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(recorded in California June 2011)

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Melody talks about her book, Making Miracles in Forty Days on WEBE Radio. In this interview, she guides listeners step by step in harnessing the power that we forgot we had to find out where we want to go in life, and how to get there. How to remain grateful and where our unchecked codependency traits can still show their ugly heads and take us back to that negative way of thinking many of us spent years in and more years working out of. The real key is disciplining our thinking and remaining grateful for everything, all the time, and that is no small task. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webe/2012/04/24/melody-beattie--author

Melody’s Latest Release

The Other Side of That Story

I haven’t blogged for a while. (Is blog a noun or a verb?) I could write all the reasons why I’ve neglected my blog but I’ll resist.  Instead, I’ll tell you the other side of that story:  I’ve missed communicating with you, so I’m writing a new blog today.

Like many of you, I grew up in a less-than-functional household and lived in at least one as an adult.  A by-product of either of those dysfunctional living situations is that it made it genetically impossible for me to do certain behaviors others find themselves naturally capable of doing: choosing trustworthy friends, lovers and business associates; trusting myself, my feelings and intuition; feeling content; and gravitating toward a positive outlook on life.

That’s not even half of the inherent problematic traits thrusting me toward a doomed existence.  (See the fourth chapter in Codependent No More or read The New Codependency and take a few tests – probably the ones you resist most – for an update on the signs and symptoms of codependency.)

Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that it’s nearly impossible to diagnose codependency only by outward behaviors.  Two people can do the same thing and one will be setting him or herself up for a massive codependent downward spiral while the other person’s behavior can be clearly categorized as healthy and leading to a positive outcome.

Because codependency is an inside job – jargon many of us bandied about for years without integrating its meaning. It’s not what we do as much as why we’re doing it that qualifies any behavior as codependent.

If gaining other people’s approval, guilt or obligation motivate us, likely what we’re doing qualifies us for a read (or re-read) of Codependent Some More. If we’re doing that exact behavior because we want to, because it feels right and because we’ve made a conscious decision to do it, it will likely work out decently.

Whether we take the codependent or lighter road, that behavior will become important in our life. It may bring joy, or we could find a lesson at it when we’re feeling all victimized, used-up, and resentful.

I want to clarify something else about codependency. I dislike the word, can’t stand the sound of it, didn’t invent it and wish another word would have taken its place in the dictionary. The word doesn’t even carry an intonation that speaks to our souls – such as hush, wow or stomachache. Those words tell us something. We can easily wrap our minds around them.  But codependency?

It’s 4:00 a.m.  I stumble out of bed, slam a cup of coffee, and then start brewing another one so I’ll wake up fast. The phone rings.  A radio host from the East Coast, where it’s 7:00 a.m. starts talking to me.  Live.  We’re on the air. After the preliminary introductions, the host predictably asks the same two questions.

“So, is it Be-at-tee or Bee-tee?”

“Bee-tee.”

“Melonie, tell us…”

I stiffen.

“Exactly what is codependency?”

“I…don’t…know,” I respond.

“Ha, ha, ha.  Seriously, what is codependency?”

I am serious.  I still can’t wrap my head around that word.  I can tell you about controlling, low self-esteem, not trusting ourselves, repressing emotions, rescuing, living out a victim self-image and emotional, physical and sexual abuse.   I can explain how to get stuck in a miserable relationship rut and make ourselves uncomfortably or painfully at home there.  I can describe what it feels like to have relentless guilt run our lives.  And oh, can I explain how attractive bad boys are for the first ten minutes we know them.  But codependency?  What does that word mean?

A side-effect from growing up in a pain-filled family or living in one later can best be described as a magnetic gravitation toward negativity.  We come to believe in the power of negative thinking.

“For years, I’ve been controlled by the subconscious decision that I should quit while I’m behind,” one man explained.

After all, if we expect bad things to happen we won’t be disappointed, will we?  If something we label good should, by some twist of fate occur, we will then be pleasantly surprised (for a second), until we remind ourselves that soon the infamous other shoe will drop and we’ll be miserable again.

It’s not that we see a glass half-empty instead of half-filled with water.  We see chips in the glass that will likely lead to slices in our intestinal tract.  We see contaminated water.  We see something we don’t want or like.

That’s what life looks like too, unless we continually work on this trait. I don’t mean we should get all euphoric, expecting everything to work out without paying dues, overcoming obstacles, tests or hindrances.  We can still be realistic.

For years I’ve heard about Universal Laws, mysterious rules that govern our world at an unseen level. The problem with these laws?  No list exists. Nobody tells us the rules, like they do at a seminar, in a classroom or even on a website unless you count Moses etching the Ten Commandments in Stone.

So clearly stumbled into two of these Universal Laws.  No, three.

1-If we jump out of an airplane, we’ll fall down, not up.

2-If we eat every single thing we want, we’ll gain weight.

3-If all we see is the negative, we’ll begin to see more and more of the negative.  We’ll feel worse.  Feeling badly will become a way of life.  We’ll see nothing but the problems, the things that didn’t work out and the wrongdoings others have done to us. We’ll see our picture and think, Ick. If someone nice wants to date us, we’ll reject him or her because we know they’re fundamentally deficient if they like us.

It’s an ugly way of life.

The only antidote I’ve found for it, well a combination of antidotes and what I’m probably just as well-known for as codependency, is gratitude.  If you couple gratitude with non-dualistic thinking, or non-black and white thinking (this is good, this is bad), which then means we’ll begin to express gratitude for most if not all of life (except for sheer tragedies in which case we’ll learn it’s okay to mourn), we’ll be lifted out of that rut of negativity we’ve learned to call home.

We don’t see a recession.  We see an opportunity for the economy to come into balance.

We don’t see rejection.  We know we’ve been saved from ourselves, saved for something better.

We don’t see mistakes.  We see research for the next self-help book.

And so on.  Better yet, we don’t try to figure everything out, because figuring things out is another way of saying control.

Besides, control isn’t all bad either.  It’s human and if you’re reading this, so are you.  Unless you’re a bot in which case you’re not reading it, you’re scanning it and you probably don’t have codependency issues either.

(Bots, for those of you as unfamiliar with computer jargon as I am, are programs that scan all material on the internet looking for whatever they’ve been programmed to see.  Hmm.  Maybe they’re more like us than I thought.)

There is another side to the story.  Some of these versions we may not get to know for a while, maybe until we get to the other side, meet our Higher Power and say, “By the way, I’ve got a few things I want to discuss with you.”

Or maybe, just maybe, when we let loose of the constraints of linear thinking, we’ll already know those answers, you know, the answers to the Mysteries of Life.

So I won’t say it’s been a tough decade, what with Mom dying from Alzheimer’s disease just when I discovered her loving, nurturing side after oh, half a decade.  I won’t go on and on about how they gutted me like a deer, decompressed my spine and then stuffed artificial discs in the only problem being that my spine curves right where the implanted discs reside.  I won’t even touch the side effects of that surgery.

Instead, I’ll say that the broken circle with Mom had been healed by the time I followed the hearse to the graveyard.  I’ll say I miss her more than I ever thought possible, given that I didn’t like her that much most of my life.  I’ll tell you that I can do Yoga and I’m not in a wheelchair.

I’m not even going to get into the alleged embezzlement that with expenses now exceeds half a million dollars, including over four hundred thousand dollars’ worth of allegedly forged checks that the same bank that calls me valued customer (here’s a hint – the name starts with Bank of Ameri…) refuses to make good on, even though they promised.

Now will I mention that after being ecstatic that under President Obama the cap on my health insurance (the cap I had just reached) became removed for life, only to now have the Supreme Court take my health insurance completely away from me, leaving me uninsured and uninsurable?

Instead I’ll say that for today, all my needs are abundantly met.  I love, and I am loved.  I’ve been blessed with work that I love. I’ve met a fantastic screenwriting instructor (Corey Mandell) and am learning new ideas – learning and growing daily.

Thank you.  These are more than words that can undo our tendency toward negativity.  They change our lives and the world.  They turn a humble meal into a feast, a stranger into a friend, and a house into a home.

They turn readers into friends and family into people we love.

The other side of the story always sounds the same: Thank you.

Melody Beattie

70 Responses to The Other Side of That Story

  • Todd Lohenry says:

    Melody, I’m so sorry to hear about the troubles you have had with your business. It doesn’t seem ‘right’ that someone who has helped so many people would be treated like this… I just wanted to take this time to thank you for your body of work and encourage you to continue. I quote you almost every day — few people have had more of an impact on my life than you. Thanks!

  • Melody says:

    Todd, thanks for your very thoughtful and caring response. I am working my butt off to practice the principles I write about, but right now it’s damn hard to trust. But … we all go through those times. I read a negative comment about one of my books on Amazon (I know better than to read those reviews) and the person said, “Why wouldn’t she be happy — she has a house on the beach in Malibu?” What people don’t know is I got an insanely good deal on that house, and the house is a condo, and it doesn’t compensate for the loss of my son and my health. Besides, I thought I was successful when I made twenty-five bucks a story — because I was doing what I loved. (I still am, if I can get insurance coverage guaranteed.) Thanks again, Melody Beattie

  • joan says:

    Dear Melody, I have been reading your books for 10 years, you are one of my heroes. I just discovered your website and want to say thank you. Sincerely, A faithful reader

    • Melody says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you. But I’m not a hero, just another straggler trudging the road of happy destiny. Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      I’m nobody’s hero — because those we make our heros, we tend to ultimately resent. I’d prefer to be a suporting friend. Best, Melody (But thank you anyway for your very kind and uplifting words.)

  • Kathleen Hiltsley says:

    Wow, thank you for your heart, your spirit, the ability to keep giving of yourself. I have been reading and following you from the time you wrote Codependant No More, which by the way helped me to see my life on almost every page. I have been struggling myself this past year and keep wondering how to stay above the negative voices that keep speaking in my head, on the tv, in the papers. I read your meditation every day along with Earnie Larson’s meditation every day and two other meditation books because it is one way that I can remind myself why I’m here,. And then I go to work in a clinic where I have health insurance but everyday I have to see about 4% of people who are mad at the world and because I sit behind the desk I have to smile at them and let them tell me about Obama care (which they hate) or something else they hate and I should know that. I have read all of your books and it has helped me to get perspective on life, growing up in a completely dysfunctional home, always trying to figure out how to do life differently, where it matches my heart not the voices in my head. Thank you Melody, your first book was like one of the rings you throw into the water to save someone, I managed to come up out from under the water, and now I feel as if even though life is a struggle that I am still learning, still on the journey with others, and in the struggle, it is refreshing, heart warming to hear your voice clearly, clarifying what I feel and see. You have given so much, I appreciate you, I hope your heart can feel again the love that others have felt as they read through the pages of your books, lifting them out of their despair, helping them to get back on the road to complete the journey that we are all here for.

    • Melody says:

      Again, your comment reassures me that there is a lesson and a purpose for what each of us is experiencing (whether we like it or not). I actually believed (once upon a time), that after I got into recovery for my chemical dependency, and then for my codependency (which I resisted), that the hard lessons had ended. Ha! Those two recovery programs just keep my head on straight enough to deal with the true lessons that Life has for me to experience and learn — and they keep on coming as long as we’re here. It’s like being a martial arts, or Aikido, student. We’re either regressing (which is impossible because the lessons don’t go away) or working toward our next belt. Best, Melody

  • Oyster says:

    Hi Melody, I suppose “blog” can be a noun or a verb. Either way, your blogging is beautiful, straight from the heart, and reading your words does so much in helping me to open up and want to express my own thoughts and feelings. You are in my prayers as you go through your most recent difficulties regarding the embezzlement, and now the health care issues. But as you said, today your needs are all abundantly met, and you are most certainly loved! Thanks for all you have done and continue to do for all of us. Peace and Love to you . . . Oyster

    • Melody says:

      Hey, Oyster. It’s good to hear from you again. As usual, I appreciate your words and your heart — which is beautiful and which you tend to put right out there, on the line. Best, Melody

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, I’m so glad you missed communicating with all of us because I sure did miss your blogs! As a recovering codependent for 12 years now, the battle sometimes gets easier but it never lets up altogether. Your encouragement and example of \fighting the good fight\ in order to live healthy are such an inspiration…always. Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us your authentic, personal, sometimes gutwrenching journey. I seek to make healthy choices one breath at a time and your life is one of those shining beacons that points me in the right direction on a regular basis. I do thank God for you! Keep on shining! :) Much love and blessing to you, Karin

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for writing to the blog site, Karin. I can remember when I was young, and we’d sing “This little light of mine” at Bible Camp in the summer or Sunday School (where I was sent on a regular basis). I really did what to let my light shine, and I don’t know whether or not it does, but I really appreciate what you said. You’re right. For many or even most of us, the lessons continue — because life continues. For some reason, some people can work 9 to 5, go bowling on Thursdays, and not think about the deeper meaning — or any meaning — to life. The wife loves her husband, husband loves his wife; she brings him and his buddies beer and chips during the Super Bowl, and all is well on the home front. Then there’s us — and our husband, if we have one, hurls the bowl of chips across the room, breaking the new flat screen instead of saying thank you, and we have to figure out what our part in the experience is. We look for the lessons, and deeper meanings, in life — and can’t avoid it because if we do, we’ll die. The one reassuring thing is that if we look, we’ll always, always, always — which is a word I rarely allow myself to use — find one. The other day, a light went on, and I realized what my lesson is. And when I can see or find a purpose in my problems, I may still have the problem and the pain it causes but I lose the suffering. The other problem is, sometimes I forget to look (for the lesson). Thanks again, for taking time to comment. Melody

  • Peter de Kock says:

    Thanks a lot Melody for sharing your issues, problems and challenges. Thanks for not making them sound more beautiful than they are. Thanks also for reminding me about the power of gratitude. All of this helps me to practice some compassion with my issues, problems and challenges. The most difficult thing is thinking I am the only one facing all this stuff. Thanks God I am not. And how strange it may sound, it brings some relief to me. It is the same kind of relief I experience when I read in your book ‘the language of letting go’. I wish you lots of love and support in getting all your needs met, in getting your dreams come true. Love, Peter.

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for your comment. I know exactlly what you mean when you say that learning of my challenges, issues, etc. brings you relief. To know that we’re not being singled out and tortured by life does indeed help (a little). Most of all, to reach out to others (and have them reach back) and accept our oneness with all that is, with everyone, and mostly accept ourselves, gives us the Grace and Power we need to live fully, in the present moment, which is the solution ultimately to every problem we encounter. I know my happiness doesn’t depend on what the Supreme court decides. And after going through fifteen years of poverty upon getting sober, I learned that happiness (which is really that “peace that passeth all understanding”) doesn’t depend on the events taking place around me (except for true tragedies, which cause true grief) — and once I get back to that understanding, and to the present moment, everything really is okay — even if it’s not. Hope this makes a little sense. I just got up (I love working in the wee hours of the night.) Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for your well wishes, Peter. Best, Melody

  • Roxanne Luane says:

    Thank you for touching base and (once again) sharing your very real life and experiences, strength, struggles and hope. When I see that we all, regardless of money, power or prestige, have our struggles with this thing called \Life\ it truly helps me keep a better perspective on my own. I am not unique in my uniqueness! I’ve only recently discovered that though my life was saved 26 years ago in a 12-step fellowship, the life I’ve lived since that time has been co-dependency run amok. Your books are now helping me save the quality of my life – or perhaps, creating quality in life that didn’t really ever have it! Anyway, thank you, again. I’ve been floundering a bit these last 24 hours and really needed the perspective adjustment your blog gave me. Here’s to gratitude, miracles (both seen and unseen) and bright days! Roxanne

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for taking time to comment, Roxanne. I welcome you to all the sites and hope you find at least some of what you’re looking for; some of what you need to create quality of life (and ability to function). I can’t remember now if I wrote about this or just thought about it, but as I read book reviews on Amazon (something I know better than to do as I always gravitate to and remember the negative, and forget the positive), someone wrote that “of course Beattie’s happy — she has a home on the beach in Malibu.” I wish happiness came that easily (I got a fantastic deal on the house). The price of it (happiness) would then be cheap. But no thing will ever make me happy. I’ve now come to believe that happiness equals peace, and peace equals surrendering to what is, in the present moment (pardon the New Age feel of the words). As much as it sometimes feels otherwise, Live and HP are — for the most part — benevolent, loving and caring in a personal way. But God, those lessons can hurt like hell sometimes, and most of us don’t like to hurt — although we may have spent much of our lifetime feeling that way. Those that have been through a similar path will understand; others may wonder why all the glum words and despair? Reality is a path mid-way through the two. I’m slowly, gradually, getting to a place of trust with the issues taking place in my life currently (losing my health insurance and being uninsurable while desperately needing insurance and finding resolution and getting reimbursement for the alleged embezzlement, the price of which — with expenses — now exceeds half a million dollars). Sometimes it comes naturally to take on life’s challenges; other times it’s hard to get up when we get knocked down. Now is one of those times when getting up is the first challenge. I’ve also come to learn that even that (getting back up) comes by Grace. Best and thanks again — hope to see you around the various forums here. Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for your comment, and your kind words. Best to you, Melody Beattie

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, I just have to respond to your response. You made the comment that you’re not sure whether your light shines or not (and I also sang that little song many times in church growing up). Please believe me when I say your light shines in my life and the lives of those I influence every day. I have three daughters, now ages 20, 17 and 15, and your life/writings have not only revolutionized my life but theirs as well. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with my three girls about what I’ve learned through your writings re/ making healthy, noncodependent choices. Your choice to let your light shine over the years has not only saved my life but I believe the lives of my daughters as well. Instead of growing up with a mother who set an example of codependency, they have watched me change and get healthy over the years and they are strong, amazing girls/women. Please do not doubt the effectiveness and brilliance of your LIGHT. You shine very brightly! With gratitude and love, Karin

  • Melody Beattie says:

    To Peter, Roxanne, and Karin: Thanks for taking the time to post and your kind words. You bring tears to my eyes. As I scan the internet I see so many forums with so much negativity and bickering over meaningless “stuff.” I’ve been blessed with a group of some of the kindest, healthiest “Commenters” in the world — and for that I am grateful. Best, Melody

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks Melody, You are a gem and an inspiration. I so relate to your comment Bout the bowl of chips being hurled across the room. It’s been an unpleasant Easter morning here in Texas, I’ve been cursed out, insulted, put-down, etc. for the last few days while my spouse has been on a bender… I’d love to have that husband who says thank you when I bring him the chips!!! But I have to understand why I stay in the dance, I’m trying so hard to stop it and I am determined to get on the better path. Sorry to hear about your mother, glad you were able to heal some of the hurt… I understand. Best, Lisa

    • Melody says:

      I’ve just had a fantastic past five days. No, nothing has changed except me — plus HP turned on the lights and I can see the purpose of all the struggles of the past five years, how I’ve been honed so that I can truly achieve my next set of goals. Amazing when it pulls together. Re your reaction to your relationship: remember, it’s not about staying or leaving, it’s about taking care of ourselves no matter where we are. I’ve seen people leave and do the same thing again — and I’ve seen people stay and get healthy despite what’s going on around them. Please, don’t fuss over whether y you’re still in the relationship or not (unless you’re being physically abused — which is never okay). It will all pull together in its own time, and the timing (believe me, I know) truly isn’t our own. Melody

  • Nicole Spence says:

    Hi Melody, I have to say I am somewhat addicted to this site. I read your meditations daily and draw strength from the raw truth and courage you display. I have been a follower of your work for quite some time now and only now, looking at entering my fifth decade her on Earth, can I say I’m finally starting to get it. All of the intellectual is finally starting to filter into the spiritual and I am grateful to you for your guidance through these years. I do understand the meaning of co-dependence, but I understand it in the context of my own life’s lessons. It is what it is. I am also finding my voice and on the cusp of coming out of hiding my life from the world. I have spent the past couple of years reflecting on life and identifying why I have been sabotaging my own happiness and success. I have discovered that I can have everything I have ever wanted in life by the simple act of being. Mind you, there are lessons still to be learned, but these lessons for me are in the face of a new perspective. I would like to share, if I may, my own blog spot. Bringing a reflective account of my life’s experiences is part of my life’s purpose. Thank you for helping me in my own journey. You are truly inspirational. Nicole

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for all the kind words in your comment. I just went through a huge awakening this past few days — one that pulled together and made sense out of all the pain of the past five years. I should now by now that I can trust HP — that everything truly does happen for a reason. Yet, it’s so easy to lose faith when the pain, confusion, and darkness go on and on and on. On the other hand, if we knew what we were learning, we’d jump in there and try to control it. So much can happen when we relax and Life in the Mystery — things that cannot happen when we try to figure everything out. Thanks again for writing. Melody

    • Melody says:

      Nicole, did I misunderstand you? Were you asking to put a link on one of my sites to your blog? If you were, you’re welcome to do that. I only edit out ‘links’ when they’re spam, or when the person has nothingn to add to the discussion and is only trying to build his/her ratings. I would welcome a link to your blog. Melody

  • Eileen says:

    Hi Melody, It is GREAT to hear from you again! I missed you very much. I laughed OUT LOUD when I read your response about the chips hurled into the TV :-) Oy! – I really can just laugh and laugh….with you… Anyway, I’ve been “at this” – thank God – for over 19 years now…discovered the other day – again – that I have an expectation of “graduating”. Yikes! Time to be grateful for the road…ease my grip on the steering wheel, and revel in the day, the glory of Spring …and that I actually have the capacity to continually return to a “teachable” state of wonder…what a contrast to the abysmal ‘prison’ (as in, “dead girl walking”) I used to exist in…YOU have taught me so much and YOU have made a tremendous difference in my life…I have been blessed by you! You’ll relate to this…this afternoon as I was driving along I felt joy (yay!) at the sight of the gently greening trees all along my way, when BAM(!) the unbidden thought, “all this is going to die in the Fall.”, brought me to my usual (comfortable) state of negative mind…the next thoughts came…” There is joy nonetheless..there is beauty nonetheless…remember…there is recovery…there is a loving way to experience life…remember who you are..what you have found…remember to feel what you have inside you always…remember that the years of living with active alcoholism are concluded…remember, you are sober now…you are graced… … …pause and feel it…remember…”

    • Melody says:

      Thanks. I think I need to post a few more book choices on the site (not necessarily mine). Have you read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now?” Really helps me stay in the moment — truly in the moment instead of living today waiting for tomorrow to come. I’ll talk to Chip and see if I can get him to post a few more books, otherwise I’ll give it a go myself. Again, thanks for taking the time to comment. You — and all my guests — are making this site a rewarding and healing experience for many. Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      This is to the person who asked if I have any workshops or talks coming up. The answer is “no” — I don’t do those anymore, unless I’m doing a fundraiser for the area where I live. I do have a two-hour (call in, I think) radio show coming up on the …. hmmm. Okay, it’s on April 23 (ten days or so) at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webe. If that isn’t correct, I’ll repost it on the site. Also, my main talk is recorded on the site and you can listen to it here. I’ve always felt I give my best in my writing, and speaking takes so much out of me. I connect mostly with my readers now through my web sites. Best, Melody

      • Melody says:

        Hi Trigger. Thanks for writing. But honestly — I would either be lying, retarded, or in denial if I didn’t react with horror, grief, and a sense of deep loss to being betrayed by someone who insisted we were “as close as sisters” and someone whose children said they had come to love me like an aunt. And to find out that it (the alleged embezzlement) started almost the first day she worked for me. It redefines years of my life – and like I said, I’d be an emotionless robot if I didn’t have a deep emotional loss, not just to half a million dollars, but to someone I thought of as a sister. However (maybe you haven’t kept up with my recent postings), I’ve worked through the grief (or it’s worked its way through me) and I’ve moved forward into the future with peace. But honey, many times peace means accepting that we’re: angry, upset, irrational, not at peace, furious, hurting, betrayed, etc. It’s surrendering to everything we feel that aligns us with peace and power, not dis-allowing ourselves to feel all our emotions (at least that’s my truth). Now, if I stayed in that same place about the events of the recent decade — and they have been hard — going to court to fight for my mom’s life, being appoint her co-Guardian and sole conservator (and she lived in another state), and caring for her while she died from Alzheimers; having a surgery that gutted me like a deer and put me to bed for a year and permanently changed how my body works; being embezzled for half a million dollars and betrayed by someone I thought genuinely cared for me; having the banks refuse to pay for even one forged check; and facing the potential loss of my health insurqnce and being uninsured and unisurable, have been issues I’ve had to work through on this journey. It’s been an odd decade. The lessons continue to grow more challenging, as with Aikido or any martial art. But, if given the choice, I wouldn’t change anything about my life except for the death of my son, Shane. Best, Melody

  • Julie says:

    Finding your books when I did was the beginning of healing and self acceptance. I finally mostly feel like I’m just like everyone else, no better, no worse. I found your books 10 years before my son had substance abuse issues and did what I needed to do with courage and strength. “Thank you” is not enough for your honesty, vulnerablity, and clarity that you’ve given. Hoping this finds you taking it easy on yourself.

    • Melody says:

      Thanks, Julie–but you did the hark work. Congratulations on making the effort to truly take care of yourself, and deal with a loved one’s addiction. Melody (PS– it can be especially difficult when the addict/alcoholic is one of our children.)

  • Trigger says:

    I’m just at the library and have picked ‘The Grief Club’ for the umpteenth millionth time.No particular reason other than unlike any other writer you ‘say it with soul’ better than any other author. You are truly gifted Melody and to share your experiences as you do makes you one of my favourite humanitarians. But petal, as I was doing a bit of surfing….as you do… I was surprised to read your recent dramas (it must be Melody day because I’ve got your book under my arm and reading the blog as well…..hmmmm, is there trouble brewing???) I’m sorta trying to do what you do but a bit differently. I live in the bush and sleep in a tent since I went down a few years ago (a bit like Maggie in ‘Grief’, no?) and so I sorta found someone I call Mister SomeOne Out-There who lives in me. Anyway I’m writing my story backwards from under my rock to the biggest support network we have seen and if there is one person I know will love it, it is you. Anyway this isn’t to self publicise. Now Melody, why have you let something like money and someone else’s failings and betrayal upset you so? There must be something more and I’m confused? Your emotional and spiritual strength is already proven and you have come out on top every time. What ever has really got to you, then use what you have shown everybody else to be your greatest strength……YOU! Love radiates out of your writing and you know what Dr Frankyl thought of ‘love’. Stay cooool! My greatest thanks and love for giving us YOU. Trigger

  • EileenMarie says:

    Hi Melody, I needed to read this today! I’ve been going to a Co-DA 12 step meeting for 3 months and thankful every Tuesday that I have my meeting tonight. I am struggling raising my 12 year old daughter because of her Co-Dependency to ME! She has the controlling anger of her dad whom I left 3 years ago and I have accepted my daughters bad behavior for so long to try to change it while changing me has been……… well………. daunting! Top off my mom suffering with Dementia moved in with me and I too “discovered her loving, nurturing side after oh, half a decade” well 30 years anyway…… Thank you for writing your blog and your books, it is the answer to so many of my “Why am I like this?” Eileen :)

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for taking time to write in, Eileen. I really believe that 99 percent of our struggles come from not believing and understanding how normal we, and our reactions, are. That doesn’t mean we don’t have options and choices — but who wouldn’t react the way we did? Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for your kind words, but I’m just the messenger. I’m glad my experiences can be of value to someone. Best, Melody

  • Jane says:

    Hi Melody, Thank you for such a beautiful reminder of just how much we can choose for ourselves how we view our circumstances – and how we don’t have to be the victim. Your authenticity is so rare and refreshing. “We don’t see rejection. We know we’ve been saved from ourselves, saved for something better.” – I love that. Because it’s so true. Even if it’s so hard to see it when we’re going through it. Codependent No More was the first book I stumbled on at my neighborhood bookstore back in 1994, fresh from the rejection of yet another relationship I had been hanging onto, trying to make into what I knew it could be for far too long. It was the first self-help book I ever read. I read the entire book that same night and for the first time in a very long time, something clicked. It made sense. I made sense. What had happened all made sense. Someone finally understood. You understood, Melody, and suddenly, I wasn’t alone anymore. You got it. You understood what I had gone through; what I was still going through. I read all of your books, every one of them, and gradually began to heal enough to start living life again. Your words have been such an inspiration, and helped me to make the changes in my life and my thinking that helped me to become the person I am today. I’m now happily married in a loving, healthy relationship, and I’m very grateful to you for helping me to get here. I recently started a blog to help other women learn from my journey through all the things I learned the hard way, and refer to you and your books often. I just wanted you to know that you probably have no idea how many lives you’ve touched over the years and still touch from those of us who are inspired to help others because of how we’ve been helped by you. Love, Jane

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for your kind word, Jane — but you did all the hard work, and it takes work and courage to let go of survival behaviors that have saved our lives for so long. I’m thrilled you are in a solid relationship — you sound great. And again, thanks for taking the time to comment. Melody

    • Melody says:

      Hi, Jane. Thanks for writing. I still remember the night I “got it” — and the sun came shining through all my codependent stuff (which, by the way, isn’t all bad.) When we come full circle, we start to learn that being codependent, and working through that, has prepared us to be “super achievers.” I’ve not liked the word or phrase “over-achievers.” That has a negative connotation. We become the ones that can get the job done. We step up to the plate when others fold. And all that we’ve been through, we see has been training that created a dang “okay” human being — us. Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kind words. Melody

  • Pauline Victoria Thomas says:

    Dear Melody – Thanks for your insights into the illness we share and I am trying to undress from, I am very grateful for the surgeon that worked on my husband on the 11/10/2012, and I am grateful my broken arm got in shape so that I could nurse him, I am grateful to the heavens and back for my 30 years in the fellowship and I still take everyday as day one, but my experience strength hope shine through and I am able to get up and go. Thank you for sharing your challenges as I have myself triying to get money from a therapists that we have let go of and grown out of that owest me a £1000.00 but I may have let go of it. but I am thankful I know I have moved on. and thanks for persons as yourself who have been part of our lives for so long I hope you wont think me rude but live in the wash room or toilet as we say and we read you came what may. THANK YOU AND EVERYONE WHO IS TRYING THEIR HARDEST. LOVE PAULINE

    • Melody says:

      HI Pauline. I take it you’re from the UK? Not sure how to translate some of the phrases, but thank you so much for taking the time to post. There does come a time to stop spending our money on some “future healing” and just be okay and live our lives. Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thanks for your comments — and here’s to the “washroom.” Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      Hi. I take it that you’re from the UK. Thanks for taking the time to comment, although I’m not entirely certain I understand everything you wrote — just because of the different expressions in different cultures. But I think I get the drift. Best, Melody Beattie

  • Teresa Cash says:

    As I read in my Journey to the Heart I feel this urge to see if I can find you on the Internet. I bought your daily meditation book in 2002 and I have read it faithfully every day of every year since. You have been such an inspiration to me in more ways than I can count. Thank you very much for being you!!! Now thatninfound your blog I will be following.

    • Melody says:

      I’m glad you found the site too. I hope you can find ideas and people here that support you. A new “thing” that we’re adding to the sites (I have three: my main author site at http://www.MelodyBeattie.com — where the blog Living in the Mystery is; http://www.MelodyBeattie.net – the Grief Club site — and that’s for any kind of loss, from the worst, such as losing a child, to codependency — a place you can come to and be who you are and feel whatever you really feel without being judged; and http://www.MelodyBeattie.org – Make Miracles in 40 Days, for people ready to connect with their inherent power that arises once we get rid of some of the old “stuff” we don’t need any longer), so anyway, a new “add-on” is a “fun and games” page. It’s a section that’s on the lighter side. It has some great, hand-made Word Searches. Each one connects to a book, is challenging, contains a lesson that helps the person learn the subject – and more than that, it helps us get into the other side of our brain. For instance, if we’re doing a lot of grieving and crying, we need to learn that we can “switch sides” and get out of our deep crying (that can feel like a bottomless pit). Lately, some people have been posting some funny jokes (see Smerk’s posts). The Law of Humor is important — no matter what we’re going through, because sometimes — no matter what people say — life can be too much. We need a little denial, some laughter, some forgetting about all that’s “wrong” and we need to just plain get into the present moment and feel okay for a minute. Best, Melody. P.S. — Hope to hear more from you and see you around the sites. I’m looking forward (as you can probably tell0 to the new page going up. I’ve got all the content — or some of it — I just need my Webmaster, Chip, to have a little extra time. Hint, Hint. Poke, Poke. Yo, Chip.

    • Melody says:

      Glad to have you around. Best, Melody

  • Judy Fitzgerald says:

    Dear Melody… I have recently “discovered” you and your books. I love your message and what you stand for. I love that you are human. I’ve walked through some briar patches in my life and just wanted to share a poem I wrote when i was in the midst of one. There will ALWAYS be those patches throughout our lives… As a teenager I thought all I really had to do was grow up and life would be calm….ha ha. Silent Whispers by Judy Fitzgerald Rejoice in what thou art given. Protect what is in thy dreams. And, give the gift of self To those who transverse the line between. But, when reality and dreams collide The floods of disappointment give rise, And a prayer is whispered at days end That the heart will endure. When the sun sets upon such a time The heart re-aligns with truth, And imaginings return to the corners of the heart. Within the secret pockets of time Between both places of the heart Peace may find a place to rest its head. Dreams continue on, Reminding those who choose to play The songs between both realms That life is very delightful. Again…. thank you so much for your beautiful words from your beautiful wonderful spirit. Love, Judy

    • Melody says:

      Thank you — those are kind words. I’m especially happy that you’ve discovered something that’s helping you create a life that’s more to your liking. It’s so important — but when it’s time for the lesson, the class bell just keeps on ringing. My work may have helped, but you’re the one doing the work. Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for the poem and taking time to comment. Melody

  • Sharon says:

    This has nothing to do with your blog entry, but I couldn’t find another place to post this. I try to read your daily online meditations every day. However, I am a bit behind and am reading April 29th today. You quote Fritz Perls and then go on to write about him. The sentence starts out: “Dr. Frederick S. Penis . . . .” I laughed and laughed. Spellchecker at work!! Thanks for the unintended but great bit of humor this morning.

    • Melody says:

      That is funny. It’s Murphy’s law — no matter how often you edit a piece of work, there will be a typo that jumps out at you. Also, many publishers (and they make many changes from the time the pages get in) don’t have as many editors on staff anymore due to cutbacks and less dough to spend — but that’s just the way it is. But — what would life be without mistakes? Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      BTW, we are putting up a “lightening up” page on I believe the Grief Club site at http://www.MelodyBeattie.net. It will have jokes (and some are genuinely funny); and for now, challenging Word Search Games. The leftover letters have a “magical sentence.” The games are fun and challenging to play, plus educational. Each relates to one of my books. It also gets us out of the “emotional” side of our brain if we go too deep into grief, crying, or obsessing about someone or something. Best, Melody

  • Barbara says:

    Melodie…. are there any coincidences in life? I found \Finding Your Way Home\ on a used bookrack three years ago. It was tattered and the cover was torn, but in many ways it saved me. Grace of God kind of thing. It and O’Donohue’s \To Bless the Space Between Us\ are my favorite books now. They speak to the heart. I have used them in meetings and support groups. They are the gifts I give to my friends when they need them. Gifts of love. You have been through more pain and heartache than most. It really doesn’t seem fair. Pain and grief are such odd companions. And betrayal, well… are there really words to adequately describe it? I can think of a few… but I’m certain this is a PG blog. In spite of all that nasty stuff, it’s clear that you are indeed loved. And even more, the gift of what you’ve written gives people like me the opportunity to share the love and wisdom you have shown to others. You know, the ripple effect. You may never know the lives you have changed and saved by writing what you have and continue to do. I believe it’s the Talmud that says if you save one life, you save the world entire. A weighty concept, but beautiful in reality. So thanks…. You have my gratitude and remain in my heart and prayers. Much love, Barbara

    • Melody says:

      Thank you. That’s a very beautiful letter, and the thoughts and feelings behind it are beautiful and loving too. I appreciate it. Best, Melody

    • Melody says:

      What a beautiful and thoughtful comment. I don’t believe I’ve saved lives, but I do try to encourage people to value and save their own. Best, Melody

  • Alice Mungia says:

    I was recently diagnosised after 9 months of weekly therapy which I sought out after a texting relationship failed amongst other 2011 tragedies in my life. My Coda friend recommended I read your books but I found your website instead. I don’t know how I can change and I hope I haven’t passed this part of me on to my daughters.

    • Melody says:

      You do need to read someone’s books — whether they’re mine or someone else’s. It sounds like you need information, as you’re saying “I don’t know how I can change.” And honest — there is a way — but you need the info about it. I know you can change — but you don’t know that yet. Also, that’s why it’s called “Living in the Mystery” — we’re asked to trust what we don’t know yet, instead of trusting what we do know. All I can do now is tell you that there is a way — and the way will find you — but you will need to do your part, too. If money is an issue, all my books are at the library. But again, it doesn’t have to be my books you read — read something on the subject matter you’re struggling to make changes in. Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing, and trust the process you’re in. Best, Melody Beattie

  • Rick says:

    What I’ve learned over the past 25 years or so is that co-dependence is my way of rebuilding (or just building) a trust and a belief system that I wasn’t given as a child. We, the co-dependent ones, are so willing to bankrupt our emotional selves to the point of non-existence if it means that we might receive one iota of acknowledgement from the ones that we are trying to receive it from. The cruelest part is when we realize that there are those in our lives that would be willing to throw us under the bus, to keep themselves looking like they aren’t the one with the problem. we place such a higher value on others, more than ourselves because we never or rarely got that as kids from our parents….probably more so when i was a teen. at that time, my dad had just come home from viet nam and now my mom and dad were focusing on themselves and ignoring their kids….so that’s where it began for me….That’s what co-dependency is all about (for me), Charlie Brown.

    • Melody says:

      Very insightful comment. Eckhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now, describes love for others as being “in the moment, present, and aware.” If we tak e that to the next level, than loving ourselves means being present for and aware of ourselves — in an attitude of caring and self-acceptance. It means living in the moment — with ourselves. So many of us looked for love as a balm to make our pain go-away, and love isn’t meant to be a “pain-killer.” That’s when dependency and unhealthy behaviors set in. It’s complicated, but I know that Life will bring us the experiences and lesson we need to learn the next thing. Thanks for your comment. Best, Melody

  • Ariel Israel says:

    Alice, some people think a diagnosis is an awful thing–me, I love it! At last I know what the heck’s wrong with me! And the best thing about knowing what’s wrong with me is now we know what kind of medicine we need. Welcome. You join millions–and they all have something to teach you, me, and each other. Rejoice, and stay tuned in. Oh, about your daughters–without a doubt you passed it on to them. But now that you know it, you have the opportunity to begin repairing. For me it took almost 20 years to feel like I really had been able to pass along my own healing, but never give up. All you have to do is begin to share every single, littlest thing you learn that helps you with them. Sort of like you have your own little Coda group. You lucky girl–you’ve found your way here. And thank you Melody for the wisdom and the fortitude to give it away in the midst of storms!

  • May says:

    I am continuously trying to keep my tendency to be depressed in check lately. I needed to read this in full and it lifted my spirit. There is always the other side of the story and learning your story is helping me deal with my own. I have come to know your work years ago through a friend who shared “The Language of Letting Go” with me. I have read and continue to re-read it (as well as “More Language of Letting Go”) as I find necessary. In turn, I have also shared this with others who might also appreciate the gems it contains. I admire how you make yourself vulnerable – something I struggle with (happily though, not as much as before) for fear of being rewarded with pain. In as much as you encourage an attitude of gratitude, it is also fitting that you receive it from the many people you have helped. Like me. Thank you.

    • Melody says:

      Thank you; that was sweet — and you’re very welcome. I’m just the messenger, however – and the message is what’s important. I shared at a group last night, and reminded myself and others that a side effect of what we’ve experienced is a tendency to see and focus on the negative and not see the blessings. It’s like we’ve got selective vision and memory. To overcome that, we do need to work extra hard to see what’s good, what’s positive, and keep it in our minds and hearts. It’s not an easy job, but it is rewarding. Thanks again — and remember, we’re not bad or wrong because we have a tendency to be negative. It’s something that protected us for many years. It’s a survival behavior. Now, it’s time to thrive, not just survive. That doesn’t mean we get all “Polly-annaish” — saying everything is fantastic. But for me, I know that I could focus on my blessings a little bit more. Your email is definitely one (blessing). So thank you. See the ripple effect — how everything we do, affects the world around us? What we do, think and say (or what we don’t do, think or say) truly can make a huge difference and help change the world. Thanks for taking time to comment out of your busy day. Best, Melody

  • Ariel I. (Beth Copeland) says:

    Melody, I love that you shared how everything changes when our perspective does–yet it and hey really don’t change at all. It’s us–and God. The depth of the 1st and 3rd steps have shown me how amazingly sweet is the journey once it becomes a way of life to look for God in the dark places. I’ve found that every trial I’ve faced–before and after recovery–along with its pain, has had spiritual purpose, and I like the woman God has grown me to be. Also, thank you for talking about hating the word codependent. I do too! I hate it so much that I won’t use it. In my own work I call it he drinker’s woman,. giving a more factual idea of what’s wrong with her than codependent! You were the first I ever read on he problem. In my private practice at the time, your work brought new life to so many women–and me too. Thank you, beautiful lady, for your life. Just keep on livin’ and strugglin’ and then sharing the growth you get from it with us. With love to you. Ariel I./Beth C.

    • Melody says:

      Thanks much for your insightful comment, wisdom earned the hard way I presume. Thank you also for your very kind and uplifting words. I really appreciate them. Keep coming around, whenever the spirit moves you. Best, Melody Beattie

  • Tracy says:

    Life sure ain’t for wimps… Melody- what a wringer you managed to work yourself through & above (I’m sort of picturing an In-”diana” Jones sort of visual- lol). I just found Codependency No More at my local Salvo’s (Salvation Army)- sorry, that’s my price range. :) Awesome book. I keep re-reading, & I’m not done yet. It IS my childhood. It very much mirrors yours- in some ways (including sexual assault). I am sick inside thinking of your loss of your son (little angel)- my daughter was hit by a 4×4 coming home from school- it was very close to deadly. My very sincere condolences for your little boy- I am so, so sorry. For all intents & purposes, I appear to be an adult alcoholic, codependent child, of an alcoholic parent (likely also codependent themselves)…yikes. But, I’m dealing with it. Lol. Seriously, I am with lots of books & info. I’m trying to give my kids a shot at not falling victim to this. They already have a mother who came out as gay at 45. Amazingly, that is the least of my priorities or worries. The important thing for them/me is that I am there, aware, & healthy. I am taking action to put myself out & into groups. I’m looking for ways to focus on things that will empower me & does not involve my kids (tending to me). It’s difficult because I usually never do anything at all for me alone. At any rate- a thanks. Don’t take on the negative reviews about your writings. You must know it comes from people who are likely personality disordered? They hate your success- lol. Stay safe & thanks for all you do, Tracy :)

    • Melody says:

      Thanks Tracy. It sounds like you’re doing well. I can hear it in your “voice.” I learned early on (when writing for a newspaper) that criticism and praise are just two sides of the same coin and neither are money that can even get me a ride on the bus. To work for the sake of the work (but yes, I do need to be paid) is why I write or do anything I do at all — except for these websites. I have worked hard not to commercialize them (I didn’t mean I don’t do them for the sake of the work — I meant I don’t do them for money). It’s a much more intimate way of connecting with my readers; far easier than doing city-a-day tours; and it’s something I truly enjoy. Plus I’ve been blessed with the best people on the web in my forums. Couldn’t ask for much more. Keep up the good work. It’s so ironic — we work so hard to control and change the world, then surrender to the fact that we can’t. We work on ourselves and learn that the side effect of that is truly impacting the lives of others — and that applies to each of us. Another irony and little game that life plays while it keeps us learning our lesssons and on our toes. Best, Melody

  • Karen says:

    Dear Melody, There is something I want you to know. i discovered your books about 12 years ago, as I was going thru a divorce I thought would either drive me totally mad or kill me. Im not totally mad (just a simdgeon some days) and I’m not dead (although I still am amazed at why not). What I am, is a human being who still struggles in many ways, but one who wants you to know that you can ALWAYS bring me back to a place of center. I admire you and hope you have some idea how much you have helped so many of us. Whenever I feel myself slipping, I know to pick up anyo f your books (I own them all) and you can bring me back to a place of sanity. Thank you so very much.

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for sharing, Karen. Your words brought tears to my eyes. But again, although I’d like to take credit — you’re the one doing the work, taking the action to bring yourself back to center. I’m glad you survived, although I’m not glad you had to go through all that chaos. Divorces can be much more horrendous than people think. And — I’m just the messenger, one grateful she was allowed to bring these words to the world. (Can’t believe I just referred to myself in third peson.) Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write. It means a lot to me. Best wishes, Melody Beattie

  • Joanne ODonnell says:

    Right now have no one to call I am broken been sick for a week my son been home from jail for 6 months has not been pretty he is in a program now Ive been codependent all my life since I was a kid my father was a functional alcoholic I was mentally abused for years I went for help when my son was 4 after my mother died my whole family abused me I do forgive them didn’t know where to turn their anger too so I was the one I didn’t do the drug they did well anyways over that still gets triggered once in a while my son went away a couple of days ago leaving all the wreckage he was awaay for 4 years in a maxium prison was hard when he got out ran to thereapy then couldn’t afford it after the theivery started Im sick he has two children 9 and 3 I took David the 9 year old since he was young after a while her mother took temporary guardianship and to help her out I took him on weekends and my son went away at 24 had another child another boy he was born in prison but she got to keep him been taking him since he was born david and Jordin well in the last couple of months with everything going on I couldn’t take the 3 year old because my car wasn’t working had to get another one and their was a snowstorm couldn’t get him and this week been sick all week haven’t been to work because of it told the mother I couldn’t take him on all three occasions she texted me obsessively through out the day stating Im not consistant and I cannot see Jordin anymore Im saying to myself what is wrong with this picture Im sick Im the grandmother I do not have to do what I do I have taken him for 4 years so him and the 9 year old could get to know one another and I enjoyed being with them well she texted me all day and nite of hows she is done something wrong withthis picture so tired of them using my grandchildren as pawns I am going to let go because right now I can’t be around so one so disrespectful and right now I never want to see her she is not my friend never was I was just trying to do the right thing but you know what it still hurts I love him he is awesome and he loves me just so sad and I can’t stop crying she makes it like I love one beter than the other I don’t I love and thank God Im capable I have a Savior but it is still painful cant react to her I just said the truth Im sick and can’t take him need to take care of myself I just don’t understand this world I can’t bow down to her to appease her cause she wants to go out going back to alanon and been reading codependent no more again I must have a sign on my head that saids abuse me Im so sick and tired I am not letting my son come home Love him but he has to do a whole program he never has and the last jail he was in had no recovery and was loaded with drugs he is court order to go now I pray he gets it Ive let go of alot of my family its just seems like a decentized world been spending alot of time this week by myself asking God for help gosh buy the pain is great between my son my grandson my financial situation but thank “God I still have a job well thanks for listening it usually takes me a few days to get thru this but I will and thanks for your book and knowledge Im trying to get my family dynamics from a cousin my whole family mentally abuses and it is passed on from gen to gen Ive been to therapy for it but itdoes slip especially since he has been home he more so than ever well thanks and pray for me

  • Robinder says:

    Dear Melody, First, please accept my Gratitude for changing my life with your writings : the views you’ve expressed & felt – I connected. I will not go into jargon or detail in this mail as it is simply my expression of Gratitude for my discovery work. Gosh, I didn’t even ‘know’ that I can have self worth, begin to trust my instincts, and so on, always with the guidance of my HP. Today, I do many ‘normal’ things (which were ‘not normal’ for me earlier) without much thought. In quite a few situations I stop & pause and wait to hear that voice within …… sometimes I don’t hear it & today I know its okay, the answers will come when I am ready. Today I simple try & live in the present & do the next best thing I can. Ofcourse, I screw up but I no longer (for the most part) beat myself up. I am continuously learning to love myself because I believe I DESRVE it. The abuse (emotion & physical) I have suffered growing up in an alcoholic home & then, years later punishing my body with drugs & alcohol. Time for healing, time for letting go & time to express my Gratitude. You are one of the many people who have been the signage on the road of my recovery, & here & now, I am mailing this to you. Lastly, I specially want to thank you for sharing in a talk show with ……(forget the name but midway he played the song “Shine On You Diamond” ……. about “the Grace of God”. I have today. Tomorrow will be another day, with whatever it brings. Best wishes, Robinder

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