Mental Health, Alcoholism, and Addiction amid the Corona Virus.

What to do as your cravings, emotions, and triggers come to a head?

Surrender. That is the beginning. A willingness most have never before been able to muster to absolutely let go. For those of us suffering from physical addiction (alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction, eating disorders and food addiction, and more) as well as many mental and emotional disorders-recovery is possible, there is a Solution. You are not alone! During this Covid-19 Pandemic many of you have been given an opportunity to have your delusions of control taken from you and the beauty of it all is there is one who has all Power that is waiting to heal all of your suffering. Financial insecurity has been brought to the surface, our reliance on our therapists, 12-step meetings, whatever peace we thought we had may not be holding up as sh*t hits the fan. We get it.

“An illness of this sort…involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer’s. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents-anyone can increase the list.” (Taken from the original printing of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous-Chapter 2, There is a Solution)

There is so much silent suffering, guilt, shame, fear, hopelessness, and resentment associated with the disease of addiction which goes far beyond the physical allergy to a substance. In the 12-step program of Recovery alcohol or the substance being abused is only mentioned in the first half of the first step. The other 11.5 steps deal with the emotional and mental disease and emotional disorders that we are just as powerless over. Those of us living in the light of our Recovery are here to help you understand and surrender to being completely Powerless over your disease and there is no amount knowledge, science, medication, or therapy, that can remove from you your suffering. Always remember there is a Solution.

In order to determine whether or not a person is suffering pathologically (relating to emotional, physical, and mental disease), we must answer for ourselves once and for all these three puzzling questions –

  1. What is the disease of addiction and what is a spiritual malady?

   2. Who is an afflicted with the disease of addiction and a spiritual malady?

   3. Am I suffering in and with the disease of addiction or a spiritual malady*?

To get the right answer the prospective member must start this course of direction with:

  1. A willingness to learn and experience their truth.
  2. An open mind. Forget any and all ideas or notions we already have been taught and are holding on to. We must set our opinions aside.
  3. Complete honesty. It is possible – not at all probable-that we may fool somebody else. But we MUST be honest with ourselves, and it is a good time to start being honest with another recovered being.

The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, spiritual in nature, will cure the suffering of ALL of our afflictions which is why one of the programs founder Bill W. gave the charge to all of us gifted with recovery- that for all those suffering he wanted the hands of AA to be there, especially alcoholics- not only alcoholics. Many changes have occurred within the program that has unfortunately brought a beautiful program to needing to be “sobered up” as Dr. Gloria M. , founder of our Recovery Center with over 62 years of Recovery so appropriately puts it. No matter who you are or why you hurt, if all other methods have failed and you’re ready to be open minded to receiving this spiritual gift, then you are ready. Let go of all ideas, methods, and directions you have been given and be willing to accept divine direction from within. Consider the answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you or have you ever required a drink or outside source of fulfillment in the morning?
  2. Are you uncomfortable when you are alone?
  3. Do you lose time from fulfilling personal goals and responsibilities due to drinking, worrying, fear, or other emotions?
  4. Is your suffering and/or drinking harming those you love in any way?
  5. Is there a definite time daily that you crave relief?
  6. Do you get the inner shakes (restless, irritable, and discontent) unless you get a drink or another form of relief such as a meeting, direction from a sponsor, the next bit of good news, therapy session, or any outside source of fulfillment to ease your suffering?
  7. Has drinking or your emotional and mental afflictions made you irritable?
  8. Has your suffering with your emotions, addictions, fears and mental state of mind made you careless of your family’s welfare?
  9. Have you harmed or neglected loved ones while suffering with your afflictions?
  10. Have your afflictions changed your personality?
  11. Does your afflictions cause you bodily complaints or have negative physical effects?
  12. Are you restless?
  13. Do you have difficulty sleeping?
  14. Have you become more impulsive?
  15. Have you experienced less self-control?
  16. Has your initiative decreased?
  17. Has your ambition decreased?
  18. Have you lost/ or lack perseverance with achieving a goal?
  19. Do you need outside assistance with obtaining social ease?
  20. Do you suffer with feelings of inferiority? Do you use alcohol or an outside substance for self-encouragement?
  21. Do you suffer from feelings of inadequacy?
  22. Has your sexual potency suffered?
  23. Have you shown noticeable dislikes and hatred for things as your suffering continues?
  24. Has your jealousy increased?
  25. Have you experienced noticeable moodiness as a result of your suffering?
  26. Have you experienced a decrease in your efficiency?
  27. Have you become more sensitive?
  28. Have you noticed yourself to be harder to get along with?
  29. Do you notice yourself in environments inferior to your morals and standards?
  30. Is your suffering endangering your health?\
  31. Is your suffering effecting your peace of mind?
  32. Is your suffering making your home life unhappy?
  33. Is your suffering jeopardizing your business or finances?
  34. Is your suffering clouding your reputation?
  35. Is your suffering disturbing the harmony of your life?

Note: The foregoing Test Questions were a guide used by John Hopkins University Hospital in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic and in need of the 12 Steps of Recovery.

What can our spiritual suffering look like?  

  1. Needing to escape from situations of life which one cannot face.
  2. Covering up feelings of a maladjusted personality (including sexual maladjustment).
  3. Developing from social drinking and using to pathological drinking and using.
  4. A symptom of a major abnormal mental state.
  5. A need to escape from a seemingly incurable pain.
  6. Hopelessness and feelings of incurable depression, self-hatred, regret, remorse, or the like.
  7. Experiencing a certain vague restlessness that comes from the friction between your biological and emotional make-up and the ordinary strains and demands of life we give power to.

If, after carefully considering the foregoing with myself or another recovered member of our fellowship, we can fully concede to our innermost selves we are either suffering from the disease of alcoholism/addiction, or we are suffering from a spiritual malady which is the root of our pain and discomfort- then you may be ready to surrender and begin your journey to recovery.

  We ADMIT to our innermost selves that once a person finds themselves living in their powerlessness over their emotions, their finances, their deep and nagging spiritual misery and suffering inside then – from that point on, we are limited to two alternatives:

  1. Total surrender to belief in accepting spiritual help.

OR

2. Chronic suffering with all of the handicaps and penalties it implies. In other words – we have gone past the point where we HAD A CHOICE.

All we have left is a DECISION to make.

After admitting to ourselves that all other methods have not relieved our suffering, not the financial success, meetings, rehabs, detox, self help books, meditation, religion, all of our “working” the 12-steps, and whatever else we have tried has not helped the suffering we find ourselves in.

WE RESOLVE TO AKNOWLEDGE THERE IS A PROBLEM AND TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Ask for help: hollywoodandvinerecovery@gmail.com

From the Top of the Runway…

A member’s journey to Recovery in 3 stages, what it was like-what happened- and what it’s like now.

What HAPPENED

I ran from the pain of my Powerlessness and continued to manage and control my sobriety with all the “things” I was doing while teaching others to do the same-and was being praised for it within my sober circle as a woman with dignity and grace. I wanted to feel good and believe it was all actually working, but I was just as miserable as I was when I was modeling and everything on the outside was perfect. Once again I found myself screaming inside.

It was then I began to Recover. All things human failed me, left and right, and I found no relief from my suffering when I looked outward. I felt worse when I went to my local A.A meetings, therapists, my sober circle, my sponsor, more commitments, less commitments, I could increase the list ad infinitum and still there was no relief. I began a very personal surrender, conceding to my innermost self, and I ceased fighting everyone and everything. I stopped following everyone’s direction for my life and began to experience the suffering I never stopped running from all the years of my being.

I cried with a sober best friend, binged watched shows like Greys Anatomy, gained more weight than my body could comfortably carry, laughed until my stomach hurt, cried until the tears dried up for each event/feeling I mourned, I slept, trusted God, and talked about how I felt both to God and Spiritually Recovered people God had passing through my life during this journey. I simply continued to ask for help and followed intuitive direction from a Power that created me, loved me, and had the Knowledge and Power to fulfill the God-given desires of my spirit -once I was ready to accept them.

I received many messages from those that loved me in sobriety suggesting I get to a meeting as soon as possible or I was going to get drunk, but every day when I asked God “what next ?” the answer was “don’t you run and hide in a meeting” followed by another divine suggestion I followed. I had done everything everyone told me for many years; my mother and family that raised me, society, teachers, friends, agents, my fears guided me, sponsor direction, fear of relapse told me what to do, I could also increase this list ad infinitum. None of that worked when the low spots came. I never picked up a drink because God had removed the obsession from me so it was not a thought, but I was absolutely miserable, hopeless, and felt condemned to a life of working at my emotions with breaks in between. So, I was done.

I began to see the lack of recovery around me in meetings, but I remained to pray- it is all I have ever known praying to a God I may or may not have believed in at that point in my journey. I asked God for help and did what I wanted/was directed to do. I did not know that this was me experiencing Steps 1,2, and 3 rather than the intellectual knowledge of the steps I worked at acquired over the years, but I knew it felt different.

Following Gods direction brought me to Dr. Gloria Montgomery founder of the Hollywood and Vine Recovery Center, who with over 62 years of recovery, guided me through experiencing 12 steps spiritual in nature-in their original form. On this journey I safely experienced trusting and following the intuitive direction of the Power that had been taking care of me my whole life. I was recovering.

Accepting I was Powerless over my emotions, my sobriety, my recovery, my misery, my future, fulling my spirits purpose, my finances, my child, my child’s suffering, and everything else, was the first step. For me, this realization was pain that was unimaginable without the immediate relief of the Step that follows, a pain I love hearing Dr. Montgomery refer to as “Spiritual Surgery.” Coming to believe in a Power greater than me that could and would restore me to sanity that is Step 2. Experiencing coming to believe,again, as I was recovering did not feel like anything I had ever experienced before in sobriety.

I spent a lot of time with recovered spirits, those who knew without a doubt that everything they would go through in life they would not only be safely carried through but it was for their greater good. They were living examples of facing unpleasant emotions and circumstances with the peaceful Power of their Recovery, handling those situations that once baffled us with divine intuitive direction.  I spent time while Coming to Believe (several years sober at this point) with those who shared with me their experience with holding on to the light in spite of how dark it gets, and experiencing all of this at a time when I was able to receive and accept the truth of the experience was a certain kind of coincidence only a Power greater than me could have orchestrated.


Once I Came to Believe in life, I experienced an exhale of so much pain and weight as hope was restored. I felt the pain of mourning my delusions of power and control begin to subside and I was then able to continue follow the intuitive direction I surrendered to on the next step, Step 3. For the first time in life I followed a direction that was not to accomplish some goal I expected to fix a problem, but a direction given intuitively from a Power within that I was happy but skeptical to trust. I began to experience that Power that works in us and through us, each and every one of us.


I continued to experience the Power that lies within each step, including the emotional recovery that happened to me as a result of experiencing steps 6 & 7, for those familiar with the journey. Living in the light of my recovery today is a gift from God through the Spiritual Experience that happened to me as a result of a 12-step experience I trudged, spiritual in its foundation. I have been safely carried through that painful place where I became entirely ready and you will too. I live a life of emotional recovery where the pain of my human emotions has been removed from me and as more is revealed every day, the same constant remains that God is not only carrying me through but everything (the good and the sometimes seemingly bad) is all for my Greater Good. My spirit is free. Although there may be many differences, if my suffering sounds like your suffering you can recover too. No matter who you are or why you hurt, you may be ready to surrender to The Truth of who you are and the desires of your spirit.

Email hollywoodandvinerecovery@gmail.com for help.

What It’s like now

Coming Soon!

From the Top of the Runway…

A member’s journey to Recovery in 3 stages, what it was like-what happened-and what it’s like now.

What it was like (Part 1)

I can remember comparing my insides to other people’s outsides for as long as I can remember feeling. As I grew into an age where my memories lasted into adulthood my life began to look as different outside as I felt inside. By age 6 or 7 my single mother began to experience a Paranoid Schizophrenic break and I knew I was right. I was different. I kept the fear of my mother’s symptoms I experienced to myself. Symptoms like living a life as if someone was always out to get us, becoming aware of voices and conversations that were in her head that she knew were not real but was Powerless to stop-voices that began to disrupt her ability to function and work to provide a home for us. I learned to keep all my fears to myself for so long-to this day friends and family characterize and define my life as lived fearlessly, in spite of my continued and constant verbal reminder of the terrified state I acted in spite of. Hiding the pain and shame, operating under the “what goes on in this house stays in this house” began a deadly survival skill I used often.

I grew up in Panorama City, C.A, a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles County. Predominately Mexican, scattered about there were black people, white people, Asians, Indians, and more that fit the economics of the neighborhood.

Long before puberty as I began to experience the pain of being Powerless over my circumstances at home, it felt like my peers were beginning to find and fit right in where they belonged. The Mexican cholitas of our barrio were uniting, the white girls I knew were together sharing their interests, the black girls were bonding and riding together, the loners were content in their worlds, and I began to dabble with them all.

I learned Spanish at a young age but that along with my love of Mexican food and the culture did not help my many Mexican friends make my spirit feel like I fit in. I had black friends in the neighborhood whose hair looked like mine, whose mothers looked like mine, whose skin looked like mine-and there it felt all commonalities ended but that did not stop me from unsuccessfully trying to be a part of. Since I learned I was skin and bones like a white girl and apparently talked like a white girl, I became drawn to my white friends where I tried to carve out a place where my sprit was at ease. The list goes on and on from seeking religion to common interests with me ultimately finding a group of friends as diverse as I was, many of the friends I still have today. Finding this social acceptance was not the answer, something still did not feel “right.”

Enter God

Image result for are you there god it's me, margaret original cover

I felt all alone, one day my mother gave me a book called “Are you there God, It’s me Margaret?” by Judy Blume along with a diary and I, like Margaret, began experiencing a very personal relationship with a God of my understanding. A God that did not come from organized religion, or my mother’s experience with God, but the simple prayer “Are you there God? It’s me Anneca.” and the results that followed.

As the years passed I found my way, found my way to fitting in socially, found my way to relying on Gods direction while my mother at home went through all it took to find the right medication, graduate from USC while working full time and being a single mother, and she went through it all sharing with me her knowledge of a personal relationship she had with a God that got her through it all.

After graduating from a jr. high school specializing in performing arts, I attended a High School with a journalism magnet program. See by this time I learned that thriving and harnessing all of my performing arts passions still  did not fix this thing inside of me, this pain and void I was always looking to have filled that felt like anxirty, panic attacks, armpit sweat stains going down to my waistline, and wanting to crawl out of my skin. So, I decided I needed to come to that solace I was looking for in another way- through my spirits passion of writing.

Within a week of High School, l I found out not everyone entering 9th grade was looking to fulfill their spirits passion and I went to many high schools for many reasons all during my freshman year with each new school worse than the last as far as fulfilling my expectations went. All I could seem to accomplish was getting taller and skinnier which sounds great to some but when you are 5’10 and a tad over 100 pounds by the 9th grade and have not an athletic bone in your body…it was not fun where I come from.

As many of us do, I developed a list of things that I needed to accomplish and if I could only get these “things” done, accomplished or acquired I would feel better.

  1. Becoming rich & famous, which in my world meant financially secure and socially recognized.
  2. Being loved enough for someone to want to spend the rest of their life with me so I would never be alone.
  3. Having a baby…and a dog.
  4. Owning a nice car and home by societies current standards, as they were hard to keep up with.
  5.  All of the beauty and physical admiration that came with the financial security.  

You know…those types of things.

Image result for ford models

A few months and 4 or 5 schools into my freshman year of high school, I was signed to Ford Models and shortly after moved to New York City. So began a 14-year career so successful it feels like a dream. Fun anecdote: the day I got signed I was given my first casting-a runway show for a designer named Jennifer Nicholson. My mother who was reluctant about the entire experience took me to this casting and the designer ended up being Jack Nicholson’s daughter who was my mother’s favorite actor. I ended up booking the show and for my first job my mother got to meet one of her favorite actors, along with Cher, and a few other people I was not quite as familiar with at the time, it was a magical experience for us both.

My life and career that ensued allowed me to cross everything off on “the list.”

One of the most unimaginable fears-and one I have been carried through-is realizing everything needed to finally be happy, accomplishing those things, and realizing it was just not the solution. Hopeless.

God became my teacher and when I was 15 I moved to a models apartment in the lower East side of Manhattan. I traveled the country and world shooting magazine editorials, print ads and campaigns, walking runways all over, and shooting commercials. I lived and spent significant amounts of time in places like South Africa, Japan, and Miami. I traveled to and worked in countless states, countries, and beautiful islands. I worked with friends and lived a life of celeberties, disposable income, accolades, and beauty that celebrities complimented and none of it worked. I found myself still suffering.

After more than a decade of accomplishing goal after goal, my pain and hopelessness began to take serious proportions and I found myself more and more restless and irritable. The occasional drinking binger I enjoyed which occurred when out socially, happened more and more frequently as my need to crawl out of my skin and quiet the voices grew.

By my mid to late 20’s I stopped traveling, deciding it was living in a suitcase that was the problem. I was going to take advantage of the local cataloge jobs in L.A and commercials while setting out to stay at home to write books, marry, and have a baby.

 My Spirit’s suffering continued to grow, and my drinking took more serious proportions. I began missing flights, isolating to engage in a toxic relationship, gave up my career, car, and home, and within a year found myself no longer a single model living and loving the life I remembered, but instead a stay at home step mother to 3 small children while feeling stuck in a physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive household, and my best thinking at the time in this situation had me pregnant. My life’s dream of being a mother became my biggest fear as the circumstances surrounding my dream come true were my worst nightmare. I no longer recognized myself or my soul and there was no solution in sight. Not only was I trapped but unbeknownst to me I was suffering from a disease, a Spiritual Disease so painful and so misunderstood I lived hopeless and alone. This disease was exacerbated by an alcohol induced insanity I suffered from until my deadly allergy to alcohol was diagnosed and still long after I accepted the truth.

My life fell to a bottom surrounded by custody court hearings, jail, addiction, homelessness, DUI’s, a myriad of court classes and fees, and more. I had no car no money or job and no access to any of the meager possessions yet to succumb to my disease, and last I heard from my mom she was on another round of negative side effects she was powerless over, due to what I believe to be medical malpractice by her psyche doctors. I was all alone again. God had left me somewhere over the years but that was okay because during this time when I got out of jail for the first and what I pray to be the last time in my life, to my surprise my aunt was there to pick me up and she was God enough for me.

Image result for alcoholics anonymous

I landed reluctantly in Alcoholics Anonymous and gave it my all so that I could get letters for court, avoid jail time, and get custody of my son back from the abusive monster my disease left the courts no choice but to the find the more fit parent-despite my desperate pleas and late confessions of the home-life I endured in silence.

In these A.A meetings I heard of promises that were appealing to my needs. I did know that I was powerless over alcohol and could fully concede to my innermost self that I was an alcoholic as they asked of me, but I knew something was wrong long before I ever took a drink so alcohol just could not have been my problem.

At some point, I conceded that alcohol was my problem and ended up accepting that getting sober was going to be the solution. I knew I had the physical allergy to alcohol they talk about where if I take a drink the drink takes me and all bets are off. That knowledge, one would think would just mean the need for permanent abstinence from alcohol to be restored to sanity, but not for me. I would be stone cold sober and would still pick up a drink knowing the alcohol induced insanity I had been delivered from and this acceptance led me back to the truth that alcohol was a solution to a greater problem, not my problem. Drinking with the allergy I suffered from is so deadly it overshadowed the original problem that I suffered from for years.

 I did get physically sober in AA and some of the promises I sought. Debt started to get paid off, I got custody legally of the son I never stopped physically caring for, tax delinquency rectified, bank accounts earned, homes, cars, I was back on the up and very busy. All the pain I had previously suffered from was supplanted with staying right sized, A.A meetings, other meetings, following sponsor direction, sponsees, commitments at meetings, speaking at hospitals and institutions, working the 12-steps, and more.

This kept me distracted for years while I awaited the day that I anticipated feeling ultimate freedom I so desperately needed.  My son was to come home with me in Los Angeles County during the school week to begin kindergarten in the school district I sought out when he was 2 years old. I planned it down to the preschool he attended and once this happened I would be free, my dreams and by then my son’s dreams were going to come true.  I was ready…court came and went and the opposite happened.

My son was ordered to go to kindergarten in the county I gave birth where his father still resided, with additional discussion of the quality time spent 50% of the time with his half siblings that lived in Ventura county. I went from having my son 80% of the time to having him home 3 weekends out of the month with additional time during summer break and school holidays. I was devastated and frankly disgusted with the decision making by the court. It was all for nothing. I went and lead a meeting that evening after my court date, got a sponsee and right into the “solution” I was intellectually trained to accept with my then several years of sobriety.

I continued to run from the pain of my Powerlessness and continued to manage and control my sobriety while teaching others to do the same-and was being praised for it within my sober circle as a woman with dignity and grace. I wanted to feel good, but I was just as miserable as I was when I was modeling and everything on the outside was perfect. Once again I found myself screaming inside, the suffering had never been removed. It was then I began to Recover.

What Happened

Coming Soon!…