GRATEFUL TO CELEBRATE 27 YEARS OF SOBRIETY

You don’t have to be a lampshade-wearing drunk or fighting barroom drunk for drinking to be a potential problem. However, there was a time when I figured just backing off street drugs was the end of that forbidden road. I continued to drink alcohol—mainly a glass of champagne on birthdays or holidays.

Yes, well—abstaining from one drug and not another may work for some people, but I realized 27 years ago that it wouldn’t work for me. That’s when I decided I might as well stop drinking, too, and adhere to the twelve-step program.

It was only the beginning of my surrender.

In my first decade of sobriety, I didn’t fully understand why people said it’s “one day at a time” to infinity and beyond. If you’re not abusing alcohol or any other substance and haven’t even come close to relapsing in all these years, you’re good, right? You’ve got this. But that’s not how it works. Addiction, I learned, is a disease of the body, mind, and spirit, and emotional sobriety while abstaining is also ongoing one day at a time. 

On the emotional end, it’s been referred to as the “disease of the attitudes.” Still, I have to say most of us who’ve resorted to substance abuse come into recovery with fleas from narcissistic abuse, usually from people who were also living the aftermath of narcissistic abuse. On top of all that, many of us are trauma survivors who’ve dealt with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse—quite often all of those things.

Under these circumstances, we’ve co-opted the shame-based coping and survival skills of our abusers. They are skills that have kept us alive and emotionally intact while also putting us at significant risk over and over again. So, we’ve been wandering around doing things we weren’t aware of to block out the pain or create a pacifying illusion of safety. On some level of our consciousness, our needs seemed urgent, making us unusually vulnerable. We craved attention, validation, and praise, and that was another drug, a temporary fix whenever someone complied. It doesn’t work for long because, as with any other drug, the euphoria fades, and you remember the pain and torture of what you genuinely fear—that you’re not special or that no one loves or cares about you. Hence, we crave one fix after another.

We convince ourselves that certain relationships are about selflessness and love when they are more often tainted by our dysfunction. We may love people the best way we can, but it’s only as genuine as we are.

Whatever the deal is, addiction is an obsession. In its active state, it impairs our judgment and clouds our perception. It robs us of clarity which only returns and continues to improve with consistent physical and emotional sobriety. Meanwhile, the pressing urges of codependency will consistently override any willingness to be authentic. 

Addicts, for the most part, in our lifelong frenzy, attempting to survive the madness, may become con artists. Often, too, we lack empathy. We are self-obsessed and often unable to put ourselves in someone else’s place. We’ve lost the connection where we assimilate what others are experiencing. 

Without realizing it, we may become bullies with an eye out for any perceived threat, frequently compelled to do damage control. We’re fiercely determined to preserve our delusions and denials and protect our “secrets.” We attempt to control everything, including how others perceive us. So, drama is very much a part of our lives—waiting for the other shoe to drop, dreading it when the phone rings, an automatic response of, what now? And we don’t hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Instead of learning from our mistakes, we make excuses.

Despite having developed a shaky trust in others, we still trust the wrong people at times because those types are familiar to us. We form toxic relationships that can put us or keep us in dangerous situations with severe consequences. People inclined to use our fragility against us instinctively take advantage, and we will unintentionally draw them to us. Sometimes, they suffer from the same affliction, and their desperation is so great that they can’t discern beyond it. Neither can we.

The point is, we can abstain and still be a hot mess. When we come to our moment of surrender, we are broken and, yes, quite fragile in our vulnerability. Our self-esteem has been gutted. We feel unworthy of anything good. We lack the tools or coping skills for dealing with life on life’s terms. There continues to be unrelenting self-sabotage and self-loathing.

It’s a long road for us, and guilt continued to assuage me for many, many years. I cringed, embarrassed, remembering things I said or did, and it was hard for me to find any empathy for the person I was. My dearest friend, whom I’ve known for decades, reminded me not to be so hard on myself. “That girl was just trying to survive,” she said.

It’s hard to believe that merely trying to survive can be so catastrophic, but we’re not perfect. We struggle, and if we continue to put in the effort to become the best people we can be, we never stop getting better. The most important thing to me is continual recovery in every regard. As long as we’re still here, we have a chance to fight for our lives. I’ll never stop fighting, and I’m always grateful for another day to awaken and thrive.

This writing is an unedited excerpt from my new memoir, Grateful to Be Alive. For more details about the book, please read on.

Book description: 

Grateful to Be Alive

My Road to Recovery from Addiction

by D.K. Sanz

Do unsettling truths bring harsh judgment? They do, but the price of denial is steep.

D.K. Sanz’s story begins in the drug-infested New York City streets of Woodside, Queens, during the tumultuous HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s. It offers a glimpse into how a now often-overlooked pandemic impacted Sanz’s nuclear family. 

From her earliest days, D.K. was the easily forgotten stranger, always a little out of sync with the rest of the world—a tough but naïve kid and aspiring writer. Her triumph over illness and addiction includes amusing anecdotes and nostalgic, heartwarming memories.

Grateful to be Alive delves deep into Sanz’s confessional self-sabotage, self-destruction, and the harrowing downward spiral she almost didn’t survive. Her never-before-told story ranges from recklessness and impudence to empathy, forgiveness, and love.

D.K. has since published several books, primarily poetry but also a novel, and she continues to work on sequels and an all-new fantasy series. You’ll find some of her poetry at the end of this book.

Whether struggling or not, you will find Grateful to Be Alive is a story of hope, defying insurmountable odds, finding joy, and a gradual transition toward authenticity and becoming the person D.K. always wanted to be.

ARC Copies

For those unfamiliar, an ARC is an advanced reader copy provided before publication. Each recipient of an ARC intends to read and review the book. Reviews can be anywhere from one sentence to three or four paragraphs. Ideally, they should appear on Amazon and Goodreads the day the book comes out, likely in February. (I will notify you of the release date.) If it’s posted after that date, the sooner, the better, of course, but days or months later is still good. In other words, there is no rush.

Once given an ARC, you are under no obligation to read or review the book, but, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to request an ARC copy if that’s not your initial intention. In other words, if reading the book causes you to change your mind for any reason, there are no consequences, legal or otherwise.

ARCs are free. Currently, I have them available in Word or PDF formats. Eventually, they will be available on Kindle.

Reviews by ARC readers are posted on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads if the recipient has a Goodreads account.

ARC readers, unlike beta readers, are not expected to provide feedback to the author besides the public review, but feedback is certainly welcome.

To apply for an ARC, please e-mail me at dksanz@yahoo.com and answer the following questions:

1) Are you familiar with the author’s work? (Just curious, it’s okay if you’re not.)

2) Have you ever reviewed a book by this author?

3) Please briefly explain why this particular book would interest you.

4) Have you reviewed books or products before this request?

5) Do you have an Amazon account?

6) Do you have a Goodreads account?

Unfortunately, I may not be able to accommodate every request, but I thank you in advance for your interest.

EXCERPT FROM MY NEW BOOK! 🥰

My memoir about recovery from addiction and illness is complete and in the final editing stage. Here’s an unedited excerpt to give you an idea of what’s coming:

The Atlantic Ocean seemed as vast and deep as the aching within me and represented the same somber foreboding. It was the sea of the titan after all—more than 41 million square miles. In those moments, it looked as foreign to me as everything else that was once familiar. One might see it as a green leviathan monster or the depths of God’s love. I saw the monster, noting it could simply devour you, but so could the earth, and life itself.
I was on the sandy shores of Rockaway Beach, somewhere about 108th street, sitting cross-legged, on my beach blanket, playing with a stick in the sand. Aggressive seagulls descended effortlessly from the clear blue sky—ravenous, and predatory, like some humans I knew. The calls of piping plovers and other shorebirds were ominous, too.
The warmth of the sun felt good though as I took in the ocean’s briny aroma mingled with the fragrances of cocoa butter, coconut oil, and glorious traces of jasmine. The ocean breeze provided a hypnotic tranquility, so much so that as the salty waves thrashed against the shore, I’d managed to believe that somehow, someday, it would all be okay. The music on my radio soothed me then, pretty much the way it always did, and I listened to the laughter of yesterday.
I was sixteen now, and when men approached my blanket, I immediately told them, “I’m leaving in two minutes.”
By this time, I didn’t want to meet any more people.

D.K. Sanz ~ from my upcoming memoir

Please Note: Before its anticipated release in February of 2023, I will provide readers with a certain number of ARCs. (February is a tentative release goal.)

For those unfamiliar, an ARC is an advanced reader copy provided before publication. Each recipient of an ARC intends to read and review the book. Once given an ARC, you are under no obligation to do either, but, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to request an ARC copy if that’s not your initial intention. In other words, if reading the book causes you to change your mind for any reason, there are no consequences, legal or otherwise.

ARCs are free. Currently, I have them available in Word or PDF formats. Eventually, they will be available on Kindle.

Reviews by ARC readers are posted on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads if the recipient has a Goodreads account.

ARC readers, unlike beta readers, are not expected to provide feedback to the author besides the public review, but feedback is certainly welcome.

To apply, please e-mail me at dksanz@yahoo.com and answer the following questions:

1) Are you familiar with the author’s work? (Just curious, it’s okay if you’re not.)

2) Have you ever reviewed a book by this author?

3) Please briefly explain why this particular book would interest you.

4) Have you reviewed books or products before this request?

5) Do you have an Amazon account?

6) Do you have a Goodreads account?

Unfortunately, I may not be able to accommodate every request, but I thank you in advance for your interest.

Feature photo at the top by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Woman Reading Book photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash

Happy Holidays image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay 

Happy New Year image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay Yellow Rose image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

SAME OLD NEIGHBORHOOD

My new book, “Awake With The Songbirds,” which includes the above poem and many more, will be available by the end of next week. I’m so excited!

Please let me know if you are interested in obtaining an advanced review copy or if you’d like me to notify you about any upcoming giveaways. There will be a few chances to win a copy in the forthcoming months!

THE TRUTH CAN BE DEVASTATING, FRIGHTENING, AND DEADLY!

shattering_truths_front_for_amazon_bn_kobo

Young/New Adult-Dark Suspense-Literary Fiction

She was left fighting her demons alone . . .

For sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso, the old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Coping with mental health challenges exacerbated by a traumatic family dynamic, Danielle watches from the window for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls. The two predators drugged her and her cousin, Angie, and then lured them from Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport to a secluded cottage on Long Beach West. She remembers feeling dizzy, the room spinning. She recalls screaming, crying, fighting, and then slipping in and out of consciousness. Angie, however, has no recollection of the incident.

When Danielle attempts to jog Angie’s memory and convince their best friend, Farran, that the two strangers had victimized them, no one seems to believe her. Alone in her pain, Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn. Soon she is sinking deeper into a tumultuous world of adolescent isolation and change. Grief, guilt, and anger send her spiraling into an even darker place.

Tormented by terrifying nightmares, she fears she will lose her sanity, or possibly her soul. Is she having post-traumatic stress hallucinations, as one of her friends suggest, or are her recurring nightmares as real as they seem? Trapped in an unyielding emotional bondage, Danielle continues the fight to reclaim her power. Startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naïve girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.

“A dark, alluring and fascinating book about a girl trying to crawl out of the darkness and despair and grow in strength and spirit.” –Books Are Love

“A gripping and emotional story about trauma and abuse…” – Elizabeth Greschner

“…an emotional roller coaster…” –Love Books

“…a startingly intense look into the lives of the young teens in present day America!” –Deepak Menon

“This book will catch you right in from the start.” –Peggy

“…a powerful story right from the start.” –Joanne Dore

“I can’t wait for her next book because now I’m hooked!” –Lori Stanley

“I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.” –Denise Buttino Terrell

Available on:

Amazon
(If you buy the paperback on Amazon, you can get the $2.99 Kindle edition for $.99.)

Barnes & Noble
(for paperback & Nook versions)

iTunes
(for iBooks on your Mac or iOS device)

Free review copies are also available. If you’d like to review this book, please contact me for your complimentary copy.

Here is a preview of the first chapter:

CHAPTER ONE
Connecticut, Summer of 1987

There was no blood. I was dead inside, but not bleeding. Zipping my shorts in a daze, I focused on the brown and gold hues of the wall tiles. I washed my hands over the sink, avoiding my reflection. The hexagon-shaped mirror was antique and gilded. I now felt debased in its presence as well as in these familiar surroundings. After turning off the faucet, I stood there for a moment, and then hastened to my room.
The brass bed, dressed in white eyelet sheets and frilly pink bedding, was an update of my choosing. The nativity scene plaque on the wall above it had been there throughout my childhood—Mother Mary in a protective stance over Baby Jesus. I suppose the intention was to comfort and protect me. Still, I lined the bed with stuffed teddy bears and kept a sixteen-inch porcelain doll with golden hair and dark blue eyes on my white dresser. She wore a pink Victorian dress with lace trim and glimmering beads and a hat to match. I picked her up now and held her tightly to my chest. A tear fell as I snuggled her to me for as long as I could. After setting her down, I approached the window.
I could see far from these foothills. A woodlot of mixed forest surrounded our home. In one direction, I saw the Hartford skyline—in another, steep, rolling hills in their divine and blissful glory. My room faced the direction of Old Buckingham, not half a mile away. The ancient cemetery was set back from the road, just beyond a fortress of trees. We heard stories of weeping spirits, distant cries of agony, and diaphanous circles of white light floating above and between the tombstones. I never knew whether people convinced themselves of these things or merely embellished the truth. One thing I knew did happen: Fierce hurricane winds had nearly destroyed the little church on its grounds.
Much as I loved this house, it was an eerie place to grow up. That had little to do with ghost stories. I would lie awake in my bed at night, listening to the sounds of darkness—imagining that the hoarse caw of the crows warned of impending doom. I got this sense of urgency from yapping dogs, yelping coyotes, and the ear-piercing whistles of the woodchucks. Some nights, even the benign chirping of crickets grew louder and more intense with each moment.
I prayed, always.
Watching from the window now, I felt like some reclusive old person who got all the neighbors whispering. I watched for a dusty black Cutlass Supreme, needing to make certain it was nowhere in sight.
The phone rang, and I panicked. My father had mounted it to the wall between my room and the master bedroom, so I had to leave the room to answer it.
“Hello, Danielle,” the voice cooed.
Sickened to my core, I hung up.
It rang again, the innocuous ivory phone that seemed suddenly possessed. I wanted to rip it off the wall.
I lifted the receiver.
“Don’t hang up.” It was the other guy.
“Stop calling here!” I ended the call with a slam.
They had the gall to utter my name! They sounded so casual, so elated—as if the atrocity I had endured earlier that day had been mutually rewarding. Granted, it could have been worse, and yet a part of me had died. More unsettling still, they knew where to find me.

***

Shattering Truths, was originally published in January of 2016 under the title Provenance of Bondage. The re-release has a lot of new material but is a bit shorter than the original, since I decided to cut some of it as well. I’m very happy with the new version, and I think readers will be, too!

***

© Copyright January 30, 2017 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Shattering Truths Cover by KH Koehler Design