Monday, 24 September 2012

Overview of the 31 Day Blog Challenge

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it;
If you can dream it, you can become it”
William Arthur Ward

Day 24
Write a review post
I reviewed the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Day 25
That’s not our policy
I have my privacy policy and my disclaimer done and put in a draft post.  Now I have to try and fathom out how to place it on the blog!




Day 26
Watch a first time reader use your blog
I asked a friend of mine to check out my blog and not only read a couple of posts, but check the links and the design.  This was his comment:
“Wow I have read your blog and you have such good punctuation, spelling and it sounds good when read.  You have a gift for blogging” – Douglas Walker
I have also had a couple of nice comments during the challenge so that makes me happy!

Day 27
Create a sneeze page
My last post on the update of the challenge was my sneeze page with plenty of links back to other article.  Such a good idea that I would never have thought of myself!

Day 28
Use a magazine to improve your blog
I chose the Oprah magazine to see if I could improve my blog.  You will find my comments on the post “What did I learn from Oprah?”  This is also a sneeze page!

Day 29
Improve another blog
Retha Groenewald asked me to do a guest post for her.  I am not too sure if it improved her blog!

Day 30
Call your readers to action
I wrote a post on “World Peace Day” and asked my readers what they could contribute to promoting peace in the world.  No responses!

Day 31
Plan the next steps for your blog
Well this is the last day of the challenge.  Next week I start on the Ultimate Blog Challenge again so it will be back to posting every day.  I plan to add a few health tips to my blog as this is also part of the recovery process.  The other ideas I suggested in Day 4 in my first post of the challenge progress.  In between I will be checking other blogs and posts and commenting where I feel necessary. 

CONCLUSION
This challenge has taught me so much.  From here I can go forward with all the new ideas I have learned and apply it to my blog in the future.  Darren Rowse’s book can stay on my desktop for reference. The only thing troubling me is Feedburner but I will leave that until next month when a definite decision apparently is going to be made of its future.  A big thanks to Michelle Schaefer and Lisbeth Tanz for putting aside their valuable time to teach us a wealth of blogging techniques.  To all the bloggers who participated:

“Think of yourself on the threshold of unparalleled success.
A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you.
Achieve!  Achieve!  Achieve!”
Andrew Carnegie

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Call to All for World Peace

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power
the world will know peace”
Jimi Hendrix

Today is the United Nation’s International Peace Day.  Each year on September 21, the UN invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities and commemorate the International Day of Peace through education and public awareness on issues related to peace. In the quest for peace, the Universal Peace Federation and its Ambassadors for Peace around the world organize commemorations of the International Day of Peace each year. The theme for 2012 is:
Armed conflicts rob people of the opportunity to develop, create jobs, safeguard the environment, fight poverty, reduce the risk from disasters, advance social equity, and ensure that everyone has enough to eat. We want a future where natural resources are protected and valued rather than used to finance wars, where children can be educated at school and not recruited into armies, where economic and social inequalities are resolved through dialogue instead of violence.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Message to the World:
“On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world.
We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence, at noon local time, to honour the victims – those who have lost their lives, and those who survived but must now cope with trauma and pain.
The theme of this year's observance is "Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future".
Armed conflicts attack the very pillars of sustainable development.
Natural resources must be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars.
Children should be in school, not recruited into armies.
National budgets should focus on building human capacity, not deadly weapons.
On the International Day of Peace, I call on combatants around the world to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts.
Let us all work together for a safe, just and prosperous future for all.”

The United Nations Messengers of Peace 2012:
Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein - known for her commitment to humanitarian causes - she is dedicated to helping raise global awareness of the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
Daniel Barenboim - acclaimed conductor and pianist - he will continue to promote peace and tolerance through the shared language of music. 
George Clooney - using his global appeal and wide ranging talents as an actor, producer, screen writer and director - he will help raise public awareness and support for United Nations peacekeeping efforts around the world.  
Paulo Coelho – Brazilian author known for his best-selling books, such as “The Alchemist” and “The Pilgrimage – he will continue to promote intercultural dialogue.
Michael Douglas - the internationally known Academy Award-winning actor and producer from the United States  - he is fiercely committed to disarmament issues, including nuclear nonproliferation and halting the global trade in small arms and light weapons.
Jane Goodall – a British pioneer in the study of chimpanzees who began her landmark studies in Africa in 1960 - she will continue to help the United Nations focus attention on environmental issues.
Midori Goto - the violinist who made her historic debut at the age of 11 - she will continue to inspire young people to build a sense of community and learn from each other through music education.
Yo-Yo Ma - renowned cellist and winner of multiple Grammy awards – he is expanding his efforts to expose young audiences to music and promoting the Organization’s values among young people.
Edward Norton - acclaimed actor and two-time Academy Award nominee and is also a committed social and environmental activist. – he will work to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities across the US through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks.
Charlize Theron - Academy Award-winning actress with a special focus on eliminating violence against women and girls – will continue thriving to create a safer, healthier and better life for impoverished children and their families in South Africa, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS and will continue urging no tolerance for rape or domestic violence.
Elie Wiesel - Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, writer and human rights activist - he continues to be a vocal advocate of human rights and world peace through The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
Stevie Wonder - Grammy Award-winning songwriter and musician with a focus on persons with disabilities - his career as a recording artist has reflected his concern with humanitarian issues. He has written, produced and/or performed songs relative to charities in support of disabilities, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hunger and homelessness, domestic abuse and many other causes on behalf of children and adults.



The Peace Bell
The Japanese Peace Bell is a United Nations peace symbol. It was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan, at a time when Japan had not yet been officially admitted to the United Nations.
Weighing 116 kg, with a height of 1 meter, and 0.6 meter in diameter at the base, the metal in the bell itself was obtained from coins collected by children from the delegates of 60 nations who were attending the 13th General Conference of United Nations Associations held in Paris, France in 1951.
The bell itself is housed in a typically Japanese structure, resembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood. Inscribed on one side of the bell are the Japanese characters that say: "Long live absolute world peace!".


On the International Day of Peace, the Bell is rung at a ceremony at the Peace Bell in which the Secretary-General would deliver a message, followed by a statement from the President of the Security Council.  The President of the General Assembly is also often involved in the ceremony. The commemoration includes other events, taking place around the Peace Bell and around the world, and involves students, musicians, NGOs and other representatives.

How can YOU celebrate World Peace Day?
Say a prayer for peace
Light a candle
Declare peace on the Facebook Group
Get involved ……

Pass the message of peace on to others
Share Your ideas with us

.

What Did I Learn from Oprah?

“A little change can make a world of difference …
like wearing your hair au natural as I am this month.
I love it”
Oprah Winfrey

The quotation stared out at me on the cover page of the latest Oprah magazine.  Despite the hair, of which mine needs a colour desperately, change is what my blog is all about!  More change on the cover and some topics I blog on:
Live your best life
How to transform your …. Home, Attitude, Health, Beauty regime, Exercise routine, Finances, Relationships
How to grab a second chance at happiness
So despite the fact that it came with a free little journal – I guess I picked the right magazine!


Glancing through the pages, there are a lot of colourful pictures, mostly adverts and fashion, on glossy paper. Scattered in between these are a few articles, book reviews, “how to” posts, an interview with Lady Gaga, home and furniture d├ęcor, food and recipes.  Thank goodness for the contents page or I would never have found what I wanted to read!
When I looked back at the cover I saw a small block with the words “The Makeover Issue”.  That explains all the fashion and beauty pages.  Would I buy the magazine again – probably yes if a great article caught my attention.  Would I subscribe to it – definitely no as the majority of the magazine is of no interest to me.  I do get emails from Oprah where I have chosen the topics that I would like to receive.  That is far easier to extract valuable information from then the printed magazine.
What did I learn from the magazine that could improve my blog?
·         An elevator pitch is so important so as not to mislead the reader.
·         Too many pictures fill gaps but do not provide information.
·         Sticking to a few topics in one niche will attract the right reader.
·         It is so important to label your articles and have a list of keywords on the blog.
·         Headlines will catch a readers’ attention if you use the correct words.
·         The layout or design of a blog is important so as not to clutter the pages.
·         Inviting other bloggers to do guest posts within the same niche enhances variety.


Forbes 400 magazine
While we are on the subject of Oprah Winfrey, there is an article in the current issue of Forbes online magazine:
As a South African, I had heard about the school but had no idea where it was situated and what real life lessons were learned by Oprah in the last five years.  To sum it up:
·         The school wasn’t exactly popular in Henley-on-Klip with 150 black girls in an all-white area.
·         Why was Winfrey spending $40 million on one school when she could build a bunch for that price?
·         Soon after it opened five years ago, Winfrey’s school was the subject of a sex abuse scandal that reached international scope - a group of girls had come forward alleging that a 27-year-old dorm parent had been molesting them.
·         In the ensuing months and years, seven girls were suspended for “inappropriate behavior” that included sexually harassing classmates, and the body of a dead baby boy was found in a 17-year-old student’s schoolbag.
·         Communication was an issue: The 152 12- and 13-year-old girls, hand-picked by Winfrey herself from an application pool of 3,500, came from all nine South African provinces, speaking all 11 of the country’s official mother tongues – English being the weakest.
·         Winfrey jumped on a plane, wracked with guilt and worry. “By the time a girl gets to my school, normally she’s suffered on average six major life traumas,” Winfrey says. “They’ve lost a parent or both parents. Multiple accidents, death in your family, AIDS, rape, sexual molestation, all of it. Unimaginable things have happened.” Every year a handful of incoming students are diagnosed by the school’s on-campus team of psychologists and social workers as having post-traumatic stress disorder simply from living their everyday lives. Now it appeared to be happening on her watch.
·         Winfrey quickly fired the alleged child abuser–who was later acquitted in a South African court – plus every other residential staffer and the school’s head.
·         To add insult to injury, the former head sued Winfrey for defamation in 2008 for implying she was, per legal filings: “untrustworthy, failed the students of the academy, did not care about the students at the academy, knew of alleged physical and sexual abuse at the academy and participated in a cover-up of the alleged abuse.” The case was resolved only in 2010, when they settled for an undisclosed amount.
·         But Winfrey, rather than chalk up her school as a costly life lesson, quietly redoubled her efforts to make it work.
·         That rebirth started in earnest in 2010 with the hiring of van Zyl, tall and no-nonsense, the descendant of an Anglican minister who immigrated to Malawi. Van Zyl had the pedigree and the guts: She led the integration of Pretoria High School for Girls, the first all-white school in the region to accept black students as the veil of apartheid lifted.
Oprah considers building the school, without community buy-in, another one of her early mistakes.  She has also built two public schools at a cost of just over $3 million each as a model for the South African government to show what is possible for well under a $40 million price tag. When the school day ends at one of those pilot schools, the campus hosts adult education classes.
For new students, achieving their benefactor’s expectations – she tells them all she expects them to go to college and will in fact pay for it – she starts by drumming out the cultural assumption that women don’t have to study since they’ll just get married and have kids anyway.
In July the school’s “magnificent seven” U.S.- bound girls spent two weeks on the Boston College campus. Winfrey organized an assimilation program for them.
“Being able to see in human form those girls blossom into who you knew they could be, there’s really nothing like that for me,” she says. “You can see over and over again the possibility of your own self being lived out in somebody else’s life.” Winfrey begins this next chapter armed with five years of tough lessons and the knowledge that, as she puts it, “If you can do it in South Africa, you can do it anywhere.”

“If you allow your past to define you,
you’ll never get to live the life you were meant to live”
Oprah

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Big Book - A Review

“It’s more than a book.  It’s a way of life”

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism is generally known as The Big Book because of the relative size of the first edition.  Originally published in 1939 by AA founders Bill W. (William Griffith Wilson) and Dr Bob (Robert Holbrook Smith), the book serves as the basic text of AA.  The book is published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. and is available through AA offices and meetings, as well as through booksellers.
In the introduction to the Big Book, William Duncan Silkworth, M.D., a specialist in the treatment of alcoholism, endorses the AA program after treating Bill W, the founder of AA, and other apparently hopeless alcoholics who then regained their health by joining the AA fellowship. He claimed:
"For most cases there is no other solution than a spiritual solution”.
“I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray”.


ISBN-13: 978-956-291-265-5


The first 164 pages cover Bill’s Story and the basic program of AA, incorporating the “twelve step method” that is used widely to treat many addictions including:
Alcoholism
Heroin, marijuana and other drug addictions
Gambling addiction
Sex addiction
Overeating
It is also a source of support for family members of alcoholics with a strong spiritual and social emphasis and is often used in conjunction with psychological and pharmacological methods of addiction treatment.  One chapter is devoted to agnostics, while another is named "To Wives" (the first AA members were only men), and still another is for employers. This first part of the book ends with following words:
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only.  We realize we know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.  Ask him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.  The answers will come, if your house is in order.  But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.  See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others.  This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you – until then.”  

(Reprinted from The Big Book of Alcoholics anonymous, page 164, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.)


These words are what we call “the promises” in our meetings – they incorporate the steps of the program and if followed correctly, these promises can come true for anyone suffering from addiction.
The second part of the book is a collection of personal stories, in which alcoholics tell their stories of addiction and recovery, the first one being Dr Bob’s Nightmare.  There are three sections – The Pioneers of AA, They Stopped in Time and They Lost Nearly All.  These cover just under another 400 pages, hence the name “The Big Book”.
Here are some interesting facts about the book:
·         It is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold 30 million copies by 2011.
·         Time magazine placed the book on its list of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923.
·         U.S. President Richard Nixon received the millionth copy of the book.
·         The 25-millionth copy of the Big Book was presented to Jill Brown, of San Quentin State Prison, at the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to commemorate the first prison meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous taking place at San Quentin in 1941.
My recommendation:
This book including the steps and the personal stories that I could relate to, saved my life.  I would suggest to anyone who has a friend or family member that is suffering from any of the above addictions, to read the book with an open mind.  I have also suggested to concerned people that come into the rooms worrying about a friend or family member, that they purchase a copy for the alcoholic or addict.  As with recovery, you cannot force them to read it but after a while it may grab their attention or their interest and you never know – it could save their life.
The Big Book can be read online but unfortunately it is not in ebook format yet.  Paperbacks, hard copies and audio can be purchased from most book stores but you will find them at Amazon and Hazelden Publishing at a really small price.
I still have the 3rd edition hardcover book which I purchased over fifteen years ago.  I think it is time for an update to the 4th edition – the limited addition in my picture looks great and it’s a paperback!

My rating for this book is 10/10

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A Virus In The Challenge?

“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable”
Thomas Foxwell Buxton

OUTSTANDING TASKS FROM MY LAST POST:

Day 8  
Set up Twitter alert
The Twitter alert still is not working but a few of the bloggers in the challenge are having the same problem.  Steve Eason from Ingenious Internet Income posted about Twitter – so I asked him if he could write an article about setting this up.

Day 9
Write an opinion post
This has been done – my opinion on a post written by another blogger. Achoo!

Day 12
Check the mobility on a cell phone
I checked this on my Blackberry and no problems. 

Day 13
Check the profile links again
I had link problems to my profile but since then I removed it and have replaced it with my Ezine Article profile.  I ran brokenlinkchecker again and it came up with the same results as my last article (achoo) - I presume it is picking this up from the article itself – so I am quite happy.


CONTINUING ………..

Day 14
Put a reader in the spotlight
I sent Retha Groenewald a bunch of questions to answer about her blog and her new book she has written as we are the only two bloggers in the challenge from South Africa –it was great fun and I would like to do it again sometime.   Achoo!

Day 15
Write a link post
I included links for the first time in my post on Day 14 – so easy – why did I not know how to do this before – I guess that is what the challenge is about!

Day 16
Develop a plan to boost your blog’s profile and readership online
I started work this week so I have to be careful with where I spend my time in building up my readership.  These are the points I have noted:
Most of my readers, besides the blog challenge, are in forums and on addiction sites which I have been a member of long before the challenge but do not spend enough time on these getting involved and leaving my blog’s url as a link.
To keep my readers interested in my blog, I have to write more regular posts on my topics.  This will change after the challenge and if I sign up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge in October.
It must pick out the blogs that suit my theme and stick to following them only.

Day 17
Promote a blog post
I had been a member of Ezine Articles before I started my blog.  So I have submitted a couple of newer posts for review and will continue to do so if they meet the requirements of the Ezine Articles regulations – basically keyword optimised and very little external content.
I also promoted two posts of other bloggers in the challenge with my article on “September is recovery month”, highlighting Wold Suicide Day and 9/11.  Achoo!

Day 18
Analyze a top blog in your niche
I do not know of any personal blogs in my niche so I analysed an article from a blogger on the addictions website “The Fix”.  Achoo!

Day 19
Ask a question
I covered this with my blog post for Day 14 – interviewing a blogger!

Day 20
Take a trip to the mall and improve your blog
Although the country is in an economic mess, people still have money – but the majority of the people are buying necessities such as groceries.  Most of them go for the specials advertised to save money.  There are still others that buy clothes and electronics and payment with a credit card seems to be the norm in these shops.  The parking lot is made up of all ranges of vehicles but most of them occupying the cheaper outside parking rather than the undercover.
One thing I did notice in our mall is there is a map of where all the shops are, divided up into the types of shops.  So I decided to put up labels on my blog and tag the posts accordingly – this gives the reader an idea of what they would like to read about.

Day 21
Solve a reader’s problem
Most of the problems the bloggers ask about has to do with technical difficulties – including me!   I did suggest a poem for Alan Miles for his picture and I did try and give some advice to Keith Addison who was having a difficult time – these were all done in the comments sections of their posts.  Otherwise I try to read most of the posts on a daily basis and will make suggestions where I can.

Day 22
Say “Hey” to a blog reader / Email a blog reader
I have noticed that not many people are posting at the moment but where I can, I leave a comment on their post if I feel I am qualified enough to do so in their niche.  Otherwise I do communicate often on the Facebook page with other bloggers and try to encourage them.  I so this on the other Facebook page, The Ultimate Blog Challenge, too as they are still my readers – I hope!
Retha Groenewald also asked me to answer some questions for a guest post – so that was great fun and I thank her very much.


Day 23 
Leave comments on other blogs
This has been covered in Day 22.  I read a blog post that I did not agree with, no names mentioned, and I did write my opinion post in Day 9 in response to this. The blogger in question left a long comment on my post – clearly she was not ready to take any suggestions!  Achoo!

Day 27
Create a sneeze page for your blog
Well this is it hahaha!  I have been sneezing all over the place – great idea too!

OUTSTANDING TASKS:
Day 24 – Advice columnist for a day
Day 25 – That’s not our policy
Day 26 – Look over their shoulder
A wee bit behind!
And one more week to go!

“Never, never, never give up!”
Winston Churchill

Friday, 14 September 2012

Why Do I Blog?

When you create peace within your own being,
it radiates out into the world...
The world becomes a more peaceful place one person at a time.
One blog post at a time can help!

I was truly humbled to be asked by Retha Groenewald to answer questions for a blog post on her website, Discover Bible Treasures.
I thought I would turn my answers into a post for my blog as it contains the reasons why I started the blog and what my intentions are.

First I would like to highlight an interesting post on the website The Fix, a great place to find blog posts, many resources and the latest news in the addiction world:
From Recovering to Recovered by Nic Sheff
“But now that I understand—on a deep, soul level—just how real this disease is for me, the idea that I’d somehow forget that is hard for me to imagine. Really, the only way I could even conceive of a time when I’d use drugs again is maybe if I lost everything and I used as an alternative to suicide. But if that were the case, I can’t see how an AA meeting would make any kind of difference”.
Firstly, I see no problem writing books about addiction as this columnist says he does.  It is difficult to go back to a past that you have forgiven yourself for and put behind you – but if you need to do it to pass on a message of hope to others – I will do it.  I would perhaps write my book under my maiden name so as not to interfere with my professional work as an accountant – should that career continue in the future.  
Secondly, he does not believe that Alcoholics Anonymous works for most alcoholics and addicts, perhaps because he is agnostic.  I agree with him about not having to go to meetings for the rest of our lives – meetings certainly do not keep you sober - but the program works for me.  But hey, after 5 years of being clean and sober, he appears to be doing just fine!


Anyway, Q & A time with Retha, here we go …………………………..
So tell me about your blog, the reason behind it, what you hope to accomplish with it – in other words the purpose of your blog?
I started doing blog posts twice a month for ITR Addictions magazine as a contributor but it seemed to fizzle out and the last post was mine – I could not get hold of the editor either – such a pity.  So when I heard of the Ultimate Blog Challenge in July through another Facebook group, I decided to transfer my posts onto my own blog and do the challenge.
The original reason behind the blog, was to keep an account of my posts and perhaps use the information in a book in the future.  From there I ended up doing this challenge which is more technical in nature and it has been most rewarding.  The problem is I haven’t found the time to continue doing regular posts which I will do when the challenge is over.
I have realised that if you have a message to give others, a blog is good way to share it – if you get readers of course!  So with this challenge I hope to do just that.  Reading other bloggers’ posts has made me realise there is so much more to recovery than the addiction part.  I would like to introduce some transformation strategies and natural health boosters as well as book reviews and interesting forum subjects – all part of the recovery theme of course. 
The purpose, now, of my blog is to reach out to others who are suffering or just not coping – as my elevator pitch says.  There is a big movement going on in the world at this time for change, both spiritually and worldly, and I would like to be a part of that.  This is a very important time for us all to get involved pro-actively.  There has to be an end to war, economic instability, hunger and poverty for us to continue surviving on planet earth and we can all do our own small part in making those changes. 
Is there something you want your readers to know about you?
Yes that is part of my life’s purpose now.  I am a recovering alcoholic and I am proud of that.  I want other alcoholics to know that if I can do it – they can do it.   That goes for addicts, food bingers, anorexics and basically anyone who has addiction tendencies.  I also want the depressed and the mental health sufferers to know there is hope as well.  The only way I recovered was through the 12 step program which is a design for living.  Doctors and psychiatrists could not help me - in fact I could and cannot even help myself – I believe it was divine intervention that saved my life.  I live my life one day at a time – I have to forgive myself and my past to move forward and I cannot take the future into account.  As it is said in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition”.
I also want the “normal” people to understand substance abuse – people need to get educated and stop pointing fingers at the sick.  I have learned to ignore the nasty attitudes of certain people and rather pray and forgive them – they are just ignorant and do not understand.  Watch out if you are guilty (chuckle) – this is what Steve Jobs had to say and I believe it to be the truth:
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
You are writing a book, or have you written it already?
I have always dreamed of writing a book.  I want to write a book one day – a proper book which I can hold in my hands and leave as a legacy to my children.  It will be about my journey through addiction and recovery of course.  It is going to take a while – I have many more blog posts to write first!  
In the meantime, I would like to write a couple of ebooks to sell or give away on my blog.  I signed up for Ronda del Bocca’s “Awakened Author Challenge”, hoping to do a quick ebook in 31 days.  Well with life’s little mishaps, that never materialised.  I will miss the deadline but I do intend to write it.   It will be called “A Recipe for Recovery” and will incorporate the principles of the 12 step program as the ingredients – it should be fun. 
If not published yet, when can we as readers expect it to be on the market?
I have no idea when it will be ready – not today and I cannot predict the future, remember?  Oh gosh the joys of being in recovery hahaha!
What are your dreams, where is your journey leading you to?
I want to read and write – blog posts, forum posts, ebooks and eventually my story.  I want to get my message out there to the people who care to read it.  Unfortunately we cannot live on air and water and I am completely broke at this stage.  My son has employed me on a commission only basis doing sales for him and I have a couple of clients I still do financial work for but it is not enough.  I have so many dreams but then reality hits home that I am just a square peg in a round hole and am only one arms’ length away from taking a drink and drowning myself altogether.  I have to be so careful with just normal online activities - which is why you will not find any recovery on my personal Facebook page – people do not employ drunks!  I am also over the age of 50, a white divorced woman living in a rainbow nation called South Africa, and there just are not enough jobs out there with the unemployment so high.  So I take what I can get – the clients who do not pay their taxes or me and cold calling for my son! 
Fortunately I believe in hope.  Everyone deserves a second chance in their lives and I hope mine is going to be what I love the most – helping others and becoming a successful writer!  But for now and forever it is one day at a time – learning to accept myself, forgive myself and remembering that love and tolerance for others is my code.

"Few people realize that sobriety is an action of insights and skills
far beyond mere abstinence.
Sobriety is a creative discipline in the art of freedom of growth and of love”.
Dr. David Stewart