childhood, felt that she had managed fine without a hearing dog for decades, and she could easily continue to do so.

Her attitude changed after a friend was robbed and beaten in his own home. Biehl felt vulnerable, and set out to change that by getting a hearing dog. As with so many things in life, the timing was fortuitous. If Biehl had decided to get a dog sooner, she wouldn’t have been partnered with Sita. And if there is one thing that has become clear in the nearly four years they have been together, it’s that Sita and Jane were meant to be. Read more

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COMMENTS (9) | animal companion, animal training, deaf, empowerment
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My Unbelievable Six Rescue Dogs
By Andrea Carr

When I was around fourteen years old I lived in Sheffield, England. This is when I first started to rescue dogs. Along with my cousin, who was the same age, we would spot dogs that were being abused. I was given a little badge from the Royal Society of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In Canada, I have still continued on with my animal rescuing.

Around the time my daughter moved out, my fifteen-year-old dog died.  I called up a dog rescue group and told them I would be interested in adopting a small dog. I had a home visit done but didn’t hear from them.

Then one day, I received a phone call. They needed a foster home for a small dog. I agreed and they brought over a Yorkshire terrier. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | animal companion, animal wisdom, service
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How A Near Death Experience Changed Everything
By Eva R Marienchild

For many of his 50-something years, a severely depressed Bill Smyth* was living his life as if it didn’t matter. “Looking back,” he says, “I don’t know how I kept going.” 

In 2000, he and his then-wife lost a son who was less than a year old.  As happens with many marriages where the loss of a baby is involved, the marital union came undone.  “My ex said she was miserable having me around.  She couldn’t look at me without seeing a baby,” said Bill. “In order for her to be happy, we parted.  We’re still good friends.” 

Talking about his son’s death still hurts, says Bill.  “Joseph’s little lungs hadn’t developed.  A decision was made to take him off life support.”  He pauses, his voice far away.  “The only time he smiled was right before he died.  Then, he just seemed to relax and let go.”

That observation was a striking forerunner of what was to follow.  Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | enlightenment, NDE, self improvement, spiritual, thriving
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Detach, Survive, Thrive In My Marriage To An Alcoholic
By Linda J Riley

The world of the non-alcoholic in the midst of alcoholic insanity is difficult. Many succumb to the insanity and become part of the disease itself, and others die from stress-related illnesses. But it is possible to survive. Once the non-alcoholic has learned the survival techniques, the next step would be thriving in spite of it all. It can be done. I am proof that it is possible.

One day I watched in horror as my husband, Riley, stood in the middle of the living room and spewed a stream of urine onto the carpet. Things had gotten bad, but I never imagined they would get that bad. Read more

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COMMENTS (39) | alcoholic, empowerment, relationships, self realization, thriving
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St. Francis’ Feline: A Miraculous Healing For Felix The Cat – Part Two
By Melissa Roberts

My Felix the Cat wears a Virgin Mary blue collar with a St. Francis medal. She is a Franciscan kitty, though I am not a Franciscan myself. Felix and St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, have a special relationship.

In 2007, Felix lived in a small St. Louis apartment while I worked as a hospital chaplain. Used to being an indoor/outdoor kitty on the grounds of Mum and Dad’s small town Kansas Victorian house, Felix had trouble adjusting to her new home and lifestyle.

Felix wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t happy. Together, we journeyed through one of those chapters in life full of stormy uncertainty and misery, waiting for the sun. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, healing, spiritual
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Expert Series: ADD(Attention Deficit Disorder) Is Not Who I Am, It Is What I Have
By Brad Worthley

I had a lot of friends growing up so I enjoyed school from the social standpoint. I went to all the sporting events and if there was a party within 20 miles, I was there. Scholastically, I struggled with my grades, so I was about a “C” student. Out of embarrassment, I masked my inequity from my friends, so you would be hard pressed to find anyone in school that did not believe I was an “A” or “B” student.

As I sat in classrooms, I would try very hard to pay attention to what the teacher was saying because I knew we would be tested on it, but I struggled with retaining the information. I had the same challenges with reading text books in class or at home, because as I was reading, my brain kept drifting away, and I would have to re-read the same page two or three times in order to understand it. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | ADD, empowerment, learning, self realization
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Reading: A Love Story
By Joseph Longo

I did not come from a family of readers.

My parents were Sicilian immigrants. My mother read an occasional magazine, but she never read a complete book. My father was semiliterate. Though he bought the New York Daily News every day – mainly to see what horses won at the track.

My first reading memory was comic books. I collected them and had a towering stack in my closet. My hero was Superman. I read that many gay boys growing up in the fifties considered him their favorite because he lived two lives.  I also liked True Crime and Classic Comics. As a teenager, I worked for an Italian grocer and spent all my money on comics. I waited each month for my favorites to come out. I still read comics, but now they’re called graphic novels.

My Aunt Josie was the only one in my family who was a reader. She is ninety and she still reads, mostly romance novels. In fact, she keeps a notebook of the books she’s read so that she doesn’t buy the same book again. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, enlightenment, self realization
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Standing In Line
By Liz Barney

Standing in line at the post office was not my plan for the afternoon, and so when I found myself still shifting from foot to foot after waiting 20 minutes, I grew restless. Looking around, it wasn’t difficult to see the same feelings mirrored on my line-companion’s faces; wrinkled brows, tapping feet, bulging eyes, and sweat-drenched brows all seemed to cry out together, “Can we just be done already?”

The line had been moving along at a slow, but steady pace that resembled the sludge of half-dried concrete crawling down the spout of the mixer, when suddenly it came to an abrupt halt. “Lo siento, no hablo Inglés,” the voice faltered, apologetically. I silently groaned inside, as I watched the short little man with weathered hands and thick black hair try to negotiate some form of meaning with the clerk.

“If you don’t speak English, move,” muttered an older man in front of me, and several people nodded or smiled with their eyes in agreement. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, tolerance
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Defining A New Normal Within Marriage
By Billie Criswell

I was 18 years old when I met the man that I would marry, Daren. It was a casual evening with friends that found us chatting on a couch, pretty impressed with one another from head-to-toe. Even at my young age, I knew that this kind of love was different than I had felt before. It felt like magic from the very beginning. I remember having an “ah-ha” moment when I saw him: we locked eyes and I thought to myself, “This guy seems important to me in my life.” From that very moment, there was never another for either of us.

We moved in together after only 3 months of dating, and our ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship abruptly came to a halt. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | marriage, relationships, self improvement
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Expert Series: Loneliness: Our Greatest Fear And A Portal To Peace
By Joel Brass

“When we are alone and quiet we are afraid that something will be whispered in our ear, and we so hate the silence and drug ourselves with social life.”

Friederich Nietzsche

As a psychotherapist for the past quarter of a century, I am included on a daily basis in peoples’ greatest fears. Which ones do you think are the most common? Which send shivers down our spines? If you think the answer is the fear of dying and death, I actually rarely hear that one. The fear of rejection? Now you’re getting warmer. The secret, private fear of feeling unworthy, inadequate or not good enough? This is one of the most common for sure. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, self improvement
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Expert Series: Living in Your Top 1%: Five Questions to Live Your Best Life
By Alissa Finerman

“It isn’t hard to be good from time to time. What’s tough is being good every day.”

– Willie Mays, baseball player

If a friend handed you a first class plane ticket to anywhere in the world, would you be clear on where you wanted to go? This is effectively what happens on a daily basis. Each day we are faced with a series of choices. Will we hit snooze, work out in the morning, meet a friend for lunch, or stay late and put in the extra effort on a project? We can choose a mediocre path and settle for the status quo, getting to work just in time for a meeting, or make small shifts in our mindset and take the time to prepare, think ahead, and be ready. Opportunity awaits those who are willing to take the next step forward. It’s a process, not magic. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, self improvement
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Maggie Meets The Car
By William MacBride

If you’ve never had a dog get hit by a car, you may not fully understand what it’s like. This can be as devastating an experience as if it were to happen to a child. This is a story about the time I learned for real how this feels, by experiencing it. My girlfriend’s dog, Maggie, learned how it felt even more directly. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | animal companion, relationships
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  • Nancy Flora: I think what you mean is a non-drinking member of an alcoholic family. Alcoholism is a family disease....
  • Amanda: The family is waking up Sunday AM and my alcoholic husband again makes another nasty comment to me. The...
  • Angel: I learned how to detach from my drunk husband! Than my mother passed away. All gloves were off after that. My...
  • Lorraine: Married thirty seven and a half years to an alcoholic. But he is a good person. And he does good deeds for...
  • jw: I have been with my husband twenty one years. We have three children together, ages 5,7, and 9. He is a...
  • Richard Berman: A emotional story well written with bright eye ups and sad eye downs. A story I could relate to. My...
  • Gina: Love this. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for your courage to share this.
  • Tired: I am struggling with detaching, but still trying. I have been with my other half off and on for 5 years. The...
  • Debra Grossman: Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It nourishes my soul to learn of such special...
  • Jack russell: Really enjoyed reading the website. I have also have a website about this great dog.
  • Anonymous: Thank God for your blog. After 37 years of being married to an alcoholic,I’ve finally reached my...
  • Anonymous: Thanx 4 da truth
  • Sandra: I am from USA, i am 36 years old, i want to gladly give My testimony of how a spell caster dr.mac@yahoo. com...
  • g: Thank you for your words. As I navigate through marriage with children (11, 5, 3) and I am a stay at home mom, the...
  • Catherine Ellen Pettway: My husband and I married in 1988. He occasionally drank beer but not everyday. He came from...
  • Nic: Thank you Mike for your honesty and vulnerability. It helps to feel a connection with someone who understands...
  • Robert Goldsmith: Thank you for sharing that very intimate experience and your story. I’m married to an...
  • MANDI: Is this group still going? I love my husband and I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I knew he...
  • Kelly: Dear Keith, I hope you are at peace now. You are missed by many.
  • Delilah Campos: Dear LaVora, Thank you so much for sharing this intimate experience. I am deeply touched and...
  • Mary Ellen Bennett: Thank you so much. I am married to an alcoholic and I have watched him go through rehabilitation...
  • Tracy: Thank you for sharing your story with me Ivor. I’m so glad you had a loving supportive Aunt to guide you...
  • Daniel Fontana: I know those kids,especially Snezana.Please send me their contact information.
  • Neyhaaa: I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. Yet, thank you.
  • Amy: My daughter is five and her dad is an alcoholic. I know we need to leave. We both own our house and I...
  • CPC: I think this is among the such a lot important info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. However...
  • online festival: Every year, people in India find different ways to celebrate the same festival, and perhaps this...
  • Karol: Listening to all the mother’s on here is overwhelming for me. I think about what all of you are going...
  • Vicki Osheka: This is my second marriage and I came from a non drinking family. Didn’t realize what I was...
  • Elle: Wel written article. My husband is walking around totally beligerant. Where he ends up making messes, he has...
  • Maren: Thank you for this! 3rd day on Cipralex and a glimmer of hope.
  • Anonymous: I ‘gave in’ recently. I am more hopeful than ever that things will improve for me after...
  • LindaJane Riley: I apologize to everyone who has commented. I didn’t know this story was still active. I would...
  • Rahulbh28: Dear Members, Please help me. . . I’m sharing my painful moments which my brother and my family...
  • rene: Yes i too lived the nightmare for 45 yrs..when in my marriage the last. 10 yrs my alcoholic lived in the same...
  • Grace: I typed in Google search, overcoming childhood loneliness because I am paying attention to some habits that I...
  • Casadina: I am so thankful that I found this website. I am like others on here and my alcoholic is passed out snoring...
  • Grateful: I cannot express how much I appreciate your story. I have been with my alcoholic for 11 years and I do not...
  • Vic: I stumbled upon this beautifully written article because I just “gave in” today. I just picked up my...
  • Carol: I have recently begun to admit that my husband is an alcoholic. My heart is broken… I am pissed… I...
  • TJ: Thank you for this article. You are the first person who seems to understand why I am still married to an...
  • sariah: I wept as I read your story. I am currently learning to detach as well after 20 years of marriage to an...
  • LaVora: Good luck, N. My experience may not be yours. However, I deeply believe that happiness is our birthright. You...
  • nk: Lavora, I am exactly here in my marriage – trying to turn it around. Rgds, N
  • Suzanne: Hi Martin and Cathy. Watched your documentary. You are a wonderful family. Everyone has their struggles, no...
  • admin: Thank you for letting us know. The link is now set to the their new WEB page. We have our dog from them.
  • Linda Jane Riley: About a year ago I was forced to take a step back from all things related to alcoholism. My...
  • SHerry: Your link to the rescue adoption site is for sale with no other info on the dogs.
  • Marleen: Thank you for sharing your story! That’s real inspirating!
  • Julie: Its 4:50am here. I can hear him snoring in the nursery. I brought the baby to bed with me.. He only snores...
  • ld: I thought I was suffering alone. The advice and comments make me feel better and gives me the strength to go on....
  • Sam: Hi Mike, Very poignant, “There are no grown-ups. We are all children in adult garments” is right on...
  • TJ: Thank You!!! Like “judy” commented above my mind was racing and I felt out of control… My life...
  • Karunakaran: It’s very nice.
  • judy: Thanks for ur writings… it really help my mind to calm down…. where can i go to talk with alot of...
  • Tanya Sousa: We certainly do have to change the way we respond, don’t we Paul? I’m encouraged though. I...
  • Paul Trainer: Thank you, Tanya, this is all so true. As someone who adores starlings too, I know that it is only when...
  • Cathy: In reading I see how difficult it is to be married to an alcoholic husband for 30 years and have now...
  • carrir: You took the words right out of my mouth. Xoxo
  • ceri: What an amazing story of love between step son and step father
  • Caney Texas: Hello! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and...
  • julie: what a wonderful article, she described me to a tee , it was nice to put words to the feelings , I am new to...
  • michele: I am hurting so badly right now, it is taking all the strength and coping ability I have just to get through...
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