January 25, 2020
January 18, 2020 1 Comment
January 11, 2020
January 04, 2020 3 Comments
I was a good student in every way. I was popular, athletic, and I succeeded in achieving anything I put my mind to. My parents had a messy divorce. Then, we lost our home. It was a difficult time in our lives.
After college, I decided to pursue pharmacy studies at NOVA (Florida). Not long after, I was married. The next seven years were the most toxic years of my life. I became addicted to pain medication and other drugs. My life quickly spiraled out of control. My husband had his own problems, but I must take responsibility for my actions, and I was the one getting into a lot of trouble.
I lost my job, and my husband finally divorced me. Six months after my divorce, I stopped taking all drugs. One month later, I woke up in the hospital. I had been on life support a full week. I had kidney failure. No one could figure out exactly what happened to me. At this point, I knew that I wanted to live. I also knew I wouldn’t if I didn’t make some radical changes to my life. I chose life and would do what it took to preserve it.
I was lying in my hospital bed; my eyes were closed, and I saw a candle with a flicker of light. Somehow, I felt it was a message of hope. I felt that I would be okay.
Getting clean was so challenging, even for someone who had succeeding in doing anything she wanted in the past. I surrendered at that point to a higher power. I agreed to be teachable. I agreed to do things outside my comfort zone.
My name is Chara Horton Free. This is my Kintsugi Story.
I was sent to a therapeutical center in Tampa to relearn how to live. I wanted to live. I was no longer in denial. When things got better, I moved in with my parents. My mother had remarried, and my stepfather treated me like a daughter. I was 29 years old.
Things began to improve. I took a job with the state. Being a pharmacist, it was difficult to find a job where I was not near drugs. With the state, I was able to get a desk job, and I also worked in the field. I was on a healthy path.
In 2004, I met another tall, dark, and handsome man. He was a doctor. After a month and a half, I found out that he had been nine years in sobriety. Both my mother and I felt that this was a good thing, as we really understood one another. We were in love. Soon, he was my second husband. I got pregnant with my son. My husband's practice was not doing well, and he left that job, and together we started our own practice. It was our family business. I got pregnant with my second son. This is when life changed again.
I found pain medication in his briefcase. His actions began to make sense to me. Now, all the fights and irrational behavior was explained. I also knew all bets were off. After confronting him, I found out that he had relapsed two years earlier, before our first son was born. I could not believe what was happening to us.
Two hard years led me to consider a divorce. My brother-in-law asked me to stay, to not give up. He believed my husband would not make it without his family, and so I did an intervention. I went to my sister’s home (until he was gone) with my two kids so we would be safe. My boys were only one and three years old.
The Tsunami Hit My Life
My husband decided that life was not worth living, and he never came home after that. He did not want or could not do the work required to reclaim his life. We had a business with three thousand patients; he was the doctor, and he was not coming back. I had to close the practice, close the house, move, and I lost everything. I went bankrupt personally and professionally. I moved near my sister. I hoped that she would give me much needed support, and I would find a job in a town with more options for work.
My children had lost their dad, their home, and their friends. In a way, they then lost their mom because I was working 50 hours a week just to stay afloat. On top of all of that, my youngest son has autism, and I was trying to stay sober. I kept repeating: One day at a time. Just one day at a time. I cried rivers, and I was not quite sure I would make it.
Strengthening my Spirit
I was a tornado, and my sister wanted no part in it. So, despite moving to be near her for support, we became distant or estranged. I was also away from the town I loved. I was utterly alone and realized that I would have to be there for myself. I could not blame my sister. My situation triggered trauma.
Our parents had a dark divorce. Our mother was a pharmacist, as I was. Our father was a doctor, like my husband. I lost my home just as we did as children. It was understandable that my pain was bringing too much of her own to the surface.
My husband was institutionalized, but since he didn’t want to do the required work he was kicked out of that facility. There were too many people who sought to live that needed his place. I managed to make arrangements for him to go to the facility I had been at years prior to get clean. In light of our relationship, they took him free of charge. This was a miracle! There he tried to kill himself, and so he was put into the proverbial system.
The divorce was imminent. He was in an adult home and earning disability income. He was doing what he could to undermine me, despite the fact that I desired to help him. So, I moved back to the east coast, and finally I met someone else online. I thought he was fantastic. Tall dark, and handsome, he was working in banking. He fit the profile of a person I supposed could make me happy.
Not so simple…
In October of 2013, 10 years after my first divorce, my first husband committed suicide. I hadn’t been in Boca Raton, where I lived at that time, for 15 years. I went to the funeral, saw our home, and literally closed that chapter of my life. It was not easy.
In September of 2014, less than a year later, my second husband committed suicide.
I had to take care of everything. He barely had any family, and I was alone as well. It was probably one of the hardest days of my life. My youngest son could not look at his father, and my other son helped carry the cascade. I had a hard time looking at that.
Soon after, my new relationship fell apart. He was not the person I thought he was when I met him. I was tired of that pattern.
It was now 2015. I had begun practicing certain meditative principals years earlier that helped me get through this time. I was writing down the silver lining of each day, my gratitude. I made a point to record and acknowledge my moments of joy. I had experienced so much loss.
At that point in time, I comprehended that Joy was something very vital for me: not only to live in Joy but to spread joy. I heard an inner voice, and I felt that it was my calling. I was receiving another message, and I could see a future for myself and my kids. I was filled with hope.
I moved again. I rented a house at the beach. My credit was so bad that I could not buy the house I wanted. This is where things started to change for the better.
Since then, I lost my dear step-father. I had a hip replacement. I lost my job due to a company acquisition, and I was forced into working on what I feel is my calling. I write what is in my heart. I am working and finding my own way to spread joy into this world. I never felt stronger or in a better state of mind.
I am writing a novel and I am working on my photography. I go out with my dog, who is called Joy. I pray with my children every night, and I feel an abundance of prosperity, not necessarily monetary prosperity but the kind that really matters.
I am a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I stayed sober and clean for these 16 years, throughout all the loss and heartache and disappointments because I really chose life. I hope my rollercoaster story shows you that there is hope. In the darkest of places, there is a flame that is burning, and it is never too late.
My name is Chara Horton Free, and I am Kintsugi.
Please leave your loving comments on the blog. If you have a story you would like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need assistance with Drug Abuse please call:SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Or click here for clinic locators: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
December 28, 2019
December 21, 2019 5 Comments
December 14, 2019
December 07, 2019 1 Comment
I was crying, and I told my husband,
"I mourn the death of me."
"Why is everything so out of control?"
"I hate what I see in the mirror."
"Why am I so upset about my scars?"
September 28, 2019
September 21, 2019 2 Comments
September 01, 2019
People ask me how I meet the ladies I interview. I like to answer that God brings them to me. Each one appearing into my life at the perfect time, with incredible stories of resilience, strength and empowerment.
At a fashion show I did in 2018, I met Woody and Amy Michleb. Amy was our Kintsugi interviewee in March (check her amazing story if you have not read it yet). Woody and Amy are amazing hair designers and I introduced a friend of mine, Adina, who is a wig stylist in Baltimore. Adina soon started selling Style the Runway products, developed by Woody and Amy and she fell in love with their talent and kindness as I did. So, Adina decided to volunteer and travel to NY to help Woody and Amy when they were doing hair for NYFW. One of the shows they did the hair for was for Project Cancerland and there Adina met Angela. Whom immediately introduced me because she knew I would absolutely love to meet and talk to Angela, which I did. I share all of that with you because I want to make a point. More on that at the end of this blog post.
Angela like all the ladies I interview, detailed her struggles with poise, and she conveyed answered all the questions I had even before I asked… Years ago, even before I started this project, I gave a lecture about happiness. I came to many conclusions and Angela confirmed so many of my findings.
“My goal is to be like Mother Theresa”
Throughout my conversation with Angela I could hear how much she cares for those whom she helps and frankly, I won’t be surprised if her good deeds are lengthening her life on this earth. Because we need Angela as much as Angela needs those whom she helps.
What I learned from Angela
Worry less, do more: When Angela got the terrible news about her diagnosis, she had to make some serious decisions. She quit her job because she knew that it would take much effort to care for her health, and she wanted to use her time on earth in a way that would be most meaningful. Not once in our conversation she demonstrated any worry about her financial hardship, about how these changes would affect her. She had a goal and she knew that things would work out. I think that faith had a lot to do with it.
Huge goals and consistent action, all in the name of kindness: Angela doesn’t just want to be good she wants to be “Mother Theresa good” but she doesn’t sit at home lamenting that she will probably never be Mother Theresa, she became Mother Theresa for the ones she can, touching their lives in meaningful and consistent ways. I think that people sometimes become paralyzed by the grandiosity of the goals and don’t move forward. People tend to not believe in their abilities and in the power of small consistent actions. But Angela, created a life for herself where each day became so meaningful, full of direction and that keeps her moving instead of leaving her depressed and stuck. I always believed and still believe, and I often write and talk about the fact that Altruism is the secret of happiness. When you are of service, when you are not the center of the world but here to do for others, that is what gives you lasting happiness. I personally believe that the fact that Angela is busy with acts of kindness she is joyful which in turn prolongs her life and strengthens her health.
- It doesn’t hurt to be humble: Not once Angela portrayed herself as a hero. Her goal to be like Mother Theresa by no means was that she was describing herself as one, but just having the desire to be emulate someone who has done so much good in this world. Angela spoke about what she does in a humble way, with much appreciation for each day that she can do the acts of kindness. She is the one who drives the patients and does the actual work, she is not seating at home and finding other volunteers to do the work. She is involved with doing herself and in a very humble way. But from our conversation another thing was very clear. Angela wants to emulate God. Do as he does, and that leads me to my consistent question about forgiveness.
Let’s talk about forgiveness
I ask all the ones I interview about forgiveness. I think I am fascinated with the subject and if I had nothing else to do, I might just have researched the subject full time. I wanted to know how Angela felt about forgiveness and I wanted to know if she felt she needed to forgive God for dealing her a bad hand and here is the most amazing part of our conversation:
- She is grateful to God for what he handed her. She would not change a thing. There is nothing to forgive God for as he is the source of her strength and happiness.
- We must forgive, because God forgives, and we must emulate Him.
- She is working on forgiving some people who have hurt her, as she knows that it is a must thing to do because of #2 above and because she knows that it will make her feel better as well.
Can we do good as a united Tribe?
Angela’s car is old, it has too many miles and it is giving her trouble. She needs her car to continue doing her selfless work I believe we could all participate in some little way and share with her in her acts of kindness and be, also angels in the lives of so many that she helps on a regular basis.
To find out more about Angela check out her organization:
Angel In Disguise Inc.
Donations are tax deductible
Facebook: Angel in Disguise Inc.
August 25, 2019