Preface by Carol Hansen Grey
My youngest daughter, Liz, and I have always been close even though we are separated by many miles, she in Texas and I in California. In 2006 she and her husband decided to move from their home in California and make a new life in Texas. I hated to see them go and for the first time I really understood how saddened my father was when I decided to relocate with my children many years prior from my home in Wisconsin to California.
After Liz moved, we stayed close, talking on the phone almost every day and visiting in person a couple times a year. After the birth of her fourth baby, she went through a difficult postpartum depression and that’s when her excessive drinking began. I really didn’t know how to help her except to be loving and supportive via long distance. But I realize now that she needed much more help than I was able to give her over the phone.
When I received the call that she had been charged with a second DUI and court-ordered to spend up to nine months in a residential drug and alcohol rehab facility located four hours from her home in Texas, I felt devastated for her. I knew she needed help, but this ruling was unexpected and felt overly harsh. In the rehab facility she was not allowed to receive phone calls or have outside contact for the first several months. She was only allowed to get letters. It was very much like a prison.
So, I meditated on what I could do while she was in the facility that would let her know how much she was loved. I got the idea to send her a postcard-sized inspirational/motivational quote every day. I went online and downloaded several hundred graphical quotes from the Internet, resized them to fit 4-up on a piece of cardstock, printed and cut them out. I ended up with over 300 inspirational cards that I kept in a stack by my rocking chair. Every morning I would wake up at 5AM, pick a card and hand write her a personal note on the back. Often I wrote several notes a day. I bought a large box of 4”x 5” envelopes that I pre-addressed and hand-decorated in cheery designs with colorful pens in which to mail the notes. Included in the back of this book is a link to a few samples of my decorated envelopes. I made a point to number each card I sent with a corresponding number on the envelope so Liz could easily see if there were any cards missing. (Somehow I didn’t trust that she would receive all my mail, but it turns out that she did!)
My husband suggested that I set up a database with a scan of the front of each card and a field where I could record what I had handwritten on the back. In total, I mailed her 255 cards. It is because of my husband’s suggestion that I am actually able to write this book and share my process with you.
In order to create this self-help, graphical memoir of Liz’s journey to recovery, I redesigned 230 of the inspirational/motivational quotes I sent her with my own collection of commercial-use graphics and fonts. Embedded in each graphic, I have included the name(s) of the fonts I used to create the graphic. Because the original quotes I had printed out often didn’t list the author, I diligently searched to see if I could attribute each quote accurately. I was able to find many of the authors, but unfortunately not all. So, those I couldn’t find I have simply indicated “author unknown.” (If any readers of this book can supply me with the accurate name(s) of the “unknown authors,” I would be most appreciative and will include them in a subsequent printing.)
My hope is that the quotes and personal messages in this book will serve as a guide in helping the reader understand the importance of self-love, how it is a necessary component of personal empowerment and how you can achieve it in your own life. I also hope that it will inspire those who have a loved one in rehab or prison with a way to help them know that they are loved and not forgotten. Simply being reminded of your love and support can make a huge difference in their rehabilitation, recovery and journey toward self-love and empowerment.