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Doc@DrIrene.com

Recovery With Geri

Recovery With Geri: An Interview

Here is something a little different: An interview with a lady who makes beautiful music. I first "met" Geri when she emailed me about the time I launched the site, asking for a link to her site. I took a look, liked what I saw - the story of a woman overcoming adversity - and linked her. I also loved her lyrics, her beautiful voice and serene, melodious music (you can download snippets of the album on her site)! When she sent me her CD this past month as an unexpected "thank you" for linking her, I invited this cool lady to interview on this site and promote her recovery songs. Good for you Geri!  -Dr. Irene

Could 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...

Yes. I 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 happen. Yes!

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.

 Could 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


Have 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 angel...

Where 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 geri@geri.net.

Any last words?

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.

1 Words & music by Geri. Copyright 1995 Geri's Music /SOCAN. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.