The Zen of Recovery

July 22, 2018


Addiction. It is probably the most horrific word I can think of in the English language. It is the thing that altered my entire life and almost rendered a further life impossible for me. I went from a successful writer and editor to a convicted felon within a very short space of time, 24 hours to be exact. That's all it takes, after all, one day, just 24 hours to turn from whatever you once were to someone you no longer know. The addiction itself of course grew and evolved over the course of a few years, but the cataclysm of change took only one day.

Officially, I call myself "Lady Lazarus," although the descriptor is not mine. I owe Sylvia Plath for that name because she wrote an awe-inspiring poem of the same title. But, I use that name because technically, I am a woman who came back from the dead, much like Lazarus in the Bible. I was a respected, well-liked, quiet, and by all accounts decent woman when I started ingesting large quantities of Xanax for my anxiety problems. (I had no idea that I had a lot more than "anxiety." In fact, I had a full-blown and undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, but that comes in later.)

Anyway, over the course of time, what began as a harmless little appetite for those pink pills turned to a horrendous lust for the addictive substance that became the absolute alpha and omega of my existence. I could not fathom a world without them. So, the day finally came when my prescription refills ran out, and on that day, I literally cracked up. My bi-polar madness reached a fever pitch. I went into a complete state of disassociative mania and walked into a drugstore and asked for Xanax while I had a knife in my hand.

Shortly thereafter, I was on the ground with a Sherrif's deputy's Glock aimed at the back of my head, and from there, I was thrown in the county jail. Thanks to God and the love of my family, I was bailed out, but soon afterwards, the case went before a judge, who showed no mercy to me, despite the pleas of my doctors, psychiatrists and forensic psychologists to convince him of my mental problems. I was given the sternest sentence imaginable for my crime – 10 years in prison.

I spent three months in jail (thinking it would soon lead to 10 years in prison, at least that was my sentence). I died, at least, the woman I was died. Divine intervention stepped in though, and like Lazarus, I was reborn. The judge reconsidered my sentence. I was released and was given 10 years probation. I came back from the dead, so to speak. And since that time, I have spent my days working to change my life, my mind, and most of all, my heart.

If you're looking for a way to help you through the hard times of recovery, I recommend several things, some of which have a Zen slant, some of which just come from my own personal experience.

1. Get into a good rehab clinic for a minimum 29-day stay. This is indispensable in helping you understand your problem and begin to detox.

2. Join an NA or AA program and stick with it. Go to a meeting every day. Without the help and support of my NA friends, I would have never come this far in recovery. Every day is a struggle, but with others in the same boat, it's easier.

3. Meditate. There are so many awe-inspiring books on meditation. I recommend the books of Swami Sivananda Radha and also her teacher Swami Sivananda himself. They both wrote extensively about yoga and meditation. Without their words and my practice of yoga, I would be lost.

4. Simplify your life and purify your mind. The only way out of addiction is to cleanse the mind. The Zen philosophy attempts to help us understand the need to focus on the empty space inside our own hearts. We practice meditation and walking zen, for example, to help us clear our thoughts. By focusing on nothing, we become open to healing.

5. Be loving to yourself. It is so easy to fall into bad relationships, bad friendships, bad habits after addiction. You need to surround yourself with people who really love you, and above everything, you need to be kind to yourself. Accept the wounded self you are and try to build strength through love.

6. Focus on what is true. Break down your illusions. Try not to hold onto what you once were or who you thought you were. Try to build on each day. Focus on the present moment. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, and yesterday is gone. Right now is beautiful. Celebrate right now all the time.


  • FutGin July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Obviously it was 13 people

  • ABC ABC July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Hang the coach for negligence

  • Richroy Gabrielle July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I know the sacrifice made and resiliency of staying strong is indeed an awesome story beyond experience. The people who had helped them are strongly deserving for honor and respect. Long live Thailand

  • ธนพร ศรีเบ็ญจา July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you so much,CBS News.

  • glenn k July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    A miracle….humanity at its best…so glad that all safe…..except an unfortunate ex navy seal….

  • blue label July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    dont play soccer in the cave

  • Oregon's Lonewolf July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    oh, they bonded alright. They will all be good friends for life. So very happy for the success of the boys and the rescue team that made their country proud in the world's eyes. Bravo!

  • Mohd Fadli Abd Wahab July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    good job..

  • Rose James July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Well done.

  • Poonpol Chitra-dhara July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Absolute miracle. Humanity is truly beautiful. Everybody is hero. Our prayers was answered. My gratitude and appreciation to you all. Be safe home. May Buddha bless you and your families, always. 😊🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏❤💙💚💛💖💟

  • tulkas 42o July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    My mom had ten kids. When I had some nephews I made some comment like "they're just kids". My mom looked me in the face with an 'I'm about to let you in on a secret look'. She told me to never underestimate "kids". So now you know

  • ahmad sauyack July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Always a happy ending in Thailand

  • Chan khung lei July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Congratulations and well done to every member of search and rescue team

  • Pathmanthan Supramaniam July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Cave boys true avengers 😀

  • Pathmanthan Supramaniam July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    It's amazing how can the boys survive in the cave more than 10days.. Some angel's helping this boy's. 😇

  • Yoke Kew Chong July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Hurray to the.whole saving team..every one is.important in this horrendous journey to bring all alive..feeling hopeless but only can cry as each child is brought out.& wishing all speedy recovery and never say 'die' but aim high & praised all for this miraculous job done

  • Duggy Dugg July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Shut the f**** and show us pictures of the 12 boys and the coach

  • Crazy Life July 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you all for all your hard works saving the kids, I will be traveling there next month I will totally visit the site and pray my respect to the Thai Navy Seal, R.I.P. and my heart going to you and your family.

    I love when people when they all come together, human-kindness will bring the best will best out of us and it changed evil did change me in so many ways because I have been traveling to Thailand for over 20 years and I know how Thai people are.

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