The Crucifixion is Not the Last Word

Soli Deo Gloria

Here’s a thing pretty much everyone who knows me already knows: on April 18, 2014 at 7:45PM, I crashed my car into a public building because I was drunk. It was Good Friday. I was fighting a custody battle with my ex-husband, and because of my actions, I lost almost everything I’d been fighting for.

Later that night, like all crazy addicty people do, I pleaded hysterically with my lawyer–I did not want my parents, who were 800 miles away, to know what had happened. I can still hear his logical, kindly but urgent voice: “Leslie, I understand. But you have no choice. You HAVE to tell them.” I couldn’t see the terrifying path ahead, but he could, and he knew there was no way I’d be traversing it alone.

I was both utterly humiliated and entirely numb. My accident was in the local newspaper. Someone made a video of it with her cell phone.  It took about three days for most of my relatively small community to hear about it. I was excruciatingly humiliated, bruised with two black eyes, in constant pain, and at the same time, absolutely numb.

On my first day of treatment, April 24,  2014, which my parents had helped me get into, my God-given addiction therapist, Roxanne, looked at me, terrified and shaking in her office. She was wearing a gold blouse with the coolest black boots I’d ever seen. Her nail polish matched her blouse, and she radiated fearlessness. I wanted to be her, but all I was was fear. Continue reading

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March 27, 2016 · 5:40 am

Recovery Focused Writing Group for Women

A VERY heartfelt welcome to all women who are pursuing recovery from alcohol or substance abuse. I’m proud to say that I’m doing the same. Just as you are, I am committed to using my skills to help other women as I have been helped: to “trudge the road to happy destiny!”

I don’t know more than anyone else about sobriety except that it’s one effing day at a time. But I do know that it’s NOT about going it alone. I have a lot of training and experience in “therapeutic writing,” which is writing for people who aren’t necessarily writers, but who can use writing to make progress in their personal growth, awareness, and development.

All of these things are wonderful for recovery. The main thing is that all you need to bring with you is a willingness to try, and an open heart for your fellow group members. Just as in meetings, we listen, we do NOT offer advice. And rest assured, as a highly experienced group facilitator, I will guide you through this entire process.

The main theme for our 8-week group meetings is: “Using Writing as a Catalyst for Change.” We will meet on Monday evenings beginning April 25, 2016 from 6:30- 8:00 with a built-in break. The cost for the 8 weeks is $80, which includes all writing supplies and materials. If you cannot afford this fee, please contact me and I will be more than happy to negotiate with you.

My contact information is: leslieacrowley@gmail.com. Please contact me with any questions, and for info on payment and location, and I will happily respond!

Please note: There are EIGHT (8) spots available for this group. 

 

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New Writing Group Opportunity

Hello dear friends! I hope that you are all hanging on through this odd weathery season here in CU, and believing in the promise of Spring! As the American poet Theodore Roethke said, “Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”

I’m happy and humbled to announce that I’ll be offering an 8week therapeutic writing group beginning on April 20th and running through June 8th on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30. The subject, timed with our change of season, is “Using Writing as a Catalyst for Change.”

What you can expect from a therapeutic writing group such as this is the opportunity to explore your private hopes for change in the compassionate and supportive company of like-minded others. Our group goal is to encourage one another’s reflective and change-inducing writing processes with open-hearted and discerning listening, and genuine support. We focus on the writing process, without feeling compelled to offer “advice” about how group members “should change” their lives.

I draw upon many years of experience as a group facilitator to make these experiences positive and growth-oriented for all involved. I encourage you to check out the “Testimonials” page on my website for more information about this process.

There are 8 spots (max) available for this group, and the cost is $100.00. The cost includes all supplemental writing prompts and materials.

Please contact me at leslieacrowley@gmail.com if you have any questions, if you’d like to register, or would like to pass this opportunity along to an interested friend. I’m happy to answer any questions, and would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, happy almost Spring!

CREATED BY MARIKA

CREATED BY MARIKA

This gorgeous image can be found here: https://bonexpose.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Articles/Spring/Spring-Wallpaper-Collection-by-Bon-Expose-6.jpg

All love,

Leslie

 

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Some Useful Lies About Raising Boys

A professor I knew used to begin one of his classes by saying, “Everything I’m going to tell you is a lie.  But it’s a helpful lie.”  Today’s post contains a very short poem (just a quote, really), and two useful lies about raising boys: 1) you cannot raise boys without weaponry, and 2) you cannot raise boys without meat.

Maybe this counts as one lie with two parts; I’m not sure.  And just to be clear, the weaponry and the meat are for the boys, not you, though weapons would come in handy, particularly anything with a trapping device.  I feel strongly that even if these two things are not true, someone needs to stand up for them because they seem to cause a lot of pressure and anxiety for parents who frankly, have more than enough to go around.  My advice to people who are fighting the battles of guns vs. no guns, and/or meat vs. no meat is this: give up immediately.  There are so many more important things to worry about, such as why there is never any dirty underwear in your sons’ laundry.

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“Blest be the God of love”*

The three best things that happened to me yesterday happened before 6:30am: 1) a line in a poem that wouldn’t come right seemed like it would; 2) I thought of a way to return to a writing project that I keep abandoning; and 3) my 4-year old son walked into the kitchen in his penguin pajamas with his armload of sleeping paraphenalia and said, “Hello there, my friend.”

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The Dangers of Self-Care

Last night I was on a panel about self-care, talking about therapeutic writing.  Luckily two other smart, insightful people with useful things to say were on the panel too, because the idea of self-care seems like a big load of nonsense to me. I like the idea of being kind to ourselves, but take a good look around folks, and ask yourselves if what we could all stand is a tad more self-regulation.

What I am against in particular about the marketing of “self-care” is that it always seems to involve flowers and bathing in candlelight.  The message is that, done properly, “self-care” is supposed to magically make you happier, calmer, more comfortable, and most importantly, a better person.

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A Friend is a Friend

For Sir at 74. Simply the best.

When I was a teenager and first allowed to “date,” that meant a boy could enter the first floor of our home and sit on the couch in the family room. My father would sit on the couch in the adjacent living room, keeping us in his direct line of sight. If my “date” and I moved to another part of the family room, my dad would correspondingly move to another part of the living room. It was like a bad chess match.

In high school I had a steady boyfriend who lived a few blocks away. One Sunday, I told my parents I was going to church and drove over to his house instead, leaving the car parked in plain sight in his driveway. My dad, an avid runner, jogged by the house, unbeknownst to me. When I got home, he asked me how church was. “Great!” I said. “Who said the Mass?” “Father David.” “How was the homily?” “Great!” “What was the gospel reading?” “Something from Paul, I think.” And on and on, while my brother and sister sat on the stairs cringing with their hands over their mouths and thinking, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

In my 20’s I often described my adolescence as “embattled.” I honestly don’t know if it was worse for me or my father.

Everything I know about work, I learned from my dad. I remember his graduation from law school, something he did at night while working at an insurance company during the day. My father’s work ethic (he’s a Super Lawyer, and yes, that’s a real thing) was one of the main things that helped me finish my own dissertation. My work life started with a paper route, which I hated because it required physical activity and waking up early, two things I prefer to avoid. I worked at the public library, the town deli, the local newspaper, a garden center, several restaurants, in many, many offices as a temp, and for several summers, in my dad’s law office, typing letters from a tiny Dictaphone that played his voice in my ear for hours a day. His secretary was 87, had purple hair, chain-smoked, and never treated me like the boss’s daughter. I loved it.

On my way to his office in Union, NJ one morning, my 1973 yellow VW Beetle was rear-ended on an off ramp on the Garden State Parkway. My dad happened to be about a mile behind me, and stopped to help me deal with the other driver, the police and the tow truck. Then he gave me a ride to work. And that’s pretty much how it’s been my whole life: him being there, watching, guiding, helping, and giving me a ride when I’ve been stuck on the side of the road.

At the end of my sophomore year at Villanova, my dad came down to get me. He must have followed my roommate Caryl and me back to New Jersey because she was driving an old VW Rabbit and he was probably afraid we wouldn’t make it the whole way. He paid for each of our tolls on the PA Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. She told me later, “I remember thinking that I wanted to marry someone just like that.”

In the last three years, I’ve been both literally and figuratively run over, plowed into, broken down in traffic, and stuck on the side of the road on a regular basis. Every traumatic, depressing, ridiculous, stupid, hard thing that will have happened in my life so far seems to have happened consecutively in the past three years. Much of it has been my fault. Mile after mile, my dad has been there, reminding me over and over that there is always an end in sight, that legal obstacles can be overcome, family heartbreak endured, basements unflooded, houses sold, depression lifted, persistence rewarded, prayers answered, and that I can, in fact, keep going. And he’s given me more than my fair share of rides.

Recently, I thanked my dad for something he’d done for me and he said, “That’s what friends are for.” My siblings and I were given more than most–family vacations, college educations, weddings, magical Christmases–but we also knew that we worked for what we wanted, and that when we turned 18, my dad was done. We didn’t grow up like little princesses or princes, and I have never once had the feeling that “Mommy and Daddy” would take care of me if something went wrong. That has made my father’s stalwart presence during these past few years of turmoil so unutterably valuable. I don’t even want to imagine where I’d be without him.

My most precious possession is the Roget’s Thesaurus that belonged to my father when he was in college. It’s dusty and some of the pages are falling out. Perhaps someday it will help me find the words to convey all that he means to me.

In lieu of a poem (because he doesn’t read those anyway), here are two of my favorite songs about friendship: Pete Townshend’s “A Friend is a Friend,” and the Beatles, “With a Little Help From My Friends.” In Pete’s famous words, “A friend is a friend, nothing can change that/Arguments, squabbles can’t break the contract/That each of you makes to the death, to the end/Deliver your future into the hands of your friend.”

Happy Birthday, Sir. I hope it’s a good one. You sure deserve it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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