By sharing her lifetime of trauma and a “spiritual tapestry fabricated from the finest fibers of various belief systems,” including Eastern religion, New Age spirituality, and the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, the author encourages readers to face their pain and develop unconditional self-love in this book.
Amanda McKoy Flanagan’s shame began as a kindergartener with an assault by a male babysitter. By her teens, Flanagan was an alcoholic. At 26, she got sober, but life continued delivering blow after blow. It was the overdose death of her beloved older brother that pushed her to “a spiritual awakening that shaped my identity and my heart in the most incredible way. Jeremy’s death delivered me to freedom.”
As she relates her own emotional journey, the author interjects advice on why and how to embrace pain and nurture emotional integrity, self-compassion, and trust.
This memoir is a courageous act of full disclosure, a soul-cleansing the author encourages her readers to replicate in their own way to build trust in themselves and others, noting: “When you heal, I heal, and when we heal, the world heals.”
To this end, Flanagan shares her tools, many familiar to those in recovery and with the work of Brené Brown and other self-actualization experts, including surrendering to a Higher Power and acknowledging and embracing vulnerability.
Some concepts are less familiar, such as “Compassion Forgiveness” (releasing someone from blame by sincerely believing they did the best they could); “Esteemable Boundaries” (taking care to protect ourselves with difficult people); and “Imago Theory” (subconsciously seeking partners like our caregivers to heal childhood wounds). She gives concise, encouraging explanations of their benefits.
Some of the writing soars, inspiring readers to tackle this daunting work, but the litany of troubles from her personal tale can sometimes overshadow the remedies she offers. Still, anyone suffering from emotional angst, feelings of inferiority, or substance abuse will find kind, authentic guidance here to a life of greater peace, love, and forgiveness.