I see the beauty in the eyes of people even when they're at their worst. I can often see the light that they don't see yet and can love them until they're able to love themselves.
LOVING | HUMBLE | LOYAL | RESILIENT
What is your purpose?
I'm a person in long-term recovery and have a heart for people and families struggling with addiction. One of my favorite words is HOPE (hold on, pain ends) because I believe there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe my purpose in life is to be of maximum service to God, my fellows and my community.
What is at the core of your being?
God (LOVE) is at the core of my being, which gives me strength.
What does society say about what it means to be feminine?
I think society can often spend too much time on a woman's outside appearance when the true beauty of a woman is within. Society, in my perspective, gives mixed messages and can be very confusing. When I reflect on my younger years, I recall sensing invisible restraints around women, as if to contain and control their words and actions.
How have societal messages about femininity changed in your lifetime?
Over time, I've seen more equality. As women step up in leadership and have a voice, others find the courage to follow suit.
How do you define femininity?
There are a number adjectives I could use, but my favorites are gentle, graceful and merciful.
Is femininity part of your identity?
It sure is. Being a person in recovery, who also works in the field and volunteers for a number of initiatives to help our most vulnerable, I feel that I'm able to add perspective that some of the male leaders I work with may not have thought of before making important decisions. They respect my thoughts and views while I respect theirs, and it brings balance to our decision making. I also appreciate wearing feminine clothes, make-up, jewelry (or as I call it, wearing ornaments), as well as roll up my sleeves and get dirty at times, too.
Describe a time when you felt feminine and were not conforming to societal messages?
I've been asked to speak at a variety of summits, where I was the only female speaker. I stayed true to my message and accented the importance of being true to oneself.
Talk about a way in which you choose to influence the world around you for the better.
The topic I'm most passionate about being a positive influence in is addiction. So many people suffer from addiction, and it's a family disease. I love to share the message that, "There is Hope!". No matter how much someone has struggled, there's hope for recovery. The cure for addiction is connection; if we can learn to love and support each other, without judgement, anyone can recover.
Talk about your relationship with music.
Music is one of my best spoken languages. I find music to be part of my DNA. Listening and playing has been one of the most vital parts of my recovery from addiction. It heals my heart, gives me an outlet to express emotion and when I'm most blessed. God allows me to touch the hearts of others with it.
Talk about a way that the "world" has influenced you for the better.
People in recovery have influenced me to want to be a force for good and give back to others. The idea of 'paying it forward' is a way of life, not just an event. I also have amazing friends and family members that have been living examples of resilience, which proves that people are capable of amazing things when they commit, focus and work together (with love as an underlying motive). The power of positive thinking and words can chance a person's life.
Describe a time when you felt totally badass.
Aside from the first time I was able to run 12 miles in recovery; I was asked to speak at a series of forums, conferences and summits when I was still fairly new in recovery. Despite the underlying fear I had, there was no way I'd say 'no' to being of service and sharing my honest perspective on addiction, recovery and connection. Additionally, I now host a TV Show called Recovery Rockstars, and I feel the people I interview are totally badass - each studio experience is badass.
Who has/does inspire you?
I could write a book in this answer! My parents inspire me - their commitment to their faith, especially during my darkest years, is what I believe kept me alive...the power of praying parents saved my life. My sponsor inspires me because she's taught me that I can go through anything in life without picking up a drink or a drug. She demonstrates recovery and leads by example. My spiritual mentor inspires me with her unshakeable faith. And last but most certainly not least, my husband inspires me. He keeps me accountable to setting healthy boundaries (because I tend to water everyone else's garden and mine gets sick), and he shows me unconditional love and support every day.
What is your "superpower"?
Loving (the action, not the emotion) people regardless of their background. I see the beauty in the eyes of people even when they're at their worst. I can often see the light that they don't see yet and can love them until they're able to love themselves. Prayer is what gives me this "super power" - if I lose humility and faith, the "super power" disappears.
At the heart of a strong beautiful woman is: Someone who loves the 'unloveable'.
"Recovery Rockstars" Episodes
Community Addiction Workshop | https://drhaakworkshops.com/
Turning Point of Franklin County | http://turningpointfranklincounty.org/
Samaritan House | http://samaritanhouseinc.com/
Vermont Alliance for Recovery Residences | https://narronline.org/affiliate/vermont-alliance-of-recovery-residences/