Imagine growing up as a child in an alcoholic family.
Continuously confronting people in your life who were under the influence and behaving oddly. Bouts of anger, violence and confusion in your life?
As a child, you’d probably ask yourself questions like – were you the reason your parents or alcoholic loved ones drank?
Would they stop drinking if you changed your behavior or attitude?
Were you making it worse by causing more stress in their lives?
The story she lived.
Jody Lamb, is a Michigan-based children’s book author who lived this very story. She grew up with alcoholic loved ones and was pained by the family members in her life who drank.
As a child, all she could do was try to adapt to their behavior and lifestyle. She sought understanding but felt all alone because alcoholic family members were not discussed in public. In fact, she thought she was the only one going through such experiences.
She also kept a diary during her childhood to try to come to terms with what was happening at home. She found writing as a way to help her understand what the adults in her life were doing to her and to give herself hope.
The story she wrote.
In her twenties, Jody continued to confront the behavior of her alcoholic loved ones, especially as they hit rock bottom. She also reflected on her 8-year old self, her childhood dreams and if she was doing what she really wanted to with her life.
In this midst of her “quarter-life crisis” as she calls it and by reflecting upon her childhood journals, she decided to start living her purpose and changing the world – one child at a time.
She wrote and published a children’s book, Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool about 12-year old Easter Ann Peters, a child of an alcoholic mother. The story is not only about how Easter survives middle school but creates her own Operation Cool to live a cool life in spite of the craziness of her home life. Her plan includes making friends, being more social around boys and standing up to bullies – especially the world’s jerkiest seventh grader, Horse Girl.
Easter’s mother spends most of the day asleep, hardly reaches out to anyone around town and has become a person Easter no longer recognizes.
The tween novel explores life living with an alcoholic loved one and trying to maintain a sense of normalcy despite all the other social pressures facing 12-year-old Easter. The story culminates with Easter’s mother being sent to rehab and restoring a sense of normalcy in Easter’s life and her relationship to her mother.
This is a story about hope triumphing over isolation, confusion and sadness written for children going through similar circumstances.
I initially met Jody through one of my other favorite blogger’s blog, and realized that Jody was doing something remarkable in that she was taking personal pain and struggle to help others – especially children.
Not only through her books and writing but also through her advocacy, like this video here she filmed for Children of Alcoholic’s week:
Jody reminds all of us that we too can take our stories of pain and hurt and turn it into something positive and uplifting.
1) We all have stories of heart-break, pain and suffering from different parts of our lives. If you have journals from your younger days or when you were going through difficult times, reflect upon them.
2) What lessons did you learn? How did you become stronger, smarter or wiser from those lessons?
3) What are you willing to do with your story? Can you share it with others? Can you write about it? Can you send it into publishers, even if you get rejected 30 times? Can you make a public service announcement? Talk to a community group? Share it in a blog post?
4) Can you start an advocacy group or join one which talks about the issue? Are you willing to raise public awareness and public dialogue about what you experienced? Talk to the media so you can help others facing similar situations?
5) Are you willing to embrace your vulnerabilities? Some of the stories of our past and our struggles are sad and embarrassing. We don’t want others to know about the unpleasant and prickly pieces of our life. The defeats and low points.
They say a diamond is a just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well. We want to shine as the diamond and stuff the charcoal pieces into a drawer no one will ever see.
Do you have the courage to tell us who you are?
6) Are you ready for the world to accept you as you truly are? Are you ready to allow your personal story to help, embrace, and uplift others?
Jody’s story truly inspires me and hopefully, you, to talk about the things that matter in your life. You never know who’s out there who needs to hear you.
You may be the one person who someone in pain or struggling can benefit from. It may be a child, someone being abused, someone in fear or in a vulnerable place.
Tell your story to empower someone today.
Jody Lamb blogs at www.jodylamb.com. Connect with her on facebook, twitter and Google+. You can purchase her book Easter Ann Peter’s Operation Cool for the young people in your life at http://www.jodylamb.com/
Now, friends, what do you think about Jody’s story? Are you telling your story? To who? How? What happened?