Put On Your Own Mask First (Yes, You Really Can)

“Nice try,” the counselor said with a kind smile. “But there’s one thing … ”

He bent his head to write on my paper, and I frowned. I’d labored over the words of the affirmation, trying hard to get them exactly right.

It was one of my first workshops at The Clearing, the residential rehab where I spent a month learning how to heal the underlying core issues that drive substance abuse.

(Though I didn’t use drugs, my work as a digital copywriter and some unexpected struggles opened a door for me to participate in the program.)

Our participant group was charged with writing personal affirmations, and I’d thought that mine was done: “I am a strong, courageous woman, living in my integrity, loving myself and others.”

I’d chosen each word with care, so where had I gone wrong?

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Can’t Stop Striving? Your Free Perfectionist Recovery Toolkit Is Here!

I knew I was a perfectionist the day I got into a car crash on the way to high school.

The accident totaled our family’s pretty blue Chrysler Concorde, and I wasn’t in great shape either. Thankfully I didn’t sustain significant physical injuries, but I was hyperventilating, trembling, and generally traumatized.

Still, my tears were barely dry when I insisted on going straight to school.

Why? Well, I thought that since I’d already screwed up by getting into the accident and missing two classes, taking a day off was out of the question.

Though I would never have asked a frightened friend to soldier on like that, I demanded it of myself.

I had to keep striving. There was no room for letting myself be looked after. I couldn’t afford to make yet another mistake.

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Writing as a Road to Healing: You Need to Read with Addie Zierman (Plus a Night Driving Book Giveaway!)

“Begin not where you think you should be or with what you ought to feel. Begin where you are.” That’s the healing invitation extended by our next guest in the You Need to Read video interview series, Addie Zierman!

Addie is one of my all-time favorite writers. She’s the author of two rave-reviewed memoirs about letting go of religious baggage and walking her own faith journey, When We Were on Fire and Night Driving.

She’s also a speaker and a blogger who writes about faith reimagined at AddieZierman.com and she writes the “Ask Addie” advice column at Off the Page.

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