Jamie Celebrates 10 Years of Sobriety!

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I love this quote. It sort of surprises me that I am coming up on ten years clean and still have to work so hard at loving myself. In some respects I feel like I’ve grown leaps and bounds in loving myself, yet there are days where I feel like I am back at square one and I can treat myself worse than anyone else ever could. If I really look back though – back to day one – I can see the miracle I’ve become.

This year has definitely been the year to reap the rewards of my recovery. In the past year I have gotten married, gotten pregnant, lost a baby, moved into a home with my daughter and husband, left my job and I did not use. I have been dealing with my daughter’s emotional difficulties while trying to heal and become whole. I did not use. I used to have a reservation that on my wedding day, I would drink. I had no desire. Using is just a symptom of the disease. It’s my thoughts, it’s my coping mechanisms (or lack of), it’s communication with people, it’s disappointments, hurts, heartaches. How do I deal with these things and not use? One day at a time, through meetings, constant contact with my support group and sponsor, prayer, meditation, and a Higher Power.

Warm Regards,
Jamie Chupka

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Wedding Celebration

All the preparations were complete. The moment had arrived. As Jamie, Joyce, and Hannah stepped out of the limousine, I was overcome by a flood of emotions that had unknowingly been stored in my heart for quite some time. These women were the embodiment of beauty, simplicity, courage, fierce determination and a boundless energetic expression of life. I thought “how blessed am I.”

Joyce, Jamie and I linked our arms together and walked down the aisle to the beetle’s song “Here comes the Sun.” All of us, in our own way, were skipping, as we crossed over the trials, tribulations, celebrations and tender intimate moments that made our family what it was on this great day.

As we walked toward the minister and Jamie’s beloved in waiting, the eyes and hearts of our family and friends celebrated this walk with us. They knew what this day meant. As my own eyes took in the gleeful look of our guests I knew that each of them, in their own way, contributed to this moment happening. Throughout the years their prayers, positive thoughts and loving actions were the bridge that kept us afloat during turbulent emotional times. It was now time to celebrate. Jamie and Fred’s expression of love for each other was contagious. I rested in the conviction that my son-in-law would stand for and by the woman of our clan. I thought “how blessed am I.”

I later thought of all the men and women throughout the world who pray for every alcoholic or addict at the end of each meeting that may be suffering from their addiction. I thank each and every one of you for not giving up hope, for not abandoning my daughter, for holding a place for her when she couldn’t hold her own. You were the unseen guests at this wedding. Scientific studies are demonstrating the positive influence prayer can have on illnesses. Keep on praying and keep those positive thoughts coming. Let’s allow for some more miracles.

Be well,
John Chupka

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Announcing a New Workshop by John!

Founder of The Forgiveness CenterPack Up Your Resentments and Take ‘A Ferry Ride to Forgiveness’
The Albany Yacht Club
| 75 Broadway, Rensselaer, New York 12144
Saturday, November 3, 2012 | 9:30 to 4:30

John Chupka, our co-author and founder of The Forgiveness Center; will take the helm on a day long ferry ride to forgiveness at the Albany Yacht Club. John, a respected psychotherapist and spiritual mentor, will guide his passengers in an experience that will allow them to drop their grudges and resentments and experience the relief of forgiveness.

Research has demonstrated that people who forgive are healthier and happier. According to respected PhD, Steven Stosny, it has been proven that a person who maintains constant prolonged levels of anger has a five times greater rate of mortality. Why? Because anger elevates blood pressure, increases the possibility of suffering a stroke; getting cancer, heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety. Letting go of anger will result in a healthier life. Even when we have been terribly wronged, choosing forgiveness lifts the onus of needing to prove we are right.

Here is the choice: would you rather be dead-right or take a seat on deck as we ride the waves over the stormy sea of resentment. You won’t need that life jacket when you decide to choose forgiveness. Welcome aboard for this extraordinary day on the bank of the Hudson River as we launch into a life enhancing experience of the ‘power of forgiveness.’

“As a teacher, John welcomes you to the course classroom with his warmth and humor. He does a remarkable job illustrating practical applications of course principles and creates an environment filled with love and light.” David Weinraub, (a previous course attendee)

Confucius: “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember.”

Tickets: $95 per person | Seniors $75.00 (Age 62+) Includes lunch and refreshments.

Reservations before October 26 will be discounted to $80.00
Special circumstances please contact John Chupka.

Special circumstances please contact John Chupka. Interested parties can find out more and RSVP to this event by clicking here.

The Forgiveness Center is a spiritually based practice of psychotherapy and trans-personal education. John Chupka, a psychotherapist and spiritual mentor, founded The Forgiveness Center in 1991 to provide opportunities for his clients to release painful experiences and create empowered futures. For four decades John has helped people heal their broken hearts. At the Forgiveness Center he guides people through a process which transforms their pain, anger and depression into freedom and joy. The center provides opportunities for people to release painful past experiences. Through a compassionate process, his clients learn to be fully present to create empowered futures, free of the constraints of past programming.

Johns practice, incorporating Eastern and Western disciplines, has evolved from an understanding in Brief Strategic Therapy and Ericksonian Hypnosis, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy and A Course in Miracles. This focus has created a strong foundation for John’s personal approach that has allowed him to help people heal their broken hearts for more than 3 decades. His workshops and seminars provide participants with a practical and theoretical understanding of the power of forgiveness.

Web: www.forgivenesscenter.org | Phone: 518.266.0658 | Email: jchupka@forgivenesscenter.org

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The Lighter Side of Forgiveness

Living peacefully can be challenging. I share the following quotes with the hope that it helps you laugh through your resentments.   – John Chupka

To increase peaceful moments:
I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.  Author unknown

Before you go off on someone remember:
People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.  Will Rogers

Think about it:
Before you give someone a piece of your mind, make sure you can get by with what’s left. Author unknown

Life is:
Life is too short to hold a grudge, also too long.  Robert Brauly

Who would have thought?
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  Malachy McCourt

Advice for partners:
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.  Phyllis Diller

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You Can Make A Difference

On Tuesday July 24th, Joyce, Jamie and I were on the Schenectady Today program hosted by Ann Parillo. To gather my thoughts for the program I decided to re- read It Went Without Saying. I was aghast at the level of denial I was employing to deal with Jamie’s addiction. The sad part was that Jamie’s addiction might not have traversed so deeply if I had taken action sooner. It’s difficult to know how or if it would have affected the outcome.

However, I firmly believe we all need to take responsibility for our part in the addiction process. We may not be the one recklessly indulging but we may be the one silently allowing. Our reluctance to voice our concern or take action when action is indicated tells a person that their drinking or drugging or stealing is really not that bad. Our unspoken word forges a reluctant partnership with their denial. This ensures that no one gets help.

In writing this blog I ask you to learn from my mistake. Take action sooner rather than later if you are involved with someone who may be showing signs of alcohol or drug abuse. They may not listen the first time. Eventually they may allow a space to hear what you are saying. In creating room to voice your concern, you can contribute to the recovery of a loved one.

Be Well,

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Our Television Debut!


We are very excited to make our television debut as guests of Schenectady Today, In And Around The Capital Region, hosted by Ann Parillo!  The show reaches over 400,000 families and we’re so happy to make that connection with our community.

Whether you’re already a fan of our book or haven’t read it yet, we hope join us for an intimate conversation about addiction, denial, family and forgiveness.  Also, John shares news of an upcoming event for The Forgiveness Center!

CLICK HERE to watch the interview

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The Forgiveness Center. Troy, NYThe etymology of the word amend in Latin is emendare. Emendare means to free from fault or to correct. Many of us carry the burden of guilt or shame for mistakes we have made in the past. This burden prohibits the possibility of our feeling loved because we have judged ourselves unworthy of it. This sense of unworthiness can contribute to a life of quiet despair. Despair can lead to resentment.

We are more likely to acknowledge our mistakes if we know we will not be condemned for them. In some cases we are condemning ourselves; in other cases we feel condemned by other people. The result of condemnation is a loss of love and a sense of isolation. This loss is what most people fear most. Rather than face the loss of love, respect, or approval we might deny our actions and refuse to assume responsibility. This can only lead to further actions that will need amending.

Making amends frees us from the judgment that fault implies. Freedom from judgment enables us to assume responsibility for our actions. When we accept responsibility, we can correct our thinking and change our behavior.

Why not try a little bit of emendare medicine. It can only make you happy.

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I am so grateful for angels.  Angels guided and lifted us up during the worst moments of Jamie’s addiction.  The year was 1977.  Jamie was deeply involved with drugs and alcohol.  In September of that year, I wrote this song about my experience of angels.  I share the lyrics with you now to help you become aware of the presence of Angels.  I hope it will remind you that you can call upon them in your own moments of strife.

The angels they watch me all through the day
The angels they guide me like a great ray.
Pouring light in the dark places of my soul
the angels they love me throughout the day.

Like mist in the morning, they seem to appear
Gentle reminders of all I hold dear.
They life me to places I seem to know
Holding the light like the sun’s sweet glow.

Like afternoon warmth they touch my heart so
Opening doorways to times long ago.
Sweet love abounds in me as I realize
My birthright of Godliness that shines through their eyes.

The sun sets on everyone by God’s sweet grace
Light knows no color regardless of race.
The angels of sunset bring forth the night
Reminding God’s children, they are always in sight.

The stars shining brightly over my dome
Are filled with the angel light of my true home.
They sprinkle the stardust of love from above
Like music that comes from a sweet mourning dove.

The angels they watch me all through the day
The angels they guide me like a great ray.
Pouring light in the dark places of my soul
The angels they love me throughout the day.

They also love to celebrate our successes.  As Jamie enters her 10th year of recovery, the same angels surround our home with sounds of joyful celebration.  I love them.

Be well,
John Chupka

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The Healing Side of Grief

Addiction often brings us experiences of different kinds of loss. The loss of friends, family, partners, children, financial security, future hopes and dreams, or our own self worth can have a devastating effect on all the lives the addiction has touched. James Van Praagh, in his insightful book entitled Healing Grief, states that when life is disrupted by loss, we can either proceed or withhold…

If we push our feelings of loss and sorrow deeper inside, we truly do permit hopelessness and helplessness to seep into our being.  If we connect with what we are feeling and learn from it, then we have a chance of moving beyond the pain.  We have to go through the grieving process and discover for ourselves the opportunities that await us beyond our suffering.

Van Praagh writes, “The spirit world has instilled one profound teaching in me, and that is, we are here to accept ourselves and the world around us with love and compassion.  If we could learn this one thing, we would be more content.  We would feel better about ourselves and enjoy what we do have.  We would understand that change is inevitable, and we would feel good enough to handle whatever comes our way.  We could throw away our bottles of Prozac or alcohol or whatever it is that numbs us.  We would realize that come what may, we know the experience has purpose, and its purpose is for our spiritual growth.  As I said in Reaching to Heaven, we come here so that our souls may evolve.  That is the only journey that is worthwhile.”

I think these are wise words that could help us all in the grieving process.

Be Well,
John Chupka

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Saying Yes to Grace

When I allow myself to be still, grace has an opportunity to touch into my life.  It offers the possibility to experience myself and others in a new light.  It has its greatest impact when I say yes to its invitation to remain with me.   As with any relationship grace needs to be cultivated.  I need, in some way, to respond to its presence.
I find music to be a powerful way to express my feelings about events in my life.  The following words are additional lyrics I wrote to the hymn Amazing Grace. It is my way of relating to the grace that is ever present in my life. I share it in this blog with the hope that the lyrics convey to you what grace has done for me.  In that musical interchange miracles can happen.  Here are the lyrics and I hope you sing them.

Be well,
John Chupka

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That brought me home to thee
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see.

I lift my soul to you in me
I bless all life I see
I woke today to life within
And vow to rest in thee.

Memories have no hold on me
They are but all a dream
A dream made real by tears and fear
But nonetheless a dream.

As I become the light I am
I enter in the dream
And lift all sorrow, fear and rage
To the comforter within.

Caring, healing, transforming
The memories that were bound
Frees me to be the light I am
Forever in the now.

Touching, sensing, cre-ating
A new life from within
A vision leading me back home
And be all that I am.

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