Global Reset: New Moon In Taurus: 4/22/2020
Dear Sisters and my larger Spiritual Community,
This COVID 19 shelter at home has been an opportunity for me to hibernate and be more creative. I have been tenderly forced in my free time to attend to my own self-care and recovery. These last two weeks of my own recovery, I have fallen in love with the new shelter ‘juggle’ in place while working for health care as a Medical Social Worker. I have also been able to maintain my small practice as a psychotherapist via Zoom. Doing art therapy with kids on Zoom has been fun, and honestly kind of exhausting.
I started or shall I say I ‘midwifed’ the daily online one hour 9am PST (except Sundays ) MA “Womyn Wake & Embrace Recovery MA Meetings.” Initially, the online MA “Womyn Wake & Embrace Recovery” Meetings were intended to be every Saturday. Scheduling these meetings as once a week originated before the shelter in place orders here in California.
In 2019, after I transferred from Kaiser San Jose to my hometown Kaiser in Santa Cruz, I have enjoyed not working in the hospital on Saturdays. With my newfound freedom, my intent was to broaden my MA contacts and develop a more supportive network of sisters in sobriety, while giving back to the Womyn of MA.
On 3/14/20 I was placed on a medical COVID 19 quarantine by my doctor. I immediately decided to hold the space each and every morning at 9 am for the Womyn’s meeting. I trusted the process and was amazed when folks showed up. As the weeks went on and my COVID recovery was arduous and slow, I trusted Spirit more than ever. My own mortality was up again in my daily health. This time, I faced it at the age of 61, with more grace and serenity than I had with past serious health challenges. I believe this ease has a lot to do with the daily Womyn’s meetings and access to MA Zoom meetings around the globe. The COVID symptoms were mostly mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. Even so, it felt like looking at the heavens in the face, as I experienced shortness of breath so persistent and not relieved for weeks. It would wax and wane, but always came back with a make me ‘sit on my ass’ kind of a vengeance. I knew my constitution was strong and I kept the faith.
Over the four week period, I tried three different inhalers (2 were on back order from out of stock pharmacies) although I still had no relief. Two nights I had to sleep with my body reclined or I could not breath. I was turned away at Urgent care for a nebulizer treatment because they couldn’t bring the machine to me in my car due to the electrical hazard caused by the rain. It took another 10 days for the nebulizer to be delivered to my home. And, I have been a medical social worker for 27 years and know how to navigate the healthcare system.
Once I received the nebulizer, I still did not have any noticeable relief, even with an added steroid inhaler. I didn’t know when or if my respiratory symptoms were going to turn for the worst. I kept faith I would recover. My friend recorded a song with the affirmation that my white blood cells were strong. I chanted this mantra and many other mantras night after night. I was scared as I prayed and chanted myself to sleep in the midnight hours. I made a silent decision with my heart, body and spirit to not go to the hospital if I did get worse. I would die at home and was at peace with my life. I had lived a good life of sobriety and recovery, had loved and had known love in every fiber of my being. I owed no one an amends. I felt fairly clean. Sure, there are always more “I love you”s and more gratitude to express. I’ve gotten in the habit of always saying I love you and I appreciate you to the ones I love. Yes, I have more books to write and more stories to tell and more pictures to put together in albums or videos or story books. Sure, there are more poems to write and more flowers, goddesses and mandalas to watercolor and more soul collages to create. With so much time on my hands, I increased my prayer and meditation and naturally my conscious contact with Spirit/Goddess.
This went right along with doubling up on the meetings. I knew that my recovery had to stay number one. The morning “Womyn Wake and Embrace Recovery” 9 am meeting is a great start to my day after yoga, prayer and meditation. The meeting is always something to look forward to even after sleepless hours. By the second week, we had three new Womyn co-hosting the Zoom meeting and we had our first business meeting by the fourth week of March. I was sleeping better, I was beginning to feel an amazing healing and an emotional support from my close knit community of MA sisters. This was true too with my spiritual community of Kundalini yoga classes and my beloved family. For decades, I have felt isolated away from District 2 and 3 land meetings; living here in Santa Cruz I did not have access and so primarily attended AA land meetings.
I walked into my first AA meeting 34 years ago today: 4/22/1986.
I was 27 years old with a small child; living out of my van and camping in Redwood groves. My dream of becoming a Nurse Midwife had been abandoned to years of chronic clouds of cannabis smoke. I was a five star marijuana addict. I hated alcohol. Since this day 34 years ago, my life, my mind, my heart and my spirit are and continue to be transformed. The Womyn of AA never told me that I didn’t belong because I was an exclusive marijuana addict. Instead they sponsored me and told me to keep coming back. They loved me until I could love myself and then they kept loving me still. They let me cross out ‘alcohol’ in the 12 and 12 and the Big Book and write ‘pot’ instead. They let me cross out ‘God’ and write ‘Goddess’ or ‘Spirit’.
In 1987, PJ and I (and a few guys) started a Marijuana Anonymous meeting on a wintery rainy night at Caffe Pergolesi in downtown Santa Cruz. I literally went from rags to riches - figuratively, spiritually and emotionally. I have a life today beyond my wildest dreams. I have peace and a sense of serenity that come from menopause/cronehood, long term emotional sobriety and recovery. Simply because I kept coming back, no matter what. I kept coming back. I kept working the steps over and over again until they were working me every day and in every fiber of my life. The spiritual principles keep me humble and teachable.
I can't even count how many people have come and gone in MA in our little beach town; how high of a turnover of newcomers and old timers alike in Santa Cruz County. This is similar to my experience participating on the MA phone lines for the last 10 years.
This new global reset has given me access to virtual rooms filled with global members of my MA community. This beautiful sense of unconditional love and healing that I have not felt since my early days of recovery when our MA fellowship was small or at a yearly convention. Today, I feel supported by my newfound MA community and my sisters in sobriety.
I was more motivated to support my goddaughter Priya who is teaching Kundalini Yoga online with Divinity Tree. I increased my yoga and prana/mediations and chanting from my regular 60-90 minutes a day/night to 3 hours to four hours every single day/ night. I also started walking again; especially on the rural beaches or in the redwoods at The Land of The Medicine Buddha where very few people frequent. Always by my side this entire time has been my beloved wife, Nalini and our pups, Kona and Talia. The peace, serenity and gentle companionship in our marriage continues to be a sacred refuge; as our love and kindness intensified.
The pharmaceutical medicines were not helping. I simply adapted and accepted living with chronic pulmonary obstruction. On 4/12/20 (one month after my respiratory symptoms began) after a few days of weaning, I stopped all the pharmaceutical asthma medications. The inhaler and the nebulizer gave me a sore throat and I felt it altered my mind a bit because it’s a mild amphetamine. I really just prayed and trusted the Spirit/Goddess. Today 4/22/20, I have been symptom-free for about five full days.
As far as the Womyn Wake & Embrace Recovery Meetings, we now have 5-6 host/secretaries and three other women doing service for the meeting. Our experience, strength and growth over the last six weeks has been phenomenal. We have grown from five Womyn to 31 women, with at least half recently being newcomers. I know how difficult it is for marijuana addicts to get and stay clean and sober. We know how to quit pot, but staying clean in the long term is often a challenge for most of us. Personally, the relapse rate doesn’t bother me so much, as I understand how seductive and insidious this cannabis plant and this disease can be. It’s the fact that most people don’t come back that breaks my heart.
“Keep coming back” has been my slogan for 34 years. To tell the truth, I do not have a choice because I have absolutely nowhere else to go; relapse to me is not an option today because it leads to a life not worth living, a potential divorce from a lovely peaceful and loving marriage, damaged relationships with my adult kids, an amazing career going up in smoke, and a relapse that would eventually lead me to mental institutions or death. Luckily for me, I have been graced with sobriety, over and over and year after year. I have no life without my Sobriety. My Sobriety is my life.
During this time of solitude and uncertainty, this MA service commitment has been the biggest saving grace for my recovery. This is also true for many of the members and secretaries of our daily Womyn’s meeting.
I am personally experiencing this shelter in place time as a spiritual portal. I am reprograming this as an opportunity for personal, political and spiritual retreat. When I pray and meditate every day and night, I envision this global crisis and experience as spiritually transformational for all. The misuse and abuse of male power is out in the light of day like never before. I also have plenty of opportunity to process my righteous anger and resentments regarding how the pandemic is being handled (and not handled) and that many people are struggling and dying as a result. On the other hand, this crisis is a global representation of how we are all one, we are all connected through one Spirit. I must choose what I put my energy into, where I take action, and stay in the solution for my own peace and serenity.
They say blessings or opportunities come wrapped in disaster, or simply stated in “shit.”
What opportunities are there for you? Is this your spiritual portal?
Maybe you have a desire to write your own recovery story, to be heard and be seen, yet want to preserve your anonymity? Maybe it feels too scary? Maybe you're too busy?
Maybe like me, you may feel undeserving to share your story? As a recovering and grateful MJ addict I often feel a bit fragmented. Especially with relation to multiple years and decades of my own personal recovery stories. My personal recovery from exclusively cannabis spans 34 years and a dozen relapses. I have faith in this process, and I am confident I can write my story and keep myself anonymous (and in alignment with the 12th tradition) at the same time. I don’t know exactly how, but I am confident Spirit will show me the way. This book project holds this space for other Womyn and LGBTQIA+ folks too.
Why write this book?
I am a very progressed Cannabis addict. I started using at the age of 13 after one of the most traumatic events of my life. I am so passionate about this project and writing this book is so compelling to me. I don’t know exactly what the outcome will be, I trust Spirit/ Goddess throughout this process. As a Clinical and Licensed Professional in the field of psychology and addiction studies, I intend to reach the mass populations and demystify Cannabis Addiction and recovery from it - that this addiction really does exist. My commitment is to present stories from Womyn and members of the LGBTQIA+ population.
Perhaps this is another opportunity to write our inspirational story, share our own experience, resilience and hope for recovery. Specifically sharing our stories for a forthcoming Addiction Studies book. Or, simply to pass on to another Womyn struggling with cannabis addiction or perhaps a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who may be addicted and interested. I am so excited to have MA Womyn helping and supporting me with this amazing project.
We are in the process of launching an anonymous ‘Monkey Survey’ which will include 35 - 45 specific clinical questions related to Cannabis Dependence and Addiction among Women and the LGBTQIA+ population. The questions will be accessible to the general population as well. These are the same questions we are using for assisting Women/LGBTQIA+ folks as a guide to format their story for this project/book. The questions are being reviewed and critiqued by a few other Addiction Studies professionals before we launch the survey.
If you want to be included and participate in the anonymous survey, please confirm and send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay extra safe and be well as we all continue to essentially stay home.
In love and service,
Antonia Amore-Broccoli, MSW LCSW
(Antonia’s Cannabis Addiction project/book is not affiliated with MA; the intention is to honor the 12th Tradition of MA.)
NON MA AFFILIATED
SHELTER IN PLACE Opportunities:
Revolutionary Self Love & Acceptance Riding the Waves of Recovery Together.
Womyn’s Creative Writing group in a supportive sacred space specifically for writing our stories for a forthcoming Cannabis Addiction Studies book:
Sunlight of the Spirit:
Freeing Ourselves from Marijuana/Cannabis Addiction
Starting May 2 & 7, 2020 (5 weeks)
Saturday: mornings 11 am - 12:30 pm 5/2/20-5/30/20 (closed )
Thursday mornings 10:30 am – 12 noon 5/7/20 – 6/5/2020 ( open: must contact Antonia)
$125-$200 for five weeks and $150-$225 for six weeks
(Sliding scale call Antonia to discuss)
Space is limited and a commitment to attend 4 of the six sessions is suggested.
It is required you have an active therapist/sponsor/spiritual and a support network and have had prior experience with writing about your recovery. This is not a substitute for your prefered treatment for addiction but rather an adjoint modality.
Antonia will offer expressive writing and art exercises. She will offer specific meditations which are intended to support your authentic creative voice.
Please contact Antonia 831-566-4409 if you’re interested.