A Big Florida House Hey to All

While contemplating how to introduce myself inevitably, I am confronted by the all too familiar dilemma of identifying myself by whom I am not. My birth name is Melissa Susan. However, for as long as I can recollect the only persons to address me as such were teachers, (who along with myself) missed the memo of explanation clarifying why I wouldn’t be called Melissa.

I was born in the dark of a cold Chicago Dawn in April of 1962. I grew up in sunny Southern California where the warm white sand, salty blue water and golden warm promise boldly painted the skies, blending with it, the dreadful fear that would arrive within the shadows of that paradise.

Like most of us on this journey of recovery, the common thread in the fabric that binds us is: I was an awkward human being, living with a strange heard of seriously fucked up people. I awoke from the same merciless nightmare every day for months, years, decades and finally, into the second half of a century when I crawled into the doors of The Florida House Experience. Unknowingly awakening in the early morning of my fifty-first year of life.  A quiet peace began forming in my soul, granting me freedom of passage and permission to no longer refer to myself by whom I am not.

As a result of hearts a-fire with hope, love and compassion in each extended soul, I am being born again. In the warmth and promise of the Southern Florida Shores. With gratitude, compassion, a serious portion of forgiveness and a soul free to love, I introduce myself.

I am Lisa.

A recovered, courageous, beautifully and perfectly broken, loving soul that has been addicted my entire life. To substance, Approval, love, acceptance, trauma, alcohol, drugs, delusion, depression, just to name a few.

One year ago Broken, famished of hope and barely able to put one foot in front of the other, I crawled into the light of The Florida House Experience. Not expecting much, but secretly hoping for everything. Today, I boldly and gratefully embrace the one- year anniversary of that surrender.  I am amazed silly by the promises being fulfilled.  The moment-by- moment transition of shame being replaced with undeserved grace, and peaceful freedom and that is beginning to unfold with the passing of 15 long years on the cold Northeastern Shores of Connecticut.

To each and every soul at The Florida House Experience that fed, supported, extended compassion, birthed hope in me spiritually, distributed quarters for my dirty laundry, made delicious hot coffee, or with a great big heart, urged me every Wednesday night to “Simmer Down”. I promise to generously extend the hope and love of this program, just as you all did for me.

Finally, for the woman who showed me how to “Run, Run like a Girl”, to “Make Her Place My Home”, and, how to to trust that she would “Hold On to Me as We Rolled Down That Unfamiliar Road” with unwavering graceful strength proved to me that nothing, nowhere, no how, no sir,

“Can Take a Stand The Way That Love Can!”

To one and all, thank you!

-Lisa M.