I have always been a writer, but writing became most meaningful and most purposeful when I used the practice of structured narrative to write myself out of illness and into wellness. Our society tends to view healing from illness and trauma as a private concern. My own writing, initially private, eventually became public in purpose. In my published work, I reveal how I became a sane, sober survivor. In my narrative, I give shape to pain and suffering, but also to success and joy. Through this, I am no longer the victim but the hero of my story.
I have worked diligently and passionately towards a balanced recovery. I have bipolar disorder, am a recovering alcoholic, and was decimated by an eating disorder. My doctor at the time told me that I was a hopeless case. For awhile, I believed him, and understood that he meant I would likely die. I refused to accept that diagnosis: I wanted to live a better, saner, sober life. I follow a 12-Step Program which informs the decisions I make today, but what was equally important was writing my way through the daily struggles and successes that define recovery. I hold all shameful, dirty, black bits into the light of language, and ask myself on the page: what happened, how did it happened, why did it happened, and how is it meaningful? Through the writing process, I have learned that I am heroic in how I thrive in spite of the suffering.
I hold a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature and have eighteen years of experience teaching at the university and college level where I worked closely and successfully with hundreds of students on their writing. Additionally, I have worked with untrained writers in recovery settings to help them access the transformative powers of putting their journeys into structured narratives. As a professional writer myself, I published a book of short stories entitled Necessary Lies, and my recovery writing is periodically published in The Huffington Post and on my blog, Momma May Be Mad. I have also been published in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch Magazine and Crab Orchard Review, and have won several prizes, including the Dallas Museum of Art Prize for Fiction, The Texas Institute of Letters, Kay Cattarulla Prize for the Short Story, and the Short Story Book of the Year from Independent Publisher Magazine. I am able to tailor a Recovery Writing Workshop to your group’s needs. Additionally, I am available for on-line or in-person recovery writing coaching.