Showing posts with label #addictions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #addictions. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cynthia Diamond Stevison Talks About Mental Health

Today I welcome author, Cynthia Diamond Stevison to Writing with God's Hope blog. Stevison and I met at the Oklahoma Writers Federated International conference in May, 2016.  Since the mental component involved with fighting addiction is of interest to me, I loved discussing this topic with Stevison. I asked her to tell us about it and to also tell us about her book. Since I met her, I have read her book. Scroll to the bottom for my review and disclaimer.

Take it away, Cynthia.

There is a mental health crisis in our country today.
Few people realize mental disorders can be treated and managed.
Recovery is possible.
The Tree of Happiness explores the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. This story offers encouragement and empowerment to those willing to accept it and climb into their true potential. This book converts decades of personal and professional healing strategies into a proven process that equips readers with the tools to create their own Tree of Happiness.
Readers will
  • Discover how to unveil the roots that bind them.
  • Find answers to help those that suffer from mental illness.
  • Experience comfort that they are not alone.
  • Discern how mental disorders can be managed. Unpack how recovery is possible.
My book offers personal stories. I hope it inspires others to find their purpose and expand their potential. This book highlights the fundamental strategies for a successful recovery.
The Tree of Happiness unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible.
The book examines the stigma and discrimination faced by many Americans today. This story offers hope and healing to those willing to accept it.
We can impact others by sharing our stories. Every day is an opportunity to share. You see everyone has a story. If you just take the time to listen, share, and be supportive.

One of my favorite quotes by Katrina Mayer:
“At the end of the day the only questions I ask myself
Did I love enough?
Did I laugh enough?
Did I make a difference?”


What is essentially the ‘correct’ mindset to combat the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness?
In my experience over the last 25 years there are several ways to reduce stigma and discrimination. First to combat the fears about mental illness is to accept that mental illness can’t be cured but can be managed with proper treatment. This treatment is up to the individual. This person is not broken and everyone’s success looks different. Many individuals want to end the stigma and open the door to opportunities for discussion.
What is offered in your book “The Tree of Happiness”?

“The Tree of Happiness” unites human spirit and the mental health crisis in our country today. It uncovers the secret that mental disorders can be treated, managed and recovery is possible. There are four phases to the book.
1. The Struggle
2. The Recovery Plan
3. The Healing
4. The Impact
In the book I open up my tool kit of and reveal the seven practical steps for educating, empowering and encouraging others with mental illness.
Who do you recommend this book for?
People with mental illness and their friends and family
NAMI Groups
Social Workers
Department of Corrections
Suicide prevention centers
Alcohol and drug treatment providers
Grief Counselors, Trainers
Military Personnel PTSD
Law Enforcement
Department of Child and Family Services
Support Groups
Crisis intervention teams
Why mental illness called the invisible disease?
People don’t often look sick. Some individuals hide behind closed doors and use alcohol and drugs to medicate the disorder. Many individuals rather than seek help with their mental disorder, many hide, hoping that it will go away. They are unwilling to admit to their illness because they are frightened of society’s reaction. Those who most need support from others, aren’t able to find the support they need because of society’s view on their illness.
What is your advice?
My advice to caregivers is smile, sit and listen. Don’t pity the individual. Realize the person is trying on good days and bad days. I advise those that struggle with mental health to learn to ask for help. Remember, ninety percent of mental disorders are treatable.
How did you recover?
I want everyone to know things did not change overnight. It was a slow and steady pace. I have known my share of hardships and loss but here I stand continuously moving forward. I remember the days that made me strong. I asked for help and I never gave up on myself. I am now in control of my own destiny. I have a wellness plan and that I am faithful to.
Which is your coping strategy?
I have a wellness plan that involves medication, relaxation, yoga, supportive people, meditation, volunteering, journaling and creative writing.
Why read the book now?
• We can raise awareness for others that are still struggling.
• We could inspire hope, and help in others.
• We have to expose this invisible disease to others.
• Tell them we need to treat mental illness like every other chronic illness.
• We must invoke policies changes in our federal and local government.
• If we better understand ourselves and others, conflict will decrease.
• Healthier relationships inspire peace, forgiveness and new beginnings. They build value and worth.
• We must advocate for each other.
Message in three words or less.

Order Tree of Happiness on Amazon

Cynthia Stevison is a midwest writer, advocate, blogger, traveler and entreprneur. She is a great storyteller. 
Cynthia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Cynthia resides in the state of Oklahoma with her family.

Thank you for visiting us, Cynthia.

 My Review and Disclaimer

The Tree of Happiness supplies a wonderful resource for those who have ever dealt with mental illness through family or close friends, or in themselves. This author has experienced both things. Her brother is bi-polar. Written in the form of creative non-fiction, Stevison gives her brother's account as through his eyes. Her own story is a memoir or journal entry of her experiences during her stay in a mental hospital as well as struggling though years of recovery. Often, people shun those ill mentally unlike those with physical ailments. I found Stevison's steps for recovery not unlike much of my findings written in my book, Divine Dining. The Tree of Happiness asks questions, giving space to provide answers, utilizing thought processes that a mentally ill person can work through by themselves or in a support group. The book offers much common sense wisdom. Stevison believes in 12 step programs, as do I. She calls on help from her Higher Power, a mixture of God, as preached in churches, and humanism or spiritualism whereas my Higher Power comes from Jehovah God of the Bible, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, three in one.

****Disclaimer: Though this book can definitely help the mentally ill, and those dealing with one who is mentally ill,  be aware, first of all, that the journals give realistic language including a little cursing or crude words. This doesn't happen a lot, and is mostly at the beginning. Second, Stevison promotes a lifestyle that the Bible preaches against. Because of this, anyone reading this must be strong in their Christian beliefs, so as not to be influenced in the wrong way. As a believer in Christ, I love Cynthia Stevison. I applaud her recovery success. She's doing much good with her life. What a blessing that is. I do not advocate her sin, merely the wisdom she brings to the mental health issue.

Thank you, Cynthia Diamond Stevison for introducing us to this resource. I pray for your continued recovery and writing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let Go

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

These last few days, my baby daughter has gone through a terrible trial. I long to step in and take care of the boo-boos like I did when she was six, but I can’t. As an adult, she makes her own choices. Her wounds run deep and difficult. Her mother can’t take away the pain. Despite a love that runs more deeply than any human love, I am powerless.


Letting go means the outcome isn’t in my hands.


Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5


God is omniscient and omnipresent. He has all power. What He says, He will bring it to pass. We can trust Him.


Many of us claim trust in God but in some areas of our life, it’s hard. Here’s a few of the hardest:


1.     Our children: Mommas hold on to their babies as if God can’t be trusted to take care of them. Our heavenly Father can be with our babies wherever they go, even if we don’t know where they are.


To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.


2.     Our marriages: A marriage takes two, but what happens when one of you doesn’t want it to work? If this happens, call 911.


 Psalm 91: 1, I mean.


  1. Illness: We turn to doctors when we get sick, but they have limits. I visited a friend today that has been told by the doctors that there is nothing more they can do. This man is powerless. His wife is unable to make him well. But, God . . .


  1. Addictions: When I weighed two hundred fifty pounds and struggled with a low self esteem, I wanted to quit eating, but I was powerless. It took an emotional healing by the Lord. It took Him taking control, and me “letting go.”

To “let go” is to not regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.


Without faith, it is impossible to please God, but even our smidgen of faith comes from the Lord. What about the prayer given by the father who asked Jesus to heal his child?


And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

                                           Mark 9:24


Last weekend, after my daughter’s panicked call, I battled my feelings. I wanted to drive down there and do something. I wanted to pick her up and protect her. I wanted to solve the problem. Instead, I hit my knees. “Lord, I trust You. Take over. Give me peace and help me “let go.”


Dennis the Menace once showed a carton with the little guy kneeling by his bed, his cowboy hat askew, his hands up in the air. “Lord, I’m here to turn myself in.”


That was me last weekend.


Have you had times like that?


To “let go” is to fear less, and love more.


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

                                     2 Timothy 1:7


Let go, and let God.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Excerpt from Worth Her Weight Giveaway

It's a new year, and I have a new giveaway to offer my viewers to thank you for reading my posts in 2015. My first gift is two excerpts from my women's fiction and latest release. Scroll to the bottom to find out how to have a chance to win a free copy of this book, Worth Her Weight.

Here's one excerpt:

About twenty feet away, a hissing sound came from the house. Tiny hairs stood erect on Toby’s neck. Shivers crept down his spine. A cold sweat broke out on his forehead.

Lord, please.

A gust of wind cooled his damp brow.

Boom. The house exploded. Toby’s feet left the ground. The blast propelled him toward the tree line. A brittle mesquite tree stopped his backward progression, its thorns buried in his back.

With quick pants to stabilize his breathing, he pulled away from the painful tree, bent over, and breathed in the deep, life-giving breeze. A chemical smell burned his nostrils.


The tall black man, his face powdered with white, neared Toby’s position. “I’m here. You okay, Boss?” Willie’s voice sounded faraway like he was talking through cotton.

 Toby swatted the white powder from his jeans with his Stetson. “Yep, just can’t hear, and that smell makes me sneeze.” The dilapidated house was now a heap of smoldering wood and twisted metal. “Are you okay?”

“Just dandy.”

Toby reached to brush off Willie’s face. “Hey, man, you trying to paint your face so they can’t tell us apart?”

They broke into laughter. Spit flew. Tension evaporated. Fear departed.

“That’d never happen, Boss. Everyone knows I’m the handsome one.” Willie slowed down his chuckles and assessed the situation. “I’m getting tired of watching explosions.”

Here's another excerpt:


By six, Lacey arrived home, ready to flop. Her mother sat on a chair in the kitchen, her cane propped against her.

Lacey carried in the pizza boxes and set them on the table.

Rachel clapped her hands and climbed into a chair beside her grandma.

Without a word, Mom held out a letter to Lacey.

A cold shiver shook her—the same foreboding she had sensed in the morning. “What’s this?”

Her mother shrugged. “Came in today’s mail.”

Lacey opened it, her Mom watching as she read.

She threw the paper across the room. It bounced halfway back to her. “Well, if that doesn’t take the cake.” She paced, her heels clicking on the scratched and scarred kitchen tiles. The noise level grew louder when she snatched plates from the cabinet and dropped them to the table.

“Save the dishes.” Mom’s tone was dry, with no humor.

Something like a growl escaped Lacey’s lips. “Katie makes the messes. Lacey cleans them up. Isn’t that right, Mom?” She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her mother. “Did you know about this?” Her fingers began drumming on her opposite forearm. Her jaw got so tight, it hurt.

Her mother shook her head. She glanced at Rachel.

The anger was difficult for Lacey to swallow, but she tried. “Sweetie, go wash your hands before we eat.”

The child scooted a chair toward the sink.

Lacey halted her. “Go to the bathroom and use the stool there.” Her voice shook from her effort at control.

Rachel looked at the pizza with longing, but she obeyed.

The pepperoni and mozzarella aroma permeated the house. Nausea churned in Lacey’s stomach despite how good it smelled.

“Has Katie gone?” Mom asked with a soft tone.

In contrast, Lacey nearly yelled. “Of course, she has!”

The lines in Mom’s face seemed to deepen. Her skin paled. Lacey was sure the cane was the only thing that kept Mom from falling as she coped with the pain inflicted by her favorite daughter.

The fight had gone out of Lacey. Her knees wobbled. She eased into a chair and nodded. “She wants me to have custody of Rachel. She doesn’t even want her own daughter, Mom. What kind of woman walks away from her flesh and blood?”

Both women turned when a whimper came from the living room.

Heat rushed up Lacey’s neck. She jumped up and ran, wishing she could erase her careless words.

Rachel curled into a ball on the sofa, her right thumb inserted firmly in her mouth.

“Aunt Lacey’s sorry. I didn’t mean what I said.”

Rachel sucked harder, pulling it out momentarily to speak. “Is my mama coming to get me today?”

“No, sweetheart, not today. Maybe another day.” She patted her niece’s bare legs.

There was no sound except the sucking. Lacey sat on the floor patting and wondering what to say or do. A clap of thunder reminded her of the unsettled clouds. “I need to go close my car windows. I’ll be right back.”

She ran outside, started the car, and raised her driver’s side window. Just as she got back inside, the downpour began.

Mom still sat at the kitchen table, her head in her hands. She rose, grabbing her cane. Red puffy eyes alerted Lacey to her mother’s tears, something that seldom happened.

Compassion knocked at Lacey’s heart, but she locked it out, when she realized the tears were all for Katie.

Lacey sat on the floor beside Rachel. “You ready for some pizza?” Lacey wanted kids one day, but she wanted her own with a husband by her side. She couldn’t attract a man, but now she had a child.

Mom plopped into her recliner. “Do you think food will fix everything?”

“Works for me.” Lacey tried a teasing note. “Whenever things go wrong, food makes it better.” She huffed at Mom and grimaced. “Didn’t you know that?” Good thing she hadn’t planned on the cruise. She crunched up the pamphlet and threw it in the trash along with a few other dreams. She’d stay fat and lonely.

What was she going to do with a four-year-old?

Here's how to gain a chance to win a free Worth Her Weight, and help me at the same time.

Click on "Post a comment" below. Tell me if these excerpts made you
1. want to read the book
2. not want to read the book
3. or, doesn't sway you either way.

Also, tell me which excerpt you like the best.

Don't forget to leave your e-mail address, so that I might contact you if you're the winner. My hubby, and official drawer for contests, will draw a name from the ones who comment before midnight on Tuesday, January 12. That Wednesday, I will post the name of the winner. If you win, you may choose your copy from kindle copy, pdf copy, or print copy.

P. S. If you try to comment by using anonymous, google log-in, or any other option and can't get it to post, go to my Facebook page
and post that this is your comment about the excerpts of Worth Her Weight, and I will include that in the drawing.