Spring Articles



A Simple Story

Once upon a time… the world was unformed
by human visions and dreams. Land and rocks
and creatures, busily being alive, performed
the dance of life...

And then, it began, slowly at first. The dreams came as small glimpses beyond the rim of existence, beyond what was.  Slowly, humans began to venture beyond their bodies and into the realms of vision and possibility. Ghostly animals in vibrantly mixed forms, dancing in firelight, then yet more spirit creatures in the enormity of the night sky.

And then it happened… human visions and dreams exploded into a cacophony of imagery and countless variations of familiar forms. So began the era of possibility, the beginning of manifesting. These ancient humans were the precursors of the Dreamers, Mystics, Shamans and You.

The gift of visioning is your birthright, a legacy earned for you by your ancestors, earned through thousands of generations of practice. The skill of Visioning lives in every cell of your body, a dormant gift waiting for you to release it and create the future of your dreams and visions.

 Abby Willowroot


by Eleanor R.


I wrote this book to share my experience, strength and hope
on my journey in becoming the woman I always wanted to be. 
I cannot use my full name because that would violate the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous which requires that I not reveal my identity when carrying this message of recovery
at the public level.

I am also a public official who stands for reelection every six years.  My post is one of the most noble and powerful posts in this country.  My recovery has manifested in great personal and professional success.  I am not allowed to use my public office to sell books or to glorify myself in anyway.  Ultimately it is just better that I remain anonymous so that I do not forget that this book is really not about me anyway.  It is about sharing a story that shows that anyone can be relieved of the disease of addiction:  the Disease of More.  Even I, a hopeless, helpless, stumbling, fearful, willful and always right human being can follow simple directions and emerge changed for the better.

This book is for those who suffer from substance abuse and for those who love people who suffer from substance abuse.  I have found that this definition includes most of us.  My particular loves were alcohol and food.  But, I have also acted in an addicted manner to people, gum, shopping, diet sodas, television, computer use, artificial sweetener and salt.  I have this thing in my brain that tells me that if a little feels good (tastes good), more must be better.  I tell myself that more must be better and I proceed to follow that edict into the gates of hell.  I follow it until I have become so sick, bloated, broke, broken, drunk and/or isolated that I am suffering in a manner that leads me to want to do insane things:  Like divorce my perfectly amazing husband, quit my amazing and powerful career, leave the country, take LSD just for the “experience”, leave my whole family and start over like a witness protection candidate, have love affairs with motorcycle outlaws, kill myself and/or shave my head and move to Tibet (just to mention a few).

I hope that the reader will enjoy the lessons I have learned that are in this book which has been a labor of love.  I also hope that you may find peace in some of the passages and experiences and realize that being human can actually be survived and that happiness is possible for everyone.


I was raised in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. My mother has been going to Al Anon since I was two years old because my father was a falling down, sometimes violent drunk. My mother knew almost from the beginning that I was also likely to be an alcoholic. She would lecture me about how I was “just like my father.” She told me that I was self-centered, selfish, stubborn, and never thought of others. My mother coped the best she could, but she saw the writing on the wall and she couldn’t help break into the occasional diatribe about how I was just like him.

I remember thinking to myself, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”  I was seven.  My father was in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. He got sober and then he would drink, go to jail, get sober, drink and get arrested again. I am pretty sure that Mom knew I was an alcoholic long before I took my first drink because I had all the early symptoms: sugar cravings, irritability, extreme self centeredness, genetics and a chaotic home life.
I really do think that it was only a matter of time before I would have to attend a 12-Step program and that she began praying for me early. I am pretty sure that while other mothers were praying that their children would finish high school and get into a decent college that my mother was praying that I lived through high school without getting arrested or pregnant. That is definitely the kind of kid I was. I was so involved in my disease at such a young age that just surviving adolescence was a miracle. My mom told me that she prayed I would find AA for myself and luckily, I did before too much damage was done.

Regrettably, my father was a mean drunk. He was a really nice guy though -- when he was not drinking -- so I was confused for much of my childhood. I loved my father more than life itself. He was so big and strong. He was like Hercules to me. I felt so small in the shadow of his bicep or his enormous muscle-bound thigh. He was also physically beautiful and funny. When I was a very little girl, I was in love with my father for what seemed like years. I would often ask him why he did not wait for me to grow up so that I could marry him. He would answer me very directly, “If I had not married your mother, we would never have had you.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I settled for that answer over and over again as odd as it seemed to me at the age of four.

Even though I knew that my father was a mean drunk, I worshipped him. I am my father’s daughter through and through. I adored him and I sought his approval until the day he died. The first time he told me he loved me (that I recall), I was 23 years old. I called him from the East, where I had just registered to attend law school. He most likely told me that he loved me when I was a small child, because I remember him loving me as much as I loved him, but I hadn’t heard it, until that moment.

A lot happened, however, between the ages of 4 and 23. I seemed to have developed some sort of amnesia about his love for me for almost two decades throughout adolescence and young adulthood. Between the ages of 4 and 23, I wanted him to hold me and tell me he loved me, but it was just too hard for him. I built walls around my heart from an early age due to the chaos and the environment of extreme dysfunction that we called our home. My parents were 17 and 19 when they married. My mother was pregnant with my brother. As an adult, I learned that he was conceived in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy while they were on a date. I was devastated because before that moment I thought my mother was the Virgin Mary. After my mother got pregnant, she dropped out of high school. My father was a record-making high school football player who was scouted by the pros and won a scholarship to a junior college in the Bay Area of California. My mother was never accepted into my father’s family. My father’s mother accused her of stealing away my father’s football career. Later in life, my father would admit that it was not my mother, but alcoholism that stole away his football career.
Such were the humble beginnings of my parents: A high school dropout and a community college dropout living in Section 8 housing. Both of my parents’ families were large. Both families were farm workers and factory workers. The family secrets and dysfunction from both sides were significant and the level of protection of those family secrets ran deep. I was informed much later in life that both my great grandfathers on my father’s side (who were brothers because my grandmother and grandfather were first cousins) were killed in Mexican bar fights. That was the context of my birth.  
My earliest memories are of scooting around on my bottom because I could not walk when most toddlers begin to walk. We lived on College Street in a rural agricultural town in the middle of California, the place of my birth. The little white house perched on one of the main residential streets was a mansion to me. Years later when I went to see it, it was a small cottage no more than eight or nine hundred square feet. I have very fond memories of the little white house even though my mother tells me that we were there for only a short time when I was ages two and three. 


The years keep flying by, especially the happy ones. I must say while I was in the disease process, I had years of unhappiness. Since I have been abstinent, I have had o bad years. What I know is that life takes commitment. There has to be a conscious decision to be in my life and to make the best of it.

I was really struggling in my marriage at about year nine, just before I got into FA. I was very unhappy. I wanted to leave my husband and I was convinced that he was the root of all my problems. Luckily for him, I did find FA during the ninth year of our marriage and I had a sponsor who told me to seek outside help for the marriage.

First, I was forbidden to speak ill of my husband at all. So when I was not allowed to run him down, I was stuck with myself and my own mind to address ways to solve the problem of an unhappy marriage. I remember the exact moment that I decided to be in a happy marriage, when I realized after some therapy, that love is a choice.

It was about my third year into freedom from food when I realized that I had the power to be in a happy marriage or in a desperate and sad marriage. That’s when I consciously decided to be in a happy marriage. I was convinced that I had the power to be happy or sad generally and that all I had to do was either be happy or to be sad.  I knew that my brain was in charge. I had read stories about great people like Walt Whitman who never said an ill word about anyone or anything. I knew that attitude was everything.

So, one day I applied that same concept to my marriage. In a nutshell, I have been extremely happy and content in my marriage ever since. My husband has not changed. He is still the same man I married: easygoing, a bit “glass is half empty” disposition and does not mind being late. On the other hand, I am fairly rigid, glass is half full and HATE being late to anything. But, rather than dwell on our differences as a negative, on most days, I revel in them as a positive aspect of our long and rich partnership. It is good for our children to see two different people with such diverse personalities be madly in love and form a long-term partnership.

The next major epiphany happened when I had been abstinent for about five years and 20 years clean and sober. I was at one of the major international airports, waiting for my flight. I was alone, traveling on business. I recall standing there with my luggage when this overwhelming feeling of grace came over me.

Suddenly, I “got it” that this was my life. I got it that this was my life and my marriage this time around. That these are my children this time around, my job and my house and my mother and my father… this time around! I got it that it was enough. I got it that I would be in AA and FA for the rest of my life, that I would go to meetings and weigh and measure my food for the rest of my life. I was stunned by the revelation that it was just this time around and that I would have more experiences and more lives in the future. My focus needed to be now and this time around.

I kept thinking that I need to learn what I am here to learn now and that I am here with these other souls for a specific purpose and I no longer feel any urgency or need to be more or achieve more or to get more of anything. It was at this moment that I surrendered to life itself. That was the moment that I felt I could stay in my life until I grew very old and pass over to the next phase of my soul’s journey.

This all took place in an airport with people flying in and out to places all over the world. People carrying their stuff and chatting on their phones and reading newspapers. People in the thick of life.  I was in the thick of life and I was brought to my emotional knees with an overwhelming feeling of God presence. I got it that day and I have felt that sense of awe ever since.  I have felt 100% carried and unafraid and okay that this is my life this time around. I am a servant. I will serve the world to the best of my ability. I will take my life experience and walk one among many until the day I die, my only aim to spread hope and to be a light to my fellows.

Everything looks different to me now. Most of the time, I am in a place of neutrality regarding people, places and things. I can still get riled or feel a little blue, but those feelings are fleeting and they’re quickly replaced with thoughts of love, abundance and prosperity.

Since that day, I have not wanted a new husband, a new career, a bigger house or more black skirts. I have been largely content with what I have. I have only really hungered to know Spirit more. I hunger for a closer look at myself and others. I hunger for emotional intimacy, which has always been the elusive goal of my life. I hunger to be of greater service and understanding. Since that day I have been glad.

Since this awakening, my mantra has been: My soul has no birth and it has no death, my soul is infinite, here for about 100 years, in this perfect healthy form, to love and serve

is available for purchase at amazon.com

You may also visit Eleanor's website and Blog at: www.DiseaseofMore.com