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Must Read: Fall to Pieces, A Memoir of Drugs, Rock’n’Roll and Mental Illness by Mary Porsberg

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FallToPieces

Synopsis:

In March 2007, twenty-four hours after Mary Weiland dragged her husband Scott’s pricey rock-star wardrobe onto their driveway and torched it, she was locked up in a mental hospital. Watching all this were her frightened extended family, a conflicted husband wrestling with demons of his own, and a tabloid industry gone gleeful at the “Bonfire in Toluca Lake!”
To the outside world, Weiland had led what seemed to be an enviable life. A successful international model in the nineties, she married her longtime sweetheart—famed lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and, later, Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland—in 2000. Mary was the sane one, went the story—it was the tempestuous, unpredictable Scott who was crazy. In her gripping memoir Fall to Pieces, Mary Weiland reveals that the truth is somewhere in between.

From her earliest days in San Diego, Weiland displayed signs of trouble: a black depression that sometimes left her immobile for days, a temper that sent her into wild rages she didn’t understand, an overdose. But her fierce determination to “have more” led to early success as a model. At sixteen, she fell in love at first sight with Scott Weiland, then an aspiring musician who was hired to drive her to and from modeling gigs. Slowly, her casual relationship with beer and pot grew into an affair with cocaine and heroin that rivaled her love for Scott, who was addicted as well. From rehab to rehab, from breakup to reconciliation to eventual marriage, the couple fought their way back, welcomed the babies they’d dreamed of, and hoped their struggles were behind them. Then came the bonfire breakdown and the full onset of Mary’s bipolar disorder, a widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed mental illness that affects more than five million Americans and had been, in fact, stalking Mary Weiland since her teens.

With refreshing candor, innate comic timing, and earned wisdom, Weiland recounts the extreme highs and lows of her life, including an unforgettable love affair with the man she always knew she’d marry, the careers and rock tours that took them around the world, and her fight to finally come to grips with the addictions that could have killed her. In her journey to understand and manage her bipolar disorder, she takes the reader on a wild ride into the dark and back into the light

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Keep Looking Up by Landon Pigg

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This song is mellow, I sway to the beat as I imagine he is speaking to me through my higher power. Letting me know that he/she/it will always be here for me, no matter where I am. I just have to keep looking up and having faith.
In recovery, having faith in not only ourselves but something greater than ourselves is so important. We clearly cannot control our lives, otherwise we would’ve never hit that famous ‘rock bottom’. We have to give thi to our higher power now, stop feeling hopeless and let them take care of us for once.

Lyrics:

Like a little locket hangs
Round your little neck so closely to your heart
So shall I be forever
I know you’re going somewhere new
And I know it’s never gonna to feel like home to you
But this time the only way around is through

So keep looking up, on past the birds
And keep looking up past the clouds
And when you reach up and clear away the stars
I will be there where you are

Like a little locket hangs
Round your little neck so closely to your heart
So shall I be forever
And even if you run away
Put on all your dark clothes, hide in shadows
Just remember one thing

Keep looking up, on past the birds
And keep looking up past the clouds
And when you reach up and clear away the stars
I will be there where you are

I will be there where you are
I will be there

Keep looking up, on past the birds
And keep looking up past the clouds
And when you reach up and clear away the stars
I will be there where you are

Keep looking up, on past the birds
And keep looking up past the clouds
And when you reach up and clear away the stars
I will be there where you are

So closely to your heart

Must Read: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

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“Ever since I saw the series of Orange is the New Black on Netflix before I went to rehab, I had recommended it to all the girls I had met that had been in jail. After hearing their experiences of being locked up in prison for months or years, I knew this was something they could relate to. I find that when we can relate to something, we feel less alone, less of a need to isolate. Things of our past no longer seem so daunting. Instead they appear as experiences that have only made us stronger. Piper might not have been a heroin addict but in her time spent behind bars, she met many and could sympathize with most every woman she that came into her life during her year sentence. I found this book to be heartbreaking yet hilarious. Opening my eyes to a rock bottom I hope to never hit! Below is a summary and make sure you watch the series too, you won’t be disappointed!” -Love and light, Robyn

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In 1998, Piper Kerman was working as a freelance producer in New York City and living a peaceful life with her magazine editor boyfriend, Larry. When two police officers arrived at their door one morning, Kerman assumed it must have something to do with the apartment building. In fact, they were there to arrest her on conspiracy drug charges related to her role in a heroin trafficking ring several years earlier.

At the time of her arrest, Kerman’s family, friends and boyfriend had no idea about her criminal past. Despite their assurances that a “nice blond lady” would never do time, Kerman ultimately served eleven months at the federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a memoir ensued. The result is a perceptive, if imperfect inside look at our criminal justice system and the women who cycle through it.

Kerman begins by describing how, in 1992, she found herself a recent Smith College graduate from a good Boston family “with a thirst for bohemian counterculture and no clear plan.” She stuck around her college town waiting tables and soon began dating an older woman named Nora, who revealed on their first date that she was part of an international heroin trafficking network. While this disclosure may have prompted a “Check, please!” from your average gal, a young Kerman found it “exciting beyond belief.”

She spent the next four months traveling the world on heroin-smuggling missions with Nora and her crew: Hanging out in Bali beach clubs, wandering through Paris, and transporting drug money (but never actual drugs), before realizing that she was getting in too deep and breaking all ties. When Kerman reflects on this time, she seems unwilling or unable to explore her motivations, and more often resorts to describing her lifestyle in list form. A typical recollection: “We worked, we threw parties, we went skinny-dipping or sledding, we fucked, sometimes we fell in love. We got tattoos.”

In contrast, her depiction of arriving at the prison in 2004—saying goodbye to Larry, surrendering all her possessions—is poignant and thoroughly-rendered. If the author seems hard to relate to in her wild-child days, empathy abounds as she skillfully describes her sense of terror upon losing all freedom.

Contrary to her fears, most of her fellow inmates approach her with warmth and concern. Descriptions of their small acts of kindness are remarkably touching. When one woman shares a commissary root beer float that Kerman has not yet been approved to buy for herself, you feel so vicariously grateful that she may as well have given Kerman a kidney.

The author is soon showing newbies the ropes, helping her fellow inmates with schoolwork, and lending them books. (Unlike most women at Danbury, she receives a steady stream of mail and reading material from family and friends.)

She learns that prison life is sometimes brutal (guards sexually abuse inmates with impunity), often humiliating (the women are subject to strip searches at any time), and generally tedious. Still, deep friendships spring up; surrogate mother-daughter relationships are cultivated. The inmates throw birthday parties, complete with inspired microwave creations. (Kerman’s specialty is prison cheesecake. She supplies the recipe, which calls for a whole container of coffee creamer and nearly an entire bottle of lemon juice.)

Kerman excels at chronicling the other women and their struggles, from teenagers doing time for drug-related crimes to a 69-year-old nun in jail for trespassing as part of a peaceful protest at a missile silo. In one haunting scene, inmates are briefly reunited with their children for a field day—the separation afterward is brutal, and Kerman weeps. At another point, Kerman grieves over the fact that some inmates are actually afraid to leave prison because their neighborhoods are “more desperate and dangerous than jails.”

She is less successful at talking about herself. Occasionally, she opens up, and these moments are powerful. But, a public relations executive by trade, Kerman is often frustratingly careful, polite. She paints nearly everyone pretty rosily and without much nuance.

Everyone, that is, except “The Fed.” Interwoven with the women’s stories are facts about the War on Drugs, with which Kerman makes no effort to hide her anger and bafflement. While acknowledging her privileged background, Kerman never fully dispels the reader’s discomfort when she more or less conflates her own case with those of the majority of the women around her. Drug use has wreaked havoc on so many of their lives, a fact that ultimately makes Kerman aware of “the people who suffered because of what people like me had done.”

Though certain aspects of her own story never quite seem resolved, her sympathetic portraits of these people stay with you long after the book is through.

Summary from Chicago Tribune by J. Courtney Sullivan

Wake Me Up by Avicii

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I may not be an incredibly huge fan of this genre of music but I have to give Avicii credit for producing a great song. The lyrics are inspiring, it reminds me that everything passes and life is an open book. We don’t know the future but we know where we are now. The amazing thing is, we won’t be in this place for long. Time will pass and we will grow, there is nothing we can’t accomplish if we set our mind to it.

Lyrics:

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me

[2x]
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don’t have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life’s a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

[2x]
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost

Didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know (didn’t know, didn’t know)

Who Have I Become by Best Coast

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When I listen to this song I think back to when I was using and how I began to lose myself, question myself and hate myself. It was a dark place but now that I am out I can really reflect and see how my life has changed. Do some reflection yourself and enjoy the pop tunes from the fun and upbeat band, Best Coast.

Lyrics:

Sometimes I hate myself for loving you…
And my dreams are just dramatic versions of
My real life.
And life is short, but so am I.
What does it matter anyway?
Just a small price that I pay to feel the same way every single day…
Every single day…

I want to be somebody else.
Sick of myself and how I feel.
Don’t recognize who I see in the morning.
Used to be so clear.
And now I’m waking up to strangers with their shadows on my face.
So quickly I remember what it felt like to be in this place…
To be in this place…

The day is done and he has won
again I’m running from the one
I love, but I don’t know
if its true.
Do I love you?

The day is done and he has won
again I’m running from the one
I love, but I don’t know
if its true.
Who have I become?
Who have I become?
Who have I become?

And now I’m tired
Oh so tired of this story being told.
When did I wake up and
Suddenly my soul has grown so old?

You’re never wrong.
You’re never right.
It’s never told in black and white.

To my surprise
I realize
That I am always on the run…
Always on the run…

The day is done and he has won
again I’m running from the one
I love, but I don’t know
if its true.
Do I love you?

The day is done and he has won
again I’m running from the one
I love, but I don’t know
if its true.
Who have I become?
Who have I become?
Who have I become?

It’s always coming up so wrong.
And I am always on the run.
It’s always coming up so wrong.
And I am always on the run…

 

Never Give Up by Robin Thicke

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This is a cheerful song, beautifully composed with all kinds of orchestral instruments paired with Robins great voice and inspiring lyrics. Check it out!

Lyrics:

Lost your job,
lost your mind
living on the street
for the second time
all you do is dream
another new tonight
I see blue skies in front of me

(Chorus:)

baby, never give up
don’t stop now,
it’s never too much
never give up
never give up
hold on babe
never give up

lost your heart
lost your will
on your hands and knees
just for a dollar bill
lost your faith
and your confidence
it never seems fair
nothing make sense

(Chorus)

feel like a joke
I feel like a fool
I should have smarten up
I should have stayed in school
what I’m gonna do?
how am I gonna get by?
I ain’t got no whistle
but I can’t stop trying

(Chorus)