By now dear friends you've probably been on twitter or facebook and maybe already are that I am now an Award-Winning Author, GOLD no less, having come in first place at FAPA's National Contest this weekend at their conference. Miracles of Recovery, for those who know my story, was born out of grief from loss: the loss of my precious daughter, my husband, my brothers (who both died from our disease.) The five years of passion and energy that it took to complete it will never be felt the same again. But I want you to know that more than ANYTHING, Miracles was Divinely Inspired for were it NOT, I could never EVER produced what I did.
Miracles of Recovery is proof-positive that NOTHING IN THIS WORLD CAN JUSTIFY TAKING A DRINK, and that when we want to live just a mustard seed more than we want to die, we will find our way -- AND WE DO! Thank you to all who are STILL here, who continue to believe in its message and know that from the heart, anything we do is possible.
In her spare time, Harriet facilitates a six-week course called, “Journaling with a Purpose.” She lives with her two dogs at home in Havana, Florida. Learn more about Harriet by visiting www.Harriethunter.org or on Facebook at Harriet Hunter, author.
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Miracles of Recovery: Daily Meditations of Hope, Courage and Faithby Harriet HunterPublish: Oct 02, 2018Advice & How To
There was this one babysitter we had for many years when I was a child. Her name was Marilyn, and I adored her. She was just “so cool,” dancing to the pops on the radio of the 50s and early 60s. I remember how she looked facing the huge mirror that hung over our couch: with eyes closed, head back, voice booming, she sang her heart out with such emotion as her tears fell. She spent lots of time with me and my siblings interacting, playing cards and keeping us entertained.When did you realize you wanted to be an author? Do you have any unfinished/unpublished stories?
You know, I’ve always been a writer looking back. I journaled while in high school, in the typical yearning fashion that a 14 or 15-year-old girl does about life, boys, school. And yes! I have many incomplete stories yet to be completed.
I realized I wanted to be an author a year after the death of my daughter. I had spent that second year writing every single morning after my prayer and meditation. While on a vacation in Wyoming and parts-west, writing I realized soon after returning home I had the makings of a book almost half completed. My stories, each day, were about feelings, emotions, what to do and how to handle them as a recovering alcoholic. I said to a dear friend, “I have the makings of a 365-day inspirational,” and so it began.When did you decide to help others both in and out of the rooms of recovery? What was your motivation?
I always felt a special affinity for the underdog and saw myself as one. I wanted to help and be helpful to others. I’ve done volunteer work for years in hospitals, in Hospice, in rehabilitation centers at hospitals and worked most recently with my golden retriever as a support team. It became clear in recovery that one way to remain clean and sober is to be thinking about and helping others. When I’m useful to others, I’m not thinking about myself and what I don’t have for example. Service work is the most important thing I can do with my life and has served a great purpose for me particularly since the death of my daughter. The motivation is easy: I don’t want to die, and as a dedicated woman in recovery, I understand the intricacies and fundamental psychological differences between an addict/alcoholic and that of a normal person that tug at my soul if I’m not careful. The closer I am to my God, supporting and helping others, the greater assurance is that I won’t be picking up a drink or a drug, surely not today!Was writing your first book a struggle? What kept you motivated? How did you come up with this title?
No, this book as I alluded to previously, was half written. It was a passion, a necessity to my sanity at the time that I keep writing as most days. The message already within me, just poured out of me as I was a bundle of emotions, grief and bewilderment why I was alive but my family dead.
I will tell you that within five years I had lost my only child, my two brothers and a dear aunt. One brother died six short weeks after losing my daughter. I have still not given him the focused grief he deserves. Finishing this book became my life’s work, my legacy. I felt that I HAD to finish this “before I died” in case I was next. Sad to say but this fear played a part to be sure. I completed my first draft at the end-of-year two and each year thereafter up to year five, completed new rewrites and edits with the help of lots of beta readers familiar with addiction. It was a wonderful experience. The title was suggested by another published writer and the vision became clear.What is “Journaling with a Purpose” all about? What do you hope people take away from this six-week course?
This is my second passion. Journaling with a purpose, like “Miracles of Recovery,” is what I surely consider a God-Thing. You have to understand, Mady, I never ever saw myself a creative type, someone who could “see” what she wanted to do with anything short of replicating my mother’s spaghetti sauce! The words that came in “Miracles” and the format for Journaling with a Purpose was done in collaboration with My God. I, merely the messenger, the vessel.
Each week for six weeks, Journaling with a Purpose expands upon itself as we explore 1. What Journaling Is and Is Not; 2. Creative Writing; 3. Reflective Writing; 4. Therapeutic Writing; 5. Mindfulness Meditation and Prompt Infusion and 6). Preparations for the New Year. Each session is replete with writing exercises and prompts, all designed for the writer to open their heart, to become willing to allow themselves to just write for the sake of writing without critics, editing and judgments. It is interactive. Some women have never read “out loud” before a group. It is intimidating but growth producing. Our groups are never over six people at a time to promote a trusting and personal space where we can all be who we are and write with abandon.Which is your go-to coffee shop in Havana, Florida? What are the names of your two dogs?
Well, I don’t think there are any places in Havana that allow for leisurely and an overabundance of thoughtful writing, so I typically go to a large Starbucks. Where I wrote my first book was on my front porch early mornings listening to nature and as mornings became too hot, I moved inside to my kitchen table and wrote with soft music from I-Heart.
My two four-footed fur babies' names are Sadie (the golden retriever) and Bowzer (the American Bulldog.)Why do you consider yourself to be a “serial cruiser?” Having traveled extensively to other countries on the other side of the world, which is your favorite place to be?
After the death of my husband, like many widows I know, I took to the seas and traveled frequently. Between Rome, Israel and Australia (and because my daughter passed away in Australia,) it will always be a special, unbelievable place for me. Israel and Rome were life changing to be sure. But Australia in its’ own beauty is personal. The heartbreak and miracles experienced in Melbourne could be a book unto itself.Your blog post, “Fear of Moving Forward,” talks about the ways fear holds us back. What are some methods that you use to empower yourself?
Thank you for asking about this. First you probably know if I couldn’t “see” what I wrote, then it would be impossible for me to write about. I grew up a terrified, angry child and became a terrified angry adult. I believed the world was ending and I would die at any moment. Drugs and alcohol perpetuated this belief, and kept me stuck in every way imaginable, too terrified to even think about moving forward. I remember asking my husband “why dream?” because I didn‘t believe in dreams, I saw no future for me.
One of the gifts I was blessed to learn in recovery is that fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. This means as I practice living in the moment and suspend everything I think I know, I replace my fear with faith. It is faith and hope today that moves me forward. This act of living in faith and not fear has become even greater since the death of my child. There’s not much that can leave a fearful impression on me since I’ve already faced my greatest of fears.What/Who was your biggest inspiration while trying to escape from reality to connect the dots to freedom and to find hope sufficient to do better?
The God of my understanding and my hitting a personal and emotional bottom was what it took for me to stop living in denial. I changed my thinking enough to want to live, just a little more than I wanted to die. And for anyone to change their lifestyle one day at a time, that is what it takes. Anything less, the need is insufficient to change the overwhelming compulsion and kick the habit of addiction.Why dd you choose to write under your pseudo-name Harriet Hunter? How do you think your walk into recovery in 1999 has helped you share into an author?
At a writers’ retreat I broached the topic to my group and everyone said Harriet Hunter sounded well together. Besides, it is my birth name! Had I not entered recovery, I am certain beyond a doubt I would be dead by now.
My entire psyche, outlook and persona has changed since 1999. I have been redeemed in a thousand ways, sufficient to know that if I want to do something—Anything bad enough, I can do it, and I do. For the first time in my life, I am free most days of lingering fear, regret, worry and the “what if’s” that would suffocate me on a daily basis.How did you end up becoming a member of Tallahassee’s Writing Association? What is it about?
Joining TWA was a natural progression of events I needed to take to become part of a writing community and learn from authors and industry leaders in the field. TWA is an association that promotes education, involvement in the process of writing and cross- assimilation of sharing of information for those who desire to stay current.Miracles of Recovery offers hope where there is none. How difficult was it to compile key ideas for successful recovery from any substance, situation or person?
The key “ideas” are not so much ideas or conjectures as much as fundamental truths from my experience, strength and hope. This is the only thing we in recovery, have to share: a bit about what happened, what it was like and how it works for us today. Combined with this are the results of the transformation that takes place as we work each of the twelve steps in our lives day in and day out. We call it a simple program for complicated people, but it involves work on our part IF we are to maintain long-term recovery.Have you ever thought of collaborating and writing something with another author? If so, who would you like to work with?
No, not really, although I like the idea! The two people I would like to collaborate with would be Melody Beattie, my first non-fiction mentor and an expert in detachment and author of “Codependent No More,” “Beyond Codependency” and others. The other person is Julia Cameron, author of “The Artists Way,” “Unanswered Prayers” and several other books.Which is the next project you are working on? When will it be released?
I’ve hardly marketed endeavors for Miracles of Recovery let alone contemplate what comes next. However, I will say I’m loosely working on several books and a continuation of Miracles which will have actual exercises for each step. I’ve no timeline nor idea at all when this will all be completed.
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