Living in a world of hope.

jll cover fix

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive
- Walter Scott

We walk this earth, interacting with co-workers, friends and family members. We have conversations, and spend time in each others company. We smile and nod and pretend everything is just fine.

People think they know us… but they don`t, not really.

We are shoulder to shoulder with them….. and yet a million miles apart.

We wear a mask, of sorts…..

Only the mask is heavy, and exhausting.

And it`s starting to slip.

The cracks are beginning to show,

Just as we get one patched up, another breaks wide-open.

Pretension is such a deadly game to play.

There is only one thing, that helps us through the days.

And it comes in the form of a tiny, little, tablet.

Jagged Little Lies….. available January 17th, 2014.

Lorelie Rozzano debuts her first book.So exciting! It is available now. Here is the press release about the book:

Author, Lorelie Rozzano, has taken her own life experience shackled by the chains of addiction and is turning it into a series of fictional novels that weave first-hand experience into compelling stories. The first in that series – Jagged Little Edges – will be available now at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and http://www.omnilit.com for $5.99 US, with a hardcover copy available now.

Rozzano has created a darkly fascinating protagonist in Jagged Little Edges. Lyndsey is a teen living in a world of hurt and abuse, in a family where she is often neglected and beaten, where dysfunction and addiction are ways of life for those around her. Unsurprisingly she seeks some way of easing the pain of her world: “That was how it had felt for her as long as she could remember. Like cuts, coming first in words, as they tore little pieces of her innocence, trust and self worth. Evolving into the physical form, with a smack to the head, a cuff to the ear and at times, welts and bruising on her back side. But by far, the greatest damage of all was what you couldn’t see. A soul, torn asunder, left with an open wound, a vast emptiness and a hunger that screamed to be fed.”

Looking for comfort and love, Lyndsey turns to alcohol and drugs, usually stolen from her parents’ stash, and finds something like a relationship in the arms of a man who seeks only sexual release, someone to beat when he’s angry and someone to help him deal drugs. This bleak companionship is as close to an escape as Lyndsey can find in her brutal world, and for a long time she convinces herself it will get better, that caring and trust might one day be part of her life.

 This tough teen, who yearns for her happily ever after, even though she no longer believes in fairy tales, is determined to create a life for herself. She struggles against poverty, abuse and addiction. She takes you on a ten year journey as she looks for love in all the wrong places. Eventually hopeless, Lyndsey tumbles ever deeper into a life where drugs and alcohol rule her every waking moment, ruining even a relationship with a man who pulls himself out of addiction and tries to help her.

At the point of her darkest hour, help comes, in the form of nothing she would ever have wished for and everything she needed to be well. And even then, she fights it, struggling against her voracious demon addictions whose tenacious hold tests Lyndsey to her ultimate limits.

For Rozzano, a phone call to her parents when she had reached her lowest point, out of work, money and friends due to her addictions, turned things around and brought her to treatment. She has now been living clean and sober for more than 15 years.

And it is this success and desire to share her knowledge and the possibility of help to others that led to the creation of Jagged Little Edges, for she has now found what she needed to soften those edges that were destroying her life.

“The relief I had in becoming well was actually what I had been looking for in drugs and alcohol,” Rozzano explains. It was in treatment at Nanaimo’s Edgewood Treatment Centre that she discovered her strong inner core and learned how to examine her life and behaviours in a brutally honest fashion and to admit just how her addictions had ruled her life for so long.

Rozzano now works at Edgewood and is dedicated to helping others with the lifelong struggle against addiction, Rozzano hopes her books might become a vehicle to get people thinking and talking about addiction and examining the role it plays in their lives.

“My greatest love was addiction,” she recalls. “It was no longer people or life.”

But once she was ready to face the terror that treatment seemed to hold, her life turned around as does that of her heroine Lyndsey. She found her happily ever after. It had been there all along. She’d just never been taught where to look.

And perhaps for someone reading the bleak, painful truths in Jagged Little Edges, there will come a moment of clarity and self-awareness that can help that person also get ready to change. “After all, Rozzano states, if I can get sober, anyone can.”

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Many families will soon be sitting down at the dinner table to celebrate Easter. Mom gets up first thing to make the dressing, while the turkey sits out waiting to be stuffed. Others in the household might have taken this day as an opportunity to catch up on their beauty sleep. Children wake up early, excited.

The holiday is a time for families to reconnect and spend quality time together.

Potatoes and are peeled. Brussels sprouts are boiled. The gravy is made. The cranberries go into our best crystal dishes. The aroma of turkey permeates our home with its tantalizing odors.

Grandpa is snoozing in the recliner.

The dining table is dressed in its Sunday best.

The scene is set. It’s a lovely picture. If, you don’t look to closely.

If you do you might see that Mom is haggard. She can barely keep the smile on her face.

Her eldest daughter is not only catching up on her beauty sleep, she’s on the nod.

There’s a tense silence in the family room where Dad sits drinking beer and watching the football game.

Holidays, for those of us who have addiction in our families, are a difficult time. We may have grown up in alcoholic families, only to have escaped as soon as humanly possible. Many of us have gone on to develop addiction ourselves, or to marry, or hook up with, other alcoholics or addicts.

We have a sense of responsibility to one another, one that is not only weighty, it can be downright suffocating at times.

Roles are learned. Family dynamics are played out.

Keep the peace. Keep the peace. Keep the peace.

Until you can’t.

In our family there was always at least one blow up over any given weekend spent together. Someone felt hurt, or misunderstood. We lacked the ability to communicate with any open sincerity, or level of trust.

It was easier to busy yourself with the dishes, or serving, than it was to spend time in long lazy chats ‘catching up.’ Let’s face it. In alcoholic homes our conversations can feel more like interrogations, than they can any casual conversation. We are so busy looking for hidden meaning and agenda, that a simple talk, can wear us out.

We all pretend, to not see, what we’re seeing. Then we pair off into our familiar little groups, rehashing the scene later.

It’s predictable, in a weirdly discombobulating way.

Sometimes Holiday Celebrations are simply a time, to be gotten through.

Other times, Holiday Celebrations are a time to be cherished.

I’ve experienced both.

All I know for sure, is the more I work on me, the safer I am for everyone else to be around.

Our life’s lessons don’t always come wrapped in beautiful packages, sometimes they come wrapped in everything we don’t want to be.

Whatever your circumstances this Holiday season, one thing is for sure. It’s you who will choose what you season your meal with.

I know what works for me.

Pass the gratitude please.

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5 Sure signs YOU are Codependent

1) Low self-worth: You never feel good enough. You compare yourself to others and never quite measure up. You feel less than. You look too people, places or things, to bridge that gap.

2) People pleasing: You are not able to say no.The idea of doing so has you squirming with discomfort. You say yes when you mean no and then feel resentful for it. You think people should just know how you feel and not put you on the spot. You avoid conflict but behave in a passive-aggressive manner.

3) You feel overly responsible for others. Other peoples issues and emotions somehow seem to be your problem. Even strangers. You smile at the grocery clerk when you don’t feel like it, because you don’t want to upset them.

4) You’re emotional well being is reliant upon the actions of another. This is a big one. Your partner-child-friend-co-worker is having a bad day. It’s your job to fix them. If they’re okay, you’re okay. If they’re not, you try harder. You’re emotionally entangled in their well being, without any sense of your own. This is where enablers live. Not because they are helping their loved ones, but because they are avoiding their own discomfort.

5) Mental obsession: You’re head wont shut up. You’re thoughts race from one alarming scenario to the next. You’re distracted and unavailable to others. You obsess on one certain individual. Other relationships suffer. You experience physical symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, ulcers, weight gain or loss, insomnia or over-sleeping, migraines, tooth or jaw pain, exhaustion and in some instances stroke, heart attack, or cancer.

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If you find that you identify with any of the above signs, this is GOOD news. You’ve probably known for sometime, things weren’t going in the direction you wanted them too.

The first step in changing anything, is recognizing there’s a problem. 

When we look to others to meet our needs, we only grow more bitter and resentful.

Your happiness is your responsibility, but some of us need a little help getting there. 12 step groups are a great place to start.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 

As Oscar Wide so beautifully puts it. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

May you find the courage to move beyond existing, and learn how to really live. 

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Metamorphism -

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The cocoon was dark and cramped. The caterpillar had outgrown it. Fearfully she made the decision to leave its small, dark confinement. The passage was rough and many times she fought the urge to return to her miserable abode. Determined to make it through, she prayed for strength. Inch by inch, she drew closer, guided by the light. As she shed the last of her cocoon, she stretched. She was alive and moved gracefully. A droplet of water shimmered next to her. The caterpillar lowered her head to sip from the liquid, but halted upon seeing her reflection. She gasped in wonder at the beautiful creature staring back at her.
How was it possible? The wind rustled the leaf she clung to and whispered, fly, for now you are free. 
By Lorelie Rozzano.

broken herat

Those of us who have come from broken homes, or have loved someone effected by addiction, know only to well the enormous pain of fear and heartbreak.

It is easy to lose oneself when facing such overwhelming emotions.

Over time you begin to change.

It starts with simple things like your smile. It wobbles on your lip, no longer reaching your eyes.

The tone of your voice changes, becoming harder, sharper and more shrill.

Your words change too, as they fall from your lips, a broken mass of accusations.

Peace of mind is no longer available. Instead your brain races from thought to thought, each more alarming than the last.

Other family members become neglected. After all, they’re doing ‘fine.’

You say yes, when you mean no and then get angry when someone calls you out on it.

Everything becomes a chore. You no longer find joy in the little things you once did.

You feel alone and misunderstood.

You’re exhausted upon awakening and sleepless at bedtime.

You wonder if you’re going crazy, or going to die.

Tension is a constant companion. You develop high blood pressure.

People notice the change and speak to you about it. You don’t listen. Secretly you resent their intrusion.

You’re job is effected, and so is your marriage.

You’re isolated, but don’t really mind. Relationships with others requires an energy, you no longer have.

You live in darkness and despair, existing in a world of what ifs and if onlys.

Then one day you look in the mirror and no longer recognize the person looking back at you.

As you stand staring at your reflection movement quickens within.

Who is this bitter, negative, person? Where did I go?

A sense of longing and grief wash over you.

You stand alone on the edge, wondering…. Should I jump?

At this moment a word from another place resonates. It is quiet and precise and you hear it clearly.

Don’t, it whispers.

Something bigger than you breaks wide open and you begin to understand, you’re not alone.

You never really were.

Relief courses through you. Plump, satiny tears, wash away years of toxicity built up around your heart.

You fall to your knees, your hands curling in your lap.

Mumbled, incoherent words, tumble from your lips.

A soft, gossamer-like cloak, enfolds you.

You are comforted by it’s presence.

You rise, stronger and wiser than before.

The decision to live rather than to merely exist, is acknowledged.

A visible trace outline is all that remains of the woman you just were.

You still see her there, on the floor, as she lies on the cooling tiles. Her shape no longer fitting yours.

A final glance in the mirror brings back an old friend.

One you haven’t seen in many years.

You watch her smile, her eyes big and round and filled with hope. A tear escapes one corner and she laughs, suddenly free.

The very thing she’d been afraid to do, now gave her the strength to do it.

Resilient and courageous, she is home.

No longer afraid to feel, she walks away free.

Lorelie Rozzano.

 
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5 sure signs YOU are behaving like a VICTIM.
 
1) You often feel lonely and sorry for yourself. (Self-pity)
Although you may not know it, you have unrealistic expectations of other people, therefore you feel constantly let down. 
 
2) You feel helpless.
Life just happens to you. You feel powerless, stuck and incapable of change. You look to others to change their behavior, never addressing your own.
 
3) You blame others for the predicaments you’re in.
Nothing is ever your fault. You never take ownership for the roles you play in things.
 
4) You behave in a passive/aggressive manner.
You won’t say how you feel, but you act it out. Example, you’re feeling angry but instead of saying it, you withdraw into long periods of silence punishing your family members with it. You lay ‘guilt’ trips on others, reminding them of all the things you do for them.
 
5) Your outlook on life is negative.
Life sucks. Nothing is ever good enough. You feel miserable, bitter and resentful. Other peoples lives look so much better than yours.
 
Playing the victim is a learned behavior. One that is manipulative and dishonest. This type of behavior is an unhealthy way of getting your needs met. Most people who play the victim are fearful. They long for the comfort of others, but act in a way that drives those they want close, away. Adults who play the victim, are often emotionally immature and unaware of self.
 
If you’ve identified with any of the above examples, don’t be discouraged. The good news is your life can change immediately. Although you don’t have the power to change other people, you do have unlimited ability to change the way you think and behave. It is easier to want someone else to change, but it isn’t realistic.  If you want to learn more about empowering your life, and living with peace of mind and contentment, I suggest getting involved with a 12 step program, as a guide to healthier living. The quality of your life, never rests on someone else. Your happiness rests solely on you and the changes you are willing to make. You  benefit, or suffer, from the actions you choose.
 The next time you find yourself blaming someone else, or experiencing self-pity, ask one simple question. What’s my role in this? This question is guaranteed to help you move away from being a victim, to self aware. Staying stuck is easy. Maybe even comfortable. Change is scary and exhilarating. 
Either way, it’s your choice.

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Many of us who cross the threshold into addiction do so because of a missing ingredient. This missing ingredient isn’t something that can be purchased at the store. It doesn’t come in a make-up bottle, or can of hairspray. You can’t find it in relationships with other people, or the car you drive. It’s not about how many zeros are on your pay check, or how many pounds you weigh.

Some people refer to this missing ingredient as a ‘hole in the soul,’ while others search for their next fix in things, finding temporary relief, but never true happiness.  

As a kid growing up, all I knew was my skin didn’t fit. It never felt quite right. I wasn’t able to fully relax into it.

Some days are still like that for me.

As I look around I notice an epidemic outbreak. It seems I’m not the only one to suffer from this void. We all do.  We’ve become a nation of instant gratification and ‘looking good.’

There’s nothing wrong with looking good, as long as it’s based in solid ground. However, when I base my worth on what I have, or things, my ground is fragile.

Icing is pretty, but it’s purposeless without the cake.

When we need something to complete us, we are still incomplete.

If I move away from who I am, towards what society says I should be, or how I should look, the void gets bigger, and I need more to fill it.

When I follow the beat of your drum, I never learn to embrace the magic of mine.

Today I find myself applauding those individuals who have the courage to be real.  Real isn’t something that is easy to be. It requires being congruent. That’s where your insides match your outsides.

So what is this missing ingredient?

If you have the answer to this question, you’re most likely not living beyond your means, or in addiction, or chaos. Your life is not about impressing, or pleasing, others.

Go to the mirror. If you like what you see, chances are you have found your ingredients. Self worth, self respect, self confidence and self love are the answer to this riddle. For without them we choose poorly and simply exist, rather than live.

If you don’t like what you see, change it. Our time here is precious and short.

The next time your child dresses in a pink skirt and orange sweater, congratulate her on her colorful choice. Let’s encourage each other to make choices that appeal to the creative being that dwells within.

Our message is all wrong.

Maybe we don’t need to fit in. Why not stand out? After all, isn’t ‘one of a kind’ priceless? If you’ve marked yourself down, get out the felt pen and ‘up’ your tag.

You know it’s never to late to become who you were always meant to be.

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The 5 Biggest Mistakes YOU make when talking to your loved one about addiction.

1) Asking the addict/alcoholic to change their ways when you’re not prepared to do the same: Addiction is a FAMILY disease. Before confronting your family member, make sure you have a support system in place. Al-anon, counseling, and 12 step meetings are a great place to start. If you’re unwilling to reach out for help, your chances of making a difference in your loved ones life are slim. It’s like saying ‘do what I say, not what I do.’
2) Suppressing Emotions and ignoring your intuition: Most families suspect there is a problem long before they confront it. Repressing your fears and worries only make them bigger. When your emotions do erupt, and they will, they do so with a bang. Family members often react to their emotions, causing their behavior to become as unhealthy as the person they’re concerned about. Debrief your feelings with someone before talking to the addict. If you act in a way you’re not proud of, you will feel guilty. Guilt enables addiction.
3)Saving and rescuing the addict: Learn to hit the pause button. Let the addict feel the consequences of their behavior. Only then will they begin to move away from it.
4) Trying to control the addicts behavior: You can’t manage an addict. You will only make yourself sick by trying. You can not LOVE an addict well. There is no quick fix. Instant gratification only enables addiction. Recovery from addiction, families and the addicts, is a process. Your family member can’t stay sick without your help. Learn what your role is. Be prepared to learn as much about you, as you hope your loved one will learn about themselves.
5) Protecting the addict by keeping his/her secrets, or making excuses for their behavior: Addiction is POWERFUL. Families can fracture, marriages can fail, physical health can deteriorate, and bankruptcy does occur. Transparency and open communication is a must. Refuse to keep secrets. Addiction manipulates family systems, pitting member against member. Healthy family systems communicate openly, acknowledge problems, and sometimes work through them. Addicted families avoid problems instead blaming one another, keeping secrets, and using passive aggressive behavior.
Addiction is a progressive and terminal disease. It happens over time and effects EVERYONE involved. Families tend to make their primary focus the addict, eventually becoming consumed by this person. Just as the addict is consumed by their substance, the family, or primary enabler, is consumed by the addict.
Recovery is possible. But it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen alone. Nothing says ‘I won’t be manipulated by addiction’ louder, than when family members attend meetings, join support groups, and learn to care for their own well being.
Don’t wait for someone else to make the choice to get well. Get up, get active and get going. The most caring thing you can do for anyone living with addiction, is to get support and education for YOU.
When you make healthy choices, addiction has no where to go.
Without an enabling system the addict is forced to experience the consequences of the choices he/she has made.
When the consequences become greater than the rewards of using, most addicts will seek help.
Although you don’t have the power to change the addicts behavior, you can change your response to it.
The good news is recovering from addiction doesn’t start with them, it starts, with you.

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