you tell us a little about your recovery story?
I'm the eldest of four children and I was born in British Columbia,
Canada. My father, a retired Baptist minister, is American and my mother,
a homemaker, is Canadian. I was raised in a perfectionist’s household
with strict religious rules and over-protection. At the age of eight my
best little girlfriend was murdered and to cope with this and other
stresses, I developed an eating disorder at the age of nine. Oh boy...
I married young at
18 to escape my oppressive family and found myself in a mentally
controlling and physically abusive nightmare. I divorced 12 years later
with 2 sons in tow. I remarried and fortunately started therapy
with my new husband years later.
What was the
hardest part of leaving your marriage?
The hardest part of
leaving my marriage was my concern with how it would affect our two sons.
I didn't want them to be from a broken home - and the guilt was what kept
me in such a violent and verbally abusive relationship. I even forgave him
his affairs. But the night my husband turned the violence on our youngest
son gave me the courage to finally leave the next morning.
So, you coped
via a food addiction...
believe that compulsive overeating
and other related eating disorders are progressive and so in the past few
years this “disease” started to exact a heavy toll. I was my most overweight, depressed and spiritually adrift. I simply couldn’t do it alone anymore so I reached
out for help to a 12-Step program for overeating and my miracle started to
That is some
history. How did your "recovery music" come about?
Music was always a big part of my family. I was coaxed onstage to sing
when I was preschool age and found I loved to perform. As a teen I started
to write my own songs and share at church coffee houses. I found writing
to be a natural outlet for my thoughts and feelings. I did two albums in
1980 and 1990 that were moderately successful and got some airplay in the
US and overseas. I had pretty much retired my dream of doing any
more records when in the first month of my 12-step group my creativity was
reborn. This time I wasn’t caring what a record company would think of
my age and body size. I wrote for me. And was told this was my most
meaningful and best work! And it shows.
you tell us about one of your songs and how it came about?
Serenity was the first song I wrote after one month in a 12-step
recovery group for my eating disorder. It is my favorite of all time
because it was written at a time when I was so open to change. The Twelve
Steps were completely new to me and what struck me the most was how
important it was to surrender to a Higher Power for help. It meant giving
up my own potentially destructive will and trusting my God to help me
overcome my weaknesses. It marked the beginning of my journey, taking baby
steps each day. “IT'S TIME TO FACE MY FEELINGS • IT'S TIME TO
FACE MY FEARS • TO WALK ON THROUGH THE FIRE • AND TAKE THE TIME FOR
TEARS • I KNOW THAT PEACE WILL BE THERE • RIGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE •
AND PAIN WILL WASH FROM MY HEART • WITH THE TEARS I CRY...” 1
you sung at any recovery events?
As I started to write songs I would call up my wonderful sponsor and sing
them over the phone. She encouraged me to share them with others. I was
soon asked to sing at Marathons and share my recovery interspersed with my
songs to illustrate my journey through working the 12 steps. I also
started doing weekend retreats as the entertainment on Saturday nights. It
has been the most fulfilling musical expression and joy in life to sing
and share with others. It is a true spiritual experience to share my heart
and life through music. I find as I give out to others (my 12th step) it
solidifies my own recovery and gives back to me more than I could ever
give to others.
Why did you
publish a CD of recovery oriented music?
I recorded songs from good moments of inspiration and abstinence over a
four year period. As I drove to work in my car and listen to cassettes of
them, they lovingly gave back to me experience, strength, and hope -
especially during stressful situations when I might have been tempted to
turn away from my Higher Power. My songs brought back the "big
picture" to me, and I found myself trusting my HP to give me strength
again. I soon began to realize that if my music helped me, maybe it could
help others, too. I started sharing my story and singing. I’ve never
felt more blessed and alive in my life as when I sing. It continues to be
the greatest of joys.
You have the voice of an
can people get Soulful Journey?
To order my CD go to my secure page at: https://stronghold.netnation.com/~geri/osecure.shtml.
I promise to get it out within 24 hours and will also send you an
autographed picture. I also have my own website titled “Geri’s
Recovery Music” which can be found at http://www.geri.net.
Please drop by and visit. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Dr. Irene for inviting me to share. As the Christmas season
approaches I just want to encourage those of you who struggle with stress
during this season to take time for yourself and be creative. Journal how
you feel. Who knows, it might turn into a song!
Who knows! Thank
you Geri! -Dr. Irene
See Geri's story here.
music by Geri. Copyright © 1995 Geri's Music /SOCAN. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.