December 31, 2008

Year in Review

What a year. I am looking forward to the future.

January 2008 mom was diagnosed with cancer, my son turned 7 and I began trying to sell my business. I was involved in NOVA 2008, one of the most successful conferences I have seen. I began graduate school again.

February 2008 Valentine's Day, need I say more?

March 2008 I sold my business and began working for an agency again. I spent several days in DC at NAADAC getting trained in Co-occurring disorders.

April 2008 Easter was bittersweet. This was the first year in more than I could recall that it wasn't at mom's house. She was too tired to attend because she was in the middle of chemo. I saw strength in her that made me amazed.

May 2008 I attended a suicide training. Okay, it was a suicide prevention training, but it still makes me giggle when I see what I wrote on my calendar.

June 2008 My son finished first grade. I attended Motivational Interviewing training and became certified in Protocol based counseling. I finally found out that anemia was the reason I was always cold.

July 2008 I began several weeks of conversations with a new treatment center about a position with their company. I attended my first Street outreach conference and spoke at the state TAAP conference. My son spent a fun filled week in San Antonio. The entire family, mom included, went on our yearly camping trip.

August 2008 I celebrated 15 years sober. Wow. My son started second grade at a new catholic school. I started a new job as Executive Director of All American Research. Mom spent a week at my house...just like old times.

September 2008 I was buried in the new job and having a second grader. I spoke at the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association conference in Seattle, WA and hope to never see anyone who attended my workshop again. It went very badly. But I fell in love with Seattle.

October 2008 I had a birthday. I grieved. I helped with son's Halloween party at school and had great fun trick or treating with him.

November 2008 I attended a wedding, visited with mom at her house and had her visit my house again for Thanksgiving.

December 2008 TAAP Board luncheon, Dallas chapter holiday meeting, began services at the fourth of our five locations at AAR, holiday party at my house for friends, a Christmas party at my son's school, and five days off for Christmas. Saw the entire family despite feeling ill during Christmas. And just watched the ball drop in NYC (on tv) with my boy in my lap.....

I enjoy writing, no matter what I write about...but one of the best posts I made this year....for the simple fact of content.....had to be this news:

Bill Passes!

After a long, hard fight. The Mental Health Parity Bill passes.This is a photo of Patrick Kennedy, who put many hours into it. This is exciting!

Looking forward to many changes and many great days in 2009.

Happy New Year.


I have been on facebook since mid-December. I am addicted. I am powerless over facebooking.

Come over to the dark side with me.


December 30, 2008

December 29, 2008

Being Of Service

Can one be of service to others while being selfish at the same time? I have spent the last 20 years hearing about and unfortunately, believing that being a counselor meant living in poverty. The reason you become a counselor, I was always told, is to be of service to others. There is always a chuckle to be had from a crowd of counselors when the idea of being paid for the services you offer is mentioned.

I am struggling with that a lot lately. I have developed a network, continued to learn and grow personally and professionally. I have continued my education far past what is required of the license. As I embark on the practicum class for my graduate degree next week I am challenging my views of service.

I would like to encourage counselors to take care of themselves (because burnout is my big soap box) but I would like to add that in taking care of ourselves we need to place value on the services we provide. Counselors are an important asset to people making changes and moving forward in their lives. Counselors go into combat on the front lines and witness trauma second hand. We deserve recognition for that and it is okay to be paid for that. It is simply a situation where we enjoy and have passion for our career and the day to day work we do.....there isn't anything unreasonable or selfish about that.

Keep on Serving.

December 28, 2008


The service I went to yesterday was beautiful. I have never been to such an uplifting service. It was a celebration of a wonderful life. There were tears and laughter. There was truth. People talked about who he was and the legacy he left.

The most incredible thing I witnessed was that everyone shared their experience of him similarly. I thought that was a testimony to who he really was. He was the same no matter how you knew him. He was authentic. He loved his wife and his brothers, he loved to cook and eat. He taught me about french cuisine. He taught me things about AA in a way I had never thought of them. He taught me about humility. He taught me about being unconditional.

I thought a lot during the service about what life means. I think it has to be about what you leave. When someone else is better because of you, I think that is a legacy to be grateful for.

Timmy, this kiddo will miss ya.

December 27, 2008


I am going to the funeral of a friend today. I am sad. When he called me a couple of months ago to tell me he was sick I wanted to visit him and he said to give him some time. He was a wonderful man. He touched many lives. He was sober and he spread hope to others. I am better for knowing him.

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have a great Christmas.


December 23, 2008

December 23

I got married ten years ago today. Things haven't gone as I thought they would have when I imagined it ten years ago. We are still friends. We are still co-parents to our wonderful son. We still have regrets. I remember this day...ten years was a beautiful time in our lives. I had always wanted an evening wedding at Christmastime. That is what we had. Everything in that small church was lit up with white lights and candles. Christmas music played. I married the man I thought God intended me to be with forever. The years that followed were wonderful, too. The best two years of both of our lives were the two years after we married and lived in Europe. It was as if we had a two year honeymoon. Then our son arrived. He added so much joy to both of our lives. There are so many happy memories and so many cherished events. I think we both wonder how things became the way they are today. No bitterness, no hateful words. Just memories.

Happy Anniversary.

December 22, 2008

Bah Humbug?

I am not buying Christmas gifts this year. I haven't even sent out my cards. I have them but they are still sitting on my kitchen table. They are even addressed.

I am not sure what my resistance is. It isn't the crowds. It isn't the weather. I am not clinically depressed. I am just over the shopping, I think. I love Christmas. I love watching my son open gifts (and I am letting Santa bring them this year). I love being at his school parties. I like giving my friends fresh baked cookies. I just don't want to buy any gifts. Not even for myself.

Maybe when I wake up in the morning I will feel differently. Maybe not. Either way, ho ho ho and happy new year.


December 21, 2008

Another Spot

Mom had a scan last week. The doctor thinks they have found another spot. I am in prayer that they are mistaken. I am hopeful that what they have found isn't cancer. I cherish my mom. I pray for her complete physical, spiritual and emotional health.

Pray too.

Elfed Up Family

I used our family photo from last year to create the funniest elf dance (you can too at with my siblings and mom. It will only be available until January 15. Take a look......funnnnnnnyyyyy......

The Heller's:

Several Members:


December 19, 2008

Angry Chic

I got angry today. Nothing was going the way I wanted and I did not like it. I was getting three phone calls at the same time (okay, I know that isn't possible on a mobile phone....but I need the exaggeration for my story), in holiday traffic, trying to make a quick purchase at the local wireless store (yes, I said quick and that is what I wanted!) and no one was cooperating.

I don't like anger. I don't think I ever have. I don't like to be angry, express anger or see others express it. My expressions of anger are usually either sarcastic comments or lengthy rants that I think are way too vocal but the people around me indicate are not. I get this hazy feeling in my head and assume I am talking way too loud when I really am not.

Do I have to go to therapy again? OMG.

December 18, 2008

Half Time

I am not sure if it is a mid-life moment or just one of those fear based guttural cries but I have been thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life a lot lately. I will be graduating with my Master’s degree in 2009 (either May or August depending on how long my practicum takes). I know that will allow me to open up directions that I had not previously considered.

I love my work. I have no desire to change my career path. But there is something more urgent in my stride toward my goals. I want to be more specific in narrowing my goals. I want to ensure the path to reach them. Recently, I was told of a book called Half Time. It is apparently about this very situation. I assume I have something new to read. So, that book and a pair of crocs with fuzzy socks inside is all I need for Christmas.

December 10, 2008

Ho Ho Holidays!

I am like the weather!


This morning when I was packing on my layers for the below freezing temperatures I was thinking about how only twenty-four hours prior I didn't even need a jacket because it was in the mid-sixties outside. My first thought (and I think deep thoughts to myself all day long -- you should live in my head!) was how extreme the weather was...then how that extreme matches my thinking precisely.

There. That is my decision. I am extreme in my thinking because I was conditioned that way by Texas weather. How about that? (I love living in rationalization).

Have a warm day.

December 02, 2008

December Article

This article will appear in the online Recovery Today. I am excited that I will be submitting monthly articles for the online publication. Eventually it may be interactive but for now, the interaction will be on my blog.

December 01, 2008

Smart Man

When I accept the fact that I have deficiencies, many faults, make lots of mistakes, and am often ignorant when I should be knowledgeable, often prejudiced when I should be open-minded, often have feelings which are not justified by circumstances, then I can be much more real.

~Carl Rogers