The journey to create Inward Grace began in community mental health, where I specialized in behavioral health and substance use disorders. As a dual diagnosis clinician, I witnessed many clients suffer mental health and addiction issues cycle through the “system” over and over. These clients were routinely prescribed medications to ease their anxiety, depression and/or to regulate their mood. Still, even with medication(s) and therapy, the suffering continued with many clients experiencing deep despair. These clients desperately wanted their life to change, hoped an external source, i.e., a clinician, medication, inpatient treatment, some outside factor would “fix” their lives. Please understand, the treatment options mentioned may help and at times be life-saving, however something deeper was needed for any lasting change to occur.
In private and non-profit settings, I’ve observed untreated substance use disorders as a common cause of those seeking mental health assistance. Often those affected by addiction are unable to admit the scope of their addiction or the inner turmoil and the sadness they feel to their family, friends. This emotional state holds them captive until something changes…
Mysteriously, in the midst of addiction and/or alcoholism, the sufferer will somehow “surrender”, and a willingness appears, an openness to try something different. This unexpected readiness most often occurs during a major crisis, such as the loss of an important relationship or employment, a serious illness, a criminal arrest. In the midst of this upheaval, a portal opens, and a willingness previously unknown finds its way into the consciousness, some call this grace, I know I do.
As a recovered alcoholic, I recognize alcoholism as a spiritual malady and addiction as a symptom. My untreated alcoholism created a deep selfishness, a self-centeredness, a dishonesty generated by fear. Before recovery, I moved through my days, full of resentment and deep sadness, I was, as stated in the Big Book of AA, “restless, irritable and discontent.” Fueled by my own angry willfulness, my creativity was unreachable. Finally, I turned to behavioral health therapy for my depression. Thankfully, my intuitive therapist pointed me toward Alcoholics Anonymous. Slowly, a small amount of willingness (grace) appeared and I accepted the Twelve Steps of Recovery. I learned within the twelve codified proposals, a personal self-appraisal was needed to find the root cause of my problem. Little by little, I accepted my troubles as spiritual in nature and my alcoholism as a symptom of a deeper spiritual malady. With the support and guidance of a recovered alcoholic; together we addressed the years of old resentments and fear. With a fervent longing, my fear and anger faded away and was replaced by acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness for myself and others.
In 2011, upon completion of the Contemplative Clinical Practice Certification Program at Smith College, I considered contemplative guidance as important to my clinical practice and slowly envisioned a deeper offering apart from the mental health system. In 2015, I opened a small private offering, Inward Grace and have found those who appear are ready to consider asking for help to Something Greater than themselves. Then, in 2019, I returned to spiritual studies and completed the Contemplative Spiritual Director Program at the Alcyon Center in Seal Cove, Maine, an amazing program for those seeking a deeper connection with the Divine and its many disguises.
Now, with the support of caring friends and connection with spiritual advisors, the path continues with Inward Grace, a heart open, contemplative resource for those who seek connection with the Divine Source woven throughout this universe and beyond. Love was the answer all along.
*The word ‘spiritual’ does not refer to religious matters. All activity which drives the human being forward towards some form of development-physical, emotional, mental, intuitional, social-if it is in advance of her/his present state, is essentially spiritual in nature and is indicative of the livingness of an inner divine entity.