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Jump Start 40: A Survivor's Guide.
Recovery in the Fast Lane ...

Words sooth me, incite me to action, appeal to my soul and show me the way. For more than a decade, I've jotted down phrases, thoughts, ideas, some from what people have said around me, others from interviews I've conducted, songs I've heard or plays and movies I've seen. I also have saved specific comments or anecdotes from books I've read. The only common denominator seems to be that they speak to me in the moment I write them down.

These words were captured on pieces of paper, backs of envelopes and inside my checkbook registers and could be found stuck inside almost any drawer I opened, in my car-in the trunk, on the floorboards and the glove compartment-and within every purse I'd ever used. I was still holding onto some purses I knew I'd never use again. Precisely because they contained some gems I'd written down, I didn't want to give them away. Since I didn't have a place for the pieces of paper, I left these purses on the shelf where they did nothing but take up space. Then, some years ago, a dear friend was helping me in the monumental task of "getting organized" and suggested I create files for these items. The idea was not so much to organize them, but to save them. She created two files: Inspirational Thoughts and Humorous Thoughts.

The idea of the files was so simple for my friend, a legal secretary, and yet I doubt that I would have thought of it in my lifetime. When I am feeling down or lost or confused, I get these files out and see if there is anything in them that might help me get back on track.

Seldom is it easy.

I've watched, powerless to change its course, the disease of alcoholism consume and destroy all that is beautiful in the lives of those I love. I believe this illness with its accompanying compulsivity is the greatest thief on earth. From all of us that it touches, young and old alike, it steals the joy out of our laughter and the light out of our eyes.

And I have felt my soul shrivel as I watched my dreams fade into dust one by one.

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