Books and Programs I Recommend for Personal Growth and Recovery.

Below is a list of resources I have used to pursue personal growth at different times of my life, leading to the lasting happiness I now enjoy. It is important to note that the order is not really important and in fact this is a list of the steps I took given my specific needs and personality. It could be different for each of us. I took most of these programs in Ottawa, Canada but I hope programs like them are offered elsewhere in the world, too.

I have included the phone numbers or websites of each as a reference in case one of these ideas seem right to you at this time.

  1. 2001- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) with Melodie Benger. Eight week program of calming and meditation based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living.
  2. 2003 (to present) -Attended Al-Anon meetings. It is a 12-step program for people affected by other people’s drinking, based on AA’s 12 steps. I focused on the Serenity Prayer (see below), slogans and developing a trusting relationship with a Higher Power., (613) 860-3431.
  3. 2004 – Serenity Renewal for Families – New Beginnings program. This was a 4 day recovery program which helped me to feel hope at a deeper level., (613) 523-5143
  4. 2004 – 2009 Amanae Sessions. This is a deep tissue emotional release bodywork technique by Victoria Butow., 1-(267) 337-2729.
  5. 2004 – Mindfulness (MBSR) at the Bronson Centre with Dr. Steven Hicks.  ‘Stress is a choice’ is what I took away from this program.
  6. 2004 – Rideauwood’s  ‘Family Program’. Highly recommended, as already mentioned, for people affected by another’s drug or alcohol use., (613) 724-4881.
  7. 2005 – Took a six-week group therapy course, which followed the book The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. Worked on my multiple losses. An excellent approach to processing multiple losses.
  8. 2006 – Camillus Centre in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Twelve day residential Family Program for people affected by other people’s addictions. Call (705) 848-2652 and inquire about the Family/Co-dependency program.
  9. 2007 (to present) – volunteering as an ‘Adult Child’ at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders Program. and click on ‘Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders’.
  10. 2007 – Participated in a Cursillo weekend, which dramatically deepened my trust in a Higher Power.
  11. 2008 – Rideauwood’s  ‘Family of Origin Program’.  Highly recommended for adults who came from a dysfunctional background and wants to work on their continuing issues. , (613) 724-4881.

My Recommended Reading List:

  1. Adult Children of Alcoholics, Janet Geringer Woititz
  2. Healing the Shame That Binds You, John Bradshaw
  3. Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph. D.
  4. The Grief Recovery Handbook, John W. James and Russell Friedman
  5. Journey to the Heart, Melodie Beattie

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


Is the answer to all my problems today.

When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake…. Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.


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