A new series: S3 : INITIATIVE

03 MAY 2016


As promised, here’s the new video re. the session about INITIATIVE.

We also talked about guilt, and Purpose in Life.

The topic of Purpose in Life (and the sense of having a Mission) is very dear to me, especially during my placement as a trainee chaplain at Chorley and Preston hospitals.

I mention Simon Sinek and his TEDtalk: if you have never heard of him, never saw his video, please do now! I highly recommend it and you can find it here.

And here is the video: enjoy!


A new series: S2 : AUTONOMY

26 APR 2016


As promised, here’s the new video re. the session about AUTONOMY.

We talked about shame & doubt, and labelling.


I’m always mesmerized by the power of labels: we really do believe anything at times, don’t we?

The links mentioned in the video are:

Tim Urban website re. procrastination  here
Tim Urban TEDtalk here

Oriah Mountain Dreamer poem ‘The Invitation


Enjoy the video, and thank you for watching!


A new series: S1 : TRUST

03 : 19 APR 2016

Session ONE : TRUST

As promised, here’s the new video re. the session about TRUST.


The links to follow Brené Brown as mentioned in the video are:

  • Anatomy of Trust at SuperSOUL TV here
  • Brené Brown on Amazon.co.uk here

Enjoy the video!

A new series…

01 – 17 APR 2016

I am very excited, very hopeful and cannot wait to start!

Tomorrow I will meet the new participants at Salus (Withnell Hall) for an introduction, during which I will explain what I will do, who I am, my core approach and beliefs. Somehow the basic contracting of any therapeutic relationship.

This time I have decided, after one whole year of practising (!), of making a short video after every session and upload it on here. So, this is going to be my own personal journey and somehow development at the same time, too!


Searching for Funds… for Research

I made a vow: that I would invest my next 7 months in scientifically researching a connection between Trust, Hope/Faith & Recovery from Addiction.

I have given myself some deadlines:

  • gathering of material and background study: from 18 Nov 2015
  • start of project Monday 11/01/2016
  • start of evaluation Monday  18/04/2016
  • start of write-up Tuesday 24/05/2016
  • completion by Thursday 30/06/2016
  • presentation by Friday 22/07/2016

In order to gather the necessary data for the research, I will need funding for the following (estimate):

  • books £100.00
  • access to research papers: £100.00
  • travel expenses £100.00
  • stationery £130.00
  • access to Survey Monkey £300.00
  • printing £150.00
  • ink £20.00

    time x writing £100.00 : 20 hr @ £5
    time x evaluating £300.00 : 15 hr @ £15
    time x interviews £200.00 : 20 hr @ £10

    This adds up to a total of £1,500.00 for a research to be carried out over 6 months (£250.00 a  month).

The final aim of the research is to understand a possible mean to minimise addiction and relapses in recovery from addiction, reducing also the distress in the families providing understanding, advice, information, and support. Needless to say, that this assists the advancement of a healthy behaviour by the reduction or prevention of addiction and relapse for those in recovery, with consequential reduction of harm and offending. As an outcome, it also provides the advancement of education and progress of the individual supporting sustainable recovery and increasing proactive social involvement.

I am convinced that, follow Erikson 8 psychosocial development stages, the main and first lesson any person should learn in Life (i.e. Trust) is missing in someone in addiction (and hence, recovery). In order to learn Trust in adulthood and during recovery, Hope must be acquired.

The fundamental question that I want to research is:

should Hope be connected to and found via Faith only? What is the difference in relapse time between a believer and a non-believer in recovery? What is the difference in relapse time between someone who is Hopeful and someone who is not?

For this reason, I have opened a Crowd-funding page here. Please, go, have a look, read; and pledge.

Thank you!

Stoptober 2015 : my journey

Every journey through addiction and then recovery is very personal and I do not believe that there’s one way-fits all therapy or theory that can help.

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Well, I thought that this is the perfect beginning; because I do not wish for anyone, after having read my experience, to think that they have to follow my journey. At the same time, whatever happened to me and the way I dealt with my addiction, might help someone. I really do hope so!

I started smoking at the age of 14 and as many of you know I work with people in recovery from addiction, I am a trainee counsellor and recovery coach. And I am the daughter of two alcoholic parents. Addiction run in the family!

I tried to quit many times: I remember already at the age of 19 (back in 1985) I was a guilty smoker and I wished I could simply stop. I didn’t. I didn’t until the year 2000 when I managed to stop for 4 years thanks to a new-found faith in Jesus. It did last only 4 years, and that somehow includes also my commitment to Jesus. But I recognised that having faith has been helpful. It simply wasn’t my faith; I somehow swapped one addiction for another: I went from being addicted to nicotine, to being addicted to the 12 Steps and the Church (at the time I followed the Jehovah Witnesses).

I smoked for about one year and then stopped again for a whole year.

Then something bad happened, and by bad I mean I had one argument. The first thing I did I grabbed a packet of fags and smoked it all, one cigarette after another.

When I moved to UK I tried to quit again with a 12 Step program, this time Celebrate Recovery and I did not quit, but I realised something else that was missing in my Life. That led me to my counselling studies, my self-development and now after a lot of practice, a different appreciation and understanding for the world of recovery from addiction.

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So, what’s different now?

I believe that I am different. Working with people who have been addicted to either alcohol or heroin, sex or gambling, made me understand how addiction works and how it worked for me. I took a step back and studied it. What am I addicted to? Because nicotine is just one of the things that I might be addicted to: relationships, attention… just to name two. I studied habits and how they work. I did a bit of CBT, I tried hypnotherapy, acupuncture, mindfulness… nothing worked as much as working on myself. I can only quit for myself, I can only quit if I want to and if I am ready.

And I think that this time I might be ready. Of course, the whole concept of quitting FOR EVER, as much as getting married FOR EVER, living in the same house FOR EVER and staying in the same job FOR EVER does not work for me. I quit one day at the time; and as of today 22nd October, it has been working fine. Smoking, as a practising Nichiren Buddhist (a happy practising Buddhist which means finding a faith in your Self first) did not suit with me: I thought I should have been more ethical. And working with people in recovery without having gone through recovery myself… well, where was my integrity? Bearing in mind that neither Buddhists nor people in recovery ever asked me to quit.

This time I started preparing myself a month before. I bough some fabric and made an emergency bag; I collected Stoptober material, I printed articles and papers I thought would have helped me, I created my own book, whatever works for me.

I booked myself with a nurse at the nearest chemist and I asked for help, assistance and for some patches, lozenges and spray. I could have started earlier (oh, I was so keen!) but I decided consciously to stick to the 1st of October: better not being too cocky and jumping the gun (which is an attitude that never helped me in any other situation!)

I could have gone cold turkey, yes. But I decided not to. Addiction is both physical and psychological. I wanted to study the psychological aspect while detoxing from the poisons in my body but keeping my mind at rest (I also do have clients whom I see and I wanted to be 100% for them instead of freaking out!).

And the journey understanding the psychology of my craving is mind-blowing: when do I crave the most? What is the cigarette trying to substitute, what’s my underlying need? I spend a lot of time by myself so boredom was something that I had to take into consideration: can I simply be… still, even doing nothing, with myself? Why do I need to fill the time and the space with a fag? Reward was the second major necessity: oh, I’ve hoovered the house, now I can sit and have a fag… oh, I’ve washed the pots, now I can sit and have a fag… no! I have been a good girl, done the chores, now I can sit and breathe. Simply breathe. I have also realised that when I get the odd text, or the annoying phone-call, or the exiting phone-call I would reach out straight for a fag: what were the fags trying to level out, strong emotions? Am I not able to deal with upsets, hurts and happiness without a crutch?

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I am personally (and I repeat PERSONALLY) against eCigs and similar items which mimic the act of smoking. I’ll repeat myself again: personally. I have often noticed how people in recovery from alcohol abuse sometimes go out and buy non-alcoholic fizzy drinks in bottles which resemble Prosecco or Champagne… do you see the awkwardness? To me it shouts: hey, I have been told that I don’t have to drink alcohol but I still like the idea of what I’m missing, I still miss the drinks because I drink in social occasions with people who drink and bla bla bla… to me, personally, people who use eCigs are like telling me: I don’t want to smoke because it’s bad, but I miss smoking and I would still like to have a fag so look at me, I’m puffing away anyway! This to say that anyway, if it works for you, it works for you. So, when are you going to quit the eCig? Because you are still smoking. You might have worked on the physical addiction, but what about the psychological one? What does the eCig give you that you cannot give yourself?

While working with people in recovery I always tell them: *once an addict, always an addict… bollocks!* If you work on your physical addiction and then grab any other substitute to still feed your addiction, identify yourself and then feel safe (the recovery pals, the recovery centre, any 12-Step programme, AA, Jesus, the Church, your girlfriend, your cat or your car) you are not out of addiction. But if you work on the reasons why you went into addiction, what are you substituting with your addiction, what’s the desperate need you… need (!) to fill, why you need something else besides your Self to be content and fulfilled… well, there might be better chances that you won’t be an addict any more. And you’ll have a whole wonderful lifetime ahead of you to simply be free.

Really free.

Happy journey!

Creative Reflective Writing Course

Calling all benevolent lyrical logical outlaws, sing-my-song stringers, masters of curiosity, megalomaniac optimists, dissident holies inhabitants and glotto-libertarians for 8 Thursdays of sacred fun.

At Juice Sustainable Recovery Group in Colne, from THU 16 July 7pm

TRT FYV Juice flier

amazing session: check this out!

Amazing people, so inspiring!

Creating memory boxes during the FOLLOW YOUR heART sessions commissioned and for Juice SRG at INSPIRE Burnley.

*reprinted and published with permission*

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Check also the video below: I got so much energy and good vibes from them, I had to share! BTW, the Jennifer I mention in the video is the lovely & smart & inspiring Jennifer Pastiloff: please check her on http://themanifeststation.net

Thank you for watching, and if you want to know more & get in contact, please do!

an afternoon at Juice, Colne

Sometimes we get cocky… a bit cocky…

I often thought ‘I’m not in recovery’. Because it’s true: I’m a daughter of alcoholic parents and a trainee counsellor, which is different. Or isn’t? It is also true that I love working with people in recovery and if someone sees me with ‘them’, do I mind being associated with (again) ‘them’?

If people are not able to see beyond labels, to see me as a ‘never-addicted’ person, are they worth my attention? And, as much as that previous thought might be true, if I cannot see beyond their past addiction, am I worth their attention?

I have spent hours, days, weeks, months trying to understand my parents’ addiction and to come to terms with their deaths. On the other side of the barricade.

I’m understanding more now, spending an afternoon with these people I am so grateful I had the opportunity to take pictures of, while they are creating something great.

I just wish my parents back then had the same opportunity…

If you wish to know more, come and join me.

If you need a safe island, join them. You can find them at Juice SRG, The Citadel, Colne BB8 0HY.

Thank you, for the lesson I’ve learned…